Tuesday, December 18, 2007

2007 Primetime Preview

Well, I'm going to give this a try. This may be the only one I end up doing, although I'll try to do it on a somewhat weekly basis, but I'm going to start a blog about my thoughts in the world of primetime television. The demand for it isn't necessarily there, but my favorite things to talk about are sports and television. And since there is always someone around to talk sports, and rarely television, I thought there'd be no better way to get out my thoughts in a myspace blog. Plus, I'm bored.

(Parenthesis time. I've lied twice already. I love sports, but don't really like talking about them. Especially at a bar, or with people I don't know. What I've found is that when people get together to talk about sports, all they usually do is repeat things they have heard elsewhere, or yell. Again, I love sports, but I'm not going to memorize Ryan Zimmerman's stats just to impress an acquaintance at Brothers. The other thing is, I'm not a big fan of blogs. In this day and age, everyone is a star. Time magazine even gave us internet communicators person of the year. Youtube annoys me, especially when people make a black and white music video to Imogen Heap and post it online. And blogs are just a way to make you feel more self-important. But, you didn't click on this blog for these thoughts, and I'm going to stop myself before I become more self-depreciating than Paul Shirley.)

Alright, we're about a month in to the 2007-2008 TV Season, and so far it's not that impressive. Ratings seem to be down across the board, and there are new shows that seem they would have been better suited to be made as movies. I'll go through a night by night basis to look at what shows I think are worth watching.


We'll start with Mondays. Everyone hates Mondays, but as far as TV goes, there is a lot to like. The shows I have been watching are Chuck and Journeyman. I agree with Matt Roush of TVguide.com when he says the third episode of Chuck has been the best so far. Chuck is fun show with good characters and is a good way to kill an hour. The term of the year with critics is "escapism fun", and this show is one of those that fits that bill. It's from the brain of Josh Schwartz, so don't be surprised when you see Chuck sitting on the beach while we hear the music of a band that would have played at the Bait Shop. And Chuck has the same ringtone as Marissa Cooper, which is unfortunate. But, this is one of my top three favorite new shows, and I'm excited for the Rachel Bilson episodes coming up. I recommend you check out Chuck at least once.

It's definitely better than the alternative at 7pm, Prison Break. I have loyalty towards this show, season one was a favorite of my college roomate and I. Season two was misguided, but still entertaining. There were weeks where I actually said Prison Break is better than 24, which shows just how bad Jack and the gang were last season. But season three is just stupid. I still don't understand why Michael is in prison, and everything behind why they need to break Whister out of jail. I do like to see all of season two's villians in a new setting, but there are way too many plotholes in this show to say it's a good show. Where Chuck is escapism at it's finest (downloaded government secrets into a nerd's brain is implausible, but it's part of the fun, and it's part of the plot, not a plot hole), Prison Break really is a joke. It's fan base is there however, but I wonder how many of them are like me, watching but not really sure why. And I think the latest death cheapens the last two seasons, rather than advancing the "plot".

Journeyman is an enjoyable show, it's probably the show I look forward to the most everyweek right now. And I say this because I like the show as a whole, and not just for my crush on Moon Bloodgood. There are mysteries to this show, such as why he is traveling back in time, and why is his "dead" fiance always around when he does, but I don't mind not knowing the answers to these questions for awhile. The same people that are irriated by these questions are ths same people that hate Lost. I'm actually more interested in the relationships on this show than I am the time traveling, and as long as they keep that at the forefront, they'll be fine. There is a lot that can go wrong with this show if they aren't careful, and it's one of the shows that may have worked better as a movie. But I'm on board, despite early rumors about cancellation. I've never seen Quantam Leap either, so I can't make the comparison everyone else decides to make. I have seen Sliders though!

Elsewhere on Mondays, I see the ratings for Dancing with the Stars, but who is watching this show? No room on my DVR for Aliens in America, but I'm going to try to catch it next week. Heroes is a waste of time. CBS's Monday Night Comedy Block is great if you don't like to laugh. Personally, haven't got into CSI: Miami. The Bachelor, really?


Tuesday is a well-watched night, but I don't find too many things here that excite me. Cavemen and Carpoolers are typical ABC comedys, shows that think they are better than they are (I'm looking at you Sons and Daughters). Cane has all the makings of a show that will be cancelled. I want to get into House, I've liked the episodes I've seen. The only show I really watch this night is on the CW (who knew?), Reaper. It's a light, fun show, and I'll agree with some that think Ray Wise as the devil is one of the best character matches ever. But to me, it's like a junior version of Chuck. It would have a bigger audience on a different network though.


ABC debuted the rarity of having an entire night of new shows. The only one I've watched is Pushing Daisies, and it's lived up to it's hype. It's different, which is an understatement. The show will have a hard time living up to it's "Pie-lette" which was spectacular. After this pilot, and Journeyman this season, I had the same feelings I did after the first episodes of 24 and Lost, shows I knew were going to be on the top of my list. I'm more interesting in the dynamic of Chuck and the Pie man, as he is called, than I am about the weekly mystery. The premise is as unique as it gets, and the fact that Ned and Chuck (Chuck is girl in this show, a lot of "Chucks" this season), can never touch despite their extremely high sexual tension, is extremely interesting to watch. The show has a very whimisical, romantic feeling, and you can't help fall in love with Pushing Daisies!!!!!

Kid Nation wasn't as bad of an idea as it was made out to be, but you can see the influence the people behind the scenes have on the show, so it falls flat. It was actually heartbreaking to watch the eight year old boy leave during the first episode, and heartbreaking in an uncomfortable, why am I watching this way. I've heard Life is ok, but haven't seen it, meanwhile I heard Private Practice was awful, but it seems that the people that watch Grey's only watch this show because they feel like they have too. Not excited about Bionic Woman either, but apparently it has an audience. I like Back to You, and still haven't decided if I'm going to check out Gossip Girl or not. The fact that I've even mentioned CW shows is shocking me as well.

Don't forget about new South Park episodes, which are getting better with age.


Thursday! Historically, the night of the best television. Let's go through this one show by show.

Ugly Betty - Haven't seen it, but I don't think I'm their intended audience. Apparently, this is a big hit too. Another show that has good ratings, but one no one ever talks about. How can this show possibly be good?

Big Shots -It's good to see Christopher Titus is alive.

Grey's Anatomy - I used to watch this show, the Super Bowl promos hooked me in. When it moved to Thursdays, I passed on the show to watch The O.C. fade into oblivion. Well, it looks like if I want my taste of over the top drama with outrageous storylines and negative things continually happening to the characters, it looks like I can still get that thanks to Greys. The episode where Meredith "dies"? Come on. The wife of ESPN.com's Bill Simmons says it best when describing why I don't need to get back into Grey's. Her thoughts can be found here: http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=simmons/071012&sportCat=nfl. Scroll down a little, it's on the right hand side. Here's an exerpt.

Grey's jumped the shark when T.R. Knight's dork character cheated on his overweight wife with blonde, beautiful, leggy Izzy -- that "relationship" is about as realistic as Spencer from "The Hills" getting a job..... Also, the gay-bashing saga with Isaiah Washington overshadowed last season when Katherine Heigl (who plays Izzy) defended T.R.'s sexual preference and T.R. seemed so wounded by everything (I felt so bad for him). Now, we're supposed to be watching T.R. and Izzy have an affair?

CBS (Survivor, CSI, Without a Trace) - Eh.

Smallville, Supernatural - Nothing to say, I've already given this network enough credit.

FOX - They have been trying since the days they Johnny Depp to get something going on Thursdays. Their games shows have actually been their best choice. I think hour long game shows are a bad idea. This is a trend that Millionaire started, which was a great game show before ABC abused it like the cash whore it was. Then came The Weakest Link, which was never good, everyone was just like, "Hey, this is kind of like Millionaire, and the chick is British, so when she is mean, it's funny!" I am excited for Regis to come back and host Password. Game shows these days are not as much about the game as they are the drama. Power of 10 was good, but you only saw about five questions get answered in the hour it was on. And this, "We'll find out... after the break!" stuff needs to go. It's not so bad with DVR, but it's annoying. Especially know that every host knows people hate it, and give the "I'm sorry, we gotta pay the bills" routine. Come on Foxworthy. PS on Jeff Foxworthy, the guy is a genius. The punch line to everyone of his jokes was "You might be a redneck", and it cracked people up every time. What the hell?

My Name is Earl - Just haven't got into it, but like it.

ER - People have been watching this for the last ten years waiting for Doug Ross and Carol Hathaway to come back. But really, how many times do you see shows end with completely different casts then what it starts with? I think ER works well that way though, over the last 14 however many years, you've basically had three different medical dramas. Its sounds like it may be coming to an end soon. I wonder if Clooney will indeed come back. The real question is: Would he ever come back if Roseanne had a reunion show???

30 Rock - All I am going to say is that when it started last year, I thought it was ok. I got out of it, but was told to get back in. If you're not in yet, GET IN. It's more than deserving of it's best comedy Emmy. It's just a half hour of fun.

The Office - The office used to be a half hour of fun, until it decided that going an hour long would make the show better. I don't know, I don't mind the hour long episodes, but it doesn't always feel like they are needed. I do like Jim and Pam together, and I hope it stays that way. I love that Ed Helms is a regular, he fits right in, and his song to Angela was classic. Can't wait to see how that affects the Dwight / Andy rivarly. But when Michael and Dwight drove around town trying to get the gift baskets back? It was funny when Michael drove into the lake, although of out character a little bit. I love Steve Carell, but there are times when Michael Scott becomes more annoying than anything else. It is my favorite comedy on tv however, and I'm glad it's found it's own way after copying scripts of the BBC version.

Scrubs - Come back!

Mad Men - Have only seen the pilot of this AMC show, but I'll write more about it once I plow through a couple more episodes.

Friday / Saturday

It's only approapriate to write off these nights, since the networks have. I think you can still find an audience for new shows on these nights, and don't like to see the networks give up on them. Friday still has plenty of new shows yet. I want to see the first season of Friday Night Lights before too long, but I hear the second season isn't what fans were hoping for. These nights appear to be best suited for reruns, sports, and newsmagazines (remember when those exploaded? There were five Datelines per week. Why, I ask you? Why???)


Not much to say about Sunday nights, in terms of new shows. ABC has it's feel-good Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and then big hits Housewives and Brothers and Sisters, neither of which I watch. I'm in the M18-34 demo, so I'm usually not drifting towards ABC this night. If I can remember, Home Edition was sort of a "spin-off" of the original Extreme Makeover, which simply gave people makeovers, and didn't do well. It's a feel good show, and it does good things for good people, but I've never liked it because when the show came within a half an hour of my hometown paper, the "Fond du Lac Reporter", news was put on the backburner for a two-week magazine about Ty Pennington and the crew. Like Dr. Cox, I'm not a Hugh Jackman guy, so I'll be staying away from CBS, I'm a FOX guy on Sundays, although the Simpsons hasn't been good this year (and I always defend Simpsons), and Family Guy has peaked already as well. The CW is irrelevant, really, on this night, and I'm busy watching NBC's Sunday Night Football.

This could be the longest blog I've ever wrote. If you read it, feel free to add your thoughts below, otherwise if no one read it, it gave me something to do besides watch the Badgers get pummeled out of the top 25. I hope you enjoyed it, and I tried not to steal too many thoughts of other critics I've read. Maybe I am no better than the people I talk sports with after all. But hey, if I did write similiar things, and you haven't read it, they are new to you! (Ah, the days of Must See TV.)


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