With the new television season upon us, it's time to take stock of what's new, what's old, and what's worth watching among shows possibly of interest to my readers. Here are my brief thoughts on new shows and returning favorites (or "favorites" in many cases):
NEW AND NOTABLE
The Event (NBC, Mondays, 9 ET): The self-proclaimed love child of 24 and Lost is superficially exciting and intriguing but risks becoming something of a souffle: rises spectacularly, looks gorgeous, but mostly hot air.
No Ordinary Family (ABC, Tuesdays, 8 ET): I have no idea. ABC isn't airing this superhero family drama until tomorrow, but it might have been worth plopping them down on Wisteria Lane to give Desperate Housewives a new direction.
Nikita (The CW, Thursdays, 9 ET): Unnecessary remake of an oft-remade property, Nikita is competent without being compelling, telling rather well a story I don't care about in the least.
Elvira's Movie Macabre (syndicated, weekends): The Mistress of the Dark makes fun of old movies, but if you've ever seen Mystery Science Theater 3000, you've seen this act (and these movies) before. And the film Manos: The Hands of Fate is painful to watch in any form, no matter how hard MST3K or Elvira try to make it palatable.
Chuck (NBC, Mondays, 8 ET): This spy farce started out as a 21st century Get Smart, but increasingly "serious" storylines and declining fun quotients are rapidly turning Chuck into The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
The Vampire Diaries (The CW, Thursdays, 8 ET): Fast-paced, smart, and sexy, the CW should send a few spare vampires over to 90210 to put those other CW high-schoolers out of their misery.
Fringe (Fox, Thursdays, 9 ET): What began as a poor copy of the X-Files finally became compelling in season two, and now in its third year the show's alternate universe has become a fun and intriguing sci-fi destination.
Smallville (The CW, Fridays, 8 ET): Really, at this point, it is what it is. But the good news is that with the show approaching its end, the new season at least has someplace to go and a reason to (finally) go there.
Supernatural (The CW, Fridays, 9 ET): After a disappointing seaon finale, Supernatural returned with a rather low-key but intriguing season premiere. If the new season lives up to the promise of more monster, less angst, it should be a fun ride.
Anything with dimwits using night vision cameras to look for "ghosts," "UFOs," or "monsters" (Every cable channel, every day, any time): It may be "reality" TV and among the biggest ratings draw for SyFy and Biography (and Animal Planet, sigh), but the producers and stars of Ghost Hunters, Celebrity Ghost Stories, and their ilk produce bad science in service of bad television. How anyone can watch this drivel, I can't imagine.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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