Monday, September 28, 2009

Ok Ok, Fall Television doesn't suck

So I don't love fall. I mean I like it, but it's clearly my 3rd favorite season; well behind Summer and Spring. I can't really even bring myself to capitalize it. It's not winter (boooo!!) but what I always used to look forward to was the return of my favorite shows. Since I've been out of school that thrill has dwindled slightly. When I was in school, fall tv went along with my school schedule, it was always the beginning of something new, and all of those new things were starting at the same time. It was definitive split.

Once I started working in a cubicle, every day started to bleed into the next and now the only sign of fall is the ominous drop of temperature that leads to some sort of precipitation on my windows that, in a few weeks, will turn into a yack-inducing frozen cover that will have to be scraped off. Fall means that I only have a few weeks left before I have to start waking up 10 minutes early.

But this fall has at least started off with a few things slightly more promising than last year.

#1 on my list: Glee- if you're not watching you're a fool. There are things that become pop culture phenomenon for absolutely no reason, like Carrot Top. Those things usually go away quickly. Glee is not like that. Sure it's one of those things that EVERYONE seems to like, but there's a reason for that, and that's because it's friggin' fantastic. It has musical numbers that are not only cleverly done and thematically necessary, but they're so well arranged that I dare you not to wake up Thursday morning humming Wednesday night's tune. And it's not just that. The cast is superb, please, please someone at the Emmy's give Jane Lynch a nomination. And the writing is top notch. There isn't a line that's a throw-away and it's cutting, sometimes bordering on dark, but still, you're laughing even as your hand covers your mouth in a "I can't believe they just said that" moment.

#2-FlashForward: I'll admit it, the pilot episode wasn't a home run, and is is probably going to be more hindered by it's association with LOST than helped by it, which is a real shame. The idea of this show poses a fascinating question: How does the world change when everyone knows what's coming? Alright, so not everyone knows everything, but even knowing a 2 minute span of time, if true, could be a real game changer. It would undoubtedly make people act more, and, in some cases, think less. In some ways, the fear of the unknown keeps the chaos of the masses at bay. When that changes, what else changes?

I'm not sure that FlashForward will delve that deep, but here are my first impressions:
A. Please, no more terrible special effects. I get that it had to be done for the first episode to make sense, but from now on, let's concentrate on the personal drama and no more burning Big Ben. It just looks forced.
B. Congratulations on casting Joseph Fiennes, John Cho, Courtney B. Vance, Brian F. O'Byrne, Jack Davenport (a personal fave from the BBC Coupling) and Dominic Monaghan, along with the other extremely decent cast members I saw. I just hope you give all of them their chance to shine.
C. Some of it was bordering on extreme melo-drama, and part of it was very well done. I liked the second half more than the first, and I hope that's a signal of what's to come. Dear ABC I also would not hate it if you stopped giving "clues" after every curious thing happens. We get the numbers (2:17 or 137 seconds, 4/29/2010) we get the kangaroo. You can just put up your website. Give us a little credit as viewers.

#3: Castle- It came on as a mid-season replacement last year and I wasn't as dedicated as I should have been. It doesn't bring a whole lot to originality. It's Bones meets CSI for the illiterate, which is funny because it features a novelist, but what it does bring is the AWESOME Nathan Fillion. His delivery is spot on, every time. For more Fillion, check out Firefly and Slither. He's pretty much the same character here, but that's not necessarily a bad thing, because he's just so good at it!

#4 PBS anything: there's The National Parks: America's Best Idea documentary from the genius Ken Burns; there's Masterpiece Contemporary; Masterpiece Theater, even though they changed it to just Masterpiece! last year; and there's American Masters. I'm not a huge NOVA fan but if you can't find something here that you like, then put the remote down and pick up a book.

#5 So You Think You Can Dance: I know it's usually a Summer show, but it's like my crack right now. I even like the audition episodes, which normally I can't stand. I'm already super psyched for the tap dancers this year!

So those are my new favorites. I'm still anticipating the return of Chuck, have to catch up on LOST before the beginning of the last season, and maybe there'll be shows that I get attached or re-attached to as the season goes on, like Fringe, but let's face it, with fall, there seems to be even less time and more to watch.


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