(S02E01) Ten months. That's how long its been since we've seen a fresh episode of Life. After the last episode aired in November there was nary a word about the show, save for reports of its renewal and a bit about casting changes. This left fans of the show in a bit of a tizzy. For Life wasn't just a dime-a-dozen criminal procedural, but a show with an underlying story about conspiracy and the search for justice. By the time the show ended its very short first season we were cheering Detective Charlie Crews as he was able to get a semblance of his freedom back.
Now we enter season two. And, as usual, the following question comes to mind: did it carry on the spirit of season one? Well yes, and possibly no. Click ahead to find out.
Apparently, not so much. The Hollywood Reporter runs down the record for the network promoting new shows during past games. In 2004, the Athens games led to one show, Joey, making it beyond its first season. Likewise for the Sydney games in 2000, which brought us Ed, and nothing else. Things were a little better in 1996 from Atlanta. Profiler, The Pretender, and Suddenly Susan all lasted another four years. Not a stellar track record and it leaves you thinking that those precious spots might have served the network better pitching more beer. It has the makings of a good poll though. After the jump, place your vote for the one new show that will make it out of season one.
Its been a very quiet summer for NBC's procedural drama Life. Fact is, its been a very quiet 10 months since the last original episode aired. Other than a schedule change (to Friday nights. Feh!), a casting addition back in April, and some brief mentions at the TCAs back in July, it's almost like the show never existed for the network. And, if I sound a bit miffed about this I'd say you're right. A unique show like Life deserves a bit more talk-up and promotion then it has gotten.
However, there are some stirrings about the show that seem somewhat promising. First, season one of Life will be released September 2nd on DVD. This is good news for those of you unhappy with the fact that NBC is not re-airing the first season prior to the newest one, or for those of you who have trouble accessing the episodes on Hulu.
It's coming. The table is set, the players are on the field, the sails are raised, and the pretty maids are all in a row. Of course, I speak of the 2008-09 television schedule. In just a few short weeks viewers will be able to dine on a number of favorite and new dishes that are being served by the networks as well as the increasing number of cable channels who are delving into original programming.
While other fall seasons have come and gone with nary a whimper, this season may be different. Due to the prolonged Writers Strike many shows ended their seasons quite early. Programs like Life, Private Practice, Pushing Daisies, and Heroes haven't aired original episodes since the end of 2007. Heck, there hasn't been a new episode of The Shield since June of last year! So, the beginning of the 2008-09 season will be a second chance for some of these shows, particularly the ones that premiered last season, to show their worth to fans and the networks.
Today was the very last day of the press tour here in Beverly Hills. It was "TCA Day," with members of the association (including me) going to the Warner Brothers lot to visit the sets of ER, Pushing Daisies, and Chuck, where we spoke to cast members and producers (Oh, we went to the set of America's Best Dance Crew, but let's just forget I mentioned that one). Then we bused it over to the Fox lot, where Joss Whedon showed us around the set of Dollhouse, and the entire cast of King of the Hill gave a table read of their 250th episode. All this fun will be in upcoming posts later this summer.
Despite some of the griping you may have seen from me, it's been lots of fun. It's just a very tiring experience. Case in point: On Monday, NBC decided to close out the press conference portion of the tour by having us sit through ten panels, five of them after lunch. Here's a wrap-up post that goes over some of what went on yesterday that I haven't already covered.
Or Chuck, or Pushing Daisies, or Private Practice for that matter. With the announcement that FOX was going to offer a marathon of The Sarah Connor Chronicles starting on August 10th I got to wondering about the other freshman shows that made an impression on viewers before the Writers Strike abruptly ended their seasons. Many of these shows haven't been seen since the end of last year.
For Life, the last original episode to air was December 5th. With the second season premiere slated to air during the first week of October, it will be nearly a year since viewers had a chance to bond with Detectives Charlie Crews and Dani Reese. That's a bit of a concern when it comes to this show. On the surface Life is a criminal procedural. However, underneath there has been an second story about Charlie's quest to clear his good name for a murder he didn't commit. While the first arc of this story was completed in its "season finale," there is plenty of story to tell.
So, NBC introduced their earth-shattering year-round schedule this week to a lot of 'ho-hums' from critics and advertisers alike. Nothing really changed from the way they were programming the network for the last few years -- shows like 30 Rock, The Office and Heroes will air in September while others, like the coveted Office spin-off, will begin airing mid-season. Also, many shows will remain in the same time slots as they did in previous years.
Oh, there will be some changes. Lipstick Jungle, which most recently aired in ER's slot, will be moved to Wednesdays. In addition, Life, the surprise fan favorite of the first half of the season, will be moving out of its coveted 10:00 pm slot on Wednesdays to Friday night at the same time. The relocation of Life to the end of the week begs one question that needs to be asked to the programmers over at NBC....
What the FRAK are you thinking?
The controversial film, which dealt with the intersecting lives of a myriad of people living in Los Angeles in just 48 hours, centers on the character of Detective Graham Waters. Waters, a police detective, is struggling with his career, his drug addict mother and a criminal brother. The role was played by Don Cheadle (Picket Fences), who was also one of the film's producers. He is expected to reprise the part in the Starz production and may even direct a few episodes. In addition, director/co-writer/producer Paul Haggis and others from the film are also on board for Starz.
The first release confirms what we had been guessing at since we got the news of the settlement: Chuck, Life and Heroes have all been picked up for 2008-09, but none of the shows will return until the fall. The second release discusses the return dates of several shows (list after the jump). It's not as helpful as CBS's release because it doesn't tell us how many episodes are left (so, for all we know, we'll see the Scrubs conclusion on DVD, as Bill Lawrence told Mike Ausiello). But at least we know when all of these shows are coming back -- April 10 seems to be the big day for fans of 30 Rock and The Office, for example.
Now we have FOX, CW, and ABC left. Think they're going to step up to the plate soon?
Here we are again. Another year has passed us by and what do we have to show for it? A little more gray hair, a little less money in our pockets (have you noticed how the price of, um, everything has gone up?), and a little more fear that the world in slowly unraveling. Normally, television is there to soothe our brows in these times. Alas, the current pissing match between the Studios and the Writers is stifling that ability to the point that we may all be having Chaucer parties by mid-year because there's nothing to watch on the tube.
Not sounding too bitter, am I?
Well, you're not here to read about doom and gloom (unless it's a review of 24). You're here to see what I, and many of my TV Squad colleagues, thought television's best and worst were for 2007. So, without further interruptions on how much I paid for my daughter's karate lessons (you DON'T want to know), here is my list of best and worst for the previous year.
(Full disclosure: I met both of them when I was out in LA last January. But asking for phone numbers would have been unprofessional of me. At least that's what I keep telling myself late at night.)
But, since I'm in a festive mood, here's my list of Festivus wishings for the rest of 2007 and beyond:
...Four TV shows you should be watching
Let's not beat around the bush -- television is a humongous, bloated wasteland. Granted, it's a humongous, bloated wasteland that I adore and worship any chance I get, but it is a humongous, bloated wasteland nonetheless. Due to the copious amount of crap that is placed on the airwaves many good shows are pushed aside, waiting for an unknowing viewer to tune into them and get hooked. Sometimes, these shows grab a few people, develop a following, and become a hit. Other times, they disappear down the television toilet, never to be seen again.
So, in order to save them from the Great Flush, here are four (plus a few more) shows that you should be watching.
(S01E11) Where to begin.
If Life was not picked up for a full season this episode would have probably been a fairly decent series finale. So much information was given to us, so many evidence holes were filled, that there was a feeling of closure. Not satisfaction, mind you, but closure. The information given out was so powerful this episode that I am only going to reveal it after the jump. So, if you have yet to watch Wednesday's installment of Life DO NOT GO BEYOND THIS POINT. If you do, don't be pissed off at me.
Gallery: Life: Dig a Hole. Fill it Up
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