Friday, September 7, 2007

Danny's Must-See Returning Fall TV Shows

So, if you haven't already checked it out, take a look at yesterday's posting which contained my list for the Top Movies of the Summer.

And now, as we head into the weekend, I'll turn my attention to the world of television and present to you:


- So, a few days back I shared my insight into what is and isn't worth watching in terms of new Fall TV. I ruminated on the potential awesomeness of CHUCK, and expressed my disdain for such soon-to-be cancelled crap as Big Shots and Cavemen (apologies to my friends at ABC). But really, with a new show, there's only so much excitement you can have. It really takes a few episodes for most shows to really grow on you, to build that sense of loyalty that all the great ones cultivate. So, sure, I'm excited about the POTENTIAL of Chuck and Pushing Daisies and Aliens in America, but TV is a comfort food and there's no better comfort than curling up with an old favorite (of course, some old favorites like Veronica Mars are now gone ... why, CW, why?!?!). Now, 24 of course won't be back until January, as per usual, and this year neither will LOST, which is really a shame given last season's awesome cliff-hanger finale, which capped off one of the best episodes of the show to date. So, aside from those two, what shows can I not wait to see come September and October ...? (Note: I'm not including CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM, which I can't wait to see, but will probably not catch until Season 6 comes out on DVD, or FUTURAMA, which, thank the gods of TV, is set to return sometime down the line. And I'm not including KING OF THE HILL, which as far as I know, as per usual, isn't set to return until mid-season). Here ya' go:

1.) HEROES - Regular readers of the blog know that I had very mixed feelings about Season 1 of Heroes. To me, the show started with a bit of a whimper, but eventually picked up momentum that culminated with "Company Man," an episode that proved that Heroes could compete with shows like Lost in terms of storytelling and characterization. However, even despite an uneven season and a slightly underwhelming S1 finale, I'm pretty buzzed about Season 2. Any fan of comics and superheroes knows that the best stories usually come AFTER the origins are over and done with - that's when we can finally get to the good stuff and play around with the universe that has been created. It feels like now that the pieces have been put into place, Act 2 of Heroes might be when the show really begins to hit its stride.

2.) PRISON BREAK - Here's a show that has its detractors, but for me, Season 2 of Prison Break was pure awesomeness. This is just such a dark, down-n-dirty, pulpy show, you've gotta love it and just leave your seuspension of disbelief at the door. I'm not sure how I feel about the setup for Season 3. On one hand, we have Michael in a Panamanian prison that promises to make Fox River look like Disneyland. Then, we have this emerging sci-fi angle where Michael is the product of some kind of Bourne-esque conspiracy thing. Since this show takes place in some kind of parallel universe where basically anything goes, count me as curious as to where the hell all this is leading. But I don't think there's a character on TV whose grand entrance I wait more than the vilest, most evil villain on TV, T-Bag.

3.) THE OFFICE - The Office, in Season 3, became bar none the best sitcom on broadcast TV, and I can't wait to see what the writers come up with for Season 4. As long as we get more Michael Scott-isms, more Dwight freakishness, and more generally crazy office shenannigans, I am pretty confident that we should get yet another season of workplace hilarity.

4.) THE SIMPSONS - Last year, The Simpsons had yet another season of subpar humor, with most episodes failing to come close to the high standards set by the show's long-past glory days. But this summer, Simpsons fans got a ray of hope in the form of the Simpsons Movie. Sure, the film was so funny in large part due to the return of many of the show's best writers to the fold. With those guys still MIA from the regular show, it remains to be seen if The Simpsons can ride the momentum of the movie into this season (19?!?!). But hey, one of the first fall eps is about an upstart comic book store that competes with the Android's Dungeon, and features a guest appearance by Alan Moore! Consider me psyched.

5.) 30 ROCK - 30 Rock was the surprise comedy of last season - while Studio 60 got a lot of the hype, 30 Rock quickly usurped Sorkin's show as THE show to watch about the backstage goings-on of a sketch comedy TV show. Tina Fey, Tracy Morgan, Alec Baldwin, and the rest of the supporting cast are all hilarious, and I'm very curious to see where the show goes in Season 2. I'm hoping that the show gets back to the more random humor and de-emphasizes the relationshippy stuff to a degree - to me, many of the show's best moments have occured when Fey, Morgan, and Baldwin (and Kenneth the Page, of course) just go off on random tangents. I am a Jedi!

6.) FAMILY GUY - To me, Family Guy mostly sucked last year. There was one great episode (the time travel one) which hinted at a possible return to form, and I'm curious to see if that is the case this season. I'm excited about the season opener, an extra-length Star Wars parody that sounds potentially hilarious. It seems like everyone has an opinion about Family Guy - mine is that, before it was originally cancelled by FOX, the show was one of the most hilarious things ever on TV. Since it's returned from TV purgatory, the show has only occasionally been as good as it once was. With the Simpsons movie making bank and other animated shows on the rise, I'm hoping that Family Guy will up it's game come this fall.

7.) SMALLVILLE - For the most part, I wasn't thrilled with Smallville last season, and it's been several years now since the show was actually good on a consistent basis. However, Smalliville does usually manage to open each season with a bang, often bringing its A-game for the movie-like season premieres. This year has some potential. The fates of Lois, Chloe, and Lana are all in question. Lex is under arrest. Bizzarro is on the loose. And ... Supergirl is set to debut. That's a lot going on, and even if the show drops the ball on one or most of these plotlines, it's always worth checking out just for Michael Rosenbaum's great portrayal of Lex Luthor.

- And those are basically the returning shows on my must-watch list, and of course, LOST and TWENTY-BY-GOD-FOUR will be top that list come January.

- Alright everyone, have a great weekend. I know the next few weeks for me are going to be packed. Birthdays, holidays, concerts, and more. Not to mention work, other creative endeavors, etc. Stay tuned for more, Cheers.

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