Tales from the Cultural Wilderness - Journal

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2006-09-17 Entry: "2006-07 Season: Part 1"

Well, we're off and running, although so far it's only really Fox who've started. NBC and CBS seem to be starting up this week, while ABC and the CW are a couple of weeks away. Of course, I'm only covering the shows I'm watching, and I tend to avoid the half-hour comedies.

So what do we have from Fox? Three returning dramas, three new dramas, and a reality show. Yeah, I know, but they suckered me in with the lure of Lea Thompson, and I bit. So Celebrity Duets managed to make my viewing list. Of course, it's horribly predictable - a professional wrestler who can't sing, Cheech Marin, who clearly can't sing, and a gymnast who can't sing. Of course, we all know Carlton will be around until near the end so we can see his dancing. So who does that leave - the Queer Eye guy who's pretty good, Lucy Lawless, who we knew could sing from Xena, Lea Thompson, who's pretty good and still very cute, and wasn't there some other guy? Anyway, I'm sure to get bored with it shortly.

Then the returning shows. Lets start with the easy one - Bones - which three episodes in I'm already dropping. I lost track of it last season, and saw some in repeats over the summer, but I just don't care about these characters. Even the love triangle doesn't peak my interest - I don't buy Boreanaz and the new boss as a couple, and Temperance is just irritating.

House came back pretty well - he's able to walk, and the running eight miles to work was fun, but it looks to be wearing off. They've upped the stakes on the cases, but his mate and boss are idiots for trying to keep the correct diagnosis from him to teach him a lesson. And how long before he gets addicted to the painkillers again?

Prison Break came back strong. The removal and reattachment of T-Bag's hand was a little silly, and trying to rescue LJ was a dumb move. I also didn't see the resolution of the lawyer thread coming, even with the annoying recasting of the vice president's brother. Otherwise, it seems to be going in the right direction, and the addition of William Fichtner was a good choice for the FBI guy heading the search, who, if I had to guess, has the same low-latent thingamajiggy that our hero has.

So how are the new shows faring? In a word, average. Vanished is the big "long running conspiracy" show, and I just don't care about any of these characters. What's his name who played Jesse on Buffy really needs to get a role that lasts longer than a pilot! It's clear the kidnapping is partly because the Senator was going to take down the President's supreme court nominee, but it's a bit weak. The only storyline I actually care about is the former husband who's desperate to tell the FBI that he was married to the Senator's wife before she disappeared many years ago.

Justice is slick and glossy, and adequately watchable, but nothing special, and it'll get creamed in its timeslot by Lost or Criminal Minds (assuming those maintain their quality into their next season). Lets be fair, Victor Garber is being a huge ham, Kerr Smith is adequate, but if he's supposed to be our everyman on the team, he's not relatable. I keep getting Eamonn Walker and Idris Elba confused in my head, but he needs to be given more to do. And the token female lawyer is attractive but wouldn't make me tune in every week. Oh, and the second episode was marred by gaining the monicker "The Lily Kane Murder" within about two seconds of the defendant showing up!

Standoff is the best of the three - it's warm and funny, and it should find a decent fan following. Gina Torres needs to be given more to do, but we're only two episodes in and they needed to establish the relationship between the two leads. When it eventually returns, it'll be up against the best show on TV (Veronica Mars), but that's on the CW and people don't seem to watch that network, so its survival is a pretty safe bet.

So my verdicts:

Celebrity Duets - it's a reality show so it'll survive the season, but will it be back? Not convinced at the moment.

Bones - may die in its second season. I had it pencilled in as a possible watch until Jericho came on, and I guess its survival will depend on whether that's at all watchable. Verdict out until the competing show premieres.

Prison Break - it'll continue to get monster ratings, and they'll probably round up most of the escapees. But where do they go for a third season? Yes, there's still the ongoing conspiracy, and Michael has to work out how to get the doctor her job back, but once our heroes make it to Mexico, how does the show go on?

House - Unless Friday Night Lights is a monster, House'll survive the year, and probably get comfortably renewed. It's still got a perfectly likeable cast, and Hugh Laurie's just so fun to watch. Lets hope the writers keep up their end of the bargain.

Vanished - Kill it, kill it now. Don't let people get invested in a nonsense conspiracy show and then kill it before resolution at the end of the season. Of course, knowing the network, this'll limp to about 15 episodes before they pull it from the air, and another three or four will make it onto the DVD release, but unless they give a decent docu/interview piece with the producers explaining the show, this'll be another hanging show.

Justice - Don't care. Blah. Kill it, let it live, I don't care, and I'm not buying. It's a perfectly watchable hour of television if there's nothing better on, but, oh look, there is.

Standoff - May gain a following if they keep it around. It's Fox, so it'll need good numbers, and it's currently being killed by ABC's Dancing With The Stars (Can I just say, Dancing is absolutely horrible compared to BBC's Strictly Come Dancing - are the American celebs even going to make the effort to learn to dance, or is letting the dancer spin around them all that's needed?), but that'll only be eight or ten weeks, and Standoff should retain enough of House's audience to keep it around.

Renewals for 2007-08: Prison Break, House.

Around until end of season: Bones, Celebrity Duets, Standoff, Justice.

Dead on arrival: Vanished.

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