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.

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.

Why I’m Breaking Up With The Amazing Race

October 10, 2006

Despite the title of this article let me begin by telling you that I really like The Amazing Race.   I like the vicarious tour around the world to places I only dream of seeing.  I usually like a minimum of 1/2 the contestants in any given season.  I like the extreme challenges and the pace of the race.  I even think Phil is the perfect host.  Finally, of all the reality shows on the air this is probably the only one I would ever consider being on.

So why am I probably going to drop this show from my regular viewing schedule you ask.  Simple.  Every episode follows a formula of exotic locations, misc. conflicts between and within teams, multiple challenges as part of the show and as part of the travel dynamic and finally a race to the end between two teams with one eliminated.  Make no mistake, this is an entertaining and winning formula.  The flip side is it’s still a formula and after 10 seasons there’s nothing new episode to episode.   I have way too many shows still on my weekly list and I just don’t have time for one that doesn’t draw me in.

Don’t get me wrong.  Unlike some of the other crappy shows I’ve dropped in the past few weeks (like CBS’s The Class) I still recommend The Amazing Race.  There’s a lot to like about it.  For me it’s just become a bit too “same old, same old” for me.

The Class – Season 1, Episode 2 and beyond

September 28, 2006

This is an easy posting for me to write.  Terrible show.  I can’t believe it was actually worse than the first episode.  Again, adultery, effeminate husbands, suicide and kids named Oprah.  Still not funny.  Truly one of the worst shows in recent memory.  It doesn’t even earn a third viewing.

This show now officially joins Justice on my cancelled list.

The Class – Episode One

September 20, 2006

This show was terrible. I’ve heard the comparisons to Friends but this is nothing like Friends. For those of you who don’t know the premise: Lead guy Ethan (Jason Ritter) reunites his third grade class to surprise his girl friend who he originally met back in third grade. Most of these characters haven’t seen each other over the years and from there boredom ensures. The characters are annoying, the situation is contrived and I don’t see any reason for them to ever get back together. The worst thing about this comedy is that I didn’t laugh once. Call me crazy but I don’t find suicide, adultery, slackers who live at home with their overbearing mothers, daughters named Oprah or gay stereotypes funny.

I’m willing to give it one more try but my guess is this show isn’t going to be on my list this time next Tuesday.

Avi’s rating: C-