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Avoid 'Men'; try 'Who'

The creators/executive producers of the WB's latest attempt at comedy wish they were "Modern Men." Ross McCall said that's what he and his brother, Marsh, discuss.

"Our No. 1 topic is always — how can we have an awesome relationship with an awesome woman? And in eight years, I can very definitively say with a lot of trial and error and discussion, we're no closer to figuring that out than we were eight years ago," Ross McCall said. "And that's really where the show came from."

If only it had come from someplace funny. Because this is perhaps the least funny "comedy" of the year.

"Modern Men" (8:30 p.m., Ch. 30) follows three childhood pals who are now approaching 30 and still looking for love. Tim (Josh Braaten) keeps getting dumped by various women; Doug (Eric Lively) can't get over his ex-wife; Kyle (Max Greenfield) is pretty much a man-whore. So they end up going to a "life coach," Dr. Victoria Stangel (Jane Seymour), who's going to coach them about how to get what they need.

"What if a client doesn't know what he needs?" Tim asks.

"Oh, that's the best part. I tell him," Victoria replies.

That, of course, is not funny. But the studio audience/laugh track explodes with guffaws.

Which is what happens repeatedly throughout tonight's pilot episode. Like when Kyle questions Tim about his latest break-up:

"So what's the problem?" he asks. "Are you selfish in bed or something?"

"No! I always made sure Lisa's stuff was tended to," Tim says.

"Tended to? What is she, a turnip?" Kyle says.

If this were a basketball game, they'd be throwing up brick after brick after brick. It's just horrible.

"DOCTOR WHO" is the newest old show on TV. Or the oldest new show.

This British import is the latest incarnation of the good doctor, who has appeared in various forms played by various actors since 1963. This time 'round Christopher Eccleston steps into the role of the mysterious time-and-space traveler who's both mysterious and humorous, in a quirky kind of way.

This 13-episode series is not so much a continuation as a new beginning. (Even if you've never seen a single episode of any of the previous incarnations, you won't feel like you've missed anything.) In the first of two episodes airing tonight on Sci Fi (7 and 8 p.m., repeated at 9 and 10 p.m.), the Doctor meets Rose Tyler (Billie Piper), who has an unfortunate encounter with mannequins that's part of a plot to invade and conquer Earth. In the second hour, they go 5 billion years in the future, and there's trouble there, too.

This isn't "Star Trek" or "Battlestar Galactica." It's a decidedly British sensibility that mixes some state-of-the-art effects with stuff that looks, well, decidedly cheesy. And it's an odd combination of action, adventure and wackiness — an odd combination that somehow works.

"Doctor Who" fans will want to see this new version. And it will make fans out of people who are new to the franchise.