Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Some More Reviewing

Two shows I usually enjoy have come stumbling out of the gates this season rather than flying.

Two episodes into the post-Don Bellisario era and "NCIS" (CBS, 8 p.m.) has yet to find its legs. I usually find "NCIS" to be one of the more enjoyable of CBS' long list of procedurals because the show has a good sense of humor and doesn't take itself too seriously.

But so far, the series has come out flat. I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that the season premiere, involving guest star Armand Assante's arms dealer, was a big letdown after a year-long buildup. It just seemed as though the writers got tired of the storyline and looked for the quickest way to end it. Maybe that had something to do with Bellisario leaving "NCIS" as the producer, I don't know, but it seemed to be a big waste of time for the fans.

I have higher hopes for tonight's episode, in which Gibbs (Mark Harmon) not only has to deal with his ex-wife, but also his ex-girlfriend and current girlfriend.

"Bones" (Fox, 8 p.m.) hasn't been much better. I think the producers made a mis-step in returning lab geek Zack back so early after shipping him off to Iraq at the end of last season, because returning him the next episode essentially really took away from the impact of his return - he wasn't gone long enough for the viewers to miss him. Plus, the producers could have really milked a long line of new lab techs for Bones (Emily Deschanel) to drive crazy, rather than just mention it as a throwaway line. And the chemistry between Bones and Booth (David Boreanaz) hasn't lived up to past seasons.

But all is not lost among returning shows. "House" (Fox, 9 p.m.) was pretty uneven last season when it came to storytelling, but has started off very strong with the extended subplot of trying to pick a new team. The new actors (Kal Penn, Olivia Wilde, et al) have been strong additions and we get to see House (Hugh Laurie) at his eccentric best.

MONDAY RECAP: I thought "How I Met Your Mother" reached slap bet/Robin Sparkles last night with Ted's "tricycle" scenario (not to spoil things for the DVR crowd). The feeling that this was the funniest 30 minutes of the new season lasted all of five minutes, as "Aliens In America" managed to be even funnier. This is easily TV's best new sitcom.

Though I've stopped watching it, "Prison Break" had a major event last night. You can read more about it with TVGuide.com's Michael Ausiello here: (warning - major spoilers) http://community.tvguide.com/blog-entry/TVGuide-Editors-Blog/Ausiello-Report/Prison-Break-Exclusive/800024014.

TUESDAY'S BEST BETS: Proof positive that there's no such thing as bad publicity, both "Cavemen" (ABC, 8 p.m.) and "Carpoolers" scored very solid numbers in their debut last week. How the same network suits that greenlighted "Pushing Daisies" also gave the thumbs up to these shows is one of life's great mysteries. It's followed by "Dancing With the Stars," in which teen superstar Miley Cyrus performs with her dad, Billy Ray, while a new "Boston Legal" is at 10 p.m.

I gave up on "The Unit" (CBS, 9 p.m.) a long time ago, but I did notice in the most recent ads that star Dennis Haysbert has gone back to the Pedro Cerrano look. It's followed by a new "Cane."

After two hours of so-called reality programming, NBC delivers a new "Law & Order: SVU" at 10 p.m.

"Damages" (FX, 10 p.m.) continues to fall in the ratings, but word on the street is that it will be picked up for a second season. If they do, hopefully FX will take the time to fix the sound on the episode, since it was totally screwed up over the final 15 minutes of last week's installment when I tried watching it twice last week. But hey, I'm sure nothing important happened.

Part 2 of the HBO/BBC miniseries, "Five Days" (HBO, 8 p.m.) airs tonight.

Finally, "The War" may be over on PBS, but cool programming isn't. I definitely will be checking out "NOVA" (PBS, 8 p.m.) tonight, which deals with the making of Samurai swords. (Hey, we all have our interests and hobbies). In addition, the famous British documentary that follows the same group of people every seven years of their lives continues tonight with "49 Up" at 10 p.m.


zodin2008 said...

I agree that the return of Zack by the end of episode #1 on "Bones" was LAME - VERY LAME. And not even explained.

Though an Iraq-centric mystery (episode) connected to Zack's early return would be ideal. We shall see if they go there.

And to be honest, I am not a big fan of the character of Zack and have never liked the actor that much - I have grown more tolerable after really hating him in season 1. I didn't like Hodgins in season 1 but unlike Zack, I love Hodgins now.

I could care less about "The Unit" but I had to laugh seeing Haysbert's Cerrano look back in the CBS promos. Hey, if Corbin Bernsen, Charlie Sheen and Tom Berenger all get back together with him to play his new 'unit', then I might watch.

"Mother" was terrific last night, so was "Chuck" and "Heroes" was better than the previous weeks, as any appearance by Zachary Quinto's Sylar again is extremely welcome. Quinto has been awesome and that dark sarcastic humor he displayed about 3-4 years back when he and Chloe were sniping at one another when he was on "24", well, he's clearly able to channel his personality into something far darker - it's hard to believe it's the same actor.

(Can't wait to see him as the new Spock in the new JJ Abrams "Trek" movie).

Phillip Ramati said...

Well, regardless of what you think of Zack, the writers really dropped the ball on what my have been a good opportunity. Instead, they talked about a bunch of things, then brought Zack during the middle of the episode.

I was glad to see Quinto back on Heroes. The Mexican twins storyline is really starting to get annoying, especially since the girl murdered the cops, hardly making her sympathetic. But the Claire stuff was better at the end and the Hiro storyline (particularly the way he communicated with Ando) continues to be great.

I expect Chuck to continue to get better, especially now that the premise is established and the writers can focus on the cases he has to work.

zodin2008 said...

Tell me the words 'Nikki & Palo' isn't crossing your mind with the new "Heroes" characters?

But everytime they touch eachother to trade power, my wife & I jokingly mutter, "wonder twin powers...activate!"

Jonathan said...

I really liked the season premiere of "Bones" overall, but Zack popping back up so quickly seemed silly. I never thought of your idea to have new lab assisstants each week, but wouldn't she be getting one anyway since Zack got his doctorate?

You mentioned lack of chemistry between Bones and Booth. I don't disagree, but I thought the last scene last week with a drunk Booth was a hopeful sign that it would get back on track.

And I love "Mother" as much as you guys, but I found last night's episode to be a little lacking. The sub-plot with Robin seemed tacked on and unecessarry. I get the contrast to Ted being overly successfull on his date, and her's to be not so much. However, I found nothing funny in her situation. But that's just my opinion.

zodin2008 said...

It's hard for me to criticize "Mother" much at all, but I did find the Robin stuff a bit painful - and yes - tacked on because they didn't want to "leaver her out". It really is OK to occassionally ignore a character for an episode.

But the stuff with Ted, the tricycle, the 'belt', and everyone hiding in the bedroom (plus, my GOODNESS has Winnie Cooper grown up smokin' hot!!!) was all classic "Mother" and hilarious.

I frankly could do without Zack alltogether. I haven't been bothered as much by Booth-Bones scenes this year, but I frankly have found it to be quite a stretch that she would suddenly have a problem working with Booth for some pretty asining reasoning. The writer's are really stretching something out of nothing in a bad way.

And one other "Bones" complaint - I love the CHARACTERS of Angela and Hodgins and the actors are great and absolutely adorable together - but this whole thing with her ex-husband (and this whole inane storyline started with that awful failed wedding sequence in the Season 2 finale) is downright awful and unwatchable.

I could care less about her frakking ex-husband, and I am annoyed by the downright stupid plot device to keep them apart longer. For the love of God, let them be together and have more realistic ways (down the road) of interrupting their romance. But this stupid stuff with trying to remember the ex-husband and track him across the world - it makes me want to hurt myself.

Ok, that's extreme, but I loathe with a fiery passion this awful and asinine subplot. This is the kind of subplot that gets me to finally quit a show.

Phillip Ramati said...

The Robin stuff on HIMYM was pretty lame, but the Ted/Barney parts were so good that I am willing to overlook it.

As I posted in Wednesday's blog, Bones got itself back on track last night.