Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Yet another dog days open thread

School's back in session, but technically, it's still summer. Nearly two weeks to go till the official start of the season (though the Emmys are on Sunday and Fox begins premiering most of its shows next week), and I'm drowning in DVD screeners. Revised versions of pilots (which I have to rewatch, both for note-taking purposes and to identify any changes that might alter my opinion), season premieres and second episodes, plus the approximately 87,000 hours of Ken Burns' "The War."

I haven't written a column in several days and probably won't have a new one until Thursday, and the bloggable material is feeling a bit thin until Emmy time. So once again, I want to open it up to you all. Ask any questions, mention any show I haven't lately, whatever, so long as it's in some way TV-related, and I'll answer in the comments whenever I need a break from "The War." (I actually like parts of it, but I resent the hell out of PBS for scheduling the thing on the night before the season begins.)

72 comments:

Stacie said...

Two things: 1) Your thoughts on 'Rescue Me' lately? What's your take on Tommy wearing his dead cousin's coat and running in off-shift fires? 2) Your thoughts on 'Damages,' if you kept watching after the pilot. Thanks!

JZ said...

Alan,

This summer, I lost interest in two of my favorite shows (Rescue Me and Entourage) because, almost overnight, they tanked.

I noticed Grey's Anatomy is premiering on Sept. 27. Am I screwed with season 4 like I was this summer?

Andrew said...

Alan,

Did you ever get around to watching the finale of Entourage? What did you think? I need to know so I can keep expressing your opinions as my own...

Alan Sepinwall said...

Stacie, I stopped watching Damages with episode 3 and, based on friends who kept with it, don't regret the decision. I'm still following Rescue Me and will weigh in after the finale -- assuming I can find the time in between The War marathons (have I mentioned yet how much I'm irked with PBS right now?) -- but the season feels even more disjointed now than it did when I stopped blogging a month or so ago.

JZ, given that I thought Grey's Anatomy went in the tank midway through last season, I may not be the right person to answer your question. Shonda Rhimes' responses to complaints about the season have ranged from vaguely contrite to defiantly oblivious, so I have no idea whether the show can get its mojo back, but I'm not optimistic.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Andrew, I did see the Entourage finale, and while it wasn't as heinous as the previous few episodes had been -- save for the stomach-churning but predictable moment when Yair pimped out one of his girls for Turtle -- but it still wasn't remotely good enough to make me at all enthusiastic for next season. Sure, Vince's career has finally hit a speed bump -- sort of -- with the awful reception for Medellin, but the tone of the episode's final minutes seemed to completely shrug that off. Harvey will fix it, because everything in Vince's life works out in the end, in the least interesting way possible, every single time. Zzzzzzzzz...

Alanna said...

Here's a very generic one for you: of the new shows, which will be the most unexpected (ratings) hit this fall? I've seen lots of buzz about Reaper, but I just wasn't impressed by the pilot. I enjoyed Chuck tons more.

More specific: any thoughts on the rumors that SciFi might hold Galactica's second half until 2009? I was actually present at the fan-con when the actors broke the news, and they were NOT pleased. Some friends have suggested SciFi's hedging their bets with regards to the potential strikes, but it's still frustrating to us fans... and, I would think, not the wisest move for a low-rated show like this. Would love to hear your informed opinion!

LDP said...

Let's talk about the utter injustice done to The Wire. I know your commenters raise the issue pretty frequently, but I like to bitch.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Here's a very generic one for you: of the new shows, which will be the most unexpected (ratings) hit this fall? I've seen lots of buzz about Reaper, but I just wasn't impressed by the pilot. I enjoyed Chuck tons more.

I'm terrible at predicting success and failure. A few years back, I was convinced that "Kevin Hill" was going to be the show that would finally put UPN on the map for scripted series, and that "Lost" would have trouble attracting an audience, even though I liked it. Derp.

All I can say is which shows I liked the best. Keeping in mind that the final versions of pilots are still trickling in, my favorites far and away are, in some semblance of order, Reaper, Pushing Daisies, and Chuck. (I like Chuck a lot, but for me, Ray Wise as the Devil gives Reaper the slight edge.)

For our fall preview supplement, my editors wanted me to do a top 5 or even top 10 list, and it was a struggle, as I didn't feel I could endorse any other show unreservedly the way I could with so many pilots at this time a year ago. Depending on scheduling, I hope to do some final Pilot Watch sometime next week, the way I did a year ago (though some of the Fox shows will have debuted by then).

More specific: any thoughts on the rumors that SciFi might hold Galactica's second half until 2009?

I'm a Sopranos fan. I'm used to long scheduling delays. Not happy about it, but used to it.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Let's talk about the utter injustice done to The Wire. I know your commenters raise the issue pretty frequently, but I like to bitch.

Feel free to continue. If I can actually inspire myself to write an Emmy preview column (part of me wants to ignore the awards altogether), I intend to raise an even bigger stink about the Wire snub (and the FNL snub, and the Deadwood snub, etc.) than I did when they were announced.

k said...

don't know how you feel about Monk, or if you don't watch it, but if you do I'd like to know your opinion so far. I found last season to be interesting to watch even though all the episodes seem to be pretty depressing. This season has seemed off. But maybe my husband and I are the only ones still watching.

Chris W said...

What's your opinion on My Name Is Earl? I started watching solely out of my love for Jason Lee as an actor and personality (although his stints in Underdog and Alvin and the Chipmunks are severely straining that love). I got hooked with the original story-telling and the pretty wide surrealist streak. The show can get a little sitcom sappy when wrapping up the moral of the episode, but still there's a darker humor that nicely balances it out for me.
I also enjoyed the season-long story of Joy's trouble with the law and thought it gave a nice cohesion to the season and changed it up nicely from the first season.
I guess my question is this: While I really enjoy this show, there seems to be virtually no talk about it from viewers or critics. Why the silence? What's the general consensus? I'm assuming it gets decent enough ratings to warrant the three seasons.

Alan Sepinwall said...

don't know how you feel about Monk, or if you don't watch it, but if you do I'd like to know your opinion so far.

I watch it on occasion (usually when USA sends me a DVD screener of the latest season premiere). I have no problem with it, often smile as I watch, but as with so many other procedural crime shows, I never feel the need to tune in regularly, especially given that I have 10,000 other shows where if I miss an episode, I'm in real trouble.

What's your opinion on My Name Is Earl?

You can read most of my Earl posts here, but the short version is that I like it but only occasionally feel like it lives up to its potential. Earl as laid-back nice guy is a waste of Jason Lee's talent (he's actually more likable, and a hell of a lot funnier, as Bad Earl in the flashbacks), and the best episodes tend to be the ones that deviate from the list formula. Fortunately, the writers seem to have recognized this, as they broke with the format more and more through season two and intend to do more of that next year with Earl in jail for a while, another "Cops" episode, etc.

scott said...

have you seen the carpoolers pilot yet, and if so, what did you think? it and reaper are about the only things i have hopes for this season; i liked fred goss on sons and daughters and jerry minor's sad sack on lucky louie, and bruce mcculloch's involvement always generates some interest.

Alan Sepinwall said...

have you seen the carpoolers pilot yet, and if so, what did you think?

Not the final version, no. Based on the original version, it could go either way; I didn't love it, didn't hate it, but saw ways in which it could get funnier and ways in which it could get worse in a hurry.

Anonymous said...

Alan,
I actually emailed you this question the other day, but I thought I'd throw it on here, as well.

I was wondering if there is some connection between "Big Love" and "Undeclared"?

I got hooked on Freaks and Geeks during your reviews, which led me to start watching "Undeclared" and I started noticing that many of the "Big Love" actors are on there. So far I've seen Harry Dean Stanton (Roman Grant), Joel McKinnon Miller (Don Embry), and Mary Kay Place (Adaleen Grant).

Is this just a lark, or is there an actual connection there?

Josh said...

Alan - Dumb question for you. I posted this in your Tell Me You Love Me thread, but thought I'd ask here. As a fellow Lebowski fan, did you feel like the shot of Hugo laying on the rug with headphones on HAD to be a nod to the film? Or am I just stretching?

Also, I doubt you would ever review them, but do you ever bother with some of Adult Swim's stuff? I know you have a thousand things to watch, so I was just wondering if you ever wandered over there, or if we would get to hear your thoughts when Futurama finally starts back up (although that's Comedy Central...whatever).

Dark Tyler said...

Alan, maybe it was mentioned and I missed it, but in case it wasn't: The Wire has wrapped, as of last week. *single man-tear*

Question: is Cavemen pop culture's lowest point this side of "If I Did It", or do Rob & Amber still hold the title?

Anonymous said...

Alan, I'd like to see you boycott covering the Emmys as a protest of their complete cluelessness. You might be a voice in the wilderness, but you wouldn't be alone.

jim treacher said...

So, what are The Bionic Woman's chances? The behind-the-scenes drama has been more interesting than the pilot.

Matt said...

1. Interesting that you leave off one pilot that seems to be making most of the "best" lists I've seen--"Dirty Sexy Money." Did it just not work or is it fixable?

2. Jason Katims joining Bionic Woman as "consultant?" Death knell for FNL? (Related--can Rob Thomas save "Big Shots?")

bales said...

hi Alan, "The Office" is beginning its new season with hourlong episodes the first four weeks. Do you think the show could make the permanent switch to an hourlong format from its current half hour timeslot?

Danny said...

Yeah, from the people behind the scenes, Bionic Woman should be good. What's with the lack of love, Alan? Could it get great?

Also, on a completely unrelated note, how serialized are Reaper, Pushing Daisies, and Chuck?

nathan said...

Hey Alan, love the blog. The "Freaks and Geeks" recap was killer.

Quick question, what's your generally opinion of "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia"?

Also, are you a fan of Joss Whedon's shows?

nfieldr said...

Alan, are you watching this season of Weeds? I kinda enjoyed Season 1, but this season is just sooooo over the top that I think I'm done with it.

Homertojeebus said...

Alan,
I feel bad for you, being so busy and all. I almost feel bad for adding to your woes with another question.
My opinion of you as a writer is well-documented. As a TV writer, you are without equal. Except Matt. Won't play favorites.
Some of the best writing I've seen you do is as a media critic. I wish you would do more of that. I understand the desire to be apolitical, you don't want to needlessly alienate your audience, and you've done a great job of providing analysis without being partisan. It's a tough balancing act.
Any plans to do more of this in the future?

Blankity-Blank said...

I said this before, and there's really no reason to say it again, but the last three episodes of Greek were fantastic. All the peripheral stock characters became real people with real consequences. Nothing turned out all that well for anyone. And, most importantly, it never stopped being funny.

And this shouldn't be important to anyone, but I know that it is, Charismma Carpenter appeared in this week's season finale.

Bill said...

Two questions I've been meaning to ask you (long-time reader, first time commenter, etc) --

1) I think you mentioned Friday Night Lights is going to be retooled a bit because of the low ratings. How often does this kind of thing work out? I'm sure it's happened a lot when I wasn't really aware of it, and I know Ellen did a lot better than These Friends Of Mine, and maybe Shelby (iirc) was dropped from Mad About You because of something like that. But I worry that it's like the season-long arc being dropped from Veronica Mars, a sign that things will end anyway.

2) Um, this is out of left field, but what did you think about Committed a few years ago? I checked and I think it predates your blog. I loved the first few episodes (burned them to CD even), and then it seemed suddenly like the episodes were broadcast out of order, with things happening that didn't really fit in light of earlier developments.

Alan Sepinwall said...

I was wondering if there is some connection between "Big Love" and "Undeclared"?

Not that I know of. An IMDb search for common cast and crew only listed a camera operator, though IMDb has grown increasingly useless for keeping track of TV credits.

It's not like Stanton and Place don't work steadily, anyway; unless the two shows share a casting director or someone else who didn't make the IMDb list (again, see above), it seems like a coincidence to me.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Josh, been a while since I saw the "Tell Me You Love Me" pilot, but I'm a hardcore Lebowski-ite and didn't spot the similarity. TMYLM is such a humorless show overall that, if the creator didn't have some sitcom credits on her resume, I would assume everyone involved had never seen a comedy before.

Also, I doubt you would ever review them, but do you ever bother with some of Adult Swim's stuff?

Not usually. I occasionally try them out and get to the end feeling like I'm neither tired nor stoned enough (or maybe just not young enough) to appreciate them properly. Looking forward to the return of Futurama, though I was never as big a fan of it as some.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Question: is Cavemen pop culture's lowest point this side of "If I Did It", or do Rob & Amber still hold the title?

I've never found Romber to be that heinous, and while Cavemen is terrible, I've seen worse, more offensive things in my day: Chains of Love, the entire run of Fear Factor, any MTV dating show, Homeboys in Outer Space, the later years of Veronica's Closet, etc.

Alan Sepinwall said...

1. Interesting that you leave off one pilot that seems to be making most of the "best" lists I've seen--"Dirty Sexy Money." Did it just not work or is it fixable?

DSM was one of several shows, like the aforementioned Carpoolers, that I felt ambivalent about. It could turn out to be a very fun soap (though my enthusiasm for the genre ain't what it used to be; I keep eyeing my Ugly Betty season premiere screener and passing it to watch other stuff), or it could be a complete bore, and the pilot spends so much time introducing the characters that I don't know. I saw in EW's fall TV preview issue that they said Natalie Zea was the breakout star, where I found her to be by far the weakest link. Tastes, they differ.

2. Jason Katims joining Bionic Woman as "consultant?" Death knell for FNL? (Related--can Rob Thomas save "Big Shots?")

I think that speaks more to problems at Bionic than it does to FNL's future. Either it produces acceptable ratings on Friday night or it doesn't; simple as that.

And I like Rob Thomas a lot, but Big Shots needs a miracle worker. I actually think its pilot was worse than Cavemen.

Alan Sepinwall said...

"The Office" is beginning its new season with hourlong episodes the first four weeks. Do you think the show could make the permanent switch to an hourlong format from its current half hour timeslot?

After the season two finale, I thought it might be great to do one-hour episodes all the time, but last season's extra-long episodes (whether one-hours or those irregular-sized ones designed to annoy time shifters) were really uneven. They film enough stuff and have enough characters that they won't have a problem filling an hour with jokes, but there can be such a thing as letting the jokes breathe too much.

But if it gives Meredith more to do, I won't complain too much. :)

Alan Sepinwall said...

Yeah, from the people behind the scenes, Bionic Woman should be good. What's with the lack of love, Alan? Could it get great?

Sure. I started to watch the final pilot the other day before stopping because it had audio problems (will watch the new copy today) and in the brief time I watched was reminded that there's some really good stuff in there. My main issue is that Michelle Ryan gets badly upstaged by Katee Sackhoff, and while there's room for improvement, it's not an auspicious start when you're wondering who the lead should really be.

Also, on a completely unrelated note, how serialized are Reaper, Pushing Daisies, and Chuck?

Haven't seen second episodes of any, but none of them seem like they'll be heavily serialized. All have some relationship stuff that will be carried over from week to week, but the main component of each episode should be the "procedural" element, or whatever you want to call it: Pushing Daisies guy using his powers to solve a murder, Reaper catching an escapee from Hell, Chuck using his computer brain to help the government somehow.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Quick question, what's your generally opinion of "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia"?

One of those shows that often seems funnier on paper than in practice. I think they try so hard to be outrageous that they haven't really put enough thought into the characters themselves. Curb Your Enthusiasm is funny because we understand Larry so well, why he'll act a certain way in a certain situation, how Cheryl will react, etc., where I feel the guys and Sweet Dee are pretty interchangeable in their awfulness, just doing whatever serves the joke.

Also, are you a fan of Joss Whedon's shows?

Yeah, probably in the order of Buffy, Firefly, then Angel.

Alan Sepinwall said...

1) I think you mentioned Friday Night Lights is going to be retooled a bit because of the low ratings. How often does this kind of thing work out?

Not often, but sometimes. The one I pointed to in discussing the future of FNL was Homicide, which stuck around for seven modestly-rated seasons, most of them on Friday nights, but only after producers accepted NBC's demands to sex up the show, with more shootouts and serial killers and better-looking actors. I'm not saying that's going to happen to FNL, but there's a definite part of me that would think more highly of Homicide if it had been canceled after two or three seasons, when it was still largely uncompromised.

2) Um, this is out of left field, but what did you think about Committed a few years ago?

Never saw it. This was back in the days when I was splitting the job with Matt Seitz; he reviewed it, and I watched something else with my time, as he wasn't that impressed with it.

(Sometimes, that thinking would backfire on me; he was very tepid in his praise of Battlestar Galactica, so I didn't get around to watching that show until it had been on for a couple of years and I could Netflix the older episodes.)

Gish said...

Alan,

If you had to guess, to what would you attribute the lack of Emmy attention given to The Wire?

A. The lack of recognizable stars stops people from watching.

B. The mostly black cast stops people from watching.

C. The denseness of the material inhibits people form being able to pick up on the show.

Alan Sepinwall said...

D) All of the above, plus the fact that it's shot in a non-industry town and therefore doesn't provide jobs for Academy members (perhaps the number one criteria for voting, per Heldenfels' "Chamber of Commerce theory" about Hollywood awards).

David J. Loehr said...

I'm not saying that's going to happen to FNL, but there's a definite part of me that would think more highly of Homicide if it had been canceled after two or three seasons, when it was still largely uncompromised.

As much as I love Homicide, I'm with you. Even then, I was okay with it until Jon Seda. That just about killed it for me. Andre Braugher kept me watching, but it wasn't the same.

What (if anything) did you think of the wrap-up movie they did the following year? It didn't do much for me until, literally, the final act, which had little or nothing to do with the rest of the film's story. In a perfect world, the story leading to that final sequence, and its repercussions, would have been the Homicide finale Tom Fontana had gotten to make.

Separate fall-related question. How do you think eliminating the deaf sister will affect Bionic Woman? That seemed like one of the few elements that really intrigued me about the first pilot.

Homertojeebus said...

On "The Wire", I think that the predominantly black cast is a huge factor. The reasons for this are myriad, but a great example of this is "Hill Street Blues" or "NYPD Blue". Both of these shows took place in heavily urban areas, and could easily and more realistically had a casting demographic similar to The Wire. They didn't, and they have the Emmys to show for it.
I would buy the other excuses more if not for the fact that The Wire is sooo far superior, and the fact that it is well-known in the industry that this show was rescued from cancellation by massive critical acclaim.

Anonymous said...

Alan, I hope you blog every once and a while about Grey's. It became more fun to visit this site and gripe with you last season than to actually watch the show.

Chris W said...

Alan,

I generally enjoy most of Adult Swim's programming, mostly as brainless entertainment. But I have to say the show The Venture Bros. has developed into quite a masterpiece.
The show deals heavily with the failures of the promises of the Jet Age and cartoons of that ilk. There are some pretty weighty issues addressed and some really funny and zinger pop culture parodies (the demented Fantastic Four is a favorite of mine).
If you haven't seen it, I'd recommend watching both seasons. The second season really starts to heavily delve into the metacommentary.
If you have seen it, what do you think?

Adam said...

1. Thoughts on how much suck Michael Michele will bring to House?

2. Re "worse, more offensive things" on tv, doesn't The Chair still top that list? (Is that what it was called? WWTBAM + Torture)

Taleena said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Alan Sepinwall said...

Taleena, if you want to post your comment again without the spoiler, go ahead. I know some of these pilots are now commercially available, but for the great majority who won't see them until they're broadcast in a couple of weeks, I want to keep as much secret as possible.

Alan Sepinwall said...

On "The Wire", I think that the predominantly black cast is a huge factor. The reasons for this are myriad, but a great example of this is "Hill Street Blues" or "NYPD Blue".

NYPD Blue was also a huge hit right out of the gate, and Hill Street Blues debuted in a universe when there were only three channels' worth of nominate-able material. And both were produced right in LA.

I'm not saying race isn't a significant factor here, but it's far from the only one.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Alan, I hope you blog every once and a while about Grey's. It became more fun to visit this site and gripe with you last season than to actually watch the show.

As I'll still be watching it for at least a little while (until I can tell for sure whether Shonda's learned from her mistakes or if the characters are still telling her to make them act like dumbasses), I imagine I'll be blogging it from time to time.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Chris W, all I ever saw of Venture Bros. was the pilot, to which I had the same reaction I described above. Your description intrigues me, though, and if I wasn't completely slammed with pilots and such, I'd track down some recent episodes. Maybe in a few months.

Alan Sepinwall said...

1. Thoughts on how much suck Michael Michele will bring to House?

Depends on how much she's used, and what she's being asked to do. If she's just there for House to mock as the pretty but wooden doc, I'm fine with it.

BTW, I watched the season's first two episodes last night (which are Michele-free), and they're hilarious. I'm sure the status quo will be restored eventually, but House without the original condos (a term Fienberg is trying to get to supercede "cottages") is a lot of fun.

2. Re "worse, more offensive things" on tv, doesn't The Chair still top that list? (Is that what it was called? WWTBAM + Torture)

Oh, I've seen far, far worse than The Chair (and its evil Fox twin, The Chamber). Who Wants To Marry A Multi-Millionaire, to name just one.

Alap said...

wait, so what exactly do you mean by "retooling friday night lights"? to me, the first season had a pretty good amount of the sexy stuff, with the riggins/lyla/street/wheelchair groupie/milf arcs. can they really do much more? i've heard those rumors about the rosie o'donnell guest spot, and i'm fine if retooling just means more stunt-casting like that and not screwing around with the integrity of the show too much. i'm really really praying this doesn't mean "coach taylor has an affair" or something.

Siddhartha said...

Hi Alan -

Thanks for doing this by the way...

Two questions for you:

1) Any comments on Aliens in America? I hear a lot of buzz about it but wanted to hear your opinion.

and

2) This may be a more academic question but HBO OnDemand is now running the very first 4 episodes of Oz. Now I know that most everyone lauds the Sopranos as the first popular drama to have extremely negative/despicable characters as their protagonists, but do you think that the relative affection of viewers for Oz (where there are essentially 1 or 2 positive characters and the rest are incredibly depraved) paved the way for HBO to try out something like Sopranos? Was there ever a show with such a crew of negative characters before Oz that lasted more than a handful of episodes?

Taleena said...

No Worries Alan,

I knew I was skirting the spoiler line but wasn't sure if it was over the line.

Chuck really exceeded my expectations with just the right amount of humor in it, which never felt strained. Strait up sitcoms seem so forced lately that I have practically ditched them altogether, but Chuck may break that trend.

Bionic Woman met my expectations, and I think that Michelle Ryan will improve in the lead. She was written to be tired, sad and disoriented in the first episode and Michelle Ryan was all those things. I don't think it is fair to compare her to Katee Sackoff's scenery chewing in the Pilot.

Michelle Ryan did a great job of seeming cool and gritty in the face of Billy Hyde that I am sure she'll be great opposite Sackoff as she gets her bionic footing in later episodes.

Kevin McKidd is still sad and swoon worthy and props to whomever cast Reed Diamond as his brother. makes me want to dig out old episodes of Homicide.

Dark Tyler said...

First of all, I agree with everything Taleena said, and second...

Ouch, the ratings for Tell Me You Love Me were atrocious. I bet HBO wished they still had John From Cincinnati on. :P

I just can't believe that Big Love is the closest thing they have to a flagship show right now. Sigh.

Dark Tyler said...

(Ratings-wise, of course.)

Alan Sepinwall said...

wait, so what exactly do you mean by "retooling friday night lights"?

Hopefully nothing. I just have a hard time believing NBC is going to let its drama charity case limp through another season without offering a lot of "helpful" suggestions along the way.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Any comments on Aliens in America?

Still haven't seen the final pilot yet (with Scott Patterson replacing the original dad in what seems like a colossal mistake), but the original version grew on me. I watched it under suboptimal conditions before I wrote my Pilot Watch entry on it and the other CW shows, but I watched it again before the press tour sessions and liked it quite a bit. "Malcolm in the Middle"-esque, albeit not as laugh out loud funny. (Maybe a better comparison would be "Everybody Hates Chris"-esque.)

do you think that the relative affection of viewers for Oz (where there are essentially 1 or 2 positive characters and the rest are incredibly depraved) paved the way for HBO to try out something like Sopranos?

Without a doubt.

Taleena said...

dark tyler, alan -

have you seen the 3 minute promo for Moonlight and was it really as bad as I thought?

It could be a parody it looked so bad, except it didn't look quite awful enough to MST-y effectively. I am suddenly glad the True Blood has gotten pushed back until spring so it doesn't comepete with this crapola.

Alan Sepinwall said...

I refuse to watch anything associated with Moonlight until an actual, honest-to-goodness final pilot shows up on my desk, and I get assurances from CBS that this is what will actually air on their network. They've changed so much, so many times, that either Alex O'Laughlin (or Bon Scott, or whatever the hell his name is) is the greatest acting discovery of our age (based on his "Shield" work, I don't think so) or he has something on a high-ranking CBS exec, because I've never seen so much of a show get tossed out without the show itself getting canned.

scott said...

okay: all-time, desert island dvd box set of ONE SEASON of a tv show. go.

mine is freaks and geeks, which i was inspired to rewatch by your rewind (during which i thought up the question, so i thought i should ask you).

Dark Tyler said...

There's going to be such fun if Moonlight is, indeed, a show that takes seriously dialog like this:

Vincent: I'm a monster.
Catherine: You saved me!
Vincent: We saved each other.

What? I got the names wrong? Oops!

Drew said...

Do you know anything about How I Met Your Mother this season? Not from a spoiler perspective but from a quality perspective. Last season was pretty amazing, and I think it might be even better in rewatch, and I worry that it'll somehow be unable to keep up the high quality, even if I think Thomas and Bays are pretty amazing. Should we count on more legendary-ness?

Chris W said...

I heard rumors about a TV show that CBS was developing about a zombie attack. Babylon Fields or something along those lines was supposedly the title. Did you ever catch the pilot and/or what happened to that?

Ty Keenan said...

Thanks so much for doing this, Alan. Have you heard any more news about Mitch Hurwitz's The Thick of It possibly getting picked up by Showtime? I'm a huge fan of the BBC version and would love to see what he could do with it.

Anonymous said...

Alan,

You said you stopped watching DAMAGES after the 3rd episode. What turned you off so quickly, since you seemed to have hopes for it when it began?

I've stuck with the show and while confusing, still enjoy it. I'm just wondering how they can tie all ends up by finale.

RESCUE ME finale was a followup to the rest of the season. Disappointing and I'm wondering how Leary and company can pull it back for another season. So disjointed and insulting to their loyal fans. Did Leary's ego get so huge that he could only showcase himself and Gavin's ridiculous character?

One show I have given up on is SAVING GRACE. I wanted to like it, but just lost interest.

Thanks for your columns, I've been following you since early NYPD BLUE.

Homertojeebus said...

All-time DVD dessert island box set, single season? that's tough. My knee-jerk reaction was Firefly, but there's only one season to choose from, and not even a whole one.
Scrubs and The Office have great rewatchability, but not a lot of heft. I'd want it to be a show that does it all. I would have to on that basis select Hill Street Blues, the season where Dennis Franz played the villain, Bennedetto.

Dennis Wilson said...

Hey, does The Shield have a return date yet?

Alan Sepinwall said...

okay: all-time, desert island dvd box set of ONE SEASON of a tv show. go.

That's tough. Ordinarily, I'd pick one of the HBO dramas (maybe The Wire season four), but there are only 12 or 13 episodes of each, and I'd want something with lots of episodes -- and, if possible, extras -- to help pass my time as a castaway.

Freaks & Geeks actually isn't a bad choice, both because it's so brilliant and because Apatow packs so much extra material onto the set.

Anonymous said...

>given that I have 10,000 other shows where if I miss an episode, I'm in real trouble.

Hyperbole much today, Alan?
I guess if I had to watch 87,000 hours of The War (whichever one it is, I have no intention of watching it anyway) I'd be cranky too. (but I just love the massive numbers)

I just bought Season 3 of Grey's so I'm trying to drag myself thru these episodes that I've seen 6 1/2 million times already (see, I can do it too) - though really, I tend to hear them more than I see them, and I see the beginnings far more than the ends. I use them to put me to sleep at night (YAY my DVR is once again alive, but all my old recordings are sitting on my brothers desk at work in 800GB worth of hard drives). And yes, I'm missing season 1 and most of 2 and 3 on the DVR (just for variety from the 8 that I do have - including (yick) the Meredith Dies Trilogy and one half of The Super Bowl Bomb Two-Parter.

Still, there's an interview with Ellen...

more later (you're thrilled, I know). work now.

oh wait, it's only one order...

I'm sure I'll have more comments as I read on (should I hold this and hope my browser doesn't crash, or should I hit enter?)

Anonymous said...

>though IMDb has grown increasingly useless for keeping track of TV credits.

have you tried tvrage? it's efficacy varies, as does tv.com (formerly tvtome, when it was decent and had fewer full page ads) depending on the editors and how new the show is - though I'm guessing some old shows are well covered, if there are fans of them working on the site.

the only thing you can't cross-ref with is movies. I use my firefox toolbar imdb search to do that.

And have you seen tunefind.com? Just in case you get a bad case of "where have I heard that song before?" (or you want to buy it from iTunes) It was created by Just A Guy who couldn't put a name to a song on the West Wing one day.

dez said...

okay: all-time, desert island dvd box set of ONE SEASON of a tv show. go.

Does the Homicide Season 1 & 2 box set count? I don't think they come separately since S1 was so short. It would be hard to choose between that, the most recent season of The Wire, either S1 or S5 of The Sopranos, and Brisco County, Jr. :-)

Anthony Foglia said...

Re: Adult Swim

I doubt you're still reading this thread, but I'll second the suggestion of Venture Bros. Like you, I was indifferent towards the pilot. And when the show first aired, I just had it on in the background, and it wasn't that engrossing, but soon enough it pulled me in. I'd suggest jumping ahead to "Eeny, Meeny, Miney... Magic". That introduces the great character of Dr. Orpheus. And looking at the airing order, that's the best episode to start. Immediately after are "Ghosts of the Sargasso" and "Ice Station - Impossible!" If you don't find those three funny, just give up.

As for the other AS shows. I find "Frisky Dingo" hilarious. Zanier than "Sealab 2021" but the ongoing plot dragged towards the middle of last season. Like the better AS shows, it's good, but not great. In order of quality, I'd put "The Venture Bros." (the only great one), "Frisky Dingo"/"Morel Orel", "Robot Chicken" as good; "Boondocks", "Metalocylpse", "Saul of the Molemen" as uninteresting. And anything with Tim & Eric as pure, unwatchable garbage. (It's too early to tell about "Lucy, the Daughter of the Devil.")

wryanh said...

Desert Island box set, West Wing Season 2. The Wire is a much better show, but I figure if I'm going to be stuck on a desert island I'm going to need something to cheer me up. And I've already gone through the Sports Night box set ~20 times.

Anonymous said...

>if I wasn't completely slammed with pilots and such, I'd track down some recent episodes. Maybe in a few months.

yup, folks, keep those ideas in mind for those lovely mini-hiatuses the networks are always treating us to, directly after sweeps and for most of January and March!

-Pam