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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

nip/tuck Season 6 Premieres Oct 14

photo courtesy FX Network

photo courtesy FX Network

My advice is not to get your hopes set too high for this next-to-last season of our favorite plastic surgery romp. We only get ten episodes since FX decided in their infinite wisdom that it would be best to split the final episodes into two seasons with a series finale holding until 2011.

While I know we’ll get some classic crazy surgical procedures, I have a strong feeling that these ten episodes will simply set the stage for the final run that is still over one year away, despite all footage already being in the can. It’s interesting that creator Ryan Murphy’s new effort, Glee, could be finishing it’s second season by the time nip/tuck finishes its run.

September 20, 2009 Posted by | Comedy, Drama, Premiere, Renewed, Television | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Healthcare Reform Be Damned – Glee Airs Tonight on FOX As Scheduled

copyright 2009 FOX Network

copyright 2009 FOX Network

Whatever was going to air on the big three networks tonight has been bumped for President Obama’s healthcare speech, but those lovable renegades over at FOX will air the season premieres of So You Think You Can Dance and Glee as scheduled. I don’t care about Dance, but I’ve been looking forward to Glee ever since they showed us the pilot back in May. Glee airs at 9/8c.

September 9, 2009 Posted by | Comedy, Drama, New Series, News, Premiere, Television | , , , , , | Comments Off on Healthcare Reform Be Damned – Glee Airs Tonight on FOX As Scheduled

FX Announces Fall Premieres Including Sunny and nip/tuck

Today’s press release from FX revealed that the fifth season of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia will bow on September 17th. The full cast returns for a season that will include 12 episodes and air at 10/9c on Thursdays. Until then, enjoy a little beatbox action from the cast.

As for our favorite plastic surgery team, “nip/tuck will return for its sixth and penultimate season in October and will consist of 10 new episodes.” I’m pretty pissed off that they have decided to split the final run of episodes, delaying the already-announced series finale until 2011. At least they’ve already wrapped shooting on the series, meaning creator Ryan Murphy can focus on Glee instead.

June 30, 2009 Posted by | Comedy, Drama, New Series, Premiere, Renewed, Television | , , , , , , , | Comments Off on FX Announces Fall Premieres Including Sunny and nip/tuck

Cancellation Lament

Now that the networks have announced their fall schedules, we know which shows won’t be coming back. I think some obituaries are in order.

This list doesn’t contain every cancellation, but it does contain all the ones I care about.

ABC

Dirty Sexy Money – How many times will this network take a show featuring the incredibly talented Peter Krause, give it minimal support, and cancel it prematurely? Admittedly, this show suffered from a lack of focus, but I think it had a shot at being a modern day Dynasty or Dallas. I blame the writer’s strike for most of the ratings problems, since it never really had a chance to find an audience. The final handful of episodes will air Saturdays at 10/9 starting July 18th.

Pushing Daisies – I understand the stunning visuals were not cheap to create, but once again a truly unique show has been cancelled too soon. While I didn’t care for the Kristen Chenowith sing-a-longs, I loved the combination of fairy-tale and noir that filled each episode. Jim Dale’s outstanding narration worked perfectly with the subject matter, and the original plots allowed for some great guest appearances. The silver lining is that ABC has decided to air the three remaining episodes on Saturdays at 10/9 starting May 30th. Keep in mind though that these episodes aren’t expected to fully resolve the story.

Eli Stone – I realize I just finished saying I didn’t care for the singing on Pushing Daisies, but at least Eli Stone’s musical numbers were part of the plot. In fact, they acknowledged the absurdity of musical numbers in general by making them take place only in Eli’s aneurysm-addled brain. Sadly, this is the third member of ABC’s ill-fated ’07-’08 trio of shows with ratings that got decimated by the strike. Like the other two, the final episodes will be shown in the Saturday 10/9 slot, starting June 20th. As for the cast, star Jonny Lee Miller has gone back to his native England and will be in the BBC’s latest version of Jane Austen’s Emma, airing later this year. The excellent Victor Garber is headed to Fox’s new show Glee to play the father of Will, the glee club director, so I’m sure we can count on hearing his tenor again in primetime.

CBS

Worst Week – Based on the ratings, this show may have gotten tired for many people, but I thought it actually improved dramatically as the season went on. I recommend putting the complete series DVD set in your Netflix queue once it is released later this year. Also, since she was added for two episodes very near the end of the season, I’m starting to wonder if Rachael Harris is a black widow for new shows. (see In The Motherhood, Notes from the Underbelly, Pushing Daisies, Emily’s Reasons Why Not)

Eleventh Hour – Like Worst Week, this was another show based on a UK original that didn’t catch on with the American audience. The chemistry between Rufus Sewell and Marley Shelton took a little to long to develop, but I believe the real downfall of this show was the subject matter. In a grid full of procedurals, new shows have to stand out if they are going to stick around long. I enjoyed the show, in fact it reminded me a lot of the quickly-cancelled Medical Investigation from NBC a few years ago. Unfortunately, in a year where Fringe premiered, the mysteries on this show were just not ‘out there’ enough. And holding less than half of its CSI lead-in audience was just not good enough. I’m sure both actors will land on their feet, in fact they have both booked film gigs already.

NBC

Life – Granted, the second season was not as tight as the first, but Life had that unique quality that set itself apart from other shows. Crews’ zen approach to detective work was just as compelling for me as Bobby Goren on Law & Order: Criminal Intent. I can’t complain too much about this cancellation though, since I’m just now watching the final three episodes as I write this post. Ultimately, I think this is the kind of show that belongs on cable. The kind of season-long underlying plot lines Life showcased remind me more of Damages than CSI. Damian Lewis is a great talent who will have no problem booking other jobs, and I hope Adam Arkin finds a new home as well. Arkin had three movies slated for 2009 and actually directed two of the final episodes of Life, so his prospects would appear to be pretty good.

My Name Is Earl – I’ll be the first to admit that this fourth season hasn’t been even close to the quality of the first three, but I don’t think the reason is a big mystery. Starting at the end of the third season, there was a complete departure from the simple “do something from Earl’s list” premise. Creator Greg Garcia announced a return to the original formula for the fourth season, but there were still way too many episodes that focused on things like Darnell and Joy in Witness Protection, and the disappearance of Ernie, the owner of the Crab Shack who we have never previously seen or cared about. I’d like to see this get picked up by Fox, ABC, or TBS as rumored, just to see if they can right the ship by returning to what made the show great.

May 24, 2009 Posted by | Cancelled, Comedy, Drama, New Series, Television | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Cancellation Lament