Monday, September 24, 2007

TV Pilots extravaganza

One of my friends had his not quite always annual
pilots watching party this year, so I got to see a
number of the new shows. Of course, all that follows
is just my opinion: your mileage may vary.


1) "Sarah Connor Chronicles". This pilot rocked. It
felt very much like a Terminator movie. A very good
Terminator movie. (I thought "Sarah Connor" was far
superior to "T3"). This pilot probably cost a fortune,
and was action packed. Whether or not they can keep up
this level throughout the series is the big question.
But hey, even it they can't, Lena Headey and Summer
in kick-ass roles -- can't beat that with a
stick. Sadly, we won't see it until mid-season.

2) "Reaper". Very funny. Ray Wise as Satan is a
must-see. I wasn't expecting to even like this one,
and just loved it. Premieres 9/25 on the CW.

3) "Chuck". Another surprise. The pilot was a real
charmer. Also, I certainly appreciated Yvonne Strahovski
as the CIA agent who ends up protecting Chuck. Yowsa!

4) "New Amsterdam". Unfortunately, this has been
pushed to mid-season. There are several shows with an
immortal protagonist debuting this year: this was,
IMHO, by far the best. The only one with a real
feeling for the passage of time, and its effect on our
hero Amsterdam. Also, the lead is very good, and very
attractive. You know, for a guy.

Possibles: (Shows I didn't love, but are worth an
additional few episodes to see how they do.)

1) Bionic Woman. One of the shows I was looking
forward to the most. Sadly, the pilot was lacking. It
was very dark, without even a smidgen of humor. The
one bright spot in the pilot was Katee Sackhoff,
playing the villain, who just plain stole the whole
show. I've heard a lot of complaints about Michelle
Ryan, who plays Jaime. I actually think she's fine:
she was just playing the role as it was written. The
show is being reworked, so we'll see.

2)"Big Bang Theory". This comedy shows promise. It's
not quite there yet, but it's a Chuck Lorre show, and
he's great. Also, Sarah Gilbert will be joining the
cast later in the season.

3) "Pushing Daisies". Most of my friends LOVED this
show. I mean, they passionately adore it. It didn't
grab me. I love quirky, but this was a little too
studied in its quirkyness for me. On the other hand,
it is genuinely original. There's nothing else like it
on the air. Definitely worth taking a look: as I said,
everyone else I know loves it.

4) "Back to You". Solid comedy with Kelsey Grammer and
Patricia Heaton. Fred Willard steals every scene he's
in. A very professional, competent show. Has some
kinks to iron out, but likely to be on the air for the
long haul.

Shows to miss:

1)"Viva Laughlin". Dear god. I was so looking
forward to this show. I love musicals, and I love Hugh
, but this show is dead on arrival. They made a
huge mistake: instead of just having the actors sing,
they sing along to the original song - complete with
the original vocals. It's confusing: one of my friends
asked: "Are they all supposed to be singing and
dancing along with the radio?" C'mon, if you're going
to do a musical, have the guts to just go and do a

Also, it's occasionally really painful: when Melanie
is mangling a Blondie song, you not only hear
her caterwauling, but you have the real vocals to
compare her to at the same time. Ohhh, boy. If you're
at all interested in this, catch it early. Seriously:
I'm predicting one episode and out. A damn shame.

2) "Midnight". It felt like a tired "Angel" retread.
We watched it right after "New Amsterdam" and it
covered some of the same ground about immortality:
only not half as well as "Amsterdam". The lead also
suffered in comparison to the lead of "Amsterdam".
This show is also being re-worked. The network has
brought in David Greenwalt to run the show. He
co-created and was the showrunner for the first few
seasons of "Angel". (*cough, cough*) I'll probably
tune in just to see what Greenwalt does with it.

Unfortunately, we ran out of time before we could
watch "Journeyman" or "Life". I'm very interested in
Journeyman -- it's been getting good reviews. Seems
like a good fit with "Chuck" and "Heroes".

"Life" co-stars Sarah Shahi. Triple yowsa! All I've seen of
it are publicity photos of her with her badge and gun.
That's enough! I'm there!

Overall, it looks like an unusually strong tv season
this year. A number of good new shows.

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