thoughts on pop culture

2009 Fall Preview – Mondays



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

Summer TV Preview Part 2: Tuesday

Here is part two of my five part summer preview. 




ABC – Not much for us on Tuesdays, but on June 23rd at 8/7c, The Superstars will premiere. It looks like ABC is trying to capitalize on the success (and low production costs) of Wipeout by giving us more regular people trying to be athletic. The twist here is that each person will be paired with a pro athlete. One team will be eliminated each week with a winner being crowned in late July.


CBS – All repeats here, but if you haven’t gotten on board The Mentalist yet, now is the time to catch up. I think this show is good enough to stick around for a few years so get on board now while it’s still fresh. Repeats air at 9/8c.


NBC – I have zero interest in watching C-list celebs trying to get out of the jungle, but I am planning to check out the second show that will be filling the 8/7c timeslot this summer. The Great American Road Trip is like a family edition of Road Rules, although I’m assuming it will have a lot less drinking and sex. Premieres July 7th.


FOX – More House repeats, paired with summer series Mental, which appears to be a watered down version of Dr. House working in a looney bin. Early reviews are terrible, but I recorded it tonight anyway. The premiere episode will re-air this Friday, May 29th if you want to check it out. Mental is filling the 9/8c slot through June 23rd. Then on July 21st at 8/7c we will be treated with the sixth season of Hell’s Kitchen. I can tell you for sure that I won’t be watching at 9/8c on July 28th when More to Love premieres–simply put, it’s The Bachelor for the hyper-obese set.


FXRescue Me started its fifth season in April, and it continues at 10/9c through September 8th. You can catch up on Hulu if you’ve been missing out. And believe me, it’s worth the catch up to see some great guest appearances by Michael J. Fox.


Science – New series Science of the Movies premiered tonight and will be filling the 9/8c position. It appears to be a fun behind-the-scenes look at how some of our favorite films are made. Don’t fret if you missed the premiere though–like everything else on the Discovery family of networks, it will be repeated a dozen or so times this week.


SyFy – As much as I loathe SciFi’s new marketing scheme, the have good chance at keeping me entertained on Tuesdays at 9/8c based on the trailer for Warehouse 13. Premiering July 7th, the show looks like a less depressing version of Sanctuary, this time set in a secret government warehouse full of supernatural goodies that reminds me of the final scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark.


I’ll be back tomorrow with Part 3 of the preview–head’s up though, ABC is premiering Wipeout and new animated show The Goode Family tomorrow night, so set your DVRs.

May 26, 2009 Posted by | Comedy, Drama, Game Shows, Movies, New Series, Premiere, Reality, Science, Scifi, Television | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Summer TV Preview Part 2: Tuesday

The Mentalist Season 1 Episode 18: Russet Potatoes

I haven’t written about The Mentalist since October, but don’t think that means I haven’t been watching.

I’ve seen every episode, and while I may not have the names of all the characters memorized yet, I am definitely in love with the show.  The way the creators have taken a dry police procedural and injected the fun-loving character of Patrick Jane has left us with a fresh new look at an old genre.  On top of that, tonight’s episode was a great example of just how good the writing is, and why The Mentalist has the potential to be a part of our Tuesday nights for years to come.

As you may or may not know, I got my nickname from my wife because I was constantly predicting the outcome of shows like CSI, then making a big fuss (albeit a joking one) when I ended up being right about the endings.  Well despite my best efforts, tonight I was fooled no less than three times.

When the man brought the body to police in the opening sequence, I immediately ruled him out as a possible suspect.  Then, when Jane and the gang went to the hypnotherapy school and we were introduced to Dr. Daniel, I ruled him out because it was just too obvious.  However, when he left class and had his assistant take over, I recognized to things–One, the oldest plot in the book, where the pupil seeks to prove mastery over the teacher; and Two, I recognized the young actor playing the assistant, and young character actors are usually a shoe-in to be an eccentric killer on these shows.  Once it was revealed that the assistant had also been hypnotized and awoke at the murder scene, I was proved wrong.  Then when Detective Rigsby was also hypnotized I was sure I had it solved.  Carl, our opening sequence body deliveryman, was obviously the killer after all and he had put Rigsby under when they were left alone.  As it turns out, I was only half right.  Eventually we discover that the dead girl’s sister planned it all.  She killed her sister, hypnotized the assistant, who in turn hypnotized Carl to deliver the body, then she took advantage of Rigsby’s kind nature when he was interviewing her and put him under as well.  Lucky for us Patrick Jane is the true master and foiled her in the end.

Best moment of the episode – Rigsby in a trance is encouraged by Jane to do the thing he most wants to do, so he proceeds to make out with Grace instead of just secretly wanting her.

Best line of the episode – During the moment described above, the camera pans across the shocked faces of the other officers, stopping with Jane who says, “Oh yeah, that’s what I’m talkin’ about.”

On a side note, Owain Yeoman (Beerfest, Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles) turned in an excellent performance tonight, specifically in the scene where Jane is trying to break Rigsby’s trance at the playground.

March 31, 2009 Posted by | Drama, Television | , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Mentalist Season 1 Episode 18: Russet Potatoes

Full Season Order for The Mentalist

I’ve still only seen the first episode since thanks to everything I’ve had going on, but based on what I’ve seen and heard, I’m glad The Mentalist got a full pickup from CBS.

October 16, 2008 Posted by | Drama, New Series, Television | , , | Comments Off on Full Season Order for The Mentalist

The Mentalist Episode 1: Pilot

Know-it-all smartass is probably the simplest way to describe Patrick Jane, the central character in this new CBS drama.  I definitely like the idea of an investigator who outwits his suspects, rather than simply using unbelievable technology or relying on murderers who are stupid enough to get caught.

The biggest issue facing this show may be its time slot.  It is going up against the Dancing with the Stars juggernaut as well as the new scifi show Fringe.  I like to think that with DVRs penetrating more homes that time slot isn’t a big deal anymore, but I know that the reality is most tv watchers don’t spend the kind of time I do seeking out new shows and planning recordings to avoid DVR conflicts.

Time slot aside, the first episode was stronger than many pilots so far this year, and I would definitely say it’s worth a look.  I’m sure you could hop on at episode two with no problem, but if you’re a completist, you can catch the first episode on or you could always find a commercial free high quality download via the Googles.

September 24, 2008 Posted by | Drama, New Series, Premiere, Television | , , , , , , | 1 Comment