Friday, August 27, 2010

Other News Shows I Will Be Watching

I think part of the reason I haven't been blogging much or posting reviews about upcoming shows — besides needing to put a lot more time into my writing and professional life — is because I just wasn't that impressed by what's out there. I'd rather have 100 new shows like The Event that at least get a rise out of me — even if it's an infuriated "I want to love you, why aren't you better!?" reaction — than the myriad of mediocrity the networks are putting forward this fall season.

Time is an incredibly limited resource, I'm starting to realize. Which means that I can't any longer justify forcing my DVR to record shows that are TV to fold laundry by. Which means I'm cutting down on the TV shows I'm already moderately invested in and new shows really have to give me a reason to tune in on a weekly basis. I realize that my TV viewing patterns are not like that of most of America. I either commit to a show fully and make it an appointment or I don't bother at all.

For instance, while I think Dana Delany nails the lead character in Body of Proof... the show is just another character-led procedural. And one with only one character who, in the pilot, rises about stock. I can't be bothered. Sorry!

Also, I've discovered that I hate writing middling reviews. It's just unpleasant. Again, I'd rather feel passionately disappointed enough in something to write a scathing review than to be able to sum my feelings up as "shrug!" Believe it or not, I'm rooting for every single thing I watch (or read) to be executed well. Even flawed premises can be made into interesting or at least palatable shows with the right approach, the right casting, etc.

So, here are the other new shows I'll be sampling this fall season, beyond Lone Star and The Event (which, per my previous post, has exactly one episode to tell me WTF the show actually is because the pilot didn't tell me what I'd be watching).


I'm a geek. I love superheroes. Are the powers the most original things this show has going for it? Certainly not. I wish the powers were more creative and fantastic and less on the nose in certain metaphors. But I like the blue sky feeling to it, a welcome change versus the incredibly dark Heroes. Some scenes play so light it borders on sitcom... but that's okay when I'm smiling along. Also? The casting. The casting is just awesome. I'm not sure how Michael Chiklis — doing a complete 180 from The Shield's Vic Mackey and relishing it — is still pulling off being married to a 30-something and having teenage kids, but he's doing it. Plus Julie Benz, Autumn Reeser, AND Romany Malco? Good stuff. There are, um, two kids that I don't really give a crap about yet. Maybe that'll change.


The pilot adds in a necessary opening shot and voiceover monologue from the titular Nikita, which was utterly necessary because otherwise we wouldn't have seen her until a few minutes in. And she carries the show that, though uneven, has its moments. There are moments of ridiculousness (if I'm remembering the hotel sequence correctly, there are several moments where I was like... um... what? Worst spies ever). It's definitely not a revolutionary spy show (and I still can't believe no one during the process didn't fix Nikita's boyfriend's name, Danny... who gets killed and that's why she wants to take SD-6 down... oh, wait, that was a different show...) but, in a sense, it is. Because all the spy shows on TV right now are light and fluffy (Chuck and Burn Notice certainly have dark moments, but they are both comedic... and Covert Affairs and Undercovers are decidedly lighter in tone). Nikita is dark and dangerous and no one really questions the morality of killing someone dead BECAUSE THEY ARE TRAINED SPIES AND ASSASSINS. Anyway. It feels different, which is odd, but that's just the state of TV right now. I still think Division's assassin school feels too frat/sorority house (OMG bitchy mean girl showing her claws in an attempt to keep the new girl off her man) and think it lives and breathes in a different show than Nikita herself does, regardless of the final twist at the end of the pilot that tries to bridge the gap... but the fact remains that during the pilot the two plot threads feel, at best, loosely connected. If they manage to blend in tone... okay, fine. If not, the disjointed feeling will continue and that will make me sad.


Okay, this is less because of what the show is (just another procedural, believe me, once they got to series there was no way to continue the level of action the pilot had) and more of how the show looks. I'm going to record week two, anyway. Because I'm insanely curious. In the pilot, every frame looks like a freaking postcard and I'm hoping it stays as... pretty. I have complaints about O'Laughlin's woodenness, but as a lot of the emotional / character stuff I liked in the script was excised in favor EXPLOSIONS WOOOO!!! he is basically playing Captain Cardboard and that's all the role demands. Scott Caan chews the scenery at times, but in a very welcome way at times. I didn't get a ton off of either Jin or Boomer (two more reasons to tune in, certainly), but they're swept up in the "putting the team together" plot and aren't featured as heavily as they're sure to be in future episodes. So, while I don't think this is appointment viewing for me, it will be the exception to prove my new rule about what I deign to watch. Because... shiny.


Anonymous said...

Travisyanan, have you seen the pilot for 'Running Wilde' yet? If so, I'd be very keen to hear your notes on it.

I've been consistently amused by those provocative bumper promos that FOX has been running all summer with Miss Keri Russell and Mr. Will Arnett sniping away at one another. They look spontaneous, but may very well be just wittily crafted scripting.

You're much too young to remember a whole series of similar adverts that Mr. James Garner and Miss Mariette Hartley did for Polaroid (a self-developing camera popular in the '70s/'80s) as a bickering couple exchanging rejoinders. I've attached a link to a YouTube of a 1979 Polaroid Christmas commercial that captures the feel of the ads:
(Mr. James Garner and Miss Mariette Hartley star in a 1979 Polaroid commercial)


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