Tuesday, September 19, 2006

a crazy big tv roundup

I've been watching a couple of pilots lately and I thought I should tell you what i liked and didn't because really... that's what a blog is for.

So I already mentioned Survivor a few days ago, but I caught up with another fun reality shows premiere just last night: The Amazing Race. It was exciting, especially cause since the first Amazing Race I don't really think I watched the show. Last year however I was listening intently to The Big Show podcast and they did a weekly Amazing Race update, which even though I didn't actually watch it, was a highlight of their podcast for me . Not really sure why... Anyhow, Jenny and Aaron have a great show, and they basically convinced me to check out this season of Amazing Race when it started up, which it now finally has. I have to say I'm pretty impressed. It's definitely one of the better reality shows, if anything because maybe there's just a little less backstabbing and flat out lying involved. People can really compete in the amazing race and keep some dignity, they can even (as far as I know) win the game just by playing smartly. I know, I know its sounds pretty novel. I really got a bit jaded watching the end of this past season of Big Brother, and I'm worried that Survivor is poised to break my heart too. I don't really know that I enjoy conniving, and manipulating as much as I used to. The Amazing Race started strong, and the people seemed all for the most part honest and decent. They started the show with a bang and eliminated two teams right in the first episode which was exciting. They scaled the Great Wall of China which was awesome, and I overall just enjoyed the teams. So far my favorites are the father/daughter team, and the Korean brothers from the Bay area (even though they're doing badly). The teams I'm not so keen on are the couple who fight all the time and the triatheletes with the disabled girl. I was really unimpressed with her claiming to NEED a hospital to get a cab quicker. She's playing it both ways and that's not cool at all. Enough of that though there's oh so much more out there.

Because the next couple of shows I saw are really the big ones that I'm excited about. First , Heroes. Probably the single show I was most looking forward to. If you've seen that 4 minutes long preview you know how great it looks. Ordinary people all over the world start exhibiting special powers. Like with mutants in the X-Men universe they must decide how to use these powers, and the rest of the world will have to decide how to react. This is like X-Men only set in the real world. I STRONGLY encourage anyone interested in this kind of superhero deconstruction story to pick up either Rising Stars by J Michael Straczynski, or the Astro Cityboth are amazing, and readily available in trade paperbacks. That said, Heroes does have something of the unfortunate task of setting up the world before it can start to change it irrevocably. I was excited to see an opening text crawl indicating that this is only the beginning of a much larger story. And parts of this introduction we're handled very well. The cheerleader in Texas, the geeky Japanese otaku we're great, even the Radical Professor X-like Indian scientist was interesting. What I worry is that this show might end up with too much copy and not enough originality. While yes I enjoyed it, I still couldn't help as I was watching, thinking ok that guy is based on Poet (RS), that girl is like Wolverine (X-men), that guy is like Nightcrawler, etc etc... it'll take a while for the show to find its own, I and while I'm interested to see where it goes the pilot wasn't quite as great as exciting the trailer made it out to be. Still a very good time though. But why let me decide, go watch the full pilot episode online (finally properly) for free at the
Yahoo! Fall TV Preview Page (you might have to click the NBC, and the Heroes links).

Man, if I keep talking like this I'm going to have one crazy long post on my hands... oh well. I also watched my second most anticipated show for the new season last night Jericho, starring the enigmatic Skeet Ulrich. Jericho ask what would the world do, specifically one small town in Kansas, do in the aftermath of a nuclear holocaust? It's a pretty interesting story to tell; 'cause while I know we we're all really scared watching The Day After with Steve Guttenberg, I don't necessarily think it would be so much like that. Oh don't get me wrong, I'm sure it'd be death and destruction a plenty, but there would also be people trying, desperately trying to keep things together, and learning to rely on each other more than ever before. I enjoy these unique looks at subjects that have already been explored elsewhere. I saw an interview where the producers of Jericho said that they really wanted to show something of the good in humanity at a dangerous time. It reminds me of a really great book I read by Orson Scott Card called The Folk of the Fringe, which explores this same idea from a Mormon perspective. Not that I actually endorse Mormonism but, I highly recommend the book. The pilot episode delivered plenty of interesting character moments and really left me wanting more. It was also backed by a great soundtrack. Go check out the entire pilot for free also over at the Yahoo! Fall TV Preview Page.

This morning on the way into work I watched the premiere of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip on my iPod. And all I can say is wow. I was hoping that this would be a good show, but I was really impressed with how great the pilot was. Matthew Perry, and Bradley Whitford were great, Amanda Peet somehow managed not to completely piss me off, and I completely love both Steven Webber and (unfortunately only a guest star) Judd Hirsch. As if you didn't know Studio 60 follows the behind the scenes of a SNL style comedy show. This isn't the one with Tina Fey, that's 30 Rock. This is the more dramatic one. And I honestly have to say, the drama shone through. It was actually smart, and made me laugh which was a great way to start the day. I'm very excited to keep watching this show. Don't believe me? Missed it for yourself? Go check out the full pilot online right here, just click on the "full premiere episode online" link :)

There are two other shows I saw that I wasn't so impressed with, the first one, not quite so bad is Men in Trees. This is by the same columnist/author who brought us Sex and the City... but man, this is no where near as good as that. Anne Heche takes on the Sarah Jessica parker role, but this time its in Alaska and she has decided to restart her romantic life up in the mostly male wilds of Alaska. This is an ABC show, and that makes sense because the sappyness of it shines. This is what happens when Disney (ABC) realize how well the cut down edited reruns of Sex and the City did on TBS. But folks, this definitely is not that good. I'll give it another episode or two to make sure, and maybe it'll appeal to the romance novel crowd, but this is far to family friendly to have any real bite.

Also, and I'm going to be really quick here. I saw The Class, and it was pretty much every single bit as horrible as I imagined it would be. God! can someone please cancel this immediately and erase it from my brain. 'Cause it really stunk. If you like to be masochistic, you can watch the pilot here.

To make yourself feel better why not go watch the awesome new Adult Swim show Korgoth of Barbaria, right over on YouTube. It is seriously all kinds of awesome.

Ok, this was definitely a long enough post, I'm sure I'll catch up on some more premieres today. Definitely Smith which I'm totally stoked about too. This is just too much blogging for me right now, so I'm going to go. Probably talk with you all in an hour or so when I decide I need to write another humungous post about nothing in particular... Later.

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