Doesn’t it feel like you were just reading my 2010 Fall TV Preview back in mid-September? You know what they say–time flies…when you’re watching so much TV. I’m going to run through the new network shows that I’m most anticipating and I’ll let you know which returning shows you should be watching. In addition, I will comment on the new shows that debuted this fall and let you know when they return from holiday hiatus, as well as say goodbye to the ones that prematurely got axed. Cable TV gets some love down there, too. Feel like skipping past my opinions and want to see the midseason schedules for the big four networks? They’re right here: CBS, NBC, FOX, ABC.
CBS: The most watched network is introducing two new dramas with Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior and Chaos, a comedy in Mad Love, and marking the the return of Paula Abdul with her reality series Live to Dance. If you’re a fan of Criminal Minds, you’ll likely want to tune into the new spinoff series starring Forest Whitaker. Chaos is being described as a “comedic drama about a group of rogue CIA spies” and it stars Eric Close (NCIS), James Murray (UK’s Primeval), and Kurtwood Smith (That 70s Show). Sounds like a typical CBS procedural to me. Mad Love is hoping to break out in CBS’ Monday night comedy lineup; it stars American Pie‘s Jason Biggs, Judy Greer (Arrested Development), and Sarah Chalke (Scrubs). Do you find yourself obsessing over reality shows like So You Think You Can Dance? Abdul’s Live to Dance will be right up your alley.
This fall saw the premiere of a handful of new CBS series, but the one I was most looking forward to was Hawaii Five-O. The explosive and highly entertaining pilot led into many other exciting episodes. It did not take very long for me to realize that a CBS procedural had become my favorite new network series. Alex O’Loughlin does a fine job at playing Steve McGarrett, but it’s Scott Caan’s Danno (who recently received the Best Supporting Actor nomination) who steals the show with quick wit and perfect compatibility with his partner O’Loughlin. With Victor Hesse pulling strings behind bars and the introduction of the infamous TV villain Wo Fat at the end of the latest episode, there’s much to look forward to when Hawaii Five-O returns with all new episodes Monday, January 3 at 10PM.
NBC: This network is still trying to find its feet after last year’s Jay Leno Show fiasco. Midseason premieres include David E. Kelly’s Harry’s Law (starring Kathy Bates), America’s Next Great Restaurant, Perfect Couples, and The Cape. I am most looking forward to the latter two programs. NBC actually ran a preview episode of the comedy Perfect Couples last week and unfortunately it didn’t fare so well with me. The jokes it tried to make were rather bland and the interesting assortment of characters did not share much in common. If you can think back to the fantastic Modern Family pilot, that is what I was sort of expecting here; three distinctly unique couples with a common thread tying them together in a way that makes you care about their relationship to one another. This was, however, a preview and I’m hoping that the actual pilot contains a spark to keep in interested in these characters and their lives; also, let’s hope the jokes get funnier. Perfect Couples premieres January 20 at 8:30PM.
Next up is The Cape. If you watch TV you’ve likely seen many commercials promoting the superhero drama. David Lyons (ER) stars as Vince Faraday, a cop who is framed for a series of murders and sets out to become “The Cape”, a comic book superhero, and he “takes the law into his own hands.” The most recent preview I saw on TV revealed a wide range of villains Faraday will be fighting against; James Frain is Peter Fleming, The Cape’s nemesis. And don’t forget about Summer Glau (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles) who stars as Orwell, an investigative blogger and The Cape’s ally. It looks like a spooky action-packed drama that should take the place of the ill-fated Heroes and the sub-par new series The Event while it’s on hiatus. The Cape‘s two-hour premiere airs Sunday, January 9 at 9PM; it’s regular time slot is Mondays at 9PM.
Parks and Recreation finally returns January 20 at 9PM. After an admittedly lackluster first season, Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) and the entire Pawnee Gang picked up the slack and contributed toward a stellar second season. No sophomore slump here! Every single character is flawed in one way or another, but they also each have rewarding qualities that make you want to cheer them on. Knope, for example, may come off as a dimwitted, idiotic political figure, but at her core she cares about her friends at the Parks Department and she’s willing to fight against all injustices within the town of Pawnee. With the departure of fan favorite Mark Brendanawicz (Paul Schneider), season three will more prominently feature Rob Lowe and Adam Scott, two characters with much potential who were introduced late last season. The fourth episode is titled “Ron and Tammy II”, and if it plays out anything like its season 2 counterpart (stellar performances by Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally) I have full faith Park and Rec will continue to shine for years to come.
I had high hopes for The Event, but it’s quickly becoming the next FlashForward. (In fact, I enjoyed ABC’s sci-fi drama a whole lot more.) The network hyped The Event to be the next big hit, but in doing so it attached it to two other high profile series and the comparison made was ill-advised. A commercial boasted, “If 24 and Lost had a baby, it would be The Event.” The Event certainly tried to become the next Lost, with intermittent flashbacks for storytelling purposes but it failed to do it right. After the first few episodes it started to feel like the show was trying to mimic Lost instead of branch off in a new direction. With that said, I am happy to report that the show has learned from its early mistakes and is attempting to make good on them with intriguing character stories and mythos-packed action sequences. The seemingly random flashbacks have been scrapped and replaced by detailed and emotional stories that shed light on the prominent characters; the Simon Lee and Blake Sterling stories proved to be the series best episodes thus far. And speaking of mythos–as much as I am interested in Sophia’s plan for her people, one can only watch a show called The Event for so long without having an inkling as to what the event is. Also, Sean and Leila have been on the run for way too long; here’s to hoping that the producers give them something more to do when The Event returns from an extended hiatus on March 7 at 9PM. I admit I am hooked to the series, but only by a few weak threads. (Click here for more…)