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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.

Mama Don’t Take My Robot Girl Away September 14, 2008

Posted by Ted in : Reviews, Sci-Fi, Terminator: tSCC , 2comments

 

 

So what if she tried to kill us and set our house on fire? It’s probably just a bad transistor. I’ll fix her. I know I can!

That was the plot of the 2nd season premiere episode of Terminator: the Sarah Connor Chronicles on the Fox network. T:tSSC is a continuation of the events after the second Terminator movie (or T2, as it was fondly known to every man, woman, and child in 1991). It tells the story of evil time traveling robots (called “terminators”) from the future who are hunting Sarah Connor and her teenage son John. They are doing this to prevent John from fulfilling his destiny as the leader of the resistance moment against the evil robots in the future. The leader of these marauding tinkertoys is a highly advanced computer program known as “Skynet”, which is rumored in certain silicon valley coffee houses to be a future edition of Windows (Bill Gates was unavailable for comment). The ultimate goal of Skynet is, what else, the destruction of the human race. I’m scared!

The resistance movement, being no slouches themselves, have sent agents of their own back in time to assist our protagonists in their struggle. This includes a benevolent terminatress named Cameron (aka the robot girl, portrayed by the alluring Summer Glau) who is committed to protecting Sarah and John at all costs. She is super strong, rust resistant, and says cute things like, “I am not programmed to feel emotion” and “Sometimes you seem inefficient.”

The final episode of season 1 ended with Cameron caught in an exploding SUV, which caused many of us to be concerned with her safety as we awaited the show’s new season. In the premiere episode for season 2, she emerged slightly damaged from the wreckage but seemed to still be in possession of her robot senses. The only problem was that something had gone wrong with her software and suddenly she was trying to kill Sarah and John instead of protecting them. She limped into a convenience store and stapled her ripped face covering back together with a borrowed staple gun. Then she spent most of the episode tracking down her human subjects until they were able to sandwich her between the front bumpers of two semi trucks and remove the CPU (which looks suspiciously like a car cigarette lighter ) from her head. John reactivated her later, against mom’s wishes, but Cameron promised that she wouldn’t try to kill them anymore. Stay tuned for future developments.

I’m proud to say that I never saw any of the Terminator movies. But I was willing to give this TV series a chance. I watched a couple of episodes during the first season, and was less than thrilled. The problem I have is that the tone of the show is too overly serious for a such a silly sci-fi storyline. Nobody ever smiles in the universe of the Terminator franchise. Instead of interesting characters, we get the usual good-guy/bad-guy paint by numbers routine, along with plenty of explosions and car chases. Sarah seems to have no purpose in life except to protect her son John, and to save humanity from impending robot doom. John is totally unlikable, and seems incapable of any emotion beyond self absorption. I guess it’s asking too much to expect good writing in a TV spin-off of an old Schwarzenegger flick. Of course, Arnold went on to become the Governator, so maybe there’s still hope for The Sarah Connor Chronicles.

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