03 October 2012

Hey! There's New TV on Right Now!

It's about time folks, after quite a drought in one of the busiest months on record, it's time we chat about the 2012-2013 Television Season. As I figure it, we only have about two months left until the Mayans destroy the world anyway, likely with a Giant Moon Laser of Some Kind, but that really depends on how you translate their ancient text.

So we have plenty of new shows to dig our eyes into this year. None of them look particularly good, but we can at any rate enjoy our last season of Community in peace. Probably. Let's blend this into three big categories:

Huge Overarching Drama Crap:

I still can't quite figure out why Networks are still going after this stuff. There's plenty more LOST-type shows that will cost producers millions of dollars when they go down in flames. It's the idea that Television must offer something that movies can't - a longstanding serial that provides for intricate character moments as well as a much larger set of DVDs for later purchase. It almost seems at some point that these kinds of "Big" TV Shows (and every HBO show) is more made for the DVD life than the TV life, its time in broadcast is more to peak interest and legitimize the format. Any serial that went straight to DVD would be ignored, but it provides the kind of lazy marathon watchability often required for deep readings.

I mean, honestly, they even ripped off the fucking Heroes logo
Not all of these are LOSTy, some are more ripping off the kinds of Homeland-type shows that have sprung up recently (and won a ton of Emmys while going at it). This year you've got Revolution and 666 Park Avenue which both promise weird intrigue throughout. The former has J.J.'s name slapped on it, which is becoming ubiquitous enough to lose both the specialness and fresh style he brought to projects like Mission Impossible III (2006) and Star Trek (2009). 666 Park Avenue stars Locke as Satan and the hot chick from Transformers (2007) (no, the other one) along with a big dose of who give a shib.

Moving on from that we've got things like Last Resort and Vegas, which seem innocuous at best, even if Last Resort is trying superhard not to be. I get why Last Resort is controversial, because it features crises of conscious in the American Military Complex, but the marketing hasn't actually shown us why we should care (or even shown us what the plot is - I had to Wikipedia that shib).

Offbeat Doctor Shows:

There are three new Medical Programs this year, all of which aren't really that typical. The first is Fox's The Mob Doctor, which features that hot chick from The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard (2009). Great get, Fox. The same network has The Mindy Project, which for some reason hasn't caught my interest at all despite liking everything that Mindy Kaling has done. I'm most curious about how Bill Hader does playing a normal character on this show, the dude is on his way to becoming a classic comedic character actor - is this where his actual career takes off or grinds to a halt?

Finally, and finally, not least of all we've got Monkey Doctor. Oh, sorry, I mean Animal Practice. Monkey Doctor has a premise so insane it really belongs in Sarah Marshall's oeuvre. Seriously, I mean, they're parodying NBC's terrible desperation for gimmicky shows - and of course Monkey Doctor is on NBC. It does have Taylor Labine, who is the best part of both Tucker & Dale vs. Evil (2010) and A Good Old Fashioned Orgy (2011). For some reason, though, I don't think Monkey Doctor will follow either of those genres.

Other Comedies Worse than Community:

We don't really know that Community will be cancelled. Will it be the same without Dan Harmon, though? No. And thus it may as well be. At any rate, NBC will say goodbye to 30 Rock and The Office this year. And they're really hinging their bets on Monkey Doctor, Guys With Kids, and The New Normal? I already confused Guys With Kids with Baby Daddy on ABC Family (which seems like a total rip off of Fox's Raising Hope without any of the intense heart). I'm curious when we will get to the point where homosexuality on television will be normal instead of (ironically enough) pointedly abnormal. Will & Grace and Modern Family did it. Shows since then like The New Normal in their showcasing of sexual preferences are more abject in their depiction than anything really helping the gay cause.

Jeez, we've got more. There's Ben and Kate on Fox, which stars one of the German guys from Beerfest (2006). I'll pass. CBS has Partners (see The New Normal, above). The best of the lot may be NBCs Go On, or as Ryan Lochte calls it, Goon. Will it be as good as Goon (2011), one of the greatest Hockey Films of the last ten years? No, but we'll watch Chandler anyway.

We've Got Three More:

ABC offers us a great chance to ogle Hayden Panettiere on Nashville. I can't think of another reason to watch this show. Hey, she's been legal for a while now. There's also Elementary on CBS which offers us a white British Sherlock Holmes played by some white dude and an Asian Woman Watson played by Lucy Liu. I'm not sure why Sherlock Holmes is the hottest dude on the block right now, but it's nice to know a classic character of pulp literature who seemed to peak a century ago is doing well. The same can't be said for everyone.

No carbs.
Lastly, we come to a series that I may actually watch this year, Arrow. The only thing really out of whack with this is that it's on the CW. I mean, really? Fine. Now, I spent a lot of time in this post just talking about Hot Chicks, and that's just because I'm a dude, but look at star Stephen Amell in this poster. It's ridic - you could grate cheese off those abs, man.

Arrow is cool because it features the Green Arrow, one of the more underused DC Heroes who is basically the DC equivalent to Hawkeye. Except that Green Arrow predates Clint Barton by over twenty years and is also one of the more politically intriguing heroes in the DC Pantheon. He's the kind of dude that DC needs to take off if they ever want to get half as close as Marvel has to fleshing out a live action universe (despite varying degrees of success in Smallville...). It's a cool idea and I do complement the CW for taking a bit of a risk on this one - not every network would hinge their bets on a property like this - of course, that's also why a lot of Networks fail. I'd guarantee those aren't peacock feathers on the fletching.

I looked up that terminology.

So what's in store this year? One of the most interesting developments to watch may be the ongoing battles between singing judging shows - both as a rotating part-time job for every possible singer who's had a single hit in the past twenty years and as a fierce competition between Networks. My guess is that American Idol finally falls this year, to be replaced by Dancing with the Stars, The Voice, or hell, Modern Family's got a decent shot at a big upsurge.

There's plenty more to talk about. We can't really ignore the NFL - Sunday Night Football was the highest rated of any regularly scheduled program last year. The game itself is becoming an art form, with storylines interwoven into the broadcast, appealing to a far greater number of people in all demographics than anything else that's worth watching or recording. It's going to be great - really great, in fact, until everyone realises that players receive concussions, become suicidal, and the sport goes the way of Boxing, with Brett Favre shaking all the way to the clinic.

I also ignored cable here. Cable is tough to judge all at once - its shows come so in and out. In fact, that gave the Emmys trouble this year, with shows like AMC's Mad Men's Season straddling the deadline for submitting for nomination. That's not why shows like Rescue Me were ignored, though, and to judge quality by judging Emmys is a serious fault. I'll save you some time, though: Breaking Bad is the best drama, Louie is the best comedy and there ain't shit else coming down the pipe. Maybe The Walking Dead. If they don't spend half a season killing each other looking for a lost girl, that is.

Turn up those knobs - what are you watching this fall?

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