Friday, May 20, 2005

Next Fall Season:
I love this time of year. See, I'm one of those weird folks who loves reading the Previews of what's coming up in comics, watches the movie trailers on the Apple site about once every couple of weeks and watches pilot season with interest. I want to know what's next, because even if everything is disappointing me now (as is often the case with comics and movies at the moment, although happily not TV), something great might be just around the corner.

TV networks had their "upfronts" this week, and given that this new season gave me two new shows I loved (Lost, Veronica Mars) and some shows that impressed me again or still (24, Arrested Development, The Shield), I'm excited to see what happens next. There was only one big schedule conflict (although it is a doozy), something I always worry about when networks are shuffling their schedules, and there are a few promising shows. Also, Veronica Mars, which is probably my third-favorite show (behind Arrested Development and The Shield), wasn't even on my radar until early in the season last year, so there could still be some surprises waiting. Here's what I'm looking at for next season (not counting midseason):

Sunday 8 PM
Family Guy (FOX) - If Fox can stop screwing with the timeslot, and thus my Tivo, so that I wind up getting the lackluster American Dad instead of this show. It's been on three times, I've seen it once.

Monday 7 PM
Fathom (CBS) - Intriguing alien invasion show (third of its kind on three networks), aliens are some kind of "new sea life," but the cast and producing crew don't stand out, and there's no way *anything* could compete with:

Arrested Development (FOX) - I'm so thrilled that this show got a third season renewal, and will be watching every week.

Monday 7:30 PM
Kitchen Confidential (FOX) - I like the cast on this one: Bradley Cooper from Alias, Nicholas Brendon from Buffy, etc. I also like the premise, about "bad boy" chef Anthony Bourdain, and I want to watch the show if only because it's lead-in is AD and I'll see what FOX is pairing with that. But if it's not good immediately, I'll probably switch over to:

How I Met Your Mother (CBS) - Premise sounds dull, typical relationship type stuff but with the twist of being narrated from the future by the successful couple. The cast, however, includes Alyson Hanigan and Neil Patrick Harris. I'd rather see both of these actors on drama, because I think they're stronger there, but I'll at least check this out.

Monday 8 PM
Emily's Reasons Why Not (ABC) - Heather Graham was really good in her Scrubs guest shot, so maybe this comedy about her as an advice columnist will be funny. But I'll probably watch:

Prison Break (FOX) - A season-long show about two brothers planning a prison break? Has 24 in its DNA, and sounds like good, pulp "guy soap opera" fun in that vein.

Tuesday 7 PM
Bones (FOX) - Premise sounds too CSI, and a little boring, but it's got David Boreanaz from Angel and there's nothing on opposite that I want to watch, so I'll at least catch a few early episodes.

Tuesday 8 PM
My Name is Earl (NBC) - Jason Lee as a low-rent crook who wins the lottery and then tries to right all the wrongs of his old life? Good casting (also has Jaime Pressly and Ethan Suplee), good premise, no timeslot competition, I'll be watching. But two of those three apply to Joey, and I gave that up, so it'll have to be good to earn its place on the Tivo.

Tuesday 8:30 PM
The Office (NBC) - I like this when I watch it, so I might watch more. Or I might not.

Wednesday 8 PM
Lost (ABC) - One of my favorite shows of this season. You can bet I'll be watching, although it might be on a friend's DVR because:

Veronica Mars (UPN) - MOTHER FUCKERS! They renewed the show and put it up against ABC's ratings juggernaut? Don't get me wrong, the only thing that could get me to choose against VM is Arrested Development, but I'm not most of America, and this could easily kill the show if they're hoping to see ratings improvement. Jesus, what are they thinking?

E-Ring (NBC) - Bruckheimer-produced drama about the Pentagon. Mildly interested, has Dennis Hopper (!), but up against these two other shows? I'll never see it.

Wednesday 9 PM
Invasion (ABC) - Another "alien invasion" show, this one probably has the best chance of success, since it's lead-in is Lost. Cast isn't instantly recognizable by name (although I know some of the faces), but the general approach sounds interesting, and again, no timeslot competition for me.

Thursday 7 PM
Alias (ABC) - Almost lost me early this season, still nowhere near as good as it was in seasons 1 and 2, but has regained my interest enough that I'll watch if nothing better is competing. And nothing is.

Thursday 8 PM
The Night Stalker (ABC) - No love for the original, my original interest in X-Files has turned to hatred, and yet... this sounds like Kolchak crossed with the Fugitive, and a good underlying central mystery can help a show. Curious to check it out, at least.

Friday 8 PM
Threshold (CBS) - The third alien invasion series, hampered severely by the involvement of Star Trek's Brannon Braga and Blade: Trinity's David Goyer, but boosted given that it features Carla Gugino, one of my favorite actresses, as well as some other notably good cast. I'll watch, although not if it's on opposite Battlestar Galactica.

And that's it. Mind you, some of my favorite shows aren't in this upfront, including all the intriguing looking midseason stuff like The Unit (Shawn Ryan and David Mamet) or The Inside (coming in June, really looking forward to this one) or the stuff on cable networks like Sci-Fi (Battlestar Galactica) and FX (The Shield), but that's what I'll probably check out come the Fall season.

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