Hey, it’s been awhile since a reality TV update, so why not now? In fact, I’m throwing aside the ‘reality’ limitation and I’m going to write about some of the new shows this year. Let’s break it down.
Sunday is pretty much about football, and I certainly write about that often enough. But in the evening, right now we are watching two shows:
The Amazing Race -- So far, this is the best season in a long while. There are unlikeable players, like Rob and Peter, but no one who is truly ass-tastic. I’m rooting for the Bumpkins, who almost assuredly won’t be able to keep up much longer, and I’d like the Cho brothers to start showing some more personality. But the race is competitive and doesn’t seem as woefully constructed as the last few years. Grade: A-
Desperate Housewives -- For a chick show (watch as I duck) it’s not bad. I didn’t watch the first season and thought last year was tolerable. This season isn’t quite as good, but it’s not an awful show and Abby loves it. I can handle it.
How I Met Your Mother -- Neither of us watched this last season, but it’s a mildly enjoyable half hour. Neil Patrick Harris is genuinely amusing and does the most with his lines, and no one is truly awful here. That’s not huge praise, but the sitcom is a dying breed and this is one of the few good entrants in that category. We’ll keep watching it, but if it was an hour show, I’d be less comfortable saying that.
Heroes -- I didn’t really love the first episode, but I thought about it for several days afterwards. The second episode was even better, and now I think I genuinely like this one. The comic book framework definitely helps as it makes the sometimes overblown dialogue more understandable. So far, so good.
Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip -- Any show Aaron Sorkin ever does, I’m there. I really, really LIKE this show, and I really want to LOVE this show. The acting is top notch as is, obviously, the writing. Matthew Perry is fantastic, as is Bradley Whitford. I know some folks don’t like Amanda Peet here, but I think she’s good and still has that “cute in the way you might actually meet her” look going for her.
Friday Night Lights -- TBD. I taped the first show and haven’t yet watched it. I’ve heard mixed reviews here, from the effusive NY Times review to others saying it was just so-so.
Veronica Mars - Before I watched this show, I thought it was something like Joan of Arcadia or something else straight men wouldn’t watch. But it’s a fantastic show. FANTASTIC. Some of the best writing and best young actors in all of television. So far, the first episode was top-notch, and the transition from high school to college didn’t feel forced. I’m optimistic it will stay one of the better shows on TV.
30 Rock - TBD.
America’s Next Top Model -- So far, it’s been enjoyable though I was quite shocked they actually got rid of Monique last week who was gorgeous and insane, two good components of a contestant on the show. I’m not sure who to root for, and the campiness of Tyra Banks and her other judges is just too much for me half of the time.
Lost -- I did like the premiere episode, though I wasn’t as nuts about it as some other folks. Still, this is by far one of the best shows on TV, at least when 24 isn’t on the air. So, no question I’ll be tuning in every week.
The Nine -- The pilot episode was quite good and has the same element of mystery that Lost has featured so well. I’m not really sure how they’ll keep it going, but it was compelling enough to make us excited for next week.
Survivor -- So far, it continues to be the dean of reality television. The race thing was predictably shuttled after too few episodes, but the show itself is still great. I’m rooting for Yul, which means he’s toast. And while Parvati is quite attractive, she’s too annoying to root for. It’s open season and Jeff Probst is in charge. I’m digging it.
The Office -- Seriously, what’s better than Dwight Schrute? I never thought I’d say this, but at this point this version is at least as good as the British one.
Ugly Betty - It’s time for an official complaint. Folks, you know we own TiVo’s. With Survivor and The Office both on during the 8-9 period, I can’t watch this show. And it’s a GOOD show. Not 100% my speed, as it’s a little too cheeky (at least the pilot episode was) but it’s refreshingly different than almost anything else on the air. So, I can’t say we’re actually watching it, but we’d like to be.
FRIDAY and SATURDAY
Um, nothing. Eventually, it might be Battlestar: Galatica since a lot of people I trust insist it’s the best thing on TV, period. That also goes for The Wire -- both of these first few seasons are high up in the Netflix queue, and as soon as we’re back from the honeymoon, I think this is what we start renting.