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NEW TV SEASON!

Television 101 is now in session . . .

When it’s good, television is amazing. When it’s bad, it makes me fear for humanity. The more people who watch crap like “So You Think You Can Dance” and “The Hills”, the more networks actually think that they have to dumb down their content and shovel crap into the trough from which America’s television viewing audience feeds.

Until Nielsen decides to start giving IQ tests or eliminating multi-child families from their Nielsen Family criteria, I have to do my part to focus viewership on the higher quality television and away from the shit. Here’s what I’ll be watching and, therefore, what you should be watching, during this upcoming television season.

MONDAY:

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (September 8, Fox): This show has its flaws and holes, but it’s got Summer Glau as a Terminatrix learning to become human and seems willing to explore a lot of highly viable storylines. What could be better?

Heroes (September 22, NBC): Let’s hope this season doesn’t suck as bad as the last one. With an arc called “Supervillains”, though, and a creator who is admitting that he has learned from the last season, there is promise that it’s the show it should have been two years ago.

Chuck (September 29, NBC): Chuck has evolved from a show that started off slow and had trouble keeping my interest (or keeping my eyes from rolling) to a show that has gotten smarter, funnier, and finally contains characters that are a bit more developed than the cardboard cutouts they began as. I hope they can keep this up during this season.

TUESDAY:

Fringe (September 9, Fox): Fringe is J.J. Abrams’ take on the X-Files. The pilot didn’t wow me like some of his pilots have (Alias, Lost), but I think it will be a dark, intelligent, multi-layered show.

WEDNESDAY:

Destination Truth (September 3, SciFi): Watch amusing host Josh Gates as he explores the unknown and tries to get physical evidence of uncatalogued creatures. They never catch anything of substance, but it’s fun watching them try.

Ghost Hunters (September 3, SciFi): Unfortunately, it’s obvious that the producers and editors have less interest in truth than the actual investigators, but that doesn’t stop this show from being an interesting look at two plumbers’ search for the paranormal. And if you accept that they are not trying to trick the audience (they’re clearly not actors), some of the evidence they find is interesting to say the least.

Top Design (September 3, Bravo): Just like Top Chef, this show is all about skill and not about stupid drama or pulling the wool over your teammates’ eyes. It allows people with real ability to showcase their talent in an actual competition and is one of the only reality shows I’ll watch.

Pushing Daisies (October 1, ABC): By far the best show of 2007, this amazing comedy/drama is one of my favorite shows of all time. Created by the genius behind “Dead Like Me”, it manages to be darkly humorous and whimsical all at the same time.

THURSDAY:

Kitchen Nightmares (September 4, Fox): I’ve never seen the American version of this show, but in the UK version, Gordon Ramsay walks into a failing restaurant and spends one week trying to turn it around. It’s a fascinating look at business and marketing and the restaurant industry, and I hope that the Fox version isn’t too Americanized and fucked up.

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (September 18, FX): Any comedy that had an episode called “Charlie has an abortion” is something that you know is going to push the envelope. This show manages to evolve from the narcissistic characters from Seinfeld into harder, meaner characters who make you laugh so hard you might pee yourself.

Supernatural (September 18, CW): Even with the emo and aggro brothers and some of the treacly emotion that leaks out, this show has some great concepts, good humor, and is always fun. It even manages to be a bit scary sometimes, too.

My Name is Earl and The Office (September 25, NBC): Earl is sometimes wickedly sharp, usually when Jaime Pressly’s Joy gets to let loose, and The Office is one of the smartest shows on television today. If you’re not watching NBC on Thursdays, your sense of humor might have gone missing.

Life on Mars (October 9, ABC): The UK version of this show was excellent. I hope that David E. Kelley’s Americanized version is good, although the rumors aren’t good. I’ll give it an episode to prove its worth.

30 Rock (October 30, NBC): This is the second smartest comedy on the air – Tina Fey is a genius.

FRIDAY:

Read a fucking book.

SATURDAY:

SNL (September 13, NBC): It’s an hour and a half long, but at least 30-45 minutes of it will be funny, if not hilarious. Record it and fast-forward through the sketches that go nowhere so you can get to the good stuff.

SUNDAY:

Go to the movies.

MID-SEASON SHOWS I’LL BE WATCHING:

Scrubs (on ABC now, not NBC)
Dollhouse (Fox)
24 (Fox)

SHOWS I DON’T WANT TO WATCH:

How I Met Your Mother: It’s kind of funny, and I like NPH and Jason Segel and Alyson Hannigan, but the laugh track makes me cringe every time. I just can’t watch shows that try to tell me when something is supposed to be funny. None of the best comedies of the recent few years (The Office, 30 Rock, Arrested Development) have had laugh tracks and everybody seems to understand when there’s humor.

Big Bang Theory: It’s one of the stupidest shows out there. I am a geek, and I am a nerd, and this show feels like it’s written by someone who has only watched “Revenge of the Nerds” or something. “Chuck” is a much better example of a show that is headlined by a group of geeks. Plus, there’s a laugh track.

LOST: I stopped watching this show in the first season. I’ve been buying the seasons as they come out on DVD, though, and once it’s done, I’ll sit down and watch the whole thing all the way through. I just don’t have the patience for some of the stupid tricks the writers have pulled.

Class has now concluded. For next week, write an essay that explores the multitude of ways that any of the following shows is directly influencing American society’s downfall: American Idol, The Closer, any sitcom with a comedian or well-known male actor as a father who loves his kids but sometimes screws up and has to be forgiven by his beautiful wife, or any show on E! other than The Soup.

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63 Replies to “NEW TV SEASON!”

  1. Blondefabulous

    I’m OK with Pushing Daisies and Earl….. but I find HIMYM and BBT absolutely hilarious. (laugh track or not.) I just wish they had kept “The Class” too. I could see a lot of John in Jason Ritter…. the timing, the delivery, but I guess I was the only person watching it because they canned it. I’m just glad “Bones” and “House” are back! :clap:

  2. Rattling the Kettle

    My personal fall TV viewing lineup:

    – September: Mets baseball, until they choke and miss the playoffs. Again. Fuckers.
    – October: Severe depression, until the World Series ends. Sit in dark room all evening, crying. Fuckers.
    – November: Start watching the new shows that haven’t been canceled already.

  3. Grant

    The last time I watched SNL (admittedly probably a decade or so ago), I thought they averaged about 3 minutes of funny a week. The sketches felt like they took a humorous notion that might have made a good punchline to one joke and tried to spread it over a five minute skit.

  4. Maria

    Wow. I have a list of all the shows I’m going to be watching too. I was saving it for my movie/tv blog. I have most of these.

    Here’s a few more that I’ll be watching/trying out: Californication, Eli Stone, Life, Dexter, Entourage, The United States of Tara, Do Not Disturb, My Own Worst Enemy, Kath & Kim, The Eleventh Hour, The Mentalist, The Listener & Crusoe.

  5. B.E. Earl

    I’ll watch the following this Fall or whenever they come back on:
    Terminator
    Fringe – can’t wait
    Lost
    The Office
    My Name is Earl
    Survivor
    The Amazing Race
    Dexter

    That’s it. I used to have multiple shows every night of the week. Now two or three a week seems about right.

  6. jared

    I’d like to think we have similar tastes in pop culture (besides Avril Lavinge). We like good things and hate bad things. Our opinions might as well be considered fact.

    That being said, Lost is the greatest show on TV right now. I know you gave up early on, but you need to get caught up because since the first few seasons, it has gotten scary good.

    Also, How I Met Your Mother is a top 5 comedy on TV if you can get past the one and only weakness, which is the laugh track. (You know what else had a laugh track? Seinfeld.)

    Lastly, Mad Men on AMC is an incredible show that you need to catch up on and start DVRing.

  7. penny

    My must-sees right now (so far) are Mad Men, Bones, House, Project Runway, Heroes, Ghost Hunters. Big Brother and Survivor are at the end of that list. And that’s about all I can think of right now.

  8. bluepaintred

    Interesting.

    I have no plans to watch any of the shows you mentioned. Smallvile 7 (the DVD) comes out in 9 or so days, and i will be watching an episode of that every Saturday.

    Other then that? We use our TV for movies. And Family Guy

  9. libragirl

    I love NPH. Laughtrack or not.
    I can not wait for Pushing Daisies. It’s a brilliant show.
    I am taping Chuck (it’s already been set up on my VCR)
    Yeah, I know, you knew that, others might not have

  10. Bucky

    How can you not like The Big Bang Theory? It’s was one of the better shows last year, and I am glad they are bringing it back for another season.

    House didn’t make your list?

    What about “The New Adventures of Old Christine”? or “Two and a Half Men”?

    Were you a fan of the series “Invasion” during its short lived one season run?

  11. Faiqa

    Wow. You watch a lot of TV. And you’re still so smart. I’m going to have to rework my entire theory on the correlation between television and stupidity. Apparently, I am not watching enough TV.

  12. Paticus

    I am pulling for a major return for Heroes as well. It will be on a short leash, though.
    you know we differ on Lost and The Office.
    And why isn’t 30 Rock back before the end of October ? that ain’t fair !!!
    I’m pretty jazzed for Fringe and Dollhouse as well.

  13. Lisa

    I can’t wait for 24 this year, considering how ripped off I feel for not having a season of it last year.

    I also love Thursday Nights on NBC. The Office is the best.

    What? Not watching the 90210 remake tonight?

  14. Willie G

    Wow, I don’t know how you find the time for all this TV watching. I would think that between keeping up with Britt, running a business, blogging, and compulsive commenting you could hardly find time to masterbate, much less watch TV!!

  15. NYCWD

    I’m both excited but hesitant about the new series of Heroes. Season 1 was so awesome but Season 2 was so sucky… I’m just a mixed bag on it.

    I’m also feeling Fringe… but that still needs to play out a little more because the pilot didn’t wow me either.

  16. Crys

    i love Lost. like you, though, i can’t stand to wait until next week for the next breadcrumb. i usually wait until i have about six stored in my DVR and then sit down all day and watch them.

    totally agree on Top Design; looking forward to it.

    never really got into 30 Rock and that is a shame. every time i see it i laff and laff. remind me to DVR it

  17. Maman

    Adam, I appreciate that you think that the Big Bang Theory is stupid, but I will tell you that I went to one of the geekiest universities in all the world.. and I know people like that… so I find it spot on!

  18. Avitable

    Hello, it’s a very cool show.

    Blondefabulous, Bones was so stilted and House is formulaic – I can’t watch either of them.

    Wayne, really? So you think that being a geek means you have be effeminate and unable to talk to women?

    Rattling the Kettle, is baseball the one with the white ball?

    Grant, I’d say it’s about 1/3 to 1/2 funny now.

    Maria, I liked the first episode of Californication but just never got into it. Same with Dexter. Life was good, but once the hiatus came, I dropped it. The rest of them just don’t interest me based on who the showrunner or writers are.

    Amanda, I just can’t get past the laughtrack on HIMYM.

    Sybil, oh, you have class!

    BE Earl, I don’t understand the love for Survivor.

    Jared, I’ll buy Lost on DVD eventually. And I know that Seinfeld had a live audience, but it seemed to work much better. I’ve heard good things about Mad Men, but I hate starting when it’s already a season in.

    Em, really? I just can’t understand why seemingly smart people like that show.

    Sarah, nope. I gave up on Bones in the first season – it was so poorly written that I fell asleep during most episodes, and I love David Boreanaz. House just feels so formulaic that I can’t watch it.

    Penny, January shows are too far away to think about, yeah.

    BPR, that’s okay – I know that you don’t have any taste when it comes to TV.

    Just Beth, I’m glad I’m not alone!

    Libragirl, how many times have you watched Dr. Horrible?

    Bucky, BBT is predictable, has the king of all cliches, and just has no appeal for me. The same with any traditional sitcom like Christine or Two and a Half Men. They set up a joke, wait a beat, have the joke, it repeats three times, blah blah blah, and we’ve seen it all before a thousand times. I saw the first episode of Invasion and was intrigued but didn’t really get into it enough.

    Faiqa, you definitely need to rework that theory. TV has nothing to do with intelligence. Good TV can be stimulating, and intelligent writing is the key. I follow writers and showrunners, not actors, and that makes a huge difference.

    SciFi Dad, I hope you’re fucking kidding. Prison Break is one of the worst shows on TV. The first season was okay, but once they broke out of prison, it needed to end. It’s filled with loopholes and poor characterization and overdramatization. The writers for it are miserable at their job.

    Britt, Gossip Girl can suck my nuts. And you love cliches – it shows in your taste in romantic movies, too.

    Paticus, Dollhouse is the one I’m the most pumped about.

    Hallie, same here.

    Robin, all of those shows, like the OC, are shit and I can’t stand them.

    Becky, same here.

    Lisa, yeah, I’m missing 24, although I hope it’s better than the previous season.

    Christie, Heroes has some pretty big strides to make before I’ll consider it a top show.

    Willie G, you’re only talking about 13 hours of TV a week. That’s pretty minimal.

    RW, you should watch Mad Men on AMC – I think it would be up your alley.

    NYCWD, yeah, we’re on the same page.

    Bossy, exactly! Now who wants to pay me for my opinion?

    Crystal, DVR it!

    Maman, of course people like that exist. I knew one of them, too. That doesn’t stop the show from being absolutely ridiculous and filled with unnecessary cliches.

    John, that’s one I never got into but I wish I had. Maybe later on DVD.

  19. whall

    you think that being a geek means you have be effeminate and unable to talk to women

    Of course not. I don’t think it means you HAVE TO BE. But I think it exists, is common enough, and is funny to the extreme when acted out well.

    I also like Simpsons, but it doesn’t mean I think that you have to have only four fingers to be funny.

  20. Tracy

    Sorry, I have to disagree about SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE. Is it cheesy? Absolutely. But the contestants on the show have a skill that’s being exhibited, unlike shows like THE HILLS, BEAUTY & THE GEEK or THE BACHELOR. I love SYTYCD.

  21. Poppy

    Congrats on your win yesterday!!! :batting:

    I looooooove Kitchen Nightmares. Have a slight preference for the UK version only because it takes a higher brain function to catch all that’s going on in that show. US television really is quite dumbed down a lot…

  22. Stephanie

    I guess this list will write me out of your life forever ::sob:: but here is my current Tivo list:

    Big Brother & Big Brother After Dark
    America’s Next Top Model
    Project Runway
    Top Chef
    Hell’s Kitchen
    Will & Grace
    Dexter
    Seinfeld
    Ghost Hunters
    CSI: (the Original Las Vegas only)
    Ghost WHisperer
    Fear Itself (this is pretty lame, need to delete)
    Swingtown
    Flashpoint
    Frasier
    Ghost Hunters International

    Yes, I know, you think I suck. I’m a reality tv whore. Suck it.

  23. Mike

    I’m thinking of making every day a Friday this season.

    But really, how could I live without the Office?

    And I might sneak a peak at Life on Mars, just to compare it to the BBC version – which was awesome.

  24. Avitable

    Wayne, I just think that shows like that use cliches so badly that it just makes me cringe to watch them.

    Tracy, dancing isn’t a real skill.

    Poppy, I love the UK version, so I’m a bit afraid of the US version.

    Kapgar, you should download the UK version – it’s not available on DVD, but it is out there on BitTorrent.

    Michelle, there’s plenty of good stuff on regular cable, too, but not when compared to the shit that regular cable has.

    Heather, Ty’s just lucky you didn’t run off with Grant, although I kind of see you more as a Jason woman.

    Em, yes, Survivor.

    Craig, me too – I’ve already pre-ordered Pushing Daises on DVD, too.

    Stephanie, it’s not as bad as I thought, but why do you have long-dead shows like Seinfeld and Will & Grace (utter shit, by the way) on your DVR?

    Mike, the BBC version was very enjoyable, and I just can’t see, unlike The Office, how the American version of Life on Mars can be nearly as good.

  25. CP

    You have to watch Dexter. Have to. I have the first two seasons on DVD and would be happy to loan them to you so you can catch up in time for the third season.

    The show is about a serial killer who goes around killing serial killers. How fucking fabulous is that???

  26. Avitable

    Sheila, do I want to even ask what kind of horrible television you watch?

    CP, I’ve seen the first episode and liked it. I just need to sit down and watch it on my computer some time.

    Elizabeth, I tried out the pilot when it premiered and found it lacking, but I’ve heard it’s gotten better. I do love Gabrielle Anwar and Bruce Campbell, too.

    Crystal, I never got into House. I’m not one for medical shows.

  27. Sheila (Charm School Reject)

    Well of course you do!! The only two shows that are one my oh-my-gosh-I-have-watch-this are One Tree Hill and Gossip Girl. Yes, I realize that admitting this could cause me to be banned from your home. Then I DVR Criminal Minds and NCIS and watch them as I have time.

    The fact that you haven’t been fooled by Gilligan’s Island’s trashy bastard child gives me hope in the future of America.

  28. stephanie

    The BBC Version of KN is AWESOME! I adore Gordon Ramsay, and have dvr’d the FWord, which also Rocks (so check it, if you haven’t seen it.)
    HIMYM – I can’t believe you don’t watch this! The hilarity totally overpowers the laugh track – I swear!! There’s a clip on my facebook page of clips from the show – watch that and tell me you don’t laugh!
    And, as you already would know, I’m so all over Dollhouse!!!
    Meanwhile – did you watch / own Dr. Horrible?? I’m in love with it. It’s on constant repeat on my pod.

  29. mandy

    I’d add House and Dexter to the list. I hear you on Heroes… kind of a general consensus that last year sucked.

    Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares UK version is great, especially the older ones before he got too into swearing every second word to prove something about himself to the audience. The US version was the lamest thing I’ve ever seen. All I can say is that season two can’t possibly be as bad as season one, but that’s like jumping over a two inch bar.

  30. Avitable

    Stephanie, I might watch Hell’s Kitchen just to get more Ramsay. I think he’s outstanding.

    Sassy, Joel McHale is going to be doing comedy here in October and I’ve got tickets!

    Mandy, the US version seems like a lamer version, but it still has his attitude and his ideas, which I like.

    Marty, that’s it? What about The Office or 30 Rock?

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