Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Fall TV Preview--SUNDAY

The Setup: Over the years, I've organized my Fall TV preview posts most often by network. But this year, I think I'll simplify things a bit and break down my thoughts by Day of the Week.
As I've done in past years, I'm going to go big picture here and only write about the mainstream networks and their shows. I'll probably only spend the bulk of my time on the new shows, as that is what is most interesting to think critically (or snarkily) about.
(If you aren't interested in watching Community there is very little that I can type to sway you at this point, right. And--full disclosure--I was part of that uninterested camp as recently as about 18 months ago.)
I focus on Network TV also because the cable universe is simply too big for me to keep up with anyway. And I don't have premium cable where many of the best, best shows are found. And their season is often not tied to the traditional September to May releases of the past. And because I've locked down my colleague Dean (of You Are a Bad Driver and I Hate You fame) to, once again, present his thoughts on the variety of cable options he likes best.

So . . . onward--

What can I say about Sunday's TV? Well, it is still primarily dominated by football during the prime time hours, thanks to NBC's Football Night in America. I won't deny that I watch the show now and then. Football is occasionally pleasant to watch if I don't anything else going on. But, in recent years, Sunday night has been a cable-dominated AMC night for me. Mad Men, Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead (10/14 @ 9 on AMC). None of those shows are on right now, so I won't be talking about them . . . or I'll leave it to Dean.

What is there to think about on Sundays?

Naturally, The Simpsons (9/30 @ 8 on Fox) is like the vampire show that simply won't die. But I get the feeling that everyone kind of wishes it would. It can still be clever, but it won't ever be as sharp as it was ten years ago. And for the majority of those great years, I wasn't watching. And thought I try to use my DVR scheduler to catch up on some things, it usually only records shows from this past season. A far cry from what might have been. Still, watching a 21st season of Homer and company is better than watching The Amazing Race (9/30 @ 8 on CBS). (Or watching any "local programming" that The CW might possibly be able to find.)

You might be surprised that I"m not a watcher of Once Upon a Time. (9/30 @ 8 on NBC) It has fantasy elements and some of the writers are connected to the LOST writing stable. But I didn't get involved last year in season 1 and I think I'm just going to stay away.

Speaking of LOST, however, there IS the intriguing new show 666 Park Avenue (9/30 @ 10 on ABC). It's connection to my favorite mystery island is one of its best actors, Terry O'Quinn. The former John Locke is now performing as the owner of a fancy Manhattan apartment building that is . . . evil? Haunted? Satanic? Misunderstood? Also featuring (former Miss America) Vanessa Williams?

The last part, at least, is confirmed. It seems that this show might be a little bit of Fantasy Island muddied up with some of the vibe that made American Horror Story so popular last year. But since its on mainstream networks, it won't be nearly as creepy/kinky/bat-shit crazy as AHS was. (Full disclosure: I watched the pilot episode, was a bit weirded out by it and didn't go back.) And so it'll probably be a bit too watered down to make much of an impact. Still, its 10 o'clock time slot means it'll only have to compete with a.) your early local news, b.) the meaningless end of the nightly football game, and c.) The Mentalist (9/30 @ 10 on CBS). And until Mad Men and Breaking Bad return, it should face that much competition.

So I'm awarding it my pick as the new show most likely to succeed on Sunday night.This is a new feature I'm adding to my Fall TV previews. And I'll award each night's winner with a special haiku dedicated only to the glory of it.

666 Park Avenue
Satan's number is
a promise of things to come?
not like Hurley's, please? 

1 comment:

David said...

Cable shows on Sunday night?
PBS's "Call the Midwife" (premieres 9/30), HBO's "Boardwalk Empire" (premieres 9/16), Showtime's "Dexter" (premieres 9/30), AMC's "The Walking Dead" (premieres 10/14), HBO's "Treme" (premieres 9/23).

I'll leave it to Dean to say whatever he wants on these shows. But can I just ask . . . was "Downton Abbey" THAT impactful, so much so that a PBS show gets included in coverage for Fall TV? I'm impressed, I think.

What is "Call the Midwife"? An import from Britain, following the struggles of a young girl mixed up in the heady world of 1950s London midwifery. I can only assume it shows how Britons got randy as rationing lessened and caused a boom in the home-birthing business. But still, there is the pressures of class and propriety that must be maintained and all that, don't you know? say no more? So, there may be an Upstairs/Downstairs component to the whole thing?

Truthfully, I"m just making it all up. It might be closer to Mrs. Doubtfire than Downton Abbey for all I know. I can only assume that a Harry Potter actor will show up somewhere.