Now one of the things I love about television is that I can be as judgmental as I want, but often when my critical eye comes out I need to remind myself of all that a pilot is trying to do, introduce all the characters, the one or multiple situations, plus tell a story. Sometimes you find a true gem and sometimes you find the opposite (I stand behind my decision to not watch another episode of K-Ville) but sometimes it takes at least a second episode to get the feel for where a show is going. Plus who knows how long before the regular season the pilot was shot, could be some time to step back and make some adjustments. So as I watch the first episodes of Gossip Girl and Back to You and wonder if they’re really worth adding to the lineup, I try to remember whether The OC had struck its self deprecating humorous stride on day one, and remind myself that Friends didn’t delight me with its hilarity when Rachel first walked into the coffee shop. I guess each of those shows had a decent set up with some characters that could be interesting and good enough writing that I was willing to see more. Sometimes you just have to trust your gut, plus you just have to know your own tastes. So Gossip Girl may be stupid, but it’s my kind of stupid, so I’m going to give it another shot. Plus television doesn’t always have to be amazing, though thankfully sometimes it is, but sometimes all I want is to tune out and tune in and it’s nice to know there are some shows good for that too.
So here’s a link to last night’s Emmy award winners: http://www.emmys.org/awards/primetimeawards.php
I’m not really going to go into the winners or the nominees because honestly I don’t care. Maybe there is just too much tv. I know not the worst thing in the world, right? In a system designed for the big three networks, we’re now up to five (nbc, abc, cbs, fox, cw – formerly upn and wb) and the ever growing population of great cable tv programming, can the Emmy’s really do it justice? They would never influence what I watch and I’m not even excited or disappointed with actor’s nominations and wins. I can’t even keep up with it all, so with television what does the academy do, tune into one submitted episode? It just isn’t how the medium should be evaluated. So what do I suggest? Honestly I say bag the whole thing, but I know that won’t happen so now on to the show.
Ryan Seacrest was the host this year and didn’t do an abysmal job. All in all he’s cheesy and that works for him on his other stuff but it just doesn’t seem appropriate for this. I admit that I fast forwarded through most of the features (Family Guy musical number?, Roots, ‘In Memoriam’) and anything Sopranos related (since I’m only on season 4 on dvd and they keep talking about the stupid ending). And I’ll try not to nitpick too much, but how stupid was the seating in the round? Oh and I almost forgot the preshow kept mentioning how Britney was going to apologize for sucking. Really? Thank gawd that didn’t happen.
As for the fashion, as always there was some good and some bad, but unfortunately nothing great or ridiculous, that I got a gander of at least. The stupid preshow did a terrible job of showing clothes and when they did, they did a close pan up from shoes to the top of someone’s dress, but they never gave you a whole body shot, so unless someone presented or accepted it was tough to tell. That doesn’t mean I can’t judge, overall I thought the ladies that shone were: Mini Driver, Debra Messing, Rebecca Gayheart, Portia de Rossi and Eva Longoria.
You can check out http://www.eonline.com/ for more coverage.
Ok now we’re cooking with gas (I’ve never used that expression before in my life)…
- Deal or No Deal (NBC, Mon 9/17, 8pm) This is the one with Howie Mandell and the chicks with briefcases, I’ve never cared enough to figure out how it really works.
- Prison Break (Fox, Mon 9/17, 8pm) Ok I loved, loved, loved this show the first season and I could write an entire post on how bad it was in season 2. I watched the first 17 minutes, or whatever they showed online, and am not, I repeat, not going to watch another season.
- K-Ville (Fox, Mon 9/17, 9pm) Pilot – I guess it’s just wait and see about whether this is more than an average cop show set in a less than average recovering from Katrina New Orleans setting.
- Beauty and the Geek (CW, Tues 9/18, 8pm) I have watched an episode or two of this show and was mildly amused by the fish out of water challenges that make people look dumb.
- America’s Next Top Model aka ANTM (CW, Wed 9/19, 8pm) There is a true addictive quality to this and although I can’t for the life of me remember who wins from year to year I dig the journey. The first episode isn’t the best because there are just too many girls to get a real sense of who’s who, so stay tuned.
- Back to You (Fox, Wed 9/19, 8pm) Pilot – This has decent buzz, and I like a decent sitcom, but it is opposite ANTM and Pushing Daisies so it might just get a week or two to woo me.
- Kid Nation (CBS, Wed 9/19, 8pm) Pilot – So if kids ran their own town would it break child labor laws? That seems to be the question put to courts. Is the show interesting enough to merit the pain CBS is going through? Time will tell.
- ‘Til Death (CBS, Wed 9/19, 8:30pm) This show about two couples, one newlyweds and the other not, with Brad Garrett, wasn’t quite funny to me, paired with Back to You it could get a fresh wind.
- Gossip Girl (CW, Wed 9/19, 9pm) Pilot – I have mentioned that I’m looking forward to this show so hopefully it’ll have enough trash as we meet our previous queen bee, who spent a mysterious year at boarding school, when she returns to of course find her old best friend has taken her place.
- Kitchen Nightmares (Fox, Wed 9/19, 9pm) Pilot – It looks like mean guy who had reality show where he tormented wannabe chefs might now just torture full restaurants, not interested.
- Plus they are doing a recap show for Grey’s Anatomy that focuses on Addison before she moves on to Private Practice (ABC, Wed 9/19, 9pm)
- Survivor: China (CBS, Thurs 9/20, 8pm) I watched this show for the first few seasons and am actually kind of a fan. They have a really good formula of alliance building and challenge winning to keep the outcome up in the air, and since the decision is really up to the other contestants there’s no weird judge or America votes thing.
procrastinator’s picks are underlined.
It’s time. Let’s see what folks are saying about new fall television. Of the critics picks these are the names that seem to come up.
- Aliens in America (ew) – CW, Mon 10/1, 8:30pm
- Back to You (ew, ms, tv) – Fox, Wed 9/19, 8pm
- Bionic Woman (ew, a, tv) – NBC, Wed 9/26, 9pm
- Cane (ms, tv) – CBS, Tues 9/25, 10pm
- Chuck (a, tv) – NBC, Mon 9/24, 8pm
- Dirty Sexy Money (a, ew, ms, tv) – ABC, Wed 9/26, 10pm
- Gossip Girl (a, tv) – CW, Wed 9/19, 9pm
- Journeyman (ms) – NBC, Mon 9/24, 10pm
- K-Ville (tv) – Fox, Mon 9/17, 0pm
- Private Practice (tv) – ABC, Wed 9/26, 9pm
- Pushing Daisies (a, ms, t, tv) – ABC, Wed 10/13, 8pm
- Reaper (ew, ms, tv) – CW, Tues 9/25, 9pm
- Samantha Who? (ms) – ABC, Mon 10/15, 9:30pm
(a) AOL – Fall Best New Shows, (ew) Entertainment Weekly Pick, (ms) Newsweek/MSNBC – Fall Preview, (t) Time – What to Watch for Fall Arts Preview, (tv) TV Guide – Shows With Buzz (buzz doesn’t necessarily equal best)
Touted as perhaps the worst shows – Viva Laughlin: preposterous murder mystery with folks singing over pop songs at key plot points. Big Shots: four good actors but this ‘sex and the city for men’ show is reportedly painfully bad. Cavemen: updating the bad ad concept of cavemen in society being discriminated against, really?
So I can’t predict what my new favorites will be (I do try to watch all new comedies and dramas) but here’s what I’m most looking forward to:
- Bionic Woman – For nostalgia sake alone I’m looking forward to this. The show is getting a serious update by the creators of Battlestar Gallactica (I haven’t seen but hear nothing but great things). Though not sticking strictly the old plot Jamie Sommers is getting bionic and of course being asked to put her new abilities to use, expect more conflict with the government agency that rebuilt her and more personal struggle.
- Pushing Daisies – I’ve actually heard the most positive buzz about this show. What if you could touch someone to bring them back to life but with your next touch they’d die again? Well of course you’d help a PI solve murders. And of course you’d bring a woman you love back to life and never be able to touch her again. It’s got a good cast and supposedly a great look. It’s being touted as things like whimsical and delightful so it probably won’t be for everyone but it’s definitely worth a watch.
- Dirty, Sexy, Money – Ok so this title is almost so over the top it’s good but it wasn’t until I started hearing positive things about this satire that I started to believe that they might be doing it right. The return of Peter Krause (of HBO’s 6 Feet Under – though I’m only on about season 4 of on dvd) as a reluctant attorney to a powerful and of course scandalous family headed by Donald Sutherland.
- Gossip Girl – So not only is it done by Josh Schwartz (the creator of the OC that at least started with an excellent dose of wit and sudsy drama) but the VO of blogger/narrator is being done by our beloved Veronica Mars’ Kristin Bell. It’s based on a series of books set in uber elite New York private school so hopefully they’ll have enough fodder to keep it lively for at least a couple of seasons.
- Chuck and Reaper – Ok these both just feel similar to me. Likable guy gets thrown into unusual situation. Chuck (also by Schwartz) has been described as The Office meets Alias. Can’t beat that, right? A computer nerd (Less Than Perfect’s Zachary Levi) gets all of America’s intelligence downloaded to his brain. And in Reaper the guy (Brett Harrison of Grounded for Life and The Loop) has to be bounty hunter for Satan since his parents sold his soul to the devil, with the first episode being directed by Kevin Smith. Both are being touted as smart and funny so hopefully at least one of them’s a keeper.
Of the others…
Sitcoms – With sitcoms I’ve learned to adopt a wait and see stance but Back to You and Samantha Who clearly have potential with the casting of Frasier and Mrs. Ray Romano as newscasters and the adorable Kellie Bundy as amnesiac. And I guess Aliens in America could be amusing bringing a Pakistani foreign exchange student to small town America to focus on high-school misfits.
Dramas – Cane has good casting including Jimmy Smits and Hector Elizondo in this Cuban-American family/business drama but I’ve seen about a million previews and am not all that excited. Journeyman shows a man going back in time to change something and again just no real pull yet. K-Ville is a cop show set in New Orleans but I haven’t really heard anything else about it. And Private Practice’s Grey’s spin-off backdoor pilot wasn’t astounding, but we’ll see what they do with it.
Well full fall’s still not quite upon us but the shows are trickling out, here’s the premieres you can catch this week:
In case you missed it some new reality returned with Cops (Fox, Sat 9/8, 8pm) and America’s Most Wanted (Fox, Sat 9/8, 9pm). I don’t think I’ve even watched an episode of either of these. And we ramp up the week with the return of The Biggest Loser (NBC, Tues 9/11, 8pm). Since it started after I made the decision to drop reality I can’t vouch for this weight loss challenge, but I know folks who are addicted to the competition that offers a little less backstabbing and a little more hope for folks to change their lives. Then there’s new show Nashville (Fox, Fri 9/14, 9pm) that’s a reality show following wannabe music stars, that I’ve heard are attractive and actually talented. Since it’s by the producers of Laguna Beach think more docu-soap than competition. And this next weekend brings us Mad TV (Fox, Sat 9/15, 11pm) and Talk Show with Spike Feresten (Fox, Sat 9/15, 12am). I’ve never watched these and I’d like to say it’s because I’m always out on a Saturday night, so I will, that’s what I’ll say.
So when one friend referred to Federer as ‘some Swiss guy’ and another said ‘isn’t Wimbledon already over?’ I realized that folks aren’t necessarily as up to date on tennis as I am. If you want to join the fun, the US Open is happening in NY, the last and perhaps most stylish of the four grand slams (the others are Australian, French and Wimbledon).
The men’s section is often a little boring with Federer (some Swiss guy) dominating the game, though he is a true champion and a gracious guy, so you can’t even fault him. With spunky Spanish Nadal at 2 (beating Federer on clay at French) and hopefully a few of the other guys being on their game there’s still hope for a little challenge (US’s Roddick and Blake are out but competitive at 5 and 6). This isn’t Nadal’s surface and he’s having some knee issues so he’s already out. We’re down to Federer (1) vs. Davydenko (4) and Djokovic (3) vs. Ferrer (15). I’m predicting a Federer/Djokovic final with Federer on top in the end.
The women’s section is a little more open with the beatable Henin currently on top, followed by Sharapova who can’t always put it together (she’s out). The unpredictable US’s Williams are back in the mix with Venus and Serena (Serena was ousted by Henin) trying to overcome injuries (or get over issues due to extracurricular activities) to play enough to get their rankings back to what they’re capable of. This one has Henin (1) vs. V. Williams (12) and Kuznetsova (4) vs. Chakvetadze (6) and I’m going with Williams taking it from Kuznetsova in the final.
CBS network coverage
- Friday, 12:30pm ET – Women’s Semis and Men’s Doubles Finals
- Saturday, 12 noon ET – Men’s Semis
- Saturday, 8pm ET – Women’s Finals
- Sunday, 4pm ET (or following football) – Men’s Finals
For all your stats and updates check out: http://www.usopen.org/ and if you just can’t get enough you can check out on the rest of things (including Davis Cup – US is in the semis!) at: http://www.usta.com/
So I watched today’s The View to see how Whoopi was going to settle in. I know no one cares about the View (ok, they get ratings) but I started to wonder why? When the show started the premise was that television journalist/personality Barbara Walters was gathering four women of differing backgrounds and differing points of view (ages 20s to 60s and professions journalism, attorney, comedian…) to talk about what’s going on and what people are talking about, guests included. Theoretically interesting (you know for a daytime tv talk show).
After ten years, and a few panel changes (goodbye to Debbie, Lisa and Meredith and good riddance to Star and Rosie) they’ve all gotten a little older and with each new addition the panel seems less like the diverse everywomen that we started with. Barbara’s still Barbara, for better and worse, and I do like Joy who has attitude and humor. Unfortunately with Elizabeth, 30ish wife and new mother, we’ve lost the young single new professional and it’s a pity her uber conservative pov isn’t better articulated with only strict party loyalty buzz words and phrases.
As for Whoopi, I’m theoretically a fan, but though she brings us a touch of ethnic and background diversity that I know is important, she’s another 50ish standup comedian, and to be honest I’m not sure her laid back style is the right energy for the show (though certainly better than Rosie’s overpowering manner). As for the remaining open panelist position, which will reportedly be filled soon and by a previous guest host, how about not hiring another middle aged actress/comedian? Then again I’m really not watching.
I still can’t comment on what’s worth watching of the new stuff… but for a full overview of what’s new, and returning, as well as a nifty printable premiere date calendar (so everyone can plan their schedules accordingly), TV Guide has done a nice little section.
In case you’re not ready to dip in it looks like next week the only premieres you need to worry about are a couple gameshows Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? (Fox, Thurs 9/6, 8pm) and Don’t Forget the Lyrics! (Fox, Thurs 9/6, 9pm). As mentioned, I don’t really do gameshows.
I did mention that I don’t have real cable, but I have had the opportunity to get addicted to just a few cable shows at someone else’s house. A dangerous precedent but sometimes you just have to live dangerously.
- Flight of the Conchords – (HBO) So there’s these two New Zealand guys who are in a band that does these pretty hilarious ‘folk-parody’ songs. I don’t know what these guys are really like but the characters and situations that they’ve created for this half hour show about their band (Flight of the Conchords) trying to make it in NY, that almost feels like an extended music video, is totally random and just makes me laugh. (Season finale week of Sept 2)
- Saving Grace – (TNT) Set in Oklahoma City, Holly Hunter plays this total wreck of a person, Grace, who seems to mismanage her relationships, family, and of course police career all while being visited by an angel Earl who is apparently trying to save her, which of course she’ll have none of, but she does have her forensic friend analyzing some of the objects she gathers. (Season finale week of Sept 16)
- Rock of Love With Bret Michaels – (VH1) I have so much disdain for those dating shows like the Bachelor, but watching the lead singer of Poison try to pick a gal is like an accident you just can’t look away from. The women basically seem crazy and slutty as they try to win dates with Brett in ridiculous challenges and of course live in a house together and get all catty. It’s like a really well done satire of one of these shows. (Week of 9/9 we’re down to four, not sure if there’s more…)
- Scott Baio is 45 — and Single – (VH1) Ok this show wasn’t even any good but somehow I watched it all. Scott Baio works with a lifecoach and hangs with friends as he confronts his history of womanizing to see if he can, or wants to, settle down with current girlfriend, and of course former playmate. There’s a little voyeuristic fun but the format and Scott VO make it a little too packaged. (Finale aired but still rerunning)
And for the record I tried but couldn’t keep up with:
- John From Cincinnati – (HBO) I really tried to give this show a shot, I like surfing and the cast and creators were reputable, but the oddly stilted characters and supernatural happenings never quite clicked. So season one finished up and didn’t get renewed.
- Burn Notice – (USA) Ok so I only watched one of these but though it had the ingredients for being a fun spy action show it didn’t quite work and I almost didn’t finish the first episode. I’ve read some good reviews so maybe it hit its stride later.
- Damages – (FX) I made it through two of these… Glenn Close and Ted Danson are both almost interestingly despicable as we watch a new associate get dragged into more than she bargained for personally and professionally at her new law firm, but I just couldn’t quite stomach the over the top plotting.
- Greek – (ABC Family) Sometimes a relatively tame and pretty mindless stereotypical show about kids in college, in the greek system, is all that you’re looking for, but maybe ABC Family isn’t my channel.