Monday, September 17, 2007

It's been a week since I foretold the coming of some new reviews so I figured it was time to actually write some of them up. So here's my review of the 3 CW pilots we saw as well as my opinion on the show the Emmy's named the Best Comedy Series, last night.

This is one of my favorite pilots of the season (falling right behind Pushing Daises). I think it's because it combines the supernatural with slacker comedy, two of my favorite genres, with such ease. The pilot, directed by Kevin Smith, introduces Sam (played by The Loop's Bret Harrison) a 20 year old slacker still living at home and working at a home depot type story, the same job he's had since high school.
We meet Sam on the day of his 21st Birthday and his parents are acting awfully strange, telling him how much they love him and treating him better than they normally do. As his day goes on his parents aren't the only ones acting strange, neighborhood dogs chase him, and he seems to have some kind of telekinetic power.
Turns out Sam's parents, prior to his birth, sold the soul of their first born to the Devil (The always evil Ray Wise) and he's come to collect. But rather than take Sam to hell, he's employed him as a bounty hunter. His job is to collect those that have escaped hell and returned to their evil ways.
Luckily Sam's not alone, as his best friend Sock is on hand to help him battle the forces of evil, and his love interest, Andi, has no idea any of this is going on.

One note, in the version we saw Andi was not played by Missy Peregrym (Heroes), the role was recast and reshot with Missy, and for some reason they showed us the old version of the show, so I'll be there for the first episode to see how different it is with Missy now in that role (although I think she'll do great)

Gossip Girl
I'd like to say that this show was amazing, fantastic, and a must see, mainly because I'm a fan of two of the actors and the narrator (Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants' Blake Lively, John Tucker Must Die's Penn Badgley, and Veronica Mars' Kristen Bell, respectively), but I simply can't. The best I can say is that it's a decent show which should at least get a second look.
Maybe it's because I went in looking for The OC, East Coast addition, and didn't get it, but for some reason it didn't meet my expectations. But it's not really a bad show, it's just not what I expected, which is why I will probably rewatch the pilot (which airs this Wednesday) and at least the 2nd episode.
The show follows Serena (Lively) as she comes back to her old private school after a mysterious year away. Her best friend has taken her place as the top dog in school and is not happy to see her return. The boys all love Serena including Dan (Badgley), the son of an aging Rock Star whose always been a loner, and always secretly had feelings for Serena.
Through a serious of circumstances Dan takes Serena on a date and there's lots of Gossip! Most of which comes through a website run by "Gossip Girl" the titular narrator voiced by Bell.
Overall I think it could go one of two ways, it could be a wonderful soap opera-y guilty pleasure or it could be tedious drama which struggles to capture viewers. Only time will tell, but I'll be there to find out.

Aliens in America

I thought this was a wonderfully funny satire, and Jeri thought it was an offensive unfunny waste of 22 minutes. And I think that's the fine line this show will have to walk.
Aliens is about Justin a nerdy high schooler with hardly any friends, he's socially awkward and it's made all the more obvious by his sister, whose very popular. Justin's parents are made aware of his status when he's listed on the Jocks list of the ten most "Bonable" girls in school, apparently a loser is always put on the list as a joke, and this year it's Justin.
In order to get Justin a friend his mother signs up for the foreign exchange program, after being promised a kid from London. But the family is shocked when Raja, a student from Pakastan, gets off the plane at the airport and says he's their exchange student.
At first the entire family is upset and wants nothing to do with Raja, but one by one they all overcome their prejudice and upon getting to know Raja, accept him. For instance, once Justin gets to know Raja he learns that they have much in common and are both outcasts and quickly become friends.
The show deals with the idiotic stereotypes Americans have for all people from the Middle East and this is where it walks the fine line between satire and racism. While some will see it as being an way to show ignorance, some will see it as racist to a class of people. Personally I think the show has a good base, but it all depends on what it does in its first few episodes. If it continues to just hit on the one gag of Raja being Pakistani it will get real old real fast.
Also I must be clear we didn't see the broadcast version of the pilot, they recast the dad with Gilmore Girls' Scott Patterson taking over the role, but they showed us the old version.

30 Rock
Last season featured 2 shows which dealt with the behind the scenes lives of the cast and crew of a SNL-type show. One of them survived into a second season, the other crashed and burned. I have to admit I choose the wrong one last season. I loved Studio 60, but once NBC took it off the air I lost interest. Of course by that time I had made it through the first 16ish episodes.
On the other hand I dismissed 30 Rock almost from the beginning, I had no interest in it, and only have watched the pilot, turning it off halfway through. Boy was I wrong. After constantly reading Jace's (The Televisionary) praise for the show for the past few months I broke down and rented the first disc this week. Thursday night I popped the disc in the player and by the end of the night I had watched 6 episodes. I finished the season today on my lunch break.
I don't know how I survived last season without having Tina, Jack, Tracy Jordan, Kenneth the Page (Above), and all the rest of the colorful cast in my life. The show is hilarious, quirky, and so far out there that there wasn't a single episode where i went more than 3 minutes without laughing out loud, and I don't laugh out loud often.
The show in the simplest of terms is about Tina (Tina Fey), the head writer of "The Girlie Show," whose new boss, Jack (Alec Baldwin), has demanded she add a new star to her show. The new star? Tracy Jordan (Tracy Morgan) a loud mouthed black movie star, whose a little but crazy.
I'll say right out, I'm not a fan of Baldwin, but he's amazing in this show, and consistently makes me laugh. But he's not the only one, Fey is brilliant, and Jack McBrayer as Kenneth the Page is the best onscreen character since NPH's Barney over on How I Met Your Mother (who himself may be the best onscreen character since Bill Haverchuck of Freaks & Geeks). Kenneth is a sweet, country bumpkin whose dream it is to work in tv, but for now he'll settle for being a Page, running others errands, and basically being pushed around. McBrayer's portrayal of Kenneth is amazing, he's always smiling and seems so perfectly innocent.
But something must be said about Tracy Jordan, in the beginning Tracy was probably my least favorite character on the show, now he's second only to Kenneth. Here's just a few of the highlights from Tracy; one episode he constantly sees a giant blue blob chasing after him, in another he discovers that Thomas Jefferson is his ancestor and decides to make Thomas Jefferson: The Movie, with himself playing every single character, He goes on the run because "The Black Crusaders", including Bill Cosby, Oprah, Condoleezza Rice (Jack's ex) and other prominent black figures, are trying to ruin his career. Tracy is the single most idiotic, crazy character on TV, yet it works somehow. Also, the show has some of the best recurring characters and guest stars on TV, including my favorite Tracy's doctor, Dr. Spaceman (pronounced Spi-CHEM-in, except Tracy who simply call him Dr. Spaceman)
So I was rooting for 30 Rock to win the Best Comedy Series award last night, and was thrilled when it beat out such stiff competition as The Office and Ugly Betty (Both Shows I love). I honestly think the funniest show won, even if I am a recent convert to said show.
I'm looking forward to the second season premiere with guest star Jerry Seinfeld as himself. And I recommend everyone go out and rent the DVDs or Watch the show on and catch up. I promise it's worth it, and only gets better the more you watch.


ally said...

I am totally with you on Aliens in America. I was surprised at how much I liked it.

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