Sunday, September 16, 2012

2012 Fall TV Season

When I was younger, I always looked forward to the beginning of the new TV season. Time for new adventures, intrigue and laughs with my favourite characters. A time to see what was new and if it would become part of my weekly viewing.

Times have certainly changed. There really doesn't seem to be a lot that is new anymore. It seems like almost everything has been done, redone and overdone! Almost everything that does pique my interest gets shuffled around the schedule a few times then cancelled with the networks claiming they couldn't find an audience! Well, perhaps they shouldn't have moved it quite so often!

Gone are the days when shows would build up an audience over a season - or two. Or find it's real audience during summer reruns. The networks want instant results for their investments these days and if they don't get it, well sorry but your gone from the dial!

I loved - make that LOVED NBC's Harry's Law! Kathy Bates and company delivered both drama and humour over its 1 1/2 seasons on air. David E Kelly can create a series like no one else in that it can be interesting, quirky, funny and heartwarming all in the same episode. The last episode brought tears to our eyes as we heard Ms. Bates pay tribute to her exwith the haunting lyrics of "Take Me Home You Silly Girl" - her friends gathered round her. I will truly miss this show and hope that a DVD set of the full series will be released!

Last spring saw the ladies of Wisteria Lane bidding adieu to each other and the audience in Desperate Housewives. I'm really going to miss that show, but on the other hand, I am all in for the second season of ABC's Revenge which will take over the coveted Sunday night time slot! Personally, I can't wait to see what the writers have come up with for this season! Did Victoria survive the plane crash? Is Emily's mother really alive? Is Amanda really carrying Jack's baby? Did Charlotte die as a result of her overdose? So many questions to be answered!

How I Met Your Mother, returns for an eighth season on Monday nights. I've enjoyed this series, but am getting impatient as to who the mother is. If the rumour mill is correct, we may have to wait one more season after this before we know. In the meantime, we get to see the gang through more of life's adventures in love and relationships.

Criminal Minds will be back on Wednesday nights on CBS and Tuesday's on CTV. Paget Brewster (Agent Prentiss) has left the show but the BAU has many new cases to solve. Over on ABC, another of my favourite shows, Body Of Proof was on the renewal bubble last spring and barely made it on as a mid season replacement. Apparently there have been some major cast changes so this may well be the end if it doesn't pick up in the ratings.

Yet another season of Survivor starts on CBS/Global on September 19. Ratings have been slipping in recent years and frankly, I've been getting tired of it over the last few seasons as well. My tolerance for the lying, conniving and backstabbing has grown thin. I tried doing other things while the show was on and just listening - which helped but I found I just didn't care if any of the players won. I tried following Jeff Probst on Twitter which helped a bit until he started to use TOUT to post short videos. For the life of me, I just can't figure out that site and how to work it. Trying to follow the show, Twitter and Tout was exhausting. Now he also has his own talk show that premiered on various stations across the USA and Canada last week. The endless TV promos for the show were REALLY annoying but in reality the show is much better than I expected it to be.

This season the survivors are in the Philippines with the return of 3 former castaways who were all evacuated for medical reasons. The other big news is that Lisa Whelchel who portrayed Blair Warner on the 80's series Facts Of Life is one of the castaways. Apparently she is a huge fan of the show but this could also be considered stunt casting. I doubt she will be the survivor but it may be interesting to see her for at least part of the season.

On the other hand, I always look forward to the adventures on The Amazing Race. What teams will I cheer for or despise? What countries and activities will the teams endure? The Race begins on Sept 30 on CBS and CTV

A major pet peeve about CBS web site content. The Canadian stations that carry Survivor (Global) and Amazing Race (CTV) either aren't allowed or just can't be bothered to carry all the extra videos that CBS puts on their site. Despite being huge hits in many countries, CBS only allows people within the USA to actually view the majority of its video content. We can't view audition tapes, behind the scenes footage, deleted scenes or post show interviews. This is SO NOT FAIR!!!!

As for the new series this year? Well, only a handful are on my watch list at this point.

Partners CBS/CityTV 7:30C Sept 24  
This show is from the creators of Will and Grace - a series I loved! I'd heard there were several similarities to W&G and that didn't impress me, but the extended preview I watched was better than I expected so I will be checking it out! 

Ben And Kate Fox /CityTV 7:30C Sept 25  
Reading the premise of the show, I thought it sounded rather lame. The video preview for this was also better than I expected but I have my doubts that it can endure over time to become a full fledged hit.

The New Normal (NBC/CTV) 
A gay couple decide to have a baby with a surrogate single mom. The characters are an interesting mix of beliefs and opinions on "family" with frank dialogue and scenes. Unlike many comedies, this is not filmed in front of a studio audience nor does it use canned laughter. A refreshing change for this charming and funny show! You can watch the pilot on the CTV website here in Canada and tune in Tuesday nights for the regular episodes.

Elementary CBS/Global 9C Sept 27 
This show is a modern adaptation of Sherlock Holmes including the main character who just happens to be named Sherlock Holmes. He has an uncanny ability at solving crimes and mysteries. Of course the other main character is named Watson (this one isn't named John but rather is known as Joan Watson). The promos for this show have been running ad-nauseam  for weeks. I've taken to hitting mute or changing channels when it comes on.  I love listening to the old Sherlock Holmes radio shows and have read a few of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's books. I'll check out the first episode or two but I strongly suspect that the classics will prevail over this rehash any day!

What else do the networks want us to watch? Here is a few:
- Vegas - tells how the town came to be.
- Nashville is about an up and coming singer and an aging star in the country music industry.  
- Revolution is about the citizens of Earth being thrown into a new dark age when there is no more electricity in the world.
- The Neighbors has a family moving into a neighborhood populated by aliens.
- Anger Management - the new offering from bad boy Charlie Sheen.
- The Mindy Project has been getting some great buzz. Think of it as Bridget Jones as a gynecologist. If that appeals to you, you'll probably like it.
- Emily Owens MD is described as Grey's Anatomy meets Gossip Girls.

For full listings of what is available to those of us in Canada, and what is coming midseason (or sooner!) check out TV Guide Canada's Fall Preview.

So aside from a handful of returning shows and a couple of potentially interesting new ones, I don't think I'll be watching nearly as much TV this winter as I used to - unless I find some old classics on the cable channels. Will likely spend most evenings in a comfy chair with my Kindle! 


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