December 10, 2008

Mid-season Reviews: New Shows

For the second day of my mid-season reviews, I thought I'd write about some of the new shows that came out this season. These are the ones I've watched regularly.

Fringe - This is my favorite new show this season. As a former avid watcher of The X-Files, I was interested in this show as soon as I heard about it. I am a HUGE J.J. Abrams fan, so as soon as I heard a new show was coming that he'd helped develop, I was on the bandwagon. Much like I'm REALLY looking forward to Dollhouse, which premiers early next year and is spearheaded by Joss Whedon, one of my other favorites. The show focuses on FBI Agent Olivia Dunham. After things go awry with her current partner (and lover), she is moved to a special FBI unit that focuses on what they call "The Pattern", a series of unexplained and crazy events happening around the country (and world). She teams up with Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson) because of his relationship with his brilliant (and crazy) scientist father, Walter Bishop (portrayed absolutely brilliantly by John Noble), who uses his memory of scientific tests and experiments he did years ago before he was institutionalized for a long period. If it sounds crazy, it is, but it WORKS. There's a great chemistry between Jackson and Noble, and that familiar partner-friend-more tension is there between Dunham and the younger Bishop. It's only fault is that the back story is a bit involved, because there's an ongoing mythology having to do with a company Prometheus Corp., a cutting-edge research facility that seems to have been carrying on questionable scientific research. I think if they can cut back a little on that involvement, or make it more accessible to the viewers who haven't watched the entire season, it will be practically perfect. The episodes do stand on their own, the 'mystery of the week' works without that back story. Everyone should start watching now, because this is exactly the kind of show I fall in love with only to have it cancelled after the first season.

Apparitions - We've been watching a few more British shows this year (watch sometime in the future for a post on those), but this is my favorite. Apparitions centers around a priest living in London who has a relationship with the head Exorcist from the Vatican. I was wary when my husband first brought this show up, I'm really freaked out by exorcism in general. However, because it's a British show it's a little different. A little bit calmer, not as much SCARE factor and more thinking about what it means, and what the series of events happening means. It's a really interesting show, and the story brought me in right away with a series of demons and events that couldn't be explained. If you enjoy a little variety in the type of show you watch, it would definitely be one worth checking out.

Kath & Kim - Since I'm into the other shows on NBC on Thursday nights (30 Rock, My Name is Earl, The Office), I decided to give Kath & Kim a try. It stars Selma Blair and Molly Shannon as a mother and daughter. Selma Blair looks young, but in actuality is only eight years younger than Shannon. It seems to work okay as long as you don't think about it too much. The show is an adaptation from a popular Australian show of the same name (I'd love to hear a comparison if anyone has seen the original). The show is... well, it's just okay. I don't hate it. I don't love it. I'll watch it if I don't feel like watching one of my hour long shows, or if I want to watch something that I don't have to pay as much attention to. I don't think it will last much more than a season here unless they do something to step it up.

Worst Week- I watched a couple of episodes of this show, centering around a young couple with an unexpected pregnancy. Another one that was based on a British show being turned into a US adaptation. Somehow, I found the first episode hilariously funny. I can see how some people would have been uncomfortable - horrible things kept happening to the main character, much in the vein of the things that kept happening to Ben Stiller in Meet the Parents. Unfortunately by the time the second episode roller around I just wasn't as entertained. With all the other shows I have on my plate, it just wasn't good enough to grab my attention and make me want to watch, and I didn't.

Eleventh Hour - I was unsure about Eleventh Hour at first, but I decided to give it a chance because I quite enjoy Jerry Bruckheimer's brain seeds. This show focuses on Dr. Jacob Hood (Rufus Sewell), who plays a special science advisor to the U.S. Government, and his bodyguard/investigative partner, Rachel Young. They travel around the country to places where illnesses and crime scenes involve some sort of scientific background. It's a little bit similar to Numbers - an intellectual works with a major security agency to solve crimes. As I watched more and more episodes, I got drawn in more and more. Sewell is great as the main character, and despite my fears after the first episode, the scientific explanations are not tedious or boring. For fans of other Bruckheimer shows (CSI etc.) or of Numbers, I'd definitely recommend this one! It has just been greenlighted for 5 more episodes too, so I'm happy about that!

The Mentalist - Patrick Jane is a recovering psychic. Okay, so he's a guy who used to make a living as a psychic on TV, sort of John Edward style, while assisting the police on cases. His life changed forever when his wife and young child were killed by Red John, one of the serial killers he was helping the police track. Simon Baker plays Jane perfectly. He's a quirky, funny man. He uses his amazing skills of observation to help solve cases for the California Bureau of Invesitgation, and his unconventional methods can sometimes get him in trouble, but always end up solving the cases. There's a simple backstory of his desire to find the man who killed his family. It's not made the focal point of the show, but is just there enough to give some depth to his character. It's got a little of the humor and trickiness of Psych and some of the profiling of Criminal Minds and some goodness of it's own, and we thoroughly enjoy it in this house!

True Blood - Well, True Blood has been a big hit this season. Based on the Sookie Stackhouse Vampire novels by Charlaine Harris, the show premiered on Showtime several months ago. I have read three of the books in the series, so I was excited to see what they'd do with it. From the moment I heard about the casting though, I was NOT convinced about Anna Paquin. And I'm still not. I do have a confession to make - I've only watched a couple of episodes. I have a whole bunch of them recorded on my computer, and just haven't gotten around to watching them (that's what Christmas break is for!), so I'll post another update when I've actually gotten caught up on it. I'm still unsure about the show, but I am interested enough in the genre and the adaptation that I'll watch the rest of the season before deciding for sure what I really think!

Come back tomorrow for my thoughts on some old favorites.


Femin Susan said...

Absolutely fantastic post! Good job!
Great! Keep writing…….
Good week……… You are Welcomed to my blog…….

Wishing you in advance "A Merry X'Mas and A Happy New Year''

Maricris Zen Mama said...

I think the Apparition seem like a good one. I love anything horror or Sci fi, and if it's going to be like Fringe, I'll definitely watch it. Thanks for sharing this show. I'm so intrigued now :)