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Rotting my brain

{homersimpson} The mail! The mail is here!  {/homersimpson}

Okay, not the mail but rather the Fall TV schedule. Yes, I know, it’s Autumn but when in Rome — or Babylon? Paris, Texas? Anyway, I’m here so I may as well learn the local lingo, right? Besides, it’s handy for remembering which directions clocks go in: spring-forward, fall-back. Clever, eh?

Uh, where was I?

Oh right. Disclaimer: this is not a gaming post.

This is a post celebrating the end of the summer televisual drought and the beginning of the end-of-year gogglebox smorgasbord. As with all buffets, some of it will be yummy and full of delicious viewing goodery*, much of it will be bland, if filling, and a fair bit of it will be — I have to be blunt — unmitigated shite. Of the good stuff, here’s a selection of what I’m looking forward to on primetime, and if you’re a huge fan of something I find crap, then that’s the beauty of having too much choice.

Hugh-Laurie

Heroes — we’re only taping this for the spousal unit. Heroes had a lot of promise and a lot of potential, and has failed to meet either as far as I’m concerned. If you’re going to write a multi-character, multi-layered narrative, make sure you know what the hell you’re doing.

House — Hugh Laurie is da bomb. Nuff said.

the forgotten — Back in my younger days, I thought Christian Slater was the shiz. He’s still pretty nice to look at, so we’ll give this one a spin.

Eastwick — oh look, it’s an old franchise we may be able to bring to TV! With hot babes who have witchy powers! Sa-weet! Yeah… not expecting much from this one either. My prediction — it’ll be axed after 8 episodes.

CSI — getting a little long in the tooth, and the loss of yummy Will Petersen doesn’t help (to my candy-roving eye, anyway), but it’s still the best of the CSIs. The NY version is too cold and the Miami version is too full of itself (et tu, Caruso), not to mention too full of people I don’t give a rat’s ass about doing money-related stuff to other people I don’t give a rat’s ass about. The final unforgivable-ery is that I absolutely cannot stand the Eric Delko character — smug, 2-dimensional, bullet-attracting, what’s to like? I’m totally crossing my fingers that he’s been eaten by a grue. We’ll be taping the NY and Miami versions on the off-chance they’re improving again, but I’m not holding my breath. That policeman chap in the NY spinoff is rather tasty though.**

Criminal Minds — somewhat hit and miss. The really good episodes are really good, but most are just a reasonable way of passing an hour’s viewing. In what might be a rather obvious motif, however, I find the nerdy awkward genius quite scrumptious. The female characters are fairly well drawn (actually, most of the characters are), which helps, and I’ve been a Thomas Gibson fan ever since Dharma and Greg (yeah, I have a soft spot for hippies. Sue me.).

The Mentalist — another hit and miss show with a really droolworthy lead. Apparently this was a runaway hit last year? Maybe. The episodes are almost as formulaic as Columbo used to be, but as with that venerable show you watch it not so much for the murders as for the way they’re solved, and to see how many people Jane will manage to offend within the first 5 minutes. I do wish they’d done more with the family-murdering serial-killer backstory, but I guess when it got popular they decided they needed to string that one out more. Oh, and it would mean actually working out some kind of character progression for the lead, and that’s something TV shows have trouble with.

Over the summer doldrums I became unexpectedly addicted to NCIS, so we’ll be watching the new series of that too. You can’t beat cute semi-goth nerdy genius forensic experts; and she gets the best lines, too. The LA version looked rather like LA, all makeup and no substance, so we’ll probably be giving that a miss, though I was surprised to find I thought Chris O’Donnell was okay in it — usually he’s more wooden than a logjam.

I taped the first couple of episodes of The Vampire Diaries, and so far my reaction is: gack! From what I can tell, it’s 90210 with fangs; though — again, and as is so often the case — the bad brother is WAY hotter than the good brother, and gets all the good dialogue. Go Caine! Boo, Abel!

I keep meaning to give Numb3rs another go, because I loved Northern Exposure and thus have a pre-set bias towards Rob Morrow, and because back in the day, Peter MacNicol was the best thing in the otherwise increasingly watery Ally McBeal. And yet… the female FBI woman kind of sucks (and, surprise! she’s the pseudo-scientist psychology type), the plots aren’t all that, and I never felt the ensemble quite gelled. When you’re doing a show like this, a good ensemble makes it or breaks it, at least for me — I’ll watch a show with very little plot if the cast ensemble has enough going for it (case in point, Eureka — who cares about this week’s OMG we’re dying plot, right? It’s the people in it who matter — well, and the weird science is kinda cool some days too).

We’ll see what Stargate: Universe is like, though again, I’m not holding my breath.

That’s not a comprehensive list, but it’s what I could think of off the top of my head. Now I’ve got to go earn my keep so I can waste countless hours rotting my brain on the coming TV-gobblefest!

*Yes, it’s a word.

** If my objectification of men bothers you, get over it. Mmmm, eye candy.

Categories: Misc. Tags: , ,
  1. September 18, 2009 at 8:57 am | #1

    I’m into USA shows these days :) Yay hulu.

  2. Francis
    September 18, 2009 at 8:58 am | #2

    Why is neither Big Bang Theory nor How I Met Your Mother on this list?!

    • September 18, 2009 at 9:04 am | #3

      Because I only occasionally watch them — and they’re half hour comedy shows. I was covering more the drama stuff. Not intentionally, but that’s how it came out.

      And by the time I got to the fluffier stuff, I figured the list was already long enough. :P

      • Francis
        September 18, 2009 at 9:05 am | #4

        I’ll let it slide then. :P However, I do recommend at least following Big Bang Theory if nothing else. The geek/airtime ratio of that show is one of the highest I’ve seen so far. :D

        • September 18, 2009 at 9:07 am | #5

          Heh, this is true. I think it skirts the edge of overgeekitude, though for the most part they’re landing on the right side of the funny/groany divide. :D

  3. September 18, 2009 at 9:06 am | #6

    Normally I’m really excited about House, but I’m not very thrilled about the direction the show has taken over the last 2 years. I’m disappointed that a large portion of the show will be him in a mental institution.

    I still have 12 ep. of Heroes on my DVR and I’ve not had any interest in watching them. I keep hoping that mood will hit me, but after the second season, I’ve just fallen out of love with that show, it is a shame since I picked up the 1st season on DVD.

    But, CSI, NCIS and The Mentalist are top notch favorites. Course they might have to compete with 30 Rock which has become my new fav.

    I’ll probably we watching a lot of Criminal Minds since my wife recently discovered that she really likes this show now that she has gotten tired of NCIS, which I have not, thank gawd we have two DVRS. lol

    • September 18, 2009 at 9:08 am | #7

      ARGH! 30 Rock! I knew I was forgetting something. Caught one of those last season and promised myself I’d get the DVDs from the start — and then promptly forgot all about it. Thanks for the reminder!

  4. September 18, 2009 at 9:08 am | #8

    Oh and let us not forget LOST, the final season, but I’ve got plenty of time to get excited on that one.

    • September 18, 2009 at 9:08 am | #9

      LOST but not forgotten!

      Hur, hur.

      I am trembling with antici…………………………………..pation!

  5. wiqd
    September 18, 2009 at 10:06 am | #10

    Hmm … I don’t find any of those shows remotely interesting :P I like Hugh Laurie, but only because of Black Adder ;) I’ll stick to Entourage, How I Met Your Mother and Big Bang Theory. Heroes sucks now.

  6. jedioftheshire
    September 18, 2009 at 10:46 am | #11

    Black Adder was pretty amazing, my mind was blown after I watched it after House and realized that I was watching Hugh Laurie! :D

    I’m not holding my breath for SG:Universe either though… I was disappointed to see nothing but sex and action in the trailers, I miss my SG-1 and a SG-themed action series will not fill the void :(

  7. September 18, 2009 at 11:01 am | #12

    Looking forward to House and Criminal Minds as well. It’s shaping up to be a nice fall season for tv.

  8. smakendahed
    September 18, 2009 at 12:11 pm | #13

    I’m recording three of those that you’ve listed as well.

    Heroes – I like superheroes.

    House – Hugh Laurie kills me. I make it a point not to eat or drink anything while the show is on just to be sure it doesn’t end up coming out of my nose.

    The Mentalist – I love that show for much the same reason, Simon Baker offending someone, not being hot. I like the chemistry of the characters on that show.

    I’ll also include “Lie To Me” because the concept is interesting though I do find it has some similarities with The Mentalist.

    I’ll likely check out SG:Universe because I did like the original one and Atlantis.

  9. September 18, 2009 at 12:14 pm | #14

    More objectification please! You gave me a few new shows to check out for the man candy!

    While I’m a total sucker for police procedurals, I’ve got too much on my schedule to actually wach one regularly. Besides, any given hour of the day five of them are airing, so I can always pick them up.

    My Fall watching list turned into an eight page novel. So I put it up as a post on my own site! Go check it out if you’re interested!

    Now, with all this potentially great TV, I just need to figure out when I’m going to actually play games…

  10. September 18, 2009 at 1:30 pm | #15

    I’m appalled by your objectification of serious performers when you should be focusing purely on acting talent!

    (PS: damn, Olivia Wilde is a fox.)

    Can’t read any House discussions, though, ‘cos we’re still watching Series 5 in the UK, LALALALALA SPOILERS LALALA.

  11. September 18, 2009 at 1:43 pm | #16

    We share a lot of tastes. Criminal minds can be good. House is fantastic. The things I wouldn’t do for Abby (Shannon would do more, that’s testament to Abbys powers)

    I have two must watches though.

    Fringe.

    Stargate Universe.

    So it shall be.

  12. September 18, 2009 at 2:54 pm | #17

    No love for Supernatural or Fringe?! For shame!

    All of those shows are up my alley (a fellow NCIS watcher?! Yay!) sans Heroes, it’s just been too much of a let down since season 1.

  13. September 18, 2009 at 4:31 pm | #18

    I’ve barely heard of half the shows you’ve mentioned :)

    I will say that Heroes is awful and should be killed and SG:Universe does indeed look quite nice, mainly because Robert Carlyle is in it :)

    I’d recommend The Wire :) Pick it up on DVD, awesome show!

    • September 18, 2009 at 4:44 pm | #19

      The Wire is on our DVD list, aye — by the time we became aware that it was a pretty good show, we felt we’d lost too many episodes already. I’m just waiting for a bunch of other movies to clear the rental line before those get sent. :D

      I’m looking forward to it, because just about everyone I know (including people with wildly differing tastes otherwise) has recommended it.

  14. September 18, 2009 at 6:38 pm | #20

    Ysh, you should check out Green Wing on Hulu. It’s like Scrubs w/o the medicine … and British!

  15. nugget
    September 21, 2009 at 10:35 pm | #21

    Dexter! Dexter! If you haven’t, you must try Dexter!

    Squeeeeeeeeeeeee!

  16. shadowwar
    September 23, 2009 at 7:49 am | #22

    For some reason, I feel like commenting on your blog a lot today.

    Just wanted to add a quick second to your “somehow, I became addicted to NCIS” blurb. My wife doesn’t get it (and hates when I watch it), it’s not a great show, it’s mediocre at best, but for some reason, I can’t get enough. It’s the show I watch when I absolutely don’t want to think. It takes me on a predictible repetative path with just enough minor surprises to keep me entertained, but not enough to blow me off my rocker.

    • September 23, 2009 at 8:16 am | #23

      “For some reason, I feel like commenting on your blog a lot today.”

      That’s cuz I am just so freaking full of awesome!!

      Err, I mean you are, my lovely clever insightful funny lovely readers. :D

      Actually, NCIS isn’t mediocre. The procedural and investigative part is tosh (Mort was in the Navy, so he keeps snorting that NCIS isn’t the Navy-FBI), but the characters are strongly drawn, solid, consistent, and above all damned funny once you’ve been following it for a while.

      The first few times I watched it (prompted by my sister, who’s a big fan) I thought Gibbs had a 6′ stick up his arse, Tony was a jock asshole, Kate (the female agent at the time) was an idiot, and McGee was just Token Geek. And while all that is actually somewhat true, they’re all more than you see at first glance.

      It’s rather more cleverly done and written than you initially see. On the other hand, it’s probably an acquired taste, too. I’m *much* more interested in character than I am in plot though, so I acquired it.

      EDITED to add — and of course it has an English sub-character, and not just *any* English guy. They’re a staple in American shows (to name but one: Patrick Stewart in ST:TNG, but once you start looking they’re everywhere), adding some sort of foreign-yet-familiar touch that viewers seem to like whether they know it or not. David McCallum is one in a long line of such, but he’s a particularly good one, especially with his 60s & 70s show associations.

  17. September 18, 2009 at 10:47 am | #24

    Yes, I blatantly ripped off Ysh, I admit it!

  1. September 18, 2009 at 10:44 am | #1
  2. September 19, 2009 at 6:33 am | #2

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