Monday, September 17, 2007

Fall TV: Is there anything at all worth following?

Before I go any further, two hearty huzzahs, to Helen Mirren for her Emmy win for "Prime Suspect: The Final Act" and to David Cronenberg for winning the audience award in Toronto for "Eastern Promises" (which will hopefully propel that flick out here to the hinterlands some time in the coming weeks.

Today, however, is all about the good and bad news of fall TV. The good news, at least at my house, is that I've finally entered at least the 20th century and gotten a DVR. I was thrilled to come home from work Thursday night and find that it actually worked and I did indeed have two fresh (and obscenely funny) episodes of "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia."

The bad news, however, is that I got it at quite possibly the worst possible time. True enough, I mainly got it so I can tape the entire seasons of favorites like "The Office," "Friday Night Lights" (moving to the Friday night graveyard) and "Scrubs" (whenever it actually manages to return.) I'd add "How I Met Your Mother" to that list, but I'm usually home on Monday nights.

But the new networks shows? What a load of meh. Sifting through the debris, and with a big assist from the fine folks at Broadcasting & Cable, here are the only three (or maybe four) new networks shows I'll be tuning in for. (And yes, the season is so bad that I'm lifting my post-"Veronica Mars" CW boycott - at least they tried to offer something new!)

1. "Pushing Daisies"
I'm hardly alone here, since the critics have universally hailed this as the only truly good show coming up this fall (premiering at 8 p.m. Oct 10 on ABC.) I'm a little skeptical that it can sustain the rather wacky premise about a piemaker who can bring people back to life with one touch (but kill them again with two), but Pee-Wee Herman has been cast as a recurring character, so I'm hoping this will be truly askew (at least by network standards.)

2. "Aliens in America"
If there were any justice (and if this actually any good), putting this on Monday nights at 8:30 (starting Oct. 1), right after "Everybody Hates Chris," would give the CW one of the most popular hours on TV. That probably won't happen, but if this sitcom about a Wisconsin family who orders a Norwegian exchange student but instead gets a young Pakistani dude manages to be as genuinely politically correct as it should be, I'll keep tuning on.

3. "Reaper"
A good supernatural comedy on the CW? That means it will get two seasons at most, so enjoy it (if it just doesn't suck) while you can. This show, created by X-Files scribes Tara Butters and Michelle Fazekas and premiering Sept. 25 at 9 p.m., is about a dude who wakes up on his 21st birthday to find out that, at birth, his parents sold his soul to the devil, and now it's time to do his bidding. A little tired, I concede, but Kevin Smith directed the pilot, and word is it actually is pretty funny.

3.5 "Gossip Girl"
Three CW shows? Well, I'm not sure I'll be tuning in to this one because, as I far too often fail to remember, I'm more than a little older than the target audience. I do, however, have a soft spot for trashy teen TV, and Veronica Mars herself is the narrator for this, so I just might give it a chance.

4. "Somebodies"
BET's first scripted series, a sitcom about a group of University of Georgia graduates trying to figure out what to do with their lives, has yet to get a premiere date, but should come some time in October. Springing from a movie made by some dude named Hadjii and with some of the same folks who created "The Bernie Mac Show" behind it, I'm cautiously optomistic this will be worth tuning in for.

And there you have it. I wish there was more I could recommend, but there just isn't. If you want to get much more incisive writing about what to watch (and what to avoid) on the Boob Tube, read Philip Ramati's TV Guy blog. And please do tell me if there are any new and promising network shows that I've somehow missed.

"Angel" season six?

Never one to turn down a promising idea, Joss Whedon has indeed followed up his "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" comics from Dark Horse by overseeing a new series of "Angel" comics from IDW. The series, coming in November, will be called "Angel: After the Fall," and will be overseen by Whedon with Bryan Lynch and Franco Urru, the duo behind "Spike: Shadow Puppets."

Like the Buffy comics, it will pick up right where the TV series left off. Here's a description from Mr. Lynch himself: "Angel and his friends took a stand because he thought it was the right thing to do. They fought the good fight even though they were probably going to lose, even though they were facing insurmountable odds. But that's the thing about insurmountable odds...surmounting them can be quite a bitch. The series begins to tackle the fall-out of Angel's stand, and what it cost everyone near, around and close to him."

Sounds great to me. I've swiped and republished the cover, but you can read the first five pages at Aintitcool by clicking here (since it had the dreaded "exclusive" tag on it, I didn't dare to swipe all five pages.)

It does indeed look cool. And now I'm off to see Neil Jordan's "The Brave One," but only cautiously optomistic about enjoying it. Peace out.

21 comments:

jeremy said...

Remember how I was all excited cuz I can rent movies on my Tivo box just by a click of the mouse at Amazon (and a bunch are only a dollar)? Well, NBC did a cross-promo thing this past weekend and the pilot for Bionic Woman was on there. Natch, I grabbed it (cuz, hey, free!).
It is bad. Like really, really bad.
And I don't care how many promising shows are on the CW, they made a hater out of me.
Thnx for the Angel link! This time I made it to the bottom of the post before clicking away.
Happy Monday!

Kimberly Nichols said...

You will fall in your love with your DVR. I've never been a techie person, but between my DVR and my iPod...sigh...I'm head over heels.

(Have you checked out 30 Rock?)

Stace said...

With all your talk of Veronica Mars I checked it out and....it is Great

Chris said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chris said...

Try this again: I thought Eastern Promises was solid but overall disappointing. Review here. But who knows? I'm likely just being cranky.

kbradsher said...

I really liked the first episode's of "Chuck" and "Journeyman" and "Bionic Woman". "Reaper" and "Pushing Daisies" were great too, but you already mentioned them. I saw them all on some DVD I "found" that was marked "preair". :-)

Bob said...

I'm actually not excited for "Pushing Daisies." Sonnenfeld lost me on "Big Trouble" and he's never won me back. I'm really looking forward to "Chuck" and "Journeyman" (already a "Heroes" fan so my Mondays are pretty locked). I'll give "Back to You" a look just for Fred Willard and "Gossip Girl," because hey, I loved "The O.C." and I'm not ashamed to say it (and of course Kristen Bell). Aside from that I'm scratching my head for new shows that I'm actually interested in. Kind of a meager year, but we've got a new season of "Sunny" (hooray!) and of course "The Office," "Scrubs" (which will be on after "The Office" starting October 25), "Smallville," and "Friday Night Lights." Besides, I feel like if there are too many good shows on there won't be time to do anything else :)

Divinity said...

OMG, Mad Men! If you don't have AMC, I'll burn the episodes to disc from my PVR and MAIL them to you.

Reel Fanatic said...

I haven't checked out 30 Rock yet, Kimberly, but it is definitely on my to-rent list so I can catch up before the new season starts ... I was rooting for a repeat victory for The Office at last night's Emmys, but I guess it's good to spread the love around to more shows ... And I'm glad when I can convince anyone at all to watch Veronica Mars, Stace ... And I hadn't heard of anything called "Journeyman," Bob, so I'll have to check out what it is

Reel Fanatic said...

I do have AMC, Divinity, but I have to confess I haven't seen that show ... You've never steered me wrong before, so it certainly seems I have some catching up to do!

Divinity said...

It's got Christina Hendricks (Firefly) and Vincent Kartheiser (Angel) in it. I'd watch it from the beginning if you can though.

Reel Fanatic said...

Would you really be willing to e-mail me the show on DVD? If so, I'd greatly appreciate it, and will send you my address (though I'd rather not give it out to the masses here

Divinity said...

How exactly do I e-mail a DVD? :)

Carrie Lofty said...

I am a massive Damian Lewis fan, so "Life" is the only show on my must-see list. I'll be there every week until NBC cancels it. Which they will.

Bob said...

I too chime in for my love of "Mad Men." Excellent show!

Reel Fanatic said...

Good question regarding a stupid statement on my part, Divinity ... I meant snail-mail, of course, if you would be willing ... the e-mail would be, of course, to give you my snail-mail address

Divinity said...

I've sent you an email at the macontel.com address. I'll burn the rest of the episodes tonight.

Mercurie said...

My bets for the best this season are Pushing Daisies and Reaper. Dirty Sexy Money looks like it could be promising as well. Of course, I have to admit I am happy that NBC left their Thursday night lineup alone (I love both 30 Rock and The Office).

As to an Angel Season Six, I am not sure I want to see it. The series conclusion was so great that I really don't want to know if Angel and his crew defeating the approaching army of demons or not!

Reel Fanatic said...

I kinda know what you mean, Mercurie .. the ending of Angel was brilliant, but I'm very selfish when it comes to shows I love .. even when they end perfectly, I can't help asking for more ...

Keith said...

The pilot episode of The Big Bang Theory was surprisingly good, and I think Jim Parsons may be one of the breakout new stars of the season.

Reel Fanatic said...

That's another one I'm not familiar with, Keith, so I'll have to check it out .. thanks for the heads up