Daily Viewing – Tuesday October 31, 2006

October 31, 2006

Very scary stuff.  Happy Halloween.

Tonight I’ll be watching:

8:00 – 9:00 -Nothing but if you didn’t watch Friday Night Lights (NBC) yesterday you should

9:00 – 10:00 – Veronica Mars (CW)

10:00 – 11:00 – Law & Order: SVU (NBC)

I’ll be recording: Boston Legal (ABC) and will watch despite their continued use of the incredibly annoying Espensen character. 

Daily Viewing – Monday October 30, 2006

October 31, 2006

Here’s what I’m watching tonight:

8:00 – 9:00 Prison Break (Fox)

9:00 – 10:00 Heroes (NBC)

10:00 – 11:00 Friday Night Lights (NBC) – My pick of the night

I’ll be recording Dexter (TMN).

Fall Season 2006 – How it’s Going So Far

October 30, 2006

In September I launched this blog looking ahead to a season that was ripe with promise.  Lots of new, interesting and diverse shows that catered to the TV snob in me who hates procedurals with their “fill in the blank” of the week premises and favours complex serial shows that require a weekly committment.

So here we are 6 weeks into the new season and it’s been a bit of a mixed bag using this moment as a checkpoint. 

Let’s start with the Good.  Two of my favourite shows on the air right now started this season – Heroes and Friday Night Lights.  Unfortunately at this time only Heroes has been given a full season while Friday Night Lights struggles.  Hopefully the order for extra scripts means NBC is going to give it a chance to grow.  Brothers & Sisters is also starting to grow on me after a pretty rocky start.  If you are not watching any of these shows, please start now, especially Friday Night Lights.

I’m going to give honorable mention to Jericho and The Nine, the first of which has been given a full season and the latter which also has a script order.  I like both shows but there’s something about each that keeps them off my “must see” list.  For Jericho, I love the premise and the mysteries beneath the show but dislike Skeet in the lead and the “crisis of the week that only Skeet can fix” is wearing thin.  The Nine is kind of the opposite.  It has an excellent cast but the premise and mysteries don’t seem like enough to sustain an entire season let alone a long running show. 

Now the Bad which I’m going to split into 2 categories, shows that I hoped would be good and aren’t living up to my expectations and shows that were good but got cancelled early.

For shows I hoped for better from, there is no better example than Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip which I picked as my best of the year after seeing the pilot.  It turns out that it’s all been downhill from there.  Check some of my other posts to see why this is my biggest disappointment of the year.  I’m still watching but this one is on life support with me.  I also hoped Vanished and Six Degrees would have been better shows than they turned out to be.  I’m still giving Vanished another chance after the World Series but Six Degrees got dropped long ago. 

As for shows that I liked but got cancelled before getting a real chance to succeed, Smith and Kidnapped were both in my Good list.  Smith got unjustly cancelled after 3 airings (check out this posting for comments from lots of angry viewers) and Kidnapped got sent to Saturday night to finish off its 13 episode run.  Thinking about it a bit more, I’m going to move Kidnapped to the Good category and look at the show as a mini-series since it will actually have an ending and it’s a great show.  Pick it up on DVD next year, you won’t be sorry.

Now for the Really Bad.  In this category is Ugly Betty and The Class.  Ugly Betty lasted 1 episode with me and I have no idea what the critics who love this show saw in it that I didn’t.  The Class lasted two episodes but I knew after the first that it was off my list.  Neither of these shows have anything redeeming about them.  Check out some of my earlier posts on these shows to see what I disliked. 

So where does this leave me 6 weeks into the new season – with 3 shows that I love, 3 I like a lot, a couple I hope will get better before December and some that were either awful from the get go or just didn’t appeal to me at all. 

All in all a season that started with lots of promise but turned out to be the same as all the others.  Bring on the mid-season replacements.

Daily Viewing – Sunday October 29, 2006

October 29, 2006

I’ve been busy having a Season 2 Battlestar Galactica marathon this past few days with one episode to go.  When I’m done here’s what I’ll be watching tonight – before diving into Season 3 that is.

9:00 – 10:00 Desperate Housewives (ABC)

10:00 – 11:00 Brothers & Sisters (ABC)

I’ll be recording The Wire (TMN, HBO) and Without a Trace (CBS)

Daily Viewing – Thursday October 26, 2006

October 26, 2006

The first big rerun night of the season.  I plan to use the night to catch up on some recordings from the past week or 2 as well as push through Season 2.5 of Battlestar Galactica.

Smallville (CW) is the only new episode on my roster.

TV News & Stories from the Web – October 25

October 26, 2006

Here is today’s news:

  • Scrubs is back November 30th – One of my favourite comedies is back to help NBC launch the best Thursday night comedy block its had in years.  Joining Earl, The Office and Scrubs is 30 Rock which isn’t great but isn’t bad either.  Now if only Scrubs wasn’t going to get crushed by Grey’s Anatomy and CSI….
  • Ask Ausiello is a weekly column on TVGuide.com where Michael Ausiello spills spoilers galore.  Call this your warning, don’t read if you don’t want to know.  The one thing that pissed me off from his column this week was when he mentioned David Boreanaz’s hate for all questions Buffy.  David, you’re an idiot – that show made your career.  Get over yourself.
  • Some Lessons from the Fall Roster – A great analysis of the fall season including the wrong and right lessons to take from the current cancellations.

Daily Viewing – Wednesday October 25, 2006

October 25, 2006

Here’s what I’m watching Wednesday.

8:00 – 9:00 – Jericho (CBS)

9:00 – 10:00 – Lost (ABC)

10:00 – 11:00 – The Nine (ABC)

I’ll be recording 30 Rock (NBC).

Capsule Reviews – Heroes, Studio 60, Desperate Housewives

October 25, 2006

Heroes – Season 1, Episodes 4 & 5

Heroes (along with Friday Night Lights) is quickly becoming my favourite drama on TV. Note I didn’t say “favourite new drama”. I truly mean best on the air. Unlike Lost, which I still like despite how it continues to get mired in complexity and a continuously expanding cast list, Heroes seems to have a winning formula. Each of the characters gets screen time every episode and the “A” plot moves forward every week alongside the individual character “B” plots. I also sense that the show will stick to a comic book formula (like Buffy and Angel did) with each season consisting of a large arc and a “big bad” that the heroes fight which is mostlyresolved at season end. Some of the highlights from the last 2 episodes are:

  • Future Hiro coming to warn Peter and making contact at the end
  • Matt using his powers to reconcile with his wife after getting captured and mind wiped last week
  • Nathan flying away and his conversation with Hiro
  • Claire driving her car into the wall and her father (the “Big Bad”) mindwiping the quarterback
  • Nathan’s negotiation with his blackmailers
  • Great inside joke NBC with the hotel being the Montecito
  • The mission revealed: “Save the Cheerleader, Save the World”

Also if you haven’t checked it out yet, go to NBC.com and read the online Graphic Novels created for the show.

Avi’s Episode Ratings: A

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip – Episode 6

Could I be any more conflicted about this show? I really want to like this show but I just can’t. It’s like a chef got all these great ingredients but only used them to make a peanut butter sandwich. If it was any other show I would have dropped it already but I keep hoping that somehow it’s all going to get better. Based on last night’s show I’m getting less and less hopeful. Does the head of a network really need friends so badly that she needs to beg for them? Did anyone not see the baseball player writing his number on the ball coming from miles away? Could they really not think of anything better for the talented Lauren Graham to do? Did you feel the story with Tom’s parents was as unecessary as I did? On the not as bad side, I didn’t mind the story with the black comedian or legend Eli Wallach as the blacklisted writer but wasn’t wowed by them either.

I’m even growing tired of the dialogue. The thing about the dialogue on the West Wing is that the people involved were having a conversation and it was interesting and about something (even if the topic was as mundane as an agricultural bill stalled in Congress). Here it’s just banter and unless this show starts to be about something, I don’t think it’s long for my list.

Avi’s Episode Rating: B-

Desperate Housewives – Season 3, Episode 5

I’ve definitely enjoyed this season far more than last but the show is all fluff that I tend to forget right after watching. Here’s what I remember. Susan finds out that Mike doesn’t remember her and that Edie is poisoning him against her so she in her typical Susan ridiculousness, kidnaps him from the hospital to take him on a tour of their memories. Bree’s daughter is having an affair with her teacher and Bree’s interference opens for the door for her daughter to create consequences for everyone but herself seemingly with Bree’s blessing. Mike’s number is tattooed on the dead woman connected to Orson. Carlos and Gabrielle continue to fight and one up each other with Gabrielle, finally bringing a man home she met with a bar so that Carlos can catch them in bed. Finally the worst story of them all, Lynette continuing to redefine overbearing wife, Tom living in a dreamworld where he’s a pizza chef and his daughter’s mother scheming to break them up, something which, if not for their 4 kids, I’m starting to think wouldn’t be a bad thing given their relationship.

Avi’s Episode Rating: B

Veronica Mars – Season 3, Episode 4

October 25, 2006

Another great episode with lots going on.  The show got off to a great start with the Mars family dinner and Keith at his fatherly best quizzing Logan with Veronica trying her best to shut down every detective-like question.  She truly is a “bobcat” especially in her interaction with everyone’s favourite Dick.  Lots of the show’s trademark dialogue like: “Bland is the new hot”, “I think I used to drop my maid off here” and “In my world the wicked don’t get parting gifts” as well as pop culture references from Poltergeist and Star Trek.

This episode featured the “Just Shoot Me” reunion between Papa Mars and Laura San Giacomo as a woman suspecting her husband of infidelity.  Of course, there was lots of flirting between the former co-stars and on-screen lovers but it was not to be.  Her husband wasn’t cheating and this potential romance in the works ended as quickly as it began.

The mystery of the week introduced us to Logan’s brother who has been getting payments from his trust fund.  Funny enough he looks just like Rory’s boyfriend on Gilmore Girls.   It’s a shame that Veronica had to be Veronica.  I can see how her suspicion of everyone and everything could be annoying.  Mostly I feel bad for Logan who just hoped that for once something good might have come out of his being an Echolls.  Maybe it still will work out with his real brother.  Jason Dohring continues to make Logan a complex character and one of my favourites on TV.

My criticism of the last few episodes was the limited focus on the season’s mystery of the campus rapist so I liked it’s return.  10 minutes in and Veronica not only secures payment to dive right in and solve the mystery but also reminds us why it’s personal for her.  She also clears the fraternity house even though it once again makes her hated.

Avi’s Episode Rating: B+

TV News & Stories from the Web

October 25, 2006

Welcome to a new section of my blog where I highlight tv stories and news articles from across the Web.

  • TV Gal Looks for the Funny – In an earlier posting I highlighted my love of TVGal who writes a weekly column on Zap2It and expressed my dismay at being out of sync with her. This week she rips into The Class echoing many of my complaints with the show (TVGal just stop watching and you’ll feel better), shows some love for The Office and this week’s Jim/ Pam conversation (me too, me too) and just has a good time with Boston Legal (I generally agree but wish they’d stop bringing back the annoying and unfunny Espenson character). It’s good to have you back TV Gal.
  • 24’s Season 6 Trailer – I’m not shy about expressing my surprise at the strong positive critical reaction to season 5 of 24 given my disappointment with the repetitive formula and increasingly ridiculous delays used to stall the show through 24 episodes. Still for those of you who can’t wait, here’s the link.
  • The Shield spinning off Dutch? – I am a huge Shield fan. It’s one of the few shows that after 5 seasons is as compelling if not more so than it was when it started. Last season easily ranked as one of the top 5 shows of last season. I also love the Dutch character. Still, I don’t think he can carry a show himself so hopefully this is just a bad rumor.
  • Sleeper Cell 2 on Demand Before it Airs – I don’t really care too much about the story specifics. What this article reminded me is that season 2 of Sleeper Cell is going to be on soon. If you didn’t watch season 1, run and rent it or buy it. It’s fantastic.