Circumstantial evidence would indicate that some sort of crime was committed involving the new WB sitcom "Do Over" and the new ABC drama "That Was Then," although everyone involved denies it.
Both shows are about guys in their 30s whose lives haven't worked out the way they wanted. They're magically transported back in time and get a chance to relive their lives as teenagers. Not only that, but in their respective pilots both characters give speeches in front of their high-school student bodies in which each extols the virtues of living for today so that you don't wake up when you're 30 and realize you've wasted your chances.
"Needless to say, we were a little surprised," said "Do Over" executive producer Rick Wiener. "We had no idea the other show existed . . . Maybe it's just a good idea and two people did it at the same time."
Hmmmmm . . .
DO OVER (Thursdays, 7:30 p.m., WB/Ch. 30): Joel Larson (Penn Badgley) is a 34-year-old who gets that second chance in this half-hour sitcom when he's suddenly transported back two decades and gets to live his life over from the age of 14.
Verdict — Innocent: There's one huge difference between "Do Over" and "That Was Then" on ABC — "Do Over" is pretty good. The teenage Badgley is a find (perhaps the biggest since Frankie Muniz on "Malcolm in the Middle") and the show is actually quite funny, mixing humor about the foibles of the '80s with timeless human foibles.
Parole report: As with "Family Affair," let's hope the network has the patience to stick with this show.
Release date: Sept. 19
THAT WAS THEN (Fridays, 8 p.m., ABC/Ch. 4): Travis (James Bulliard) is a not-very-lovable loser who, on his 30th birthday, is zapped by a bolt of lightning and suddenly awakens as a 16-year-old. He sets out to remake history in the first of what seems to be a series of time-travel trips, all of which add up to a dull, uninteresting and more than a bit annoying take on "Back to the Future."
Verdict — Guilty: There's one huge difference between "That Was Then" and the very similar-seeming "Do Over" on the WB — "Do Over" is pretty good; "That Was Then" stinks. And not just because twentysomething actors playing teenagers look ridiculous.
Parole report: You wouldn't have to travel very far into the future to see this thing getting canceled.
Release date: Sept. 27