(S01E10) Ladies and gentleman, what happened at the very end of Monday's episode of Life is what we call in the television world a "major plot development." I'm sure the producers of Lost are jealous.
Seriously, for those of you who thought that we would never get to the bottom of the Conspiracy, the revelation (which I won't be revealing until after the jump) probably came as a bit of a relief. I feet the same way. And I'm not too worried that this plot point will end the entire Conspiracy back story. Just because Charlie discovered this one thing doesn't mean that the entire mystery of his murder conviction is solved.
(S01E09) "I investigate things." -- Charlie Crews to the IAD investigator.
Let's get the good news out of the way first. It was reported earlier this week that Life was being picked up for a full season. Huzzah! The show is finally getting the recognition it deserves and it is pretty much thanks to you, viewers. If you didn't tune in week after week and support the poopie out of the show then it could have had a more iffy future like the other NBC freshman shows Journeyman and Bionic Woman. Now all you have to do is keep it up. You can start doing that by watching the show two times next week. More on that at the end of the post.
About 8 million viewers tune in weekly to watch geek-turned-secret-agent Chuck Bartowski solve crimes with his two handlers and to witness Detective Crews solve cases after sering time in prison for a crime he didn't commit.
Not too long ago, our corporate buddies at AOL Television posted a fall TV scorecard featuring their grades for new and returning shows. While the list featured such shows as House, Reaper, Desperate Housewives, Pushing Daises and Ugly Betty, it missed a number of fan favorites (and non-favorites) that we talk about constantly over here at TV Squad.
How to rectify this? Well, we could all go over to the AOL Television offices and beat the staff until they agree to add the missing shows. Or, in order to keep our jobs and avoid prison time, we could just list the missing shows over here, grade them, and give you a chance to rate them as well. Since I wouldn't last more than five minutes in jail I think we'll just list the missing shows over here.
You can find the list of eleven shows, graded by myself, Joel, Keith, Brett and Brad, after the jump.
(S01E08) So you get out of prison for a murder you didn't commit. You get a hefty settlement from the police department that falsely arrested you, you buy a dung-load of stuff, and you return to the force as a detective. Things seem to be going you way. Then, the head detective of your criminal case gets shot twice -- once in the head and once in the heart. And, it's seemingly done on police property. So, where does that leave you?
Pretty much back in the same boat you were in 12 years ago.
I mean, wow. When this week's episode of Life began I thought it was going to be your standard 'hate crime' type of show full of people expressing stereotypical opinions about those who are different from them. Then, I realized that this was Life and it wasn't going to be like that at all. Especially as one turn lead to a twist, which lead to a video game, which lead to drug money, which lead to a son who only wanted his mother's love.
Now that the fall season is hitting the two-month-old mark it's probably safe enough to start grading how some of the new and returning shows are doing. Our friends over at AOL Television have done such a thing and are giving you a chance to grade the TV shows as well.
Thirty shows were chosen for their fall TV scorecard and range from long-running shows such as CSI and ER to fresh out of the box programs like Pushing Daisies and Private Practice. The highest marks go out to House, which has reinvented itself this season with a set of new doctors for Greg House to abuse; Pushing Daises, which AOL TV describes as the best new show of the season; Ugly Betty, a show that has yet to enter a sophomore slump; Reaper, one of the brighter spots for the slumping CW network; Desperate Housewives, 30 Rock and Friday Night Lights.
(S01E06) Well, this was an interesting episode of Life. Rather than having the focus on Charlie and many of his day-to-day activities, we were treated to the life of Detective Dani Reese. I was a bit concerned about this when I saw the previews because this show is really still in its infancy and a shift in focus for just one episode can throw viewers off. However, as the episode progressed I felt more and more comfortable about the whole setup.
(S01E05) Suspect -- Where is Officer New Money?
Charlie Crews -- Detective New Money, actually.
Forrest Gump. As soon as they showed that feather drifting down to the ground, accompanied by that soft piano music, I immediately thought of the Tom Hank's hit of the 1990s. Then I thought that Forrest and Charlie were a little bit alike. Both have that innocence to them, but they are also quite worldly as well.
Then, a dead woman with angel wings came crashing down from the sky into a parked car (did you see the reaction of those bystanders as she crashed? Good stuff.), and the illusion abruptly ended. And so, another episode of Life comes to pass.
(S01E04) To the producers of NBC's Life:
Folks, we all think that you are doing a great job with this show. Your stories are compelling, your characters are intriguing, and Charlie Crews is one of the most unique police detectives on the air right now.
Now, your editing on the other hand ...
Let me just say that I've received a number of comments from a review of last week's show concerning some of the editing gaffes that were fairly blatant. But to list a few:
(S01E03) Reese: You got a pest problem?
Crews: He's not so bad. (Charlie talking about Ted)
I am starting to feel the groove of this show and it is beginning to grow on me. While it is a fairly quiet program, the pace of the story is fast enough not to leave me bored. And, while it is a criminal procedural, there are enough light moments, particularly involving Charlie or Charlie and Reese, to mute the darkness that sometimes permeates these types of shows.
Well, looks like all the hype and critical acclaim for Pushing Daisies worked. The show was not only the highest-rated new show in the 8pm slot this season, it was the third highest-rated new show of the year, period, right after Bionic Woman and Private Practice (this rating includes live viewing plus DVR stats).
On the night, ABC was the big winner (number one in 18-49 and households) with their lineup of Pushing Daisies, Private Practice, and Dirty Sexy Money. CBS was next (number two in households and 18-49) with Kid Nation, Criminal Minds, and CSI: NY. NBC was a close third (both 18-49 and households) with Deal Or No Deal, Bionic Woman, and Life. FOX was next (fourth in both) with Back To You, 'Til Death, and Kitchen Nightmares. And The CW was fifth, as always (in both categories), with America's Next Top Model and Gossip Girl.
Bionic Woman dropped around 30% from its debut and Life was down 28% from it's debut. Ouch.
(S01E02) I'm trying to figure out Officer Bobby Starks, former partner to Charlie Crews. We know from the snippets of documentary that are interspersed throughout an episode of Life that Starks was one of the people who turned Charlie in for the triple-murder he didn't commit. Now that Crews is out of prison I'm not sure how Bobby feels about that.
I'm sure that he's feeling guilty about turning in his former partner, and he's doing his damnedest to make Charlie feel like nothing has changed between them. Hence, the reason he invited Crews to a barbecue under the premise that his wife wanted him there (Turns out, Stark's wife wanted nothing to do with the man who left his husband without a partner for four years). But, somewhere down deep inside, I have a feeling that Starks is really unsure of Crews' innocence and is rightfully pissed that he got away with it.
(S01E01) After posting my early look at this new NBC procedural crime drama, reading your comments, and thinking about Charlie Crews in general, I have come to the belief that Life may actually have a chance this season. Not because of the crimes he and Detective Dani Reese solve -- hey, a murder is a murder is a murder. Not because of Charlie's mix of innocence and quirkiness. I think what is going to keep people tuning into the program is the whole sub-plot of the series: trying to find out who the heck framed Charlie for the murder of three people.
In today's crowded world of television, procedural crime dramas are a dime a dozen. Actually, make that a nickel a dozen, since there are so many of them. Each one is slightly different than the other, but they all have pretty much the same formula: a crime is committed (on or off screen), the police go in to investigate, clues are discovered, crack forensic and computer scientists discover even more clues, the wrong person is brought in for questioning, and the real culprit is finally brought to justice two minutes before the credits roll.