TV Discovery: Orphan Black

Tatiana Maslany as Sara just at the moment that everything changes for her in the pilot.

Tatiana Maslany as Sara just at the moment that everything changes for her in the pilot.

There are far too many channels on TV for me to keep up with all of the new shows as well as the ones that I have been watching for years, so sometimes I get a bit behind (I still haven’t watched the new season of Arrested Development!).  Luckily, we live in an age where re-runs aren’t always a bad thing.  That is how I came to know, and passionately love, Orphan Black. The BBC America show is very clearly filmed in Toronto (standing in for New York) which always sort of irks me, but it is good you guys.  Like sit-on-the-couch-for-10-hours-straight good.  The season 1 finale aired on Saturday and BBCA did a re-run of the entire season beforehand.  I am blown away.   Continue reading

First Impressions: “Hannibal”

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I was a bit reluctant to add Hannibal to my DVR this season. For some reason it felt like so many other failed shows that we’ve seen come and go – Supposedly prestigious, but not long for this world. The tone and look of the previews made me think a lot of Awake for some reason. I loved Awake and thought it was an amazingly inventive show for network television and was pretty disappointed when NBC didn’t follow through on that gamble by letting it grow a little bit. I am worried because here we are again with an elegant, intelligent, thoughtful, inventive show on NBC – shall we place bets on when they screw it up?

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New Show Reviews: Go On, The New Normal, Revolution, Last Resort, The Mob Doctor

I guess that the official start of the Fall TV season has come and gone since both NBC and Fox have premiered both new and returning shows over the past couple of weeks.  Although, I think it would be epic if no premieres occurred until after the Emmys (which are this Sunday 9/23 – mark your calendars).  I mean, what a great kick off to the season that would be!  Anyway, that’s not the case.  On top of the fact that NBC used the summer Olympics to give a sneak peak at Go On and Animal Practice, multiple premieres have been available online for a few weeks and I have watched them all.

Last Resort: Technically, Last Resort doesn’t premiere until next Thursday, but I caught it online earlier this week (on Hulu – love that site!) and I loved every second.  That doesn’t mean it’s perfect – far from it – but I am totally hooked.  I am so glad to see Scott Speedman back on TV and in a character who is far different from those I’ve seen him play before.  While, like Revolution, there are a lot of characters and different threads being set up in the pilot, I am interested in where these stories are going and intrigued about who these characters will turn out to be.  I think one thing that really separates the handling of such large casts of characters is that on Last Resort they are compartmentalized very definitively and separately – there is the submarine crew (headed by Andre Braugher), the island inhabitants, the NATO workers, and the people in DC.  I’m excited to see all of these threads weave together and split apart.  But, I’ll be honest, like with the beginning of Fringe which I basically stuck with simply because I am a big fan of Joshua Jackson, I watched Last Resort mostly for the Scott Speedman factor and that will probably keep me coming back until the show itself finds its legs and grabs me. Continue reading

Newsroom: First Look

Jeff Daniels as ACN lead anchor Will McAvoy

I am an unabashed Aaron Sorkin fan.  He is not without his faults but that is part of what makes him so great.  Watching an Aaron Sorkin show is like reading a book by Hemmingway or Kerouac – his scripts have their own telltale rhythms and language.  They are optimistic, idealistic, a bit misogynistic (definitely my least favorite part of Sorkin), energized, and dynamic.  I have been sort of salivating over the prospect of his new HBO show, Newsroom, but then I saw all of the early reviews.  I didn’t read them but I read the headlines which all basically said, “the pilot is great, but the rest of it sucks”.  I’m not one to take other people’s judgment as gospel so I’ll definitely be watching the show and deciding for myself, but so far, the first part of that statement could not be more true.  The pilot for Newsroom was awesome. Continue reading

Breaking Pointe is SO up my alley

Ballet West Prima Ballerina Christiana Bennett

It’s no secret that I love anything having to do with dance so I’m not surprised at all that I am totally in love with the CW’s new docu-drama reality show Breaking Pointe.  It’s like the movie Center Stage but REAL!  The show follows seven dancers in Salt Lake City’s Ballet West from newbie Beckanne to prima ballerina Christiana (it’s like her parents pre-ordained her prima ballerina status by giving her that name).  There is all of the backstage drama of getting contracts picked up, relationships both platonic and romantic and the inherent risk of bodily harm that being a dancer implies.  I usually don’t go for this kind of reality show, because they usually end up feeling so fake – and I’ll allow that some of the drama felt a little forced (the build up to Katie not getting a contract felt completely inevitable and didn’t need to be drawn out like that) – however the one thing that this show has going for it that those other docu-dramas don’t is the dancing.  You can’t fake that.

 

Summer Shows are Almost Here!

Summer is almost upon us and that means a new round of shows to watch and enjoy.  I love the fact that summer series are almost universally light and fun (well, dark, edgy shows about drug-dealing high school chemistry teachers notwithstanding) and am especially looking forward to all the dancing going on this year.  Here’s a look at the new and returning shows that I’m most looking forward to.

 

The CW 2012-13 Schedule

Ah, the CW.  It’s sort of the also-ran network, isn’t it?  Of course it is also home to my favorite show on TV (The Vampire Diaries) and the former home of my guiltiest pleasure (One Tree Hill).  The CW fits a niche and it usually does it pretty well.  It also ends up making loads of scheduling changes every year because the shows that it goes with tend to be a bit flash in the pan-y.  However, I think they’re making some positive moves for next season.

#1 Killing off Gossip Girl is a total blessing.  The show hasn’t really been good since the kids graduated from high school 2 years ago and lately, it feels like all of the actors are just barely going through the motions of pretending to be other characters.  Plus, Penn Badgley is clearly rebelling against the confines of being on network television by growing his hair into an unruly, ugly mop.

#2 The Wednesday block of Arrow and Supernatural could earn The CW some male eyeballs and that wouldn’t be such a bad thing.  I think the network’s bread and butter is definitely females between 18-34, but I think it’s good of them to branch out a bit.  I have sort of given up on Supernatural this season (the whole Leviathan thing was just confusing and annoying) but the Arrow trailer looks promising so I’ll give it a shot.

#3 Ummm, I don’t really have a third thing.  I’m glad the net kept Hart of Dixie because I think it’s adorable and harmless and might eventually settle into being this generation’s Gilmore Girls.  But really, as long as the CW doesn’t get rid of The Vampire Diaries before it’s time, the net and I are all good.

Check out all of the CW’s new shows here.

CBS 2012-13 Schedule

At the end of Vulture’s analysis of CBS’ 2012-13 schedule, there was a really interesting summary of all of the changes/lack of changes of each network’s schedule that basically comes down to the fact that the nets with the fewest changes (CBS, FOX) are the most stable and therefore most desirable for advertisers.  It’s a really interesting analysis so I’m just gonna go ahead and quote the full paragraph:

Veteran network programmers say one of the best predictors of how a net will do in the year ahead is to take a look at how stable its lineup is: Usually, more changes to scripted programming hours means more chaos, more failure, and lower ratings. According to the calculations of one network exec who goes by the Twitter handle of @maskedscheduler, NBC is taking a lot of chances next season: 40 percent of the hours in its scripted lineup consists of all-new shows, and when you count old shows in new time slots, the disruption rate leaps to a whopping 70 percent. ABC, with exactly half of its scripted hours in flux, is also making a high number of programming plays; Fox, with 40 percent new or changed, is much more stable. It should come as no surprise that CBS is the network maintaining the most stability: 22 percent of its scripted hours (three dramas, one comedy) are brand-new, while a mere 16 percent of its veteran shows are moving time slots, resulting in just 38 percent of the lineup in transition. For those of us who analyze TV schedules, the CBS and Fox lineups might seem a little bit sleepy. For those execs who live or die based on how well these adjustments perform in the ratings, another word is probably more appropriate: smart. [Vulture]

 

My general thoughts about CBS (besides boring, boring and a little more boring):

#1 All of their new shows actually look like things I will watch and enjoy.  Partners might grate after a while, but I’m definitely going to give it a shot.  And while Elementary is a blatant rip off of the BBC’s Sherlock (modernizing the Sherlock Holmes tales), I like the twist of a female Watson and I’ve always found Jonny Lee Miller extremely watchable.

#2 Their attempt at creating a Thursday comedy block feels a little weak.  I know that they’ve had trouble using The Big Bang Theory as a launching pad for new series, but 2 and a Half Men just feels so old and used up.  It feels the opposite of fresh.  I know it has a big audience though and that the hope is to bring more eyeballs to Person of Interest (which I didn’t watch because of Thursday conflicts and the fact that it’s not available On Demand – what’s up with that?) but part of CBS’ curse is that is seen as an extremely old, un-hip network and this move doesn’t feel edgy or rebellious or young at all.  It definitely detracts from the network’s image in my opinion.

#3 I think it’s possible that CBS will actually have a successful Friday night.  I watch both CSI: NY and Blue Bloods (well, I DVR them) and while I’m not sure how good a match the more lighthearted looking Made in Jersey will be, the night as a whole seems to have potential to take off.  Maybe that will encourage other nets to get back into programming Fridays with scripted fare.

ABC 2012-13 Schedule

ABC seems to have a lot of work to do ratings-wise but I’m much less interested in their ratings than their programming so lets take a look at that.  Overall, the schedule isn’t really reinventing the wheel, but they have a few new shows that seem intriguing and the Tuesday night comedy block is either going to do gangbusters or fall like a giant rock.

#1 Moving Revenge to Sundays at 9pm in the old Desperate Housewives slot seems like a total no brainer.  I love it even more paired with the new show 666 Park Avenue which looks like the perfect soapy-horror combo (plus, evil, married Vanessa Williams and Terry O’Quinn?  Yes please).

#2 I am both excited and worried by the Tuesday night pairing of Happy Endings and Apartment 23 (let’s just cut the crap about the title, okay?).  I’m excited because both shows have a weird twisted sense of humor and while Happy Endings has built great buzz, Apt 23 is still looking for it and could maybe get some of the run-off.  However, despite the Dancing with the Stars result show lead-in, pairing these two niche shows leaves them pretty vulnerable in my opinion.  There isn’t a whole lot of support there.  But I’ll be watching anyway.

#3 Can I give some props to ABC for bringing back Connie Britton and Scott Speedman?  Because Nashville looks like a soapy fun show and Last Resort has potential to be an intriguing action drama so I have high hopes that both will stick around for a while.

Fox 2012-13 Schedule

Fox made more scheduling changes than anything else.  Of course, they do only have 2 hours of primetime to schedule so there’s not a lot of room for new shows, but the new shows they have don’t look completely awful.  In fact, a couple of their mid-season shows look kind of good (The Following and The Goodwin Games especially).  They do have a few big changes, but I pretty much agree with them.

#1 The Tuesday night comedy block was something they seemed to be leaning towards this year and have committed to 100% for the fall.  I’m totally on board with this decision.  Especially because new shows Ben and Kate and The Mindy Project actually look both funny and like they will fit well with Raising Hope and New Girl as lead-ins.

#2 Moving Touch to Fridays.  First of all, I think it was actually kind of stupid to give Touch a second season seeing as that show is lame.  However, I think that putting it on Fridays and pairing it with Fringe just makes sense.  And let’s all thank whatever God spoke to Kevin Reilly and convinced him to give Fringe 13 more episodes of awesome.

#3 Outside of the fact that I think that X-Factor is totally noisy and not at all good, it makes total sense to pair it’s result show (and American Idol’s come mid season) with Glee.  I don’t know why no one had done that before.  Glee is kind of on its way out (at least it is if it’s being smart) so it could definitely use the boost of the music competition audience (because even though X-Factor didn’t do as good as was expected, it still held it’s own ratings-wise).

There’s really not too much to say though.  I’m a little disappointed that The Following and The Goodwin Games are being held til midseason but that seems like something a lot of networks are doing now.  And regardless, the Fox Tuesday comedy block is totally going to become a thing – like NBC’s Must-See Thursdays or ABC’s TGIF block from the early 90′s.  I wonder what catchy name they’re going to give it.