Sunday, September 24, 2006

TV Update - Reviews Part 2:

Pretty happy with the TV right now. Standoff had a supremely weak second show which, combined with its weak premise and misuse of a good cast and schedule conflict with The Unit and Veronica Mars, means it's killed from my viewing, even in DVD. Wouldn't surprise me if it gets the chop before midseason. Justice was also formulaic, way too predictable and yet unreal and a waste of a good cast, and it's on up against Lost, so good riddance to that one as well. Both FOX shows, by the way, which leaves me with... two FOX shows, Bones and Family Guy, both of which I might just stop watching as they're not favorites in any way. Arrested Development really was the only must-watch show in FOX's line-up, and given how kill-happy they've been with shows I love before (like Firefly), I can't say I'm sorry to more or less kiss the network goodbye for a season or two.

NBC, on the other hand, is kicking ass this season. Something about the Jim/Pam will-they/won't they teaser caught my eye, so I rented Season One and Season Two of The Office from Netflix. And it's so much better than I expected. Season Two is where everything started to gel, and it developed its own personality separate from the British version. I'm two discs in, and I've found myself watching the deleted scenes and commentaries, and considering picking up the DVD set, which is a rarity for comedies. Combine with My Name is Earl, which usually makes me laugh and is always watchable, and NBC has the only sitcoms (or half-hour shows) I'm watching.

They also have a great new slate of shows. Heroes and Kidnapped have solid pilots with a lot of potential, and Studio 60 is easily the best new show of a pretty strong new season.

I also forgot that Doctor Who is starting back up on SciFi, and while I'm not as big on that as I am on Battlestar Galactica, I liked it enough to watch it on Tivo. As for what I've watched since last update:

The Unit (CBS) - Weak opener, and it's become way too clear that unlike Shawn Ryan's other show, The Shield, this one is going to be all about maintaining status quo. There's some clumsy writing to put Jonas quickly back in the field and bring Mac and his wife back into the fold, and while there are some great turns of phrase (it's Mamet, what do you expect?), it never quite becomes exciting TV. The Unit is kind of like CSI or any of those procedural shows, slickly produced but without the heart that shows willing to take chances like Battlestar Galactica, The Shield and Lost have. I'll still watch, but only until Veronica Mars takes over the timeslot.

My Name is Earl (NBC) - Talked about this in general above, but the season opener has some very funny gags. The culmination of the show, as Earl relates the end of Joy's story with "that was my second guess" had me laughing out loud.

The Office (NBC) - Fantastic opener, again with the status quo change (however temporary) that introduces new characters, puts new spins on older ones and offers great, subtle character moments along with a ton of laugh out loud humor. Second only to It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia for half-hour comedies on the air right now. At least, of the ones I watch, because clearly it takes me some time to find sitcoms.

Shark (CBS) - The buzz on this was that it was weak and formulaic, saved only by the acting chops of James Woods. So I was pleasantly surprised by it. I mean, it is a weaker show, a procedural that probably won't hold my interest for more than a season, but it has some fun moments, and James Woods really does make it worth watching. I'd rather see him in a more interesting premise (bounty hunting with Greg Grunberg, maybe?), but I'll watch him here, as long as nothing else cuts in on the timeslot or I don't wind up with too much else to watch. It'll get cut from viewing after I cut Bones and Family Guy, at any rate.

There's been some good buzz on Jericho, but honestly, I just can't even work up the enthusiasm to watch it. If it goes more than one season, seems to be heading towards some sort of conclusion and keeps getting good buzz, I'll check it out on DVD... but I'll be surprised if that happens.

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