Preview for fall TV, making comeback since writers’ strike

Caroline Babula ('09) and Zack Rosenblatt ('09)/ Eastside Entertainment Editors

pushing-daisies.jpgThe TV season is finally upon us, and now we can expect full seasons of our favorite shows. Following the prolonged Writer’s Strike, viewers were left with minimal exposure to their favorite shows. Unfortunately, we are still feeling the effects of the strike to this day. With no writers allowed to start any new material, there is a small number of pilots previewing compared to what regular seasons have. Even so, shows that never got a chance to prove themselves (ratings-wise) last year, such as Pushing Daises and Private Practice, will be given another chance. Even with the reduced number of pilots there are still some interesting new shows debuting. To help you decide what to watch on TV this coming fall, Eastside’s Entertainment Editors Caroline Babula (’09) and Zack Rosenblatt (’09) have provided their choices for the top returning shows, and what they will be watching out of the new shows premiering.

 

Zack’s Picks: 

Top 5 Returning Shows

5. Boston Legal (ABC) Mon. 10:00 pm

The dynamic duo of Denny Crane (William Shatner) and Allen Shore (James Spader) will smoke their last cigar this upcoming season, as this hilarious legal drama will end its run at five seasons. A spin-off of “The Practice”, this show has provided comedy to some otherwise serious issues. Spader’s bombastic closing statements have never failed to amaze me, and no matter what anyone says, his Emmy win over James Gandolfini last year was well deserved. Without a doubt, Spader provides the show with a great combination of comedy and seriousness, but the show would not be as great without Shatner’s off-the-wall Denny Crane. Everything from shooting a hobo with a paintball gun to his battle with Mad-Cow Disease and his supposed undefeated record makes the character. Most of the supporting characters have left the show, but Spader and Shatner remain, and will ride the show off into the sunset.

 

4. How I Met Your Mother (CBS) Mon. at 8:30pm

This sitcom was on its last legs last year and was originally struggling to attract good ratings. In order to avoid an unfortunate cancellation the show turned to a most unlikely source to help, Britney Spears. Following her cameo mid-season, the show’s ratings went sky-high. While she won’t be returning, the show still provides some of the best comedy on TV. There is no question in my mind that Neil Patrick Harris’ Barney Stinson is the top supporting actor in comedy, and he has delivered some of the best catchphrases over the course of the show’s four seasons. The show separates itself from other sitcoms with its “family” aspect. The five main characters are all the best of friends, and all of the comedy comes from this atmosphere. Watch out for a cameo from Regis Philbin this season.

 

 

3. Pushing Daises (ABC) Wed. at 8:00 pm“Daisies” is a quirky comedic drama about a “Pie Maker” named Ned (Lee Pace). Ned has the extraordinary ability to bring back people from the dead by simply touching them. The catch is that if he brings back a dead person for more then one minute, then someone nearby will die. Despite this “rule”, Ned decides to bring back his childhood sweetheart, Chuck (Anna Friel) and to keep her alive despite the consequences. As they struggle to have a relationship without contact, Ned and Chuck join forces with a local investigator named Emerson Cod (Chi McBride) to solve crimes no one else can. From the creators of Men in Black, this show is like nothing we have ever seen before. The originality is what makes it so great, in addition to great performances all around. Last season saw cameos from stars such as Molly Shannon and Paul Reubens, and this upcoming second season will include David Arquette and Fred Willard.

 

2. Dexter (SHO) Sun.

The best drama on cable television returns for its third season on September 28. The crime-drama stars Michael C. Hall in the title role as a forensic expert with a dark, dark secret: Dexter himself is a serial killer. Thanks to some “tutoring” from his father growing up, he has been able to channel his thirst for the kill to murderous criminals who escape prosecution. His father helped him to craft a life where he hides his true identity, as a murderous psychopath, from everyone. His inability to show emotion makes him seem very unlikable at first glance, but he manages to garner a lot of respect from his peers. Last season, he nearly blew his cover when the police got a hold of all of “his” bodies at the bottom of the ocean. Through the media, he earned the nickname “The Bay Harbor Butcher”, but he luckily managed to avoid getting caught. This upcoming season a new character will be introduced (played by NYPD Blue’s Jimmy Smits) that is being described as something Dexter has never had before, a true friend. Smits character will be a brotherly figure to him like nobody else could be.

 

1. The Office (NBC) Thurs. at 9:00

Now in its fifth season, this adaptation of the hit British comedy continues to produce the most consistent laughs on network television. The staff at Dunder Mifflin Paper Co. continues to find new ways to make us laugh. Despite newfound success as a movie star, Steve Carell continues to star as Michael Scott, the egotistical boss at Dunder Mifflin. The Jim & Pam (John Krasinski & Jenna Fischer) romance took an interesting turn at the end of last season, as Jim intended to propose but Andy (Ed Helms) thwarted his plans with an unexpected proposal to Angela (Angela Kinsey), even though they clearly were not the best match. In the upcoming season Jim and Pam will be separated again, as Pam pursues a career in art in New York City. Even though the characters of Michael, Jim, Pam and Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson) get all of the publicity, this show would not be as successful if not for its supporting characters. Oscar nominated actress Amy Ryan joins the cast as the new head of PR.

 

Top 3 New Shows 

1. Fringe (FOX) Tues. at 9:00 pm

From the creative mastermind of J.J. Abrams, creator of hit shows Lost and Alias, comes this sci-fi thriller about an FBI agent (Anna Torv) who enters the world of paranormal investigations. She employs the help of an institutionalized genius (John Noble) and his son (Joshua Jackson). Think “X-Files” meets “CSI”.

 

2. My Own Worst Enemy (NBC) at 10:00 pm

Former movie star Christian Slater is looking to make a comeback by switching his focus to the small screen. He stars as a modern day Jekyll and Hyde, playing a character with multiple personalities. Henry Spivey lives a typical suburban life, including a wife and two kids. Edward Albright is a lethal secret agent and a killing machine. They may have completely different personalities, but they do have one thing in common: Henry and Edward share the same body.  Pundits have called it a mixture of “Bourne” and “Alias”.

 

 

3. Hole in the Wall (FOX) Thurs. at 8:00 pmNo, I am not joking. This is more due to a lack of promising new shows then anything, but I personally believe this show will be very entertaining. This is an adaptation of the Japanese game show in which contestants have to maneuver their bodies into different shapes so that they will fit through holes in an approaching wall, or crash into the wall and fall into a pool of water. Just watch the videos on YouTube of the Japanese version if you need any evidence of the humor. 

 

 

 

Caroline’s Picks 

Top 5 Returning Shows:

5. Grey’s Anatomy (ABC) Thurs. at 9:00 pm

Meredith and McDreamy finally got together at the end of last season’s finale, in what may be the most romantic moment in primetime (or at least Grey’s Anatomy) history. Which is good, right? Wrong. Rumors are that McDreamy’s ex, Nurse Rose, will not go down without a fight at the start of the series’ fifth season. Spoiler Alert! There are also several rumors running rampant all over the Internet stating Grey’s fans will be faced with many surprises this year, ranging from guest appearances by deceased Denny Duquette (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) to the fact that one main character may be “offed” this season by way of a brain tumor. The only way to know for sure is to watch, starting Thursday, September 25.

 

 

4. Chuck (NBC) Mon. at 8:00 pm

 

The new season of Chuck, which has a special web premiere on September 22, is going to be “100 percent better than the first,” said star Zachary Levi in a June interview with TV Guide. Season two will be “twice the action, twice the drama and twice the romance.  It’s Chuck squared,” Levi added. For starters, the show resumes with an order for Chuck (Levi), everyone’s favorite cuddly and adorable tech support guru at the local Buy More, to be eliminated. The order is given to none other than Casey (Adam Baldwin), Chuck’s confidante at the CIA. Watch Chuck try to survive, starting Monday, September 29 on NBC.

 

 

3. House (Fox) Tue. at 8:00 pm

When we last saw Dr. Gregory House (Hugh Laurie), he had just been responsible for the death of his best friend’s (Robert Sean Leonard) girlfriend (Anne Dudek). Season five of the popular FOX series will begin with Wilson (Leonard) declaring his resignation in order for him to properly grieve Amber’s (Dudek) death. How House will scheme to keep Wilson a doctor at Princeton-Plainsboro (and we all know he will) should prove for some hilarious comedy. House premieres this Tuesday, September 16 at its new time, 8:00 p.m.

 

2. Pushing Daisies (ABC) Wed. at 8:00 pm

 

In the town of Coeur d’ Coeurs, there is a private investigator by the name of Emerson Cod (Chi McBride) who has a special tool he uses to solve murders: pie-maker Ned (Lee Pace). See, Ned can bring people back to life, but only for one minute, or someone else within the vicinity dies. However, Ned brought back his childhood love, Charlotte “Chuck” Charles (Anna Friel) and let her stay alive. Their romance is blooming, but if they ever touch again, she will be gone forever. Oh, and Ned kind of, sort of killed her father. And he may have told her so in last season’s finale. Towards the end of last season, many citizens of Couer d’Couers began to get suspicious of Chuck, which should lead to an interesting subplot line in season two. Also in the new season, waitress of The Pie Hole, Ned’s bakery, Olive (Kristin Chenoweth) joins a convent. Watch the events of last season’s finale unfold on Wednesday, October 1 on ABC.

 

 

1. Heroes (NBC) Mon. at 9:00 pm

NBC’s Heroes is entering its third volume, “Villains,” with a two-hour season premiere on Monday September 22 at 9:00pm. Prior to the show, at 8:00, there will be a countdown show which will sneak peek the new season. Avid fans are greatly anticipating the new season, as it has been nine months since we have last seen Heroes. Despite a lacking second season, creator Tim Kring has used the hiatus the Writer’s Strike forced to reanalyze and develop the show, promising a much improved third season.

 

Top 3 New Shows 

1. The Ex List (CBS) Fri. at 9:00 pm

Elizabeth Reaser, best known as Rebecca Pope on Grey’s Anatomy, stars in The Ex List this fall. The show follows Bella Bloom (Reaser) as she explores all of her past relationships in hopes of finding her husband – a man she has already dated, according to a psychic she saw. Loyal Grey’s fans should certainly give The Ex List a try, especially since it allows Reaser to be in the spotlight for once. The Ex List can be seen starting on October 3rd.  

 

2. The Starter Wife (USA) Fri. at 10:00 pm

Back in May of 2007, USA debuted a miniseries based on the novel The Starter Wife by Gigi Levangie Grazer. Lead actress Debra Messing starred as Molly Kagan, an ex-wife of a Hollywood studio boss who restarts her life after an abrupt divorce. Due to popular ratings and several awards nominations and wins, the miniseries will be reconstructed into a TV show, with Messing reprising her role. Interestingly, the role of Kenny Kagan (Peter Jacobson), the ex-husband, will be played by David Alan Basche instead, as Jacobson is now a series regular on House. Despite the change, The Starter Wife will prove to be, if nothing else, an intriguing program to watch due to the modified production. The Starter Wife begins October 10th.

 

3. Kath & Kim (NBC) Thurs. at 8:30 pm

SNL alum Molly Shannon is rejoining NBC once again this fall by staring as the mother in Kath & Kim. The sitcom is the US version of the Australian hit that explores a dysfunctional mother-daughter relationship. When Kim (Selma Blair) moves back in with her divorcée mother after separating from her husband, who works at a Best Buy, chaos ensues. Kim dresses like a child, eats for comfort and is obsessed with celebrities while Kath is in the midst of searching for love. Kath no longer caters to each and every whim of Kim’s, which causes even more dysfunction. The series premieres Thursday, October 9.