thoughts on pop culture

2009 Fall Preview – 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!


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

Better YouTube Filter: Web Soup or Tosh.0?

Despite all the hours I spend on the computer each week, I do my best not to get sucked down the ultimate web time warp, YouTube.  Understand, I don’t think YouTube is stupid or pointless, I just know that intending to watch one video often ends two hours later with very little to show for it. Just pulling up a few of the clips that were mentioned this week almost led me down the rabbit hole. This has inspired my quest to find a filter to do this for me, leaving me with only the videos that are actually entertaining. Enter Web Soup and Tosh.0.

Web Soup (G4, Sundays 9/8c, premieres June 7th)  
From the creators of The Soup, this show features Chris Hardwick instead of Joel McHale, and is focused specifically on web video instead of Tyra Banks and Flavor Flav. Not surprisingly, the style of humor on the show is very similar to it’s mother-program. I’ve seen Hardwick on other shows, including a recent appearance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and he actually seems much less comfortable on his own show than he does as a guest on someone else’s program. Sure, it could have been pilot jitters, but that’s what the editing room is supposed to be used for. Hardwick notes on his blog that he is not trying to do a McHale impression, and I think that’s true. I take him at face value when he says he’s using the same style he’s had since his first tv gig at MTV in the 90’s. Those MTV/90’s comedy roots are evident. It seems to me that his delivery is a mix of Kurt Loder and Carson Daly, with a hint of Jerry Seinfeld. Frankly, I think loyal viewers of the original don’t need to watch Web Soup since McHale’s version already includes some pretty entertaining web video alongside the latest creepy shit Willard Scott has done. The best call was putting the show on a network other than E!, giving Web Soup a chance to capture a different demographic at G4. You can view the promo video here.

Tosh.0 (Comedy Central, Thursdays 10/9c, premiered June 4th)
Comedian Daniel Tosh is the host of this show, that seems to me like a mashup of The Daily Show and The Soup, but again rooted in web video.  Tosh’s style is a bit more unique than Hardwicke’s, although I’ll admit that could be because I had never seen him before the premiere episode aired. What I really enjoyed about Tosh.0 were the differences in delivery, even on the first episode. Instead of “clip, joke, clip, joke, repeat”, Tosh mixes in an interview with the Afro Ninja as well as his own attempt to complete some of the web’s funniest challenges. It seems the later time slot also allows Tosh to be edgier with his jokes, which appeals to me as well. The Afro Ninja spot is available on the website if you missed it. 

I’m sure it’s no surprised based on my comments that I have decided to keep Tosh.0 on my DVR playlist and drop Web Soup. Ultimately, I think each person’s choice will depend on which host appeals best to their sense of humor.

Afro Ninja

Cinnamon Challenge

June 7, 2009 Posted by | New Series, Premiere, Reality, Technology, Television | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The State Complete Series DVD to be released on July 14th

It’s finally official, The State complete series DVD set has been announced for release on July 14th, and all I can say is, “I wanna dip my BALLS in it!”

TV Squad did a great interview with founder David Wain about the long road to release.

April 20, 2009 Posted by | Comedy, dvd, Home Video, Premiere, Television | , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The State Complete Series DVD to be released on July 14th