So, we've had a full week of the new fall season and the various series and season premieres. I am not a "TV critic" as far as this stuff is concerned; I watch them on the tube the same way as anyone else does. Or catch them online at the network websites, or whatever. So I haven't seen every show, and I'm not here to get judged on my choices of what I did or didn't watch. Just, as a "regular guy" who saw this stuff, here are my thoughts on what I saw. And I'd love to hear what you all thought as well.
Wonderful new surprises:
Life, Chuck, Back To You, and Ken Burns' PBS mini-series The War.
Enthusiastically enjoyed the hell out of the return:
Grey's Anatomy, Heroes, Desperate Housewives, Smallville, Las Vegas, House, Deal or No Deal
Still alive and kicking:
ER, The Simpsons, Boston Legal, Family Guy
Disappointing on some level:
The Office, Journeyman, Private Practice, King of the Hill, Bionic Woman
The ones that kicked ass the most, to me, had to be Grey's Anatomy and Heroes. Not to slight some of the others, but both of these two just simply had be in thrall. I was worried that Heroes would drop its momentum, and it didn't miss a single step with the return. We'll see tonight if it was just a good start, or if it continues that way. As for Grey's, I was really worried after a bit of a blah-ness to last season, and after being truly disappointed with Private Practice, that the 4th season of Grey's would continue along those lines. NOPE! I watched it twice in a twelve-hour period, it was that good...and I wanted to absorb every juicy detail!
Honorable mention to Desperate Housewives, which put a smile on my face with all the secrets and twists, and to Smallville, which turned my head a few times (despite the old comic book geek in me railing against the changes to true Super-continuity; putting all that aside, this was some really good television!). And another huge honorable mention to The War. Bravo...this is a well-done look at true historical drama. A must-watch, if you ask me, and a great example of the power of the tube to educate AND entertain. If you think history can't be entertaining, then watch this...and learn!
Decisions, Decisions: which of the new ongoing primetime shows (that I've seen so far; some - like Pushing Daisies, for instance - didn't begin last week) is the best? To me, it's between Chuck and Life. Both NBC shows, so kudos to them. Which has the edge? Uhhhh...I can't decide. Really. If I was forced to choose which of these to watch, and couldn't tune in to both, I would be hard-pressed to decide which is better. Both were very entertaining, in different ways. I'll be keeping up with both, and hope that both can keep it up.
The biggest disappointment, beyond a shadow of a doubt, is another NBC show (and a much-hyped one at that): The Bionic Woman. Wow, was it bad. This one better get better...fast! I was definitely left with a "WTF?" feeling when it was over. It may be simply that I had set such high expectations for it, but give me the Lindsay Wagner version any time. Maybe some things are best left alone, eh? Well, we'll see.
I was a tad disappointed in Private Practice, feeling that a lot of it - from the opening discussion with Richard at Seattle Grace, to the naked dancing and being spotted by Dr. Sam, to - well, to most of it - just felt so damned contrived and silly. It did little to make me care about these characters (and took a character I did care about, Addison, and practically tossed that out the window). Still, I could follow the story and could see potential in it, and potential for getting into the characters.
Bionic Woman? I see little potential in, if they don't get it back on track fast.
Cast changes on Boston Legal (John Larroquette) and Las Vegas (Tom Selleck) were not something I was expecting to enjoy. I tuned in to both anyway. Loved it. Good job. I'll miss Paul and Eddie, but stuff happens in TV land. Could either show be jumping the shark? Sure. Maybe. Probably. But right now, I don't mind, at least not yet. Let's see how it goes. The last couple of minutes of Boston Legal did splash some cold water on how I felt about the episode, though. We'll see how it goes.
I could say the similar things as I did about the two above, but about ER and Stanley Tucci's addition. But I honestly expect this to be the "wrap up" year for the show, and all signs point to a wind-down. I've enjoyed ER consistently for all this time, but it's time is clearly up. All the old cast are trying to be drawn back in for visits during this season; I've got to consider it's to send things off in a special way. Good, let's do that while it's still enjoyable; head out on a high note, okay?
I expected much more from the Jim/Pam romantic fallout than we got. And the whole thing with the way Jan has ended up, and all the stuff with Michael and the car and the rabies run and all that, well it left me quite cold. The most enjoyable part was the cat stuff, and I'm not exactly a cat person. I wanted better from The Office. Really.
Meanwhile, Family Guy did just fine with the Star Wars parody. Look for news very soon about a special DVD release of just that episode. I'm certain of it; it was too good not to deserve that.
Okay, those are my thoughts, extensive as always. What do you all think?