Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Fall 2009 TV Season

Some TV shows have had an early start to their fall seasons (e.g., Glee's new episode last week), but for the most part, shows are just about to kick off for the year. Here's a list of the shows I'll be watching and when they'll air just in case you're interested, too.

Wednesday, Sept. 9

8/7c - So You Think You Can Dance (FOX)
Dancers of all disciplines from across the country must salsa, waltz, disco, hip hop, contemporary dance, tango, jazz, etc. their way through the competition to win the title of America's Favorite Dancer.
Kind of like American Idol for dance, SYTYCD is a competition where unknown talented dancers (and um, not-so-talented dancers) audition, the 20 best (10 girls, 10 guys) are selected to compete on the show, and America votes on their favorite dancers, eliminating one guy and one girl each week until one dancer wins in the finale. The dancers perform in couples (1 guy/1 girl except on special occasions towards the finale), selecting one or two styles of dance to tackle for the week. For the first five weeks, dancers are voted on as couples, and the judges have the final say in who goes home, selecting one guy and one girl from the three couples with the least votes. Once it's been narrowed down to the top 10 dancers, though, dancers are voted on individually and it's all up to America's votes. Dancers perform solos in their own style of dance if they are in the bottom three couples, and also every week once they get to the top 10, but most of the competition forces the dancers to move outside of their comfort zones--ballet dancers do hip hop, break dancers do smooth waltz, etc. How the dancers adapt is always surprising and impressive. The choreographers, who are tasked with not only choreographing but also teaching the dancers their style of dance, are amazing. I love this show for exposing such a large audience to such different styles of dance, making true art in many cases. ANYWAY, SYTYCD has had five successful summer seasons (one just ended a month ago), and now FOX is bumping it up to "real season" status. As long as they keep the good dances coming, I'll keep watching. Actually, I generally skip the audition episodes and wait until the real competition (with the top 20) starts. That won't happen until Tuesday, October 27.

9/8c - Glee (FOX)
Misfit students in the high school glee club try to find success (and glee) in the face of their "cool kid" oppressors (i.e., cheerleaders and jocks).
I talked about this show last week. The new episode last week was even funnier than the pilot (in my opinion)! It's a really smart, hilarious new show, and the music is delightful.

Thursday, Sept. 17 (FOX)

9/8c - Fringe (FOX)
FBI agent Olivia Dunham investigates crimes and disasters relating to the fringe sciences, along with Walter Bishop, a scientist specializing in fringe sciences, and his son Peter.
This show started off a little shaky last year, but by mid-season it was going strong with exciting mysteries and a thrilling blend of suspense and ickiness. The metaphysics behind the storyline revealed at the end of the season is intriguing. FOX is moving it up to the big time--9PM on Thursdays is the prime time slot, shared by juggernauts CSI and Grey's Anatomy. It holds the title of "last season's strongest freshman in the 18-49 demo", but here's hoping it'll catch on even more and hold its own.

Monday, Sept. 21

8/7c - How I Met Your Mother (CBS)
Ted tells his two kids the long, meandering story of how he met their mother. Many hijinks involving him and his four best friends ensue.
In my opinion, this is the best sitcom on TV right now. Hilarious, clever, and sweet. I still haven't seen most of the early seasons, but I didn't have too much trouble diving right into it at the beginning of last season. And we're getting closer to meeting the mother than we've ever been before. It's going to be legendary.

8/7c - Heroes (NBC)
Normal people, who have discovered they possess mutant superpowers, try to go about their normal lives but mostly find themselves fighting to resist (or assist) assorted bad guys and organizations hatching nefarious plots that only the Heroes can stop.
Like many, I loved the first season of this show, but in the two years since then, I've been disappointed. They keep saying they've learned from their mistakes and will make it good again, but they keep not delivering. I'll at least give it another shot. If it continues to be sucky, though... my schedule is pretty full.

9:30/8:30c - The Big Bang Theory (CBS)
Nerds Leonard and Sheldon, along with friends Howard and Koothrapali, and their new "normal girl" neighbor Penny find that they can learn from each other. Hilarity ensues.
This show is definitely funnier for the nerds and geeks among us who can understand all the jokes. There are some jokes that even go over my head--it's that nerdy/geeky. But the quirky characters (who with the exception of Penny are triple-crown nerds, geeks, and dorks) are different and adorable, the writing is good, and the story is being taken interesting places (I loved last season's episode where the four nerds tried to muster the courage to talk to Summer Glau on the train). I'm looking forward to its return.

10/9c - Castle (ABC)
Popular murder mystery author Richard Castle tags along with NYPD homicide detective Kate Beckett for research and inspiration, much to her annoyance, but beyond explanation manages to be helpful in many situations.
This was a new show last spring, and I had to tune in because the main character Castle is played by dear Nathan Fillion. He's great, the female lead Stana Katic is also great. The show isn't brilliant or anything, but it is light and enjoyable.

Wednesday, Sept. 23

10/9c - Eastwick (ABC)
Three New England women discover that they have supernatural witchy powers.
I've heard very little about this show, and it might suck, but I will probably tune in to give it a shot. I like witches.

Thursday, Sept. 24

8/7c - FlashForward (ABC)
All at once, every human being in the world blacks out for 2 minutes and 17 seconds and has a flashforward vision of what they will be doing at 10pm on April 29, 2010. Having people black out for over two minutes causes some considerable chaos to recover from, but there remain questions of why the blackouts and flashforwards occurred and what each person's vision portends.
This is the show ABC is hoping Lost fans will pick up while waiting for Lost's final season in 2010 and then stick with in following years. I had wondered at first whether they could continue the show after the first season (it seems that after April 29, 2010 it will lose some of its mystery), but apparently they've mapped out five seasons of FlashForward should they prove necessary. The cast includes Joseph Fiennes (Shakespeare in Love), Sonya Walger (Penny from Lost), John Cho (Harold & Kumar, Star Trek), and Dominic Monaghan (Lost, Lord of the Rings). This one looks promising.

Friday, Sept. 25

9/8c - Dollhouse (FOX)
Armed with technology that allows them to program a person's mind, an organization known as the Dollhouse rents out its "actives" who have been specially programmed to be suitable for their clients' tasks. There are weekly missions to complete according to the current clients, but there are also greater mysteries about the Dollhouse to uncover.
It took several weeks to hit its stride, but Dollhouse is good enough for me to tune back in. Everyone was surprised when it got renewed, since it didn't have the ratings--one can only assume that FOX was still regretting the way it ended Firefly (like Dollhouse, a Joss Whedon show) and wanted to avoid repeating that mistake (though Dollhouse wasn't as worthy of saving as Firefly). Guest stars this season include Summer Glau, Alexis Denisof (both Whedon alums), and Jamie Bamber. Can't wait.

Tuesday, Nov. 3

8/7c - V (ABC)
Aliens arrive on Earth claiming to come in peace, but some people know better and work to expose the aliens' evil plans.
A remake of an 1980s NBC miniseries, this looks like it might be a cool new sci-fi show. Its cast includes Elizabeth Mitchell (Juliet on Lost) as an FBI agent in the resistance movement and Morena Baccarin (Inara from Firefly) as the alien leader. Sounds good to me. Unfortunately, we'll have to wait a long time for this one.

So what is that? 12 hours of TV a week? (SYTYCD is a time hog with 3 hours a week once it reaches its 2-hour performance, 1-hour results episodes routine). I'll be busy this season...

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