Tuesday, October 10, 2006

What I'm Watching... So Far. (Part I)

Living in Orange County, California, there are only two ways you can truly tell when fall starts: 1) the average daytime temperature runs in the mid-70's, and 2) there are a bunch of new shows on television. Unfortunately, that's also how you kinda tell when spring starts. Regardless, it's definitely fall.

Now, I've always been a pop-culture guy who gets sucked in by the multitude of ads in newspapers, magazines, on television, and online, so it was inevitable that I would sample many of the new shows that have been popping up. Of course, things have gotten markedly easier for me since my incredible (INCREDIBLE!) wife got me one of the best birthday gifts I've ever received, not to mention one of the greatest inventions ever, the TiVo (but that's a whole other post).

Since recording and watching shows is now easier than ever, I've been able to sample a number of the new shows, and I like a lot of what I'm watching. The down side of this is that drawn-out, serialized shows are the current rage in television, so, while I'll never miss an episode (assuming recording goes as planned), I'm on pins-and-needles both watching and waiting for each show. At least I can fast-forward through the commercials, and we've eliminated the ridiculous number of video tapes that I would've needed (though my wife will be quick to point out that I still have a ridiculous number of video tapes... if anybody wants to pitch in on another DVD recorder for me and then come over and convert everything for me, you'll have Kindra's eternal gratitude and, probably, the rights to our next child).

With more time on my hands since the recent demise of my career, I tried a lot of shows that I probably wouldn't have, since serialized shows tend to create a great deal of anxiety for me, because I always have to know what's going on. As a side note, I'm probably the one person in the nation who does not currently, nor has ever (that's EVER) watched an episode of "Lost." I know I'd be into it, but with all the hours I'd been working over that last few years, I just couldn't afford to get sucked into a show that I know would drive me nuts. I also do not follow "Smallville," which is probably some comic-book geek crime that I'm committing, but I'm waaaaaaay behind after watching the very first two episodes five seasons ago (besides, the teenage hero cameos are starting to worry me - Oliver Queen, okay... Green Arrow? Questionable). Anyway, I'm watching a bunch of shows now that are going to drive me nuts.

Because I know me, and I know that I'll take my sweet time discussing each of the shows, I'll just give a quick rundown now so that you, too, can jump on the bandwagons that I'm currently riding. Here's a list of the shows that I currently watch (organized by the day and time that they are on, rated by stars, 1-4 in terms of what I really watch):


Desperate Housewives (9 PM, ABC)**
Brothers and Sisters (10 PM, ABC)*


Prison Break (8 PM, FOX)**1/2
Heroes (9 PM, NBC)****
Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (10 PM, NBC)***1/2

Tuesday (a.k.a. Quite-the-dilemma Day)

Gilmore Girls (8 PM, CW - which might surpass "UPN" as dumbest station name)**
House (8 PM, FOX)***
Friday Night Lights (8 PM, NBC) - no rating because there's only been 1 episode


The Nine (10 PM, ABC) - again, just 1 episode


My Name is Earl (8 PM, NBC)**
Ugly Betty (8 PM, ABC)*
Grey's Anatomy (9 PM, ABC)**
ER (10 PM, NBC)*1/2
Six Degrees (10 PM, ABC)1/2


Numb3rs (10 PM, CBS)* - by the way, does this show merit a 10 PM slot? It should at least be a little juicier.


Off day - actually, there are a number of animated shows in the morning and one in the evening.

Here are some quick rundowns on new shows:

Best New Shows

"Heroes" (Mondays at 9 PM, NBC) ****

I'm biased to this show. No bones about it. I'm a comic geek, this is about real-life superheroes, with art by comic artist Tim Sale, and executive-produced by comic writer Jeph Loeb... The pilot episode was incredible (though the climax could've been handled a little better), but the next couple of shows have been uneven. I'm a little skeptical about whether or not they can pull it off, and they might have designed a better villan, but I'm really excited every time it comes on. Besides, it has the best new character on TV - a real "Super Hiro!"

"Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" (Mondays at 10 PM, NBC) ***1/2

They had high expectations for this show, and I think it's reaching them. Aaron Sorkin, the creator, who also created "The West Wing," lives up to his billing. It's a well-written, complex, fun ride, though the last episode was a little weaker than the first three.

My Contender

"Friday Night Lights" (Tuesdays at 8 PM, NBC)

There's only been one episode so far, but it's right there with "Heroes" for best pilot. Now, I haven't seen the movie nor have I read the book, but the pilot was produced, acted and filmed excellently, despite the cliche twist towards the end of episode. If it continues to explore its ground with the same kind of intensity and thoughfulness, it'll definitely be up there. My only issue is that I'm biased towards a TV show about sports, coaches, teams and underdogs. But it is nice to have high school kids who sound like high school kids.

The Rest

"Brothers and Sisters" (Sundays at 10 PM, ABC)*

To be honest, I've only watched one full episode of this show and that was the second one. The pilot almost turned me off completely in the first 10 minutes, after throwing out 12 characters in a hurry. I thought that it originally had too much going on, but that is the way it is with big families. I did like the second episode, so I'll keep watching. If it evolves past the superficial storylines that it's begun wth, it could be a contender.

"The Nine" (Wednesdays at 10 PM, ABC)

The pilot was well-done and set up the intertwined storylines well (in fact, just a little behind "Heroes" and "Friday Night Lights"), but again, the payoff is the issue. Can the writers pull it off? Can the actors convey the necessary emotions? It's easy enough to set up something interesting. It's another to finish it. Also, how far can you take it? It's about nine people trapped for fifty-two hours with two bank robbers. Can you stretch it past this season? Eh, it's got "Lost" leading it, so who knows? I'll probably be drawn into it.

"Ugly Betty" (Thursdays at 8 PM, ABC)*

So after two episodes, she's still ugly and not getting any cuter (physically). The pilot was uneven, if funny and endearing, so we'll stick around. It is funny contrasting the regular Betty and the unreal fashion world she lives in. It'll be interesting to see how it catches on with TV audiences.

"Six Degrees" (Thursdays at 10 PM, ABC)1/2

Interesting concept. That's sort of about it. Hopefully, they'll just need some time to develop, but the characters and storylines are relatively banal. This is my problem - no matter how average the story, I have to know the end.

Well, that's enough for now. I'll go into a bit more detail on my viewing habits as well as the shows. There are still a few shows debuting this week, most notably (for me, anyway) NBC's "30 Rock." Set your TiVo (or get one if you don't have one!). I'll be wasting away watching them in the meantime.

1 comment:

a mindless zombie said...

Holy cow! How do you have time to watch all of those shows?!?!?! I actually have never seen Lost so I guess that makes me the other person too. Although I do watch Smallville. That is the only current sitcom that I follow. It's a little redundant in the plot line but I like the cameos, the young soon to be super heroes (The Flash, Aquaman, etc). And I like how Clark Kent comes about learning different powers (blow down steel doors; he has yet to learn flying). I actually watched a little bit of Hereos. My coworker keeps bugging me to watch it but I haven't been able to get into it.