Fall TV Preview 2011 – Part 2

Person of Interest Looks Like Fun

Okay, here’s part 2 of my Fall TV preview. I’ve listed all of the shows premiering between Sept. 18 and Sept 24. and what I think of them. There’s a lot of good shows  coming up. There are also shows that should have been cancelled years ago.

Feel free to post your own thoughts in the comments.

Sept. 19

Dancing With The Stars (ABC):  So the big controversy is apparently that Chaz Bono is on it. Apparently there are ultra-conservatives who think having a transgender person on a reality show is bad or something. I think a much bigger controversy should be why there are so many dancing shows.

How I Met Your Mother (CBS):  Consistently the funniest show on any of the big three networks. Neil Patrick Harris just kills it on this show and the writers are some of the smartest, wittiest writers on television. 

The Sing Off (NBC): Sixteen a cappella groups compete against each other. I like a cappella from time to time, but definitely not every week.

Two And A Half Men (CBS): Ashton Kutcher is not Charlie Sheen. Charlie Sheen is funnier and I didn’t watch the show when Charlie was on it.

2 Broke Girls (CBS): Sarcastic Brooklyn waitress meets uptight socialite who suddenly has no money. You’ve seen this show a hundred times and so have I. I’m betting this show won’t be around by Christmas.

Castle (ABC): I’m a huge fan of Nathan Fillion. I even watched the six episodes of Drive a few years ago. I honestly didn’t like the premise of Castle and thought it wouldn’t last. It has and the few episodes I watched were actually good. I’ll be watching this regularly this year.

Hawaii Five-O (CBS):  Flashy cop show that has nothing original going on.  I watched a few episodes last year, but it’s just not my thing.

The Playboy Club (ABC): First off, having a show called The Playboy Club and not having it on HBO or Showtime is just a little bit silly. Secondly, you’re not going to capture that Mad Men audience by making shows that take place in the mid-60s. You’ll get them by having fantastically well written and well acted shows. Whether this is one of them remains to be seen. Personally I doubt it.

Sept. 20

Glee (Fox): I’ve watched a few episodes. I’ve never been one for musicals (with the obvious exception of Dr. Horrible and the like)

NCIS (CBS): My biggest problem with this show is that Mark Harmon will ALWAYS be Mr. Shoop from Summer School. I simply cannot see him as anything else no matter how much of a hard ass he tries to be, but my mother-in-law loves this show so I’m glad it’s back.

The Biggest Loser (NBC): Watching fat people try to lose weight isn’t my idea of entertainment. It just isn’t.

NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS): I watched the first few episodes of this show and somehow they’ve all merged into one episode. I think because to me they all seemed the same thus I stopped watching.

New Girl (Fox): Zoey Deschanel stars as a recently dumped girl named Jess who moves in with three guys and starts singing. Despite my dislike for musicals, I may watch this simply because Zoey Deschanel is endlessly watchable.

Raising Hope (Fox): I’ve never seen an episode and I’m genuinely surprised it’s back this year.

Body of Proof (ABC): A neurosurgeon gets in a car accident and is unable to operate, she then becomes a medical examiner. I’ve never been a fan of M.E. shows. And really, it seems to me if you want a show on ABC, make it a medical show and you’re in.

Unforgettable (CBS): A woman who remembers every moment solves crimes. I wouldn’t be interested but one of the creators is John Bellucci who was the voice of Derek Wildstar on Star Blazers back in the day. No, this is no guarantee he can write a show, but I’m willing to give it an episode or two.

Sept. 21

The Middle (ABC): Described as a ‘slapstick sitcom’ about a wacky family and how they get along, I’m willing to say that five years from now, not even the people who created this show will remember it.

The X-Factor (Fox): Simon Cowell’s latest talent show. I’ve never watched a full episode of American Idol. I intend to continue this tradition of not watching Simon Cowell’s shows. Sadly, everyone else in America will watch because….well I have no idea why.

Modern Family (ABC): If I were to watch a ‘slapstick sitcome’ about a wacky family and how they get along, this is the one I’d watch. But I’m probably not going to. I like Ed O’Neil a lot, but I like him in his dramatic roles more than his comedic ones.

Criminal Minds (CBS): I’ve talked about this show before. I used to be a big fan but it’s become a weekly event of ‘What horrible thing can we do to how many beautiful women this week?’ (As a side note the CBS show Unforgettable claims only six people in the country have eidetic memories. Since one character on Criminal Minds also has a eidetic memory, that means a third of these people have TV shows.)

Harry’s Law (NBC): David E. Kelley’s latest law show is like all of his other shows. It’s quirky and topical and occasionally funny, but it’s nothing challenging or more than expected. Still, it’s better than most shows out there. I’ll likely be watching this at least in the beginning.

Revenge (ABC): A woman enters a community for the explicit purpose of exacting revenge. It could be fun and at least one episode is directed by the awesome Philip Noyce. I’ll try it out, but with a plot like this, the show needs a specific end point otherwise it’ll start treading water.

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (CBS): Sometimes you want to die where everybody knows your name. Okay, that was my way of welcoming Ted Dansen to the cast of CSI. This show should have been cancelled years ago. I still hold out the hope that the final episode will reveal that the mob pays for all of the incredibly expensive forensic equipment they use in exchange for the Las Vegas police looking the other way.

Law & Order: Special Victim’s Unit: Wow. I thought this show got cancelled. I’m glad it’s not. Not because I’m watching it, but because that means Richard Belzer can keep playing Det. John Munch, a character he’s been playing since 1993 when he was on Homicide: Life on the Street.

Sept. 22

Charlie’s Angels (ABC): Look, I know for a fact that there are talented, creative writers out there who have original ideas. Can we please stop trying to recreate old shows from the 60s and 70s? Thanks to DVD if we want to watch those old shows, we can.

The Big Bang Theory (CBS):  A stupid show about smart people. And yet, it’s still funny. It could be better if it assumed a certain intelligence in the audience and didn’t have a laugh track that a monkey could follow along to. I’ll be watching because the actors are actually good at turning okay material into genuinely funny stuff.

Community (NBC): Another show I should watch that I don’t. Probably because I’m watching Big Bang Theory. Maybe I’ll try this out this year.

Parks & Recreation (NBC): I’ve heard absolutely nothing about this show and I’ve never watched it. Is it any good?

Grey’s Anatomy (ABC): I must confess I’ve seen every episode of Grey’s Anatomy. Since its second season, this show has had a slow decline in quality punctuated by occasionally really well done episodes. I still contend that every single character on the show is a selfish punk who deserves every bad thing that happens to them.

Person of Interest (CBS): A weird show from the guy who gave you Lost and the guy who gave you Inception. Really, do you need any more than that? Okay, the star of the show is that creepy guy from Lost? Not enough? Fine. The other star is JESUS CHRIST. Oh wait, I mean James Caveizel. Sorry for the confusion. Seriously, this show had better kick my ass. I’m really looking forward to it.

The Office (NBC): Loved the British version of the show and just couldn’t get into the American version. I know he’s no longer on it, but I think I might be the only person in America who doesn’t think Steve Carrell is funny.

Whitney (NBC): A show starring Whitney Cummings who I’ve never heard of and am not interested in.

The Mentalist (CBS): For a show called The Mentalist, this show should be a hell of a lot more clever than it is. Instead it’s House meets Criminal Minds. Yawn.

Prime Suspect (NBC): Somehow there is not already a show called Prime Suspect. This is a cop show starring Maria Bello. This means I’m watching it. She’s a good actress and she’s nice to look at. I still have little hope of the show being good, but I’ll try it out.

Sept. 23

A Gifted Man (CBS): A doctor starts seeing his dead wife. With Medium and Ghost Whisperer gone, I suppose CBS needed a new supernatural show. The only thing this show has going for it is the first episode is directed by Jonathan Demme. I may watch just for that.

Nikita (CW): Apparently this is the second season of this show I’ve never heard of. It’s apparently based on La Femme Nikita. This show will likely continue to fly below my radar.

Kitchen Nightmares (Fox): Chef Gordon Ramsey has become more famous than yelling than he is for cooking. If a British guy yelling at morons at restaurants that are barely getting by in a struggling economy throughout the country sounds like fun to you, you and I probably have very little in common.

CSI: NY (CBS): Still waiting for Gary Senise to show that he’s really a traitor like he is in almost everything he’s ever been in.

Supernatural (CW): Isn’t this like the third last season of this show? Seriously, I swear I read that this show ended three or four years ago.

Fringe (Fox): A smart show with good special effects, good acting, and fantastic writing? With the exception of Person of Interest, this is the show I’m most looking forward to this Fall.

Blue Bloods (CBS): I started watching this show when it premiered last year, but I just couldn’t get into it. This is almost entirely the fault of The Wire. Thanks to The Wire I have absurdly high standards when it comes to a good police drama.

Sept. 24

Rules of Engagement (CBS):   And I thought Friday night was the death slot. Does anyone watch TV on Saturday nights? Why not just cancel the show?

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Fall Season TV Review

I watch entirely too much television. It’s a habit. And like all habits, it’s sometimes a lot of fun and sometimes it’s outright painful. When the Fall Season begins, I tend to go on a TV binge. The downside of this is that I end up having less time to write because I’m watching TV. The upside is that when I have time to write, I can let you all know the shows to avoid and the shows that are actually worth your time.

Big Bang Theory

A couple of nerds have a hot next door neighbor. This is basically the entire premise of this show. Basically each episode is full of geek talk vs. real world talk from the hot girl, punctuated by arguably televisions most annoying current laugh track. BBT is actually a fairly entertaining sitcom, but the laugh track gets to me. I don’t like to be reminded when to laugh. I’ll laugh when it’s funny.

How I Met Your Mother

I ended up watching this show last year because it was on after Big Bang Theory. It quickly became apparent that this was the far superior show. The title of the show comes from the framing device of each episode being one of the characters telling his children how he met their mother back in the early 00’s of the 21st century. While all of the actors on this show are good, Neil Patrick Harris tends to steal every scene he’s in as the womanizing Barney. This show is about twice as funny as Big Bang Theory and is consistently entertaining.

Heroes

As a life long comic book collector, I was genuinely impressed with the first season of Heroes two years ago. They managed to have fun with the super-hero genre while still being original. They threw a bunch of balls in the air and caught every one of them. Then last year Season Two happened. While a certain amount of blame could be put on the season being cut short by the writer’s strike, the bottom line is that Season Two wandered all over the place and ended up absolutely nowhere. It’s no surprise to me that this season has had a huge ratings drop. However, the creators of Heroes apparently learned from their mistakes last year. The first two episodes of Heroes were more eventful the all of the Second Season combined. Things are happening fast and it is fun. The only problem is that right now it’s more plot than character. It’s almost as if they’re just doing all these big things just to do them. Like the first season, this one has a lot of promise, it’s just a matter of whether or not they can catch every ball they throw.

Fringe

When I was in high school, the Fox Network had a show about weird science and paranormal events that were investigated by the FBI. It was called X-Files. Fifteen years later, Fox has another FBI weird science show. This time it’s Fringe. Like X-Files, Fringe has an overall conspiracy combined with weird event of the week. So far this is working well, just like it did for the first few seasons of X-Files. Here’s hoping that Fringe can sustain the balance of mystery vs. reveals.

Eli Stone

I’m not a big fan of musicals. But my wife is. This is why I ended up watching Eli Stone. Eli is about a lawyer who has an aneurysm that causes psychic and musical hallucinations. Basically each week he has a vision of some sort that he has to unravel in order to save whoever he has to save and invariably it has something to do with his being a lawyer. Last year they ended the season with Eli getting his aneurysm removed right after predicting a huge San Francisco earthquake that destroys among other things, the Golden Gate Bridge. It wasn’t until this last episode that I really started to like the show. It takes guts to seriously mess with the city your characters live in. Unfortunately, this fun lasted all of one episode because in the season opener, the Golden Gate Bridge was back and so was the aneurysm. And to make matters worse, they decided to take the most intriguing part of the show and kill it by revealing that yes, his visions are in fact from the big guy upstairs. I don’t think I’m going to stick around to find out what happens next.

Grey’s Anatomy

Despite being a heterosexual male, I have in face seen every single episode of Grey’s Anatomy. Why? Because I’m obsessive and I tend to either watch every episode of a show or none of them. Unfortunately Grey’s Anatomy is a show that only gets worse and worse. I realize I’m not the demographic they’re looking for, but after four seasons, not one of these characters has become redeemable. In fact, every single one of them is so self-centered and short-sighted that it’s kind of scary that any of them are doctors. For a while there were two or three characters that were worth watching, but they either left the show or became so morally compromised that you couldn’t possibly think of them as good guys without forgetting what a good person is. With any luck at all, I’ll avoid most of this season because at this point I really couldn’t possibly care less who screws who or why or who is mad about it.

The Mentalist

When my son was younger, he’d watch a show called Blue’s Clues. Every episode they’d have some sort of mystery and they’d discover clues and try to make the kids watching the show guess what was going to happen. This is great for a show aimed at kids because it makes them think and builds confidence. Strangely, it seems to also be the premise for The Mentalist. The title character of The Mentalist is supposedly a guy who notices absolutely everything and using these abilities, solves crimes. And as the audience, we see what he sees and then get to feel all smart when we come to the same conclusions. Unfortunately this doesn’t make us think the character is smart. He is, at most, only as smart as we are, and while we tend to think we’re fairly bright, we all know we’re no geniuses and so the premise of the show falls apart.

11th Hour

I’m blaming the success of House on the glut of new shows that revolve around a ‘cranky genius’ character. Of course the success of House isn’t due to Dr. House’s character, it’s due to him and his supporting cast. So the 11th Hour, about a ‘scientific consultant’ for the FBI doesn’t fail because of lead, Rufus Sewell. It fails because there isn’t one other interesting character around him. If that weren’t bad enough, so far every episode, has been a slow plodding thing that lasted an hour but seemed like three. This show can’t be cancelled soon enough. Rufus Sewell is a good actor. He deserves good work.