Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Spring 2008 Television Season: a Quick Review

Okay, so this is more of a "first three months of 2008" review, rather than a Spring 2008 one, but who the Hell cares?

At any rate, the WGA strike is over and television will soon return to some semblance of normalcy (provided SAG doesn’t strike next). Until then, however, we were left with a rather chaotic early 2008 season. Here are my humble opinions:

The only show I watched on ABC this year (so far) was Lost, and it is pretty damned good, if you ask me. Still, one can notice a certain "rush to finish" (next season is reported to be the last) and the new "flash forward" gimmick has already proven itself too weak to support the season in its entirety, but it still rocks.

On CBS, I was convinced by a friend to watch Jericho, which, thankfully, has just been axed. Great concept, but a definite "rush to finish" mentality (not entirely the writers’ faults, mind you), but extremely sub-par execution. This is not suprising, however, as CBS is rife with sub-par execution (anything without CSI in the title).

The best thing on CBS so far this year was Comanche Moon, the final chapter of the Lonesome Dove saga. Great series, second only to the original. Steve Zahn was near-perfect as Gus McCrae.

Moving on the NBC, I forced myself to suffer through that hack Knight Rider update. Ugh... it’ll get picked up for series, I’m sure, where it won’t last a full season. Think Bionic Woman and you’ve got the right idea.

Let’s see... off the top of my head, I can only recall watching one series on ABC, one on CBS, and not a one on NBC (still waiting for Life and Chuck to come back). Which brings me to Fox... ah, thank the television gods for Fox.

There was Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, New Amsterdam, and American Idol. T:TSCC was rather interesting, and I did rather like it.

Unfortunately, the entire premise is based on a continuity error (explicitly identified in the pilot episode), and it’s really hard for me to keep watching. Still, with the surprising addition of former Beverly Hills 90210 loser Brian Austin Green as a fairly convincing soldier from the future, the show still has my interest. Now we just have to see if it gets picked up.

New Amsterdam has a concept that I really, really like. But, as with many new shows, the series hasn’t found its groove yet (which isn’t an excuse), and it may not make it. Sucks, too, since I have a connection to the lead actress. Ah, well... here’s hoping it gets much better... and fast.

American Idol is, well, American Idol. I can honestly say that I’m tired of the purposefully-goofy auditions, and would much rather watch a serious show. I can also honestly say that the current contestants see themselves far greater than they are (with one or two possible exceptions). And, to wrap it up, I can also honestly say those concert-going posers in the audience really annoy the fuck out of me when they stand up and sway during ballads. I get that they’re all 14-year-old girls, but for fuck’s sake... It’s gotten to the point that I fast-forward through the singing because I can’t stand to watch.

This blog is getting long, and there is no clear train of thought, so let me just add a few things:

HBO’s John Adams is undeniably the miniseries of the year (sorry Comance Moon). It’s a must-see. And, if you don’t like it, or at least find yourself not having a little more respect for our flag, then you need to get the fuck out of my country.

BBC America is addictive. I pretty much watch everything Gordon Ramsay, and am now stuck on yet another kitchen show: Last Restaurant Standing. Fantastic. I can’t wait for an American network to import it and fuck it all up.

I’m sure there are more shows I’ve been watching that I’ve missed, but oh, well... I’m sick of typing.

Have a nice day.


  1. I think Terminator will be renewed simply because the networks missed "pilot season" because of the strike.

    Posted by Geoffry on March 28, 2008 - Friday - 11:29 PM

  2. I have to agree about Jericho, but in it's defense... It was axed - Only semi-brought back to life - Only getting 7 episodes - And they had to film 2 finales - They moved the show from an 8pm timeslot to a 10 pm timeslot despite the fact that so many in the campaign to bring it back touted it as a FAMILY show... AND a shoestring budget where a number of key characters had to be either barely developed or just a mere fly on the wall... Considering the situation, I was very happy. Now, if season, budget, characters, etc. were all available, I'd be pretty disappointed. I thought the finale was the best episode of the season. I'm still hoping USA picks it up.

    That's my only CBS show - and will be for as long as I can tell since I didn't watch CBS before that show.

    ABC - I like Cashmere Mafia a lot. Men in Trees is always intriguing. I LOVE OCTOBER ROAD... Of course, I'm pretty sure it won't come back. It's a shame because it's really good - and it's about the class of '98. :) It's one of those shows that unless you knew it was there, you'd miss it. It had half a little season last spring - 5 or 6 episodes - and then the same thing again. Too short seasons, too little promotion, and too long between seasons. ABC doomed it.

    CW - OTH. I'm a little confused about how Nathan ended up in a wheelchair because I didn't catch the end of last season and I missed the first couple of epi's this season, but so far, it's been quite interesting. I also, sheepishly yet blissfully, watch ANTM & the Pussycat Dolls show.

    Fox - I'm going back to watch all the New Amsterdam epis now. I'd been looking forward to this one since the first ad way back last spring. Why the heck did they super promote it nearly a year ago and just now put it on with barely a flicker of promotion? I don't understand network promotion/scheduling strategies. Prison Break, as always keeps me on the edge of my seat. I sure hope they are able to spring Sucre.

    NBC - Medium, as always, is great. Sometimes, I catch one of the L&Os - SVU being my fave. Gotta love a show with a hot, brooding guy named Eliot (or however he spells it). I, too, am waiting on Life to come back - and Heroes.

    I don't get cable, so I can't comment there... Good blog though.

    Posted by Jessica Lynn on March 26, 2008 - Wednesday - 6:36 PM

  3. I have to agree about John Adams, it's top rate stuff about a man (really a couple since his wife was pretty cool too) who Americans should know more about.

    Posted by James on March 26, 2008 - Wednesday - 3:43 PM