Fall TV Part 2a: The Onslaught Begins (Mon, 9/20 to Wed, 9/22)

The TV Avalanche is upon us!  DUCK AND COVER!

I’ll be breaking this week’s TV post into two installments — here’s Part A, which covers Mon-Wed.  Part B will come out Thursday and catch you up on the end of the week.

Also, I’m breaking shows for each night into two categories:  Returning and New.  If a returning show has an asterisk next to it, it’s one I’m planning to watch.  Other than that, I won’t take up your time by commenting on the old stuff.

Monday, September 20

Returning:
Chuck – NBC – 8pm
Dancing with the Stars – ABC – 9pm
* House – Fox – 8pm
How I Met Your Mother – CBS – 8pm
Rules of Engagement – CBS – 8:30pm
* Castle – ABC – 10pm (Lick, lick on Nathan Fillion’s nose, slurrrp!)

New:

The Event – NBC – 9pm
Okay, look, I just can’t do it.  I cannot get sucked into this show.  I know what’s going to happen to this show (boot!) and I refuse to play along.  If Joseph Fiennes couldn’t keep people watching Flash Forward, what makes NBC think Jason Ritter and Laura Innes can do any better?  I mean, they’re nice and all, but they’re not exactly big draws.  And they’re certainly not big enough to conquer the wariness people have about these long-range-plans shows.  Invest lots and lots of time and bam!, you will be rewarded with no ending whatsoever.  THANKS FOR NOTHING, NETWORKS.  Forget it.  I’m out.

If The Event thrives and becomes the talk of the nation the way Lost was at first, I’ll consider catching up on DVD this summer and launching in full-steam ahead for season two.  Otherwise, I’m just going to ignore the whole thing so I don’t get burned YET AGAIN.

Lone Star – FOX- 9pm
This series, about a con man who has meticulously constructed two different lives for himself (two different jobs, two different families, two enormous piles of lies), might be worth watching for Jon Voight and David Keith.  Plus, con stories can be fun.  But this show has the potential to go in a sappy direction (apparently, he really loves either one or both of his marks), and that could be pretty lame.  I’ll give this one a couple of episodes and reassess later.

Mike & Molly – CBS 9:30pm
Two working class Chicago singles find love at an Overeaters Anonymous meeting in this sit-com.  I’m not a big sit-com watcher and am unlikely to bother with this one, but at least it sounds like it might have some good body-positive themes to it.  Let me know if you like it and I’ll give it a shot.

Chase – NBC – 10pm
This one’s about a female U.S. Marshall in charge of a team that includes your standard tough guy, intelligence guy, weapons/tactics lady, and more.  Cole Hauser co-stars, which is why I’ll be tuning in.  I’m sure this is just going to be standard crime drama fare, and it’ll have to be extremely well-written if it’s going to hold my attention.  But if it’s snappy, smart, and creative?  I’ll sign up for the long haul.  Kind of like these teamwork shows — lots of room for different types of characters and growth.

Hawaii Five-0 – CBS – 10pm
Oh, you know I’ll be tuning in for this one.  How could I not?  If nothing else, Alex O’Loughlin, Daniel Dae Kim, and Scott Caan provide an awful lot of eye-candy.  That alone might keep my interest piqued at least for a few episodes while the show gets a bit steadier on its feet (I’ve read the pilot is a bit of a disappointment, but most pilots are, right?  All that set-up work getting in the way of the fun stuff?).  If this is good, it’ll be really fun.  The question is:  will it be GOOD?  I’m game to find out.  At least for a few weeks.

Tuesday, September 21

Returning:
The Biggest Loser – NBC – 8pm
Glee – Fox – 8pm
*NCIS – CBS – 8pm
NCIS: LA – CBS – 9pm

New:
Raising Hope – Fox – 9pm
Sit-com about a 23 year-old guy who still lives with his parents.  Looooooser.

Running Wilde – Fox – 9:30pm
Sit-com starring Will Arnett from Arrested Development, as a rich, immature playboy trying to win (or buy) the heart of his childhood sweetheart (Keri Russell).  This could be funny, if only because the cast is good, but again, I’m not much of a sit-com fan and probably won’t bother here unless reports are overwhelmingly glowing.

Detroit 1-8-7 – ABC – 10pm
Another “gritty crime drama” this time set on the streets of Detroit.  It’s got a great cast:  Michael Imperioli from The Sopranos, James McDaniel from NYPD Blue, and Aisha Hinds from True Blood, but the description on the web site kind of makes it sound like every other “gritty crime drama” ever made (also, Hinds’s character is described as “sexy, edgy, and beautiful” which has me bored already).  I’ll tune in for 2-3 episodes (my standard for trying a new series — one cannot judge a new show by its pilot alone), but please, Detroit 1-8-7, kick some ass for me, would you?  Let’s see what you can do when you’re in charge of a whole show, Cristahfah.

Wednesday, September 22

Returning:
Hell’s Kitchen – Fox – 8pm
The Middle – ABC – 8pm
*Criminal Minds – CBS – 9pm
*Law & Order: SVU – NBC – 9pm
*Modern Family – ABC – 9pm
Cougar Town – ABC – 9:30pm

Just a quick note on tonight’s returning shows:  I don’t know why I’m still watching Criminal Minds or SVU.  Don’t ask me.  I just can’t stop.  Even though they are terrible. Terrible!  TERRIBLE!  Argh.  Torment.

Modern Family, on the other hand, is an absolute DELIGHT and is the only sit-com I’m watching regularly these days.  I came into it late last season, dismissing it initially as being yet another sit-com about dysfunctional families.  But no — this show is hilarious and sweet and so, so good.  I laugh out loud all the time.  Wednesday night cannot come fast enough for me!  I need a good Dunphy chortle, and I need it ASAP!

New:
Undercovers – NBC – 8pm
This is the newest series by J.J. Abrams, which is excuse enough to tune in.  It’s about two CIA agents who get married, quit the spy game, and open a catering company instead.  But when their best pal, a fellow spy, disappears, they decide it’s time to go back to what they do best — espionage — to try to rescue him.  I love a good spy show, and I’m hoping this one qualifies — my only concern is the incredibly lame double entendre of the title, which makes me worry this may be not as sharply written as, say, Alias was.  Dorksville, USA, writers.  Don’t make that kind of schlock a habit, yes?  Fingers crossed!

Better With You – ABC – 8:30pm
Sit-com about two sisters whose lives are on very different paths — one is unmarried but in a long-term relationship, the other one is recently engaged to a guy she’s only know for seven weeks.  Hilarity ensues.  I guess?  Blah. Yawn.

The Defenders – CBS – 10pm
This lawyer drama is about two Las Vegas defense attorneys, played by Jerry O’Connell and Jim Belushi.  One is serious and focused, the other crazy about fast cars and hot ladies.  Watch them butt heads on cases!  “Hey, live a little!”  “Hey, buckle down!”  I can see where this one is headed, and so can you, but with Jim Belushi and Jerry O’Connell involved, it might be an entertaining ride at least.  I may or may not bother — I’m going to fly by the seat of my pants on this one.

The Whole Truth – ABC – 10pm
Former law school classmates turned bitter rivals, New York prosecutor Kathryn Peale and hotshot defense lawyer Jimmy Brogan square off in high-profile cases.  You just know they’re gonna fall in love.  Rob Morrow and Maura Tierney are the two draws for this one — it’s a little hard for me to picture them having any chemistry, but I do love Tierney’s new hair (post-chemotherapy).

Possibly worth a shot, but man, can’t anybody think up anything new anymore?  I feel like I’ve seen every one of this week’s premieres a hundred times already.  I sense this is going to be the Season of Yawn for network television.  Creativity gets punished on the networks (Pushing Daisies, for example) — is mediocrity really the only thing that sells anymore?  Take some risks, for pity’s sake.  I’m bored over here!

IN ANY CASE, come back here Thursday for what’s happening the rest of the week, and hitten zee comments for discussion.  *mwah*

19 Responses to “Fall TV Part 2a: The Onslaught Begins (Mon, 9/20 to Wed, 9/22)”

  1. Verna Says:

    Meh, I’m not too excited about any of the new shows. I have my favorites that are returning (House, Smallville, and Stargate Universe), but I really want something original! Might check out Undercovers and The Defenders. Maybe some good chemistry (Psych, anyone?). We’ll see…

  2. RogerBW Says:

    Chuck: wasn’t too impressed last season, will give it one more try.
    House: off my list, got too samey, doesn’t know where it’s going.
    Castle: yes!

    The Event: by saying “we’re not going to tell you what it’s about”, they’re saying “you’re only going to want to watch this once”. That’s not what I want from my TV. Why not sack the publicity people who come up with gimmicks like this and spend the money on getting smart script-writers?

    Lone Star: doesn’t grab me. As with you and The Event, if people start saying it’s great I’ll pick it up.

    Chase: may give it a shot, but it’ll have to be good to overcome the “generic cop show” stigma.

    Hawaii Five-O: never seen the original, but O’Loughlin is always good value.

    Never really got into NCIS, may give them another try some day.

    Detroit 1-8-7: like you, I’ll give it a try.

    To me JJ Abrams is a reason to turn OFF. Alias, Lost – both shows which started off with neat ideas and then went nowhere because it became increasingly obvious that the only solution the writers were allowed to use was “introduce another layer of complication”. Fool me twice, shame on me.

    Right now money is tight, so the money people are even less likely to authorise anything risky than they usually are. This means boring pap on TV and film screens.

  3. Cheryl Says:

    There is a reason my TIVO is loaded with ZILCH from the ‘major networks’ any more. (one exception – ‘Glee’).

    Regularly wating in my queue when available – Burn Notice, Eureka, Haven, Justified, Masterpiece Mystery, Psych, , Warehouse 13. Guilty pleasures – Covert Affairs, Memphis Beat, Royal Pains, Terriers.

  4. Jessie Says:

    Wait, you watch House now? When did that happen? And when can we expect Hugh Laurie’s boyfriend write-up? ::waggles eyebrows:: Eh? Ehh??

    Also, my feelings exactly about The Event. I did the FlashForward thing (mostly for Joe, I’ll admit). It was decent. It got canceled. I’m done.

  5. megwood Says:

    I sort of watch House, but I’m not regular about it. I adore Hugh Laurie, but I find House pretty repetitive and dull. I usually let the episodes build way up and then delete half and watch half. That counts, right?

    Thinking about a Fry/Laurie co-write-up, actually! Coming soon!

    RogerBW, I hear you on J. J. Abrams, but the first two seasons of Alias are favorites of mine and I’m hoping once he’s back at spy work full-time (he was working on other projects during the last few seasons of Alias, after all), he’ll rock it out. We’ll see, though.

    Psych remains my favorite comedy on television right now — it absolutely CANNOT BE BEAT. Brilliant! I love that so many of you guys are fans of it too — it means I’m attracting all the right sorts to my web sites. 🙂

  6. Jessie Says:

    Oh, now I’m salivating over the idea of a Fry/Laurie write-up.

    Apparently Hugh Laurie has a blues album coming out at some point. There are photos of him… at a piano… wearing a vest… just staring…. ::passes out::

  7. RogerBW Says:

    Fry was on Bones, which is also a Fox show, so a crossover wouldn’t be out of the question…

    Chase: pretty generic cop show, but I have a soft spot for Cole Hauser after K-Ville. Don’t know whether this is going to sustain interest, but I’ll give it a few more episodes.

    Hawaii Five-0: pilot was mostly “getting the team together”, but there’s a great dynamic going on already. Definitely going to be following this one (unless O’Loughlin the Showkiller does his thing again).

  8. megwood Says:

    Oh, I LOVED Fry on Bones! Forgot about that! Brilliant.

    Had the same reaction to Hawaii Five-0 last night — definitely had a piloty feel to it, but it has promise, I think.

    Haven’t had a chance to watch the others from last night, but am looking forward to Cole Hauser and extremely glad to hear someone else was watching K-Ville — I really liked that series!

  9. RogerBW Says:

    Detroit 1-8-7: yeah, this is going to sink or swim on Imperioli, and so far he’s carrying it very well. I wasn’t much of a Sopranos fan but I’m very impressed here. Rest of the cast is OK, no real standouts in the pilot. Will carry on for the moment.

  10. megwood Says:

    Could not agree more about Detroit — I enjoyed the first episode and Imperioli especially. The other characters so far aren’t adding much, but I’m willing to hang in there and see what happens.

    One quibble: at the pharmacy, the new detective vomits all over the scene of crime, right, theoretically because he’s never seen a dead body before? (Because it wasn’t that gory a scene — there was hardly any blood at all, so it wasn’t like it was unusually horrific or anything.) Meanwhile, the beat cop is standing over the body perfectly calm, theoretically having seen all this and worse many times over.

    But how do you get to be a homicide detective without having worked as a beat cop for several years first? What, he worked in the pawn shop division?

  11. RogerBW Says:

    I think they specifically said that New Guy had been a very successful cop – so yeah, he must have seen a body or two in his time.

  12. Liz Says:

    I’ve recorded “Detroit 187,” but haven’t watched it yet. I care not at all about Imperioli, as I’ve never seen “The Sopranos.” It’s James McDaniels I’m interested in; he played the captain/head of squad room/whatever for several years on “NYPD Blue.” In the trailer for this show he said, “I’ve been here so long, when I started out, half the people we arrested were white!” – or something like that. Anyway, that’s what made me take notice.

    I also recorded “The Event,” because – hey, do I ever learn? I may just delete it now, or check it out, just myself, but maybe forewarned is forearmed!? I stuck with “Lost” to the end, but quit on “Flash Forward” pretty quickly.

    I really liked the new “Hawaii Five-0,” and I LOVED how they dealt with the “Book ‘im, Danno” bit. They could have a lot of fun with the chemistry between Alex O’Loughlin and Scott Caan (who is James Caan’s son!). Also, doesn’t anyone remember Daniel Dae Kim from “Angel?” And we loved Grace Park in “The Cleaner” (with Benjamin Bratt).

  13. megwood Says:

    Started The Whole Truth this morning but haven’t watched the whole ep yet. Not terrible. That’s about the best I can say so far.

    I’m confused by Rob Morrow’s dialogue, which sounds very New Joisey, only it’s like at the last minute he decided not to attempt the accent to go along with it. Just talk like a normal person, Rob.

    Also, dear writers around the globe: Please do not use the word “frickin'” any more, thank you.

  14. megwood Says:

    Very spot-on review of Detroit 1-8-7 from Salon.com — hilarious! http://www.salon.com/entertainment/tv/detroit_187/index.html?story=/ent/tv/2010/09/22/detroit_1_8_7_premiere_recap_open2010

  15. RogerBW Says:

    Cruel but fair, Meg. At this point I don’t even go in expecting anything particularly original; I already know it’s a “gritty cop show” and it ticks all the boxes for that. What’s left to get right is the strength of the acting and the occasional bits of script that aren’t specified by the template, and so far that’s working for me.

    (Though I do think there’s a possibility of a show quality metric. Somewhere in there should be a score for “season number in which they do a The Most Dangerous Game ripoff”, for example – season 4, fair enough, they’re running out of ideas. Season 1, we have a problem.)

  16. megwood Says:

    Hah, yes! Other metrics: points off for putting a primary character in a coma within the first two seasons. Points off for having a primary character get shot and then develop a drug addiction (ever). Points off for guest appearances by Lady Gaga.

  17. briantoohey Says:

    Chuck I watch out of guilty pleasure. It’s like sitting and eating a bag of marshmallows. But it seems that this season it may have gotten too stupid and just worn out it’s welcome. It seems I’m replacing it with Undercovers. I’ll give Chuck a couple more episodes to rise back to it’s previous lame-yet-enjoyable state, but I a feeling it may be a hockey puck on the grill at this point.

    House continues to be one of the best shows on television. It’s episodic format that is forever predictable somehow manages to always be profoundly compelling due to top-notch writing, a fantastic cast, and enough slow character development to keep things slowly moving forward.

    Castle is a show I plan to catch up on on DVD at some point in the future. Ditto for Criminal Minds and Modern Family, which I hear is pretty brilliant.

    I’m actually enjoying Undercovers as a guilty pleasure. It by no means has the narrative energy of Alias, but I like it’s different take on the genre. It’s not really a spy show in my book, but a show about a 30something couple who are trying to navigate the waters of keeping a marriage working once the honeymoon is over, and maintaining the romance and spontaneity in a relationship through the mundanities of the day-to-day. It’s just that, unlike a lot of real life couples dealing with mundane real life, they’re on television and so they get they get the chance to tread these waters while on spy missions. But I like that Abrams is using the spy genre, which he has a lot of experience with, to dramatize a relationship that we don’t see dramatized often, unless it’s mopey and angst-filled. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem that America is looking at this show with the same take on things that I am, and they simply see a half-assed, stale-on-delivery spy show… so it doesn’t look like it’s going to make it beyond a few more episodes.

    And that’s it for this list… the other stuff I watch I already wrote about in your more recent blog entry.

  18. megwood Says:

    I completely missed Undercovers — decided to wait and see how it did and then catch up on DVD if it was a success. Sounds like it hasn’t been, though.

    House, though, I’ve always been up and down with. Laurie’s undeniably brilliant on it, but the show’s take on addiction is wrong-headed, offensive to me, and potentially dangerous to real patients with chronic pain who struggle to get prescriptions for opiates because of the erroneous beliefs House insists on spotlighting. I quit watching the season his “addiction” was the primary plot (the year the cop was riding his ass all the time). But I’m back on board now.

    Also, for the love of all that’s holy, stop theorizing that it’s amyloidosis! It’s NEVER amyloidosis!

    Modern Family is wonderful. I can’t get enough! One of the best sit-coms I’ve seen in years. Castle is super-duper cheesy, and a show I suspect only Nathan Fillion fans and old ladies are really that into. I love it, though, seeing as how I am both of those things.

  19. briantoohey Says:

    It can’t be Lupus.

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