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July 29, 2014

The Five: Joel's fall picks

by Joel Keller, posted Aug 16th 2006 6:07PM
Gilmore GirlsThere are two reasons why I'm one of the last TV Squadders to give you his fall picks: 1) I'm lazy, and 2) between the high-quality pilots the networks are offering this year and the hyper-anticipated returns of so many existing shows, it was very hard to pick only five things that I'm looking forward to this fall. But after days of sitting in a dark room, guzzling gallons of coffee while charting the fall season under a bare light bulb, I've come up with these five items:

1. Grey's Anatomy on Thursdays - Few shows that weren't named Lost generated as much season-finale buzz as Grey's Anatomy, both for good and bad reasons. The two-day season finale was both thrilling and head-scratching, with the Denny/Izzie storyline making a lot of loyal viewers question the sanity of Shonda Rhimes and the writers. But the cliffhanger, where Meredith has to choose between McVet and McDreamy, was enough to make people eager for this upcoming season. Then ABC moved the show from it's Sunday stronghold to Thursdays, pitting it against CSI. Will it pull in the numbers it got on Sundays? What will happen to Izzie after she essentially killed Denny? Who will Mer pick? I can't wait to find out.

2. The post-Palladino era of Gilmore Girls begins - Many fans of Gilmore Girls wish last season never happened, for various reasons. First of all, the show veered in some depressing directions, what with the first-half separation of the titular Girls, then the ruination of the Luke-Lorelai engagement over a pre-teen daughter that came out of nowhere. Then we all learned that the creator of the show, Amy Sherman-Palladino, and her husband Daniel Palladino, were not renewing their contracts. So how did Team Palladino leave us? With Lorelai in bed with ex Christopher after finally confronting Luke about his daughter. Ugh. So the question is: can new showrunner David Rosenthal capture the rapid-fire, pop-culture driven dialogue of the show, and bring the characters back to their senses? TV Guide writer and GG superfan Mike Ausiello seemed to think so after he read the script for the season premiere. We'll see.

3. The Office - Pam and Jim kissed at the end of the finale after Jim expressed his feelings for her. But nothing is settled yet, since Jim is still looking to transfer to a new office. Oh, and bumbling Michael Scott had to choose between two women. It was a great ending to the show's breakthrough season, and it looks like we're about to see an already funny show hit its comedic stride this year, with new cast members and the appearance of some of the show's UK counterparts in one episode. Oh, and Ricky Gervais is going to write yet another episode. This is gonna be a fun year.

4. Studio 60 and 30 Rock - Right now, these two shows seem to be intertwined because of their similar themes. Both the Aaron Sorkin drama and the Lorne Michaels/Tina Fey comedy go behind the scenes of an SNL-style sketch show, but the two shows couldn't be more different. And both have the potential to be excellent shows for NBC. Right now, Studio 60 is a little futher ahead on the quality meter, as Sorkin has established his usual "fast-talking-while-walking" vibe down right away, and all the actors are fantastic. But the show's pilot was a little preachy, which needs to be tamped down a bit. 30 Rock, on the other hand, is a little rough, but the interplay between Tina Fey's and Alec Baldwin's characters can make the show a hit, which is something Fey and Michaels intend to emphasize in coming episodes.

5. The Nine - I'm not a big fan of serialized shows. But of all the pilots I saw this summer, The Nine was the only one that sucked me in. It got me involved so much, I lost track of time. It's an intriguing plot: nine strangers who get caught up in a botched bank robbery, and after a 52-hour hostage situation ends, new bonds form and mysteries emerge. All the side glances and little clues made me want to find out what happened during that hostage crisis, which is exactly what the producers wanted. They'll reveal what happened as the season goes along, and if the episodes are as good as the pilot, I'll be there watching.

Honorable Mentions:
Ugly Betty - Will a worldwide-hit of a telenovela translate to the U.S.? ABC hopes so, as they've moved it into the pre-Grey's slot on Thursdays. The pilot showed potential, and America Ferrera is great as Betty.

How I Met Your Mother -
Ted and Robin are together, but now Marshall and Lilly aren't. I'm looking forward to seeing where the writers take this. Oh, and another season of Barneyisms is reason enough to watch.

Sunday Night Football - How will NBC's "super team" of Madden, Michaels, Costas, Collinsworth, Bettis, etc. mesh? Will NBC do a classy presentation or go the noisy, graphic-filled FOX route? And how will the flexible scheduling work?

Kidnapped - A top-notch cast separates this serialized drama from the crowd. Delroy Lindo, Dana Delany, Tim Hutton, and Jeremy Sisto are all fine actors, and the production style of the pilot made Kidnapped feel more like a movie than a TV series.

Jericho -
A nuclear explosion, a Kansas town isolated, a prodigal son returns, and Gerald McRaney. Not a bad formula.

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Scarlet

Eagerly anticipating the new Gilmore Girls season. I have faith it will be awesome, though. I do NOT like how it ended, though:(

August 23 2006 at 4:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
KateG

I've actually seen both The Nine and Jericho and I was blown away by the quality of these shows. It looks like TV is moving towards producing more character-driven, ensemble-piece dramas with an interesting twist.

August 17 2006 at 12:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Gordy

Sad to see that Gerald McRaney was cast in Jericho. I was so hoping he would be cast as Deputy Chief Brenda-Lee Johnson's father [that's The Closer for the rest of you]. That would have rocked.

August 17 2006 at 9:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Kerstin

Hey Joel,

from all the shows you mentioned I'm already excited to see the new seasons of Gilmore Girls and Grey's Anatomy, and we can only hope that it all will work out well with the new CW for GG and the new Thursday-Spot for GA. I couldn't bear it if either show would be cancelled because of the stupid ratings.

And I'm looking forward to The Nine as well! Is a very interesting storyline.

So, Fall can come. :-)

August 17 2006 at 4:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mackielover

How in the world can you call Gerald McRaney ugly??
I think he is very sexy and handsome. And I met him in person. I am very much looking forward to JERICHO and the third season of HOUSE. Hugh Laurie is another AMAZING actor who's not bad on the eyes.
How could you leave out HOUSE, Joel????

August 16 2006 at 10:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tammy

I have been re-watching Gilmore Girls from the first episode again to get ready for this season. Mainly to remember why I loved the show in the first place but also because it's been a while since I watched the old shows. So I am really looking forward to this fall to see what happens with our Girls. I really hope the witty banter is still there.

August 16 2006 at 10:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jake

How I met your mother rocks, I hope that more people sample it when it returns. mondays on cbs at 8:30 after The Class

August 16 2006 at 9:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Allen Mendelsohn

I love TV Squad. Where else could I find other people who appreciate the quality of Gerald McRaney.

But of all the actors Joel mentioned Delroy Lindo stands out. On network TV! Every week! I couldn't tell one one-story-serialized drama from another this upcoming season, but that makes Vanished, uh the Nine, uh wait.. Kidnapped that's it! the one to watch for sure. He's a just an awesome actor, and the rest of the cast ain't too shabby. Let's hope it lasts longer than Reunion.

#1 on my list is The Wire, which I'm sure I've professed my love for in other comments. Then Studio 60, Lost's four-toed giant foot, T-bag's cut off hand (does next week count as fall?), and I've heard some good things about Men in Trees - might have a quirkiness factor I like.

August 16 2006 at 8:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Karen

Gerald McRaney! You know, you can almost never go wrong with Gerald McRaney.

I was watching an old "Simon & Simon" episode the other day on SleuthTV, and I was struck by how often the "ugly, quirky" guy in these buddy shows ended up having a real career and the "pretty" guy ended up on the trash-heap of history. I mean, what on earth ever happened to Jameson Parker? Who even cares?

But Gerald McRaney! That's some good stuff, my friend.

August 16 2006 at 7:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Walt

Of all the premises of all the shows I haven't seen, two shows stand out as shows I'll have to be dragged kicking and screaming to watch: The Nine and 30 Rock.

The Nine, because it sounds way too much like a revamp of "Inside Man", a movie I especially did not like, and 30 Rock, primarily because Lorne and Tina had a hard enough time putting something funny on Saturday nights already -- what, he's got more unfunny stuff?

August 16 2006 at 6:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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