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Monday, December 19, 2011

Fall TV Review

One of my favorite things about Bill Simmons is that he spends equal amounts of time discussing TV and movies as he does discussing sports.  And, it was thanks to Bill Simmons that I discovered the wonders of Friday Night Lights.  So, when I started mulling over the idea of getting this blog going again, I decided that I would make a concerted effort to check out as many new shows this fall as I realistically could.  Here is a list of what I checked out and a brief review.

Revenge.  ABC.  Wednesdays at 10:00.  As an avid ESPN viewer, I was inundated with ads for this show as the summer came to a close.  And, I was pretty excited for it.  After all, it involved beautiful, rich people and crime.  However, I found it utterly unwatchable.  I am, by no means, an artistic snob when it comes to entertainment.  But, I found the dialogue and acting to be atrocious.  I appear to be alone, though.  Ratings have been solid, and it appears that Revenge will stick around for the spring.

Once Upon a Time.  ABC.  Sundays at 8:00.  I stuck with this show for a couple of episodes, but it is no longer on my DVR list.  Why?  Well, I'm not altogether sure why.  It's a fantasy done with a TV budget, so the special affects leave something to be desired.  And, as bad as this may sound, it wasn't violent enough for me.  It fell somewhere in between "fun and light" and "action-packed."  I might have quit on this show too early, though.  People that I like, do like this show.  It also appears that Once Upon a Time is getting solid ratings.

Grimm.  NBC.  Fridays at 9:00.  This show reminded me a little of the Twilight series.  It doesn't involve teenagers falling hopelessly in love with ancient vampires.  But, it does involve other-worldly creatures that are part of modern day America.  The lead character is a police officer in a small town.  So, this show also has a little bit of Fringe to it as he investigates crime with supernatural aspects.  The writing is not as crisp as Fringe, so I cut it from my DVR list after a few episodes.  But it is easier to follow than Fringe.  Perhaps that's why Grimm is likely getting renewed while Fringe is on the chopping block.

Prime Suspect.  NBC.  Thursdays at 10:00.  I was very excited for this show to debut.  NBC is good at gritty crime dramas.  The lead character was hard to like in the first couple of episodes.  But, that was sort of the point.  You had to stick with this to get to know and like the rough-around-the-edges female lead.  Unfortunately, it appears that not enough people were prepared to invest in the show the way that I did.  I love the show, but word is that Prime Suspects days are numbered.

Terra Nova.  FOX.  Mondays at 8:00.  I wanted to like this show inthe worst way ... mainly because of the cast.  I loved Jason O'Mara in Life on Mars.  The premise is cool.  And Spielberg is an executive producer.  If you were looking for Jurassic Park, you'll be disappointed.  But, if you liked Avatar then you'll be more than satisfied.  The problem for me is that Terra Nova's time slot conflicts with Monday Night Football in the fall and Big Monday in the winter.  And there just wasn't enough space on the DVR to continue with this show.  FOX hasn't decided if it will continue with Terra Nova, either.

A Gifted Man.  CBS.  Fridays at 8:00.  I could barely make it through the pilot episode of this show.  I thought it was just boring and badly acted.  Apparently, the viewing public agreed with me.  A Gifted Man has almost no chance of a renewal.

Playboy Club.  NBC.  Cancelled.  Apparently, the recurring theme here is that NBC execs and I do not have similar tastes.  The costumes were glamourous.  The sets were slick.  The music was fantastic.  And the plot was centered around corruption and organized crime in Chicago.  What's not to like?  I have to wonder if this show had been on AMC if it would have been more successful.

Pan Am.  ABC.  Cancelled.  I like this show a lot.  The story lines are not believable.  And the characters are a bit cliched.  But, it is just fun.  It looks cool.  The Pan Am girls are pleasant and nice.  The costumes are pretty.  And the settings are exotic and romantic.  Despite what I said about Once Upon a Time needing more violence, this show is fun because it is so light and mindless.  I was hopeful that this show would at least get to stick around for the spring, but that apparently is not to be.

Person of Interest.  CBS.  Thursdays at 9:00.  All right, I'll be honest.  I would watch Jim Caviezel eat cereal for an hour each week.  But, this is a good show.  The premise is unique, and Caviezel's character is super cool.  Each episode stands alone, but the ongoing story line is also interesting.  And the best part is that this show is coming back for another season. If you have some spare time over the holidays, I'd recommend catching up on the past episodes online so you are ready to watch this show in the winter.

Hell on Wheels.  AMC.  Sundays at 10:00.  I was a latecomer to this show.  But, this is the best new show I saw this fall.  This is a western set shortly after the Civil War.  The plot revolves around the construction of the railroad across the continent.  In a way, it's not fair to compare an AMC production to the network programming I discussed above.  But the production value and the acting in this show blows away the rest of this competition.  It is not family programming, though.  It is violent and gritty.  Another benefit of being on a cable channel.  Unlike the networks, AMC doesn't provide many full episodes on its website.  So, if you want to get aboard this train, the best way is to download episodes from iTunes.  That's not free.  But, I thought it was money well-spent.