TV was eventful back then. There was no VHS, DVD, DVR, VOD, or streaming. You watched it when it was on, or you missed it. Once a year, special programs would air such as The Wizard of Oz or Christmas shows like Rudolph and Charlie Brown. Actually, Charlie Brown had the market on the "once a year" shows since there was one for every holiday.
In today's on-demand world, there's little to look forward to on the calendar. Even the fall tv season is plagued by our brave new media world. Missed the premier of that highly praised new show? No worries! It's going to air three more times this week on tv and, in a couple of days, you can stream it from Hulu Plus.
So... all this being said, I thought I'd share some thoughts with you on some of the new shows I've seen (or opted not to see) this season.
(the title links will take you to the trailer for the show)
- Person of Interest - Convoluted concept but simple execution - it's a bit sci-fi and very action-adventure with a soupcon of mystery thrown in for good measure. Jim Caviezel is the tortured good-guy who is thwarting bad deeds before they happen. Michael Emerson (Ben, from LOST) is the mysterious genius who supplies Caviezel's character with the information to act on.
- Terra Nova - Future earthlings flee a dying earth by going back in time to a pre-historic earth with clean air, clean water, and a moon you can see (because there's no smog). Oh, and there are dinosaurs - cute vegetarian ones and scary meat (people) eaters. I expect this show will appeal to the whole family - dinosaurs for the kids, teen angst and guns for the teenagers, and some mysterious hinted-at plot for the adults. Oh, and Spielberg produces it.
- Suburgatory - Smart sit-com about a snarky, Manhattan-raised teenager who's upended by her paranoid single-dad father and moved out to the suburbs. This culture-clash premise could devolve into caricatures but, if the pilot is any indication, it's going to be smart and funny. The great cast includes Jeremy Sisto as the dad, Alan Tudyk as the dad's smarmy suburban friend, and Cheryl Hines as the ultimate suburban mom who wants to take the new girl under her finely-manicured wing.
- Bedlam - A real-estate developer has turned an old mental institution (closed down because the staff was abusing patients) and turned it into luxury apartments. Sparsely occupied by the living, the place is over run with pissed off, crazy ghosts. Fortunately, one of the residents can see/talk-to the dead and, I assume, will be sticking around to help keep the ghosts from harming the tenants. This show is seriously, awesomely creepy.
- The Secret Circle - Teen supernatural drama - I thought we'd mined this for all it's worth but someone came up with yet another iteration. Interestingly, I recorded the pilot just to make fun of it and ended up liking it a lot. I may tire of all the teen angst eventually but, for now, the plot is intriguing enough to keep me watching.
- Whitney - Seriously. Awful. My prediction is that this show will be the first to be cancelled.
- Free Agents - This broke my heart. I desperately wanted to like this because I love Hank Azaria but watching two damaged people trying to have a relationship, while all the ancillary characters around them are written as cartoons is just painful.
- Unforgettable - I don't need to say anything else. Actually, yeah I do. I need Poppy Montgomery to take some acting classes. She has one expression and it basically says "confused".
- Up All Night - I really want to like this one. Christina Applegate and Will Arnett are fantastic but someone decided to write Maya Rudolph's character as a Saturday Night Live skit. The thing is, Maya Rudolph is an amazing actress but, if someone doesn't fix her character, I think the whole show is going to sink under the weight of all that ridiculous mugging.
- Prime Suspect - I'm willing to give it a chance and try not to constantly compare Maria Bello to Hellen Mirren but it's tough. The over-the-top sexism in the workplace with the boss that just looks the other way, the stupid, costume-y fedora, and the constant "tough-girl" gum chewing, is just bothersome. The bright spots so far have been with the character's home life. Doesn't bode well for a show that's supposed to be about the workplace.
- A Gifted Man - This hokey premise - egomaniacal doctor learns how to be a better person through the ghost of his dead wife - is actually kind of sweet and touching. So far I haven't died from the treacle but, if you find me drowned in a pool of syrup, you'll know what happened.
- American Horror Story - looks promising but the pilot hasn't aired yet. Maybe I'll do a review post after it does.
I made a conscious decision not to watch any 60's retro, Mad Man rip-offs (Pan Am, Playboy Club) or the so-far well-liked The New Girl starting Zooey Deschanel. Neither retro show is going to out-do Mad Men so, really, what's the point? And, honestly, Zooey Deschanel just tires me with her cutsie-smart schtick.
So that's my very long post about the new 2011 Fall TV Season shows that I like, and why. I promise that I won't take offense if you hate what I like. However, if you say you liked Whitney, I'm afraid we're going to have to stop being friends.