Most of the Fall's new shows are underway, with a few stragglers premiering in the coming weeks. This year's batch has enough promising ideas and spectacular failures to suit anyone's taste. Well, just about anyone's taste. There still isn't a reality series documenting Terry Gilliam's ongoing efforts to make a Don Quixote movie. Until there is such a show, television will not be complete.
Still, there are plenty of new shows to consider.
So many things happened in the first episode of Last Resort that it contained an entire season of any other show. We had double crosses, hull breaches, three nuclear explosions, kidnappings, saloon standoffs, several levels of political intrigue, and a La Bamba dance sequence.
It was probably too much.
I loved it.
Andre Braugher is killing it. His character is at once an honorable leader, a thoughtful kindhearted dude, and one head rub away from becoming a modern day Kurtz. If nothing else, the show is worth checking out to see a great actor let loose on a super fun role.
The premiere of Lost was something special. It centered around a big fat setpiece and had relatively sparse character development, sure, but the tone was spot on and everything hinted at a greater depth.
Since then, every pilot with a prominent mystery angle has allowed overly witty character interactions and the dropping of hints to take precedence over the establishment of a consistent world for viewers to care about. Despite the involvement of J.J. Abrams, the pilot for Revolution falls into this trap. The show is just a little too light and inconsequential where it could be grounded and offset with actual moments of humor.
That said, if the series finds its footing there's some potential. Revolution's version of a post-apocalypse is essentially The Postman meets Fallout, which could go in some cool directions. The show's minor quirks can be forgiven if the violence stops taking the form of Reluctant Hero Kills 100 Dudes.
There is really no reason for me to be excited about this. Superhero shows have a spotty track record. I haven't read many Green Arrow comics, so he exists in my mind in a no-man's-land between the Green Lantern and Hawkeye.
Then again, this series is about a guy that stops crime by shooting arrows at people. I'm on board.
John Locke in a show about an apartment building run by THE DEVIL. That's a concept that sells itself, like Jerry Seinfeld in John Henry: Robot Hunter. This should be great!
It probably won't be. Network TV tends to hamstring potentially dark material, unless it's very carefully crafted. 666 Park Avenue seems closer in tone to something like Desperate Housewives. I will be very happy to be proven wrong.
You know how the BBC version of Sherlock is one of the best things going? Well, this has Lucy Liu.
Here Sherlock comes across as more of a generic "aren't I quirky" sort that you see in most medical and detective shows nowadays. That said, I actually like Lucy Liu, and any show that presents mysteries without adhering to the CSI format is welcome.
The ads make this look like a second-rate Community. And it is, in a way, at least in structure. A smug professional (Matthew Perry of Fallout: New Vegas and Friends) is forced to interact with a group of people from disparate backgrounds, all of which realize that they need to come together to work out their personal issues.
Fortunately, this show carves out its own niche rather quickly. Where Community is insane and boundlessly creative, Go On has just a little bit more heart and a different style of humor. It might not be my favorite comedy, but considering the existence of Two Broke Girls and The Big Bang Theory, it's nice to think there might be room for stuff like this.
Michael Chiklis has money and suits! Dennis Quaid has a gun and justice! They are destined to clash! Repeatedly!
Go in expecting a procedural with a cool setting rather than a deep study of an era, and you might come away happy. By happy I mean "less disappointed".
Gay people and straight people living together??? Misunderstandings? We've just entered the hilarity zone! Can someone please let us out? No, really, we can't find a door. Please don't let us die in here.
The neighbors are aliens. This is a show where the neighbors are aliens.
Picture a good TV show that features a fake TV show within its universe, a parody of actual television. The Neighbors is that fake show inside a real show. It is wonderfully conceptual and flimsy.
I really hope they go all the way with this. Give us some hyper non-humor that is simultaneously compelling and off-putting. Bring in Paul Verhoeven to direct. I will watch every episode.
When I see Justin Kirk, I can only think of two things:
- Jakob Dylan
- The supremely terrible Weeds, which apparently descended into new levels of awfulness with each season
Neither of these things are his fault. This show, however, needs to be really good to overcome my rather unfair bias. Let's see, it says here that Animal Practice is about a pet doctor with a hilarious monkey.
Damn it, Justin Kirk.
Hold on. The Chicago Code was canceled, yes? That's what I thought. As long as we are living in a world where The Chicago Code wasn't able to get a second season, we cannot allow any more shows to be set in Chicago. I don't care how attractive everyone is, or how much charcoal they've rubbed on their taut, muscular bodies. Really, I don't. I'm just letting the DVR record this for the rest of the season because I hit the wrong button.
Hey, the guy that's been in just about every comedy thing in the last five years has a show! And I still don't know his name. Ben. He's Ben in this show, so from now on he shall be known as Ben. If we haven't accomplished anything else today, at least we managed to settle that.
Here Ben is a manchild who must learn responsibility, becoming a nanny for his niece. The whole "I never grew up!" angle has been milked dry at this point, but Ben And Kate is surprisingly laid back and confident. Instead of a frantic mess, we have a potentially good series that will undoubtedly be canceled when it finds its stride.
The creator of Glee made a show full of walking stereotypes? The characters act illogically to propel shallow storylines that are immediately discarded? It features risque content that almost seems progressive even though the writing is insulting to anyone with a functioning brain? Huh.
The first phase of The Olive Garden's cyber rollout will introduce their Neverending Pneumatic Pasta Tube. This works on the same principal as bank drive-thru deposit tubes, but with unfrozen linguini and spaghetti.
Do you remember the crazy clothes and hair of the 1990s? Do you remember Crystal Pepsi and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? Do you remember where you hid the box your mother gave you?
It's still okay to like Ben Stiller, guys.
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