Tuesday, 28 September 2010

The Martyrdom of "Lone Star"

So the show I just lauded as the best of the new season, a little gem on FOX called Lone Star is the first of the year to get the premature axe. Sound the sad trombone, kids, because we've just lost a good one. I maintain that this show had the most compelling new characters and the most potential to prove that network TV is not a place where excellent TV shows go to die, but I have once again been proven wrong (on the latter point, that is). A little fatalist perhaps, but this show was too good for network TV, and would have found a much more nurturing home on HBO or even the USA network. Southland is another show that was too quality for network TV, and it was prematurely canceled, only to be saved at the last minute by TNT, a better fit for its gritty, character-driven style than NBC could have ever been. Lone Star really could have been a great show, too. It's a shame to see it go so quickly. I'm going to pout about this one for a little while.

New Fall Shows

Okay, what new shows are you guys picking up this season? Here's my list of newbies that I've decided to allow into my life for at least a couple of months (some shows need time to grow). The only one I watched that I just hated was My Generation. If anyone ends up watching that one, tell me if it gets any better b/c I thought that one was *lame*. It never met a cliche it didn't like. Here are ones I'm going to keep watching for a while, though:

- Lone Star: This is my favorite of the new bunch. I expected to hate it, but I loved it instead. The main character looks like he could be related to Kyle Chandler, which frankly is always a selling point, and in spite of the fact that he's a criminal and a bigamist, he's likable. He's an anti-hero that I found myself rooting for. I'm really interested to see where this show goes -- if it doesn't get canceled. Seriously, watch this show!

- Boardwalk Empire: I'm almost always a fan of good (read: not The Tudors) period dramas, and HBO actually has the budget to do it right. Prohibition was a crazy time in our history, when the cultural/moral divide was even greater than it is now, in other words, good TV show fodder. Steve Buscemi somehow manages to pull off the gangster thing pretty believably. I thought the pilot was excellent.

- The Event: It wants to be this year's LOST, but it's not there. It may turn into this year's Flash Forward (may it rest in peace), but hopefully with better results. However, I did find myself sucked into it, and I like seeing Laura Innes in a different kind of role than Kerry Weaver. Good actress. It was weird, though, to see Luke Danes [SPOILER ALERT!!!!!] using a plane as a weapon. What would Lorelai say to that?

- Chase: I wanted to like this more than I did, but I'm willing to keep it on the Tivo list for the season. It seems like it's trying really hard to not be In Plain Sight, but the reality is that it's a regional drama about a female US marshal, so in its attempt to overcompensate, it's falling into cop show cliches that are dumb (seriously, the over-eager rookie cop learning from "the best"? Don't patronize me). I want it to be good, though, and I like seeing Cole Hauser playing a good guy.

- Undercovers: I like JJ Abrams doing another spy show. It's cool, and the stars are REALLY attractive. Honestly, I don't have a lot of deep thoughts about this one, but I enjoyed the pilot.

- Hellcats: This is the cheerleader one on the CW, and although it's terrible, it's kind of a blast. Ashley Tisdale is surprisingly likable, even when she's copping to TV Christian cliches that we've all seen. Plus, they do flippies all the time!

- Nikita: Apparently, TV executives saw a gaping hole in the television spy genre, so they simultaneously greenlit this one, Undercovers, and Covert Affairs (of the three, Covert Affairs is totally my favorite). This one seems to have more of an overarching narrative going through it than Covert Affairs, and I like the relationship between Nikita and Alex. I was surprised that this didn't totally suck. Maybe that's what I'm responding to.

- The Whole Truth: I like both of the leads in this one. Maura Tierney was supposed to play Lauren Graham's role on Parenthood until she was diagnosed with cancer, so it's great to see her returning to TV healthy. This show kind of reminds me of The Practice, sans the David E. Kelley quirky factor, which is definitely a good thing. I'm not jumping out of my seat with excitement about it, but it's an entertaining enough episodic procedural.

- Blue Bloods: I think this one has real potential. I like seeing Tom Selleck in this police officer patriarch role, and, of course, I welcome the return of former crush Will Estes (JJ from American Dreams!) back to TV. This show has such a great cast, also including Donnie Wahlberg and Bridget Moynahan, that it can only get better -- and it was already darn good. I don't like a lot of shows on CBS, mostly because they're out of my age bracket (BURN), but this was ABC-worthy. I loved how they played that scene with Donnie Wahlberg's character and the scumbag in the hotel room: both characters were awful and unsympathetic, and the violence was truly grotesque. It reminded me of the violent scenes in Witness. How great to see so many layers in a pilot episode. I'll definitely be tuning into this one some more!

- Running Wilde: I don't usually get too excited about pilot episodes of half-hour comedies, mainly because good comedy shows usually end up emphasizing the strengths of the ensemble cast and it usually takes about 6 months to a year to find a good rhythm. There are plenty of exceptions to this, but it's a good rule of thumb to give comedy shows at least a couple of months leeway before deleting your season pass. Running Wilde is from some of the creators of the greatest comedy show of the last decade Arrested Development, so it's got potential. It's fun to see Keri Russell doing straight comedy on a TV series, and Will Arnett is always funny when he allows other people around him to be funny as well. This one's got potential.

- Better With You: Honestly, I'm only watching this show because I think ABC's Wednesday night comedy line-up is stellar, and I want to trust that they've picked another good one. The pilot was funny enough for a pilot, and the two sisters at the heart of it (Joanna Garcia from Reba and Jennifer Finnegan from Close to Home) have good chemistry. It can only get better, I think.

- Sister Wives: DO NOT judge me for this. It's the only TLC show I watch, and it stems out of pure, morbid fascination. I'm also a huge fan of Big Love, so I'm hoping this will hold me over until January. In case you haven't heard of it, it's about a Mormon guy with three wives and twelve children, shacking up, Big Love-style in a pretty nice, two-story complex in Utah. The thing that's fascinating about this family is seeing how they organize their lives. In the pilot, we learned that Kody, the husband, is attempting to bring another wife into the family, so as viewers, we are meeting this family on the cusp of big change (it's almost like the producers planned it that way. Crazy.). I was riveted by the pilot, strangely enough. I also find it fascinating that a show like this is now considered acceptable fare for a family network like TLC.

Your turn. What new shows are you liking this season? Anything you hated? Don't fear the comment section!

Monday, 27 September 2010

Not Happy with "Brothers and Sisters"

I'm sounding the SPOILERS bell, so if you haven't yet watched the season premiere of Brothers and Sisters, stop reading!

Still here? Okay, is it just me or is this show now a total bummer? When did Nora and Justin become the only likable people on the show? I'm seriously at a level of annoyance with the show that I don't remember from recent years. At least they had a Walker dinner party to lighten the mood a little bit. Here are all the things that annoyed me about it. Are you ready for this?

1) Flash forwarding a year on a show is ALWAYS an attempt to make up for laziness. Lame.
2) Robert should have died in the car crash. We all knew that Rob Lowe was going to exit the show. I hated them dragging it out for another episode. It felt clumpy and awkward.
3) Justin and Rebecca breaking up now? Really? After that whole long, painful dragged out engagement last season? I feel like they've wasted my time.
4) Sarah thinking about moving to France is annoying. What's wrong with America?
5) Saul is HIV Positive. Unnecessary.
6) Suddenly I like Luc better than four out of five Walker siblings. That's annoying.
7) Scottie and Kevin are fighting. I like it when they are harmonious, or at least unified in their annoyance with the rest of the family. Not sure how I feel about the bleeding heart version of Kevin.
8) The implication that the Walkers are all poor because they've had a hard year is annoying. I like it when the Walkers are rich.
9) Holly is now crazy-pants. It's not like that makes her relevant to the show now or something.

Here are some things that weren't annoying:
1) Justin is such a sweetie! (And he looks hot in his uniform.)
2) Tommy is still not on the show.
3) Nora was acting like a normal person, not crazy-pants like usual.
4) Luc starring in an underwear ad is funny.

Ugh, can this show get over itself, please? I looked forward to it all last season, but now it's seriously bumming me out. Emily Van Camp is leaving the show for good sometime this season, and Calista Flockhart has asked for a reduced schedule. With so many actors jumping ship, I don't think this show is sustainable. They seem to be running out of ideas. I don't like it when shows that I like end, but it might be time for Brothers and Sisters to fish or cut bait.

Here's an awesome recap/review of the episode from a blogger that shares my sentiments about the suckiness of this particular episode:

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

In the past, people have asked me which shows I watch, as if I'm only allowed to be dedicated to about 2-3 per week. Clearly these people don't know me very well. When a new TV season begins in September, I fully commit to it, complete with a list of shows with their premiere dates, a meticulously organized Tivo season past list (it only records the first two in each time slot after all!), an unspoken desire to clear the Tivo of summer baggage (my term for shows that you record during the summer, but don't really care very much about), and a resolve to at least try a couple of new shows for the sake of being in the loop. Truthfully, I don't know how I get to all of them, but somehow I still get actual work done amidst all the TV watching. Granted, after a couple of months, something's gotta give, and several shows typically get the old "I'll catch up with it on DVD" boot, but that's generally how it goes for me at the hopeful beginning of a new season.

Well, folks, the new TV season is upon us. And although the cable networks have been doing a wonderful job of late at keeping the summers less boring, pretty soon we're all going to remember why we naturally lower our TV viewing standards in the summer to get us through.

And football season starts, too!

So, for the sake of those who have always wondered, but have been afraid to ask, here is my intended TV show list for the Fall of 2010, with their networks and premiere dates in parentheses. Some of these shows admittedly suck, but have at some point hooked me in and refused to let me go, so reserve your judgments for another blog. On this the eve of season premiere week, I wish you a happy TV season!

Sunday -- Desperate Housewives (ABC 9/26); Brothers and Sisters (ABC 9/26); Boardwalk Empire (HBO 9/19)

Monday -- Chuck (NBC 9/20), How I Met Your Mother (CBS 9/20), House (FOX 9/20), Lone Star (FOX 9/20), Gossip Girl (The CW 9/13), The Event (NBC 9/20), Chase (NBC 9/20), The Big C (Showtime)

Tuesday -- Glee (FOX 9/21), One Tree Hill (The CW 9/14), Life Unexpected (The CW 9/14), Running Wilde (FOX 9/21), Parenthood (NBC 9/14), The Good Wife (CBS 9/28)

Wednesday -- The Middle (ABC 9/22), Undercovers (NBC 9/22), Lie To Me (FOX), America's Next Top Model (The CW 9/8), Better With You (ABC 9/22), Modern Family (ABC 9/22), Hellcats (The CW 9/8), Cougar Town (ABC 9/22), Law and Order: SVU (NBC 9/22)

Thursday -- The Vampire Diaries (The CW 9/9), My Generation (ABC 9/23), 30 Rock (NBC 9/23), Gray's Anatomy (ABC 9/23), Fringe (FOX 9/23), The Office (NBC 9/23), Nikita (The CW 9/8), Private Practice (ABC 9/23), Project Runway (Lifetime)

Friday -- Blue Bloods (CBS 9/24)

Saturday -- SNL (9/25)