Fall ’06 TV summary

I’m no longer in the habit of blogging TV shows, per se, but I thought I’d give a quick rundown of the new shows I’ve seen and whether they’re worth your (my) time:

Heroes

Heroes gets a “boring as ass” rating from me, although Dan likes it. Now, don’t get me wrong; I love superheroes. X-Men and Batman: The Animated Series were my favorite cartoons growing up, and I thoroughly enjoy all the current superhero movie franchises. But Heroes doesn’t give you any reason to care about any of the characters. Perhaps its worst sin is that you can’t even figure out what the superpowers are that some of the characters have. Ali Larter’s character, for example: what is it that she can do exactly? She apparently can kick ass and not remember it, while also being able to displace her reflection every now and then. I don’t get it.

The Class

I’ve been giving The Class a try because Kristin said it would fill the hole that Friends left. Well, not exactly, but it’s doing OK. How I Met Your Mother does a better job of filling the “look at these people my age hanging out in a big city” void, but The Class has its laughs, too. My biggest problem with The Class is that I’m already wondering, after two episodes, what the point of some of the characters is. Holly (Lucy Punch), whose high school boyfriend turned out to be gay, which she found out on prom night, doesn’t seem to have anything to her character beyond the fact that her high school boyfriend turned out to be gay. Her whole story for the past two episodes has really centered only on that. The creators seem to want us to believe that that, in fact, is all this woman thinks about. I believe I’ll refer you back to “boring as ass.”

Kidnapped

Dan and I realized after watching both Kidnapped and Heroes that the current template for a TV show pitch right now must be “OK, imagine a movie where X happens … and then instead of telling that story in two hours, we’re going to do it in 22 hours.” (See also Prison Break or, I suspect, The Nine.) Both Kidnapped and Heroes project that big, cinematic ambition and have borrowed some camera and editing techniques from recent films, especially recent heist or superhero films. Kidnapped, however, is a bit better than Heroes. You get interested quickly: who’s involved?; why was the kid kidnapped?; most importantly who do you trust — the FBI (headed by Bruce Wayne’s dad, so, you know …); the rogue FBI guy who was supposed to be retiring; or the “professional”? I was all set to give my Wednesday 9:00 (Central) time slot to The Nine, but Kidnapped is stiff competition that premiered first. I’m afraid by the time The Nine premieres next week, I’ll already be hooked on Kidnapped. Bonus: Dan’s prediction, just to get this on the record, is that if Kidnapped continues beyond this season, we’ll continue to follow the “professional” in another high-profile kidnapping case, rather than continue to follow this dysfunctional family after they get their kid back, assuming they do.

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip

I know I should be more jazzed about Studio 60, but I haven’t given my heart over to it yet. It could be that I’m still grieving for The West Wing, which really died back in 2003 when Aaron Sorkin left it. Heather Havrilesky over at Salon, whose reviews I typically find too snarky for anyone’s good, actually has an excellent review of Studio 60, or at least a review with some resonance for me. She basically says that some actors work well with Sorkin’s flow and dialogue and some don’t, which is true here. Matthew Perry and Bradley Whitford (not surprisingly) handle it beautifully, while Amanda Peet and Steven Weber are fair to middling, and Sarah Paulson comes across as appallingly leaden, which she is not always in other roles. I like Studio 60, and I’ll keep watching (and Dan and I will keep hosting people to watch with us), but I doubt I’ll spend hours a day being a fan, like I was back when TWW launched.

Check back in a few weeks for The Nine and 30 Rock, which will each get at least one viewing for their chance to make it onto my TV calendar.

One Response to “Fall ’06 TV summary”

  1. Harbinger
    September 27th, 2006 19:16
    1

    I’m not much for network TV, but I decided to take a shot on Heroes, because I find the intial reaction to something out of the ordinary is always the best to see.

    However, the rectal ennui was pretty well in effect. I found myself fast-forwarding through a lot of it. Character development is one thing. Drawn-out melodrama is another.

    I also didn’t care for how no one, except the Japanese man, likes their powers. Everyone else is either emo, suicidal or scared. The little brother seems accepting, but it may turn out that it’s not his power. The Japanese’s acceptance and belief is probably due to him being an otaku. Clearly, nerds are better equipped emotionally to handle strange phenomena.

    It seemed like it wanted to be both X-Men and X-Files (Glasses-wearing Man? Doesn’t sound as intimidating.) and got the lesser parts of both.

    It did have pretty good twists at the end. I didn’t see the climax of the brother arc or Daddy’s return coming.

    As for the powers, I don’t mind that some aren’t immediately obvious. Creativity would be nice. I would guess Ali’s character has a psychic projection with it’s own personality that was able to freely manifest when her conscious mind wasn’t in the way.

    I might give the next ep a chance, but the preview didn’t seem too promising. (Comic book?)

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