Sunday, September 30, 2007

What’s on My PVR – Part 1
I’ve been trying to catch up on all of the new fall shows on my PVR, slowly but surely. If I can get through the first week of shows before too many more eps air, I’ll know what new shows to cut out of my schedule. I haven’t made it all the way through, and several more are beginning next week, but here’s what I think so far.

Returning shows:

The Office
I was SO happy to have The Office back!!! It was a bit of a slow start to the season; they said it was an hour-long show but it was clearly two half hours stuck together. I loved so many things about it – Jim saying that Michael had hit a speed bump on the highway once and then looking off in the distance, “I wonder who he ran over that day.” Michael “carbing up” on fettuccine alfredo. The pictures of Sprinkles that Angela was showing – that one of the mangy cat with a lot of its hair missing was hilarious… I felt bad for laughing, but it was hilarious. And her description to Dwight of the process of giving Sprinkles her meds, and his face, was awesome. BUT… what Dwight ultimately did was too heinous to be funny. I was surprised the show had sunk this low. I love cats, and have two of them, and of course I can laugh about certain things (like the pics of the mangy cat). But the suggestion that a cat would be stuck in a pitch-black freezer, terrified and clawing its way through the frozen foods while vomiting up medicine and eventually succumbing to hypothermia… I’m not a prude, but there’s nothing about that that I find funny. So I was sad that they went there for a couple of laughs. But that aside, it was great to have one of my favourite shows back.

Ugly Betty
A great season premiere. I thought Hilda’s fiancé had died in the finale, so I was shocked to see him alive but bruised in this episode. I thought, “Huh… I guess they just didn’t want to go that dark on the show. Maybe it was a good call.” And then at the end when Betty comes in the room and Hilda’s simply holding a pillow; it actually put a lump in my throat, as soapy as it was, and I thought it was well handled. The thought of Justin interning at Mode has endless possibilities. Amanda’s largeness was over-the-top and fake, but that’s the show. I actually like the dad being away in Mexico, and am intrigued by the thought that Alexis doesn’t know she’s Alexis anymore, and what will happen there. Definitely a good way to come back.

America’s Next Top Model:
Week 2: Well, they’ve succeeded in making the woman with Asperger’s look more like she has Asperger’s, but for god’s sakes, if I heard one more thing in that episode about how “Heather is SO anti-social”… if they’re looking to show how people with Asperger’s can make it in this world, they’re doing a pretty lousy job. The anti-smoking campaign was without a doubt the LOWEST this show has ever sunk. I thought it was tasteless and disgusting. Making up the models with big chunks of hair missing? Half their face gone from a “burn”? Holding dead babies? Wow… subtle. How ridiculous. I’m sure non-smokers who have lost babies or who have lost hair in chemo treatments for other cancers thought that was totally classy and sensitive. I was so ashamed of this episode; let’s hope the season improves.

New shows:

Kitchen Nightmares:
Week 2: Loved it. It was so much better than week one! This time I went into it knowing it would be Foxified, that Ramsay would “make things happen” rather than making the restauranteur make those things happen, and that there would be no return to the set 6 weeks later. And so my disappointment level was significantly decreased. There was no loser brother running the restaurant and threatening every passerby who looked at him the wrong way, and instead the show actually felt more realistic, more like the British version, with the managers of the Indian restaurant just looking baffled and confused, rather than looking like actors. The makeover of the restaurant was a bit of a cheat (and I highly doubt that they did all of that in one night… come ON), and I think the visit to Ramsay’s impeccable kitchen was grandstanding (and I don’t believe he has the fridges cleaned twice a day… nice try, Gordon), but otherwise it was a lot of fun. Anyone know if this is the guy who is suing Gordon for losing his job?

Gossip Girl:
Week 2: This is my new guilty pleasure. I don’t know why, but I totally love this show. My husband won’t watch it, which means I’m sure to watch it quickly every week because I don’t have to wait for him to watch with me. :)

Bionic Woman:
A woman is almost killed in a car accident, and her boyfriend is a surgeon who works with genetic engineering and rebuilds her body into a bionic thing (one eye, one arm, both legs, ears, etc.) When the organization who supplied the body parts sees what he’s done, they want to recruit her. She’s angry at him for what he’s done, and hates the organization and refuses to work with them.
What I Liked: Michelle Ryan was great. Katee Sackhoff makes an awesome villain, and I hope she’s around a lot. The special effects were pretty cool, and I especially liked the dark element of Jamie waging war with the organization.
What I Didn’t Like: The show felt a little cobbled together, but that could have been because they released so much video early on with Jamie and her deaf sister, and now her sister is completely different. I also thought the person in charge of music made a huge mistake in using “Breathe Me” in a pivotal scene of Jamie coming home and realizing her life will never be the same. You don’t use a song that was used in the last five minutes of Six Feet Under in one of the most memorable and iconic scenes EVER, and then expect us to remove it from that. I pictured Claire driving along the road the entire time the song was playing.
People from my other shows: Zoe from EastEnders, Starbuck and Chief from BSG.
Verdict: I liked it, and think it has potential to be a lot better, so I’m looking forward to next week.

Premise: A cop is put into prison from 1995-2007 for a crime he didn’t commit, and despite claiming innocence, no one believes him. Wife files for divorce by sending him papers in the mail, his workplace lets him down, and he’s seen as a murderer. When new evidence shows he couldn’t have done it, he’s released with a massive settlement, and back on the force, a different man.
What I Liked: The final few minutes, where you find out he’s still trying to figure out who really DID commit the crime he was charged with, was pretty cool. The premise is intriguing and unique, and the acting is really good.
What I Didn’t Like: The guy seems a little too House-like for me. Eccentric professional, doing weird things but always right in the end, putting his co-workers at risk and forcing them to put their faith in him while they doubt him all the time… I started expecting him to pop Vicodin and walk with a limp. It was too close. Some of it seems forced.
People from my other shows: Calamity Jane from Deadwood
Verdict: I think I’ll watch it for another week; this wasn’t one I had in my PVR originally, but my husband wanted to watch it. I think he’s more intrigued by it than I am.

Premise: A Cuban-American family who runs a sugar cane empire is propositioned by another family, who wants to buy it from them for a substantial amount of money. When the adopted son tells his father not to sell to them, that they actually killed the patriarch’s youngest daughter, the father divides the empire, with his three natural children getting 30% each, and the adopted son getting 10%. Because adopted son is married to the one sister (ew), he now owns 40%, and is the owner, causing tension.
What I liked: The King Lear with boys element was interesting, and I LOOOOOVE Jimmy Smits (the adopted son). Love him. He’s as good in this as he was in anything else I’ve ever seen him in. The story is interesting, and felt more like a film or a book. Awesome cast.
What I didn’t like: Smits’ son is telling his girlfriend that his dad was adopted into the family, raised as one of their own, and then married his sister, to which the girlfriend says, “Aw, that’s so romantic!” Um… I think I have another word for it.
People from my other shows: Beecher from Oz and Atia of the Julii play the Samuels; Richard Alpert from Lost is the angry brother.
Verdict: I really enjoyed it, and hope it sticks around.

Premise: A happily married man discovers he’s somehow jumping through time to other times, while the present time continues, so if he’s gone for a day, a day is missing in the present. He’s moving through time to stop certain events from happening, but what separates this from Quantum Leap is that in the past, his major love is still alive, and he’s tempted to be with her, while in the present he’s happily married with a son, causing emotional torment.
What I Liked: I loved this show. The performances are top-notch, the twists and turns were surprising (especially the relationship between Dan’s wife and brother). The last few minutes were breathtaking (I gasped) and where I thought one premise of the show would be his wife always doubting him, the ending of it changed all of that.
What I Didn’t Like: I can’t really think of anything off-hand that I didn’t like, other than I wish Kevin McKidd had been allowed to use the British accent.
People from my other shows: Lucius Vorenus from Rome, causing one of my friends to call this show Vorenus P.I., which is what my hubby and I now call it
Verdict: Absolutely adore this show; my fave of the new season.

Dirty Sexy Money
Premise: The son of a lawyer who became rich handling the money of the super-rich family, The Darlings, dies, and the son, who had been pushed aside his entire life while his father attended to every need of the Darlings, vows he’s finally rid of them forever. Until they offer him millions of dollars every year to take his father’s position, and suddenly he’s yanked back in, in the way he never believed he would be.
What I liked: The show is like an adult version of Gossip Girl, showing us what happens to the rich kids from that show when they’re older, and people marry them or are interested in them only for their money. I liked the craziness of the characters, and the zaniness of the show, even if a lot of it was over-the-top.
What I didn’t like: Some was a little caricaturish… there’s a Paris Hilton character in the youngest daughter, and the youngest son seems to be based on Brandon Davis (a.k.a. the guy who coined the term “firecrotch”). But that said, I actually like the caricature. I wish the people who did music for these shows would learn to change it up a bit. I’ve now heard “Young Folks” by Peter, Bjorn and John in both this show and Gossip Girl… does it represent rich people or something?
People from my shows: Nathaniel from Six Feet Under.
Verdict: Love it. I’m sucked in by this one the same way I am Gossip Girl.

Coming up: Dexter, Moonlight, Aliens in America, Pushing Daisies, 30 Rock, Reaper, Friday Night Lights, The Tudors
**If leaving comments, please don't comment on a show I haven't yet watched (which is listed here) because I don't want anything spoiled. Thanks! :)


Brian Douglas said...

The new shows I'll be watching this season are: Chuck, Journeyman, Reaper, Bionic Woman, Dirty Sexy Money, and maybe Pushing Daisies.

Ooo, only 24 hours to the next episode of Heroes.

Colleen/redeem147 said...

It's a good thing we have Lost and Heroes, because otherwise I don't think we're watching any of the same shows :)

Well, and Dexter. Love Dexter.

Anonymous said...

re: Ramsey's Kitchen Nighmares - that was the gentleman who is/was suing Ramsey

Excerpt from Wikipedia:
Martin R. Hyde, ex-general manager of Dillon's restaurant in New York, has filed a lawsuit against Gordon Ramsay and the production company of Kitchen Nightmares, claiming that he was convinced to resign due to fraud by Ramsay and the producers.

Kristin said...

I thought that manager might be the one who was suing. Could be they edited out the decent things he was doing, but, I'm sorry, you can't fake the infestation of cockroaches, the rotting food, etc. And that is something a general manager should have a handle on. And *he* quit! He wasn't what can he possibly sue for???

I thought this episode was better, too. I think it was because there was more insight given into the restaurant...the cleanliness, the disorganization, the menu, etc. The pilot was more about fixing a broken family dynamic. There wasn't very much about the restaurant itself. Just the spoiled only son in an Italian family.

Still wish we could have the 6 weeks later bit, but I am sure they are saving that for some Kitchen Nightmares special during sweeps week or something.

Michele said...

Hi Nikki:

I am currently watching "Chuck" and just thought I'd post this. It's not a spoiler so you can keep reading. At one point when a whole bunch of government secrets are flashing through Chuck's mind, this popped up..."Oceanic Flight 815 was shot down by..."

I didn't catch the last part of the statement because everything was going by really fast but I got a kick out of it, considering that Lost and Chuck are on different networks!

The Chapati Kid said...

Did anyone else think that Michelle Ryan only had one expression on her face throughout the episode? The one where she looks like she's trying to read fine print? Also, who put on her makeup for her while she recovered from emergency life-saving surgery? Fuschia lips and mascara'd eyes. I never looked like that when I woke up from my appendix operation. Guess I had a careless nurse.

Jeremy Barker said...

Don't know how you do it Nik. You constantly amaze me.

Nikki Stafford said...

Brian: looks like we'll have a lot to discuss! :)

Colleen: That's OK... we'll always have Buffy...

Anonymous: Thanks for checking on that for me! As I was watching I was thinking this episode sounded familiar, and it must have been the one they'd talked about. I remember hearing something about Martin saying they faked a chair collapsing, and that wasn't in the episode, so I'm wondering if they'd edited out the contentious parts?

Kristin: I totally agree; the first one was all about the people and almost nothing about the biz, and this one was about the biz and the people were a part of that. I hope they have more like this one, and fewer like that stupid Italian one. Leave it to Fox to premiere the show with the over-the-top one.

Michele: No way!! I watched Chuck and totally missed that! You rock; I'll be sure to mention it in my rundown. I wish I'd kept that ep on my PVR. :)

Chapati Kid: You know, I agree. I thought about it after I'd hit Publish Post and thought actually, Sackhoff overshadowed Ryan in all of her scenes, so maybe Ryan wasn't as good as I thought she was. I think I'm thinking of her as Zoe on EastEnders, where she totally rocks, and was applying her skills to this one, when they weren't actually there. Let's hope she improves.

Barker: Thank you, my dahling. I aim to amaze. heehee...

Doe said...

Hi Nikki, Just an FYI - There was one more BSG person in Bionic woman. The man in jail, Anthony Anthros, (and who later was seen out of jail at the end of the show) played the lawyer (Romo Lampkin) for Baltar - he did 3 episodes. His name is Mark Sheppard.

The Chapati Kid said...

I keep thinking Nate's going to get a brain aneurysm and fall down dead.