PRELIMINARY REPORT CARD ON THE NEW TV SEASON
THERE'S GOOD AND BAD AMONG THE NEW AND OLD.
Cheers and jeers
The new TV season is only a month old.
By Eric Kohanik
It has only been a few weeks since thenew TV season officially got rolling. But it has already become clear. There are shows, both new and old, that are – and are not – working for me this fall.
So, what’s doing it for me?
✔ Dancing With the Stars (Mondays andTuesdays; ABC, CTV): The calibre of talent is better than ever. In fact, the first week saw routines that were already miles ahead of the final weeks of some earlier seasons.
✔ The Big Bang Theory (Mondays; CBS): Jim Parsons’ stints as the socially clueless Sheldon get more ingenious each week.
✔ Californication (Mondays; The Movie Network, Movie Central): Hank Moody (David Duchovny) and those around him keep hitting one wall after another. It’s so much fun to watch them pick up the pieces.
✔ 90210 (Tuesdays; The CW, Global): OK, don’t laugh. Nobody expected it to be good because it didn’t have to be; the show had a built-in audience. And that actually makes it kind of a pleasant surprise.
✔ The Rick Mercer Report (Tuesdays;CBC): Mercer is a brilliant satirist, even if the elements of each instalment of his show are getting way too familiar and predictable. At least the federal election is providing plenty of new ammunition.
✔ Survivor: Gabon (Thursdays; CBS, Global): OK, if ever there were a show made for HDTV, this is it. Too bad it took so long.
✔ Weeds (Sundays; Showcase): Quite simply, it stars Mary-Louise Parker. Enough said.
✔ The Bonnie Hunt Show (weekdays; Citytv): Despite its cheesy opening titles, Hunt’s warmth on this daytime gab showputs TV’s latenight talkers to shame.
There’s plenty that’s not working for me this season, too. The leading offenders?
✘ Mad Men (Sundays; AMC, A): The first season was so fabulous. But sometimes, there are such long, silent moments this season that you can’t figure out what’s up.
✘ Desperate Housewives (Sundays; ABC, CTV): Executive producer Marc Cherry reset the clock, moving things ahead five years to get rid of story screw-ups. After only two episodes, though, the show has already painted itself into a creative corner again.
✘ Knight Rider (Mondays; NBC, E!): Sorry. Maybe a supercharged car would be way more appealing if gas were cheaper.
✘ Saturday Night Live (Saturdays; NBC, Global): No matter how good it gets, how come cast members still don’t know how to read lines on cue cards without making it so obvious that they’re reading cue cards?
✘ So You Think You Can Dance Canada (various days; CTV): I LOVE it, but I feel sorry for it. As the debut week of Dancing With the Stars and Grey’s Anatomy illustrated, if CTV’s American shows have something big going on, the network will quickly treat this as a second-class refugee. If only Canadian broadcasters had the balls to put Canadian shows ahead of American ones …