Time to take stock of the young fall season.
Before we get started, what the heck are "Cheaters" and "Girls Behaving Badly" doing in prime time on WCTX-59? (Sunday nights.) I guess they match up with MyNetworkTV's soaps, but yikes theyre sleazy.
It was a strong development year for dramas, but none has leaped forward as the new hit yet.
If I was into family melodrama, I might be hooked on "Brothers & Sisters."
"Vanished" isn't bad, fitting well with the conspiratorial serial "Prison Break" Mondays on Fox.
"Runaway" and "Jericho" are pretty watchable (also "Justice" if you like Victor Garber) but I thought "Smith" (with Ray Liotta, right) should have been done as a comedy (I roared watching "The Pink Panther Strikes Back" Sunday morning). "Shark" is just "House" set in the legal system, but it has its moments.
"Friday Night Lights" (Tuesdays on NBC) features some great work by Kyle Chandler (a nice guy whom I've interviewed in person) and solid football action. But I was disappointed with the teen angst stuff. It's heavy handed, and the girls are a bit too Hollywood. Connie Britton is also good as the coach's wife.
"Ugly Betty" featured a sweet pilot hour but a disappointing second episode. Ratings are just OK, so we'll see if it can build any momentum.
"Six Degrees" also has its moments of interest, but the concept is somehow annoyingly contrived.
"Men in Trees" falls short of compelling TV but at least it's not heavy handed over-the-top.
"The Nine" arrives this week with its much-touted premiere hour. My expectations were a little too high; I ended up unimpressed.
Comedies? What comedies? I'll check in on "The Class" (which Pat Ferrucci loathes because of the whiny sister character), which somehow amuses me. Otherwise it's pretty sad out there.
"The Knights of Prosperity" arrives on Oct. 17 with a very thin premise, although there is one great ethnic cab driver character on it. I'm not a Donal Logue fan, however.
"Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" is very well done, although it's more of a dramedy. I'd be content to watch this every week, given its topical references and nods to network and entertainment industry foibles (cocaine, ratings, meddling, pressure groups, content issues...)
"30 Rock" premieres next week and is a solid effort from Tina Fey, but you have to be able to stomach Alec Baldwin and Tracy Morgan. Just so-so.
Let me know your impressions of the new shows.