I figured a good topic for my first real post would be my take on the new shows I’ve been watching this season. Get this up and posted before we’re too far into the new year. So, I’ve checked out four new shows during the Fall ’08 season: Fringe, Life on Mars, Raising the Bar, and Knight Rider.
At first I wasn’t very interested in this, bud DoubleBitch said she liked the pilot movie, so I checked it out. Sure enough, it was pretty damn enjoyable, actually tying into the original show in a pretty cool way (I just assumed this would ignore the old show). The pacing was pretty good, even if they did seem to love throwing in shots of Kitt just driving as often as possible. Then, cut to several months later and the first episode of the actual show. Over the summer Paul “Will be named Billy in everything he’s ever in” Campbell was added to the cast, which pleased the BSG fanboy side of me. Unfortunately, somewhere between the movie and the first episode everything just fell apart. The show has the production values of a Canadian show from the mid nineties, the writing is horrible, and Kitt is now a Transformer. Watching this caused me to become physically ill, and angry with myself for such an improper use of my time. And this is coming from someone who often just watches torrents download. I couldn’t even bring myself to check out the second episode of this third-rate Viper (remember Viper?) knock-off. Go here to see something infinitely better than Knight Rider. Jerk rating: 1/10
I’m a big Alias and Lost fan, and was a pretty big X-Files fanboy in high school, so I really want this show to be good. So far, ‘good’ is the best thing I can say about this show. Most of the episodes seem to combine elements of awesome and dumb that result in a finished product that falls more into the ‘meh’ category. However, there is definite potential for this show, so I haven’t given up yet. Sure, the main character is pretty damn boring (Astrid is a much better (and only other) female character on the show, so the fact that she had a much bigger role in this week’s ep was promising), and Walter Bishop can’t really carry a scene on his own (and is it just me, or does the comedy on the show fall flat pretty often?), but there really is a great show hidden in there somewhere. I’m hoping this show will begin to speed up the revelations about the Pattern, as I really don’t think it could survive pacing like that of Lost. And while I’m on the subject of pacing, why are the episodes 49 minutes long? I can see no reason for this show to get an extra seven minutes per ep versus other shows. Not really a complaint, I just don’t see why this show is allowed more time. Bottom line, if there doesn’t seem to be some real progression of the overarching story by the midseason break, I don’t know if I’ll be continuing to watch. Jerk rating: 6/10
Life on Mars
I’m a sucker for ’70s cops. Especially ’70s cops in New York. There was no way I couldn’t check this out. In fact, I’m half-convinced that this would be a better show without the central conceit (he was a cop in 2008, who got hit by a car and woke up in 1973), and instead just gave us pure ’70s cop action. That said, I do like how they’re handling the mystery of where/when/buh? Sam Tyler is. It’s a lot more in the ‘crazy’ zone, when I expected it to fall in the ‘mysterious’ one. Remember how I said Fringe needed to move faster? Well, with LoM the slow pacing of the mystery is perfect. Sure, over time I’m sure Sam will figure out what’s going on. But until then? Awesome ’70s cop action! With muscle cars and amazing moustaches! I really like the cast on this show, and it’s a real breath of fresh air when compared to all the CSI, Law and Order, et cetera cop shows on the air. My biggest worry with this show is that it won’t find enough of an audience to stay on the air, as one of the first words that comes to mind when I think of this show is ‘weird’, and while for me that’s a good thing, I think it will put a lot of viewers off. Oh, and the show’s opening is just bad. Also, ’70s cops!!!! Jerk rating: 8/10
Raising the Bar
I normally have a problem with lawyer shows. What it really comes down to is the fact that I hate politics, and I hate appearances being what matter. In court, both of those things are very much in effect. So, unless the show has some awesome hook (s’up, Eli Stone?) I probably won’t like it. Enter Jerry Kellerman. For the first time, I’ve seen a lawyer who actually gets pissed off at how the judicial system works to the point of hurting his career. I am pleased by this. Throw in an excellent cast (even the characters I wasn’t immediately taken with, like Rich and his defining cuff links, have grown on me with the help of burlesque dancer law students) and this is hands down the best new show of the Fall ’08 season so far. I’m usually a big fan of episodic storytelling, comics geek and all, but for this show the stand-alone nature seems really fitting. And it should be said, any show with Zack Morris, Gunn, and the girl from Sorority Boys, guest-starring Rickie from My So-Called Life and Wallace from VMars? How could you not love that? Jerk rating: 9/10
Now that I’ve finished ranking all the freshmen shows, I should mention that the two new shows I’m actually the most excited for haven’t even started yet: Leverage and Dollhouse. Can Christian Kane and Joss Whedon combine forces to beat Mark-Paul Gosselaar? Tune in next week!