Thursday, September 27, 2007

Short Takes (New TV Season, Part 1)

Chuck (NBC)

The first show was fast-paced and engaging with a nice mix of action, comedy, and romance and some interesting chemistry between the leads. Chuck was better than I had expected to be honest and it could become something enormously charming if the balance of adventure and humor is maintained.

Heroes (NBC)

They certainly hit the ground running. It’s “four months later” and the characters are all in new situations and new Heroes are introduced. The first episode managed to catch us up on the status quo for almost all of the main characters from last season (the exceptions being Nikki, D.L., and Micah), introduce several new intriguing mysteries, and bring one supporting character’s story to an apparent end…and, most importantly, leave you wanting more (is it Monday yet? :-) Looks like Heroes might avoid the dreaded sophomore slump.

Journeyman (NBC)

The pilot was convoluted…time travel stories tend to have that problem…and it was a tad too soapy for its own good but there was enough of a hook to make you want to give it a chance to get better. I’m not loving it yet but I’m willing to give it a couple more episodes to win me over.

House (Fox)

Gregory House is the most irascible lead character on network television…and ain’t it grand? (No disrespect to James Spader…I’m a big Boston Legal fan…but Hugh Laurie got robbed at the Emmys.) The new season starts off with House trying to prove that he can do his thing without a team (all of whom quit or were fired at the end of last season…I expect the band to get back together before season’s end) and finding, much to his chagrin, that he cannot. It was great beginning to the new season (hopefully with no maniacally overzealous cops dragging down the season like last year.)

Kitchen Nightmares (Fox)

Gordon Ramsay takes his act (you know, the screaming, the cursing, the derisive nicknames) out of Hell’s Kitchen and out onto the road to restaurants that need his special brand of TLC to get their acts together. It’s all very predictable. It’s all very stagey. It’s all only mildly interesting.

Bionic Woman (NBC)

There’s some good stuff here. And a lot of cliched stuff as well. Michelle Ryan, as Jamie Somers (the titular Bionic Woman), is very pretty but a bit blank in the pilot (maybe we can write that off to her character being in shock over her new status quo as a “$50,000,000 woman” (inflation don’t you know? :-) with super-powerful enhancements (legs, arm, eye, ear) as well as having been swept up into a dark world of espionage. The first episode sets up the series fairly nicely…but the set up is full of tough talking cliches (as opposed to characters) each with their own…drum roll please…DARK SECRETS and nebulous pacing (it’s not clear, for example, exactly how long Jamie is incapacitated after the accident (which, of course, is not really an accident) that leads to her being fitted with bionic parts.) Throw in an angry but apparently precociously intelligent teenager (Jamie’s sister) and a lover who hasn’t told her a lot of important things about himself and we’re getting into deep soap from the jump. And the series is remarkably humorless…a super-hero story (and that’s what Bionic Woman is, of course) shouldn’t take itself quite as seriously as this one does. Now that the setup is in place, it has the potential to get better. We shall see.

Life (NBC)

Not sure what to make of this one yet. The premise is intriguing…a police detective wrongly convicted of murder is exonerated after 12 years of very hard time and returns to the force despite the fact that he collected a multi-million dollar settlement for his wrongful incarceration. He’s partnered with a detective with baggage of her own (she’s less than 2 years out of rehab for a drug problem) and the unlikely team (who will, of course, come to bond) sets out under the skeptical eyes of superiors and fellow cops. There’s a certain quirky charm to it (it has faint but insistent echoes of the failed Jeff Goldblum vehicle, Raines) and it could turn into something quite compelling given a chance to find its way.

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This is, according to Blogger's count, the 300th Neverending Rainbow post. Yay! :-)


birdwoman said...

No Moonlight? I watched it out of curiosity, and it's not a bad film noir/beauty and the beast kind of thing. could be ok.

torchwood is still pretty good too.

hey, I went over to bread and roses today and couldn't see any posts. Whazzup with that?


Michael K. Willis said...

I missed Moonlight...don't remember what I was doing at the time it was on. I'll have to see if it's available online (I'm enjoying the fact that we can catch up on some of the TV shows we miss by viewing them online.)

B&R is loading a bit slow this morning...not sure why...but it did come up for me. Not sure what happened there.