Saturday, September 26, 2009
New Fall Line-Up
Ah, this week was THE week -- the week of the new fall lineup on TV. Yes, I know, TV -- the bane of mental acuity. But the time that we live in is such an incredible time of quality television, with both networks and cable stations lining up extraordinary shows with memorable characters and excellent writing.
As a result of my autoimmune issues, I tend to spend my evenings on the couch in a semi-recumbent position, sometimes with my laptop when I am feeling not-so-bad and without it when the pain is worse. I need my evenings to rest, and my brain is usually too beleagured to read something edifying. So TV it is.
Unfortunately, the TV line-up is SO incredible this year that we often have two shows on at the same time, so E records one on ancient VHS tapes while we watch the other. The problem with this set-up is that we have to find time to watch the ones we recorded. But we usually make the effort, some way or another -- usually on the weekends.
So here are our shows, and there are a lot of them. These are the ones that we are already involved in -- we're only adding two new ones, and both are take-offs of existing shows.
Dancing with the Stars (ABC): We caught this show near the end of its first season and have watched ever since. We love watching dancing "ugly ducklings" turn into graceful swans. Our favorite dance pros are Tony, Derek, Chelsie, and Julianne (who is taking this season off). The only thing we don't like: the skimpy costumes which is why we record it and watch it after the boys go to bed. But it's a wonderful show, and we very much enjoy the different types of Latin and ballroom dancing. We could do without Tom DeLay, however....
House MD (Fox): The two-hour premiere of House on Monday was terrific TV, mostly because of the wonderful writing and characters, especially the character of House himself. Hugh Laurie is an incredible actor, and the writing is sharp and realistic. The characters are compelling as are the medical stories. It's the most-watched television show in the world, and most deservedly so.
CSI Miami (CBS): This is more E's show than mine, but I watch it from time to time, mostly for the character of Calleigh. Horatio, with his sunglasses and his posing over the dead bodies, gets on my nerves a little, but the characters again are intriguing and the stories catch one's attention. My least favorite of the three CSI programs but still a quality show.
Monday Cable Shows: Elizabeth is more into Jon & Kate Plus 8 (TLC) and The Rachel Zoe Project (Bravo) than I am, but the latter is beginning to hook me in as we watch the life of a celebrity stylist and her team as they prepare their clients for the Emmys and the Oscars, etc. Even Keith has started watching it. And we'll pick up Paranormal State (A&E) when it comes back -- the boys love this one, too. The team investigating paranormal activity are actually fighting spiritual battles against demonic strongholds most of the team members seem to be Catholic Christians, and the power of Christ's Name is their main tool. Fascinating.
NCIS (CBS): Our family's favorite show, and the one show that we all watch together as a family. Abby, the cheerful Goth who hangs out with nuns and is the heart of the team, is our favorite character, and we love Gibbs, Ducky, Tony, McGee, and Ziva. The stories are compelling, and the characters are flawed, realistic, and memorable. It's by far a favorite of our family, and of my parents as well. It's great family TV.
NCIS Los Angeles (CBS): A new spin-off of the original show, starring Chris O'Donnell and LL Cool J. I look forward to learning more about this team and loved seeing Linda Hunt in it -- I hope she stays on. A strong possible addition to our line-up.
Flipping Out (Bravo): We're not as attached to this show as others, but it's still interesting as we watch an obsessive-compulsive house-flipper deal with clients and staff. This one we're not recording as re-runs pop up often, but it's still an interesting show.... And Elizabeth also likes 18 Kids and Counting (TLC), a show about the Duggars, a Christian homeschooling family with 18 kids and a 19th on the way. I watch it when I have time because I enjoy watching a Christian family, albeit one far more conservative than ours.
So You Think You Can Dance (Fox): Usually a summer favorite, having this favorite show in the fall has really scrunched our schedule. We love watching this "American Idol of Dance" which narrows down to 20 dancers in the "final" arena in the search for "America's Favorite Dancer." One of our favorite shows, just hard to fit into our schedule. We're skipping the preliminary shows until they choose the Top 20.
Criminal Minds (CBS): Another show that's among our favorites. We've watched it from the very first show and love Reid, Emily, JJ, Hotch, Morgan, Garcia, and the gang. We weren't sure that the show would survive the loss of Mandy Patinkin, but it has become an even stronger show since his exit. A truly great crime show of the FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit, or "Profilers."
CSI New York (CBS): This one is growing on us more and more, but I don't always watch it. I like Gary Sinise and the rest of the crew, but I haven't totally taken them in as a favorite. But a good show with compelling characters and stories.
Thursday: (AKA The BIG Night)
Bones (Fox): We missed the first season but are now officially "hooked" on this crime show with a forensic anthropoligist/novelist and an FBI agent whose chemistry is always combustible, although neither will admit it. The stories are truly excellent and the characters human, flawed, and memorable, the kind we immediately identify with. A truly great show, and one not to be missed.
Survivor (CBS): We've watched this show from the first season onward; somehow, the personal dynamics between different types of real people is always interesting and sometimes far more. One character this season on Samoa is a real piece of work, Russell, who is out to play mind games with everyone. It should be another interesting season.
CSI (CBS): The original is and always will be our favorite, especially with the return of Sarah Sidle, one of our favorite characters. Laurence Fishburne makes a nice addition with Grissom gone, and we love our original cast members. The first and the best of the CSI's.
The Mentalist (CBS): Our favorite new show from last year, mostly because of the character of Patrick Jane who combines both a childlike wonder and love of play with a keen mind and observation of people. His insights and love of fun make this show a must-see, as well as the interplay among his colleagues. Sharp writing here -- very well done! One of our Top 5, and we record it for the boys to watch now that it has moved to the 10 PM time slot.
Project Runway (Lifetime): It's back, at loooooong last! Keith also watches this one (as well as The Mentalist), and he started watching it during Season 1 while we didn't pick it up until the second season. The craftsmanship and creativity of making beautiful clothing and the drama behind the seams makes this show tops on our list.
Models of the Runway (Lifetime): A new addition this year chronicles the behind-the-seams drama of the Project Runway models who are also voted off one by one, the winning model gaining a magazine spread and $25,000. It's a great idea, and we're glad to add it to our line-up.
Ghost Whisperer (CBS): I've watched this show pretty much from the first season, and now the boys are into it as well. It's just scary enough to be exciting, but not tooooo scary for the boys. Very cool show.
We sometimes watch Supernanny (ABC) (just to make me feel better about my mothering- HA!) or What Not to Wear (TLC) or Say Yes to the Dress (TLC), and we may add back in my old favorite Medium (CBS) which was picked up by NBC this fall. Or we sometimes watch what we've recorded earlier in the week.
So that's our fall line-up, all of which really helps to distract me from my bodily pain and entertains as well as teaches. I love watching TV with E as we enjoy mostly the same shows and will very much miss her next fall when she starts college.... (sniff!)