Fall 2007 TV: The Final Wrap-Up
Now that all the new Fall shows have debuted, it's time to take a look back and ask, "Why the hell did I do that again?"
Here's a rundown of my grades for all of this season's new entries, linked to my reviews, along with some brief commentary. In some cases, I've adjusted my grade up or down, to reflect my evolving opinions. My grading system is roughly along these lines:
1: Why do you hate me, TV?
2-3: Won't ever watch this again
4-5: Borderline; might give it a second chance
6-7: I'll watch as long as it's not up against something better
8-9: Permanently on my viewing schedule
10: Battlestar Galactica, The Daily Show, Deadwood, Lost.
Big Shots: 2
Horrible crap, a waste of talent so severe it makes me question why I ever considered these people to have talent in the first place. Has nobody cancelled it yet?
Carpoolers: 4 (original grade: 3)
I've watched three episodes apiece of Carpoolers and Cavemen, out of pure TV laziness. I think it's fair to adjust my initial grade for Carpoolers and say both shows are of equal, lackluster quality.
Dirty Sexy Money: 8 (original grade: 9)
This is still possibly my favorite of the new Fall programs, but its subsequent outings have yet to match the brilliant pilot. If it drifts a little farther away from the humor and into soap opera cliches, I might lose interest altogether.
One of the new shows I refused to watch, and I don't regret it!
Pushing Daisies: 8
I'd say this is just about tied with Dirty Sexy Money for my favorite new show. Successfully pushes the boundaries of romance and quirkiness, without (yet) crossing the line to sappy or obnoxious.
Samantha Who?: 5
The second episode developed Samantha's lost life, but not the humor. Has potential, but better find it quickly.
Women's Murder Club: 3 (original grade: 4)
The more I think about it, the more I dislike this show. Very stupid pilot, leaving me with no desire to watch ever again.
The Big Bang Theory: 7 (original grade: 6)
I know there must be some of you who think I'm nuts, but I'm really enjoying the characters and the humor. Even blonde ditz Kaley Cuoco is growing on me.
Cane: 5 (original grade: 7)
I went with the higher grade originally because, while I greatly admired the cast, they weren't in the kind of show I'd like to watch. I finally decided that the grade should reflect that fact more accurately. If a great cast can't get me to watch a show, the show ain't that good.
I don't watch reality shows. I can't see them from up here on my high horse.
Congratulations, Moonlight! You're the worst new show I had to endure this year. You join 2005's Killer Instinct and Freddie as the only shows I've ever given a 1.
Viva Laughlin: 2
The first scripted show to be cancelled -- axed before I could even post my review. Good thing I didn't love it!
Aliens in America: 7 (original grade: 8)
I loved the pilot, but the series just isn't hooking me. I actually skipped this week's episode, and watched Chuck instead. While it remains in this competitive timeslot, I doubt I'll be tuning in again.
Another show I refused to watch.
I said of this show: "Sight unseen, I can tell this is so god damnably contemptible that I refuse to even consider watching it." It's already been picked up for a second season. Yep, that sounds about right. Sigh.
Life Is Wild: grade pending, possibly
I still have it on tape. I still haven't decided whether or not I'll ever watch it. Starting to seem like not.
Another of the shows I opted out on. Already cancelled.
The predictable formula was beginning to wear on me, even though I was still enjoying the humor and the characters. But my interest peaked again after the last couple episodes mixed things up by introducing a recurring plot line, involving Sam's contract with the devil. Good Satanic fun.
Back To You: 3
Do I really think this is the worst new sitcom of the Fall, worse even than Carpoolers and Cavemen? Yes. Yes I do. And I stand by that.
No reality shows!
K-Ville: 3 (original grade: 4)
I've watched bits and pieces of some of the episodes since the pilot, and this is really, really bad. Worse even than my original low judgment.
Another reality show I allowed myself to skip. The first Fall show to be cancelled.
No reality shows!
Bionic Woman: 2 (original grade: 5)
I wanted so badly to like this show, which accounts for the relatively high grade I initially gave it. After punishing myself with three episodes, I was out, and the new grade more truthfully represents its sheer awfulness.
Chuck: 7 (original grade: 6)
The pilot was a little wobbly, and the second episode was worse. But the next three episodes have been solid enjoyment through and through. Fine comedy action.
Journeyman: 7 (original grade: 8)
God, this is a gorgeously filmed show, taking fine advantage of many San Francisco locations. And I like the introduction of a possible villain, in the professor from Lawrence Livermore Lab. But it's a little too humorless, and the familial strife is a little bleaker than it needs to be.
Life: 5 (original grade: 7)
Looks like I've quit this show, which explains the drop in my grade. I skipped it last week, intending to catch the reairing on Sunday night. Well, I skipped it Sunday night, too. And then I skipped the new one this week. It has its merits, but I just can't muster the energy to commit to it.
Best slate of new programming:
Hard to judge. NBC had four new shows, and until a couple weeks ago, I was still watching all four -- 100% success! Then I dumped both Bionic Woman, which is horrible, and Life, which is decent but just not essential to my viewing experience. Still, 50/50 ain't bad.
ABC had eight new shows, one of which I refused to watch. Out of the remaining seven, two have become my favorite new shows, one sitcom has the potential to stick around for the long run, and only two of them did I really hate.
The CW had six new shows, but (if I wind up never getting around to Life Is Wild, which seems likely) I only deigned to watch two of them. But both of those shows were very, very good.
I think I'll give the nod to ABC. They couldn't hit NBC's 50% success rate, but they did have the two best debuts of the Fall season. Well done.
Worst slate of new programming:
CBS made a valiant effort to claim this title. Out of five new shows, I could only make myself watch four, and two of them were unquestionably the worst new shows overall.
But Fox, oh, Fox: out of five new shows, I pre-judged three to be unwatchable, and the remaining two were dreadful. That is a 0% success rate. Congratulations, Fox: you managed to offer the very worst of a bad crop.
28 new broadcast shows.
19 shows reviewed.
1 review still pending (but don't hold your breath).
3 shows already cancelled.
6 shows rated 3 or lower.
7 shows rated 6 or higher.
4 shows I was genuinely looking forward to, pre-season (Bionic Woman, Chuck, Pushing Daisies, Reaper).
1 anticipated show that turned into a bitter disappointment.
2 shows I probably wouldn't have checked out, but am glad I did (Aliens in America, Dirty Sexy Money).
6 shows I will make an effort to continue to watch. (Aliens in America would make 7, if The CW moves it to a better timeslot.)
0 shows I'm truly enthusiastic about. I can see myself giving up any or all of these shows with no real sense of loss. While there's a lot of quality programming, there's nothing I feel I have to watch, and hope to still be watching five years in the future. Which makes for a pretty weak premiere season.
And, as always:
1 dude who needs to get a life.