Tuesday, December 18, 2007

November Sweeps

Alright, I know it's been about a month since I've written my "weekly" tv blog, but that just means I have much more to say about the 2007 television season, which could shape up to be one of the crazier seasons we've seen. Anyways, welcome back readers, and also a warm welcome to Nick Marcou. Nick is a friend of me, fellow television lover. He liked my last blog, in part because many of the thoughts were his! I can assure you Nick that I will not rip you off this time, and I hope you make it through the whole blog. And to not jeopardize my credibility, the thoughts Nick had were echoed by me, that's why I included them. Actually, I ripped him off pretty bad. Consider him a contributing partner.

Still here? Let's get started. First off, the writers went on strike last week and the whole 2007 TV season is in trouble, unless you love reality programming. Late night programs like Daily Show, Colbert, and SNL went into reruns right away, which is too bad, I'm enjoying SNL this year. Leno, Letterman, and Conan and the B-squad of Ferguson and Carson Daly are in reruns as well. The strike actually made Jay Leno say the first funny thing I've ever heard him say when he acknowledged that without writers he's not funny (although you'd never know he still had writers, he's been recycling jokes since the mid 90s.) Scripted shows will feel the effect soon enough, this week's will be the last new Office in a while (the hour long episodes were nice, but these latest episodes, back to a half hour, have been terrific), and other shows will follow shortly. 24 has been suspended indefinitely, which will maybe give them time to rethink the whole Tony back from the dead idea, although the trailer was intriguing, even with the shades of Die Hard 4. I'm the most worried about lost, which ABC says 8 episodes have been shot, out of the season long 16. They are planning to run the episodes, which the Lost creators aren't too happy about, because it will break up the season. And if you didn't know, there is a strike because the writers, among other things, feel they should be getting paid for when their shows, or their product, winds up on the internet in an ad supported form. If the website, the network, is making money off of the shows, the writers feel they should be getting a cut of that profit. I predict the strike won't be figured out until March. This could either mean that we see new episodes in the summer, we see shows airing multiple nights a week in April, May, or we'll have the closest thing to a re-run free season in 2008-2009.

As for the season so far, I've dropped a few shows from the radar. I wanted to get into House and How I Met Your Mother this year, but don't have the time, and would rather start from the beginning. Reaper, while entertaining, seems to have leveled off, and I dropped it from the DVR. Aliens in America, a CW comedy, is funny, and will probably get more play from me now that I dropped it's timeslot competitor, Prison Break.

I was a big fan of season one, and was alright with season two, as it followed the characters I have come to enjoy. If youre a Prison Break fan, the point where I started to lose interest was in season two, where C-Note hung himself, only to find out he wasn't dead. I don't know why, but that started it for me. Now, it's season three, Mahone is crazy, Haywire popped up for one episode for no reason, and I stil can't wrap my head around why Michael is in Sona in the first place. True, it was explained, but the reasons were just too implausible for me. Much to the dismay of my longtime friend Tucker Burr, I gave up on Prison Break, one of the most sloppy and confusing shows I've ever seen. One other Prison Break note, I know that Sarah Wayne Callies (Sara) couldn't work out a contract, but killing her off didn't do it for me. At first I didn't care, but now feel that it's one of the key reasons the show is struggling. To me, it cheapened the whole show. No more Michael or Lincoln for me.

One show that I do love is Journeyman. It's really the only show I feel I must watch the night it's aired, and that I won't let myself wait a couple days for. The time traveling element is awesome, but somehow the relationships play a bigger role in the series. My favorite parts are when Dan, the journeyman, goes back in time and see's his former self or other people in his life. In last week's episode, Dan actually came into contact with himself, and thought it was the best episode outside of the pilot. Now, the past is catching up with him (the cops are about to come after him for some stolen money he brought into the future) and we're learning more about Livia. There are so many questions, and we're learning more every week. Journeyman is a show where you don't know everything right off the bat, but the writing is sharp and you trust the questions will be answered. On the other hand, Prison Break is one giant question, and a complete mess.

The writer's strike may be saving Journeyman from cancellation however, as networks are now desperate for any new programming. Journeyman though pulled down a 3.5 rating last Monday, which is not what NBC was hoping for with a Heroes lead-in. I suspect it will finish it's initial order, and then not return. It will be too short lived, like my favorite new show of last year, Daybreak.

Speaking of NBC Mondays, I'm pleasantly surprised with Chuck. It's from the creator of the OC, Josh Schwartz, who I like a lot. There is some OC influence in the show. I think they use some of the same establishing shots, and the beach scene earlier this season looked very familiar. Some of the songs, such as Finley Quaye's "Dice" get reused. I will say it was weird to see Chuck running to his best friend the same way Ryan ran to Marissa on New Year's Eve. One character actually muttered the line "OC Season two, severly underrated". And Rachel Bilson will be on this week's episode! However, the spy angle works for Schwartz, the cast is great, especially Zachary Levi as Chuck. It's a cant miss for me.

So, for the shows that are currenltly showing new episodes, the can't miss category is this: Journeyman, Chuck, South Park, 30 Rock, Office, Scrubs, Pushing Daisies, The Simpsons, Family Guy

The "DVR now, watch later category" includes: Aliens in America, Samatha Who?, Back to You

The shows I still need to catch up on are: Mad Men, The Kill Point

I'm not watching as much TV as I'd like to, there are good shows out there I just cant get too, but there is also a lot of junk. I've never gotten into the big hits like CSI's, Without a Trace, Dancing with the Stars, and I've had enough of Grey's.

But that's how I feel about the 2007 season so far, and just when I settled into a normal tv watching pattern, the strike happens and everything will soon be in chaos.

But hey, it's only TV. (How's that for a new signature line?)


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