Friday, October 10, 2008

Must See TV and a Few Don't Bothers

With the introduction of the new fall TV season almost over, I've decided go ahead and post opinions on a few of the shows, although some of my favs, like Lost (season premiere Feb 2009?) and a few interesting new ones, like Leverage (December, TNT, ) and Joss Whedon's Dollhouse (January, Fox, Mondays) have their premieres later this season.

First, you'll notice these are all dramas. That's what I like to watch. You'll have to go elsewhere for commentary on comedies and reality tv.

Great New Shows:
Fringe (FOX, Tuesday)—My favorite new show of the season. We're already several episodes into it, but you can watch past episodes online and catchup. Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) is an FBI special agent who is assigned to the "weird" cases (think X Files, only science, not supernatural). In the original episode, Olivia and fellow agent & boyfriend are called to investigate an international flight landing in Boston where everyone on board is dead. Her boyfriend is exposed and to save him, she must get help from Dr. Bishop (John Noble), a scientist who's been in a mental hospital for 17 years. Her only access to him is through his son, Peter (Joshua Jackson). Homeland Security is involved, as is a multi-million dollar company led by a creepy woman, who is involved in weird science experiments—including bionic limbs, cloning, reanimation of the dead, mind control, etc.

Intriguing plot lines, lots of action and suspense, well acted (although I do get tired of Dr. Bishop's droning), and enough mystery that it hooked me from the first.

The Mentalist (CBS, Tuesday)—Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) is a consultant with the CBI (California Bureau of Investigation—is this real?). Jane "has a remarkable track record for solving serious crimes by using his razor sharp skills of observation. Within the Bureau, Jane is notorious for his blatant lack of protocol and his semi-celebrity past as a psychic medium, whose paranormal abilities he now admits he feigned." Jane has a love/hate relationship with his boss, Teresa Lisbon (Robin Tunney) who needs him on her team, but who is irritated with his inability to follow protocol.

I like Baker's portrayal of Jane, but Tunney is a little too stiff. Hopefully they'll work into a better flow together. This show has potential but it also could very easily go over the top and become too violent for my tastes.

Don't Bother:
Knight Rider (NBC, Wednesday)—Premise: Absolutely the coolest car ever created, KITT is equipped with an "AI" (artificial intelligence) that is capable of hacking almost any system. Its weapons systems match that of a jet fighter, and its body is capable of actually transforming into other vehicles and using sophisticated holographic imagery to elude villains.

Easily the lamest remake I've seen. Even lamer than Bionic Woman. Poor acting, ridiculous plot (and I'm not talking about the car, which was the best part of the show).

Eleventh Hour (CBS, Thursday)—Premise: Dr. Jacob Hood (Rufus Sewell), a brilliant biophysicist and special science advisor to the government, as he investigates scientific crises and oddities. His passion and crusade is to protect the substance of science from those with nefarious motives. He is called in at the eleventh hour and he represents the last line of defense. Special Agent Rachel Young (Marley Shelton) is the FBI officer assigned to watch Hood’s back.

I was really hoping this one would be good, but it's not. The acting is bad. There's no chemistry between Sewell and Shelton. It was contrived and overly preachy.

Raising the Bar (TNT, Monday)—Premise: Follow the lives of young lawyers who work on opposite sides – the public defender’s office and the district attorney’s office – as well as those who sit in judgment on their cases.

This one has some good actors in it. I like Jane Kaczmarek and Gloria Reuben but the characters are just silly. I can't decide whether this show is meant to be tongue-in-cheek or if it's dead serious. Either way, it doesn't work for me.

Returning Favs (best first):
Bones (Fox, Wednesday)—Brennan (Emily Deschanel), a forensic anthropologist, and Booth (David Boreanaz), FBI, work together to solve murders. She's a genius, he's got the street smarts. I love the interplay between Deschanel and Boreanaz. The entire cast is great. Do you remember Boreanaz from Angel? You'd never know it was the same actor!

Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles (Fox, Monday)—Not as well acted as it could be, I'm still fascinated by this show about a group of freedom fighters trying to stop the creation of Skynet, which will create cyborgs who will threaten mankind with extinction. My fav: Cameron, the "good" Terminator, played by Summer Glau.

Grey's Anatomy (ABC, Thursday) and Private Practice (ABC, Wednesday)—my two guilty pleasures. I'm embarassed that I like them, but I do. I've even created fragrances for some of the characters.

Heroes (NBC, Monday)—Although I've really liked this show in the past, it sort of feels like it's spinning out of control. I hope they pull it back together.

ER (NBC, Thursday)—Last season for the doctors. Although I've been a fan for the entire series, I can't say I'll miss it. It was great, but it's run its course.

CSI: Miami (CBS, Monday)—My favorite of the CSIs, I hope they finally get Eric and Calleigh together this year. And it would be great if Horatio could find a nice woman to settle down with. CSI LV—I'm getting tired of that one. CSI NY—never really liked it.

House (Fox, Tuesday)—Another guilty pleasure. I hate House, and the train-wreck-about-to-happen that he is, and yet, I can't pull myself away.

If I had to narrow it down to the top three shows that I MUST SEE each week, it would be: Fringe, Bones and Grey's Anatomy.

And I must say I'm very much looking forward to Leverage, starring Timothy Hutton. I love Hutton in everything I've seen him in. It also has Christian Kane who was so good in Angel. I like the premise—a bunch of bad guys who act as modern day Robin Hoods.

I'm also looking forward to Doll House. As a big Buffy and Angel fan, I always check out Joss Whedon's new projects. This one is starring Eliza Dushku (who was great as Faith in Buffy) and Amy Acker (who played Fred in Angel). The "Dolls" have had their personalities wiped clean so they can be imprinted with any number of new personas, including memory, muscle memory, skills, and language, for different assignments. They're then hired out for particular jobs, crimes, fantasies, and occasional good deeds.

And there ya go.

Now playing on my iPod: Life's a Show/Give Me Something to Sing About from Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the Musical)


Rebecca Talley said...

One of the original doctors on ER, Anthony Edwards, went to high school with me. He was 2 years older, but I had a serious crush on him. I haven't watched ER since he left.

Sandra said...

Rebecca-that is when I quit watching as well.

Carrie K. said...

I love Fringe, too. I actually liked Eleventh Hour, though the fact that I go ga-ga over Rufus Sewell probably clouded my judgment. :)

I also think that Heroes is getting scattered and crazy; not sure how much time I'll give it.

Love Bones and House. I'm a season behind on Grey's, waiting for my best friend to finish watching last season on DVD.

Melanie Goldmund said...

I watched a few episodes of Bones from the first season (on DVD) but the constant pre-occupation with sexual matters got on my nerves after a while. David Boreanaz was great, though!

I wish I could see Terminator. I loved Summer Glau in Firefly. And I'd be interested in seeing Rufus Sewell as well -- too bad that Eleventh Hour isn't getting good reviews. The Dollhouse sounds fascinating, can't wait to hear what it's like when it comes out.

Right now, though, I'm looking forward to the seventh season of Spooks, which is called MI-5 in the U.S. A great show can only be improved by the addition of Richard Armitage!

Who needs to go to the movies when there are such good television shows for free (or almost?)

Stephanie Abney said...

I agree with you on ER. I've pretty much always watched it but I think it's run its course (but I'll no doubt watch it to the bitter end).

One of the newer shows that I'm loving is ELI STONE ~ it's so well-written. Love the actors and the story lines.