Tuesday, September 18, 2007

CW - The Network To Watch?

The CW tends to be the forgotten stepchild when it comes to network TV, but it's new fall roster, combined with some returning favorites, may shake that label if enough people start watching.

Yes, the CW killed off "Veronica Mars," but it returns shows like "Smallville," "Supernatural" and "Beauty and the Geek," all of which have developed their own followings.

Now, the CW has a chance to improve that roster. One of the shows that has gotten the most praise by critics for any network has been "Reaper," and having seen the pilot this weekend, let me tell you, most of the hype is justified.

"Reaper" tells the story of a slacker (Bret Harrison) who is forced to become the Devil's bounty hunter. If this show succeeds, Ray Wise, portraying Satan as almost a smarmy game show host, may be an early front-runner for the 2008 Emmys. The show has drawn comparisons with "Buffy," and it will appeal to that crowd, but "Reaper" is a lot more tongue-in-cheek.

I expected to merely pass over "Aliens In America," especially when all the press kits kept describing it as "sweet." Then I watched the pilot, about an unpopular high school kid who gets an Islamic Pakistani exchange student as a roommate, and laughed a ton. "Aliens" is reminiscent of "Malcolm in the Middle." And it has lots of charm, not sweetness, to go along with the humor.

Finally, as the critic of the people, I endured the pilot of "Gossip Girl." I found the pilot to be uneven and confusing, with too many characters and too much backstory crammed in. Based on a series of popular teen books, however, this show may find its own niche audience, especially since it was created by Josh Schwartz ("The O.C.") And it does have Kristen Bell as the show's titular narrator.

This might be the season the CW finds its footing. Hey, I'd be happy if two-thirds of the other networks' offerings were as good.

TASTE OF 'HEROES': No show on TV does a better viral marketing campaign than "Heroes," which returns with new episodes on Monday. But to get a taste of the upcoming season, click here: http://yamagatofellowship.org/ for a look into Hiro's storyline for the upcoming season.

TUESDAY'S BEST BETS: After two Fox premieres on Monday, the networks take a night off once more. But you still have new episodes of "Eureka" (Sci-Fi, 9 p.m.) and "Damages" (FX, 10 p.m.) on cable.


zodin2008 said...

This is the punishment you get being a TV critic - you have to watch drivel like "Gossip Girl". The fact that Kristen Bell would allow herself to even be associated with stuff like this is disappointing. At least she's only the voiceover. She'll actually be acting on "Heroes".

Speaking of that, it was interesting to see Kristen sitting with the "Heroes" cast at the Emmys.

"Reaper" sounds good and the critics have been so kind in their reviews, I will check the pilot out. Thanks for the additional recommendation.

Phillip Ramati said...

You take the good, you take the bad... :-)

I highly recommend both Reaper and Aliens.