October 08, 2008

Fall 2008-2009


It’s that time of year again. The time when the leaves start to fall from the trees and only the smell of warm coffee can wake you up in the morning, of course you would prefer not to leave the house because there is so much new television that you want to watch! (Or is that just me?)
Fall 2008 promises more of the usual sex, scandal, comedy, drama, super heroes and breaking out of prison (against my will Prison Break is STILL on!). Some of the biggest names around are coming back for new seasons, including Lost, Grey’s Anatomy, Desperate Housewives, Heroes, Gossip Girl and Ugly Betty. As well as all these the return of a revamped CSI: Las Vegas (watch Gil Grissom move on being replaced by the Matrix’s Laurence Fishbourne) and it’s sister shows, NY and Miami, along with a sprinkling of NCIS, Without a Trace, Bones, Smallville and Everybody Hates Chris.

2008 also promises some brand new shows including JJ Abrams’ (Lost) Fringe, Alan Ball’s (Six Feet Under) True Blood and a new spinoff , 90210 (yes, Beverly Hills, you got it right!). Plus watch out for Dollhouse, Joss Whedon’s (Buffy) new series in early 2009.

Without further ado, let’s cast our minds back to the beginning of September. While we were making our way back to school with little trepidation, our Stateside friends were gearing up for what was the most talked about show of last Fall, Gossip Girl. However, while the name of the show seems gender specific, it’s actually enjoyable for boys and girls alike. Created and produced by Josh Schwartz (The OC & Chuck), GG follows the lives of Manhattan’s Elite teenagers, living in the Upper East Side. Whether it’s shopping at Mendel’s, drinking at the newest and exclusive bar or having sex in the back of a limo, GG has it all! Despite only ranking in the 20’s in the Nielsen ratings last year, New York Magazine called it “The Best Show Ever!” What one has to bear in mind is that these ratings don’t account for the DVR/TiVo recordings, illegal online views, and the fact that it is the most bought television show on iTunes US! So instead of its average of 2 million in reality its closer to 20! Season two of Gossip Girl has been compared to a teen version of Sex and The City. The CW network’s new tongue in cheek marketing campaign features the stars in various states of undress, with captions of critical jabs from the press like, “Every parent’s nightmare.”
Unfortunately, The CW finds itself in a position of needed change. Last year, only the second year from precursors The WB and UPN, saw the average ratings at 2.3 million. If The CW are going to see the year through they are going to need to reach higher ratings than that, so could they be looking to GG as their last hope? Schwartz doesn’t seem to think so; “That’s on 90210.” Executive Producer Stephanie Savage says, “We just have to keep the show as good as possible, so if something happens, it has a life of its own.” As we watch the events unfold, there is always one thing sure, scandal will ensue. Who is going out with whom? Which of our elite will be the top of the pack? By next week all could change and the Queen of the UES could be at the bottom of the pile.

Gossip Girl, teen drama at it’s best, highly recommended!

Another show returning this year that needs no introduction is Desperate Housewives. Now, I am sure there are some of us who are trying to hide the fact they watch this show religiously. Slowly becoming one of the most watched shows in history with approx 120 million viewers, the story of four women hit our screens five years ago and since then, the secrets of suburbia have never been the same. A cocktail of murder, sex & lies have made this show the phenomenon that it is today. The Season Four finale shook everyone up by fast-forwarding the show five years. So what will life be like on Wisteria Lane in the future? Season Four’s mystery character, Katherine (Dana Delany), is still a resident, and Edie (Nicollette Sheridan) arrives back on the block with her new husband. But things are not simple when it comes to Fairview, and as creator Marc Cherry has said he’s not just a love interest, he’s a guy “who moves onto the street for revenge.” Mother of two, Gabrielle (Eva Longoria) has deglamourised, juggling her blind husband, her two girls and facing the fact that age and life are taking it’s toll. Other news for the new series, did Susan (Teri Hatcher) and Mike (James Denton) split up? Why was she in the arms of another man last season? These questions will all be answered, as it has something to do with a “tragic accident”. I’ve seen the season five premiere and it promises to be the best yet, including all the humour and drama from the past years plus so much more!

Desperate Housewives, dramady perfection, do not miss!

How about something new? Fox’s Fringe, a blend of X Files and Bones from Alias and Lost creator JJ Abrams. Dawson’s Creek veteran, Joshua Jackson plays Peter Bishop, the genius son of another (may I add slightly insane) genius scientist, Walter Bishop. Walter starts with his research into Fringe Science – mind control, psychic powers and teleportation. Thrown together with an FBI agent, they investigate an outbreak of paranormal intrigue known as the “Pattern”. All involved in this show promise that it will not become bogged down by it’s own mythology, meaning there will be plenty of stand alone episodes that cater to the casual viewer. The two hour $10 million pilot was impressive, save the airplane crash at the beginning (Hasn't JJ already done that?). It seems that the dead can be questioned, a disease is eating people alive and robotic arms are being added on people… I certainly was intrigued and find that this perhaps may cater to more than Lost.

Fringe, science fiction too far? I don’t think so.

Beverly Hills, 90210 Fans put your hands up! I don’t think many of us with our Blackberries and mp3 players can successfully say we have paid too much attention to this, but maybe the generation before us? The show that defined a generation is back again. The OC, One Tree Hill & Gossip Girl watchers get ready for the next melodrama, 90210. At the centre of the storm are the Wilsons, who move from Kansas to Beverly Hills after Dad; Harry becomes the principle at West Beverly High. They move in with Harry’s midday drinking mother, Tabitha, plus wife Debbie, all American daughter Annie and adopted son, Dixon. For the older fans, the return of Jennie Garth as Kelly Taylor and Shannen Doherty as Brenda promise to stir up some old memories (plus rumours of other cast members returning!)

90210. Newport, New York, Palm Beach. Beverly Hills is the place to be!

So at the end of the day, you have plenty of choice. Do you want comedy (How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory, Chuck, Pushing Daisies), drama (Dirty Sexy Money, Brothers & Sisters, House), sci-fi (Ghost Whisperer, Life on Mars US (remake!), Supernatural)? Whatever your preference, there is ALWAYS something to watch.

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