Tuesday, October 18, 2005

On the Boob Tube - Monday Edition

As I've noted before, the demise of the Whedonverse on broadcast television pretty much ended my prime-time boobtube watching for some time. It's not like we don't have the TV on - it's pretty much a constant - but it's typically sports, old movies, sports highlights, new news, Mythbusters or stuff in syndication (or sports). Last season the only show I religiously watched was Numb3rs, which did well enough to get picked up for a second season. Less religiously watched was Arrested Development, which was killed and miraculously resurrected by the network after a huge outcry from the fanbase (why didn't that work with Serenity?). There are a number of shows that I would probably have liked if I got into them earlier on (Alias, Lost, West Wing) or was able to stick with them after the first couple of eps (24) so with the new season starting, I decided to check out a few of the new shows to see if I was missing anything. It's certainly not that I'm in need of more things to do, but there are some new shows that I thought sounded promising.

So, Monday night...

Arrested Development - 8:00 pm (Fox)
The funniest half hour on television in, well, forever. My biggest concern this year was that after the cancellation notice last season, they basically burned through a season's worth of storylines in the last three episodes. Thankfully, there seems to be no slowdown evidenced in the first few episodes of season three. There are big laughs, little laughs, sly laughs, embarassed laughs and winks and nods (replacing Henry Winkler with Scott Baio in the cast was just genius). I have to admit to being a little slow about one wink - clearly the show that Arrested Development most resembles is Soap but it wasn't until yesterday that I got the Chuck and Bob reference with Gob and Franklin. Sometimes you have to hit me over the head a little harder. The cast, writing, direction - it's all good.
5.0 bleary eyes out of 5

How I Met Your Mother - 8:30 pm (CBS)
It was a tossup between Allyson Hannigan in this one or Nick Brendan in Kitchen Confidential and I went with the little witch. As it turns out, this is much more "American Pie" Hannigan than "Buffy" Hannigan, but that's okay too. The premise of the show (it's all one long flashback) is kinda silly and the laughtrack was immediately off-putting. Yet each episode has had at least a couple of good laughs, so I stuck with it for the first few. The show is certainly not beyond redemption, but I doubt I've got the patience to wait for it. I think I backed the wrong horse - this one is likely going to fall by the wayside (I've already missed the last two eps).
2.5 bleary eyes out of 5

Surface - 8:00 pm (NBC)
So now we've got a schedule conflict. I wasn't even aware of this one (it was going to be called "Fathom" until just before the premier) and wouldn't have seen it at all if NBC hadn't also run the first few episodes on SciFi to build an audience - that tactic apparently worked as the ratings have improved (and it snagged JS). I've now caught bits of the first few episodes and it isn't bad, but I'm far from hooked (although I think JS is pretty well a fan now). While Fox is preempting everything for baseball we're okay, but we may be fighting for the remote in a few weeks.
3.0 bleary eyes out of 5

What we're not watching - Prison Break (I really like the guy from John Doe but this just seems a little too "24"-ish in pacing - how do you base a whole series around one short event?) and Kitchen Confidential (may give this one a try after baseball).


At 11:30 AM, Blogger jw said...

We watch WAY too much TV in our house. No, I take that back. The TV is ON way too much. I'm not sure we're watching it much.

What about Two and a Half Men? Charlie Sheen is pretty obnoxious, but the kid is adorable.

At 1:24 PM, Blogger Lex said...

I saw the first two eps of the remade "Night Stalker" and it wasn't bad. Missed Ep 3, which is often where you figure out whether a series is going to last. (The premiere featured one brief shot in which Darren McGavin, in the white seersucker suit he always wore in the original series, was leaning against a newsroom desk in the background. Nice touch that could've been overdone and wasn't.)

I've also seen one episode of "My Name is Earl," and it was pretty damn funny. This particular episode featured the woman who played Mrs. Van Landingham on "West Wing" as the mother of a guy who got sent to prison for a robbery Earl actually had committed, and boy, was she pissed at Earl. That was an amusing change of pace for the actress.

At 4:13 PM, Blogger Tony Plutonium said...

jw - 2 1/2 men is one of those that I'd probably like if I'd try it. Scrubs is another one - Mom's a huge fan. Wait a minute, Mom's convinced that Seinfeld is the funniest thing ever and that I'm lying when I say that I hated it, so maybe she's not such a good judge.

lex - I'll get to those (this was just the MONDAY edition after all! :-) ) but let me say that Earl is potentially supplanting Arrested Dev as the funnest thing on the screen.

At 7:26 PM, Blogger jw said...

Oh yeah, Scrubs! Zach Braff has a blog, too. http://www2.foxsearchlight.com/gardenstate/blog/

For some reason, I never got Seinfeld. But then I'm not much of a fan of body or bathroom humor.


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