Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Best and Worst of the New Season

This is a busy time of year for me because of the new fall TV season. I’m one of those people who doesn’t want to watch a show unless he’s seen the earlier episodes, which means that I have to watch the pilot of every show that I might eventually enjoy. Most don’t make the cut, but I want to make sure I catch the gems right from the start. Anyway, here are the results of this year’s viewing:

Veronica Mars. The best new show of the season. It’s high-school drama meets detective show. But unlike many high-school dramas, this one actually has an edgy, gritty feel (a date rape and a murder in the very first episode), lightened mainly by the title character’s wit and intelligence. Give it a watch, or my favorite new show might get canceled (just like my favorites of the last two seasons, Firefly and Wonderfalls). It’s on tonight at 9:00 on UPN; that’s Pacific time, so check your listings.

Listen Up. The critics panned this new Jason “George Costanza” Alexander sit-com. They gave it about a C; I’ll raise that to a B. There’s nothing novel here, just a straight-up family comedy, but it’s given me a few good laughs. I probably won’t bother taping it, though.

Desperate Housewives. Totally overrated. They wanted a spicy, sexy, black comedy. They got a retread of 50s-era homemaker angst. These desperate housewives look like cardboard cut-outs to me.

Joey. If you liked Friends, you’ll probably like the sequel. He needs more co-stars, though.

Lost. Survivor-style fun from the creator of Alias. I’m digging the action and mystery so far, but I’m worried it will jump the shark too soon. The scary beast on the tropical island turns out to be… a polar bear? There had better be a good explanation for that. But I’ll tune in to find out.

Wife Swap. Ugh. Skip it.

Kevin Hill. I’m watching this one because a friend of mine is on the writing staff. The premise is hackneyed (swinging bachelor inherits baby girl), but it could work if future episodes put more emphasis on the legal drama (Kevin is an attorney) and less on the Mr. Mom stuff. Judging by the pilot alone, the show is definitely not aimed at men, but women might enjoy it.

Jack & Bobby. I keep watching this one, but I’m not sure why. Bored on Sunday nights, I guess. The writers definitely want to be unpredictable, but they keep doing so in totally predictable ways. Hmm, which of these two Kennedyesque kids will be elected Prez in 2040? Ooh, curveball – it turns out to be Bobby. And what will be his political party? Hollywood is full of Democrats, so they tried to surprise us by making Bobby a Republican. But they couldn’t pull that off with a straight face, so they threw in another twist: Bobby ran for President as an independent after getting burned in the Republican primaries. Betcha didn’t see that one coming! But who am I kidding… I’m still watching the damn thing.

Presidential Debates. I didn’t catch the pilot, but that’s okay, because I hear they plan to cancel it after a couple more episodes anyway.


Saxdrop said...

Entourage -- It's not a brand new series, but it went 7-8 episodes in, and was re-signed by HBO. The popular critics' meme is "Sex in the City for guys." Well, maybe, and I won't pretend that the show is capable of some meta-critique that sees past it's adolescent humor target. But the show is entertaining for some guilty (yet guiltless, cause it's on HBO) reason. If you are still ambivalent, consider the credibility capital HBO has built (Curb, Deadwood, early and mid Sopranos, Carnivale).

Glen Whitman said...

Sadly, I don't subscribe to any premium cable channels, so I can only see those shows on DVD. Maybe I should go ahead and bite the HBO bullet, but I'm resistant to the price-bump.

Anonymous said...

It's not sad at all. You watch far too much television as it is. Where have I failed you?


Anonymous said...

I remember a couple years ago when Glen was really having a hard time with his schedule. There were all these TV shows he wanted to continue watching and a bunch of new ones he also wanted to see. He ended up making a spreadsheet of the TV shows so that he could more easily survey the airing conflicts and program his VCR accordingly.
Also, the one episode I saw of Joey was pretty lame.