Saturday, October 04, 2008

The Fall 2007 TV Season... in Fall 2008

As I mentioned a few days ago, I was excited because this week marked the return of my favourite shows of last season. It's a shame the Writer's Strike happened when it did, because fall 2007 probably boasted my favourite crop of new shows... ever. Pushing Daisies is, well, you all know how I feel about that show, and I won't start gushing again. (GLORIOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!) Chuck is about as close to perfect as a show can get for a TV geek -- it's got the spy element, the family element, the nerd quotient, and it's funny and well written. The cast is superb. The return of Chuck this week was great... we got the background told to us as part of the narrative when the show opened with Michael Clarke Duncan holding Chuck out over a ledge and Chuck had to quickly tell him who he was. Pushing Daisies, as I mentioned, also gave an extremely long recap just to bring people in who may have missed it the first time around. Besides, for these shows, which barely picked up (if at all) after the writer's strike, they need to give audiences big reminders of what happened, because there's a possibility it's been almost a year since we've been watching.

Chuck's return was a lot of fun... on the one hand we saw how being the Intersect has weighed heavily on him, much like what being the Slayer was to Buffy. He begins to imagine his life NOT being the Intersect and he's so happy. But I loved the little moments we saw that were outside of the plot of the show, especially his co-workers. From the Thunderdome decision of who would be the store's assistant manager, to the resume that Chuck reads that's on the napkin written in red (if you didn't pause your television to read it, it said that he's been working at the store forever and knows where all the bodies are buried, and then on the other side of the napkin it says that he's been hiding under things and taking photos of everyone's feet. It was PRICELESS), to Morgan saying he's challenged Paul to eat 90 Twinkies and Chuck and Casey both running to the back room eager to see Paul's stomach explode... it was classic.

Dirty Sexy Money is another show I watched last year as a guilty pleasure (though I feel no guilt in watching it). I've said it before, it's like an adult version of Gossip Girl. They somehow manage to get a lot of cheese and melodrama and over-the-top ideas in there, but they make it believable. Sort of. They even have a transgendered character, played by a female impersonator, who is probably the smartest and classiest character on the show. They could have taken the easy route and turned her into a laughing stock, but she never becomes that. What was interesting, however, is the return episode had NO previously on stuff, so we were launched right back where we left off. I wasn't thrilled with how they handled Patrick's wife's death at all... talk about a family trying to knock off the daughter-in-law because she's being a pain. Yeah, she's an alcoholic and a family embarrassment, but she's also the mother of their grandchildren, which apparently means zilch in this family. Jeremy is always adorable, despite being a train wreck, and while a lot of this first episode was a little clunky, it was still fun to be back with the Darling family. I couldn't figure out why Juliet, Jeremy's twin sister, was missing, but a quick google search showed she's been removed from the regular cast, with most speculation suggesting it's because of a rehab stint she did last year.

Life is not a show I really liked a lot, but I know it's a critical darling and many of my readers enjoy it. My husband is a big fan, and he thought it was a great return to the show, so there's a fourth fine show from last season.

And yet... the numbers were not what people wanted to hear. Pushing Daisies got fewer viewers for this premiere episode than for any episode last year. Chuck Bartowski's following has similarly dwindled. While Dirty Sexy Money's numbers were slightly higher than its finale last year, it was way down from its initial premiere.

Since this season so far hasn't boasted a breakout beyond Fringe (which I was happy to see has gotten its full-season order, WOOHOO!), if these shows end up getting cancelled, we're stuck with a lot of dreck. Let's hope because of the lack of other options, the execs will stick with these shows a little bit longer.

And if you're reading this and not watching them, check them out! Get them on your PVR and rent or buy the first seasons and check them out.


poppedculture said...

They can't cancel Chuck! Of course if they do, I hope they at least run out the full season and let them wrap the story. I hate when a series just ends - I invested my time, where's the payoff? I'm still pissed off about Invasion.

Anonymous said...

I was so happy to see Vik Sahay's name in Chuck's opening credits. I love it when Canadians do well.

And he has gorgeous eyes.

ninja raiden said...

Nik, do you think people will give "Fringe" the story latitude it deserves? It seems like internet buzz is lukewarm at many sites and not a lot of patience is given to Anna Torv's character. I think her character's sullen attitude is proper given her circumstances.

It seems her character arc will provide a reasonable amount of change once she gets over her initial baggage and becomess more involved with the "Pattern". Or is "Lost" too big a shadow for some viewers to reign in expectations for "Fringe?