Thursday, October 26, 2006

TV 3Q - Fall 2006: Have our Heroes on "Lost" Lost Viewers to "Heroes"?

Network TV has undergone a major transformation since the fall of 2004.. Looking back to that fateful fall, ABC was finding itself in a desperate situation.. No pun intended!. While CBS was making millions on the CSI franchise and NBC was loading up on Law and Orders, and FOX was counting shekels with American Idol, 24, and Sunday Night Cartoons.. ABC had turned into the network of irrelevance as their lineup consisted of shows with no buzz… except for the long running Monday Night Football which is only on for four months. (MNF is now airing on ESPN with monster ratings!)

Well along comes ABC with its 2004 fall line-up and lo and behold they had these 2 new hot shows... Desperate Housewives and Lost. (with a 3rd in the on deck circle - Grey’s Anatomy) DH was the first attempt at a prime time soap opera since the mid 1990s when Melrose Place ruled the roost at Fox... Two Melrose actors were hired to star in the new show, along with Teri Hatcher who had been in a notorious Seinfeld episode featuring the memorable quote… “They’re real and they’re fantastic!” ... DH was also seeking to become a humorous prime time soap.. something not seen since Dallas and Dynasty in the late 70s- early 80s.. although I’m not sure how much of that humor was actually intentional. DH also hired 2 Melrose actors plus vampy Nicolette Sheridan... who had been on the Dallas spin-off Knots Landing in the early 80s.. (The show actually premiered in the tail end of 1979)

Speaking of tail end.. Lost premiered with a premise of “a group of strangers brought together” when they survive a plane crash on some mysterious island.. and with a nod to Fox's popular X Files of the 90s... inspired conspiracies and theories and much water cooler talk and comments on the TV Blogs. Nonetheless, DH and Lost were going about it with a different tactic.. continuing storylines which means you pretty much need to follow the show on a weekly basis…or you can wait and buy the DVD... At the time of their premieres, 24 had been using that same playbook for 3 seasons and was increasing in popularity.

Usually baseball fans can just wait till the Post World Series November sweeps to get caught up with the new season. However, TV viewing has changed, the shows come out on DVD a season later.. and you can now watch most shows on-line the morning after they air. But then you have the dilemma of what to do if a show generates so much buzz that you want to start watching it from the first episode. For me, the baseball season basically ended with that Strike 3 looking on Carlos Beltran.. so now its time to catch up with what I have missed. So far I have only really seen 2 new shows.. One fantastic one and one ok one… and both have continuing storylines! This leads us to the TV quarterly report for the 4th quarter of 2006.. Aka the NWOW Fall Preview..

SUNDAY - For now, The Family Guy has been delegated to repeats on TBS and Cartoon Network.. I also try to see American Dad which has gotten a lot funnier but its hard to remember to watch it with NBC Sunday Night Football. Plus the Big East now has a Sunday Night! College Football game each week.. this week featuring the unbeaten Rutgers Scarlet Knights. A few weeks back I speculated if TV air hog Joe Buck would do an NFL game and World Series game on the same day… Its not possible since The Lions are off Sunday, but… will Chris Carlin do the Giants pre and post game show on WFAN and then scoot down to Piscataway in time to call the Rutgers game on WOR.. (Did you notice how many ads were in The Star Ledger hyping WOR's Arthur Frommer's appearance at the Travel Show in Westfield this weekend?)

DH has been very funny this season with more than a few laugh out loud knee slappers...Bree has 2 wacky kids with the goofy son pulling out a few funny lines.. especially when he makes fun of his ho of a sister who just spent the semester sleeping with her teacher. By the way, is it possible that maybe Mike is a bad guy and Orson is a good guy? Maybe Mike's phone number is on the dead girl because she left behind a clue as she was dying and Orson tried to kill him because he knows Mike was behind the dastardly crime. This question of who is good vs. who is bad leads us to Monday..

MONDAY - I’m kind of getting bored with Deal or No Deal and have started to wander back to How I Met Your Mother. I also try to catch CSI Miami at 10pm depending on who is on Monday Night Football. Of course once 24 comes back.. All bets are off. But the new must see show is on Mondays…. The incredibly original and fascinating “Heroes”… a show that takes the Lost idea… tossing a bunch of strangers into an odd situation and watching how they interact with each other. Heroes is a about several people who don’t know each other at first, but all possess - super powers, and are faced with the daunting task of saving the world from what looks to be a terrorist attack. All the superhero characters are quite fascinating, and tossed in the mix is a painter who has visions that create futuristic paintings that combined with time travel create a very entertaining show and a very confusing blog paragraph.

But this show also raises a lot of questions about which characters are good or. bad. Is the cheerleader’s dad a bad guy trying to fight good.. Or maybe he is a good guy who knows the truth…..that the super powers might actually be in the hands of some bad guys? It did have an amusing scene when a woman who does a sexy live cam web cast answers her door terrified that it might be her “criminal“ missing ex-husband… and finds a fan of hers who came to visit her from Japan!

TUESDAY - Jericho looks interesting.. But I only watched one episode.. Maybe I’ll catch it on There is also the Law and Order twin bill.. Although I don’t think I have caught Criminal Intent yet this season. When SVU is a rerun I’ll catch Boston Legal… but that depends on if I catch CSI Miami on Monday.. I can’t handle back to back nights of David Caruso and William Shatner.. The two worst actors in all mankind!

WEDNESDAY - Lost is the first of 2 shows on the Wednesday schedule. I wrote about Lost last season and included my Lost theory last May 25 (see the archives) But, as they say in the NFL.. “Upon further review”. I am starting to believe that the writers are just making it up as they go along. So I have decided to just go along for the ride and not strain my brain to try to jump ahead of the writers. But one theme does stand out about “The Others”…. Is it possible that they really are the good guys?. Like the Cheerleaders dad on Heroes? Like Orson on DH? Like Senator Bob Menendez?

The other watchable show is the 2nd new show - The Nine.. But it might be just a matter of weeks before I go back to watching CSI NY which I have been catching on The Nine like Lost and Heroes takes characters who are total strangers and tosses them into an odd situation - this time they all survived a 52 hour hostage ordeal when they were held as captives during a bank robbery. Parts of the ordeal are shown each week in flashbacks.. But there are some interesting characters… including the teenage daughter of the bank manager who claims to have amnesia of the whole ordeal yet oddly visits the robber in prison. The other guy is Foote who seems to have a new lease on life….. yet I have a feeling that it will turn out he was the inside man on the bank job…(He left a gun in the bathroom after a failed suicide attempt. Or was it for Michael Corleone?). I think he has turned happy go lucky because he got away with a crime. But I could be wrong.. However I have heard that the writers scripted out the season in advance, so I may not be on a Lost wild goose chase..

THURSDAY - Haven’t seen anything yet.. Post baseball: Survivor and probably Grey’s Anatomy…. I just caught the 1st two episodes Thursday night…. I also like My Name is Earl,… but NBC has announced that it will soon turn over its 8pm hour to reality shows and game shows. GSN tried that out, and eventually phased out the reality.. But the idea of a game show hour sounds very intriguing to me.

FRIDAY - 1 vs. 100 - the new Bob Saget game show. Rumor has it that my old radio coworker “Young Chuck” (he looks like Mr. Scarborough) who appeared some years back on Who Wants to be a Millionaire with Regis will also be on this show. I like it.. It involves some brains unlike Deal or No Deal which is a game of chance played by people who don’t understand numbers and statistics. The 1 vs. 100 has potential.. Its 1 contestant trying to beat out 100 panelists playing for a progressive jackpot…… but if the contestant gets a wrong answer.. the money goes to the surviving panelists. This show could have some potential, if they make the questions tougher.

SATURDAY - Nothing except The Super Password Hour on GSN at 6pm. Graphite - Pencil… Aristophanes - Ridiculous!

CABLE - The only new show I have really noticed is MTV’s Parental Control an oddball show where parents who hate the person their son or daughter is dating and try to break them up by sending their beloved kid off on a date with one person they each choose. The audition process is amusing - and the dates are watched “live” by the parents at “home”.. In reality the dates are recorded, and the parents watch a taped version with the offensive boyfriend/girlfriend sitting with them on the couch making nasty comments at each other. It amazes me how disrespectful these young men and women are towards their boyfriend/girlfriend’s parents!

Aside from Larry King on CNN, the only other stuff I watch are the old game shows on GSN, Family Guy reruns, and movies on HBO. I also caught my first episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm which I found to be quite entertaining.

One final TV thought: Did the premiere of Heroes cause the frustrating Lost to jump the shark? A lot of Lost fans feel jerked around because every answer leads to two more questions, while Heroes seems to have a sense that we know that inevitably all the people with "special powers" will ultimately unite. Lost will only be on a few more wks, go on hiatus for a few months and then return in Feb for four months without a rerun. ER was supposed to do the same, but NBC cancelled the hiatus after its ratings shot up this season.. maybe a spillover from hospital fans flipping over from the 9pm Grey‘s Anatomy on ABC? . Now, Lost is losing viewers to "Criminal Minds" with Mandy Patinkin, and watercooler buzz to Heroes.. Will ABC decide not to send it away for a few months? And doesn’t it face a tough task in early '07 against American Idol? And with a lot of bloggers kvetching about DH, and Grey's Anatomy getting a run for its money from CSI - could ABC end up back where it was in 2004?

Time for the picks.. I was all set to jump on the Washington bandwagon this week… this week the George Washington Bridge turned 75… my dad, also a George would have been 75 today, AND he married a woman from… Washington! As it turns out. The Skins are off this week… Oh well.. here are the picks for the teams that are playing…. Spreads are from Friday’s Star Ledger. Last week we went 6-7.. Year to date we are an embarrassing 44-50-6.

Tampa Bay 9 point doggies over NY GIANTS – Calm down… the Giants will win,… but NOT cover.

NY Jets 2 doggies over CLEVELAND – J-E-T-S… They have a better record than the Steelers!

San Fran 15 doggies over CHICAGO – Road doggies on a roll or are these spreads too big? And since Joe Buck is at the World Series.. Pat Sumerall is doing this game! Is it possible the rainouts could extend the World Series for a few extra weeks?

BENGALS 4 faves over Atlanta – Cincy has a shot as top dog in the division with the Ravens facing a tough road game.

GREEN BAY 4 faves over Arizona – Ron Pitts drew the short straw to get this game.. At least Gus Johnson doesn’t have to sit through this one..

TITANS 3 faves over Houston – This is the one Gus Johnson has to sit through…. And 82 Knick games too… (He still does the Knick games right?)

DENVER 2 ½ faves over Indiana – When was the last time the Colts were doggies? And is this an AFC Title Game Preview?

NEW ORLEANS 2 faves over Atlanta – I’ve learned my lesson to never go against the Saints at home!

Jacksonville 7 doggies over PHILADELPHIA – I like the Eagles to win but not cover.

St. Louis 9 ½ doggies over SAN DIEGO – Another odd spread… See Pumpstradamus’s comments below.

Pittsburgh 9 faves over OAKLAND – If the Steelers lose this one they are 2-5, and those Penguins are starting to look like they have a good young team.

Seattle 6 doggies over KANSAS CITY – I’m not as down on the injury plagued Seahawks as the other prognosticators… They just might win this game.

Dallas 5 doggies over CAROLINA – This may be the 1st time ever that I pick Dallas and not the Giants in the same week. Parcells will not let himself be embarrassed on national TV 2 wks in a row. And this just in from the set of Grey’s Anatomy: Isiah Washington is a big Cowboy fan and yelled “Romo” during his fight with the guy who plays George. Hey theres that George – Washington connection again.

MINNESOTA 2 doggies over New England – Home Doggies on Monday Night.

Pumpstradamus Pick of the Week – This week Pumpstradamus tries to improve on 4-2-1.. by going to Missouri the home of the big Senate race where Michael J Fox did that much talked about political spot for Claire McCaskill. St. Louis also might be home to the World Series Champs. Therefore for the Rams-Chargers game Pump predicts: “St. Louis because I was listening to Louie Armstrong this week.”


Anonymous said...

I can't believe you didn't comment on Studio 60 on Monday nights...the best and smartest new show of the season?!

Nate said...

It's on Mondays at 10 if I'm not mistaken. Do you think I'm gonna miss David Caruso's overacting and Emily Procter? I also haven't watched or commented on Friday Night Lights which everyone is raving about. By the way, Kyle Chandler is my twin - we were born on the same day in the same year... the same day as the premiere of Hogan's Heroes. And it always comes back to "Heroes", doesnt it?

rubixcubeman said...

Heroes is the best show on NBC if you ask me. Lost is boring now.

Mission 7: Find one who can walk through walls.
Can you walk through walls? Let me know if you can.
Got a Heroes site? Link to my blog.

Nate said...

Word out to anonymous - The NY Post says it like Studio 60 is about to be cancelled.

As for rubix - I looked at his site and he has a very unusual blog equating real people with super powers shown on Heroes.

My nominee for Real Life Superhero - I go back to 1976 and the miraculous rescue at Entebbe when those terrorists hijacked the plane and held those innocent people hostage at the airport. The raid and rescue (which claimed the life of Benjamin Netanyahu's brother) was either a miracle, the work of superheroes, or a combination of both!