As a kid, September meant two things—A new Trapper Keeper and the new new TV season. While they don’t make Trapper Keepers anymore, I still put on the feety pajamas, break out the thick new TV Guide Fall Preview (or in this case the new Flabbytainment Weekly, do they still make the TV Guide?) and pick all the shows I plan to watch, sample and avoid. Until 2002, I also buy a bulk stack of VCR tapes to record all the goodness. Now, with two DVR’s, I can watch up to four shows at once, networked throughout the house. And it only takes me a half hour to put all the new shows into season pass. Nothing to do for the next two months until I bulk erase the shows my ambition wrote checks for that my eyes couldn’t cash (Hey, hey, even my references come from 1986). Whaaat?
For the last few years, it seemed like the networks staggered their new show premiers to try and build audiences. Not so this year, everything starts today! Yea!
(Full disclosure—I work for an ABC affiliate. While I certainly like some of the shows on ABC, my home recording doesn’t reflect my job tastes. That said, I probably wouldn’t have DVR’d Modern Family and Cougartown last year and missed out on some good shows. Then again, seeing The Middle so many times in reruns have made me hate Patricia Heaton with the passion of say, 3 suns. Sad, because everyone else on the show is fine.)
So, let’s get to it, TV babies, it’s the least essential TV Preview ever…
What’s on Bryan’s DVR This Year
What I’m DVRing, Sampling and Avoiding
Hawaii Five-O—The Entertainment Weekly seemed to like it, but I’m on the fence. Not a fan of cop shows and procedurals, but I’ll sample it because of Daniel Dae Kim and Scott Caan. 3 episodes to prove yourself.
Chuck—Half of last season is still sitting on the DVR. I like the frothy light fun of the show and the ensemble is excellent. Of course, it’ll go on the DVR, but do I just skip ahead to the new season or never watch the season because we never catch up on DVR? Skip ahead, Bryan, you need more light shows in rotation. Sometimes I think I write these reviews just to remind myself to do something.
The Event—How will NBC screw up it’s latest Lost clone? Of course, I’ll watch, but I have a feeling like all these shows (Heroes, Fastforward), I’ll give up midway season two because the ridiculousness or boringness will be overbearing. 35 episodes if it’s still around.
Chase—Doesn’t one of the networks, usually NBC, come out with a bad-ass lady cop show that just disappears? I mean, every year. Isn’t this show already on TBS or something. No DVR for you.
Mike & Molly—Who and what now? A fat people comedy. I hate the fat people reality shows. Roseanne was funny because Roseanne was funny. No thanks. Avoid. Plus that one guy’s vocal inflections bugged me when he was on Earl.
Lone Star—This one looks interesting, but could easily be botched in execution. Is it a con man drama (which I like) or a dysfunctional family drama (eh.) or a soap opera (which is all about execution)? I must say, I’m intrigued. Five episodes to sample. Hopefully, this will be the gem of the season.
Castle—I know it’s a returning show, but I’ve seen a bunch of episodes in reruns over the summer at work. I don’t normally work Monday night and I won’t be DVRing it. Why must this show waste Nathan Fillions’ immense charm in this generic procedural? Don’t watch so Nathan can move on.
House—Only seen about ten episodes. I know should like it, but the plot is the exact same every week. No, not enough time.
(Oh, the shows I don’t mention are either ones I wouldn’t watch in a jillion years, but just don’t have the passion to hate or are reality shows. When I watch TV, I want writers and directors and actors to get paid. Reality shows are for the hospital or while folding laundry.)
No Ordinary Family—I’ll watch it at work, but DVR it for Shells. Not expecting groundbreaking, but Julie Benz and Michael Chiklis have a lot of good will from their last roles. Plus The Incredibles Family Drama seems like a decent enough idea.
Detroit 187—Also watch at work and DVR if Shells wants. Not expecting much. The Wire’s been done, sorry D-Town. Seems like a show with a depressing, gritty outer shell covering a generic center. The actors look good.
The Good Wife—Missed the boat on this one. Will continue to miss the boat. The same goes for Parenthood.
Glee—Will DVR for others in the house and only watch occasionally. The good (Jane Lynch, about half of the songs) isn’t outweighed by the bad (Haphazard ADD storytelling, the relentless upbeatness-which has changed since the pilot-and the other half of the songs).
Raising Hope—This show and the next one are benefitting from my perceived lack of sitcoms in the DVR queue. Created by the My Name is Earl creator and featuring a durable cast, this show has earned this a 4 episode try-out.
Running Wilde—Alright Will Arnett, your wife is on one of the funniest shows on TV (Parks and Rec), it’s your turn to go beyond Arrested Development. And you’ve got the AD team to help. Do it. Oh yea, Felicity’s there too. Four episodes to prove yourself.
Better With You—I’ll be at work, but DVR for Shells. I think ABC may have shot their comedy wad with Modern Family. Better with You looks like an early 2000’s Fox or CBS three-camera sitcom, so it might be iffy. It’s all up to the writing and the jokes in the commercial look awful. This may be cancelled early like that Kelsey Grammer show on ABC last year. Although, I remember ABC put the worse jokes into pre-season press for Modern Family. So, 4 episodes.
Modern Family—Hells yea.
Cougartown—If you gave up on Cougartown after a few episodes last year, check back in. The show is a lot better, more durable comedy-producing machine. Very likable and it doesn’t rest on Courtney Cox’s, arguably the weakest link, shoulders.
The Defenders—Affable show-killer Jerry O’ Connell and Deal With the Devil Man of the Year Jim Belushi? Um, no. who green lit this? The hot girl from Dirty Sexy Money is also in it, but that’s not enough. Booooo.No.
Undercovers—This may be the show I’ll kick myself for not watching by next year, but I already have a light spy show featuring a sexy couple in Chuck, so it’s a pass. Also, after the massively stupid end to Lost and the mess of an end that Alias became, JJ Abrhams no longer has my trust. Maybe just watch the season one DVDs when they come out. And be thankful not watching it to the end.
The Whole Truth—I’ll watch it in the background at work. DVR if Shells wants. Looks generic.
My Generation—ABC’s done the whole twenty-something angsty drama show before (October Road) with mixed results. I’m in my forties and could not care less. No DVR.
The Big Bang Theory—I wasn’t a fan of the early shows, but now Big Bang is the perfect sitcom to watch before going to bed. It clears out all the darkness of the brooding dramas we watch, isn’t complicated, well-made and just nerdy enough. I’ve come around. DVR.
$#*! My Dad Says—Looks generic, but Shatner gives it a 5 episode try-out.
Community, 30 Rock, The Office—We watch the Thursday NBC comedies as a block. All are good, but both The Office and 30 Rock slipped last season (as Parks and Rec rose), but like The Simpsons, we ain’t not gonna watch. Oh, check out Community if you weren’t watching, it’s improved as the season’s gone on.
Outsourced—The beneficiary of our Thursday night viewing habit. It’ll get DVR’d. NBC must not have much confidence in it, as it’s at the end of the block and not hammocked in between more popular shows. And honestly, it doesn’t look like a NBC Thursday show, has more of a three-camera feel. 5 episodes to sample, but honestly, we’ll probably DVR all of them out of laziness.
Fringe—Still have half of last season to watch. I like the show as a weird successor to X-Files, but Shells and I like to dump-watch Fringe and we just haven’t had 8 hours to sit in a room and look at a screen. I really don’t want to jump ahead on Fringe like we’ll probably do with Chuck. But maybe we will.
Nikita—23 year old me would’ve liked this rehash, but 40-mumble mumble me just feels guilty. No DVR.
Blue Blood—The cast looks fantastic, but a) cop shows and b) CBS dramas turn me off. No DVR.
Outlaw—One word. RE-DICK-U-LOUS. I mean, c’mon. No DVR.
The Good Guys—I might watch this show if there were 70 hours in a day and 20 days in a week. Just not enough time. No DVR.
Hey nothing’s on. Time to catch up on the DVR.
Boardwalk Empire—I’m excited to watch that show in just a few hours. It’s your last chance at greatness HBO. Scorsese, Buscemi, Terence Winter, crime drama, the 1920’s, how can this not be awesome? Why are you not watching this RIGHT NOW? Don’t fuck it up, HBO. Definite DVR.
The Simpsons—Everyone bitches about how the Simpsons isn’t as good as it used to be. You make a show for 20 years and be not just awful, but good and not just good but great. OK, shut up then. A Simpsons episode from any era always cheers me up and I laugh OUT LOUD at least five times in any given new episode. I never laugh at most shows i find funny. And the High-Def looks great. DVR, now and forever.
The Cleveland Show, Family Guy, American Dad—All the Simpsons critics and the young folk have moved on to these shows. I’ve seen ’em many times over the years, I just don’t DVR it. The reason, I just don’t care about the characters. At all. Much of it is funny in an ADHD/absurd kind of way, but I just don’t care. ‘Kay?
I could go on and on. I actually have an opinion about crap shows like Desperate Housewives, Private Practice and Grey’s Anatomy, but even I don’t care about them. Here’s two other shows I’m looking forward to:
Dexter—For once it looks like they can’t just pretend last season didn’t happen and reboot back to the beginning. Maybe they can. But if they do, this season is my last.
The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margret—David Cross and Will Arnett in a BBC comedy airing on IFC in October. Looks cool in that Can-My-Get-Any-Worse kind of way.
So, what show’s did I forget? What shows are you looking forward to watching and how long do you give a show before you bail?
I’ll have longer reviews later on of those shows that catch my fancy.
OOOOOO, my fancy is soooo hard to catch…..
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