Sunday, August 31, 2008

Fall TV Season 2008: Mondays

This is a cluster-fuck, like it was last year of course. And to complicate things more this season, the Terminator show is now on regularly and it's replacement in the Winter is to be the new Joss Whedon "Dollhouse" show which I'm at least curious about as well. I may either do some watching online (on the network's sites perhaps) or actually be forced to use my vcr in the case of 3 shows on at the same time. If a 4th comes up, like perhaps when KYLE XY comes back, well then the web or hopefully in that case, the common Encore at 10PM happens.

Chuck: link

Premiere: September 29th. (NBC)

Good freshman show last year. Comedic spy dramedy. It never really got dull, and was a great lead-in to HEROES at 8. The only challenge may be to reproduce the charm and mystery it had. Perhaps it will help with the fact it only aired for 1/2 a season i.e. some of the good story ideas were casualties of the Strike. I wonder how long the writers will be able to keep Chuck's secret from his sister (and best friend). The hot blond, Sarah Lancaster and Adam Baldwin were all good along with Zack Levi of course. Tony Todd was a bit underused. A friend of mine thinks a good idea would be to bring in Rick Gomez who I last saw on "What About Brian" since his brother Josh plays the best friend of Chuck. Also it could be a bit of reunion since Sarah Lancaster also was a star on "What About Brian."

edit: apparently John Laroquette is joining the cast replacing Tony Todd. He was decent but not amazing on Boston Legal last season. I guess it'll depend on what kind of character he plays here. If he's the uptight CIA boss ready to meltdown, it could be good for some laughs.


Big Bang Theory: link

Premiere: September 22nd (CBS)

This was perhaps the best new show of the season. Well-written sitcom about 2 science geeks and their 2 other friends, who are living across the hall from a cute blond girl who is a kind of genius in her own way socially by being able to interact with them. The writers of "Two and a Half Men" may have struck even more shiny gold with this one. While it replaced a show I really grew to like in "The Class" I'd say it was more than worthy of the 7pm time-slot. The nerd/scifi humor, when done well (and not taken too seriously), is some of the best comedic material in entertainment today (see Freaks and Geeks, Fanboys, and a lot of the stuff Judd Apatow has done).

No, this show is a big winner, the only hurdle it may face is trying to repeat it's brilliance again. The ole "sophomore slump" that may not be too much of an issue given the writers have gone through it before with Two-and-a-Half-Men already.


How I Met Your Mother: link

Premiere: September 22nd (CBS)

Probably the best veteran sitcom around. A few years ago, this was by far the best thing going on network tv in the sitcom game (Gilmore Girls being more of a Dramedy). Neil Patrick-Harris has finally received the Emmy/Globe recognition on after a few years of utter brilliance for his work on this show. Barney still steals every scene. The backwards storytelling formula, while it hasn't changed drastically, has a lot staying-power. Even if they haven't added a 3rd female character (maybe to avoid the Friends paralells). Not sure what romantic twists the writers will do this season, being the 4th already. Maybe addressing who the woman was at that party Ted claims to have met the kids future mother at. Sarah Chalke played the love interest last year, but given the fact Scrubs is back (and on a new network in ABC) she may be written out of the show pretty fast. No matter, this is still a can't miss show, with an occasional dull episode. But the best ones I find are great therapy on a Monday evening after a less-than-upbeat day at work.

The Sarah Connor Chronicles: link

Premiere: September 8th. (Fox)

A show that didn't seem to be that intriguing from the previews. But actually, amidst the Strike-period of last Winter, it was great at filling the void along with Lost then. The story got interesting with them hiding out in the future; perhaps trying to reshape the future. And the characters you grew to like. Sure, it wasn't exactly like the movies, but it had enough of the darker, epic saga built-in the tone and style that it won me and I think a lot more people over than expected. Lena Heady was pretty good along with Summer Glau as the John Connor protective Terminator. We don't still know about her programming or AI perhaps changing her agenda at some point. And of course along with the black FBI Agent's motivations. Even the possibility of him being a Terminator which I recall in the 1st or 2nd episode we sort of see a glance of his eye with one of those red lights. However, he would be so evolved that there's no way he would be able to mask it all those years. I'm doubting it, but it wouldn't shock me if eventually it turns out he is. And while I'm curious about the Christian Bale film coming next Spring, I can't say my interest is as high right now as this show. By next Spring I may know more.

Dollhouse: link

Premieres: January 2009 (Fox)

The Dollhouse is a very secret, and very illegal, place where wishes come true. Clients with the right connections and enough money can hire "Actives", people who have been programmed to perfectly fulfill the needs, and desires of their clients. The Actives are people who have chosen, for their own reasons, to surrender their bodies and minds for a five-year stay in the Dollhouse. Now they can...

The premise sounds interesting. It includes Eliza Dushku and of course is a project of Joss Whedon, which may doom it for longterm airings (Firefly, Tru Calling). But that doesn't mean this will not be worth checking out. It also stars Battlestar Galactica's Tahmoh Penikett and Harry J Lennix whose familiar from the 2 Matrix Sequels and the Anthony Hopkins/Gary Sinise film "Human Stain." Maybe the biggest issue will be if Terminator is as good as it was last year, will this be able to fill it's shoes (and bring in the same audience). The viewership isn't exactly the same (Terminator and Whedon) but pretty close it may be a good enough fit. Let's just hope it doesn't get 86'ed, just based on ratings. I know the Whedon contingency will be all over Fox if it does, lol (another Firefly?).


Heroes: link

Premieres: September 22nd (NBC)

The 2nd 1/2-season due to the Strike was honestly not as epic or creative as nearly all of the 1st season. Granted, there's your sophomore slump for you. Kristen Bell and some others didn't quite bring enough in, after the loss of likely a big part of the 1st season in writer Bryan Fuller. But, given Lost and BSG not on til '09, this perhaps is the best epic Scifi/Fantasy franchise on the air still. And given the abbreviated length of Season 2, like Chuck and some other shows, some of the best stories may have been shelved due to the Strike. "Heroes: Villains" is what they are advertising. Claire is evil now, Peter maybe has to choose sides. I guess given the way the trailers are done-up, I take them with a grain of salt. Peter and his situation with Adam Monroe is probably going to be early-on a big plotpoint. That and that whole group from the past with Mrs. Petrelli and Greg Grunberg's character's dad. That whole thing about a new character created by the viewers and "Heroes: Generations" hopefully will be addressed as well, although that still may come up during the break in the Winter. No matter, I am hoping some of the writing gets back to the quality of Season 1. I guess it may go in one of two directions. Either more of the Season 2 filler (the Mexican Brother and Sister's plot for example), or given the time off, the writers "Villains" plot gives the show a new intrigue. We'll know in a few weeks at least.


Two and A Half Men:: link

Premieres: September 22nd (CBS)

This show has been on for awhile, and especially compared to most other sitcoms on the air, it scores a lot lower in the dullness factor. Sort of a guilty-pleasure. Admittedly, the amount of guest-starring alluring women is enough reason to watch. But, how many more seasons are they going to be able to have Charlie get all the girls and Alan get pushed around? I do think they should bring back the Rose character as her abscence was felt last season. Maybe the writers felt they overused her, but the female characters that bug Charlie are some of the best humor the show has had. Additionally, Maya as well as Candy (Alan's gf and then wife) it may not hurt to bring back again. However, let's just hope it doesn't hang around too much longer ala garbage like Raymond and King Of Queens, which even though were far inferior shows, part of it had to do with the network milking them to death. This show may already be falling into that spot. Once the Jake character is in HS though, maybe it'll be enough for them to pull the plug, if not sooner. He was cute and funny as a little kid, but now he's just an annoying adolescent fat kid. The food and farting jokes have become pretty tiresome and old. Maybe the writers will finally realize that soon.


Worst Week: link

Premieres: September 22nd (CBS)

Worst Week , from the mind of Matt Tarses ( Scrubs ), is an American take on the British series The Worst Week of My Life . This CBS single camera offering centers on a young couple dealing with the groom's soon-to-be-in-laws during a family vacation. 13 episodes have been ordered for the first season. CBS ordered the show to series on 12 May 2008. The show is being produced by Hat Trick...

the premise and cast honestly don't do a ton for me, but I have found once in awhile with sitcoms that doesn't matter.

edit: Kurtwood Smith I do know as being the father on That 70's Show among other things, and Erinn Hayes looks familiar, but other than guest appearance or two, nothing in her credits rings any bells. I guess I figure this can't be much worse than the garbage they've trouted out in it's timeslot the last few years in the CHRISTINE show and RULES OF ENGAGEMENT. However, the one new show CBS put there last Spring "Welcome to the Captain" was pretty good, but of course not given a chance in hell. Suppose given the HEROES/SAMANTHA WHO? logjam already, if this thing bores me it'll at least save a portion of the evening's marathon.

Samantha Who?: link

Premieres: October 6th.

This was a case of a sitcom ABC actually stuck-with for once (unlike the likes of Knights of Prosperity, Help Me Help You, In Case of an Emergency just the year before) and it payed off apparently as it received a couple of Emmy nominations. Perhaps being a freshman show and maybe of late Christina Applegate's unfortunate battle with Breast-cancer (let's hope it wasn't a sympathy nomination). But it had a lot of familiar faces in slightly different roles and worked, even though the premise seemed more tv-movie/mini-series-like. Tim Russ, Melissa McCarthy, and Barry Watson were among the reasons to watch. It kind of struck a happy medium of comedic absurdity, but was light-hearted enough not to seem ridiculous. While I don't think it was the best sitcom on the air, I definitely looked forward to it every week. What's going on with her memory? What will she remember next? (the flashbacks are good) Her mysterious relationship with her parents, and what happens with her ex-bf (and her condo that he occupies), even just her 2 friends relationship (or lack-their-of). No, there was enough plots and subplots going on here that I hope this show stays on the air for awhile. Let's just hope Applegate's health doesn't affect that regardless of what control ABC has over it.


Boston Legal: link

Premieres: September 22nd (ABC).

I love William Shatner and James Spader has found a 2nd career in television with this show. Unfortunately the constant turnover has hurt it consistency for viewers. And as I read last Spring, I guess this will be the last season of the show and not without the regular turnover of cast. The only people back apparently are Shatner, Spader, Candice Bergen (whose the 3rd highest in the veteran quotient of the show), and the Christian Clemenson who plays Jerry. Much of the circumstances has to do with the creator David E Kelly and his new show "Life on Mars" which from another Spring gossip account, was forced-into working for to save BL even for 1 more season. Of course despite a bunch of Emmy nominations again, for what that's worth (obviously not much to the networks). And as I also recall, it's only to air 13 episodes and perhaps be gone in the Spring. ABC will be shuffling their programming around again as they always seem to do. But hopefully the show will go out with a bang. Better to quit while your on-top (or doing well) I suppose instead of hanging around for season-after-season (Law and Order, ER, The Simpsons, even the X-Files). But it will be sad to see it go along with some other shows this season (Smallville, BSG). Eli Stone I suppose may fill a bit of legal dramedy void after Shark and now BL's departure.

My Own Worst Enemy: link

Premieres: October 13th (NBC).

Edward Albright is a super spy. Henry Spivey is living the normal American dream in the suburbs with his wife, two kids and dog. The two men have one thing in common - they share the same body because Edward took part in an experiment several years earlier to create a split personality. Henry has never met his alter-ego Edward, and one day he receives an email from Edward saying that people...

Well..compared to some of the new shows and of course so much of the other crap on network tv, this probably fares ok. Given the evening it's on (for now) and not being that impressed by previews, I'm probably not even luke warm on this. I did like "Journeyman" last year, but that could be a coincidence since I didn't really get into "Studio 60" the year before. Maybe this will be the show that works following Heroes finally. And the cast isn't half bad with Slater doing what it appears many other film stars are (James Woods, James Spader, even Jeff Goldblum) taking-on a starring role on tv. Saffron Burrows was eye-candy on Boston Legal (ironically now at the same time as her former show), Madchen Amick as well. And James Cromwell I guess is cast too. I just hope the dark-tone of the previews is not entirely what this show has to offer. But I may give it a chance if I have the time.


Kyle XY: link

Premieres: Monday January 12th, 2009 (ABC Family).

Given the amount of time this will be pushed back, it's probably not worth going too in-depth about this. But the fact this show got pushed back this summer for a new show on ABC Family "Middleman" might make it's return in the Winter all the more satisfying. With so much programming on Monday evenings, at least this typically having an Encore being cable, at 10PM, will help lessen the congestion. Also the fact in January many of the network shows are in reruns also should help it's cause. But as for the show itself, it'll be interesting to see where they take the plot with Kyle and Latnok. Amanda and what happens with Jessi and her mom (Ally Sheedy). It's funny though, it seems like ages ago I probably need some refreshing. Also not to be discounted, the more they do with the Josh and Andy characters, the better. Josh is funny (Jean-Luc..they need Patrick Stewart to guest star and make a Picard joke!) and Andy is funny and cute. Honeymoons don't need to last that long (once the boy finds the girl, it can get boring) but in this case, and Kyle healing her cancer, I think their being a couple may have more legs than your avg teenage romance.

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