The Fien Print's Fall TV Preview preview
It used to be that the TV criticism gig slowed down in the summer, with only repeats and baseball games getting in the way of trendspotting for the fall. Somehow, that didn't seem to be the case this summer. In addition to blue chip reality programming like "So You Think You Can Dance" and "Top Chef" (plus the ever-compulsively-watchable "Big Brother"), cable unleashed a scripted programming from "Burn Notice" to "True Blood" to "Make It or Break It" to "Mad Men." Even Saturday nights were busy this summer with "Harper's Island" and "Kings" and ABC's Summer Burn-Off Theatre.
So forgive me if I'm not exactly ready for Fall Preview coverage. Unfortunately, with the new season unofficially starting on Tuesday, Sept. 8 with the return of "90210" and the premiere of "Melrose Place 2.0" on The CW, I don't have much choice.
[More after the break...]
My formal Fall TV previewing got started yesterday, when I looked at the season's best and worst new shows with Maggie Furlong of AOL-TV and AOL-TV's DVR Divas.
I'll be reviewing all of the fall's new shows and many of the returning shows in the week to come, but for preview purposes, all the cool kids like to do editorial photo galleries.
But how to break them up?
By network? Well, ABC seems to have 50 new shows, while The CW only has three. That doesn't seem fair.
By night of the week? Too diffuse. Also? Poor Saturday.
By "Best" and "Worst"? Well, you can't mess with the classics.
The problem: Most of this fall's new shows fall squarely in the middle range. There are definitely four or five awful shows (Yes, "Brothers," I'm looking at you). And there are also four or five shows I'm looking forward to seeing more of (including ABC's "V," which doesn't premiere until Nov. 3, which still counts as fall in my book).
That puts most of the season's new shows right in the middle, which isn't surprising at all. There are bad shows that I think I'll watch anyway (The CW's "The Vampire Diaries" comes to mind) and acceptable shows that I wish were better (I just can't get excited about "The Good Wife"). I made "Best" and "Worst" galleries, which is pretty binary, but there's room for shades of grey. I may have put a new show in the "Best" gallery or the "Worst" gallery, but the difference between the worst of the best and the best of the worst is negligible.
That's especially true in the case of shows that were categorized based on a really lame 10 minute clip reel (ABC's "The Forgotten"), a gloomy pilot that's been partially recap and won't even air as the premiere (CBS' "Three Rivers") or a spinoff that didn't look interesting in its backdoor pilot but may be better when it stands alone ("NCIS: LA"). The rankings are based on what I've seen, but that doesn't mean that some good pilots won't lead to bad shows or that some bad pilots won't lead to good shows.
Heck, HBO's "Bored to Death" (which I've included in one of the two galleries along with USA's "White Collar," just because they're both premiering in the fall) has a forgettable pilot, followed by two memorable and satisfying episodes, so I've had more to evaluate. Then again, having more episodes to evaluate didn't help "Brothers."
Enough preamble, though...
Stay tuned on Sunday (or maybe Monday) of the season's Best New Shows... And the reviewing will also start on Monday.
2013 | Comedy | NRSummary: Insanely funny comedy show created by Amy Schumer, who stars in brilliantly funny sketches about sex, city living, dating, and friendship.Director: Daniel Powell, Amy Schumer (creators)
Cast: Amy Schumer, Kevin Kane, Mike Houston
2007 | Comedy | PGSummary: Newlyweds Nick (Ice Cube) and Suzanne (Long) decide to move to the suburbs to provide a better life for their two kids. But their idea of a dream home is disturbed by a contractor (McGinley) with a bizarre approach to business.Director: Steve Carr
Cast: John C. McGinley, Ice Cube, Nia Long, Aleisha Allen
2013 | Thriller | RSummary: Based on the true story of Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) a Miami bodybuilder who wants to live the American dream. He would like to have the money that other people have. So he enlists the help of fellow bodybuilder Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie) and ex-convict, Christian bodybuilder Paul Doyle (D...Director: Michael Bay
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Tony Shalhoub
2008 | Science Fiction | PGSummary: Animated series continues the story of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker as they battle the Emperor Palpatine, Count Dooku and General Grievous, but also takes time to explore other smaller characters in the Star Wars universe.Director: George Lucas (creator)
Cast: Tom Kane, Dee Bradley Baker, Matt Lanter
2013 | Drama | RSummary: Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill have boundless energy in the story of a real-life commodities crook who earned millions through scummy small-time stock trades.Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie
1995 | Mystery | NRSummary: Denzel Washington plays an out of work WWII vet who takes the wrong job and is soon neck-deep in a mess of politics, murder, and jazz in '40s Los Angeles.Director: Carl Franklin
Cast: Denzel Washington, Tom Sizemore, Jennifer Beals
1993 | Sports | PGSummary: Emotionally powerful sports classic featuring Sean Astin as a skinny high school kid with big football dreams and the determination to make his way towards his dream team at Notre Dame.Director: David Anspaugh
Cast: Sean Astin, Jon Favreau, Ned Beatty
1997 | Crime | RSummary: Quentin Tarantino adaptats an Elmore Leonard novel into this story of a few increasingly desperate people scraping to get by. It has deep soul, a wicked sense of humor, and Samuel L. Jackson, Robert De Niro, Pam Grier, and Robert Forster.Director: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster
1996 | Crime | RSummary: Jerry, a small-town Minnesota car salesman is bursting at the seams with debt... but he's got a plan. He's going to hire two thugs to kidnap his wife in a scheme to collect a hefty ransom from his wealthy father-in-law. It's going to be a snap and nobody's going to get hurt... until people start ...Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Cast: William H. Macy, Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare
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