Monday, April 23, 2007

'Hero-ic' Return; 'Crash' And Burn


After too many weeks of "Heroes" (NBC, 9 p.m.) withdrawal, the series returns tonight with its final five episodes of the new season.

On a commercial level, it's been the network's lone new success among dramatic series in a year where shows like "The Black Donnellys" and "Studio 60" failed to deliver numbers. On a quality level, all of NBC's other attempts (e.g. "Kidnapped" and "Friday Night Lights") have delivered the critical praise, but failed to pick up the necessary numbers. Kidnapped didn't even make it a full season on the tube, while "Lights" is probably 50-50 to return next year, at best.

But back to "Heroes," which for me has been the most entertaining new show of the new season, at least in the action genre. Beyond its original concept, what has made the show work so well is creator Tim Kring has learned from the mistakes of shows like "Lost" and "The X-Files" by giving the viewers answers quickly to some of the show's mysteries, then moving on. Other shows of similar nature have often dragged out the answer process, or given half-answers that only lead to more questions.

Over the rest of the season, viewers should get a resolution over whether or not the characters can save New York, more insight into HRG's mysterious organization, and a look at the characters five years into the future.

For some still and video images of the cast at work and at the wrap party, click here

From the sublime to the ridiculous, NBC is debuting something called "The Real Life Wedding Crashers" at 10 p.m. From the producers of "Punk'd" the title is pretty self-explanatory, in which actors apparently crash weddings, rehearsal dinners, etc. and cause all sorts of hi-jinks.

I truly can't come up with a concept more appalling than trying to do practical jokes at someone's wedding (I guess a funeral would be worse), and I'm sort of glad the normally reliable NBC promotions department didn't send me an advanced copy of this.

I WAS TRUMPED: *******SPOILER ALERT******* OK, so I was half-right in "The Apprentice" finale. I said Trump would go with two picks this time out, to put a twist on things, but he only picked one, corporate attorney Stefani, whom I said deserved to win all along. As always, the final live episode was self-indulgent and boring, but at least they took a corporate litigator off the streets.

I was, however, completely stunned by the extra non-elimination round of "The Amazing Race." It's good to see Danny and Oswald hang on for one more week, and good that Eric and Danielle managed to survive despite their run of horrendous luck, although the non-elimination round did cut some of the dramatic tension away from Eric and Danielle having to wait during their 30-minute time penalty.

MONDAY'S BEST BETS: People, "How I Met Your Mother" (CBS, 8 p.m.) isn't the slam-dunk to return it ought to be, so you are hereby ordered to watch tonight's rerun, arguably the best episode of any sitcom this season - the Robin Sparkles episode. Though a rerun, it kicks off a whole new group of first-run episodes tonight on The Eye.

"Drive" (Fox, 8 p.m.) has stalled ratings-wise, but there is still time to get going on this quirky, weird "Lost"-like series, especially with the likeable Nathan Fillion in the lead role. It's followed by a new "24" at 9 p.m.

ABC continues to run its 90-minute reality shows, "Dancing With the Stars" and "The Bachelor" beginning at 8 p.m. Um, not really a whole lot more to say about them.


Anonymous said...

Zod again, late again:

1. I quit "Drive" in the middle of episode 2, or the 2nd one that aired on Monday so I guess that was episode #3? Doesn't matter, the show was ridiculous and somehow managed to be ultra boring. Please give the awesome Nathan Fillion a better 'vehicle'--ha....pun intended.

2. Yes, the Robin Sparkles episode was one of many season highlights for "How I Met Your Mother", but you have nothing to fear...CBS will definitely bring this show back.

It's one of the only shows on CBS that gets any kinda buzz and gets viewers under the age of 60. Plus, lots of buzz always for the ever talented Neil Patrick Harris as Barney and hopefully an Emmy Nod for Supporting actor this year. "Mother" will be renewed...I feel sure.

3. "Heroes" is not as good, IMHO, as even "Friday Night Lights", but it's incredibly entertaining and last night's return was so welcome.

And a milestone in our household...for the first time, with "24" and "Heroes" head to head, my wife requested we watch "Heroes" and record "24", which we didn't get to until tonight. The worm has really turned.

Phillip Ramati said...

I wouldn't be too quick to count on a renewal for HIMYM. Creatively and critically, it's not even a question. But CBS has only guaranteed renewals for 2 1/2 Men and Rules of Engagement as HIMYM and Old Christine battle middling ratings despite favorable reviews.

Word is CBS will only keep one of those two shows. Christine has the advantage of Julia Louis-Dreyfus' star power and Emmy. HIMYM is the better show and appeals to a younger market.

Since CBS is only running sitcoms on Mondays these days, and they likely have at least one in development for next season, odds are at least one of these decent sitcoms will be gone. I hope not, since both are good shows (HIMYM has been TV's most consistent sitcom this season).

Anonymous said...

Zod again...

If they get rid of HIMYM, I am done with CBS altogether.

This network manages to cobble 1-2 watchable shows a year (I hate all their CSI/Criminal Minds/other procedural dullfests) and after they barely gave the awesome, "Love Monkey" a chance, now they are going to screw with their other young Demo show, "Mother"?

This is the problem. Back in the Summer of '05, CBS and NBC got into a bidding war over the rights to "mother" and unfortunately CBS WON. I say unfortunately because Mother doesn't necessarily fit in with their ancient demo. NBC on the other hand, has made a living of well liked, well reviewed, but middling rated sitcoms. "Mother" would be a perfect fit in the Thursday lineup, over the far more mediocre "My Name is Earl".

Demographically, "Mother" would be a natural fit with Scrubs, The Office and 30 Rock.

But now Mother appears in grave danger. What further blows my mind is how mediocre trifle dreck like "Rules of Engagement" gets better ratings. makes no sense. There is nothing buzzworthy, original or even Emmy loved about this mediocre David Spade show, whereas Mother has already added catchphrases to pop culture lore and given us Barney and 'suit up' and Robin Sparkles.

The only other cast as likeable a small group as the 'Mother' crew is the talents over at Fox's "Bones".

What a surprise...Joss Whedon had an influence on both shows!

Anyway, the only hope I can think of is that CBS would kick off another night of 8-9 PM sitcoms and maybe giving "Mother" new life. I still can't believe this fantastic show might leave.