I've been trying to check out all the new network series, as best I can, leaving out those that got terrible reviews (Ghost Whisperer) or that just didn't strike me as promising (Kitchen Confidential), and unfortunately also leaving out promising shows that conflict with stuff I want to watch (Everybody Hates Chris). So, because my blog is mine for whatever purpose I choose, I'm going to give little mini-reviews on what I've seen.
Premise: Aliens are coming, but don't worry, the government is handling it
Review: My god, just think how horrifying the above sentence would be if the Bush administration was handling an alien invasion. You know the guy in charge would be someone who used to run the department of sanitation in Lubox. Fortunately, in the wonderful world of TV things are handled by an efficient, attractive woman who has a methodical plan to deal with any emergency. Her plan apparently doesn't value the safety of the head planner, since she's on site whenever a dangerous situation arises, but outside of that this is a smart, intelligent series in which we have yet to see an alien and have no idea what exactly they're trying to do. The first episode was actually beautifully done, efficiently outlining the premise while giving you insights into all the main characters, and while it hasn't been quite as good since, it's still the best new series I've seen.
Premise: Two hunky young brothers investigate paranormal activities.
Review: Supernatural is a very calculated series. Get two good-looking guys from other TV series and let them play X-Files. The show is genial and unoriginal, but does have some genuine scares in it. I'll keep watching this one for now.
The War at Home
Premise: Married with Children lite?
Review: Watched for about 5 minutes. Seemed pretty painful.
Premise: dumb and smart twins with dumb and smart parents tell a mix of dumb and smart jokes
Review: Twins causes one to ask the question: How many dumb blondes can one show stand. This one has two, although one may not be blonde, as I can't recall what color Melanie Griffith's hair is. But she's definitely a prototypical dumb blonde. Having a dumb and smart sister who each have a corresponding parent probably sounded good on paper, but it lets in more dumb-blonde-style jokes than can be comfortably handled. Very by-the-numbers sitcom only has Sara Gilbert going for it (as the smart twin), and it ventures too often into stupid or uncomfortable humor (much like latter-day Will and Grace, which is from the same producers), but it's watchable.
Premise: She's a brilliant forensic scientist with lousy people skills, he's a savvy cop. They hate each other, but if the show makes it to season two you know they're going to screw like rabbits
Review: If you read my comments on these shows, you'll notice a unifying theme: they are almost all capable and unoriginal shows that follow established TV conventions. That certainly applies to Bones, which seems to have resulted from someone saying, what if we made a series like "House" but instead of an old crotchety guy with a limp we had a a hot woman? The show has little going for it besides its personable leads, but the forensic scientist/hot woman (hey, I've only seen two episodes, you can't expect me to remember these characters names can you) is an interesting character, especially when a decapitated tree falls from a tree and she quickly and without revulsion catches it and calls for an evidence bag.
Premise: If I'd seen the first episode, or if the recap at the beginning of the second episode had been competently put together, I could probably tell you the premise of this show. Ocean monster, I think.
Review: The recap did a lousy job, but basically there's a monster or something in the ocean, a couple of people trying to find out what it is while the government tries to keep it a secret, and some kid who somehow has a baby monster in his bathtub. I think if I could actually figure out what the show was about this one might be pretty good.
Commander in Chief
Premise: Tampons in the oval office!
Review: This show had a really nice beginning, as vice president Geena Davis learns the president is dying and is asked by the attorney general to resign rather than take office, not because she is a woman, ostensibly, but because she's an Independent who won't fulfill the desires of the Republican president. The problem is, she took the request seriously, considering whether it would be wrong to take the country in the direction she wanted rather than in the direction of someone whose policies she disagreed with. Are there really politicians who don't think they could be the best thing that ever happened to this country? I don't think so. I found it ridiculous that she only decided not to resign after a conversation with next-in-line Donald Sutherland in which he spouted a bunch of reactionary nonsense, as though somehow she wouldn't have realized exactly what it would mean to let this particular guy run the country until this conversation. Since it's an interesting idea and I've always liked Geena I'll watch a few more episodes, but if they do two more things this stupid I'll have no choice but to stop watching.