The new US TV year

October 16th, 2006

I’ve been watching (via the magic of the internet) a few of the new TV shows for this year from the US. A few thoughts (in order from worst to best):

  • Jericho: Interestingly enough being aired the same week on Channel 10 here in Australia. Sadly, that’s the only interesting thing about this derivative bit of post-apocalyptic junk.
  • Vanished: Because what the world needs is another CSI clone that only does kidnapping. Didn’t even watch 5 minutes worth.
  • Smith: A nice ‘thief’ drama that was a bit too complicated for its own good. Got canceled, but I gave up first.
  • The Class: Sitcom from one of the producers of Friends, where a group of people meet up years after they were together in primary school. Only just hanging on to my ‘watch’ list so far – it has the glimmer of something good, but there’s a lot of bad in there too.
  • Men in Trees: Northern Exposure meets Sex in the City (I’m willing to bet that it was pitched to the network like that). But well made, with some good performances.
  • Help Me Help You: A sitcom about people in a group therapy session. OK, with Ted Danson doing some interesting stuff.
  • The Nine: Nine people who survive a bank robbery gone wrong deal with the aftermath. Nice stuff so far, with some good mystery set up. But it’d better not go all Lost and start to build more mystery than it resolves.
  • Ugly Betty: Very strange, almost surrealistic comedy-drama set in a fashion magazine. Entertaining, but very very odd.
  • Heroes: Unbreakable done for the small screen. Excellently paced and shot, with just some slight uncertainty about how well they’ll be able to deliver the plot developments that need to show up later.
  • Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip: Aaron Sorkin’s latest show, set in a Saturday Night Live clone. Smart, well written, with snappy acting. Just not much new, as we’ve seen it all before in The West Wing and Sportsnight.
  • Friday Night Lights: American high-school football in Texas. Stunning stuff, brilliantly shot and acted, with a rawness that you normally only see in independent cinema. Easily the best new show of the year.

Not yet rated: 30 Rock (not looking good) and 20 Good Years (maybe), which I’ve only seen one episode each of.

I’ll come back to this in a month or two to see which of those shows still survive – at least 2 will be culled, maybe 4.