Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sepinwall on TV: Fall TV preview

Over at NJ.com, you can find my annual fall TV preview, such as it is. Because there are so many shows debuting at the start of September, we wanted to run it earlier than usual (in most years past, it ran the day before the official start of the TV season), but because the networks are taking their sweet time in sending out pilots -- or, in the case of "90210," not sending them out at all -- I had to largely work blind. There are also previews of a lot of the returning shows.

29 comments:

Andrea said...

Well that was all very interesting. However, the last line was most depressing. January 09 for Conchords????

Matt said...

Two thoughts:

1. When did Mark-Paul Gosselar decide it would be a good idea to grow Taylor Kitsch's hair? Zach Morris<>Tim Riggins.
2. It's been interesting to see how low-key advertising for the network fall season has been outside of TV. "Fringe," "90210," "Gossip Girl," "The Mentalist," "Ugly Betty," and "ABC Wednesday!" are about the only things I've seen outdoor for.

Alan Sepinwall said...

1. When did Mark-Paul Gosselar decide it would be a good idea to grow Taylor Kitsch's hair?

When Steven Bochco got the not-so-brilliant idea that he could easily define MPG's character as the public defender who's so dedicated to his job that he doesn't have time to get a proper haircut.

Myles said...

I do wish that there was at least a single pilot that you could have unabashedly liked, Alan - would make for a less frustrating sense of both disappointment and cluelessness as to the fall ahead.

I don't think my Fringe thoughts would be quite as qualified as yours - yes, this is an Abrams pilot, and we expect a lot from them, but his fingerprints were less plentiful this time around and his involvement with the series seems to have been more in regards to story and setup.

If anything that's for the best: if there's a single area Abrams (separate from Lindelof) needs improvement, it's not letting things get off the rails. Maybe this diversion of his attention results in a slightly weaker pilot but a stronger build.

Bobman said...

Any word on a premiere date for the US version of Top Gear?

Nicole said...

Zack's long hair would look better if it looked like he washed it, otherwise the show was full of either really idealistic or really corrupt lawyers and judges. In real life it's somewhere in between and would be a more interesting show if the grey areas were portrayed.

I liked Fringe and it will probably do well this year because a lot of those shows look mediocre.

CW's strategy of not pre-viewing anything seems a bit odd when they are the "youth" network while other shows from other networks have accidentally ended up on the internet. Even if the 90210 pilot was mediocre, I bet an internet release for everyone to access would build up more buzz than through the traditional methods.

Alan Sepinwall said...

CW's strategy of not pre-viewing anything seems a bit odd

Thus far, "90210" is the only CW show getting the no-screener treatment. After the print deadline for the fall preview issue passed, I got a copy of the pilot for "Privileged," which I'll watch within the next few days.

Alan Sepinwall said...

I do wish that there was at least a single pilot that you could have unabashedly liked, Alan - would make for a less frustrating sense of both disappointment and cluelessness as to the fall ahead.

I would say my like of The Ex-List was fairly unabashed, but I have to qualify it for two reasons: 1)I haven't seen a final pilot yet, and 2)Despite my affection for Diane Ruggiero, I still need to be convinced that there's a long-term series here.

Anonymous said...

thanks for the info Alan


I have always hated when people complain about tv and say there is nothin good on, I mean this decade may be the best ever based off the HBO shows alone. When I look at these new network shows and a lot of the returning shows suddenly Im not so jealous of your job Alan. There is a ton of crap and even with the strike surely there are some better ideas out there. If it was not for their NFL coverage I would never watch CBS and ABC/NBC/Fox put out bad show after bad show.

As far as pilots go Im not excited for Fringe and unless its on after House I probably wont watch. I have to disagree with your True Blood analysis, the show looks good and HBO has done some great promo with the bloodcopy OnDemand and the behind the scenes stuff. The pilot was not grea, but there was enough there to get me into the show.

I am also worried about some of my favorite shows. Dexter is just not built for a long run, 3 maybe 4seasons and wrap it up. Since Dexter is the top draw for Showtime you would think they are plannin on keepin the show runnin for a long time and I just expect a dip in quality as the producers try to stretch out the show. Also all the different ways that Dexter kept the cops off his trail last year started to become a little too unbelievable and then there are only so many ways to keep the deaths fresh.

FNL is unlikely to capture that first season magic back. There is no way Riggins and Lyla can still be in high school, it simply kills the show for me. Why not introduce some characters that play on the defense. Also the interview Alan had with the creator did not give me much hope.

Maura said...

Rescue Me
(FX) Denis Leary and company promise they'll be funny again.


Sorry. Way too late.

I'm not sure anything sounds interesting enough to check out (I skipped the descriptions of new HBO shows, as we don't have it. Why torture myself?) I'm just waiting for Pushing Daisies, Reaper and Dirty, Sexy Money to come back.

David said...

I had heard somewhere that David Simon is working on a new series in Post-Katrina New Orleans. I don't know where I remember hearing that, but I was wondering if there was any word on that as a later season HBO show? Is it even a project, or am I hallucinating?

Also, I don't care what anyone says. That Landry murder plot, while I'll admit I groaned when it happened, became one of the best plot lines of last season, way more than the Riggins doin' the milfy neighbor.

Plus, YAY! MORE TAMI! PRINCIPAL TAMI! YAY!

R.A. Porter said...

Alan, any thoughts on some of the new mid-season shows?

I saw the pre-air for TNT's Leverage and liked it a lot, especially Aldis Hodge. Oh, and "Works-with-Carlos Girl" was pretty good, too. I think there's a place for a clever, stylish heist show.

And of course there's Dollhouse, which I expect to last at LEAST 13 episodes before it gets canned...followed by a ridiculously successful DVD release and moderately successful movie a few years later.

pgillan said...

The Mentalist: This was listed in shows you've seen, but you didn't say if you liked what you saw. I'm going to assume you were pretty "meh" on it. On a slightly different note, I started watching Psych again this season, and I was right: without the heavy "fake psychic" shtick, it's actually pretty good.

The Eleventh Hour: Ok, this is based on the british show. Good to know. And if you liked Dark City, the new Director's Cut version is really good, speaking of Rufus Sewell.

Crusoe: What on earth would possess them to remake Robinson Crusoe, but not bring it into the modern era? It wouldn't make any difference to the story, but we'd be more able to relate to the character. This seems doomed to failure.

Anonymous said...

Alan, Have you seen anything of "Dollhouse"? I'd follow Joss Whedon anywhere, and would love to see him have another long running show , rather than have the network break our hearts ala "Firefly".

Debbie

Anonymous said...

I saw Raising the Bar. Possibly one of the most painful and ridiculous hours of television I've ever sat through. I'm amazed TNT gave it a green light.

You're the first person I've seen report that Rebecca Romijn is leaving Ugly Betty because of the coast switch. In fact, I'm pretty sure they announced she'd be getting downgraded to recurring even before they announced the move and blamed it on not having enough storylines for her. (Of course, there were also rumors she was difficult on set, so I doubt we'll ever know the real reason.)

Finally, if switching networks and losing Zach Braff doesn't kill Scrubs I don't know what will. I wish they'd just announce it's the final season so they could promote it as such. Playing this "maybe it'll be back, maybe it won't" game is only hurting the show by preventing any of the buzz and build-up to the series finale that it should be getting.

Alan Sepinwall said...

I had heard somewhere that David Simon is working on a new series in Post-Katrina New Orleans. I don't know where I remember hearing that, but I was wondering if there was any word on that as a later season HBO show? Is it even a project, or am I hallucinating?

Right now, it's just a pilot, and one that hasn't even been filmed yet.

Alan Sepinwall said...

I saw the pre-air for TNT's Leverage and liked it a lot, especially Aldis Hodge.

Leverage was pretty good, with Hodge a particular highlight. He was also one of the most unexpectedly wonderful interviews I've ever had. Fienberg and I went up to him at the Turner party just to ask him about Voodoo Tatum, and he wound up being a really interesting, versatile guy -- and from Jersey, to boot!

Alan Sepinwall said...

The Mentalist: This was listed in shows you've seen, but you didn't say if you liked what you saw. I'm going to assume you were pretty "meh" on it.

I try not to get too negative until I've seen the final version of a pilot, and, again, the only network show where that's happened is "Fringe."

R.A. Porter said...

Well Alan, all the coolest people are tri-staters!

I hope we'll get to read that interview with Hodge someday. He's definitely cool and versatile on screen.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Alan, Have you seen anything of "Dollhouse"?

No, but I did interview Joss on the set of the show.

Matthew L said...

As someone currently halfway through season 5 of Angel (by coincidence, I watched the puppet episode the day before last week's Middleman), I'm interested to learn that Wolfram & Hart let J August Richards keep all the law information they programmed into his head.

Joe said...

Alan-

Great preview. Any word on when Brotherhood will be coming back for Season 3?

Andrew said...

joe,

Season 3 of "Brotherhood" premieres on November 2. That show is really underappreciated. It's the least flashy show Showtime's got, but it's probably their highest quality one. With "The Wire" off the air, it probably now holds the tiele for most criminally ignored show.

jcpbmg said...

Zach Morris > Tim Riggins

No question

Anonymous said...

Excellent article, but...

You forgot BSG!!!

Tracey said...

The Mentalist is Psych with no sense of humor ... yeah, that was pretty much my take on the incessant commercials.

The Ex List... that looked like a clever idea to me in the commercials I've seen, but a clever idea for a TV movie, not an entire series. And one would assume that any woman who has already turned away her soulmate and had so many relationships that she needs an entire series to find him again wouldn't be a very appealing heroine. Didn't realize it was Israeli, although I shouldn't be surprised: the idea of a soulmate (bashert) is very deeply rooted in Jewish culture.

Valentine... sounds like it might be Cupid without the sense of humor.

floretbroccoli said...

Keith Carradine will do a multi-episode arc as an FBI investigator who makes life difficult for Don and Charlie.

I suppose it's too much to hope that he'll play the same character he played on Dexter?

pgillan said...

> Keith Carradine will do a multi-episode arc as an FBI investigator who makes life difficult for Don and Charlie.

I suppose it's too much to hope that he'll play the same character he played on Dexter?


And how awesome would it be if that turned out to be the same character he played on Criminal Minds?

domino87 said...

Alan,
Just wondering if you received the first 8 episodes of The Shield like some other critics did. The premiere is a week away, but would love to hear your thoughts on the last season if you've seen any of it.