Tuesday, September 20, 2005

We Finally Scratched the 'Surface'! Plus a Thrilling 'Medium'!

Well, the Emmys have come to an end for this year, but there's no need for despair. The new TV season has officially begun! There was so much new TV on last night that TiVos and VCRs everywhere must have been startled out of their summer hibernation. And, that was only night one! We haven't even gotten to the terrible Wednesday conflict of Lost v. Veronica Mars or the scheduling maze that is Thursday nights! Poor, poor TiVo! Here are my thoughts on last night's highlights, plus another extended edition of Premiering Tonight and a brand new feature!

Ok, who watched Surface? Come on, let's see those hands high in the air. The critic-panned creature show was not as bad as they led me to believe. Usually, a show's weakest outing is its pilot. It's difficult to establish characters (and make you like them), a backstory to the place/places the show takes place, and an overarching theme all in the course of an approximate 43-minute span of programming (padded to a full hour with commercials). A good rule of thumb is if a concept catches your attention, stick around for the second episode at least, because it will give you a better feel for the show. Some of my favorite shows wouldn't be my favorites today if I had given up on them after watching the pilot. Surface is definitely one of those shows that has an intriguing concept, but a not-so-hot pilot. The characters are cardboard cutouts with the secretive, crazy scientist, the bitchy, clueless older sister, the stupid kid who brings the mysterious object home and puts it in his parents' fish tank, the never-there parents who send their kids to private school, the young mother who put herself through school and is now a successful marine biologist, and the separated parents who bicker while swapping out their son. But, this is something that can evolve with the show. Like I said, the pilot serves as an establishing episode, so we can overlook these seemingly throw-away characters. Lake Bell is charming as a marine biologist determined to be a part of a discovery she witnessed first hand. The ending scenes promised a lot more, and they definitely grabbed my attention. Was the "meteor shower" off the coast of Belize just some shooting stars, or something more than that? And what does this "sea creature" want? I'll stay tuned for a few more episodes at least.

How good was the Medium premiere last night?? I thought Captain Push was a goner! What a great twist with his father appearing to Allison to tell her to finish her dream. I know that people usually roll their eyes at serial killer plots because they're so overdone on television, but this show kept it fresh like all its other plots. The future killer's mother was so scary when she promised that her son would destroy everything his father built. Ok, so I saw the cop-is-really-the-killer-in-disguise gimmick coming, but Capt. Push's shoot down redeemed the moment. The sneaker realization was well done as well. How freaky was the promo for next week's episode? Why was an airplane crashing through a field? Probably another one of Allison's prophetic dreams. This episode (or rather, conclusion to the finale) was a great start for Medium's second season. One concern I had about this show was whether it could remain as fresh as its short first season, but this episode proves it can. I hope the show continues to bring us original plot lines, real moments at home, and interesting characters. The only thing I'm concerned about is Allison and Joe's marriage. I hope that doesn't take a wrong turn. I always enjoyed their relationship last season.

About Last Night...Welcome to the latest feature on Pass the Remote. Everyday, I'll be bringing you a recap of how your favorite shows fared in the overnight ratings. So, lets go ahead and start with last night's line-up. ABC's Monday Night Football took the 8 o'clock hour, but NBC's Surface finished second, followed by CBS comedies King of Queens and How I Met Your Mother. Critic favorite Arrested Development landed in fifth place for the hour. At nine, it was another victory for Monday Night Football, followed by CBS comedies Two and a Half Men and Out of Practice in second. NBC landed in third with the premiere of Las Vegas, and Fox took fourth with Prison Break. CBS took over the top spot at 10 p.m. with the premiere of CSI: Miami, Monday Night Football came in second, and NBC's Medium finished in third. For full overnight ratings information, click on over to zap2it.

Premiering Tonight!!! ABC kicks off the Jim Belushi-comedy According to Jim at 8 p.m. Over at NBC, it's the debut of critical favorite My Name Is Earl, followed by the second season premiere of The Office. Law & Order: SVU caps the night with its 7th season premiere with Det. Stabler (Chris Meloni) going undercover to trap a recently released sex offender. CBS premieres the third season of crime-meets-military drama NCIS at 8 p.m. EDT. And finally, it's the much anticipated season premiere of Nip/Tuck over on FX.


*Are you ready for the dance-off between Kelly Monaco and John O'Hurley? ABC is airing the 91-minute event tonight starting at 8:30 p.m. EDT. Soap star Kelly Monaco will once again team with her partner Alec Mazo, and actor John O'Hurley will re-team with Charlotte Jorgensen for a rematch of this summer's Dancing With the Stars final competition. Monaco won the original under a cloud of scrutiny and viewer allegations that the judges and the network "fixed" the competition in her favor. This time, viewers have the final and only say. The three judges will offer their opinions, but they do not have a say in the outcome. Viewers will vote after the show tonight. ABC will reveal the results and the winning couple this Thursday during a special broadcast.

*John Stamos is set for a two-episode stint on ER. He'll play a Gulf War Vet who's working as a paramedic while attending med school. Stamos had been signed on for a recurring role, but had to back out when ABC renewed his show Jake in Progress for midseason. His episodes will air on NBC during November sweeps.

*And finally, Lisa Kudrow's Comeback is over. HBO decided not to renew the show for a second season due to low ratings. Kudrow played a one-time sitcom star desperate to regain her glory days by agreeing to a reality show in the off-beat series.

That's all for today. Be sure to tune in tomorrow for Law & Order: SVU coverage. And what makes a show "buzzworthy?" We'll explore tomorrow. Plus, all the latest television news!


blogless said...

Poor Lisa Kudrow. Though I must say that, while she's not a bad actress, I can't get Phoebe out of my mind no matter what role she plays. That can't be a good thing for her. What else? I love John Stamos. He was one of the first guy I ever found "hot" as a child (shallow, but what can you expect from a 12-year-old?). I have yet to watch all the shows you've mentioned, some will air around here, some won't. Durn, I just realized I forgot to tape Veronica Mars today. Bummer. I can still catch it tomorrow, I think--eps 16 and 17. I sure hope they'll rerun them sometime. Is it the 1st season?

TVFan said...

Veronica Mars is still in its first season. The second season starts next week.