Sunday, September 28, 2008

Fall 2008 TV Season (So Far): Part 1

I’m so happy that the new TV season is here. I’d be happier if there wasn’t such a pileup of shows I like on Mondays and Tuesdays, but between encore airings,, iTunes, OnDemand, and website airings, I can usually catch up on whatever I’ve missed. Here’s the first part of my thoughts on the TV season so far.

Entourage - Anyone who says Entourage is no longer culturally relevant was not sitting where I was a few weeks ago at the movies, in front of two guys having the same conversation about Entourage that my friends and I had about Sex and the City back in high school. To whit: which Entourage guy do you most resemble? The one on the right said, “You’re so Turtle.” “I really am,” his friend agreed. “And you’re Drama.” “What? No way, I’m Ari, all the way!” (If they had asked me – and they didn’t – I would have said they were both reminiscent of that annoying ex-con childhood friend, Dom, who alas I hear they’re bringing back this season.) As usual, Entourage is strongest when Vince is not the focus, and as such, the third episode, “The All Out Fall Out”, delivered some of the high(-low) points of the season with scatological humor and male strippers in an Ari/Lloyde storyline that had me in stitches. I think this season has been as strong as any of the past seasons. It won’t win over new fans, but it should keep the old ones happy.

One Tree Hill - Having watched a large number of teen shows in my time, one convention that usually holds steady is that one TV season equals roughly one academic year, a format that often remains even after the characters graduate high school. This is just logistics, usually, since most seasons run during the academic year (September – May/June) and audiences seem to like the Halloween episodes to fall around Halloween, Christmas episodes to fall around Christmas, etc. But One Tree Hill broke the mold when it split senior year over seasons 3 and 4 to try, I assume, and hang on to the tried and true high school formula for a while longer, and the result was that I spent all of season 4 unable to remember which events had happened in the current season and which had happened a year earlier. Not that it’s a big deal, of course, but it meant that a lot of storylines ran together in my head. Well, OTH fast-forwarded ahead four years for season 5, which certainly made it distinctive in my mind, but here were are again in season 6, picking up right after season 5, and I’m back to runny story lines. Ah well. There’s definitely a lot of good in this season. Lucas and Peyton are finally together, and while I’m a Brooke/Lucas girl myself, but Lucas and Peyton are one of those inevitable couples set up in the pilot, so it’s good to finally get past some of the keep-them-apart machinations. For now, anyway. I’m bummed they shipped Mouth and Millicent away and I’d prefer a happier storyline for Brooke, but I’m glad Skills is getting more screentime. I’m kind of over the Psycho Nanny Carrie storyline, it’s just little too much crazy for me, and Dan can die now too, please. I do have to hand it to OTH, though, normally I hate precious TV kids, but Jamie’s actually pretty cool. The kid is a good actor, cute but not twee. The third episode, “Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly.”, actually made me cry in the way that only OTH can manage these days, it’s the only show where I really care about the characters. I feel like the show is winding down – I’d be surprised if this wasn’t the last season (and that’s not even assuming the CW itself is going down in flames, which it may well be...) – and so far it’s been a solid season, so if this has to be the last hurrah, it will at least end on a high note.

Gossip Girl - After wading through exhaustive (and exhausting) coverage of Gossip Girl all summer on blogs like Gawker and Defamer, and seeing a gajillion candid pap shots of the actors on and off set, I thought nothing from the new season would still feel fresh once it finally aired. But I underestimated Blair Waldorf, a mistake that has been the downfall of many, I assume. Leighton Meester is a little firecracker who ignites any scene she’s in, and through all the dopey Dan/Serena goo, she, along with Ed Westwick’s slimy/irresistible Chuck Bass, keeps the show worth watching. Honestly, I feel like season 2 is exactly the same quality as season 1 – no better, but more importantly, no worse. It seems to have sidestepped the sophomore slump, but it’s doing nothing to win over the naysayers. Here’s hoping the ratings can finally catch up with the buzz this go-round.

How I Met Your Mother - The premier ep was funny, but I have a few quibbles. One – what is up with Jason Segal’s hair? That shit is upsetting. Two – I hope the Robin/Barney storyline doesn’t lead to a defanged Barney. I like him just the way he is. Three – I need to see Sarah Chalke interact with the rest of the cast a bit more to assuage my fears of her upsetting the HIMYM feng shui. HIMYM is awesome because of the chemistry between Ted, Robin, Barney, Lily, and Marshall, and it’s imperative that the newbie meshes with the rest of the family. But I have total faith in Sarah Chalke and her meshyness, considering how much ass she kicked (kicks?) on Scrubs.

Tune in tomorrow for Part 2 of the round-up!


Sex Mahoney for President said...

I was just thinking about the Entourage/Sex and the City connection this morning. It's not a perfect doppelganger, but it's close. The rest of these shows I have not seen.

Sex Mahoney for President

smd said...

I think Entourage is definitely the obvious television heir for SATC, but it gets overlooked because of the genderswap.