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Fall TV Preview 2008: Part I (Monday through Wednesday)

Like TheBlogulator.com, the new Fall TV season is, cosmetically, new and pretty and full of new stuff. Yes, the debilitating writers' strike of Fall 2007 / Winter 2008 and its horrifying consequences have, mostly, passed. Yes, Blogulator friends, these dark times in television have passed, and we now await our first full schedule of new television in over eight months. Since 2005, when Chris and I started our blog and it was just the two of us (cue the Will Smith soundtrack), we made it a tradition to do a Fall TV schedule for ourselves, so we wouldn't ever have to go an evening without watching television. Sure, the advent of DVR has allowed us to watch television at more convenient times (ex. I make sure to catch Gossip Girl on Saturday mornings -- it's fantastic with blueberry chocolate chip pancakes!) but if the world of DVRs ended, we'd all be stuck to watching all our commercials.

Chris and I take on what you should watch Monday through Wednesday; tomorrow, we will finish with Thursday through Sunday.

I start my TV viewing week with a big, heaping scoop of Gossip Girl (7:00 pm, CW). Season one ended with a slam-banger, and as much as I might have complained about the GG hype, I can't friggin' wait to get me into some Chuck, Serena and Blair. Oh, sweet, sweet Blair, if you weren't in high school, and evil, I'd be in love with you. I'll take a half hour break on TV after GG and catch the new "based-on-a-British-sitcom" show, Worst Week (8;30, CBS). Since I'm a sucker for single-camera sitcoms with no laugh track, and its comparisons to the
farcical situations of Frasier, I'm all over this one. Then again, CBS hasn't delivered a truly great sitcom since, um, I guess Newheart, so we'll see about this one. I'll top my Mondays off with the sure-to-be-hilariously awful new action drama My Own Worst Enemy (9:00, NBC) starring Christian Slater and...CHRISTIAN SLATER! (So says the marketing campaign.) No pilot has been shown to critics, pointing to not-so-great things ahead, and its showrunner's last job was for last Fall's The Wire meets Cop Buddy New Orleans, K-Ville. But I'll watch Slater's smarminess for a couple eps. -Qualler
(Note: 10 minutes into the Gossip Girl premiere, and I'm lovin' it -- best line so far from the omniscent narrator: "Ain't karma a bitch? We know Blair Waldorf is!")

No hesitations about Gossip Girl, even if my love for it has tapered since its supposed "shocking" plot twists turned out to be not that shocking, but I've also had the inkling to catch up with Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (7:00 pm, FOX) so I can watch its second season. The first four episodes I watched were entertaining enough, but consisted almost primarily of Sarah and John running away from a bad robot, but always getting saved in the nick of time by the good robot, but there are some die-hards that love the direction it takes at the end of Season 1. The number one anticipation for me though is the newly revamped Heroes (8:00 pm, NBC), which with just the right amount of luck and self reflection on the utterly life-sucking Season 2, could be astounding again with its impending theme of villainy. I am more excited than I thought I would be for Life (9:00 pm, NBC), which is an underrated show that very capably balances the self-contained plot with the overarching serial frame story, plus the star Damian Lewis is hard to take your eyes off of. This one changes to Fridays in October because NBC loves losing viewers to shows that are under the radar; then Slater does the Jekyll and Bond bit for the time slot, which I will try along with Quallz.

Although nobody has yet to see the pilot, 90210 (7:00 pm, CW) is the most hotly anticipated new show of the season. On the plus side, Tristan Wilds of The Wire leads an intriguing cast which also features Jessica Walter (Arrested Development), AnnaLynne McCord (the deliciously evil daughter of Portia de Rossi's character on last Fall's mostly DOA season of Nip/Tuck), and, I heard, Jennie Garth and Shannen Doherty reprising their roles on the first season. On the minus side, nobody's seen the pilot, so it could all be a train wreck. Next, I'll cast my eyes upon the new teenagers-who-are-rich drama Privileged (8:00 pm, CW) which, following a CW tradition, has no pilot. I'll give it a try, though, like I gave Gossip Girl a try last fall. Man, I'm gonna watch a lot of CW this Fall. Since the broadcast networks aren't delivering anything worthwhile, I'll catch the final season of The Shield (9:00 pm, FX). I've never seen it, and Chris isn't a fan, but I'd rather see how it all ends than watch any of the trifecta of Eli Stone (ABC), Without a Trace (CBS) or Law and Order: SVU (NBC).

Once again, it's hard to argue with 90210, especially when I just recently found that the writers are two guys that wrote on the majority of Freaks & Geeks. How they transitioned from writing about middle-class nerds in the early 80s to rich popular kids in the digital age I have no idea, but let's cross our fingers.

I had a fleeting fancy in trying out The Mentalist (8:00 pm, CBS), which will probably be a more serious version of the better Psych with worse acting, but then I realized the aforementioned predictions and now instead opt for the spooky investigation show Fringe (8:00 pm , FOX), aka The X Files 2. My recent transformed love for Lost got me excited (J.J. Abrams produces both) until I found out it was going to be mostly Monster-of-the-Week episodes, but then The Onion's AV Club taught me that there's also a serial frame story, à la Life. So I still have high hopes. Then we gotta go with the standby procedural (the only one that has even remotely interesting main characters) Law & Order: SVU (9:00 pm, NBC). The Shield isn't bad - in fact, the way it plays with protagonist sympathy is quite interesting, but I stopped watching it right around the time I started watching Rescue Me, which does basically the same thing with a better cast and minus the trite cop format.

Naturally, Brigitte is going to demand that we watch America's Next Top Model (7:00 pm, CW), and I'll absorb the only hour of reality television programming of the week gladly, as long as it comes with a long sip of Tyra being Tyra. Through September, at least, I hope I can catch an hour of Wednesday Night Baseball (starting times vary, ESPN) because there's no way I'll watch Deal or No Deal or any of its neighbors at the 8:00 pm time slot. I'll continue the evening with the second season of Dirty Sexy Money (9:00 pm, ABC). Season one started strong but seemed to go nowhere fast, and word that producers are looking to take the second season in more of a soap direction is leaving me pessimistic for the final product. Dumping my beloved Samarie Armstrong and replacing her with Lucy Liu doesn't help matters. I'll use the priviledges of my DVR to watch the new motorcycle gang drama Sons of Anarchy (9:00 pm, FX). Reviews have been generally positive, and I'm a sucker for shows with a dark central character. The cast, featuring Ron Perlman, Kathy Segal, and Drea de Matteo sounds intriguing. And if it's anything like my favorite motorcycle gang inspired computer game, the LucasArts mid-90s point-and-clicker Full Throttle, I'm all there.

I much prefer reading Brigitte's recaps of Top Model to watching it, so have fun with that Qualler! Instead, I'll try...oh dear, Gary Unmarried starring the angry man who used to have potential, Jay Mohr, and is now slumming it in a CBS trad sitcom? Yikes. Ooh what about...Knight Rider? No thanks, we already had a talking cars debate this weekend that ended with bruised egos. All right, next hour, let's see...gotta be something watchable. Maybe Jerry O'Connell will be tolerable on the hotel sitcom Do Not Disturb? (Remembers Tomcats, hopes last comment can be stricken from the record). Sweet merciful television, can you bear me no ripe fruit? Next hour...oh thank everything that is holy for new original FX programming. I'd rather have Sons of Anarchy (9:00 pm, FX) bolded and italicized twice rather than any of aforementioned, especially since it is probably my best bet for honestly good TV this fall. I'll also give Dirty Sexy Money another shot. I swear, if it weren't for ABC's sheen of dumbed-down quirkiness, that show could have been a contender.

Tune in tomorrow for the second half of our Fall TV Preview!

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  1. Blogger DoktorPeace | 8:45 AM |  

    Qualler's trying to lure me back to TV with his mention of baseball and point-and-click adventures, but I don't know if I'm gonna fall for it. Will I even watch Heroes this autumnal season? At this point, I don't think so. I've gots games to play, and dates to go on. Er, the first one.

  2. Blogger Brigitte | 11:08 AM |  

    This is going to be a great week in television...the games can wait, doktor.

  3. Blogger Dave | 11:12 AM |  

    "as it comes with a long sip of Tyra being Tyra"

    Sorry, Mark, we need to suspend your man status for a week for that one. Please give Chris your card until further notice.

  4. Blogger qualler | 12:45 PM |  

    I hereby humbly surrender my Man Card for the week of September 2, 2008... :(

  5. Blogger chris | 1:18 PM |  

    I lost Qualler's card already.

    90210 TONIGHT!!!!!!!!!! 2 GLORIOUS HOURS!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Blogger Brigitte | 1:53 PM |  

    i'm gonna stay up so late watching that...

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