Tales from the Cultural Wilderness Journal

Saturday, September 30, 2006

2006-07 Season: Part 2

[Previous entry: "2006-07 Season: Part 1"]

So, week 2 (or possibly 3 - my brother was visiting and it kind of screwed up my week 2 assessment), and there's only a couple of shows still to start. But first, a refresher on part 1 - I had two renewals for next year, four that'd last a season, and one that should be killed a.s.a.p! Well, of those, I've given up on the reality show (Celebrity Duets) and one of the dramas (Bones) because they're dull and uninteresting, and there's better stuff to watch or do. Vanished is amazingly improving, but I still don't think it'll get resolved before it's cancelled. Oh, and Justice has managed to get itself pulled from the schedule a week earlier than Fox were planning to.

So where are we with other new shows? With only four that I'm actually planning to watch still to open (Lost, The Nine, Daybreak, and the best show on television, Veronica Mars), and one of those held over until Lost goes on its looooooong break (Daybreak), I've still got to give it some time to winnow the numbers down, but one's an easy kill.

Runaway (on the CW) was rubbish. I don't care about any of these characters, most of them are morons, and the wife didn't even survive a season of 24 before being killed, so please, put this out of its misery now. Of course, this being soooo bad, it makes my Monday evening viewing easy, as I had three shows at 9pm on a Monday and could only watch/record two. Which means Vanished remains on my viewing list (heaven help me!).

The other Monday show is Heroes, which opened pretty well, if a bit hokey, and at least it acknowledges that it's a whole big comic book show. The flight effect was really horrible and they're going to have to work on that, and Adrian Pasdar needs to stop phoning in Jim Profit performances. But otherwise, Ali Larter and the cheerleader are perfectly watchable, and the Japanese guy is probably the best character, and I'd quite like to see how it plays out. I'd probably have to give it a season at the moment.

Also on a Monday night, and expectedly good, is the Aaron Sorkin show, Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip. Of course, Josh was my favourite character on the West Wing, and Matthew Perry deserves a character with a slightly harder edge, and it sure is nice to see Sarah Paulson again after American Gothic, but there's a lot of West Wing homages in this show. Half the cast appears to have been stolen, and the big captions are straight out of various episodes, but can it last? And can it make Amanda Peet watchable, as so far she's the most grating thing on the show?

Skipping onto Tuesdays, and we covered House and Standoff last week. Veronica's still to air, so that leaves Smith. All the reviews I read before the season made this out to be a great show, but so far I'm hating it. No-one's particularly likeable, and Mr Smith himself is just horrible to watch, so why should I stick with this show, other than to see who dies and how ridiculous their escapes from silly plots are. But I just don't care.

Wednesdays open with Jericho, and so far this is very predictable. And not particularly watchable. Okay, yes, the silly mystery about what the hell Skeet was doing while he was out of town could do with some resolution, and the mysterious black man's knowledge of what's happened would have been nice to reveal, but otherwise, major yawn.

Criminal Minds has reopened well, with a couple of reasonably strong episodes, but they really should have released the DVDs before the second season opened so I knew what was going on in part 2 of the cliffhanger!

Kidnapped opened pretty well, but turned to awful rubbish very quickly. I just don't care about these characters, and why should I tune in every week. Maybe this'll pick up like Vanished has, or maybe it deserves to be cancelled. Lets see in a couple of episodes time.

Thursdays have given us four shows. Smallville opened pretty strong, but Clark really needs to sort his love life out. And Lana needs to stop being beaten up by boyfriends! How long before Jimmy "call me James" Olsen turns evil and tries to kill Chloe? And how long until Lois finds out (yes, I know, theoretically never, but the Fortress of Solitude bit was just too convenient)?

Supernatural looks to be okay - nothing special, but still perfectly watchable. But with only one episode under their belt, there's a long way to go to see if their second season keeps them around.

Six Degrees looked like one of the weakest shows with one of the biggest names behind it. When you have the guy that managed to bring Alias and Lost to the screen, you expect better, but at least it's well produced! And although it's still a bit too saccharine, the reveal at the end of episode two was lovely. Now we just need to find out what's in the box!

Shark however is humdrum lawyerly rubbish. Why should I watch this show? It has absolutely nothing going for it, and James Woods doesn't help. Kill it now!

Fridays - The Ghost Whisperer came back pretty strong, and I'd been spoiled on the surprise ending of the last season anyway, but are they really trying to build a mythology here with the mysterious guy in a hat? Watchable, but needs to pick up...

Men In Trees is rubbish. Yes, it's perfectly watchable rubbish, and Ann Heche and Abraham Benrubi are always good to watch, but otherwise, take it or leave it fare.

Numb3rs also came back strong, and hello Wolf Lake star Lou Diamond Phillips. Of course, Charlie has to go and screw up his love life, but what can you expect from a bumbling mathematician?

So in summary:

Shows getting renewed for next season: Prison Break, House, The Ghost Whisperer, Criminal Minds, Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip

Last this season, renewal up for grabs: Numb3rs, Smallville, Supernatural, Six Degrees, Standoff

Last this season, renewal unlikely: Men In Trees, Heroes, Justice (I'm tempted to drop this one into the dead category after Fox pulled it), Bones.

Dead, but they don't know it yet: Shark, Kidnapped, Jericho, Smith, Runaway, Vanished

I think I can place the four unaired shows, but I'll give them a couple of weeks to make their mark...

[Previous entry: "2006-07 Season: Part 1"]

Sunday, September 17, 2006

2006-07 Season: Part 1

[Previous entry: "Democratic Response to the SoTU - There's A Better Way"]

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.

[Previous entry: "Democratic Response to the SoTU - There's A Better Way"]


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