Monday, August 30, 2010

Quick Emmy reaction

Well, let's see what I can remember from this post I was going to make of quick Emmy reactions. Thanks, Firefox, for eating my homework as it were.

I didn't watch the telecast, so these are just reactions to the winners. And, first, a note about the nominees. I think I said it before, but this was a really good year for Emmy nominees. Plenty of new blood and getting rid of the old guard. Now, it'll never be "perfect," and everyone's definitely of "perfect" is different so, y'know, there'll always be snubs. But by and large, and with the glaring exception of Community ("Modern Warfare," I contend, is truly the funniest episode of television that aired last season), I felt this was a standout year for Emmy nominations.

- Jane Lynch's win for Supporting Actress in a Comedy... do I even need to quality this?
- Eric Stonestreet's win for Supporting Actor in a Comedy... a surprise when the expectation was that three nominees from the same show meant they'd split the vote and all lose. Eric's affable Cameron is a delight. Fizbo rules!
- Jim Parsons's overdue win for Lead Actor in a Comedy... he so should've won last year
- Archie Panjabi's win for Supporting Actress in a Drama... she's really the reason I tune into the show, which too often veers toward dull as dishwater (Baranski can be a hoot and a half, but Panjabi is the true scene stealer). Truth be told, I'd have been happy with any of this season's nominees winning, but I like it when a fresh face gets recognized so quickly
- Aaron Paul's win for Supporting Actor in a Drama... the show is more than Bryan Cranston's Walter White and hopefully in two years - Breaking Bad won't be eligible for next year's Emmys - Anna Gunn will at least receive a nomination after this year's snub for her excellent and challenging work. But Aaron Paul is truly fantastic, the heart of the show
- Kyra Sedgwick's win for Lead Actress in a Drama... overdue, perhaps, but she submitted a great episode, and even though she's been nominated every year (Hugh Laurie, perhaps next year will be your year with Bryan Cranston out of contention) and it's nice to get a new winner after back-to-back Glenn Close wins, not to mention a welcome surprise when everyone expected one-note, wooden Julianna Margulies to win
- Modern Family's win for Best Comedy Series... indisputably the funniest and most consistent of the nominees

- Mad Men's threepeat win for Best Drama Series. Season three was by far the most uneven and, yeah, I'll say it, worst season of the show. For it to win when shows like Dexter and Breaking Bad put forth their best seasons yet (IMHO) is just wrong.
- Edie Falco's win for Lead Actress in a Comedy. I just don't "get" Nurse Jackie, I suppose. Of course, she's a really good actress (the category, after all, isn't "Funniest Lead Actress," it's "Best Lead Actress") and two seasons of the show were eligible so I understand the win, but it's a shrug for me. An expected shrug.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Fall TV Viewing Schedule

All that said... here is my personal network TV fall viewing schedule, in case you are curious.

* denotes shows that I need a week or two to satisfy my curiosity / figure out if I'm going to put in the investment... including some returning shows that might get the boot
# denotes my "must watch night of airing" shows


- How I Met Your Mother
- Chuck#

- Lone Star#
- Gossip Girl
- The Event*#

- Hawaii Five-0*


- Glee#
- No Ordinary Family

- Life Unexpected
- Raising Hope*

- Running Wilde*

- The Good Wife


- America's Next Top Model* (necessary explanation: I haven't watched in several cycles, but the prospect of the winner being on the cover Italian Vogue should, hopefully mean the model contestants — and the competition — will all be of a higher quality... so, yeah, I'm curious)

- Modern Family#

- Cougar Town


- The Vampire Diaries#
- The Big Bang Theory
- Community (hulu)
- Bones (hulu)
- My Generation* (hulu)

- 30 Rock#

- Fringe#
- Nikita
- The Office (hulu)
- Grey's Anatomy* (we'll see if the show can recover from a bad season in the wake of its electrifying finale)


- Supernatural (would've been a # but Friday, so I've got the whole weekend)


- The Amazing Race#
- The Simpsons

- Family Guy
- Desperate Housewives*

- American Dad

- Brothers & Sisters*

There are surely a number of cable conflicts (damn you, Project Runway, for having an entertaining season and potentially screwing up Thursdays at 9pm for me) and I'm sure that I'll have to chop off several shows as the season continues because, even now, I'm holding onto a few shows that I'm not really die-hard about any longer (cough, well-past-their-prime ABC soaps, cough).

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.