Sweet, Succulent Fall TV (Part the 1st)

We’re digging into the fall TV season with both hands. So many excellent returning shows! So many new possibilities! Sadly, due to conflicting work schedules, we haven’t been able to tackle as much as we’d like. The TiVo is getting quite full. But here’s what I’ve been able to watch so far:

Survivor: Looks good so far, though we’ve only watched one episode. I don’t know about Ozzy returning, since he wasn’t one of my favorites. Apparently the rest of the viewers disagree; they love him to pieces. Also, I wish Russell’s nephew had made up a “Hantz is a common last name” lie about his tattoos, instead of always wearing his shirt. Because I’d be totally suspicious of his weird cover-up obsession, but I’d likely buy a not-related-to-Russell lie.

America’s Next Top Model: It’s all-stars, although a few of them I don’t really remember. Also, some of them are over 30. And appear to have worse skin than I. Still, they put a boatload of drama queens in the same house, so it’s kind of a hoot. If only they wouldn’t use their stupid shorthand names for things. (Ty-overs instead of makeovers, guys!)

Archer: Only 3 episodes, and we’re already down 2. Then we’ll have to wait until 2012 for the rest. And the show remains the best animated thing (and one of the few half-hours I watch) on TV. Sick, twisted, and hilarious.

Castle: The first episode back got weepy and moody and maudlin, but with last night’s episode we’re back into much of the fun dynamic that I love. Hopefully they’ll shelve the Beckett’s mom storyline for a half-season or so, and let us wallow in the witty banter and flirting.

The Biggest Loser: Oh, how I wish they would shorten the episodes. But an interesting cast so far (although I’m ho-hum about the new trainers). And they totally got rid of the right person in the first elimination. Second episode is on tonight, so it’s not too late to dig in.

New Girl: (Apparently it’s not THE New Girl, at least according to TiVo.) An interesting premise, and good chemistry between the cast so far. I’m just weirdly put out by the fact that the geeky, awkward girl is also gorgeous. You’d think she wouldn’t have that perfectly coiffed hair, for instance. It just doesn’t quite seem to jibe with every other geeky, awkward girl I’ve ever been or known. At any rate, it’s only a half-hour, so it’s like a Jell-O show.

X Factor: I’m only picking up one of these a week, because whenever else it’s on, it’s behind two other programs on the priority list. So far, it’s like American Idol — easy to fast-forward through, with a few snippets of good. Also, I’ve learned that I don’t care for singing groups. Hmm.

Prime Suspect: I wish I’d see the original. In this, an over-the-top stereotype of a hard-nosed bitch battles against some over-the-top stereotype boys-club chauvinists in their police workplace. I mean, really — it’s as realistic as the constant assaults that happen for laughs in Glee. Most of those guys would have been taken to HR way before it got as bad as they portray. Still, I’ll give it a try and hope they soften everyone up just a little. Also, I kept looking at the chief and thinking, That guy’s like an older, bloated Aidan Quinn-type. It would appear that Aidan Quinn has REALLY let himself go.

Unforgettable: Wasn’t on my to-try list, but I dropped Ringer at the last minute because I heard it was terrible. And I’m glad I added this season pass — another police procedural, but with an interesting twist and a much more likeable cast than Prime Suspect. Definitely worth continuing.

Fringe: OH, how I’ve missed you! Welcome home, weirdness. Can’t wait to see where they go with Peter (or as Scott called him, Tyler Durden) and with new agent Lincoln Lee. Whatever they do, wherever they go, I’m on board for the ride.

The Amazing Race: Another welcome old friend. I’m glad they got the Emmy back; this truly is one of the best reality shows on TV. I had to remember to set it to record an additional hour afterward; here on the east coast, sometimes the football games go long beforehand.

We still have a number of items waiting on the TiVo: the return of Body of Proof, as well as the first episodes of Person of Interest, Pan-Am, and Terra Nova.

Also coming up in October: House returns! As does Bravo’s quirky Work of Art. New to Bravo is Mad Fashion, featuring former Project Runway contestant (and all-around fascinating person) Chris March. We’re also going to try out Around the World in 80 Ways, co-hosted by Boston Rob Mariano. And later in the month, the fairy tale/fantasy doubleheader of Grimm and Once Upon a Time.

Fall 2011 TV!

I was recently reminded that the fall TV shows are a-comin’ soon. (Thanks, Christian!) Summer is all well and good with tasty morsels like Warehouse 13 and Project Runway, but in a few weeks the TiVo is going to be much, much more full. So here’s what I’ll be watching (and not watching).

Monday

House – Yeah, it’s totally formulaic. Ill person, four or five misdiagnoses, sudden epiphany, resolution. I’m still not sick of the formula, and it’s probably because Hugh Laurie is just so damned good. This season, Lisa Edelstein is on the way out, and a couple of new faces (including Odette Annable from the charming Breaking In, which we’ll totally be watching when it returns midseason) are joining the crew. (October 3)

Castle – If you don’t find Nathan Fillion charming, there may be something wrong with you. I’d advise seeing a doctor for that. Last season ended with a great cliffhanger — I know Beckett isn’t going to die, but I get to puzzle and wonder about how things will fall out with an injury, a new boss, and certain confessions. Wheeee! (September 19)

Terra Nova – Okay, so because the world is trashed, some colonists go 85 million years back in time to settle on prehistoric Earth. With dinosaurs and stuff. Say no more, sign me up. I’m just hoping I can suspend my disbelief regarding the time-travel paradox, because we haven’t found any 85-million-year-old human skeletons alongside the dinosaurs. I also hope it’s not too super-serious like Falling Skies was. (September 26)

Tuesday

The Biggest Loser – I’m not ashamed of my love for reality. Even though we only started watching this show in its 7th season, we’ve watched them all since. It’ll be weird without Jillian getting all up in the contestants’ heads. I usually disagree strongly with the nutritional aspects, but overall it’s compelling reality TV. I also wish the episodes were only an hour, but what can you do. (September 20)

Ringer – I just don’t know about this one, so I’ll give it a shot. I didn’t watch Buffy, so for me, Sarah Michelle Gellar is still Erika Kane’s daugher on All My Children. The concept is interesting, and the divinely-eyelashed Nestor Carbonell co-stars. (September 13)

New Girl – I’m so torn on this. It’s a half-hour sitcom, which I rarely watch. And I’m not all that big on Zooey Deschanel (not her fault — she was just so miscast in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy). But the promos intrigue me, so I’ll tuck it in on the side. It’ll be like TV Jell-O. (September 20)

Body of Proof – I actually didn’t expect this show to get picked up. I guess it did better than we thought. Dana Delaney’s character got a little more human throughout the first short season, which was good — she was pretty unlikeable at the start. We’ll keep it recording, but it’s probably not going to be at the top of the to-watch list. (September 20)

Wednesday

Survivor – I don’t think I’ve missed an episode of this show. Like, ever. Call it a guilty pleasure if you will. They’re continuing with last season’s trends: Redemption Island, and two returning players. Also, Russell Hantz’s nephew is playing. Will he keep that under his hipster hat? (September 14)

The X Factor – What do you think — will it suck? Will it rock? I love the idea of allowing contestants over 28. And it looks like the judges will do some mentoring (like The Voice) instead of just offering meaningless nattering (like American Idol). I’ve also missed Simon’s acid tongue. (September 21)

America’s Next Top Model – I completely missed last season, because the show was on at the same time as two other programs. But this season (or “cycle”) is all-stars, and so must not be missed. The prizes have been tweaked, and now include the potential to become a correspondent for Extra. Which is smart, because some of these chicks are 30 years old by now. (September 14)

Thursday

Grey’s Anatomy – I think I’m really watching this show out of habit by this point. They’ve jumped so many sharks, it could be a SeaWorld show. The music is always good, though. And I always enjoy McSteamy. (September 22)

Prime Suspect – Never saw the original BBC show, but I’ve heard that it’s kick-ass. How can it not be, with Helen Mirren. I’ve heard good things about the US version, which is a surprising change from how things usually go when we transport shows in from across the pond. (September 22)

Person of Interest – A show from Bad Robot starring Michael Emerson. That’s all I need to know to rush to the TiVo. Sounds like kind of a Minority Report-esque predictive crime drama. Oh, and apparently the pilot tested so well, CBS bounced CSI from the time slot it held for 10 years to make room. (September 22)

Archer – If you’re not watching this show, DO IT. NOW. The best animated show on TV, and one of the few half-hours I watch. It’s the perfect mix of brilliant, funny, and shocking. Three episodes will air in September, with the rest of the season following in 2012. (September 15)

Friday

Fringe – An awesome show where awesome stuff happens. Last season ended with a doozy of a cliffhanger, and I have NO IDEA how things are going to play out. But I can’t wait to see. (September 23)

Grimm – A cop drama that takes place in an alternate universe where Grimm’s-inspired characters exist. Extra bonus: Pacific Northwest location. My hopes are X-Files meets Eureka. My guess is, by the time this starts airing, we’ll have a spot cleared out for it due to a September show not catching our interest. (October 21)

Saturday

Um … yeah. Nothing. Which is usually the case. Looks like the networks are airing mostly football and repeats.

Sunday

Once Upon a Time – Somewhere in Maine, there’s apparently a town that’s a crossover point between the real world and the fairy tale world. Disney has given their blessing to use their versions of the classic fairy tale characters, and Damon Lindelof is a producer. So this could be great. It could also be a big horrible mixup of weird. (October 23)

The Amazing Race – We’re up to season 19 already?! That’s incredible. This is the best reality show on TV, and I’m nowhere near tired of it yet. Contestants this time around include former Survivor winners Ethan and Jenna, who are dating in real life. So maybe this season there will be at least one “dating couple” who I can stand. (September 25)

Pan Am – No, I haven’t seen Mad Men. So this would be my first ’60s period drama. We’ll see how long it lasts on our recording schedule — reviews so far have been very mixed. (September 25)

Not Watching

Dancing with the Stars – this show has been going downhill for me for the last few seasons, and this time I just don’t have the gumption to watch it. There’s really nobody I’m interested in watching, although if I had to throw my support behind anyone, it’d be either Carson Kressley or Chaz Bono. At least it’ll save 3 hours of TiVo space every week. (September 19)

Charlie’s Angels – I’m sure this will be a perfectly fine reboot. But the producers have gone on the record saying they refuse to do anything “campy or retro”. Where’s the fun in that? Seems like this was MADE for camp. (September 22)

Revenge – A woman moves to the Hamptons and gets … REVENGE! This looks way too serious for me. And a bit too much of the fancy-schmancy rich and famous beautiful people. (September 21)

The Playboy Club – Unlike several “family” organizations, I don’t have a problem with the content. It just doesn’t look that interesting to me. I’ll stick with Pan Am as my period-drama attempt. (September 19)

Unforgettable – A former cop with a medical condition that makes her remember everything joins her ex-boyfriend’s homicide unit to solve crimes. I have a couple of other crimey cop shows, and this sounds like it’s going to be seriously heavy. (September 20)

The Secret Circle – Teenage girl goes to small-town Washington, discovers mysterious magical heritage. Yes, it’s witches instead of vampires, but it still seems a little too Twilight for me. (September 15)

Hart of Dixie – A New York doctor moves to small-town Alabama to work. And her last name is Hart! Nothing about this one speaks to me. (September 26)

H8R – I hadn’t even heard of this show until I looked at the fall schedule. Apparently celebrities get to confront mundanes who “hate” them, to try and convince the haters that the celebrites really aren’t all that bad. This sounds like the worst possible kind of reality show. (September 14)

A Gifted Man – Self-absorbed surgeon becomes a better man when visited by his dead wife’s ghost. Never heard of this one either. Looks heavier than dark matter. (September 23)

Thoughts? Opinions? What will you be watching? What will you definitely NOT be watching?

The Fall 2010 TV Season

Every network is smothering us with ads for the new fall season, so I went to the ol’ TV Guide site to map out what we’ll be recording.

Boy, I guess scheduling the TiVo won’t be as hard as I thought it would be. What with Lost done, and must-sees like American Idol not showing up until mid-season, there aren’t really any bottlenecks. I only have two brand-new shows on my list, and I don’t necessarily expect them to stay on the list for long. Here’s what we’ll be watching this fall:

Monday
8:00 House (FOX)
10:00 Castle (ABC)

I guess I could record Dancing with the Stars in its two-hour block from 8-10, but there isn’t a single celebrity who interests me this season. I know NBC is desperate for us sci-fi fans to check out The Event, but it doesn’t look interesting either. Maybe, just maybe, we’ll check out the Hawaii Five-0 reboot in the 10pm hour.

Tuesday
8:00 No Ordinary Family (ABC)
8:00 Glee (FOX)
8:00 The Biggest Loser (NBC) (via Hulu the following week)

Here’s the one spot of the week where three shows are on at the same time. But if No Ordinary Family turns out to be a steamer, the problem is solved. Last year, because of Lost, we watched The Biggest Loser via Hulu. They have a one-week delay on the episodes, but nobody spoiled me, and the season rolled on just fine. Not to mention our antenna isn’t that reliable with NBC, so we’d be using Hulu most of the time anyway. In other news, I’m still not sure why I watch Glee. I’ve figured out that I don’t like Matthew Morrison at all, but … I guess the music is usually interesting.

Wednesday
8:00 Survivor (CBS)
8:00 America’s Next Top Model (CW)

Wednesday appears to have become reality night. Survivor moved there from Thursday, which is actually a huge help. There’s also Hell’s Kitchen on at 9, but I removed the season pass halfway through this last season. It’s just a horrible show full of horrible people. Though some might say that about ALL reality TV.

Thursday
8:30 Shit My Dad Says (CBS)
9:00 Grey’s Anatomy (ABC)
9:00 Fringe (FOX)

We’ve dropped both CSI and The Office from the Thursday at 9 spot — CSI got boring once William L. Petersen left, and The Office is an NBC show: crappy antenna reception, and available on the Hulu. We’ll try out the new Shatcom, which I prefer to keep profane, but I have a sneaking feeling I’ll find it uncomfortably unfunny, like I find most sitcoms.

Friday
9:00 The Good Guys (FOX)

Wow, Friday. That’s it? Okay then.

Saturday
(rest)

There’s not a single thing. Then again, the schedule has college football listed for ABC, “local” for CW, lots of Cops on FOX, and NBC just reads “repeats” for the whole night. I guess that will be Netflix streaming night. Bring on The IT Crowd!

Sunday
8:00 The Amazing Race (CBS)
9:00 Undercover Boss (CBS)

This is, clearly, feel-good reality night (as opposed to Wednesday, which I’m renaming backstabby reality night). The best reality show on TV (and the only one I’d want to be on), The Amazing Race will always be at the top of our season pass list. And Undercover Boss was charming last season. Hopefully they’ll adjust the formula a little bit, to make it just a splash less treacly.

So that’s what we’ll be watching this season. I keep thinking of trying out Bones, but they have so many seasons under their belt, it’d be hard to start now. Maybe we’ll check it out on DVD. I also keep hearing about Mad Men, but it doesn’t interest me. Not to mention all of the shows on HBO and Showtime, two channels we don’t get. But I think this will be more than enough.

This Week in TV

We had family visiting on Wednesday and Thursday. It was a lot of fun, but also tough as far as TV viewing goes. Those are prime viewing nights! So on Friday we caught up on a lot of shows, and today I tackled some stuff that’s just mine.

Warehouse 13: This was the season finale; the show was a short-run summer series. It improved throughout the season, and I’d say they’re finally figuring out what the show should be. It’s already renewed for another season, and I’ll continue to watch.

The Biggest Loser: Kudos to the contestants for beating the week 2 curse. But no kudos to Bob and Jillian for their nutrition advice. I’ve done more nutritional research than some doctors, and there were a couple of horrifying moments in this show. First off, Jillian told contestants that “calories in, calories out” is a universal truth. Which is wrong. Then Bob let fly the fact that the female contestants eat only 1200 calories per day. I can’t wait to see what other dangerously unhealthy things are done this season.

So You Think You Can Dance: The auditions continue. Not much to say; looks like this season is going to have some excellent talent.

Top Chef: Las Vegas: We’re still betting on a top three of “The Laser” (Jen), “Beardo” (Kevin), and one of the brothers. There seem to be a lot of really talented chefs this season … and a couple that don’t seem terribly great. Why is Robin still there?

Glee: I know a lot of people really like this show. I’m not particularly one of them. I find it to be a bunch of unlikeable people (some of them more so than others) involved in uninteresting or unrealistic situations. I’m giving it one more episode, to try and pull me in. If next week doesn’t rock my world, it’s off the TiVo.

Survivor: Samoa: Poor purple team! They’re getting so little screen time. The yellow team and that grotesque Russell are just such good TV. I have to give the guy props for finding the hidden immunity idol without a single clue, but other than that he’s a horrible little troll. Of course, that’s exactly what the producers want me to think.

Grey’s Anatomy: Two hours of season premiere was a bit much. And it was, overall, a very depressing two hours. Although the surprise ending may bring in some fresh characters and interesting situations.

Project Runway: This season is good, don’t get me wrong. But I don’t have a favorite, and there’s nobody to hate. There are a few designers who are doing well, and could possibly win, but nobody’s designs are setting my world on fire. And there’s no Wendy Pepper or Santino Rice, no loathsome douche who I can love to hate. And that’s half the fun of the show.

Fringe: If you’re not watching Fringe, you should. Supernatural sci-fi mystery stuff, done exceptionally well.

America’s Next Top Model: The shorties are making up for their height with drama. Bickering, infighting, bitchiness, cattiness … it’s all there. Good stuff.

Tonight we’ll tackle the Dollhouse season premiere. I have high hopes, since the show improved through the first season. And of course I watched Dancing with the Stars this week (Go, Sensei Ping!) and recapped the episodes separately. Oh, and tomorrow: The Amazing Race begins! I better pace myself, so the TiVo doesn’t catch fire.

Fall Reality Season: GO!

I just watched the 2-hour premiere of America’s Next Top Model. This season, the contestants can be no taller than 5’7″. Thank goodness, it appears that crazy doesn’t discriminate.

Unfortunately, the most insane girl, a weird jesus freak, dropped out. But we still have the strangely quiet girl, the angry girl, the hick, the girl with the broken foot, and a passel of other tiny lovelies. The most startling thing so far is that Tyra looks like a frightening monster next to these girls. It’s like seeing a beautiful Hagrid next to the little Hogwarts students.

It does disturb me that Tyra keeps calling these girls “petite”. I don’t know that I’d call a 5’7″ girl “petite”, since petite fashion is for chicks under 5’3″. But I’ll still watch.

We also had the first audition episode of So You Think You Can Dance this week. It would appear that tap dancers are going to bring it this year. I’ll be rooting for Ryan Kasprzak.

Coming up in the next three weeks: The Biggest Loser, Dancing with the Stars, Survivor, The Amazing Race, The Next Iron Chef, and probably more. Not to mention the scripted shows. And the reality shows already in full swing, like Project Runway, Hell’s Kitchen, and Top Chef: Las Vegas. Some would say it’s too much TV. I say, bring it on.