Thursday, September 2, 2010

Fall TV Preview – 2010 – Part 2: CBS

LeapBackBlog’s Fall TV Preview gives you a rundown of the good stuff that is out there – and there is so much of it, too much really. It is broken down by network – ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, The CW, and then shows on Cable. Finally, I list the top five shows most worth your time this fall.
Here is the stuff worth checking out:

Part 1: ABC - No Ordinary Family, Grey's Anatomy and Modern Family

Part 2: CBS - The Big Bang Theory, Blue Bloods, Hawaii Five-O, How I Met Your Mother, $#*! My Dad Says


The Big Bang Theory (season 4 premiers Sep 23, 8PM)
Synopsis: The comedy sitcom is about two nerds, Leonard and Sheldon, who live across the hall from an attractive young girl, Penny, trying to make it as an actor. They befriend the girl, despite her reservations – and along with their two other nerdy friends, Howard and Raj, have episodic adventures (or you could just say fun) with bigger story and character arches strengthening the characters.
Why Should You Watch: The five actors that make up the principal cast are all perfect in their roles and the show thrives off them – and some very funny writing. Jim Parsons in particular is fantastic. The premise of the show at first seemed limiting in what these characters could do and grow into, but the writers have wisely infused the show with deeper drama arches that play light enough to not hamper the light tone of the show but provide enough dramatic tension to allow connection between viewer and character(s), which elevates this show above most sitcom comedies. Even if you have never seen the show, the episodic nature will allow you to jump right in, get to know the characters and partake in the funny.
Potential Issues: Even though the writers seem to keep the show fresh, it still has the potential to become stale in its current format – maybe this season will feature a series altering shakeup, which many shows (good and bad) need to allow for new stories to grow and develop.
Verdict: This is a must see sitcom for comedy fans.

Blue Bloods (premiers Sep 24, 10PM)
Synopsis: The Reagan family is a NYC law enforcement family. They have three generations working within the system: Frank is the city’s Chief of Police, Danny a seasoned detective and Jamie a Harvard Law grad working as a beat cop (um, really, that just sounds like a terrible career decision). Frank’s daughter Erin works as an Assistant District Attorney who is often not happy with how the police department handles their cases. They are a close family but also hold a few secrets between them.
Why You Should Watch It: The cast is pretty decent with Tom Selleck (Magnum, P.I.), Donnie Wahlberg (Band of Brothers), Will Estes (American Dreams), and Bridget Moynihan (I, Robot), but it is co-creators Mitchell Burgess and Robin Green, having worked and written on The Sopranos and Northern Exposure, that makes this otherwise sort of redundant sounding procedural show worth a look.
Potential Issues: The Pilot episode previewed to critics with poor results. The show is flat, straight-forward and unoriginal in its format. But, it is only one episode so that can change and CBS does have a good track record with procedural shows (for those that like them).
Verdict: Probably worth a look because of Burgess and Green, but I will likely be skipping this (I suggest watching Showtime’s Brotherhood for a great family crime drama, or of course The Sopranons).

Hawaii Five-O (premiers Sep 20, 10PM)
Synopsis: A reboot of the TV series of the same name, the action-comedy series is about an ex-Naval officer, Steve McGarrett, who returns home to Hawaii to investigate his father’s death. He decides to remain in Hawaii to lead a special task force charged with rooting out the state’s worst criminals. His team includes Detective Danny Williams, a newcomer to the island who is at odds with McGarrett’s gung-ho style of operation, Chin Ho Kelly, an ex-police detective who was forced out of the department due to a scandal, and Chin ho’s cousin Kona, fresh out of the police academy.
Why You Should Watch: The show has seemingly an excellent cast for its action-comedy premise – the charismatic Alex O’Loughlin (Moonlight), rough edged Scott Caan (Ocean’s Eleven), Daniel Dae Kim (Lost), and Grace Park (Battlestar Galactica). The show is also set to have a number of great guest stars like James Marsters (Buffy the Vampire Slayer). However, even though the cast is great, the thing to be most excited about is Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman developing and writing the show. They are responsible for writing episodes of Fringe (and are also co-creators with J.J. Abrams) and Alias and the films Mission: Impossible IIITransformersStar Trek, and the upcoming Jon Favreau film Cowboys & Aliens. They also work(ed) as producers on Fringe and Alias.  The show should be funny, action packed and highly entertaining.
Potential Issues: Sometimes Orci and Kurtzman get carried away with their writing and it becomes too much – like Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. This show is ripe to be cheesy and a big silly mess if Orci and Kurtzman try to make it too tongue and cheek and do not ground it enough. O’Loughlin has also not been able to carry a show, ratings wise, as both Moonlight and Three Rivers were cancelled in their first seasons.
Verdict: This is a must watch for action-comedy fans. And, Len Wiseman (Underworld and Live Free or Die Hard) is directing the pilot.

How I Met Your Mother (season 6 premiers Sep 20, 8PM)
Synopsis: The sitcom comedy show is about Ted Mosby and the story he tells his kids about how he met their mother – which translates into a bunch of adventures with his friends in NYC.
Why Should You Watch: The show is hysterical most of the time. It has very funny writing by co-creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas and great characters brought to life by TV’s best comedic cast: Josh RadnorJason Segel (Forgetting Sarah Marshall), Alyson Hannigan (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Cobie SmuldersNeil Patrick Harris (Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog), and the voice of Bob Saget (Full House). NPH is really the star of the show and generates most of the best gags, but Smulders, Hannigan and especially Segel bring a lot of fun and laughs to the series. The show is the new Friends. There is a continuous story and building character arches, but, like Friends, you can jump in at anytime understand the characters and story and enjoy the show.
Potential Issues: Radnor’s Ted Mosby gets a little grating and he is not a very likable character for the lead, but the other characters more than make up for him. The show also seems to have an expiring timeline set up by the premise. Ted needs to find his future wife already or the timeline and ages of characters will be all out of whack – will the show still work once he meets her?
Verdict: This is the must watch comedic sitcom (just edging out The Big Bang Theory).

S#*! My Dad Says (premiers Sep 23, 8:30PM)
Synopsis: The comedic sitcom is based on the Twitter feed by Justin Halpern, a 29-year-old who moved back in with his 74-year-old father and started tweeting crazy stuff his father would say in conversations. The show is about Ed Goodson, an opinionated dad who relishes telling any and everyone his unsophisticated and often politically incorrect observations (is that really all the show is premised for? There must be more right?).
Why Should You Watch: The show theoretically should be funny for those that like off-color humor (though, how off-color is it really going to be on network TV?). While Halpern has no experience writing a show, CBS attached Will & Grace co-creators David Kohan and Max Mutchnick to flesh out the characters and story. The main selling point for the show is William Shatner (Boston Legal) as the dad. The show also stars comedies Will Sasso (MADtv) and Nicole Sullivan and TV day-player Jonathan Sadowski.
Potential Issues: Shatner saying crazy things for 22 minutes weekly sounds fun and all, but it does not really seem like a show that will continue to be engaging week after week, episode after episode.
Verdict: Tune in, hear Shatner spout of some network-approved controversy, if you like it – cool, if not – there is lots of other good stuff to watch.

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