Over at OB1og, Sean kicked off the 2006 Fall Television season with a post that documents his initial reactions on the first crop of shows (both new and returning) as well as the current shows listed on his personal docket for imminent viewing.
Before I go any further, I feel the need to excuse those who deride television viewing as a complete waste of time. As with Ho Hos and other snicky snacks, moderation is the key. Television has matured in many ways over the last decade and the rise of auteur-driven programming (see Chris Carter’s The X-Files, Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer, J.J. Abrams Lost, and many more) has coaxed my peepers to the set on a regular basis. While I’m loathe to channel surf, I have made engagements with a number of quality series over the years and I make it a habit to keep those appointments.
Over the last few years, I have averaged anywhere from 5 – 10 shows that require regular viewing. Other than that (and the Pats/Sox) I’m not watching anything else.
Here’s my list for the 2006 – 2007 Season:
Monday Heroes NBC 9 – 10 p.m.
24* Fox 9 – 10 p.m.
(*Begins In January)
Wednesday Lost ABC 9 – 10 p.m.
The Nine* ABC 10 – 11 p.m.
Kidnapped NBC 10 – 11 p.m.
(*The Nine begins October 4th. I’m intrigued by the premise, but
sight unseen, I can’t label this Must See yet.)
Thursday My Name is Earl NBC 8:00 – 8:30 p.m.
The Office NBC 8:30 – 9:00 p.m.
So that totals seven shows in constant rotation – although a couple (Kidnapped, The Nine) are considered on-the-bubble pending their execution over the next few weeks. While the quality of my faves (Lost, The Office, 24) remains top-knotch – leaving me in a landscape that is hardly a television wasteland – I sure do miss the Golden Age of a few years ago when 24, The X-Files, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Alias were all in play.
Despite the fact that Sean reprinted our ‘private’ e-mail transmission (without express written consent I might add) – I’ve decided to cull the same content from my ‘trash bin’ – thus granting me this Blog fodder.
Of the shows I have seen so far, here’s a couple random thoughts. If there are fellow enthusiasts out there who want to lend their voice to the choir or sound a contrarian note, please feel free to use the Comments section below to let us know what you’re watching.
Sean mentioned that he decided to give CBS’s Jericho a shot. The drama follows the inhabitants of a small town in Kansas in the aftermath of an apparent nuclear attack on the United States. The plot seems pregnant with possibility, yet could very easily birth a litter of clichés. I was gonna’ give Jericho a try but I think I have learned my lesson after the 2005 season – when I checked in on the CBS sci-fi serial Threshhold and followed ABC’s Invasion through its wasted year. Threshold offered a decent pilot but reached its outer limits all too quickly. Invasion was a different story. Like a good novel, it took its time setting up its universe and the rules within. Unfortunately, the slow burn didn’t translate to a flash fire in the ratings and the show was canned at the end of the season. So late, in fact, that series creator Sean Cassidy didn’t have time to script a proper conclusion.
The problem is every network wanted to get ‘Lost’ – but when these ‘otherworldly’ mystery shows didn’t post Lost-sized numbers by week 3, the suits got itchy feet and tossed ‘em off the air. Long gone are the days when a show was nurtured to find its audience. (I remember sinking five weeks into Chris Carter’s Harsh Realm before it got the boot – and the less said about Fox’s treatment of Firefly, the better.) Anyway, in Sean’s post, he says that he is planning to watch Jericho to see where it goes. I predict its final destination is the pick-up of its lone run of 13 episodes airing on Sci-Fi within eight months. Oh – and for those who cry foul at my guess that Sci-Fi would slate a real world nuke drama on its docket – mark my words – these nukes are not of this Earth. Not that I’ll be watching to find out.
I checked out Kidnapped and liked what I saw. It’s obviously influenced by 24 and I was sold by of all things – a very elaborate ’six page case file’ ad in EW. Normally, a print ad does nothing to me, but this was very well laid out and I was intrigued by the case file on Jeremy Sisto’s former FBI agent/current freelance ‘kidnap retrieval’ merc. So that was enough to get me in front of the tube last Wednesday at 10:00 p.m. My brief review – the pilot was good, not great, but showed promise. Delroy Lindo and Jeremy Sisto made strong impressions and the cast, all around, is pretty solid – including Dana Delaney, Timothy Hutton and Linus Roache (who impressed in his few scenes as Bruce Wayne’s papa in Batman Begins). I may not set my clock for Episode 2 but now that I have my mitts on a newly minted DVR – I don’t have to. So this is one I’ll watch when I get around to it.
I watched the Heroes premiere last night and liked it a lot. It’s not on the same level as Lost (although it wants to be) but it has a nice cinematic feel to it. Heroes tale of average people discovering superpowers gives off an X-Men by way of Unbreakable vibe. (There was even a nice shout-out to Kitty Pryde at one point.) Without hitting spoilers, I thought the episode dropped some chilling glimpses into the central conflict and did a good job of juggling numerous characters. It also ended on a cool twist that caught me off guard. Heroes might benefit from Lost’s flashback structure – that format would be a good device to serve up origin stories for our ‘heroes’. With even more heroes coming forward in the next few weeks – including Abrams’ homie Greg Grunberg as a psychic cop and Clea DuVall (Carnivale) – it’s obvious that this large ensemble will need time to grow in order to coax these disparate characters together. Let’s hope the network gives Heroes air.
The Office returned for its third season and didn’t skip a beat. That Emmy for Best Comedy is well-deserved. While the show is still young in its life cycle – it’s already one of my favorite comedy series of all time (standing alongside The Simpsons and Seinfeld.) The premiere – ‘Gay Witch Hunt’ – focused on Michael’s (Steve Carrell) discovery that Oscar is gay. Fearing that he has been insensitive to Oscar in the office (by declaring Oscar’s choice of Shakespeare in Love over Die Hard as ‘faggy’) , Michael goes into berzerk spin mode – sending Dwight to troll the office for other potential gay employees (and gay porn) while subsequently outing Oscar in the most cringe-inducing manner possible. Through the course of the episode, I actually feared that Michael would be fired. In fact, a week later, I’m not so sure he won’t be.
Anyway – for those who enjoy this show as much as I do – here are my highlights:
– Creed’s very open interview where he states that in the sixties, he had so many relations with woman (“often outdoors – in the mud and rain”) that “a guy or two could have slipped in there.”
– After Pam’s revelation that she broke off her wedding to Roy, Stanley’s interview reveals how supremely agitated he is that he now owns two toasters.
– Kevin’s school girl giggle.
– Dwight perusing the Internet for questionable material and Michael trying to talk about its artistic merits to everyone’s shock and awe.
– Roy’s mugshot (see above)
– Michael’s advances on Oscar… followed by Dwight joining in.
– Dwight trying to defend the honor of his Lady McBeth when Oscar pushed her.
– Meredith licking hand sanitizer for the alcohol content (it’s all those little side things that get me.)
– And the piece de resistance… the repeat of the Jello gag, capped by Jim encountering a much more psychotic reaction to it. The look of fear on his face was priceless. Poor Big Tuna.
Sorry if that was all a bit too inside – but those who watched the show will get it (and hopefully smile) while those that didn’t are complete idiots.