Saturday, October 18, 2008

Update on New TV...

Hey Rollin' peeps.  I first wanted to apologize for the lack of updates over the last month, I've been working on a new project (more on that soon), and if you've been with rollin' long you know these gaps happen occasionally.

The real purpose however is I wanted to revisit this year's new TV offerings with some preliminary observations.  Instead of focusing on the shows that were devastating worthless (Hole in the Wall and Crusoe) or the shows that just didn't fully wow me (America's Toughest Job and Life on Mars) I thought I'd give props to new shows that might be worth jumping in if you haven't yet.

In order from least to most favorite of the newbies:

My Own Worst Enemy

This is the hardest to judge as it just debuted this week.  But so far I am completely sold on the concept, and mostly sold on the execution.  Christian Slater is genius in his dual role (seriously, like Patty Duke good) and the possibilities for plot twists and turns are so immense that you know the well will never run dry.  My only possible complaint is that Slater's spy side personality is so unlikable (and morally repugnant) that it makes it hard to like his domestic side personality.  I'm sure this is a conscious choice to fully distinguish between the two but it's a little off putting for me.  Again though, I must emphasize, the concept for this show is full on wonderful and will keep me interested enough to keep rooting that Slater's Anakin side wins over his Darth side.

Worst Week

This one wasn't even on my radar until I read some glowing reviews the week of it's debut.  It's probably a love it, hate it show, but I fall firmly on the love it side.  This is most likely because of the main actor's understated, under his breath, can't do anything right comedy.   The show epitomizes the phrase comedy of errors, and I'm always up for some good laughs (genuine ones, not laugh track ones, which Worst Week thankfully eschews.)  Worst Week is worth a look, and if it's not your thing just don't watch again.

Time Warp

A Simple concept for a simple man.   Discovery Channel's new show takes all the things that happen too fast to really see and slows them down to super duper ultra slow motion and puts them in high definition.  As my friend Sara said, "Awesome, I've never seen what things look like when they aren't in fast mode!"  Exactly.  You could film me in fast mode or slow mode watching this show and it would look the same.  Jaw agape, dead stare, slowly turning into dumb grin.  It's hard to fully encapsulate the joy of seeing a man's belly turn to slow mo jelly when hit with a bamboo stick.

Fringe

I'm conflicted on JJ Abrahms new offering, but not conflicted in a way that effects my love for what's going on here.  JJ has brought us a modern day X-Files (or Twilight Zone if you prefer to go way back) which is visually engaging and completely compelling.  My conflict is that the show is almost TOO much like the X-Files where Mulder is replaced by an old man and his son and Scully is, well, blond.   There even have parallels to deep throat (the dead boyfriend), skinner (the boss) and cigarette smoking man (the observer).  My point is that I am surprised just how much the Fringe people have aped the Files in this show, and yet how can I complain when it's done so well and I loved the original so much (well at least the first 5 seasons).

The Mentalist

I'm as surprised as you that The Mentalist is my favorite new show of the fall so fall.  Simon Baker's character  is a joy to watch.  He has all the quirkiness, individuality, and depth of Hugh Laurie's House, without the crankiness, harshness, or lack of ethics.  The mentalistic (new word!) stuff is fun without being overbearing and the supporting cast plays their roles to perfection.   Of course the main reason to watch each week are the meticulously plotted crime puzzles that have an almost nostalgic "Sherlock Holmes" feel to them.  Unlike the CSIs and other procedural crime dramas there is almost a brightness and joy to this show, which is another reason it stands out as my favorite new show of this young season.