I offered some early thoughts on the "Parenthood" season 3 premiere in yesterday's column. Now it's your turn. What did everybody think of the show's return, where the various storylines stand, what Adam should do, the state of Crosby/Jasmine, how quickly the coffee girl can file a restraining order, etc., etc.? And should Max have been able to discuss "Friday Night Lights" while being in a car with Alex?
I offered my review of Sarah Michelle Gellar and "Ringer" yesterday. Now it's your turn. Were you just so happy to have Buffy back on the small screen that the rest didn't matter? Did you actually enjoy it? And how did the green screen work (particularly in the scene on the boat) look in the finished version, given that the screener the CW sent out months ago looked even more ridiculous than those scenes on "Justified" where Raylan is driving?
Though I'm usually a believer in giving shows at least a second episode before passing final judgment, there was almost nothing here that would inspire me to come back next week, other than professional courtesy. What say you?
As I said yesterday, judging a TV show based on its pilot episode is often a fool's errand, and that's even more true of a sitcom pilot than one for a drama. When you think back on the strong comedies of the last decade, how many of them were great starting with their very first episode? Very few. "Arrested Development" comes immediately to mind ("Modern Family," too), but "The Office" pilot is terrible, the "Parks and Recreation" pilot is very problematic (and most of its first season should be written off), "30 Rock" took about a half-season to find itself, etc. You may see seeds of what the show would become, but most sitcom pilots are works in progress at best, as writers figure out how to best exploit their premise (or whether to quickly ignore it) and the strengths and weaknesses of their actors. If you watch the "How I Met Your Mother" pilot, for instance, you can see that show's romantic side was already clicking, but Barney is dialed up several notches past the level the writers and Neil Patrick Harris would quickly find worked best.
So my dislike for most of this fall's comedy pilots doesn't automatically mean it's going to be a bad season for new comedies. But it does mean that I have to dig a little deeper for clues about what shows might start to work down the road, and how, starting with this season's first two new comedies: NBC's "Up All Night" and "Free Agents."
When I wrote yesterday about my ambivalence towards most of the new fall shows, I was referring to the various comedies and dramas debuting on the broadcast networks. But if we're expanding our discussion of the fall season to the entire TV universe, then there was at least one drama pilot I watched that made me very eager to see another episode: Showtime's "Homeland," a new thriller starring Damian Lewis as a soldier who returns home after spending years as a POW in Iraq and Claire Danes as the CIA analyst who's convinced he was turned in captivity and is collaborating with terrorists.
The series, adapted from an Israeli drama, is produced by "24" vets Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa, but it has a less hyperbolic vibe than the adventures of Jack Bauer. (Stylistically, hit has a lot in common with another Showtime drama, the short-lived but terrific "Sleeper Cell.") The performances by Lewis and Danes are impressive, and they're ably supported by Morena Baccarin as Lewis' wife and Mandy Patinkin as Danes' CIA mentor.
"Homeland" doesn't debut on Showtime until October 2, but in this crazy, mixed-up digital world in which we live in, you can watch the pilot now, right here on HitFix. The version we have is slightly edited from what will air on Showtime in a few weeks (I haven't watched the whole thing, but some nudity is blurred, for starters), so if you want to wait for the full experience, I understand. My own review will keep until the TV premiere date, but those of you who watch, feel free to discuss what you see in the comments. I'm always glad to have Lewis ("Band of Brothers," "Life") on my TV, and it's great to have Danes back on the small screen with a regular role.
So watch, enjoy (hopefully), and discuss.
The 2011 Primetime Emmy Awards are on September 18th, and it's time once again for Fienberg and I to discuss whom we think should and will win(*) some of the major categories. We're continuing to double up categories in order to finish in time, this time with the two Outstanding Lead Actor categories, for both comedy and drama.
The new fall TV shows are starting to premiere, and if you've seen the promos - or, worse, if you're like me and have seen most of the pilot episodes - you know this doesn't seem to be an especially promising freshman class. One show that seems to have people (and by "people," I mean "my friends and/or people I know online") excited is the CW's new soap opera "Ringer" (it debuts tomorrow night at 9) for one obvious reason: it stars Sarah Michelle Gellar in her first regular TV role since "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" ended eight years ago.
The 2011-12 broadcast network TV season officially starts a week from today, but as usual, some of the networks are jumping the gun. NBC, CBS and the CW will be premiering a bunch of new and/or returning shows over the next week (in addition to the return of "It's Always Sunny" and "Archer" to FX). Fienberg, Liane and I will be doing our best to cover as many of these shows as we can, at times offering multiple reviews when our schedules allow, but it's a bear as usual. After the jump, I have a few thoughts on the season as a whole and on how I'm going to approach it...
There are dramas on television that are more ambitious technically or thematically than NBC's "Parenthood," but I honestly believe that producer Jason Katims has one of the trickiest jobs of any drama showrunner on network or cable.
And here our troubles begin, folks. The fall season starts a week from today, and the early premieres are coming as early as tomorrow night, so time to start doubling up on the Firewall & Iceberg Podcast for a little while. In the first of what should be at least a two-podcast week, Dan and I break down our opinions of many of these early premieres, including "Ringer," "Free Agents" and (Dan's personal favorite show evuh) "H8R." We recorded this last week, before Dan had seen last night's "Breaking Bad," so that discussion will have to wait for the next podcast (along with Emmy predictions and still more fall TV reviews). The rundown:
A review of the "Entourage" series finale coming up just as soon as I hang up on the cable guy...