TV Viewing in Fall 2008

Now that we are a goodly number of episodes into the fall season, about a third of the way through a full-season order, let’s see where the dust has settled on this potato’s couch.

It will come as no surprise to regular readers of this blog that Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles is my must-see-TV choice of the season. I enjoyed the movie franchise (T1 and T2 more than T3), and I find that Lena Headey is a more engaging Sarah Connor than even Linda Hamilton. Still, for me it’s Summer Glau’s ability to portray the Terminator-turned-protector Cameron into a believably complex scary robot that leads me back week after week. The humor and action tend to work for me. I just hope that we start getting some answers soon before it become the Lost train wreck (I ditch the show at some point in the second season).

Next up? Chuck. This is the sort of frivolous escapist fare that needs to be on every regular TV watcher’s list. It’s fun, it has cartoony action-movie action, and mostly a lot of heart. The actors pour themselves into the roles. I hate that it’s one opposite Terminator. For this season, especially, it is vastly more watchable than the bloated and overly storylined Heroes.

And speaking of heart, I’ve started to become attached to Privileged. Yeah, Joanna Garcia (of Reba fame) was the draw for me, but as the characters developed, we’ve been gifted with a lovely young dramedy that somehow manages to be tender without being cloying. For me, it surpassed the new 90210—especially when the adults who can act aren’t on the screen. I’m just not getting the chemistry from the young cast, yet. (And a quick shout-out to Pushing Daisies for a VERY quirky show that stands out for not only being good, but original.)

I’m very pleased that Grey’s Anatomy has regained its footing this season. Some of the formulaic campiness of the past two seasons has been replaced by the writing and acting we got when the series was fresh. I’m liking a lot of the changes…though MerDer is long past being interesting.

The procedurals, NCIS and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, are almost holding course. I’m still not back in the NCIS groove with the new director and not enough Abby, but otherwise the show is always a nice way to relax for an hour. On the other hand, we all know that there are a lot of changes happening with CSI. I’m liking them. I like the “soup chef” (early “L” Word viewers understand the reference). I know her quirky sense of humor turned a lot of people off, but I enjoyed it. I’m liking that the lab rats are a reasonable number. I’ve thought Liz Vassey was wasted for years, and I’m glad she at least now has a regular supporting gig.

As for reality, the only show of that ilk that I watch, the venerable Survivor, is tripping through one of its occasional really-stupid-team seasons. Hey, it happens. Besides, after the accidental genius of the previous outing, it was going to be tough to measure up. I just wish there was a little more privation, like with the early seasons.

As for what’s coming up: I’m expectantly waiting to see how Battlestar Galactica resolves. I’m nervous about 24. I’m glad that they’ve retooled the tired C.T.U. anchor, but I’m nervous that it might lose something in the update. And being a fan of Joss Whedon (and Eliza Dushku), I’m looking forward to seeing what The Dollhouse turns out to be.

And with the additions of Ghost Whisperer and How I Met Your Mother, most of my TV diversion are complete. Admittedly, it’s not like the old days when the entire family would gather around the set to watch an evening’s entertainment. Now, the shows are often recorded on the DVR and played back when I have the time, or else caught up with on the Internet (boy, I enjoy broadband Internet). All told, I’m watching more than I have been in recent seasons, but a lot of that is attributable to 90210 and Privileged eating up two hours on Tuesdays that I’d been otherwise devoting to other time-consuming tasks.

It’s entirely possible that 90210 and Heroes will soon end up on my pile of media detritus. With the outlook for Pushing Daisies on the iffy-level, I could be having a lot more free time, soon. Then again, we are now getting into the part of the years when a lot first-run episodes become less regular…popping up only during ratings-begging time (a/k/a sweeps).

You’ll notice that not a lot of new shows cropped up on the list. Honestly, most of them just did nothing for me…and that they are starting to be cancelled shows that I’m not alone in that assessment (though, how Knight Rider got a full season order is beyond me).

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