As you know, a new TV season is upon us once again. I’m halfway through the week that one of the networks is calling “National Stay At Home Week” so you can watch all their shows. And I tell you what, I love when the new TV season starts. I really do feel like a kid about to run into the toy store, there’s all kinds of potential, but then, most of the time I run in and the toys aren’t as cool as they looked on the commercials. So far, though, I’ve liked what I’ve seen so far.
Here’s a brief rundown of what I’ve been watching by day.
Big Bang Theory (CBS)
I’m not sure how many of you guys out there are watching this show, but it’s my favorite new show from last season. After moving over to ToyFare I was able to push for a feature based on it and had the pleasure of talking to a few people from the show (check out the finished product in ToyFare #134). It’s about these four geeky scientists and their interactions with their hot neighbor girl across the hall. At the end of last season Leonard asked Penny (the girl) out and she said yes, but this new season seems to be starting off with Penny’s insecurities dating someone who’s so smart. I really dug the season premiere and hope that they don’t get into a prolonged Ross and Rachel kind of thing, but I don’t think it’ll happen after talking to Executive Producer Bill Prady. If nothing else, just keep your eyes peeled for all kinds of great nerd gear in the background on the sets (especially DC-related products).
How I Met Your Mother (CBS)
Em and I got into HIMYM a little late in the game but went back and got caught up on DVD and it’s another great comedy show. The hook is that Bob Saget’s telling his kids in the future about how he met their mother, but it’s way more than just a gimmick as we weave in and out of main character Ted’s love life. Towards the end of last season Sarah Chalke of Scrubs fame joined the cast as Ted’s latest love interest-with-a-kid and now they’re engaged. But she’s not the kids’ mother, so there’s this fun sense of impending doom (trust me, it makes sense). Anyway, this season opened with Ted talking to his buddy Marshall (Jason Segel of Freaks and Geeks and Forgetting Sarah Marshall) and realizes that Ted doesn’t really know that much about his new fiance, chiefly that she’s never seen Star Wars. So Ted sits her down and makes her watch it because it’s his favorite movie and he’s not sure if he can marry a woman who hates Star Wars. The show also stars Alyson Hannigan, Cobie Smulders (Joss Whedon’s pick for Wonder Woman if his version would have been made) and the fantastic Neil Patrick Harris. They’re a fantastic cast and are a real joy to watch. Rent the DVDs, get caught up and check this show out.
Prison Break (FOX)
Thanks to FOX’s early start of their season, I’ve been enjoying new episodes of Prison Break for a few weeks now. A lot of people give me crap for liking Prison Break with the usual “are they STILL breaking out of a prison?” I’ve been completely unsuccessful in getting anyone I actually know to actually check the show out, but I can’t recommend it enough. The thing I love the most about Prison Break is that more happens in one episode than whole seasons of other shows. This season has had more game changing moments that I can’t even think of them all. The basic premise of this season is that the surviving guys who broke out of the prison in the first season are kind of a Dirty Dozen/Suicide Squad group of dudes who have been picked by the government to help them take down the shady Company. It’s pretty hard to sum up what’s going on, but I highly recommend this series to anyone who loves complex action stories where whole seasons’ worth of plot points happen over the course of a few episodes.
Boston Legal (ABC)
Em got me watching Boston Legal a season or two back and it really is a great show. William Shatner and James Spader star along with Candice Bergen and a slew of other super-talented folks. It’s a law show, but not your standard one as it balances between the lawyers’ interactions and the cases they’re working on. The relationship between Shatner and Spader is the kind that really embraces the idea of heterosexual lifemates and one that I can relate to. They end every episode smoking cigars and drinking out on their law office balcony. Sounds like a great way to end a day to me. Anyway, this season opened with Spader’s character going up against big tobacco and a lawyer that he used to have a relationship with. As usual, Spader makes a very compelling closing argument at the end of the episode that makes you think regardless of what side of the issue you stand. It’s worth checking out, especially because, even though storylines tend to weave throughout the season, you can catch random episodes and still usually know what’s going on.
So far I’m digging Fringe. There’s been a lot of X-Files comparisons, but that doesn’t bother me much because I never watched X-Files regularly. Sure it’s the standard regular person teamed up with a federal agent scenario, but J.J. Abrams and Co. do a great job playing with the format and the actors are pretty fantastic. I’ve never seen Anna Torv in anything before, but she’s been pretty convincing as the person thrown into a crazy world roll without being a full-on Scully. Josh Jackson is fantastic as the fast talking smart guy, but there does seem to be potential for them to over do it. We shall see. Lost alumn Lance Reddick is great and creepy and John Noble plays the eccentric old man scientist to great effect. The show is centered around these weird occurrences that keep happening in the Boston area, most of which are related back to the old scientist’s experiments from back in the day. I find a lot of the pseudo science to be really interesting, plus the underlying mystery behind John Noble’s past and how it relates to mega-company Massive Dynamic will keep me coming back for the rest of this season.
Gary Unmarried (CBS)
I became a fan of Jay Mohr a few months ago when I read his autobiography about his time at Saturday Night Live (which I have an unnatural love for) so I was pretty excited when I saw that he’s starring in a new sitcom. He plays a dude (Gary) who’s been divorced for three months, but his (SPOILER WARNING) wife is actually getting married to their marriage counselor played with great hippy dippy precision by Ed Begley Jr. He’s got two kids and is starting to date Jaimie King who also has a kid. I’m not 100% sold on this show and when Pushing Daisies comes back, I’ll probably switch back over to that, but if the next few episodes really bowl me over I’ll tape (yes TAPE) them.
The Island (MTV)
I am an immense fan of The Real World. It started when I was a kid and really got into the Miami and Boston seasons. Back then all I wanted was to get on the show and live my incredibly interesting life out in front of millions of people, which would have been great as I was a borderline agoraphobe back then and crowds still make me a little freaked out to this day. Anyway, I stuck with it and still watch every season and especially love the challenges. This season’s challenge is called The Island and it’s weird because there aren’t any group challenges, just three people competing against each other for a key to get them on a boat to sail to a smaller island where a treasure lies. The real reason I like these shows is because you get to keep seeing these crazy people years after their original shows. And yes, they’ve become characters to me in the same way that any other TV show has characters. I know they’re real people in the sense that they physically exist somewhere, but they’ve all become such charicatures that it’s really fantastic to keep getting glimpses into what’s become their lives: living for a few weeks in a rad topical place, backstabbing their friends, making alliances and getting absolutely sh!t faced (even when on an island with very little water, brilliant!). It’s like a soap opera but with real people! Oh, also, almost everyone in the game is terrible at playing the game. Put me on there and I’d run that island (assuming I could pull myself away from staring at Kellyanne and Robin, hey ladies ;))
And, this week, whenever I haven’t been watching the above shows I’ve been watching the British Office for the third time. I think it might be the perfect TV show. I’ll do a review when I finish (which will probably be tonight or tomorrow). I’m also excited about tonight’s American Office and My Name is Earl premieres nd can’t wait for 30 Rock to come back. Also, I’ve missed the first two SNLs, so I’m actually looking forward to this Saturday when nothing is going on and I can watch it (and for the eventual rereuns of the first two episodes, something I usually dread).