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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

2009 Fall Preview – Mondays

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Monday

ABCCastle is the only show on my grid from the alphabet network on Monday nights. Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic have dynamite chemistry and it makes for a great hour of television. In a world of stale procedurals, pairing a Patterson-esque author with a high-powered detective was an inspired choice. The show is far better than the now-cancelled direct adaptation from 2007-08, Women’s Murder Club. I realize some might note the similarity in formula with The Mentalist (Detectives + Quirky Outsider = Mystery Solving Goodness), but I have room for both shows on my DVR. Castle returns for a second season on September 21st.

CBS – Over the last few years, CBS has built a seriously hilarious two-hour block of comedy on Monday night. How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory, and Two and a Half Men all return for more laughs, with freshman Accidentally On Purpose filling in the extra slot. The new entry stars Jenna Elfman, Grant Show, and several fresh faces, with a plot that sounds like a kind of tamed version of Knocked Up. I’m going to give the show a chance, but it will be on a short leash. My main concern is that it appears to be shot in a very traditional way, which means it could be too much like an old-school sitcom for my taste. We’ll see how Accidentally stacks up with the Monday night all-stars when the CBS comedy block premieres on September 21st.

ESPN – Just like Sundays, I always leave room on my grid for Monday Night Football. I’m not a fan of the way they add 30-45 minutes of bullshit to a game to milk the advertising dollars, but I can’t argue with some of the great matchups that are scheduled this season. September 28th we get to see Carolina at Dallas, marking the Monday night debut of the new Texas Stadium (and it’s low-hanging scoreboard). October 5th gives us Brett Favre’s first team visiting his current team, and for me there is the November 16th game with Baltimore at Cleveland. Here’s hoping my Browns don’t get humiliated again like they have in their last few MNF appearances. Check out the full season schedule for all of the matchups.

FOXHouse returns on September 21st with a two-hour season premiere that takes us inside the Mayfield Psychiatric Hospital where Wilson dropped the good doctor off at the end of the season finale. If you can’t wait until then, there’s a great behind the scenes video available here that will take you inside the process of building the Mayfield set. In the post-House timeslot, we get a second season of Lie to Me starting September 28th. As of right now, I’ve only watched one episode of the first season, but that’s enough for me to know I’ll be watching season two as well. I didn’t watch the episodes the first time around in the spring because I thought the show sounded like a ripoff of The Mentalist, but Tim Roth and company take this one in a totally different direction.

NBC – Peter Berg has proven he knows how to make great television with Friday Night Lights, so I’m willing to come along for the ride when his new show Trauma premieres on September 28th. Trauma takes place in San Francisco and is being billed as taking place “exclusively in the field, where the real action is.” I just hope this isn’t an attempt at a Rescue Me clone, because I think we all know that won’t work on network television. Also on Mondays, we have an entry in the ‘do as I say, not as I do’ category. Heroes is back for a fourth season, but I would very seriously discourage anyone from watching it at this point. Seasons two and three were both disappointing, and I have no legitimate reason to think season four will be any different. The only reason I’m still going to watch is because I want networks to continue to make shows that are different, and admittedly, I want to see what kind of goofy shit they’re going to try to salvage the show this year. I recommend finding something else to watch when Heroes premieres on September 21st.

August 30, 2009 Posted by | Comedy, Drama, Football, New Series, Premiere, Renewed, Scifi, Television | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on 2009 Fall Preview – Mondays

Friday Night Lights Picked Up for 26 More Episodes

Good news for fans of Friday Night Lights–Michael Ausiello with Entertainment Weekly says we should be getting an announcement any day now (link followers beware spoilers on other shows) about a deal for two more 13 episode seasons, following the same model as the current season.  I guess Universal is enjoying that sweet DirecTV cash.  

The bad news is that it sounds like Lyla and Tyra won’t be around for long.  However, after the excellent sendoff that we saw for Smash and Street this year, I feel good that the girls will at least get to go out in style.

UPDATE: It’s official, here’s the press release.

March 28, 2009 Posted by | Drama, Football, Television | , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Friday Night Lights Picked Up for 26 More Episodes