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2009 Fall Preview – Wednesday

Wednesday

The 9/8c time slot is the busiest on my grid this year. In fact, I’m glad I upgraded to a third HDDVR at the beginning of this month since it’s the one time of the week when I’m recording six shows simultaneously. I’m sure the full slate won’t survive through October, but at least I’m prepared.

ABC – It appears ABC is making an attempt at assembling a sort of “Super New Wednesday” with a full slate of new shows. I certainly hope it doesn’t meet the same fate as the schedule from a couple years ago when we got hooked on Pushing Daisies and Dirty Sexy Money, only to have the writer’s strike kill their freshman seasons, a fate they never recovered from.

Kelsey Grammer makes another attempt at his triumphant return to network television in a sitcom with a premise that sounds almost exactly like his FOX failure from two years ago, Back to You. Successful guy loses success and has to learn to live with a family he has ignored. My love of Frasier means I’ll check out at least a couple episodes, but I doubt this one will last. In an odd coincidence, Grammer’s Back to You co-star Patricia Heaton stars in The Middle, another traditional sitcom that also marks an attempt to show us that network television understands what it’s like to be affected by our current recession. Both shows premiere September 30th.

A less traditional hour of programming follows, starting with Modern Family, a show that follows three families in a documentary style (think The Office) and features an exceptional cast including Ed O’Neill (Married with Children) and Julie Bowen (Boston Legal). As many of you know, I’m a big fan of comedies sans laughtrack, so I have high hopes for this one. Following Modern Family, Courtney Cox returns to network television with Cougar Town. I haven’t learned much about the show, but it was created by Bill Lawrence (Scrubs) so I think it has a much better shot at success than say….Joey. These two shows premiere September 23rd.

Rounding out the night, we have Eastwick, a re-imagining of the 1987 movie The Witches of Eastwick and the John Updike novel of the same name. Be careful when setting this one on the DVR, I would hate for you to end up with a late night showing of 2005’s The Witches of Breastwick.

CBSCriminal Minds returns in its normal slot for a fifth season on September 23rd. Minds has quietly become a very consistent performer for CBS, which surprises me considering how little support it got when it started. If you haven’t watched this at all before, I would recommend checking out an episode–each week is pretty self-contained so it isn’t hard to jump on.

Comedy Central – The boys are back October 7th for the second half of South Park Season 13, and plenty of ultra-topical shenanigans will be there. Following South Park is a new live-action show called Secret Girlfriend. The show is basically about a group of guys partying and attempting to get laid. I have no idea if it will be good, but the network only ordered six episodes so I’ll check it out.

DirecTV 101 – Continuing their partnership with NBC from last season, DirecTV gets the exclusive premiere of Friday Night Lights season four, starting October 28th. Dillon is in for some big changes with Coach Taylor headed to the newly re-opened East Dillon High School to lead the Lions. Taylor “Gambit” Kitsch and Zach Gilford return, although Gilford will likely make a mid-season exit a la Smash and Street before him. For those who haven’t figured it out yet, Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton as Eric and Tami Taylor are the best couple on television. Also, have no fear FNL fans, DirecTV and NBC have already inked a deal that ensures 13 episodes for this season and another 13 next year. Game on.

DiscoveryMythbusters picks up for the second half of season seven on October 7th. From the look of this story, they busted a few windows making the episode in March of this year.

FOX – Are you watching Glee yet? If you aren’t, I’m not sure you’ll need me to tell you to. FOX has declared a media war on anyone who thinks this is just another lame attempt at a tv musical. If creator Ryan Murphy’s name isn’t enough to get you on board, I don’t know what will work. Murphy’s nip/tuck helped start the cable drama revolution a few years ago and now that he’s done with it, he’s decided to do something kids can watch too. In addition to normal promotion, The songs will be taking over iTunes each week, and two albums are already scheduled, with the first one dropping in November. Glee premiered September 9th.

FX – As I posted last week, nip/tuck returns October 14th for its second-to-last season. I would have said penultimate season, but I’m tired of people saying penultimate.

MTVReal World Road Rules Challenge is back again to meet our need for some sweet guilty pleasure tv. My advice is to DVR it, fast forward through the manufactured drama bullshit, and just watch the challenges. The show premieres September 30th.

NBCMercy is yet another new medical show, and normally I wouldn’t give it the time of day. However, it has James Tupper from the ill-fated Men in Trees, so I can’t help but tune in. Apparently, nurse shows are the new surgeon shows–what a super original idea!

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September 23, 2009 Posted by | Comedy, Drama, Game Shows, New Series, Premiere, Reality, Renewed, Television | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

RIP Life – Cancelled After 32 Episodes

Life started off as a very different kind of show than we are used to seeing on network television. The idea of a show about a zen detective whose research into a conspiracy that resulted in his false imprisonment is certainly unique. Also unique was the kind of documentary style the show was created with.

But that was season one.

It’s almost as if the creators never expected Life to go beyond those first eleven episodes. We went from an underlying story that provided a larger driving force to a run-of-the-mill procedural that was pretty much like every other show on television. The result was a show that was not only less unique, but also less compelling.

It really is a shame the writing failed the show, because the actors were great. The awesome ensemble included Damian Lewis as Charlie Crews, Sarah Shahi as his partner Dani Reese, and Adam Arkin as prison buddy turned roommate/business manager Ted Earley. The interactions between Lewis, Arkin, and Shahi were funny, insightful, and very real.

In addition to the actual writing, on some level I blame the Writer’s Strike for killing audience interest. NBC was also complicit, since they gave Life virtually no marketing support, then banished it to two terrible timeslots during season two. After the long delay between seasons, NBC could have at least put a recap episode out to re-capture the audience. Instead, the put the show in the awful Friday 10pm slot, then moved it mid-season to Wednesdays at 9pm, competing directly with LOST and Criminal Minds. At that point, even I had to demote Life to my secondary DVR. I realize that means that most normal viewers were forced to turn away completely, sealing the show’s fate.

May 9, 2009 Posted by | Cancelled, Drama, Television | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on RIP Life – Cancelled After 32 Episodes