Eclaire Fare

Enjoying Pop Culture, One Bite at a Time

SYTYCD Season 6: The Top 20 Revealed October 22, 2009

After over a month of watching auditions and the Vegas round, we finally met our season 6 top 20 last night. Actually, I enjoyed this new, slower pace. Normally we go from the first audition to the top 20 in about two or three weeks of two hour episodes. By spreading the episodes out into one hour increments, and devoting more time to back stories on the contestants, I feel like we are way ahead of where we were at this point in season 5, when – ironically – I had no clue who Jeanine was! Let’s take a look at the 20 dancers who earned a place on the show. I’ve grouped them by dance specialty.

So You Think You Can Dance’s Season 6 Top 10 Girls

  • Tap – I listed tap first since the judges seem determined to make this season “the year of the tap.” I have nothing against tap dancers, but is there really room for three of them in the top 20, when there are so many other versatile dancers out there? I could be wrong, but I have a feeling that at least one of these tappers will hear something from the judges along the lines of, “You are a terrific tapper, but you’ve got to grow in other areas…”
    • Bianca Revels (20) – Despite my rant above, I do like Bianca. She has a laid back but fun personality, and we’ve seen how passionate she was about making the top 20. (I have a soft spot for the dancers who shed genuine tears in response to the judges’ feedback, or to making it through a particularly difficult round.)
  • Contemporary
    • Ariana Debose (18) – I had never seen her before last night (that I can recall), but her name certainly has a nice ring to it. And she has a nice smile. If she has the personality to match, she could be popular with the fans.
    • Channing Cooke (18) – Now there’s a name and a face you’ll remember. They are playing her up as “the tomboy” (with good reason, since she watches auto racing and once won a national lawn mower obstacle course competition), but I think she has a very classic beauty, and looks very glamorous in the show’s top 20 press release photos. I bet the makeup, hair, and costume departments will have fun working with her. Let’s just hope she has the dancing skills to match the look! If for no other reason, I like her because her profile said that she loves cats. 🙂
    • Ellenore Scott (19) – Her demeanor and speech make seem older than 19, and unfortunately we don’t know much about her. Will her beautiful smile and complexion be enough to make her stand out from the crowd? (After all, since in theory they are all supposed to be great dancers, the viewing audience will pick and choose based on other factors.)
    • Kathryn McCormick (19) – It’s unfortunate that the only thing I know about Kathryn right now is that she talks in an extremely high-pitched voice when she cries, and she cries A LOT. I hope she can get control of her emotions before show time! Earlier I mentioned that I have a soft spot for contestants who cry, but I do have my limits!
    • Noelle Marsh (18) – All I know about Noelle is that she’s Mollee’s BFF. Like, OMG that’s 2gd2btru! Woo hoo! Watching the scenes of them screaming and hugging made me feel like I was watching a Greek rush week special instead of a dance competition. As you may have guessed, I’m no sorority girl, and so I wasn’t super interested in these girls’ sisterhood moments. Granted, I’m happy that they struck up a friendship and will have someone they are close to while they are away from home. I have no comment on Noelle’s dancing yet, since I can’t remember seeing her audition.
  • Jazz

    • Mollee Gray (18) – I agree with the judges that Mollee seems more like a 14 or 15 year old than an 18 year old. She will face quite a challenge on more “grown up” dances like the waltz or the tango, and on any emotionally-charged routines. She’s in a similar position to former American Idol contestant Diana DeGargmo, who had to sing songs about lost love or long standing relationships, things she’d never experienced. Since I tend to root for the older-skewing contestants (like last season’s Melissa), Mollee is not likely to be on my radar.
    • Pauline Mata (19) – I don’t know much about Pauline’s dancing, but I fear she will be one of the contestants who slips through the cracks because we don’t know much about her and she doesn’t stand out.
  • Ball Room
    • Ashleigh Di Lello (26) – She barely made it into the top 20. She was basically the judges’ consolation prize when their top choice, Paula, turned down her invitation to the top 20 because she had a contract to be in a movie. Speaking of which, did it bother anyone else that Paula would remain in the competition as long as she did, knowing that she wouldn’t be able to continue? On the other hand, I can understand why she’d want to see what could have been. However, if she had notified the judges in advance, who knows who would have rounded out the top 20? Back to Ashleigh, she seems like a sweet girl, but I hope she tones down the face pulls she does when she dances.
    • Karen Hauer (27) – Hey, her last name rhymes with Bauer. Sounds like an opportunity for Fox to plug its most popular spy thriller! At 27, she must be one of the oldest contestants, and “older” never bodes well for contestants on this show. Plus, I wonder if missing her husband, who also tried out, will affect her performance – especially since she will constantly be around the ballroom couple who did make it in together.

So You Think You Can Dance’s Season 6 Top 10 Guys

  • Tap.

    • Peter Sabasino (22) – One of two guy tap dancers this season, Peter seems more like an athlete than a dancer, which should serve him well in the competition, since much of the partnering requires strength and agility.
    • Phillip Attmore (25) – Phillip seems like an old soul – well, at least he looks like he is from the big band era. I don’t know what to think of him yet, though.
  • Contemporary
    • Billy Bell (19) – I love his dancing, and although I had thought that he lacked personality, he certainly came out of his shell after he was invited to the top 20! It was fun to see him jumping around and doing some cheesy dance moves. If he can keep that attitude up, he can avoid the curse that other highly trained dancers before him (aka Danny and Will) have suffered from, since they were always criticized for being too serious and proud.
    • Jakob Karr (19) – Where did this guy come from? I don’t remember seeing him a single time this season. I will wait until I see him dance to form an opinion.
    • Nathan Trasoras (18) – Isn’t he just a beautiful boy? I’d go so far as to say he’d rival Edward Cullen’s epic looks. And thankfully, he (I’m back to Nathan now, not Edward) has the dancing skills to match. I was a fan of Nathan’s the minute he started his audition back in season five, and I’ve been anticipating his return ever since.
    • Victor Smalley (21) – I don’t know anything about Victor, but apparently he made an impression on the judges in Vegas, by giving his all and succeeding in the various genres (and being willing to shave his distracting hair). Perhaps he’ll make an impression on America, too.
  • Ballroom
    • Ryan Di Lello (28) – Based on some of the judges’ remarks, it almost sounds like Ryan made it into the top 20 on the strengh of his biceps alone (well, and also his pecs, his abs…). I just hope his dancing matches his physique, and that he will sometimes keep his shirt on (lest he distract us from the actual competition!).
  • Hip Hop
    • Legacy Perez (28) – I didn’t realize Legacy was in his upper 20s. He sure has a lot of energy and strength for someone approaching 30! I’m impressed by his dancing and his determination, so I hope he will do well in the competition. Again, I’m a fan of the genuine tears, and he certainly shed a lot of them (but never too many at once!).
    • Kevin Hunte (23) – I vaguely remember seeing Kevin’s audition, but I don’t know much about him. He faces some tough competition from other hip hoppers who’ve received more screen time.
    • Russell Ferguson (20) – I love this krumping Bostonian! His first audition had so much energy and passion that he moved to the top of my list right away, and he’s still there. It remains to be seen how he’ll do in the actual competition, but I was pleased to see him succeed with whatever was thrown at him in Vegas. I’m a little skeptical at his claim that he’s received no formal training, especially since his bio says he trained at Boston Arts Academy. Nevertheless, I’m a fan. And how sweet was it when he teared up as Mia complimented him and shared the news that he’d made the top 20?!

Early Favorites – I know, it’s still too early to pick favorites. They haven’t even performed yet! But it’s always funs to look back and see how my opinions have changed once the competition gets going. So who are your initial favorites? It will be fun to see them perform on Monday night, without fear of elimination. Check back for my more objective analysis then!

  • Russell
  • Nathan
  • Channing

To see pictures and mini-bios for each contestant, check out this SYTYCD page on Fox.com:

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Glee and Vampire Diaries: Opposite Ends of the Teen Spectrum September 11, 2009

Somewhere in Ohio, high school misfits find a common purpose in a revamped glee club, while somewhere in Virginia, a sad and isolated high school student finds a reason to be gleeful when she hits it off with the “new boy at school” vampire. I had to think really hard to work “vamp” and “glee” into both of those sentences, which just goes to show you how far apart the worlds of these two shows are. One is all inspiration, comedy, and fun; the other is all doom, gloom, and a love that spans centuries. One is more comedy for everyone than teen show; the other is a drama mostly for teens, mostly supernatural, and not funny at all. (Well, I was amused by the cawing blackbird and spontaneous fog, but I’m not sure that’s what was intended.)

I highly anticipated the premiere, post-pilot episode of Glee, and I was cautiously intrigued by the approach of Vampire Diaries. Now that I’ve seen both of these shows, I am prepared to share my initial reactions and opinions.

Overall Impression

  • Glee – While the second episode didn’t have the absolute, joyous perfection of the pilot, I was still thoroughly entertained. Some stand out moments included anything involving the principal, anything involving Jane Lynch’s cheerleading coach, and the glee club’s two performances – Kanye West’s “Gold Digger” and Salt n Pepa’s “Push It.” I am not as interested in Rachel’s pining over Finn, or Terri’s spontaneous decision to fake being pregnant rather than telling Will it was a false positive. But if the show continues to find humor in the high school social strata, and if the glee club continues to grow and improve, I’ll keep tuning in.
  • Vampire Diaries – I was entertained enough by the pilot that I will watch the second episode, but I’m not yet convinced that this is “must see tv.” While I was watching the pilot, I kept thinking to myself, “I’m too old to be watching this.” I was so not interested in the melodrama of what’s his face wanting to get back together with Elena, or of Elena’s brother Jeremy being all wounded when his summer fling Vicki stopped paying attention to him. And the spooky parts weren’t very spooky. I wasn’t scared during the opening scene when the college kids had a bloody encounter with Damon, nor when Vicki was attacked in the woods. Really the only things I did like were Elena’s narration and diary entries, her friendship with possibly psychic Bonnie, Stefan’s mysterious past and desire to finally return home, and Stefan and Damon’s history as brothers, including their involvement with Elena’s Civil War-era look-alike  (Damon mentioned that he vowed to make life difficult for Stefan a long time ago, but we don’t really know why yet.).
Jane Lynch is my favorite thing about Glee.

Jane Lynch is my favorite thing about Glee.

The Acting

  • Glee – Overall, the acting is excellent on this show, which means that the casting was well done, too. The very best thing about Glee is Jane Lynch as cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester. Lynch has always been fantastic in any role, but she is so completely hilarious and spot-on here, that every expression, every glare, every word out of her mouth is golden. If she isn’t nominated for supporting actress in a comedy category at all the tv awards shows this year, then something is very, very wrong. Matthew Morrison plays idealistic do-gooder very well, and I also love Jayma Mays as germaphobic guidance counselor Emma Pillsbury. So far the teen cast are too caricaturish to evaluate, but given time I imagine we’ll see some sort of development with them as well.
  • Vampire Diaries – I observed some rather atrocious acting during the pilot. I hate to name names, so instead I’ll just give credit to those who impressed me or seemed well cast. Well, that just leaves me with the three who received top billing: Nina Dobrev, Paul Wesley, and Ian Somerhalder. Dobrev brings a quiet confidence and a no-nonsense air to Elena, Wesley plays “I’m the good one” vampire Stefan as well as one can, and Somerhalder brings some much-needed comic relief (I’m not sure it was supposed to be funny, but I laughed) and passion to the whole proceedings. Somerhalder just has that creepy, evil eye look about him, similar to Cillian Murphy, that makes him well-suited for a role such as this. He will be entertaining as Damon, and will probably be the main reason I’ll keep watching, if I do.

The Soundtrack

  • Glee – The music is probably the main reason I watch this show. I enjoy hearing choral interpretations of popular songs, plus I like the quirky, Bobby McPherrinish harmonies that provide atmosphere for many of the scenes.
  • Vampire Diaries – In the tradition of many CW shows that have come before it, this vampire love saga is chock full of barely known music from current bands. At least, it’s barely known to me. But I am all for promoting the little guys. In fact, I like how the CW often advertises the music at the end of its shows: “Tonight’s episode featured music from…” That being said, I didn’t absolutely love any of the music in the pilot episode enough to go download it. Maybe next week. Click here for a list of the songs from the pilot.
Vampire Diaries is the land of lost teens, with almost no adults to be found.

Vampire Diaries is the land of lost teens, with almost no adults to be found.

Where Have All the Grown-Ups Gone?

  • Glee – Well, all the grown-ups are hanging out in the halls of the high school, because most of them are teachers and faculty. The only parent we’ve seen is Finn’s mom, when he flashed back to their fun times on the front lawn with the lawn care guy. And the only spouse we’ve seen is Will’s crazy, self-centered wife Terri (played very well by Jessalyn Gilsig. And for a show about a high school, this is as it should be. Since most of the action takes place at school, there’s no reason to develop the parents at this point.
  • Vampire Diaries – Now that is a good question for this show – where are all the grown-ups? We saw one older teacher, who was put in his place by Stefan when he gave the class some misinformation about Mystic Falls’ civil war civilian casualties. And then there was that secretary who Stefan glamored into enrolling him at the school without proper paperwork. But Elena and Jeremy live with their grad student aunt, who doesn’t look much older than 25, and none of the other kids seem to have any sort of parental guidance. (Am I forgetting anyone?) I haven’t figured out the relationship between Stefan and his “uncle.” I’m guessing that’s just a living descendant of the family who is aware of his family’s bloodsucking past. It seems awkward to just ignore all the parents. I mean, a simple mention would do, or a wave goodbye as Bonnie and the gang head to their coffee shop hangout. I am surprised that we aren’t seeing more parents since this show is from Mr. Dawson’s Creek himself, Kevin Williamson. I always enjoyed the parents’ subplots on that show, since real teenagers’ lives are usually mixed up, rather than totally separate from, their moms and dads, grandparents, guardians… Maybe the show will introduce more adult characters in the coming weeks. If not, I’m calling this out as a flaw.
Vampire Diaries reminds me of Roswell, specifically Max and Lizs relationship.

Vampire Diaries reminds me of Roswell, specifically Max and Liz's relationship.

Reminds me of…

  • Glee – It’s hard to think of any shows like this one. It reminds me more of Christopher Guest movies, such as Best in Show or A Mighty Wind. Unlike most of what comes on tv these days (lots of revivals, remakes, and spin-offs), this one seems very original.
  • Vampire Diaries – This show has nothing in common with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, except that a vampire falls in love with a teenage girl. But I don’t see Elena picking up a sword and vanquishing Damon in the season finale. No, Vampire Diaries is more reminiscent of Roswell. On that show, alien Max Evans fell in love with Liz Parker, and Liz wrote in her diary about how her world was turned upside down the moment she got involved with him. Like Elena, Liz had a friend with psychic connections – as I recall, Maria was somehow in touch with that kind of thing. Aliens, vampires… while there are many differences, both Liz and Elena are drawn to Max and Stefan because they aren’t like the other boys.

In the Great Scheme of Things

  • Glee – I am thrilled to have a musical comedy on tv. Amidst all the melodrama of teen romance, the mystery of criminal investigations, and the depressing cases of medical shows, Glee is a breath of fresh air. I just hope the showrunners and cast can keep up with audience expectation for a long time to come.
  • Vampire Diaries – This, my friends, is no Joss Whedon show. Buffy or Angel it will never be. The love triangle was always just a part of the story on those shows, with a more epic story arc taking center stage. I’m not sure this show will ever rise above the Stefan-Elena-Damon love triangle and the mayhem that Stefan will try to prevent Damon from inflicting on Mystic Falls. Do I sound skeptical? Well, I am. Perhaps if I continue watching, then after several episodes I will compare Vampire Diaries to other vampire shows of the past, to see how it stacks up. I should at least give it a chance.

So obviously, if I were forced to choose between these two shows, I would immediately select Glee. Vampire Diaries pales (pun intended) in comparison to the more magical, zingier Glee. What did you think of these two shows?

 

Fall 2009 Television: What I’ll Be Watching September 6, 2009

Now that I’ve completed my preview of the networks’ new shows, it’s time to reveal my weekly viewing schedule. I have a feeling this list is going to overwhelm me. In the following rundown, all times listed are central, and I’ve also given the season premiere dates.

  • Sunday – Actually, I won’t be watching anything on Sundays. It will be nice to have one tv-free night. I watched the first seasons of Desperate Housewives and Brothers and Sisters, as well as one season of The Amazing Race, but I’ve long since stopped watching all of them.
  • Monday – I am starting off very reasonably. No shows on Sunday, and since I gave up on Heroes early last season, only one show on Mondays. (I enjoy House, but since it is “my husband’s show,” I only watch it when I’m passing through the room or folding laundry. I prefer Dr. House in small doses.)
    • How I Met Your Mother (7-7:30 on CBS, beginning Sept. 21) – I enjoy this CBS comedy, especially Barney’s character, but it’s not necessarily “Must See TV” for me. I typically watch some first run episodes, and catch most of the rest in reruns. (I have yet to see last season’s finale.) One question before I move on to Tuesday – why is One Tree Hill still on? Shouldn’t it have ended like three years ago?! Who watches it?

  • Tuesday
    • So You Think You Can Dance (7-9 on Fox, beginning Sept. 15) – We meet again so soon! It seems like we just crowned Jeanine the winner of season five, and it’s already time to welcome in a new class of hopeful dancers. I wasn’t very excited about it until I watched last week’s “Top 15 Routines” episode, which showed the best dances from all five seasons. I’ll continue blogging about the performances and results show, but it may be toned down from my rigorous summer schedule, since I’ll have quite a bit more tv shows to keep up with.
    • V (7 p.m. starting November 3 on ABC) –When I first heard about this remake of the ’80s movie/miniseries/series, I laughed. But after watching a preview, it actually looks pretty good. I look forward to it.

  • Wednesday
    • So You Think You Can Dance Results Show (7-8 p.m. on Fox, beginning Sept. 9)
    • Glee (8-9 p.m. on Fox, beginning Sept. 9) – I watched the pilot again this weekend. What a fun show! It’s a nice break from the more intense one hour shows that I watch.
    • New shows on Wednesday that I may watch, if they hold my interest
      • Modern Family (8-8:30 p.m. on ABC, beginning Sept. 23) – This will probably be a “catch in reruns” show for me.
      • Eastwick (9-10 p.m. on ABC, beginning Sept. 23) – This show will have to be really impressive to earn a permanent spot in my weekly lineup.

  • Thursday – This is where things get ugly, or at least technologically challenged. (I may have to put both my Tivos to work.)
    • The Office (8-8:30 p.m. on NBC, beginning Sept. 17) – Even though this comedy is still funny, it has nothing on 30 Rock. If I had to choose, it would be “goodbye, Michael” and “hello, Liz Lemon.”
    • Community (8:30 p.m. on NBC, begining Sept. 17, until 30 Rock premieres, at which time it will move to 7 p.m.) – I am especially looking forward to this show since I teach at a community college.
    • 30 Rock (8:30-9 p.m. on NBC, beginning Oct. 15) – How hilarious was the season finale with the celebrity song about donating a kidney? If Tina Fey and the gang can keep it up, they have more Emmys in their future.
    • Fringe (8-9 p.m. on Fox, beginning Sept. 17) – Oh, how I’ve missed Walter, Peter, and Olivia this summer. Can’t wait to welcome more creepiness into my living room!
    • New shows on Thursday that I’ll be watching until they lose my interest or I run out of time:
      • FlashForward (7-8 p.m. on ABC, beginning Sept. 24) – A show with an intriguing premise and an impressive cast
      • Vampire Diaries (7-8 p.m. on CW, beginning Sept. 10) – Vampires and teenagers: will that be an interesting or bad combination?
    • Shows that I’ve been watching that will likely be dropped because of the ridiculous number of good shows on this night:
      • CSI (8 p.m. on CBS, beginning Sept. 24) – I watched most of last season, and enjoyed the addition of Lawrence Fishburne to the cast. However, there are simply too many shows in this prime hour of primetime. As in seasons past, it will be pushed aside and saved for rerun season or syndication.
      • The Mentalist (9 p.m. on CBS, beginning Sept. 24) – I was rather entertained by this show last season, catching most but not all of the episodes. Since it is the only show airing at 9 p.m. that I’m interested in, I will watch it occasionally.

  • Friday – Now that we’re done with Thursday, let’s move to the more manageable Friday
    • Dollhouse (8-9 p.m. on Fox, beginning Sept. 25) – I’ve been catching up with season one on DVD, so now I’m ready to watch season two as each episode airs on Fox. Hopefully this one will make it through the end of its second season, but if not I’ll just enjoy it while it lasts.

Breaking it Down

  • Returning show I’m most looking forward to: Fringe
  • New show I’m most looking forward to: Glee
  • Number of shows I will definitely watch: 6 (This includes Glee, the only new show that is a shoo-in to join my regular lineup.)
  • Number of additional shows I may watch: 9
    • 3 of these are shows that I only watch sporadically
    • 6 of these shows are new, out of which there are only two that I’m pretty sure I’ll want to keep watching (V and Community)
  • Number of shows that I’ll watch when they return at mid-season: 2 (24 and Lost)
  • Number of shows that I can realistically handle: 10 (With the approach of mid-season shows, this means that I’ll have to cut some others from the starting rotation.)
  • How many shows from each network I’ll be watching this fall
    • FOX: 4 definitely’s
    • NBC: 2 definitely’s, 1 maybe
    • ABC: 4 maybes
    • CBS: 3 maybes
    • CW: 1 maybe

Based on these figures, it seems clear that Fox is my network of choice. And to think, I don’t even watch American Idol, if I can avoid it! NBC is the network that makes me laugh, ABC is the network whose new shows most intrigue me, CBS is the network that has trouble holding my interest, and the CW is the network barely hanging by a thread. Which shows (and how many) are you planning to watch this fall?

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Fall 2009 Preview: Fox’s New Shows September 3, 2009

And I thought that CBS had a mediocre lineup of new shows. Fox seems to have put all their eggs in one Gleeful basket this fall – everything else will likely be quickly forgotten. Weak, vague, or annoying premises; unfamiliar actors; and not a lot else.

Not Interested – I can’t even bring myself to analyze most of these shows, since I am completely uninterested in them. If you want to know more about them, go to Fox’s Fall Schedule.

  • Brothers – Something about a retired NFL player moving back home to his family in Houston
  • The Cleveland Show – An animated show about a guy named Cleveland and his son, a pair of talking religious bears, and some other Simpsons-esque characters.
  • Human Target – Something about a mysterious guy named Chance (shouldn’t he be on a soap opera instead?) who is hired by people to be an undercover body guard when their lives are in danger. (Sounds like a pale imitation of one facet of Dollhouse to me.) Poor Mark Valley. He deserves better than this.
  • Mental – This show has already started. Something about a psychiatrist who may be as unstable as his patients.
  • More to Love – Fox’s description of this show is so ridiculously over the top that I had to share it with you here. From Fox.com: “The dating competition series follows a single average guy with a big waist and an even bigger heart as he romances several confident and secure plus-size women. Each week, the husky hunk will wine and dine a group of curvy women to determine if they have more love to give or if they are truly more than he can handle. As the competition narrows, he must decide if one full-figured lady has what it takes to become his true love.” Could they have found any more excuses to use “big” and “small” words? I am so sick of these dating shows.

  • Past Life – This one sounds really hokey. Fox.com describes it as “a new drama series about an unlikely pair of past-life detectives who investigate whether what is happening to you today is the result of who you were before.” Um, ok. Why would it matter?
  • Sons of Tucson – Oh, is this going to be Fox’s version of Sons of Anarchy? Not so much. According to Fox.com, this is “a family comedy about three brothers who hire a charming, wayward schemer to stand in as their father when their real one goes to prison. What begins as a business relationship evolves into something more complex and compelling: a family unlike any we’ve ever seen.” Really? Unlike any we’ve ever seen? Such a lofty promise, but I’m just not feeling compelled to watch. Still, this is probably the second most interesting new show that Fox is offering, next to Glee. But there’s a large gap between them. Tyler Labine (Reaper, Invasion) is the big headliner, but I’ve honestly never liked him very much. Still, he has his funny moments and may be a good fit for this sort of comedy. I’ll try to keep an open mind until this show premieres at midseason.
  • The Wanda Sykes Show – Wanda Sykes will bring her distinctive humor to the late night talk show format. Fox.com describes it this way: “The high-energy one-hour show will feature biting commentary on topical issues and heated panel discussions with recurring personalities. The series’ unique format will highlight Sykes’ outspoken comedic perspective on current events and will also allow her to leave the studio to shoot segments in the field.” In this instance, I read “high energy” as “loud and annoying.” I guess you could say that Wanda Sykes isn’t my favorite comedian. But it will be interesting to see if Fox will find success in this relatively new (to them) area of late night talk.

Very Interested


  • Glee – I’ve been waiting all summer for this show to begin, after watching the pilot in May. I stop what I’m doing every time I see a commercial for it. The music is contagious, the comedy is genuinely funny, the main characters are interesting, and the social satire is spot on. I especially love Jane Lynch as cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester, and Matthew Morrison as glee club teacher Will Schuester. They are on completely opposite ends of the spectrum. He has a passion for helping his students discover their hidden potential, while Sue only has a passion for keeping everybody else down so that she and her cheer squad can remain the queen bees. After the pilot, the teachers are more interesting than the students, but I’m sure we will get to know the students better, too. I can’t wait!

What will you be watching on Fox this fall?

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Fall 2008 Preview: Fox Gets a Head Start August 29, 2008

So did Fox sign like a 100-year contract with Major League Baseball to broadcast the play-offs and World Series every fall? It certainly seems that way. For as long as I can remember, the new fall tv season has been either delayed or interrupted by baseball on Fox. The network’s old strategy was to delay the start of its shows until after the World Series. Back in the late 90s, I would complain about having to wait until practically November to watch the X-Files every year. For the past couple of years, however, Fox has taken the better approach of jumping out ahead of the other networks to give its shows some time to settle in and develop a following before being so rudely interrupted.

That being said, let’s take a look at what Fox has prepared to tide over its viewing public until American Idol takes center stage in January. As with most of the networks, there aren’t as many new shows as usual because of the writer’s strike. That makes it easier to sift through the newbies. I’ll also mention anything noteworthy about returning shows.

  • Prison Break – This show returns on Labor Day, for more crazy antics from Michael, Lincoln, and the gang. In my opinion, this show should have wrapped up nice and neat at the end of season two (rather than turning into a tangled, mangled mess of subplots), but there are still a lot of fans, so I am glad that they can still tune in to see their favorite characters.
  • House – I am interested to see what the tone of this show will be when the season begins. How will they follow the depressing events of last season’s finale? ——- SPOILER ALERT ——- On House, the season ender was a manipulative tear jerker/ethereal dream sequence, as House slipped in and out of consciousness trying to remember something important about the bus accident he was involved in. Turns out he was on the bus with Wilson’s girlfriend, Amber, and eventually the team determines that because of a medication she was taking that caused an unfortunate reaction to her crash injuries, she only has hours to live. There’s nothing they can do. So the season ended on a real downer, with a parade of characters coming into Amber’s room to say their farewells. I didn’t even like her character, but what a horrible way to get rid of her. Sure, it will provide some tension between Wilson and House this season (since Wilson blames House for Amber being on that bus in the first place), but it seems like it was just done for shock value. I am tired of shows having to one-up each other at the end of the season. Speaking of shock value…
  • Bones – This is the second best show that Fox has to offer, and it also had a controversial season finale – in fact, it caused more of an uproar than House did. This is one of the few shows that I only watch when nothing else is on, rather than being sure to watch every episode. (This is also how I watch How I Met Your Mother.) Since I only dabble in the show, I may have missed some clues or backstory about the Gormogon plot, but here’s my take on what happened: ——— SPOILER ALERT ——— Booth and Brennan and the team uncover some evidence that leads them to believe that Gormogon (a serial killer who eats his victims) or his apprentice works at the Jeffersonian. As the pieces of the puzzle come together, Zack is injured in an explosion that leaves his hands basically useless. That’s a bummer. But it gets worse. It turns out that he planned that explosion to create a distraction so that Gormogon could steal something from the Jeffersonian. Zack is the apprentice! So, with a tear in his eye, Zack explains to the team that Gormogon had a logical view of the world, which is why he went along with his plan. I’m sorry, but that seems like quite a stretch. Sweet, geeky Zack as an accomplice for a cannibalistic serial killer – because it was logical? I can understand why some people have decided to stop watching the show, but I didn’t watch it for Zack. Mainly, I enjoy the chemistry and interaction between Booth and Brennan. So, I’ll still tune in from time to time, and will be sure to watch the season premiere to see the fallout from the finale’s crazy events.
  • The Moment of Truth – Ridiculous. This is the worst show on television. It shows the worst of human nature. No inspiring moments here. Move along.
  • Hole in the Wall – Which brings me to the first of Fox’s new shows. From what I can tell, this is a game show that requires people (mostly obese people) to manipulate their bodies into certain shapes to fit through a cut out in a giant screen. If they fail to do so, they will fall into a vat of water, and they will be further humiliated by goofy music and a laughing, taunting studio audience. Seriously? This is a real show? It sounds more like a bad idea for a team building exercise at a corporate event. I hate shows that are designed to make fun of people, even when the contestants know what they are getting into. We shouldn’t take pleasure in watching other people fall flat on their face, flop around, or otherwise embarrass themselves on national television. I hope that this show will be a massive failure. Is there still some class left in the American viewing public?
  • Fringe – Finally, I arrive at the one of the few bright spots among the newbies this season. This is actually the new show that I am most looking forward to. It has an interesting premise (its official website describes it as a show that “will thrill, terrify and explore the blurring line between the possible and the impossible.”). Sounds like a sci-fi thriller right up my alley. Plus, it has an interesting cast. I am happy to welcome Joshua Jackson back to television in a more grown-up role than the one he is best known for – Pacey on Dawson’s Creek. He’s joined by several names I don’t recognize, but based on the previews, the actors look well-suited to their roles. And finally, it has J.J. Abrams name attached to it, and I like almost everything that he has done. We can all find out if this show is worth adding to our “must-see” lists when it premieres on September 9.
  • There are several shows that I didn’t mention. And that is because I don’t watch any of them. They all have their place in the television landscape, and I’ll just leave it at that.