Thursday, October 18, 2007

New Fall TV Shows

It's been a unique fall viewing season for me this year in that there's a lot of time now where I'm restricted in my movements because of the baby. However, this has unexpectedly given me much more time to watch TV and try out new shows. Below is a list of the new shows I've watched and my initial reactions.

Mondays

Chuck is an entertaining but flawed spy / nerdboy mashup about a computer tech who ends up with a database of government secrets downloaded into his brain. I like the casting and setup and am interested in watching at least through mid-season, but I have a problem with the show's uneven tone. At times, it tips toward campiness and humor (which is fine given the implausible storyline), but then at others it steers back toward dramatic realism, with faraway looks, contemplation, and musical scores. It's a tough line to walk, and I wonder if Chuck can pull it off for an extended run.

Tuesdays

I initially thought CW's Reaper was the most promising new show of the season. The pilot was the right blend of funny and irreverent, and the show's casting is very fresh. Tyler Labine and Missy Peregrym are great and will no doubt succeed to promising careers in television or movies, and Ray Wise is brilliant and perfectly at home as the Devil. Bret Harrison, who plays the main character Sam Oliver, looks like he will grow into the role as his character develops.

After having watched four episodes of Reaper now, I'm still enjoying the show and will definitely keep watching. However, I am a little worried that the show's reliance on the set "capture an escaped soul" plot device present in every episode so far will make the show too formulaic. Some additional character development and interaction between Sam and the Devil will help break the formula.

Wednesdays

Bionic Woman is okay, but not as good as it can be, and certainly not the "television event" of the year. To start, the pilot should definitely have been two hours; as it was, it felt too rushed and compressed. One minute we're being introduced to Jaime Summers and the next she's the Bionic Woman. I'm also not sure about the casting, although I did like the choice of Miguel Ferrer as Jaime's handler and Katee Sackhoff as the bionic villain. We'll see how the show develops.

Life is my pick of the fall lineup and is distinguished by its intriguing premise (police officer returns to the force after years of false imprisonment with a very different zen-influenced outlook) and the engaging acting of Damien Lewis.

Original and a little bizarre, Pushing Daisies is a romantic drama about a man who can bring dead people back to life through the power of his touch. With its broad visual strokes, visceral colors, and mix of comedy and pathos, the show reminded me of Edward Scissorhands and Big Fish. From what I've heard, it also shares some aspects of creator Bryan Fuller's previous shows, especially Wonderfalls.

Fridays

Moonlight is the new vampire detective show on CBS. I recorded the first three episodes but never got around to watching any, and decided to dump the show a few days ago due to new show overload and the fact that I realize I'm probably not cool enough to understand this whole vampire fetishism thing.

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