New TV shows this season: a review

I guess I hit the target when I blogged the other day that the best new TV series this year is “Heroes” (sci-fi/mystery) and “Jericho” (action/mystery), with “Vanished” (occult/mystery) biting the bullet mostly because it’s killed by “Heroes” at the same day/time rather than because it’s not good.

While it’s not an indication of actual viewership, you can get a good idea on primetime success by the number of comments on their respective IMDb forums. “Heroes” fills up the first comment page every 1 hour, with “Jericho” needing about 1 day, and with “Vanished” usually needing about 3 days. The rest of the new series (e.g. “Smith”, “Six Degrees”, “The Unit” etc) filling up that page only within 5 days! Apparently “Kidnapped” does pretty well too (just 2 days to fill up the front page of comments), although I only watched the first episode only, and in a hurry, so I can’t offer a concrete review of it.

By far, “Heroes” is the most popular of all so far. It’s the story about some every-day people who find themselves having supernatural powers. But there is a deeper story behind their powers, why they only now finding out about them, about a government conspiracy, and the real bad guys who want to destroy the world etc. The thing is, “Heroes” might not actually be the “best” in terms of acting and direction, but it’s extremely popular because all these Superman, Spiderman and Hulk fans have to fill up their needs somehow until the new superhero movies come out. Make no mistake though, “Heroes” does not encompass people wearing silly costumes and the like. It’s mostly a mystery show, a lot like “Lost” in that respect. It has a “bigger” story around it that will be built on each episode.

“Jericho” is about the story of a young man who decides to go back to his hometown after a number of years away, but when he comes back his town witnesses a big nuclear explosion in the horizon. They don’t have electricity, they don’t have a way to communicate with others in other cities and they are in total chaos regarding if this was an isolated incident or a full scale world nuclear war. My guess is that the isolated Jericho town is put into test by the government in order to observe the people there under such a stressing situation. I think that the guy who claims that he is an ex-cop and that he just happened to stop by at the town is an “agent” of a sort who reports back with his findings. However, this is just a guess, as there have been only 2 episodes of Jericho so far. Again, Jericho is a lot like “Lost” in terms of the mystery involved. There you have a few people isolated and in distress trying to find out what has happened.

Finally, “Vanished”. From one side it is a “being-done-before” kind of FBI show (which is what makes it the less interesting of the 3 series presented here), but on the other side the fact that it only tries to find the solution about a single case (a senator’s wife disappearance) and the fact that the Masons and the occult have a role to play, it makes it pretty interesting and intriguing. The action is fast paced and a lot of things are happening in the 44 minutes of each episode. I think that “Vanished” is doomed because of “Heroes” though. Same day, same time, different network. “Vanished” should have moved to 9 PM Tuesday (right after the very popular “House”) and have the show playing at that time (called “Standoff”) moved to Vanished’s slot on Mondays. Update: Nice going Fox! Tonight they killed off the main character! :o

“Standoff” sucks. Like we care about two special-force negotiators who play the cat and mouse with their boss and with their own relationship. There is no “deeper” mystery or plot to explore. There you are having individual non-connected episodes and only have their silly on-off relationship to keep things glued together. Boooo.

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mikesum32 wrote on October 3rd, 2006 at 8:37 AM PST:

I’m looking forward to The Nine.

It’s first episode or pilot made it on the net.

It looks good. Amoung others, it stars John Billingsley of Enterprise and Prison Break fame.

It sucks that he isn’t on Prison Break anymore. Replacement of cast is lame.

He’s super smart in real life, I mean he has his own book club.

Tom Dison wrote on October 4th, 2006 at 1:45 AM PST:

I really like Studio 60

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Eugenia wrote on October 4th, 2006 at 2:23 AM PST:

I watched three episodes today on their respective official web sites.

NBC’s “Kidnapped” (action) was not bad, but was not earth-shattering or innovative.

I really liked ABC’s “Ugly Betty” (comedy), it’s very clever because it will be liked a lot by most women. It’s funny, well-crafted and it has a back story.

Finally I watched the second episode of “Six Degrees” (drama) on ABC’s site too. God did that suck? Amazingly boring; I am starting to lose my faith on JJ Abrams.

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Eugenia wrote on October 5th, 2006 at 1:19 AM PST:

I also watched “Smith” (action/drama) last night. Boring. They try to make it interesting by putting the “bad guys” as the stars of the show instead of the cops after them. While some of the bad guys are likeable, and others are badder than the bad ones, the show just doesn’t work for me. Which is a shame because I like Ray Liotta. He has a devilish look and smile. ;-)

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Eugenia wrote on October 5th, 2006 at 1:49 AM PST:

Last night was also the last episode of the first season of “Eureka”, on Sci-Fi Channel. It is a pretty low-budget sci-fi series (which is normal for the poor Sci-Fi Channel) but I think that given the amount of money they have, they do a pretty decent job. Still though, it can’t compete with the decors of some network TV series, including some that I don’t actually like.

memson wrote on October 5th, 2006 at 4:33 AM PST:

I’m eagerly awaiting Lost and Battlestar Galactica (because I like it, not just to get Eugenia’s back up :-P )

At the moment in the UK, I’m looking forward to the new Robin Hood series. Looks pretty cool. Hopefully not as bad as the 60’s show and as good as the series they made in the mid ’80’s for ITV (”Robin of Sherwood” – Sean Connery’s son was in the second or third series (aka “season” for you Americans).) They were re-showing it on ITV2 or ITV3 (or was it ITV4?) a while back. Looks a little dated (shot on poorer quality video seemingly – or the negatives need a good clean.) Still compelling ;-)

Doctor Who is worth watching. Don’t know if the US has had that yet. David Tennant was a slow starter, but the next series will rock now that they offloaded Billie Piper.

(Oh, sorry, were we supposed to be speaking about US shows?)

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Eugenia wrote on October 5th, 2006 at 7:08 AM PST:

> I’m looking forward to The Nine.

I just watched the pilot, it just aired here. I did not like it much. Unessasery mystery that they want to unravel in the future bit by bit. I find it pretty annoying, because the characters already know what happened and it’s only the viewers that don’t. This takes away a lot of the intensity and the “relation” of the viewer with the characters. It’s like the characters having secrets from the viewer, and that just doesn’t work for me. I understand that the producers want to create a mystery that unravels bit by bit, but the way they go about it is the wrong way.

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Eugenia wrote on October 5th, 2006 at 11:27 AM PST:

Regarding “The Nine”, apparently I am not alone in my opinion about it:

“After tonight’s episode, you’re certainly intrigued enough to want to find out. But the idea that it could take all season for viewers to discover everything the characters already know could get annoying pretty quickly. A lot of serialized shows are dependent upon what they hold back from viewers, but here, that may not work so well, because the manner in which creators Hank Steinberg and K.J. Steinberg withhold key information could feel like a huge cheat.”

mikesum32 wrote on October 5th, 2006 at 11:43 AM PST:

Stargate was on Showtime, and sci-fi’s shows suck most of the time, Eureka being one of them.

That guy from Max Headroom ruins everything for me, like when he was on ST:TNG, I thought “It’s that guy who plays Max Headroom”. And when he was on Taken I thought oh crap it’s that guy from Max Headroom.
When he took over as The Lawnmower Man in the sequel I was pissed.

When I saw him on Eureka, I was put off by his fake accent.

Don’t get me started on the “movies” sci-fi makes.

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