Saturday, September 4, 2010

Fall TV Preview – 2010 – Part 4: Fox

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, Modern Family

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

Part 3: NBC - Chuck, The Event, Undercovers, Friday Night Lights, Community, The Office, 30 Rock

Part 4: Fox - Bones, Fringe, Glee, House, Lonestar, Running Wilde


Bones (season 6 premiers Sep 23, 8PM)
Synopsis: The show is about an FBI agent, Booth, who teams up with a forensic anthropologist, Bones, and her team of “squints” to solve crimes.
Why Should You Watch: Co-stars (and producers) Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz (Angel) are both fantastic in the show and have some of the best chemistry on TV. Their back-and-forth banter makes the show so much fun to watch. The crimes and episodic nature of the show also lends itself to new viewers and fans alike. The chemistry among the cast also lets newcomers in on the big character narrative arches as well. This show has the best of both worlds (serial and episodic), a viewer can watch any episode in any order and enjoy the show, but those that watch it season after season are treated to great character development. The supporting cast is also good (John Francis Daley of Freaks and Geeks was such a good addition a few years ago).
Potential Issues: The characters are so likable it is hard to imagine this show not being enjoyed. However, like any episodic structured show, it can get repetitive.  The show can also be goofy at times (which I like), which may not appeal to those looking for a serious procedural. It has Boreanaz in it; of course it is going to get goofy sometimes.
Verdict: The show mixes action, drama and comedy very well. It is a must for those looking for a more light-hearted (but still with some good emotional drama thrown in) procedural show.

Fringe (season 3 premiers Sep 23, 9PM)
Synopsis: The show is about FBI agent Olivia Dunham, tasked with looking into fringe crimes that challenge the known world; she turns to brilliant yet not totally there scientist Dr. Walter Bishop and his bright roguish son Peter for help.
Why Should You Watch: Fringe is a bit like The X-Files. Creators J.J. AbramsAlex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci has done a fantastic job making this one of the most interesting and visually astounding shows on TV. It is a great mystery show. Primary cast members Anna Torv (The Secret Life of Us), Joshua Jackson (Dawson’s Creek) and John Noble (The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers) are perfectly cast. Supporting cast members like Lance Reddick (The Wire) and great guest stars make this a wonderful show from a performance basis.  The show is a procedural with episodic cases at first look, but most of the interesting stories and character arches are developed over the course of the show, which benefits the show as a whole. It is one of the ten best shows on TV.
Potential Issues: Critics of the show have called it uneven, and it is a bit in that some episodes are amazing, while others play more like filler. But the good episodes and arches make this well worth watching. The main issue for potential newcomers is that they defiantly need to watch the past two seasons before tuning into season three.
Verdict: For fans of sci-fi type and mystery shows this is a must see.

Glee (season 2 premiers Sep 21, 8PM)
Synopsis: The musical show is about a high school glee club in Ohio and the students and teachers that are in and interact with the club. It primarily focuses on Spanish teacher and club organizer Will Shuester and students as they try to make their glee club the best show choir around. Glee features a mixture of theatrical musical performances, performances embedded into the story and teenage and adult issues and drama.
Why Should You Watch: The music and performances are great. But it is not all about the music here. Co-creators Ian BrennanBrad Falchuk and Ryan Murphy (writers and creator of Nip/Tuck) have made sure to put their characters first and this is the real reason Glee is great and works. The cast is also fantastic across the board (but Jane Lynch of Party Down stands out in most of her scenes). The show also already has a fine group of guest appearance characters like April Rhodes and Bryan Ryan, played by Kristin Chenoweth (Pushing Daisies) and Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother) respectively, both of which are expected to return. Season two should also feature more major storylines for secondary character like Brittany (YES!!). If you have not seen season one, watch it, but it is not needed to enjoy this show. The characters are such that you will catch up without too much trouble.
Potential Issues: Glee was very uneven in season one in terms of quality and carrying narrative arches consistently through the season - season two needs to address that for this to be one of the best shows. Can the show recapture the magic for another year?
Verdict: This show is loads of fun to watch. The music and performances are a blast. There is comedy, drama, everything you could want, now if only the consistency could be better – even so, definitely worth watching (fans can read this as: worth Gleeking-out for).

House (season 7 premiers Sep 20, 8PM)
Synopsis: The medical drama is about Dr. Gregory House, who with his team of young doctors solves bizarre and difficult medical cases.
Why Should You WatchHugh Laurie (A Bit of Fry and Laurie) as House alone makes this show a must watch. His is among the best performances every year. He brings sly humor, sadness and brilliance to the character making him possibly the best on TV. The supporting cast is also very good and the writers have done a good job of mixing it up and developing them, which has made a very repetitive show excellent nonetheless. The writers also keep the show fresh with their big season and multi-season arches. The show has become more about the characters than the cases, and that is uncommon for many procedurals. The nature of the show allows for new viewers to pick it up quickly, but if you saw season one, season six is almost unrecognizable – that is how much change and development there has been.
Potential Issues: As stated above, the show is so very repetitive in its episode structure, to the point where a long-time viewer can practically predict exactly when plot points will happen based on how much play-time has passed. The writers are tough on their characters as well, which can be hard on loyal fans.
Verdict: If you like medical dramas, this is the best one. If you do not, you still will probably like this show.

Lonestar (premiers Sep 20, 9PM)
Synopsis: The new show is about Bob Allen, an average hard-working guy living in Midlands, TX – or so it seems. Bob is actually a con man living two separate lives with two women, his wife Cat and his girlfriend Lindsay, and two jobs. His father also will not let him leave behind the life he was raised in.
Why Should You Watch: The show has a good cast with newcomer James Wolk staring and Adrianne Palicki (Friday Night Lights), Eloise MumfordDavid Keith (The Class), Jon Voight (Midnight Cowboy), Mark Deklin, and Bryce Johnson (Popular) supporting. It is creator Kyle Killen’s first project and he describes it as Dallas without the cheese. The pilot played very well for critics and the cast and their performances stood out as being a strong selling point for the show. The pilot is directed by Marc Webb of (500) Days of Summer fame.
Potential Issues: Shows with seemingly morally corrupt characters have never played well (ratings wise) on network TV, but on the other hand some of the best shows feature them at the helm, like DexterThe Shield and Breaking Bad (of course to the first point, all those are on cable). Despite the pilot testing well among critics, there is some worry that the show will not find an audience, and even if it does that it will not be able to sustain them.
Verdict: The show sounds intriguing and worth a chance, but will it make it to a second season?

Running Wilde (premiers Sep 21, 9:30PM)
Synopsis: The comedy sitcom is about Steven Wilde, a rich unproductive playboy who has everything in the world he ever wanted but the love of his childhood sweetheart Emmy Kadubic, an idealistic environmental activist.  When fate sees Emmy and her daughter Puddle leave the rainforest and end up on Steven’s doorstep, they decide the only way to make Steven a better person is if they live with him on his estate.
Why Should You Watch: Did you like Arrested Development? Well you are probably going to like this, as it is by AD creators Jim Vallely and Mitch Hurwitz and stars alumni Will Arnett and David Cross. Co-starring with Arnett are Keri Russell (from Felicity, glad to see her back on TV) and Stefania Owen – Robert Michael Morris (The Comeback) and Mel Rodriguez round out the supporting cast. If you liked Arrested Development the first sentence was enough, if you have not seen it, just know that it is funny and this probably will be too.
Potential Issues: Arrested Development’s fans will expect a lot out of this show and that is a ton of pressure on Vallely, Hurwitz and Arnett. Not to mention that the comedy will like be much broader seeing that AD failed to maintain viewership when it aired. Lastly, the show has already gone through an overhaul as the original pilot was not testing well at all.
Verdict: This is either going to be hilarious and fail or just fail (if I had to bet, I would bet on the show struggling), but I still want to see it because it is more than likely going to be really funny.

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