Fall is the best time of the year… cool weather… one can wear hoodies again… cashmere sweaters… changing leaves… and most importantly, Fall TV premieres. For one as addicted to television as me (and my family), Fall TV represents a heavy dose of prozac. It washes away the gloomy summer season of lackluster prime time sludge and reality fast food. Below, you’ll find my take on the premieres thus far, and the moments I loved or hated.
So here you go. Part I. I’ll keep them coming as I work through the various nights of TV euphoria I have planned this week. What shows will make it to DVR permanence? What shows will be avoided forever? Stay tuned…
Early Premieres (AKA The CW, Showtime and Cable)
The Vampire Diaries (Season 2 Premiere) The CW
Fast-paced. Picked up right where last season ended with Katherine back in town causing all kinds of fun havoc. Elena/Katherine makes the already quick/engaging show even more watchable. I can’t help but root for Damon. Stefan is too whiney. Anyone up for Team Damon t-shirts instead of all the Twilight fun? My jaw dropped to the floor at the end when Damon rekindles his devilish ways. I was hooked last season, and so far this season isn’t disappointing. I could use more uber-witch Bonnie though.
Best Moment: When Damon snaps Jeremy’s neck, with the One Republic song Come Home playing in the background. Ian Somerhalder actually shows pain in his eyes as Elena and Katherine admit their love for (yawn) Stefan.
Nikita (Series Premiere) The CW
I was hesitant about this show when I first saw the trailer. After watching the pilot, it’s a different turn of play for the CW, but I’m still not completely sold. Maggie Q is tough, but I don’t see her as an empowered female figure like Buffy or really anything Eliza Dushku has done. However, it does feel more grown up than some of the other CW fare.
The action is rip-roaring fun, but the plot leaves a little to be desired. I’ve seen the second episode as well, and I’m still not completely sold. I don’t know how they’ll keep it interesting past the fifth or sixth episodes.
Best Moment: Finding out the new recruit for Division is actually working for Nikita.
90210 (Season 3 Premiere) The CW
Season 2 was fantastic, and the season 3 premiere did not disappoint. When we left our 90210 high schoolers (though Teddy, really? You are 30 something.) they were in varying states of disarray. They put the dreadful Annie ran over someone plot in the background with her having come clean. Naomi hid out in a grody hotel after her rap by creepy teacher of the year. Adrianne embarked on her singing career. Silver and Teddy had dating bliss. (Dixon is too boring to talk about) And low and behold, it all falls apart. An earthquake hits Beverly Hills, and all the teens lives are shaken up by the events. This is pure caffeine in TV format. They are so addicting, it kind of hurts (the music isn’t bad either).
One thing? Get rid of the Aussie. He’s awful on the show.
Best Moment: Naomi is putting on a strip show in a bedroom for several guys during the school’s out for an earthquake party. Teddy walks in to try and save her. Naomi’s face is so perfectly balanced with the deep seeded shame she’s trying to hide. This is a contender for best TV moment of the premiere week(s).
Top Chef : Just Desserts (Series Premiere) Bravo
Finally! A Top Chef where I know all of the ingredients! The cast looks particularly drama-filled, so this season should be as good as the marshmallow chocolate cupcakes at Sprinkles. It doesn’t have the polish of the original Top Chef, but I think Just Desserts is kind of just that – a Dessert to the real meal. Blowing glitter? Really?
Best Moment: N/A – no stand out moments of joy or sadness this round.
Outlaws (Series Premiere) CBS
I usually outlaw CBS, with the exception of How I Met Your Mother, but this show piqued my interest. I also found it odd it premiered earlier than most shows, which leads me to believe CBS wants it to gain an audience early or has already canceled it. Jimmy Smits plays a Supreme Court Judge (and a schmuck) who resigns to take on the system head-to-head. His first case is a death penalty case (who looks like snoop dog). He gets him off, and they play basketball and grill out. Yeah, I wasn’t impressed either. However, I’m fence sitting this one. I’ll give it another shot before I decide.
Best Moment: All the scenes with Carly Pope. She doesn’t in the story at all, but she sure does liven the set up.
Weeds (Season 6 Premiere) Showtime
Weeds finally has a rejuvenated direction that doesn’t make me want to throw something at the TV. Loved it. Nancy and her children go on the run after Shane murders the hateful Latino chick with a croquet mallet. The show has been through a few episodes already, and the new direction is both funny and interesting without all the seedy sandy grit that seemed that hang on the last few seasons. Silas reading for the hotel guest was hilarious. Nancy falling back into her existing habits is expected and tragic. Good thing Andy is still there to keep the show afloat with some version of moral cushioning.
Best Moment: Lupita had a stowed away bag ready to go. Nancy asked her how she got ready so fast. Lupita deadpanned: “I work for you. I’m always ready to flee. You should get to know yourself better.”
The Big C (Series Premiere) HBO
Oh Laura Linney! She’s marvelous on TV. I love her take (while the show is not entirely original) on a woman deciding to live her life rather than stay the doormat she was so used to being. She throws wine on couches! Hell, she sets them on fire! Replace the rest of the cast (expect her old cranky neighbor, love her). This is a definite DVR-er. I could see re-watching these episodes, just for Linney.
Hellcats (Series Premiere) The CW
I didn’t want to like this show. In all honesty, I thought it looked like an awful Bring It On rip-off or a second fiddle Make It Or Break It. But man, it’s not bad. Not greatness, but definitely watchable week-to-week. The routines are fun and intense. Alyson Michalka plays Marti – our “entrant into the world of cheerleading”. I’m reserving full-on judgment for a few more episodes, but I’ve added it to my season passes…
Best Moment: Marti learning how to cheer lead from watching Bring It On. She even practices the routine in her living room. I love a show that acknowledges its own silliness.