Friday, September 09, 2005

Fall TV Guide

(I watch TV with a discriminating eye. I’m serious. It might seem like I watch any show that comes along, but really – my time is valuable. If the show isn’t funny, thought-provoking, exciting, or featuring scantily clad teenagers, I’m not going to watch it.

Likewise, I’ve always hated how TV controlled my life. You could pretty much cross out two or three nights a week in previous years as “I can’t do that because _________ is on tonight.”

But no more! Last week, we finally joined the rest of the smart people in America and got DVR. This should radically change my life. No longer am I the slave to the Network TV Schedule. I don’t want to sound like the commercials, but do you know how cool it is to pause and rewind live TV? Suddenly I’m saving 20 minutes of every hour of TV I watch. It’s great. And you can record two shows at the same time! Suddenly the sky’s the limit! I can pick the shows I want based on quality, not on availability of free time!

With that, I’ve had a few requests from people this week for “What shows should I watch this fall?” Well, I’ll tell you. Keep in mind, these shows are listed assuming you also have the wonderful invention of DVR to allow multiple shows at the same time.

There are some intriguing new shows that may or may not pan out, some returning favorites, and some shows you’re not watching, but probably should be. Without further ado, here is how you should spend your Autumn Evenings…)


8:00 – Arrested Development (Fox) – You Should Be Watching. Ranks right up there with the Office and Scrubs (returning in January!) as “The Only Funny Shows on TV Last Season.” You probably haven’t watched it up until now due to its dreadful Sunday night timeslot opposite Extreme Home Makeover (admit it, you cry). Now it’s got the prime location to kick off our TV week. Quirky, fun, great cast, and unique – plus it’s narrated by Ron Howard!

8:30 – How I Met Your Mother (CBS) – Promising. It’s told in flashbacks by Bob Saget. It stars Doogie Howser and the American Pie girl. What’s not to like? That's enough for me!

8:30 – Kitchen Confidential (Fox) – Promising. Bradley Cooper (Alias, Wedding Crashers) and Nick Brendon (Buffy) star in this comedy about working in the kitchen. I like both actors, and I like food - so I want it to be good.

9:00 – Prison Break (Fox) – Promising. I’m already sold. See my large review a few posts down. It’ll be gold at least through the prison break!

10:00 – Laguna Beach (MTV) – Returning Favorite. Don’t mock it until you try it. Watch the rich and beautiful high schoolers of Laguna fall in and out of love, go on multiple trips, and never actually study. It’s amazing how quickly you take interest in the lives of these kids, and will find yourself shouting things at the TV and discussing who Kirsten should be dating at the bar with your friends. It’s the very definition of a “guilty pleasure”.

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9:00 – My Name is Earl (NBC) – Promising. Jason Lee (Mallrats, Vanilla Sky) stars as a guy down on his luck who wins the lottery and decides to right all the wrongs in his life. Jason Lee is maybe one of the funniest men alive, the premise has promise, and the reviews have been very strong. Plus it's on right before the Office, so you'll be watching NBC anyways, right? :)

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9:00 – Amazing Race (CBS) – Returning Favorite. See interesting places and watch friends and lovers bicker under the stress of traveling. What’s not to like? Far more entertaining than the formulaic Survivor and Real World, the contestants don’t act like they’re on a reality show. If you’ve ever backpacked across Europe, you can appreciate the trials and tribulations of each leg on the journey.

9:30 – The Office (NBC) – Returning Favorite. If you work in a cube and haven’t watched this show, you deserve to have your stapler put in a Jell-o mold. The diversity episode last season (“No, I’m pretty sure they’re called ‘colored greens’ – because you don’t call them ‘collared people’) was the funniest half hour of TV all season. Picked up for a full season after the paltry 6 episodes it got last year, I’m ready for it to become my favorite comedy on TV.


9:00 – Lost (ABC) – Returning Favorite. Obviously. The first season was phenomenal. What’s lost on a lot of people (no pun intended) is that this show isn’t about revealing the island mysteries – those provide the background for the fascinating character development that we see each week. Think about it. I feel like I know 14 characters inside and out – their motives, their histories (at least some of them), and what makes them tick. Think of another show that has developed its characters, and as many characters, as much as Lost. You can’t. The writers have promised to deliver some answers right off the bat this season to appease the angry people with pitchforks that came out after the season finale failed to reveal what’s inside the Hatch. New characters will be introduced, we’ll be pulled further into the mystery of the island, and we’ll become more obsessed. It will be great.

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8:00 – The OC (Fox) – Returning Favorite. The first season was fantastic. The second season was okay, with some good and bad. The third season? Here’s hoping for less melancholy, more happy Sandy and Kirsten, and more Chino in fist-fights! Keep Seth’s pop culture references coming fast and furious, and you’ll keep me happy. Otherwise, I may be a casual viewer come season four.

8:00 – Alias (ABC) – You Should Be Watching. Okay, okay – last season was definitely the worst of the four thus far – but I’ll give Alias one last chance. With Jennifer Garner pregnant (and being written into the storyline, as I hoped this summer – come on, Rambaldi’s baby!), this is likely the show’s last season. Given JJ Abrams at the helm, that sounds like free reign to have some insane storylines and kill off some major characters… and maybe, just maybe – solve the whole Rambaldi mystery once and for all!

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8:00 – Everybody Hates Chris (UPN) – Promising. Think “The Wonder Years”, except told by Chris Rock. It’s got nothing but glowing reviews, and honestly – who didn’t love The Wonder Years? Damn you Winnie Cooper, stop messing with Kevin Arnold’s head!

9:00 – Reunion (Fox) – Promising. It’s “The OC” meets “24”. Each episode tells the story of one year in the lives of one group of high school friends. The twist? The first episode is at the funeral of one of them, and we don’t know which one. It’s a great, fresh concept for a TV show – we’ll see if they can pull it off.


9:00 – Desperate Housewives (ABC) – Returning Favorite. Between you and me – this is the weakest “Returning Favorite” on the list. It’s a good show, but it’s not great. After starting last year with a great murder mystery storyline, it kinda dragged on with the characters becoming almost cartoonish in their actions by the end of the year. It’s on the list because it’s mandatory water cooler talk on Monday mornings – and unless you want to be that nerd who doesn’t watch the “cool show” on TV, you’ll tune in.

9:00 – Family Guy (Fox) – Returning Favorite. Sorry Simpsons, this is the funniest cartoon on TV. With so many pop culture references even I don’t get some of them, the story lines are pretty "out there"… but in a good way. Here’s hoping they can continue the smart writing that made it the first show to ever be cancelled and then renewed by the same network.

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So there you have it. As you can see, Mondays look pretty loaded, but the rest of the week is pretty sparse, and there's really no TV to watch during the weekends, when you can go out and be social. Add it all up, eleven hours a week… but like I said, some of these shows still need to prove themselves. But I’m hopeful. This list should be pared down to 8 hours or so before Christmas.

Comments? Reviews? Post ‘em below! (Seriously, when I look down and see 0 comments, I die a little on the inside)

Tell your friends, block off some time on the work calendar, and put the kids to bed - the first full blown Lost Email of the year is coming in a week!


Brian said...

Silly Bo, of course sports are listed in the Fall TV Guide. I didn't list Bengals games, Notre Dame games, or College Gameday either, but you know I'll be watching those too.

Please direct your anger and hatred somewhere else.

stinkowoman said...

Yeah, yeah. I'll watch the 30 second synopsis of the game on SportsCenter the next day. Now as to the various secrets surrounding the hatch...
Got the Season 1 DVDs yet? Bonus features are pretty kickin'....

bengalsfan said...

That is a lot of TV to watch that does not involve a points being scored. All I can say is that LOST needs to keep the intrigue coming so it doesn't turn into season 2 of The OC. Desperate Housewives is severly overrated. It is the third show in the 9 o'clock slot behind Family Guy and Iron Chef America.

Brian said...

To completely watch the Lost DVDs is going to be quite an undertaking, one that may require locking myself away for an entire weekend.

I spent about 2 hours simply on the bonus disc (Disc 7) and I'm not even halfway through it. Let alone watching all the episodes and listening to the commentaries.

I will say that the more I see, the more I like this show. Everyone involved is so into it, it's truly a labor of love for all parties involved - and with their excitement for the upcoming season, it's hard for me to not be excited.

Prediction: Season 2 is better than Season 1.

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