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Midseason 2009 TV Explosion! January 6, 2009

Posted by Ted in : 24, 30 Rock, Amazing Race, American Idol, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dollhouse, Fringe, General, Hell's Kitchen, Heroes, Holiday Posts, Kath & Kim, Lost, Midseason, My Name is Earl, Reality TV, Reviews, Sci-Fi, Smallville, Terminator: tSCC, The Office , 8comments

 January is here. The festivities and laziness of the holiday season are behind us. It’s time for everyone to once again get serious about things, get back to work, and face up to the hard cold reality of life. Right?

Wrong! January is the time of year we TV watchers plunge head first into some serious escapist entertainment, and here at TV Crawlspace the only reality we’ll be facing is reality television. In just a few days, a massive wave of midseason premieres will hit like a tsunami, carrying us helplessly out into the television ocean, hopefully never to return again.

For TV Guide’s complete schedule of midseason premieres, click here.

Here’s a rundown of shows I’m looking forward to (and a couple I’m not looking forward to) in chronological order:

13 Fear is Real – (starts Wed., Jan. 7 on CW 8/7c)
This is a spooky themed reality show that might be amusing, something along the lines of Survivor meets Blair Witch Project. I hope there’s something more going on here than guys in masks jumping out and scaring contestants.

NBC comedy night done (halfway) right – (all four shows resume on Thur., Jan. 8 on NBC 8/7c)
My Name is Earl – This has been a little bit better this season, with a half hearted attempt to return to the theme of redemption (Earl’s list) that made the show so appealing in the first season.
Kath & Kim – I watched this show just to see how bad it was, and to my surprise I liked it. Slightly demented but well written, it’s sort of a kinder, gentler version of John Waters. Everybody on this show apparently works in a mall. How cool is that?
The Office – This has been brilliant as usual. I especially liked the episode where Jim and Pam had their first disagreement. I hope this is a foreshadowing of things to come. I think I like them better as enemies than lovers. Is it just me, or are all the female characters on this show mean and vindictive?
30 Rock – As a fan of Tina Fey during her SNL days, I wanted to like this overhyped show, but the cutesy self-satisfied tone of it left me cold. The jokes aren’t funny, and the endless parade of guest stars can’t make up for the show’s lack of direction. The emperor has no clothes!

Howie Do It – (starts Fri. Jan. 9 on ABC 8/7c)
This appears to be a hidden camera prank type show with Howie Mandel. I may watch the one episode that is aired before the show is cancelled.

24 – (starts Sun. Jan. 11 on FOX 8/7c)
What I always liked about 24 was its sci-fi elements, like the spacey soundtrack, and the high tech gadgetry. This season Janeane Garofalo plays the new computer guru, Janis Gold. According to TV Guide, “Mid-season run-ins with Chloe should make for hot geek-on-geek action.”

American Idol – (starts Tue. Jan. 13 on FOX 8/7c)
It is what it is.

Smallville – (returns Thur. Jan. 15 on CW 8/7c)
I’ve gotten hooked on this show again after sitting out for a couple of seasons. It seems unfair that Smallville’s best season ever may be its last, although I don’t know if that’s been made official yet.

Supernatural – (returns Thur. Jan. 15 on CW 9/8c)
Another CW show that I’ve rediscovered. It seems to have improved a lot since its first season. CW deserves credit for giving shows like this and Smallville a chance, and not axing them at the drop of a hat.

Fringe – (returns Tue. Jan. 20 on FOX 9/8c)
This sci-fi drama from the co-creator of Lost is my favorite new show of the year. Run and tell your friends.

Lost – (starts Wed. Jan. 21 on ABC 9/8c)
There are few television pleasures that compare with getting lost in Lost. It’s pretty amazing that a show this weird could stay on the air for five years, but it’s been reported that season 6 in 2010 will be the last.

Hell’s Kitchen – (starts Thur. Jan. 29 on FOX 9/8c)
Not a great time slot for Chef Ramsey this time around. He’s going up against The Office and the ratings powerhouse Supernatural.

Heroes – (returns Mon. Feb. 2 on NBC 9/8c)
This quality of this show has fallen faster than Nathan Petrelli during an eclipse. The storylines seem to be wandering aimlessly. Too many characters to keep up with is part of the problem. Some have suggested it could be the show’s last season if the ratings don’t improve.

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles – (returns Fri. Feb. 13 on FOX 8/7c)
FOX is moving this to Fridays, where it will be paired up with Dollhouse.

Dollhouse – (starts Fri. Feb. 13 on FOX 9/8c)
This is the one that everyone’s waiting for, the new show from Buffy/Angel mastermind Joss Whedon, but there have reportedly been problems in production and FOX has now relegated the show to the dreaded Friday night time slot (set to debut on Friday the 13th, no less). Of course, the X-files thrived on Fridays, so there’s still hope.

The Amazing Race – (starts Sun. Feb. 15 on CBS 8/7c)
My favorite reality show will feature less airports this season, according to TV Guide.

Somebody Save Smallville! November 23, 2008

Posted by Ted in : Heroes, My Name is Earl, Reviews, Sci-Fi, Smallville , 2comments

 

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(Editor’s note: I was two episodes behind when I wrote this post, so it does not reflect the most recent developments of the show. I just watched the last amazing episode before the mid-season break, and it contains lots of new developments. So, even though I’m a little out of date on this post, I like to think of it as marking a specific moment in time.)

Attention all readers: It’s time for us to jump in the phone booth, put on our tights, and save Smallville, the WB’s long running saga of Superman. “Who me?”, you ask. “I’m just a shoeshine boy, how on earth do I save the most powerful hero in DC comics?” Well, it’s not as hard at it seems. Just watch the WB on Thurdsay nights. After enjoying several episodes of what has been hinted to be Smallville’s FINAL SEASON, I can say with certainty that this show needs to be saved! I would even argue that it beats the current season of Heroes. Gasp!

I admit I had gone splitsville from Smallville for the last couple of seasons. The storylines seemed like retreads of the same old territory: meteor-powered villian captures Chloe, Lana, or Lois. After being temporarily debilitated by the kryptonite studs on the villian’s sneakers, Clark bounces back just in time to save the damsel or dude in distress. I started to wonder if the writers were running out of ideas, or had just stopped caring. I found it hard to warm up to some of the new characters like Oliver Queen (a.k.a. the Green Arrow) and Kara (Supergirl). Most of all, the romantic entanglements were making the show unwatchable. The Lex and Lana debacle drove me to watch My Name is Earl instead. Even the show’s original producers finally lost interest and called it quits.

This time around I decided to give the show some unconditional love and return for its eighth and possibly final season, for which I was amply rewarded. With the ever-brooding Lex and the eternally conflicted Lana out of the picture, the show has a newfound spring in its step and a shine on its shoes. After seven seasons chronicling Clark Kent’s youth, the show has finally reached several pivotal moments in the Superman mythology, such as Clark beginning his job at the Daily Planet, and contemplating his role as a superhero.

The best part of this season has been the lively banter between Lois and Clark. The two characters seem more real than ever before. Kent’s chemistry with his friend-turned-coworker is off the charts. In earlier seasons they sparred like sibling rivals, but their friendship has evolved into something much spicier. They still seem to be in denial about their feelings for each other, although rumors say that could change later in the season. In keeping with the comic book tradition, Lois still doesn’t know about Clark’s superpowers, even though he’s saved her life several times.

The other vital character on the show is, of course, Chloe Sullivan, Clark’s best friend and all purpose computer guru and rogue journalist. A lot of us reclusive, aging Smallville fans like to think that Chloe is a real person. When we’re writing our blogs we ask ourselves, “What would Chloe write?” She has now made it onto her own hypothetical wall of weird and developed meteor-based mega intelligence. As a result of the upgrade, she has turbocharged hacking skills, super memory, and can multitask like nobody’s business. I’m not so crazy about this development. First of all, it makes her a target. She has already been captured by Luthercorp, who sought to exploit her ablilities for their own devious purposes. Even worse, in recent episodes we have seen signs of impending villianhood for Miss Sullivan. When she used her brain to hot wire the Kryptonian thingamajig, her eyes went white and she became super strong. Also, she killed somebody. This will not do. I want the old Chloe back. She was smart enough without the super powers. They should donate her extra intelligence to somebody who really needs it, like Earl’s annoying brother Randy.

Aside from this minor complaint, Smallville is better than ever this season. If you’ve never seen it, now is the time. Together we can boost the ratings and save this great show. The citizens of Metropolis are depending on you.

"Won't you tell me where my country lies?" said the unifaun to his true love's eyes...