Dave on Demand | Farfetched fathers

TV casting agents are stretching genetic plausibilities.

They say you can't pick your family.

Well, you can on TV, which makes the random way they seem to cast relatives in prime time all the more baffling. I started thinking about this last year when Fred Ward showed up on Grey's Anatomy as Danny's father. Um, was Danny adopted?

Later this month, George Takei (Sulu on the original Star Trek) will begin appearing as Hiro's dad on NBC's Heroes. Take about oil and water! Takei is glacially controlled. Hiro (Masi Oka) is the most exuberant character on TV. I had an easier time recently accepting Wayne Brady as Neil Patrick Harris's brother on How I Met Your Mother.

In March, rocker Dave Matthews will appear in an episode of Fox's House. His father? Kurtwood Smith, the crusty Red on That '70s Show. Gregor Mendel, the father of genetics, must be turning in his grave.

This season we'll also see James Cromwell (Babe) as Jack Bauer's estranged father on Fox's 24. Let's forget for a minute that Cromwell is nearly a foot taller than Kiefer Sutherland. Was Donald Sutherland too busy to take the part?

Spoiler free. Speaking of 24, the new season gets off to a rollicking start this weekend. One thing that occurred to me after previewing the first few episodes: These are very good times to be an Arab actor.

Given the state of the world, you'll probably be playing a member of a terror cell. But you will be inundated with offers.

Having said that, Kal Penn (Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle) is one of the Arab actors featured on the new batch of 24. The verdict? Maybe he should stick with comedy.

Limo journalists. The new MTV series I'm With Rolling Stone proves once again that reality TV is more glamorous than reality.

We meet the six prospective interns as they wait on pins and needles to see if they've been hired at the grandpappy of rock magazines. Kids, that camera crew in the room with you is a pretty good indication you made the cut.

They each get a personal phone call from the owner, Jann Wenner, welcoming them aboard. First day on the job, one is assigned to fly to Chicago to interview Lupe Fiasco and Ghostface Killah. Only on TV.

Read the memoir of former Rolling Stone writer Jancee Dunn, But Enough About Me, to find out how much drudgery a new staffer at that magazine faces.

This is about as accurate a picture of journalism as Courteney Cox's sex-drenched Dirt.

Very blind date. If you go to You Tube and type in "T-Bone Edition," you'll see Howard Eskin's son Jason, 21, on the MTV dating game, Next. The only white contestant vying for a date with a black woman, he introduces himself, "They call me Vanilla Cosby because I love my chocolate pudding."

I don't want to give away the results, but it's amazing how impressed a girl will be by a guy willing to parade around in drag.

Group rejection. Did you catch NBC's Grease: You're the One That I Want? The idea is that viewers vote to cast a Broadway revival of the '50s-era musical.

Whom do I want to see in a remake of Grease? No one. There. I just saved you a whole season of anguish.

Contact TV columnist David Hiltbrand at 215-854-4552 or dhiltbrand@phillynews.com. Read his recent work at http://go.philly.com/hiltbrand.