Thursday, September 17, 2009

Fall TV

It's mid September and that means that it is time to start rolling out all the new series and the returning shows. When I was younger, this was always an exciting time of new beginnings. A time to see what kind of stories and plots had been created as well as seeing what changes were being made to returning shows and characters.

As I've grown older, I find that I am less and less enthused with each passing year. Am I getting jaded by countless rehashes of the same old concepts or just plain getting too old to care? Frankly. I think it is a bit of both. Advertisers are only interested in younger demographics so they really don't care what those of us over 50 think. That's a sad commentary on society and their values but I'm going to throw my two cents worth of opinions into the mix anyway!

I've taken a bit of a look at some of the new series that the networks are touting as the next big hit - and well for the most part, I'm glad I have a computer to occupy the time I used to spend watching TV. The networks aren't offering a lot of new series, but there are a handful that I think I'll check out.

Three Rivers is a medical drama that focuses on the surgeons and patients at a top transplant facility. The concept isn't completely new just narrowly focused. It may be interesting in a dramatic, touching, three hankie sort of way, but since it is scheduled against Desperate Housewives on ABC, it really doesn't have a long life span to look forward to unless it gets transplanted to a better time slot with less competition. Premiers October 4.

Community is a sitcom from NBC that features Chevy Chase and a few other known comedic actors. The premise: a group of misfit students form a study group at a small community college. Premiers September 17 on NBC and CityTV.

Hank stars Kelsey Grammer (Frasier) as a recently unemployed Wall Street CEO who relocates his family back to his small home town in Virginia while he plots his comeback. This fortune in reverse comedy has possibilities but it may be a little too close to home for a lot of viewers in this economy. Kelsey Grammer is a very talented actor, but he will always be best known as Frasier Crane and that could also be a problem. Hank premiers on September 30 on ABC.

ABC actually has a two hour block of comedies on Wednesday nights. The night kicks off with Hank, followed by The Middle (Patricia Heaton), Modern Family (Ed O'Neil, Julie Bowen) and Cougar Town (Courtney Cox Arquette, Christa Miller). None of them are really new concepts, but they all have big names in their casts and the lineup may prove to be interesting and good for a few laughs. These three premiere on September 23.

The network closes out the night with a one hour drama called Eastwick which is based on the successful book and 1987 movie The Witches Of Eastwick. Rebecca Romijn, Jamie Ray Newman; Lindsay Price and Paul Gross star, but even that combo may not be enough to cast a winning spell over audiences. Debuts Wednesday September 23.

Accidently on Purpose (CBS/CityTV) stars Jenna Elfman (Dharma and Gregg) as Billie, an older woman who has a one night stand with a boy toy (Jon Foster) and discovers she is pregnant. Zack, the boy toy, wants to be part of the babies life and they agree to move in together - platonically. Elfman, who is also pregnant in real life (Now that is timing!), is a talented actress and the show has a decent time slot between How I Met Your Mother and Two and a Half Men, but I'm not sure if I and the rest of the viewers can get past her as Dharma or the whole pregnancy and platonic relationship wrought with sexual tension plot. I'm willing to give it a shot though as I'll already have the TV on for How I Met Your Mother when they both debut on September 21.

The Good Wife is about the only show that is getting almost all positive buzz. It stars Julianna Margulies (ER) as the wife of a fallen political husband. His scandals land him in jail and she is forced to pick herself up from the embarrassment and return to her former career as a defense attorney. The cast also includes Christine Baranski (Cybil) as a senior member of the law firm. The Good Wife premiers Tuesday September 22 on CBS and GlobalTV.

So much for the new shows. My guess is that several of these and others will be gone by January - if not sooner.

There aren't a lot of returning shows that I'm still watching. One of my former favourites - Without A Trace - didn't get renewed by CBS, but here is a look at what I will still be tuning into this fall.

Criminal Minds left us with a cliffhanger that no one saw coming. The profilers had just returned from a grueling case. Hotch (Thomas Gibson) walked into his apartment and was greeted by a masked man shooting a gun at him. There have been no real signs that he is leaving the show and it is highly unlikely that a lead character would be killed off - although stranger things have happened - but my guess is that he will live to tell the tale. Criminal Minds returns on Wednesday, September 23 on CBS and CTV.

Desperate Housewives returns on ABC and CTV Sunday September 27. The final scene of last season was Mike and a veiled bride at the alter. Was it Susan or Katherine? Apparently a stand in was used for that scene and neither woman was present, but both have been spotted in wedding dresses on the set for the upcoming season so Mark Cherry is keeping us guessing. Personally, I hope it is Susan that gets Mike. We also learned that Lynette - who had just returned to work - found out she is pregnant AGAIN! Tom had been playing house husband and debating his future. Gabby, Carlos, Bree, Orson and the rest of Wisteria Lane residents will all be back and I'm looking forward to seeing what juicy plots Mark Cherry has cooked up for us this year!

Survivor, kicks off another season with 20 castaways on September 17. CBS and GlobalTV have been promoting the season like crazy with the promise of the biggest Villain in Survivor history. From what I've seen and read, the villain in question - Russell - makes Richard Hatch and Johnny Fair-Play look like amateurs! On his first night there, he tells his tribe that he was living in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. The story is a total lie, but he plays it for all its worth to gain the sympathy and trust of the tribe.

I've watched Survivor from season 1. Some seasons, I've watched more closely than others. The network has tried to keep the series fresh by adding new twists and locations, but frankly the concept is getting tired. I'm just not sure I want to sit through another season of lying, cheating backstabbers all in the name of a million dollars and 15 minutes of fame.

Amazing Race on the other hand is still a guilty pleasure. Sure there have been teams I've hated and then cheered when they were eliminated, but there is always at least one team every season that I really want to win like Season 14's Margie and Luke (mother and deaf son) who finished in third. Season 15 kicks off on Sunday September 27 on CBS and CTV.

How I Met Your Mother, is going into season 5 on September 21 (CBS/CityTV). Ted takes on a teaching job in architecture and is yet to meet "The Mother". Marshall and Lily are contemplating starting a family. Barney and Robin have finally admitted their feelings for each other, but given how commitment phobic these two are don't expect a smooth ride.

Obviously, I have only listed the shows that I found interesting, but you can check out full reviews and schedules at or go to each of the networks to read the buzz on each show and view video clips for some shows.



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