September 16, 2007

The Fall Lineup -07

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Another year has begun, at least to those of us who live by the calendar of school or work. Or television. With all the depression over summer’s final hours and the back-to-the-real-world mania comes some happy points: the tv world is back in action!

With that a lot of us look to the US and the fall line ups for the goodie shots of reality-escape. The only question, which is resting on everyone’s lips, is whether or not there’s anything worthwhile in the newsstands.

The CW presents a number of new series to replace such classics as Gilmore girls, to which we bade adieu last spring, 7th Heaven, which finally ended after a mile long run, and of course the always fiery Reba, the lovely craziness will be missed. Will any of the newbies come through?

First off we see a theme being followed yet again in Aliens in America. Written by David Guarascio (who wrote/co-wrote some episode or another of the 90s comedy hit show Mad about you and is somewhat known for doing work on Just shoot me) and Moses Port (with a surprisingly similar bio as Mr. Guarascio), the show appears to be a mix of comedy and drama focusing on the life and family of a young boy who has found himself at the bottom of the high-school popularity ladder.

To aid him in his attempts at making friends mommy dearest orders in an exchange student. The brochure says he will be tall, blonde, and handsome, but instead a scrawny Pakistani little boy (who also happens to be a Muslim) ends up as the family’s latest temporary addition.

The storyline is old, and even after just sitting through the more lengthy promo the repetitiveness of the plot has me annoyed as well as bored. The promo for AiA includes scenes from a classroom where the teacher blatantly ignores and down-talks the Pakistani boy whilst the class proclaims fear and anger at his presence. Wow, way to re-new the concept guys, I can almost pretend not to recognize it…

As I have not yet witnessed the pilot (nor am I certain I will) I cannot dismiss the show completely. It seems like an attempt to do a little Hollywood spinning with the contemporary political climate of the world, and as always it is done in such a subtle manner… sort of…You know, not. If the world was painted in black and white life would be much too easy, and much too dark. That is why we have shades of gray, where a fuzzy land of contemplation is provided and where we can escape stereotypes and definitions. It does not become much more stereotype than this show. If you want to make a statement through your show against racism, high school bitching, or anything else then for heavens sake do it well! Only a very precious few can pull off comedy with meaning.I doubt this will be one of them.

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Which leads us to none other than Josh Schwartz and Gossip Girl, the one preview that actually tempted me to stay online. I admit it, shamefully, I watched through not just one but three various promos and sneak-peak scenes. There is just something about Josh that spells success story.

When he left The OC (well, took some leave at least) to hold its own it faltered. But what did he do? Not much. Yet when he ended his hit show it was classy, despite it all (yes, it hurts to write but I watched the finale… come on, it was Josh!), and I felt certain he had big things waiting ahead. The only question now is whether or not he will truly come through and merge into hit maker and magic fingered creator/writer or remain a one-hit-wonder child?

A part of me is cheering for him, and after my promo watching I’d say he stands a good chance. In Gossip Girl, which is apparently the only NY show shot entirely on location (good job CW!), he has mixed some of his classic recipes for success (you’ve got a secluded privileged world to which he grants us VIP invitations and lovable troubled/crazy enough characters) as well as some refreshments (like the blogging and the voice-cover by miss gossip girl (Kristen Bell) whoever she might be, how very Perez, and the private school costumes, which we saw some glimpses of at the end of Mischa’s run on the OC) as well as seemingle appropriate actor picks.

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The show is based on best selling girly books ‘Gossip Girl’ (google it) by Cecily von Ziegesar.

I will be watching the pilot, and I think I might just cross my fingers a bit in his favor. After all who am I to miss out on either cat fights or New York drama, especially when this one could turn out to be a classic… That is, if Josh stays at least somewhat involved (he recently spoke up in an article about staying fairly passive, only heading off to NY to say hi and inspire the crowd every once in a while).

Onto the other networks then, and I know I’m getting booring by now so let us just do the quick scan. We have a lot of experiments, it would appear, airing this fall. Bionic woman, on NBC, is one of them. And I didn’t think I would be saying this… but I like the promo. Come on, woman of steel. Or, you know. Loads of scary tech stuff, kicking butt? I think it could be fun. It is a re-invention of an old show and concept. The difference is, however, that today it no longer seems too far fetched. For example (see picture) Claudia Mitchell ( recently became the first woman to receive a bionic arm after a terrible motorcycle accident (wear helmets, and don’t ride them in traffic…yeah, sucks). The arm, it appears, is thought controlled. This is only one example of the results of science when it comes to replacing injured body parts. Scary? Yes. Sci-fi feeling? Definitely. Tragedy prevention? Could save your life…

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On the less serious note, maybe there is a cross-over with fluffy Smallville in the future, Clark and the chick with the green scanning eye facing it off. Yeah, I think I like it.
Then of course we have the Grey’s spinnoff Private Practice which has had people doubting ever since whispers started swirling on the internet about its existance. Now hold your horses pessimists (see that’s usually my job). I think it might work.

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While Grey’s Anatomy is struggling to renew itself entirely and survive with an intact fanbase (I give it another season, then it’s truly dead. If they keep airing it that’s because the network is afraid to drop a hit or insanely loyal), Private Practice feels like a concept we recognize but still manages to be refreshingly new. Addison has that… Thing. Maybe it is the red head thing, that fiery temper vibe that shows on camera (I do not care whether or not she colors it) or maybe it is a mix of a character that we started out hating but grew to if not love then remain intrigued about. She is fun. She is quirky. She is a Loralei who went to med school and had red hair. And I really want her to stay on TV. Not on Grey’s, because it would end her career, but here? Plus, Paul Adelstein has this air of adorable crazy naivity about his character. Out of Prison Break character, I just adore him.

For tonight, that's all folks...


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