Fall 2014 Network TV

There’s quite possibly too much television to talk about nowadays and sorting through it can be quite a daunting task. But, alas, I’ll try my darnedest.

CBS has never interested me as a network, probably because I’m not in their target demographic, so there’s not much for me to discuss here.

ABC has launched a campaign to diversify their lineup. SelfieBlack-ishHow to Get Away with Murder, Cristela, and mid-season replacement Fresh Off the Boat, all feature minority leads, countering the network’s Caucasian-dominated programming.

NBC, on the other hand, seems to be adding more of the same “white-centric” sitcoms, with shows like A to Z, Bad Judge, and The Mysteries of Laura. The latter two sitcoms might have too specific of a premise to survive the year (think back to other NBC flops like Save Me and The Michael J. Fox Show). Once the kings of comedy, NBC is putting all the eggs in their Saturday Night Live basket, where they are still in a sort of generational transition. With a set of powerfully comedic women, lead by Kate McKinnon and Aidy Bryant, as well as strong newcomers Michael Che and 20-year-old Pete Davidson (yes, 20…like, my age), the show premiered last weekend to mixed reviews, as Guardians of the Galaxy star and NBC family member Chris Pratt hosted alongside musical guest Ariana Grande. The best bit of the night came as Pratt poked fun at the obscurity surrounding Marvel’s blockbuster hit, and the gang mocked a some of their upcoming flicks, including Marvel’s Pam 2: Winter Pam (a play on Captain America 2: Winter Soldier). Click the picture below to see the full sketch on Hulu!

AidyBryant_Marvel_Pam-690x262Last, but not least, is Fox. And I like Fox this year. Their solid Tuesday line-up of The Mindy Project and New Girl is sure to cure your mid-week blues, not to mention the sigh of relief that came with the solidification of both of their casts. Brooklyn Nine-Nine took a move to Sunday nights, along with the network’s famed Animation Domination, which includes newly-crowned Emmy winner Bob’s Burgers. While Fox seems to know their comedy, they’ve also taken a dark turn to fill the gaps in the drama department, once championed by House, M.D. and 24 (might we see yet another return of Jack Bauer??). Gotham takes a look at the world of the Batman before the Bat-Call. The heroes and villains we have come to know and love all have their own backstories, from the Riddler to Poison Ivy, Commissioner Gordon to the Penguin. Rumor has it that the Joker will be revealed at the end of the first season, so let’s hope they make it past the mid-year cuts.

In the coming weeks, the cable networks will take control of the airwaves. This Sunday, Showtime revamps Homeland sans Damien Lewis. On Wednesday, FX takes us under the tent with American Horror Story: Freak Show. And the following Sunday, AMC hunts the hunted with the Season Five Premiere of The Walking Dead. 

Advertisements

10 Year Lost-iversary

Ten years ago, I stayed up past my bedtime to witness the unprecedented premiere of the most provocative drama to ever grace network television. Lost, the story of strangers who are brought together by a series of traumatic, yet compellingly fated circumstances, taught me so much about life and the human condition. Sure, there were unanswered questions about polar bears and smoke monsters, time travel and immortality, but if you take the time to see past these plot points, you’ll uncover a host of thematic devices that rival anything you’ll read in your English classes.

Lost-Season-6-Poster-All-Characters-lost-8774591-500-400

In a show that’s all about constants and variables, remember this: The island is real, the island is present, and the island is there when you need it most.

Thank you, Lost. I will surely see you in another life.

PRIVATE SCHOOL GIRL Trailer Released

jamie-trailer-lilley-hbo

Exciting news, very exciting news. ABC1 has released the first trailer for Chris Lilley’s Private School Girl, a mini-series following Australia’s favorite daughter, Ja’mie King, as she ventures through her last months of high school at Hillford Grammar School. While this season will ditch the other Summer Heights High characters, Mr. G and Jonah, I’m sure Lilley will not disappoint. 

In honor of the trailer, here are some of my favorite Ja’mie moments from We Can Be Heroes and Summer Heights High.

tumblr_lr7mjvzEuB1qkl1lc

tumblr_lejgih9jus1qazkdco1_500

tumblr_lgr7rn5HNb1qcz72no1_500

tumblr_m1ezkhMyv31r2fq6so1_500

tumblr_m3458qMeeZ1qfyv4zo1_500

tumblr_mjhpyjj6Wg1qdojzho1_500

Long live the King… Ja’mie King. You can watch the trailer for Private School Girl here.

September: The Television Enthusiasts Purgatory

Now that September’s here and I’m back at school “studying,” I face a sort of “atheist’s dilemma,” only you have to replace “atheist” with “television enthusiast” and it kind of makes sense. While I am super grateful that Breaking Bad has been delivering Sunday after Sunday (and while Dexter has become a chore to watch), I am not fulling satisfied. I need everything back.

tumblr_mg7ef1WiPC1rh2uuxo1_500

I need Homeland and Modern Family.

640_modern_family_homeland_emmys

I need Downton Abbey and The Walking Dead.

DowntonZombie

If I pray hard enough, maybe this fall will see new seasons of Mad Men and Game of Thrones. Or maybe that would be pushing the envelope a tad.

tumblr_m5be88glCN1qi5fayo2_1280

Be on the look out for posts on these shows and more (including, but not limited to, Parks and Recreation, The MiddleCommunityNew GirlThe Mindy Project, American Horror Story: Coven, and Girls. I might try to get into some new shows, but they all just look so bad this season. The ones I’ll test are The Masters of SexSleepy HollowAgents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and Dads. If you have any suggestions, let me know ASAP. Well, not, like, super ASAP, just whenever you feel like it. Cool. Good talk.

And shout out to tumblr for having these TV cross-over images. I’m glad to know my Internet folk are keeping busy and paying their bills.

Pivot Brings PLEASE LIKE ME to the USA

Please Like Me

On August 1st, Participant Media launched their television network, Pivot, on various carriers in various demographic areas. The channel strives to change the way people view the world and it sticks to its motto “Pivot is TV for The New Greatest Generation.”

One of its acquired programs is the Australian comedy Please Like Me, which follows the painfully awkward life of Josh Thomas, a quirky twentysomething, who stars in and writes the show based on his own experiences and stand up material.

The Aussie brings the laughs in the shows pilot, entitled “Rhubarb & Custard,” in which Josh is dumped by his charming girlfriend, Claire, and finds himself questioning his own sexuality when his housemate’s co-worker comes over for dinner. To complicate matters, Josh receives a call from his father informing him that his mother is in the hospital after attempting to commit suicide. Throughout the whole ordeal, Josh is rather calm – a reflection of the show’s blasé attitude (in a good way). There is something refreshing about this show, accompanied by its cool filter (not the super awesome “cool,” but, like, the frosty vibe it gives off).

Josh Thomas possesses a star quality reminiscent of Chris Lilley (Summer Heights High), in that he makes pregnant pauses hysterical and recreates everyday banter in the context of a scripted show – a talent easier said than done. Thomas might even be nodding at Lilley in the final line of the pilot, in which his character comments on his own decision to move back in with his suicidal mother, saying, “I’m a modern day hero…. I’m almost definitely gunna win Australian of the Year for this,” the very award coveted by Lilley’s various characters in We Can Be Heroes.

You can watch the first episode of Please Like Me here and you can find Pivot on your local listings here.

Flashback: Three Shows Gone Too Soon

poster-large

Eli Stone

Network: ABC

Duration: 2008-2009

In Eli Stone, the title character, played brilliantly by Jonny Lee Miller, is a San Francisco lawyer who develops a brain aneurysm, which gives him visions of God, who speaks through the one and only George Michael. Like an adult version of That’s So Raven, Eli’s visions act as his moral compass in working his various cases.

Eli confides in his acupuncturist Dr. Chen (James Saito), who is able to facilitate Eli’s darkest memories – particularly those of his abusive father.

His once secure job under supervision of his fiancé’s father becomes compromised when the couple calls off their marriage. The tension in the office only grows with Eli’s newfound gift.

The show is in the ever-evolving comedy-drama genre, with quirky musical/fantasy sequences to the tune of George Michael songs, making Eli Stone one of a kind. The cast is supported by veteran film actors Loretta Devine (Crash) and Victor Garber (Titanic), which gives the show’s side stories real depth, without ever lagging.

In the final moments of the second season (right before it’s cancellation) Eli’s nose begins to bleed a dark red, hinting that his aneurysm had ruptured, but did God have other plans for him? Did the writers? All I know is that ABC, for sure, killed him off too soon.

flash-forward-poster

FlashForward

Network: ABC

Duration: 2009-2010

Riding off the coattails of Lost (and borrowing some of its actors, too) comes the second show gone too soon: FlashForward. The show follows the FBI investigation of a worldwide human blackout, which gives people a brief vision six months into the future. While many try to make their lives fit the ominous prediction, others strive to change their fate. But those who see nothing, like Agent Mark Benford, played by Joseph Fiennes (American Horror Story: Asylum), worry that they will meet their demise before the fated day.

The investigation gets heated when the FBI discovers footage of a hooded man walking out of a baseball stadium during the two minute and seven second blackout.

With Jack Davenport (Pirates of the Caribbean), Dominic Monaghan (Lost), and Sonya Walger (Lost), the show surely should have lasted for a second season.

Like Eli Stone’s ambiguous cliffhanger, FlashForward ends with the world blacking out yet again. The vision we see is that of the Agent Benford’s daughter, Charlie, who receives a phone call saying that “he” has been found. The “he”? Possibly her presumed-dead father. And possibly not.

images-7

Person’s Unknown

Network: NBC

Duration: 2010

While the first two shows actually received some buzz in their short-lived runs, NBC’s summer flop Persons Unknown was kind of my guilty pleasure show, full of countless plot holes and terrible acting. Regardless, I would have liked to see it renewed for another summer slot.

The show follows a group of strangers who wake up in a ghost town with no communication to the outside world. They receive a series of tasks from the many monitors planted across the town. Soon, the castaways become restless and a mole is revealed.

After the strangers unite and rebel against the system, they are all placed in a new setting, called Stage Two. The show closes on the castaways opening the door of their new hotel to discover they are now on a freighter in the middle of the ocean. I want to watch Stage Two, please.

Rekindling My Love for LOST

Lost-season1

Yesterday, G4 played a marathon of the first six Lost episodes. Needless to say, I was occupied for those six hours, reliving the show that thrilled audiences like no other during its run from 2004 to 2010.

Regardless of whether you liked the ending (or the time-travel twists starting in Season 4) or not, there is something to be said about the show’s beautiful cinematography and lurid characters. Each of them provides an interesting vantage point on their past lives and on the moment of the plane’s fated crash.

Many shows and films in the post-9/11 world became very sensitive to race and religion, but Lost tackled the cultural barriers head on. From Sawyer accusing Sayid of being a terrorist to Jin commanding Sun to cover up in the presence of the other survivors – particularly Michael, a black man. (Also, I love the scene in Season 2 when Rose is reunited with Bernard and everyone is shocked that he’s an old, white guy).

The series also reinvented the “musical montage,” as the most powerful moments of the show were free of dialogue and acted brilliantly by the characters’ movements and facial expressions. In the show’s third episode, “Tabula Rasa,” the castaways finally take a breather after a few days of panic and chaos following the crash as Hurley listens to “Wash Away” by Joe Purdy on his walkman. Another great montage opens Season 2 and follows a mysterious man, who we learn to be Desmond, as he works out to the musical stylings of Mama Cass’ “Make Your Own Kind of Music.” The last notable montage opens the third season, and again it follows a mysterious character, who we learn to be Juliet, as she prepares for her book club while listening to Petula Clare’s “Downtown.” 

Again, I don’t care if you liked the ending or not (I personally loved it), but there is no denying that the Seasons 1-3 are some of the greatest achievements in television. Period. If you’ve yet to witness this amazing show, be sure to check out all six seasons on Netflix or the occasional G4 marathons!