A blog about movies and filmmaking.

All these new shows, and nothing’s on

In Uncategorized on October 2, 2009 at 2:25 am

Well, we’re now into the Fall Television Season, and there are some shows that really stand out (GLEE) and others that are abysmal (HANK) and the return of some good shows (LIE TO ME) and shows that I wish I could like, but they just grate the wrong way (CASTLE).

First the new shows. You’ll probably notice that there will be a severe lack of certain network’s shows – ie. I don’t watch CBS, CW or those specialty channels like HBO or Showtime (well, I don’t get those, but sometimes I’m still able to catch and episode or two, but I won’t be talking about them). Most of the TV I watch is actually done on my computer, so I utilize HULU.com and that gives me access to FOX, NBC, ABC, and their sister channels. So, if by some chance THE VAMPIRE DIARIES, or BORED TO DEATH actually turn out to be good; I won’t know.

My favorite new show of the season is GLEE. It’s created by the people behind NIP/TUCK, and it’s about a high school Spanish teacher who also dreams of heading his school’s Glee club to regional championships. We also get peaks into the lives of the outcasts who sign up for the club. Including the neurotic wannabe star, who repeatedly gets slushies thrown in her face; a girl who sings fantastically but can barely say a complete sentence without stuttering. The highlight for the show is Jane Lynch’s Sue Sylvester, who heads the school’s cheerleading squad and is out to crush the Glee club – because it’s cutting into her budget. The other great thing is actually the musical numbers. There’s been a lot Showtune-y kind of songs, but there’s also some great contemporary songs like Kanye’s “Gold Digger” and Jazmine Sullivan’s “Bust the Windows Out Your Car”.

Next is COMMUNITY, the new sit-com starring Joel McHale, as a lawyer who apparently doesn’t have an authentic license to practice law. So, for whatever reason he enrolls in a local community college. In an effort to get closer to a fellow student (Gillian Jacobs), he fakes a Spanish tutoring class, which is thwarted when other “losers” show up for the tutoring. The rest of the cast is filled with interesting characters, headed by Chevy Chase’s Pierce, Alison (Trudi Campbell on MAD MEN) Brie’s mousey Annie, and the cameo appearances of Ken Jeong and John Oliver.

MODERN FAMILY is also another show that’s showing promise, with an ensemble cast – featuring Ed O’Neill, Ty Burrell and Julie Bowen – about a number of families (who are actually all one family) and their working through the difficulties of raising kids, dealing with spouses and the hilarity of familial missteps.

The last of the comedy shows is COUGAR TOWN, the new show by the creators of SCRUBS and starring Courtney Cox, as a mom who missed her 20’s and is trying to relive that time of her life. The supporting cast is filled with great actors – from the SCRUBS hold-over, Christa Miller to Brian Van Holt and Busy Philipps. The show plays great with what could be a cliched concept. Cox is great in the comedic role, and is probably going to lead to a better character than Monica on FRIENDS.

On the dramatic front, the biggest show that’s premiered is FLASHFORWARD, the new show from writer/director David S. Goyer (the new Batman franchise and the BLADE trilogy), starring Joseph Fiennes, John Cho and Sonya Walger, about everyone in the world blacking out and having a vision of six months into the future. The show, has a fascinating premise and for the most part shows a lot of promise. There’s some quirks, or missteps in some of the acting (Cho’s character seemed kind of stiff and reminded me of the non-actors from Clint Eastwood’s GRAN TORINO), but even worse are the blatant promotional material from other shows; a giant billboard for Oceanic Airlines (from LOST), an ad on a bus for DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES. It’s a nitpick, but it takes what could be a serious and great show into something that seems like it’s just trying to keep a certain audience interested.

MERCY is the new medical drama by one of the creators of the television version of FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS, and has a cast of largely unknown actors – with the exceptions of Michelle Trachtenberg and Guillermo Diaz (WEEDS) – playing various medical staff in a hospital. It’s a little GREY’S ANATOMY, but it’s not quite as pedantic as that show (but we’ll give it time). But, so far it’s working.

In its second season LIE TO ME, seems like it’s going to continue being a strong show with a cool, different approach to the “solve a crime” procedural. The flashes of photographs of real-life examples of the same lies that are covered in the show are really the drawing part of the show. Tim Roth continues to be just weird enough, and engaging as Dr. Cal Lightman, the human lie-detector. The supporting characters are also great, and I’m glad it survived the last season, where we lost a number of great shows (TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES and LIFE, in particular).

MAD MEN, which is in its third season – and I’ve previously talked about the show – is continuing with the strong storylines, and the fascination of its characters.

FRINGE has also returned and considering the amazing place that the show left on, at the end of last season, it’s been an interesting start with the new stories, the twists in character development, and of course the awkwardness of John Noble’s Walter Bishop.

And finally, the underdog from last season that managed to come back is DOLLHOUSE. The intro music still bothers me, but there’s some interesting character developments.

There are still some shows that haven’t premiered yet, like V and the animated series ARCHER, but seem interesting. WHITE COLLAR is another series that ought to be on the air soon, and considering the strength of BURN NOTICE – the other show released from USA Networks – it seems like it could be good. But, otherwise it’s a pretty good season from the shows I’ve already seen.

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