Thursday, September 30, 2010

3-Sentence Reviews: September 2010 Television (part 1)

It's that time again: television premiere season!

The ultimate irony of House is that as it's become more ostensibly character-driven, the characters have become less interesting; Thirteen's "I have Huntington's; should I stay or should I go?" two-dimensionality is a good example.  But the nail in the coffin for character-driven House, the premiere episode of season 7, and potentially for the series as a whole is "Huddy": watch that miserable excuse for a scene where House opens the champagne bottle, and ask yourself if it is ever okay for House to smile with genuine affection and happiness.  On a more positive note, the season's second episode was very strong, giving me hope that the writers have figured out how to balance "Huddy" with the House that we actually want to watch.

When you brand your show as "24 meets Lost," as The Event has done, you're not only marketing your show directly to me, you're setting some impossibly high standards as you compare yourself to my two favorite shows of the last decade.  I'm enjoying it so far: I actually like the copious nonlinearity, though I appreciate that it won't be everyone's cup of tea, and I'm not sure I needed the explicit confirmation of aliens as early as episode 2, but I'm optimistic that I'll warm up to it.  The biggest stumbling block I foresee for this show is that it could forget the Lost paradigm of characters first, mythology second.

I've never been particularly excited about theme-tribe seasons of Survivor, because they mostly end up as gimmicks.  In that one season where they divided tribes by race, it's not like we actually learned anything about racial dynamics or differential ability; in Fans vs. Favorites, we never did get a conclusive answer about whether Survivor novices or veterans are better at the game; so in this edition, I don't expect any grand revelations about old people or young people being better at Survivor.  But there are enough big personalities and potentials for explosive conflicts that I think it'll be a great season anyway.

Some seasons of Hell's Kitchen are good because the contestants are legitimately good chefs.  Others are good because they're terrible chefs.  This one looks to be good because all the contestants are complete morons, and there's no telling how much crap they're about to take from Ramsay because of it.

Criminal Minds continues to be criminally underrated by my demographic.  It's one of the best procedurals on television today.  In its sixth season, it's still excellent, and the psychological chess matches are only getting more intense.

Check back soon for shows from the rest of the week!

Currently listening: "The Bleeding Heart Show," The New Pornographers

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