Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Fall of TV

With the start of the new TV season nearly upon us, Alan Sepinwall of the Star Ledger lays a lot of it out in a nice primer HERE...and he says its been a strange one so far.

As much as the writers' strike disrupted last season by the end, it still had a normal start, with a big and varied group of new series that were ready to be shown well in advance of their premiere dates. The writers have been back at work for months, but the traditional development process was so badly disrupted that the networks picked up a far smaller crop of new shows than normal, most of them hedged bets that are remakes of either familiar American series ("Knight Rider," "Beverly Hills 90210") or adaptations of shows that succeeded in England or other countries ("Worst Week," "Eleventh Hour," "Life on Mars" and many more).

Meanwhile, many of these newbies are still being worked on, even though the official TV season begins less than a month from now, and even though a lot of series will premiere well in advance of that.

Now, I don't know if there is anything as 'the official TV season' anymore, not with shows premiering more or less all year round when you count the cable and premium pay networks. And unlike some of the more 'privileged and popular' bloggers out there who get screeners and preview copies of new shows, I'm like the rest of you and have to make my choices based on what I read or the commercials I see. But so far, there are a handful I will check out this fall.

Also from Sipenwall:
True Blood
(HBO, Sundays at 9, Sept. 7) "Six Feet Under" creator Alan Ball adapts Charlaine Harris' series of novels about a world where vampires live openly and subsist on artificial blood, and where a Louisiana waitress (Anna Paquin) with the power to read minds falls for a handsome member of the undead (Stephen Moyer). Though the action can be exciting, it's also brief, and for the most part, the show is an overwrought Gothic romance with an unintentionally amusing mish-mash of Louisiana accents.

Fringe
(Fox, Tuesdays at 9, Sept. 9) Super-producer J.J. Abrams ("Lost," "Alias") takes a swing at an "X-Files"-esque series about an FBI agent (Anna Torv) tasked to investigate crimes involving "fringe science" (teleportation, psychic phenomena, etc.) with the help of a brilliant but unstable professor (John Noble) and his son (Joshua Jackson). One of the better of the new shows I've seen - solid action and nice chemistry between the three leads - but it's only a good pilot, and with Abrams, you expect great.

Eleventh Hour
(CBS, Thursdays at 10, Oct. 9) A scientist (Rufus Sewell) and his government agent partner (Marley Shelton) try to solve or prevent crimes involving abuses of science. The producers claim that, unlike "Fringe," their show deals only with science fact, not science fiction. Based on a British miniseries that starred Patrick Stewart.

My Own Worst Enemy
(NBC, Mondays at 10, Oct. 13) Christian Slater stars in a Jekyll and Hyde riff about an average Joe who finds out that he's living a secret second life as a government agent. Has already been through many behind-the-scenes changes, in much the same way NBC's "Bionic Woman" did last year.

I guess I'm pretty predictable...still looking for my next X Files or Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Old habits seem to die hard.

And I'm not sure why the Christian Slater vehicle intrigues me, but you have to have one of those each season...and I'm pulling for it. (though the title My Own Worst Enemy really hurts more than helps, when you consider Slater's recent track record)

As for the returning programs, I am sooooo 'Meh'. Aside from House and Dexter, perhaps some Chuck but definitely some Life...pretty much everything else isn't really jazzing me anymore.


But yes. Life.


Mmmm. Life is good.

2 comments:

morjana said...

Hi, Will.

Woo-hoo! Photos of Damian Lewis from Life.

:)

Morjana

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