Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Fall 2008 TV Season (So Far): Part 3

Part 3 of the TV season so far:

Pushing Daisies – Words cannot express how happy I am that this show is back. Words can, however, express how upset I am that the premier tanked in the ratings. I knew I was right to be worried about ABC doing a crappy job promoting this gem of a series. I have to commend the second season premier episode on integrating a premise explanation for new viewers in a way that was still entertaining for the returning audience. The first episode, “Bzzzzzzzzz!”, was great. It featured Autumn Reeser, late of The O.C., and was that great combination of funny, sweet, and morbid that makes Pushing Daisies such a wonderful show. I mean, I have a pathological fear of bees that normally renders me unable to even watch them on TV, so any show that can make me love a whole episode full of buzzing, crawling, stinging bees (...yuck) deserves major kudos. I’m just praying for an uptick in viewership and some patience on ABC’s end.

Dirty Sexy Money – This show, on the other hand, did nothing to catch new viewers up on the old storylines. Hell, I saw every ep of season one and even I had trouble remembering what had happened. There were also some tonal issues. I think the show wants to be wacky in the way most shows by David E. Kelley end up being (after trying to be serious for a season or two), but it’s fighting it with serious plotlines and it just doesn’t mesh. I hope the show pulls it together soon because it has potential. Also, I miss Samaire Armstrong, she brought a great vivacity to the show. I hope they find a way to bring her back once she’s dealt with her personal issues.

Desperate Housewives – Oh. Look. Susan and Mike are broken up. Again. Like that’ll last, them being one of those predestined-by-the-pilot couples and all. I wish they’d find another storyline for them. Anyway, that aside I think the fast forward has been good for the show, it’s given it some of the old spunk back.

Survivor: Gabon – It’s funny that a show known for its gratuitous blurring of potentially exposed naughty bits somehow let some full-frontal made nudity slip by. (Okay, full-frontal is probably pushing it…I’d say quarter-frontal.) Anyway, the season so far has been pretty predictable. There are jackassy men, normal men, twiggy women, normal women, and the oldest female got booted early on. Survivor is the same every year, and you either love it or you hate it.

The Life and Times of Tim – This new HBO animated show reminds me of Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist, but less squiggly. It’s okay, worth watching if you’re too lazy to change the channel after Entourage but not exactly destination television.

The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson – The inclusion of this show will scandalize anyone who’s known me for a while, since I long ago swore my undying allegiance to Conebone. Trust me, I feel like a dirty, dirty traitor saying this, but Conan’s lost his edge. Where once he was subversive and hilarious, nowadays his act is nearly as toothless as Leno and Letterman. My Tivo has been on the fritz for the past few months, recording the wrong channel half the time. I started catching bits and pieces of Craig Ferguson over the summer when my Tivo accidentally taped him instead of Big Brother After Dark or Robot Chicken/Aqua Teen Hunger Force. And he was like a revelation. Biting, off-beat humor, self-deprecating without being self-congratulatory…it was like Conan ten years ago. I still think his take on the bailout plan is the funniest and most incisive I’ve seen to date: “This is the biggest robbery in American history […] Here are the facts: Wall Street are evil, they got really stupid and they got drunk on greed. What happened is, they crashed their Ferrari, and now they’re crying like little bitches and they want their Uncle Sam to buy them a new one. No!” His guests are not usually A-level – tonight he had Barry Sonnenfeld, not exactly a household name – but Craig gets them to give hilariously entertaining interviews that are much sharper than the pabulum patter between most A-listers and the other late night hosts. When Conan finally moves to the earlier spot and isn’t up against Craig, maybe I’ll start watching him again, but in the meantime, Conan, it’s been a good twelve or so years, but I’ve got a new late night man.

As for the other shows, I have all the eps of True Blood and Heroes moldering on my Tivo. I keep meaning to watch but I…don’t. I’ve given up on Grey’s Anatomy for the time being for lack of caring, I’ve stopped pretending I care about Supernatural, I like Bones but it always loses in my own personal ratings war against other shows I love more, and while Privileged looks cute there’s just too many other shows to watch and not enough time in which to watch them. The Mentalist looks like Psych minus James Roday and Dulé Hill, which, no thanks, and I didn’t like the original, British Life on Mars and that had John Simm, so I’ll probably be giving the U.S. version a pass.

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