Wednesday, September 9, 2009

What To Watch: Mondays

Fall TV Season is finally upon us, and the season premieres of returning shows and pilots for new shows will start hitting the air soon. I'll be doing a brief rundown, day by day, of the shows I'll be watching this fall, so follow along and add your two cents worth as well. Let's start with Monday:

Show Net Day Time Priority
Heroes NBC MON 800 DVR
House FOX MON 800 Watch
How I Met Your Mother CBS MON 800 Watch
Lie to Me FOX MON 900 DVR
Big Bang Theory CBS MON 930 Watch
Castle ABC MON 1000 Watch

First, a quick word about what I'm calling "Priority." "DVR" means that I'll TiVo the show, probably get around to watching it, but not necessarily on the night in question. "Watch" means that I'll make every effort to watch the show live (or relatively live, factoring in the 15 minute or so buffer to blast through the commercials). And my third classification (which isn't shown here on Monday) is "Sleepytime." Long ago having tired of the shouty nonsense from SportsCenter anchors and news program hysterical blathering, I like to have a bank of shows built up on the bedroom TiVo to watch as I'm falling asleep. Typically, these are fairly unchallenging but watchable procedurals. Also, my "best of the night" are shown in RED.

Heroes: Call it morbid curiosity or a bad habit, but I'm leaving this on the season pass list despite a continuing (and almost terminal) decline in the quality of the show. Mainly, I like Adrian Pasdar, Jack Coleman and Zachary Quinto as actors, and for the time being, their talents and appeal overcome the charisma void created by the rest of the cast and the plot hole-riddled scripting. Could have the plug pulled in short order if it doesn't improve quickly, though.

House: How has Hugh Laurie not been awarded an Emmy yet? The quality of the individual episodes and plot strands can vary, but there's no doubting the ferocious, multi-faceted and captivating central performance (along with quality work done by the rest of the cast, especially the understated Robert Sean Leonard).

How I Met Your Mother: When's the last time you were so entertained by a show built around a douchey principal character and his uninteresting quest? But the other four characters are so awesome we put up with Ted.

Lie To Me: Like House, the show's plot mechanics can be a bit of a one trick pony, but the lead English import is so damned good, it makes up for it. They did start to show different nuances to the "lie detection" gimmick late in the season, and bringing in Shawn Ryan as showrunner, and Sarah Fain & Elizabeth Craft (late of Dollhouse) as writers should only help the show improve in its sophomore season.

Big Bang Theory: Simply put, my favorite sitcom on TV. BBT grew leaps and bounds in its second season, continuing all the lovably geeky stuff (spot on, while treating it with respect - a difficult tightrope to walk) that made it so appealing in the first place, while rounding out and deepening the initially one-note and troublesome character of Penny. Proof that the "old" three camera sitcom format isn't dead, and can thrive in the right hands.

Castle: Nathan Fillion gets his best role since Captain Tightpants, and has terrific chemistry with stealth hottie Stana Katic in this engaging, breezy, crime drama. Castle feels like it should be on USA network, and that's actually a good thing. (And bonus points for giving me the first kid on TV since Rory Gilmore that I don't want to put into a wood chipper).


  1. OOOHHH!! I want to play!!

    My Monday is not as busy on yours...I gave up on Heroes last year (at least that's what I say now...don't be surprised if it ends up on my DVR. Oh, Tim Kring...I wish I could quit you).

    I actually stopped watching House last season two. I was extremely annoyed by the supporting cast, and the actual "Patient of the Week" plots got too redundant for me. I guess that's why I've never been a big fan of the procedural shows.

    Also, I never have figured out how ONE hospital manages to see all of these mysterious diseases and syndromes, or why all of the other doctors in the hospital BESIDES House seem to be so incompetent.

    Never watched Lie to Me...see above re: procedurals.

    I just got hooked on Big Bang Theory this summer, and now it is absolutely can't-miss television.

    You are spot on with your analysis of HIMYM...Ted is annoying as hell, but the other cast members make it bearable. NPH FTW!!

    Never got into Castle...maybe I'll DVR it and try to catch up online.

  2. I hate that I'm loathe to let go of shows when they're clearly disappointing (a la Heroes).

    As for House, I find that lead performance (and the writing for that character) so damned compelling, I'm willing to hang in there despite the (legitimate) issues you bring up. I don't have a problem with suspension of disbelief about all the world's wacky diseases occuring only at one hospital. It's just part of the concept and the world they've created, much like one with a new serial killer every week, or one with a smoke monster, or one with robots indistinguishable from humans. I just let it slide.

    Obviously, I have a fondness for procedurals, but there are very few that I watch intently. Mostly, they're "sleepytime" viewing, or something to have on while I check my email or catch up on the world via my crackberry.

    Lie to Me is like the House of crime. Either you appreciate it for the performance (and I still want Tim Roth to to freak out in a diner scene( or it's not your cup of tea.

    You don't really need to "catch up" on Castle. It's farily self contained, and just full of easy going charm. Probably worth a try, if for nothing else except that Capt. Mal can do no wrong.