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Tuesday, September 26, 2006
TV Round-Up
Lots of interesting new shows this fall along with the returning favorites (I am counting down days and hours until BSG returns). Here are some thoughts on a few I've sampled in the past week. For those of you new to my TV Round-Ups, there will be SPOILERS for the if you taped, TiVOed or DVRed, you have been warned...

Jericho: Pilot
This show contains, perhaps, the most iconic image of the new crop of fall shows--that being the little kid standing on his roof, seeing the mushroom cloud from behind the mountains. A nice moment that might have had a bit more impact had we not seen it in every promo, every 20 seconds for the last month and a half.

Jericho starts off with that one moment and then, provides very few answers for the next hour. The sense of isolation, panic and worry the town feels is shared by the viewers, especially when the news arrives that not only was Denver destroyed but so was Atlanta. As chilling as the scene of the mushroom cloud is, the voice mail from the kid's mom who was in Atlanta as the bomb just shows why old radio will always be far more effective at being scary than TV or movies ever could dream of being. Beyond the big questions of who attacked, why was there an attack and now what (also I have to wonder if anyone in the federal government is still out there and still running the country) there were some other ones that will have to be immediately addressed--such as the escaped prisoners from the prison bus. And that doesn't even get into the whole what was Skeet Ulritch doing for the past few years while he was away from town?

The series has potential and it could be a nice lead-in to Lost on Wednesday nights. The only thing I didn't care for was the ending--it seemed too much like forcing a cliffhanger into the events that were playing out on screen. And instead of having me say--wow, I am intrigued to see where this whole birds dead in the road plot goes, I was thinking, "Yeah, but what about the woman's husband who was supposedly flying back to town? Is he still alive?" That's a far more interesting question in my book.

Heroes: Genesis
One thing I love about Heroes is that right out of the gate it acknowledges that its influenced by X-Men comics and Star Trek. It's not saying that it's out to reinvent the wheel, but instead is going to tell stories from a different take on things. And, so far, it's pretty good, though there was some predictable moments in the pilot.

For one thing, they worked too hard to set-up Peter (Milo Ventimiglia) for a fall (literally and figuratively). The scene of his taking the step off the building has been almost as inonic as the mushroom cloud image from Jericho all summer. So, I knew there had to be some twist to it and I figured that somehow the brother who had everything would somehow be part of it. And it turns out that is true--the brother is the one who can fly, not Peter. Does this mean Peter doesn't have powers and isn't special? And if so, what does that do to him? I'm guessing he has to have some way to fit into the show or else they wouldn't spend so much time featuring him as one of the stars of the show. (Unless they're going to pull a Psycho and kill off the big name star before the end of the third reel).

Also, I called early that the mysterious goverement man with glasses would somehow tie into Claire (blonde, healing power cheerleader). When Dad wasn't around and was referred to as coming home that night, I knew where all of that was headed.

But as predictable as those were, there was still a lot to like. The two most intriguging characters are Hiro (teleporter guy) and Nikki (Vegas stripper, where I'm not quite sure what her power is just yet). Hiro is a delight and I could watch an entire show with his exchanges with his buddy about his powers and wanting to be special. His delight at teleporting for the first time was great. And Nikki intrigues me not just becuase it's Ally Larter playing the role but because we are given so little info about her power. We see the consequences of it but not it in action. I am fascinated to see where this all goes.

Of course, there is a lot of that whole Lost, we're all connected but don't know it yet vibe hitting this show. So far, except for Claire's connection to her dad, it all feels natural enough.

So, I am going to hesistantly add this one to the viewing rotation. I say hesitantly not because of the show's quality but because I just am not sure if I trust NBC enough to give it the chance to build an audience that this kind of show will need.

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip: Cold Open
Dang nabbit, I'm hooked.

If the first episode was good, this one is great.

The pilot set up the various relationships and situations and now we can finally start building on that. And man, did we ever. The first scene with Matt and Danny discussing things is exactly the way to do exposition without it feeling like a huge info-dump of information. They reminded of us of the various plot and players in the situation and then started putting those into motion. I have to admit I loved every second of the show and was stunned at how quickly the hour went by. And now I'm eager for more...

Yep, I'm hooked.

One choice the show made that I liked was not showing us the controversial sketch. I think it's a great idea since no matter what it is, it will fall short of audience expectations. I loved the cold opening to the show and the little jabs at SNL. Loved the homage to The Mary Tyler Moore Show. I pretty enjoy enjoyed the entire hour of this show from start to finish and I think we've got a real winner on our hands here. As I said before--I'm hooked.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/26/2006 07:47:00 AM | |
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