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Why I Didn't Review ''Threshold''

By RD Heldenfels Published: September 19, 2005

A review tape of ''Ghost Whisperer'' arrived today, all set for review before its premiere on Friday. The only problem is, the tape has a lovely crack in the spine.

Stuff happens, after all. I've talked to CBS, and they're sending out a new tape, so I should have it in plenty of time to take one more look before the premiere. The show, after all, has a local connection, since North Royalton's own Mary Ann Winkowski inspired the character played by Jennifer Love Hewitt on the show. (''Inspired,'' at least, is how the show describes it. You can read more about how I see it here.)

It's all part of being a reviewer. I get many (though not all) shows before they are on the air, so I can write a review and you will be more aware of the show than otherwise. If the review is positive, you might tune in -- and the networks will be happy. If the review is negative, you might also tune in because you never agree with what I write -- and the networks will be happy. Or you won't care about the review one way or another; you'll just think the show or one of its stars is worth watching.

Which brings me to ''Threshold.'' It also has a local connection, since Canton's Brannon Braga is an executive producer; I most recently wrote about him a few weeks ago in a piece you should find here. And the pilot I saw had some real possibilities, so I was curious about the revised and expanded version that aired on Friday. Definitely something to write about.

Only a tape did not arrive. Nor was I alone in not getting it, since one of my colleagues was also lamenting the lack of it -- and several other CBS shows. On Wednesday afternoon, this e-mail came from CBS:

''We regret to inform you that our mailing for Threshold has been delayed due to the fact that DHL has experienced a company wide disruption in service. None of the packages we over-nighted are expected to arrive at their destination today. We are in the process of setting up a password protected URL to provide the premiere via streaming video on your computer. Please stay tuned for further info.''

This really jammed me up. If I'm writing for the features section on Friday, I usually have to see a show by Wednesday night -- Thursday morning if I push it. Since I didn't get the tape ahead of time, I was at the mercy of the URL. CBS did indeed set that up later on Wednesday, and I tried to watch the show via streaming video. Only that didn't work very well either. I e-mailed CBS. A tech guy called me to offer assistance. We tried different things. I tried some more on my own. Nothing worked. I would get picture without sound, or picture and sound that would freeze, or that would simply stop. (Nor was I alone in struggling.)

Finally, I quit. I had written about the show in the Braga profile, and had mentioned it in a package on the new TV season, so I had not ignored it. But I didn't get to review it before air. So anyone who watched the show has the advantage on me -- for the moment. I did finally get tapes of the premiere, and I do plan to look at them before the next episode is telecast.

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