Friday, September 17, 2010

Volume 5, Number 25: TV Party Next Week!

Fall is my favorite season of the year, and it has been for many years. There are many reasons, in no particular order--the smell of dead leaves, the colors of the dying leaves, the cooler temperatures, no snow or unbearable heat, not as much rain or thunderstorms as you have in spring, a new model year for the automotive industry, new seasons in the NFL and in college football, the division races in baseball, and later in the fall, new seasons in the NHL and NBA.

But today's blog entry is not about any of those reasons. It has to do with another reason, another new season, this one for television. Back in my childhood, when cable didn't offer much in the way of original programming (and my parents didn't subscribe it anyway), the "Big Three" networks trotted out a variety of shows, from sitcoms to dramas, some new (and nothing like the mix of so-called "reality TV" cluttering the airwaves today). In particular, it was great to see new shows after three months or so of nothing but reruns (as the networks reran all their sitcoms and dramas during the summer months back then). There would be a number of shows that would interest me every year, some of whose names I shout out today whenever I listen to "TV Party" by Black Flag ("Life Goes On! Life On Mars! Werewolf! Benson!") Some, I wish I could go back in time to see because I missed them due to my father's overriding TV preferences (I never got to see Voyagers, a 1981 NBC show about two time travelers, because it was on against 60 Minutes, which my father always watched; The People Next Door, about a man whose imaginary visions become reality and the family that has to put up with them, was a 1989 CBS sitcom I would have loved to have seen, short-lived though both shows were).

OK. Back to the present day. Next week is chock full of new shows and premieres, and there's one more the following week that will interest me, in the closest thing I'll have to my own personal TV Party. They are:
  • Being Erica, Tuesdays at 9pm Eastern Time on CBC (third season begins September 21): One thing I would miss if I moved away from Detroit is Canadian TV. Being Erica stars Erin Karpluk (who also appears in the CW series, Life Unscripted) as a single woman in her 30s who has met a therapist who can take her back in time to fix her laundry list of life regrets. Karpluk has said that the third season will be darker and feature more future time travel (this happened once in season 2 last year).
  • Detroit 1-8-7, Tuesdays at 10pm on ABC (starting September 21): I'm not a big fan of cop shows--I mainly watched the long-missed Life On Mars for the temporal displacement angle--but I want to see how this series portrays the city of Detroit. (No, this is not the show that led to Warren Evans' resignation as Detroit's Chief of Police.)
  • Hell's Kitchen, Wednesdays on FOX (eighth season begins September 22): Of course! Hopefully the new season will be better than the previous one (in which we pretty much had only one highlight: sous-chef Scott going off on Benjamin when the latter tried to run the pass). The new season may have promise if this video is any indication (it's the first time I know of that a chef has imitated Chef Ramsay during service).
  • S*#! My Dad Says, Thursdays at 8:30pm on CBS (starting September 23): I've been following Justin (the son who posts his 73-year-old dad's remarks on Twitter) on both Twitter and Facebook. That Twitter feed has given rise to both a book and this sitcom, in which William Shatner will play the obnoxious but ultimately wise and lovable dad. I would have preferred either Christopher Lloyd or Harvey Keitel in that role, but Shatner's gotten much better with age so I'll give him a shot.
  • Outsourced, Thursdays at 9:30pm on NBC (starting September 23): If only because I want to see what humor the writers of this show can get out of an American training customer service agents in India when those jobs used to be in the United States (and heaven knows that customers would rather be talking to American customer service reps and customer service quality tends to suffer when it's based outside North America). Chances are, I won't laugh and will tune out within the first 15-20 minutes.
  • No Ordinary Family, Tuesdays at 8pm on ABC (starting September 28): A family survives a plane crash in the Amazon River and each member of the family emerges with a different super power. "Life Goes On" meets "The Fantastic Four"? I hope so. I've always been taken by superhero stories--including an idea for one I came up with back in '98 in which the Earth passes through an unusual spatial anomaly (an "indigo hole") and everyone on the planet becomes super-powered as a result. Heroes had such potential before NBC execs messed up Tim Kring's plans for that series. Hopefully ABC won't mess with No Ordinary Family.
Hoarders' third season (A&E) premiered last month. I've been watching that show since it started on August 17 of last year. But I wish the producers of that show would distinguish true hoarding--where people keep junk either because of sentimental value or because they think it can be fixed--from sheer slovenliness (lazy, shiftless slobs who can't even dispose of their own excrement--a recent episode featured a woman with a house was caked with cat feces and piled with bags of her own crap).

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