TV Talk: The New Fall TV Season – New Show Overview Part Two (2007)

Alas, no Showtime shows.

TV Talk: The New Fall TV Season – New Show Overview Part Two (2007)

I’m a little late with this, meaning that all the shows I will be writing about have already aired at least two episodes, and thus this is less useful to help turn people on to new shows. But, I don’t really think I have that much influence that people would start watching something based on my say so anyway. But if you are intrigued by what I say here, I do believe there’s some kind of series of tubes where one can access episodes that have already aired. Each series will be listed in the order in which its pilot debuted, along with the network and time slot it occupies.

Read Part One HERE.

Kid Nation: CBS, Wednesday 8:00p (60 minutes)
Debuted: September 19, 2007
Starring: Jonathan Karsh [host], 40 kids aged 8 to 15
Created by: Tom Foreman
Series in a nutshell: 40 kids aged 8 to 15 are dropped into a fake frontier town with the goal of creating a society without adults. Piggy is not one of them.

I had no plans to watch this show, and did skip out on the pilot. But curiosity got the best of me, so I read up on the pilot then ended up catching parts of the next three episodes, as it was on while I was getting dinner ready. Like most people, I found the idea of putting a bunch a kids together with little adult supervision (you know, besides the producers, camera operators, host, etc) to perform for our amusement a little unsettling. But I didn’t buy into the Lord of the Flies-type controversy that surrounded it either. I figured it’d be like Wife Swap in that it sounds lurid, but ends up quite tame, which is what happened. All in all, it’s a pretty dull show that becomes somewhat watchable if you’re also busy doing something else (which is the only way I’ve watched it). It’s basically Survivor meets Little People, Big World, without the fun of voting kids out. I find it a little odd that I’m now waiting for a ten-year-old to get her comeuppance (Taylor), so I’m not sure watching this is a good thing.

Verdict: I don’t really recommend anyone watch it per se, and I’m never going to make an effort to catch an episode, but if you’re into stuff like Wife Swap and Extreme Home Makeover, you might like this.

Journeyman: NBC, Monday 10:00p (60 minutes)
Debuted: September 24, 2007
Starring: Kevin McKidd, Gretchen Egolf, Moon Bloodgood, Reed Diamond, Charles Henry Wyson
Created by: Kevin Falls and Brian Howe
Series in a nutshell: A guy starts travelling back and forth between the past and the present in order to help people in the past.

Yes, the premise of the show is obviously borrowed from Quantum Leap, but there are a couple key differences that allow Journeyman to scratch out its own identity. The big one is that Dan (Kevin McKidd) comes and goes from the past and the present, so he’s not trying to get home, and that while he’s in the past, he’s missing from the present, which leads to a lot of awkward situations. I checked this show out because I enjoyed McKidd’s work on Rome, and I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. I’m not sure its a sustaining premise, but for now it’s plenty interesting, particularly in the overall arc of him encountering his ex in the past while dealing with his wife in the present. McKidd is an engaging lead, and really the only character on the show I care about.

Verdict: I’m not in love with the show, but I certainly enjoy it. I’ll probably follow the season through (or however long it stays on the air).

Aliens in America: CW, Monday 8:30p (30 minutes)
Debuted: October 1, 2007
Starring: Adhir Kalayan, Dan Byrd, Lindsey Shaw, Amy Pietz, Scott Patterson
Created by: David Guarascio and Moses Port
Series in a nutshell: A geeky high school kid’s social life gets more dire when his family hosts a foreign exchange student from Pakistan.

The good thing about being late with this write-up is that I get to judge shows on more than their pilot (unless I only watched the pilot). Which is good, because I really liked the pilot for this show, which was unique, funny, charming, then poignant. But the follow-up episode was merely decent, so it’s up to the next couple episodes to prove what kind of show this actually is. It certainly has some charm, and has a lot of potential, but I’m a little worried that the humour might end up being more Malcolm in the Middle than Freaks and Geeks.

Verdict: Cautiously optimistic on this one.

Carpoolers: ABC, Tuesday 8:30p (30 minutes)
Debuted: October 2, 2007
Starring: Jerry O’Connell, Fred Goss, Faith Ford, Jerry Minor, Tim Peper, Allison Munn, T.J. Miller
Created by: Bruce McCulloch
Series in a nutshell: Four middle-class dudes carpool to work, while engaging in various guyisms.

If you’re wondering why on earth I decided to check this out, the answer is simple: a couple of directors for some episodes directed some episodes of Arrested Development. So I figured it was worth 22 minutes of my time to see if any AD magic could be resurrected. The answer is an emphatic no. What a terrible show. It’s pretty unbelievable that any network decided to dedicate a time slot to a show of such overwhelming mediocrity, yet here we are. I’ve decided that maybe they had to cancel something else really late into the schedule, like some reality show that ended up killing a contestant or something, so ABC decided to fill in the hour with this and Cavemen since they had them lying around.

Verdict: This is my bet for the race to be the first cancelled show of the fall season.

Pushing Daises: ABC, Wednesday 8:00p (60 minutes)
Debuted: October 3, 2007
Starring: Lee Pace, Anna Friel, Chi McBride, Ellen Greene, Kristin Chenoweth, Swoosie Kurtz, Jim Dale
Created by: Bryan Fuller
Series in a nutshell: A pie-maker has the ability to resurrect the dead with one touch, then re-dead them with another touch, an ability he uses to help solve mysterious deaths for reward money.

This was probably the new show with the most buzz (well, positive buzz, as opposed to, say, Kid Nation buzz), and has been the best received new show of the season. As a result, it was the only new show that I knew I’d be watching. After the first two episodes, I was duly impressed at the quality and unique character of the show, finding the three leads (plus supporting actress Kristin Chenoweth) appealing and the premise engaging. But, I fear the show could easily choke itself to death on whimsy, becoming too cute to be taken seriously. Also, it’ll be interesting to see what the rest of the episodes look like after Barry Sonnenfeld blew the budget establishing the look of the first two episodes. Still, so far, so good.

Verdict: Of all the new shows this season, this one has the best shot at greatness.

In all, I checked out 13 new shows, and will continue to 5.5 of them (the half being Kid Nation, which I’ll watch if its on when I’m making dinner, but won’t be making sure I watch). In the last post, I said I’d give Bionic Woman another shot after a bad pilot, and I did. The second episode was an improvement, but it still wasn’t very good, so I stopped watching it. Of the five that I’ll continue to watch, I’ll admit that I’m not in love with any of them. I’ve probably enjoyed Reaper the most, and Pushing Daises probably has the best potential, but so far there hasn’t been any home runs. Still, five solid shows isn’t bad for now.

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