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October 7, 2015

The CW and FOX get a head start, TNT is all new

by Jason Hughes, posted Sep 1st 2008 8:56PM
raising the barIt's kind of nice when the networks spread out their premieres, ensuring me a fighting chance at sampling most of the new shows. Call me crazy, and you definitely wouldn't be the first, but I have this weird obsession with trying to catch at least one episode of virtually every new major show that premieres and, if at all possible making that the pilot episode. It's allowed me to see a lot of great shows, and a lot of stinkers. But it makes this time of year a busy blast, too!

I also try to keep up with returning shows to see what they've done in their off-season. If it's one I watch, then I want to see if they've tweaked the formula in any way; and if it's one I don't, then I'm always interested to see if they've come up with something to pull me in. With tonight the unofficial start of the fall season, we see the newest networks, FOX and The CW getting an early start by returning three prominent shows. We also say goodbye, maybe forever, to one of the most enjoyable new shows of the summer while TNT takes the chance to bow a new series.

Gossip Girl (The CW) 2nd season premiere at 8/7c
This was one of the most buzzed about new shows of last season prior to its start. While it was strike-shortened, it did pick up a full season order of faith before its inevitable inability to fulfill that order. Nevertheless, its ratings ticked upwards when it did finally return for a five-episode "back half" with the finale scoring the second best numbers of the whole year, behind only the pilot. You have to figure that a whole season, without a three and a half month break, will only build on that momentum. And the ongoing mystery of why Veronica Mars is writing about all these people in the first place will keep those armchair fanatics enthralled. Will they reveal her identity this season?

Prison Break (FOX) 4th season premiere at 8/7c
This is one of those guilty pleasure types of shows. A high octane thriller like 24, Prison Break demands even more suspension of disbelief and yet has somehow managed to take a single season long premise and stretch it into what will now be at least a four year run. The second season, focusing on the manhunt of the escaped prisoners from the first year was the weakest of the run so far as the tension just seems to work better when there is real prison breaking happening. That said, while I applaud and look forward to seeing Michael come up with a plan to take down The Company, which has been driving us since the beginning, I worry that the show will suffer with a lack of titular activity going on.

One Tree Hill (The CW) 6th season premiere at 9/8c
It looks like The CW has the perfect counter-programming to the testosterone one-two punch FOX offers. Starting next week, Prison Break will air directly opposite OTH here while Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles will premiere to take on GG. And we're still several weeks away from the big three premiering any of their new shows, so now's the time for these shows to find and hook their audiences. After last season's jump ahead in time, the series saw its season average the strongest it had been since season two. A show that has seen its shares of ups and downs and awkward time slots has settled into a nice pairing with GG on Monday nights. Despite the leap forward and past the college years last year, I still think this show appeals to a similar audience as the high school set Gossip.

The Middleman (ABC Family) 1st season finale at 10/9
If you've been following the site then you know that Paul Goebel and I have been touting the greatness of this campy little gem all summer long. Well, it all comes down to tonight, with the season and possible series finale "The Palindrome Reversal Palindrome." I can't say enough about how fun this show is. It's a perfect companion to the sci-fi yet family oriented Kyle XY. Think Men in Black with a cute young photogenic girl instead of Will Smith and you get a taste of the fun. I'm not sure what it would take to convince ABC Family that this show deserves to continue, but I don't think it would hurt if every single one of you out there tuned in tonight to give it a try ... or kiss it goodbye.

Raising the Bar (TNT) series premiere at 10/9
I guess we can consider this legal drama the first premiere of the new season. While I'm sure you're all as stunned as I am to hear that Stephen Bochco (LA Law) is making a legal show, this one offers Malcolm's mother Jane Kaczmarek as a judge and what should be the most talked about haircut change since Felicity with Saved by the Bell's Mark-Paul Gosselaar sporting a very Robin Hood-esque new 'do. The idea of these legal professionals all having gone to law school together and now facing off against one another puts an intriguing twist on the proceedings. And with the chance to push boundaries on basic cable further than he did even on NYPD Blue, there could be an edge to this show that makes it must-see TV.

Tomorrow we'll discuss the premieres of The CW's 90210, the return of FX's The Shield for its final season, and the season finale of ABC's Wanna Bet?

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With the exception of Lucille Bluth on 90210, I'm sad that there's no new shows I'm interested in this year...

Out of the returning ones, there's none I need to watch:

House and 24 (in January) are the two I will watch every episode of.
I'll watch the first few eps of Sarah Connor and Heroes to see if they grab me.
I'll watch South Park, Sunny in Philly and The Office, but since Arrested Development left the air I've not found any Must-See comedy (I like 30 Rock, but it doesn't grab me).

All in all, I'm losing my faith in network TV. The ones that gripped me (Journeyman, AD) got cancelled, and at the moment House is the only one I'll watch as it airs.

September 01 2008 at 9:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

90210 is on The CW, not Fox.

September 01 2008 at 9:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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