Sunday, October 30, 2011

2011 TV Fall - The Second Wave

The second wave of Fall shows are now upon us, and now all shows have been presented.  Some have already been cancelled:  "Charlie's Angels", "How To Be a Gentleman", "Free Agents", "The Playboy Club."

Some are in danger of being cancelled soon, but luckily, it appears that all ten shows that I've chosen to watch are still looking strong and will last at least through the end of the year.  This also means that my DVR is going to fill up fast and it'll take me forever to catch up.  Dang!

At the beginning of the month, I gave a report on the five shows that came in the first wave.  Now, here's what I think about the next five shows...

Once Upon a Time:  Only one episode in, the jury's still out.  This show could either be awesome or stupid, but it's too early to tell.  Just like in "Tron," the underlying premise is idiotic.  The evil queen puts a spell on everyone so that they all end up in a horrible place and nobody remembers who they are.  And where is this "horrible" place?  It's in our world--a city called Storybrooke, Maine.  Yes, it sounds like the punchline to a funny joke, but can you build a series on it?

Why did I bring up "Tron"?  Because, I love both of the movies.  They're cool once you get over the idiotic underlying premise.  This means that "Once Upon a Time" has a chance.  Already they've shown a few fun interactions between the characters.  If they can keep that up, then I'll keep watching.

It looks like this could be a family show, but it's hard to tell with shows this day.  How many times have you watched a show on the "Family" Channel (affiliated with ABC) with your kids and then ... whoa ... where did this mushy sex stuff come from?  I don't remember the Pilot having anything too harsh for kids, but I feel the potential for some hanky panky down the road.

Grimm:  NBC decided to delay the premiere of this show one week (as well as "Chuck") to get it closer to Halloween, and I have to say it was a good choice.  I ended up liking this show more than I expected.  Though, for once I'd like to see cops follow due process for a change.

Nick Burckhardt is a cop who also happens to be one of the few remaining descendants of the Brothers Grimm.  He has inherited the gift of seeing monsters for what they really are.  We normal folk see these monsters as regular people.

In this first episode, he's tracking down a big bad wolf who's eating girls that wear red hooded jackets.  Despite having a couple of "why did they do that" moments, it turned out to be funny, suspenseful, and intriguing.

My main concern is that this show might become another "Smallville" with the creep of the week.  Ask yourself this.  In the Pilot of "Grimm," a wolf is killing these girls.  The big bad wolf has been around for who knows how long, and the cops are just now learning about it?  That was the problem with the early seasons of "Smallville," where the bad guys came one at a time as if they were fighting Bruce Lee.  In real life, all these crimes would be happening at the same time.

Nevertheless, it appears that "Grimm" has an overlying story arc that promises to keep the energy running in the show.  Some bad guys are after him, but who are they?  I'll keep watching.

Chuck:  The season opener began with a funny energy-filled first five minutes.  Chuck no longer has his superpowers.  Instead, Morgan is the star, though Morgan has retained his ... well ... his Morgan-ess.  Now that Chuck and friends are kicked out of working for the government, Chuck is now trying to lead his ragtag compatriots through his new private spy contracting business, "Carmichael Industries."  Now, that's funny!

I look forward to the rest of the season.  I hope we get a full set of episodes, and then see a satisfying close to the series at the end.

Psych:  It's in its sixth season, and it's still funny?  How do they do that?  We're a couple of episodes in, and I can't wait to see what happens next.  It looks like they're concentrating a little more on Carlton, and there's a lot more of the mortuary dude.  Keep it up, writers.  It's always good to develop all the characters.

The Walking Dead:  I saved the best for last.  This is now my favorite show, and I never knew zombies could be fun.  Well, I don't really like zombies, but I love a good apocalyptic story.  If they only had one zombie attack every other week, that would be fine by me.

Though in the first episode, there was a lot more zombie attacks than usual.  It's almost as if they took an episode off of developing story just to give us more action and let us remember where we left off last year.  I think that was an appropriate decision.  The second episode gave us more story and introduced some new characters.

This show promises a lot of story down the road.  My comic-reading friends tell me they know "what's in the barn."  I have no idea what they're talking about, but they say it's going to be cool.  I'm racking my brain as to what could be so cool in that barn.  Maybe they'll show us tonight.

What makes this show so great?  How the writers focus on the people instead of the zombies.  They develop characters and make us care.  (Just keep that in mind next time you write something.)

Now to get ready for November sweeps...

Sunday, October 23, 2011

After the Lot: Sam Friedlander

Sam Friedlander placed 4th in the 2007 show "On The Lot."  Click here to see my overview of his films for that show.

Four years later, Sam is still pushing ahead in his career.  He is an associate producer of the show "Royal Pains" on the USA Network. 

He has also teamed up with his "On The Lot" 3rd place compatriot, Adam Stein (blurb coming soon), and "Royal Pains" actor, Mark Feuerstein in creating Supdawg Productions.  In 2009, Supdawg put out the web series "The Hustler," an over-the-top dark comedy featuring an unrealistically awesome on-the-edge dude.  Sam co-produced, co-wrote, and co-directed the thirteen episodes.  Below is first episode, and you can catch the rest on Crackle.  (And yes - the Hustler is that "Royal Pains" doctor.)

I look forward to more Sam Friedlander productions.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

2011 TV Fall - The First Wave

The first wave of shows has infiltrated our homes.  Some shows delivered, and others have already tanked.  One of the worst, "The Playboy Club," is already in danger of being cancelled after only two episodes.

For once, so far I am happy with my choices in shows to watch: 4 new shows and 6 returning.

Person of Interest: A decent show.  After watching the first two episodes, I'm going to keep on watching.  The whole premise is cool: a supercomputer predicts when a major crime is about to happen, but all they have access to is a social security number.  They have to work quickly to fill in the blanks, and stop the crime before it occurs.  Of course, everything they're doing is dangerous and illegal.  So, they get beat up, and you wonder how much longer they can keep it up.  This is all cool.

There are still a few problems with execution.  In one scene, Reese says, "Don't try to find me, we'll meet on my time," and then they're together in the very next scene.  In another scene (or was it in the opening credits?), they say, "no one can find us," but there they are walking on the sidewalk in plain sight.  We can see them.  But who cares?  I'm enjoying watching this show.  You can catch the first two episodes on

Terra Nova: Now my favorite show, as long as they can keep it up.  After watching the pilot, I just said, "Wow."  The special effects are beyond awesome.  The story grabbed me and didn't let go.  It's clear that they spared no expense.

Set 150 years in the future, it appears we don't have long before we become overpopulated, with oxygen depleting and no moon or stars in the sky.  But then after discovering a rip in space-time that opens to a place millions of years in the past, they start sending "pilgrimages" to colonize and grab a second chance on life.  The show starts with the tenth pilgrimage.

And get this (this is very important).  They go back in time to a different parallel universe.  Without this, the show's premise falls apart.  Just their being on ancient Earth with all that technology would destroy the "original" human species' chance of evolving.  But it's okay in a parallel universe.  It nicely avoids those timey-wimey paradoxes.

After watching an hour, and they finally arrived at the camp, I thought: "Okay, here we are in Jurassic Park.  It was fun getting here, but now what are we going to do for a season?  It's not like we need any more dinosaurs.  We already have three movies, plus the rumor of a fourth."  But they delivered in the last hour.  You can always count on human nature to provide an interesting story.

The sixth pilgrimage was corrupted.  They somehow fixed the Lottery and they have an unknown agenda.  They no longer live inside the camp.  The leader lost his son in the second pilgrimage, but he's still alive somewhere.

I'll keep watching.  Ratings were a little low for the premiere, which is always concerning.  If you haven't watched already, check out the Pilot on

The Office: This show might just survive without Michael Scott.  The remaining characters have their chance to shine now.  My favorite character is Kevin.  He very funny.  My least favorite is (and I have to look up her name) Angela.  Her constant ribbing of Pam is getting on my nerves.  James Spader is a fun addition.  That whole genius thing is funny.  I don't know about his idea to raise prices to attract customers, though.  Who wants a pyramid?

Fringe: The first episode was decent.  Though, I'm a little concerned that these zombie shape-shifters may dominate this season.  I really like the "new guy".  He's new because the timeline has been rewritten and he's no longer part of Fringe Division.  But now he's back in a different capacity.  I wonder if he's still a leader-type in the alternate universe.  I would assume not, as they would have met him already.  How long is it going to take for Peter to come back?  Oh, please make it interesting!  It already feels like, "I can't believe we made it this far."

Simpsons: The first episode had its funny moments, but the magic of the earlier seasons is pretty much gone.  Keifer was funny in his guest role.  I'll keep watching, because every now and then they hit gold.

Still waiting for the second wave of shows in October: Grimm, Once Upon a Time, Psych, The Walking Dead, Chuck.