Sunday, October 3, 2010

The New Fall Television Season

Now that the new fall television season has premiered (at least most of the shows), what do you think? Hits and misses? Used to watch every week but not any more? Always meant to give it a try but never got around to it?

Two new broadcast network shows I'm trying out are both remakes on old shows from many, many years ago—The Defenders and Hawaii 5-0, both on CBS.

The Defenders originally debuted in 1961 (in black and white, before the days of color television!). It was a father-son lawyer team who always wore suits and ties and defended the wrongly accused and righteous causes. It starred E.G. Marshal as the father and Robert Reed (The Brady Bunch dad) as the son. Contrast that to the remake of The Defenders. The 2010 version is not a father-son lawyer team. It's set in Las Vegas which automatically says flashy and outrageous situations. I've only seen one episode so far, but it appears that ethical conduct and doing things by the book is not an essential part of their business day. :)

The original Hawaii 5-0 debuted in 1968 and was actually filmed in Hawaii which was most unusual for a television series of that era. Back in those days television shows were shot entirely in studio and on the the back lot with generic establishing shots and the occasional scene being shot on the streets of Los Angeles close to the studio. And like The Defenders, the characters wore suits. There they were, doing cop stuff and chasing down the bad guys in white shirts, suits, and ties. The specific changes with Hawaii 5-0 circa 2010 definitely bring the show into today's world. I am pleased to see that they kept the original theme music and same style of main title opening.

McGarrett is still the former Navy Lt. Commander who heads the elite 5-0 team and reports directly to the governor (who, in the pilot, was a woman). However his key team members were not recruited from the Honolulu Police Department. Danny was Honolulu PD, but had just transferred six months earlier from New Jersey so he could be close to his five year old daughter. Chin Ho used to be Honolulu PD until he got involved in a scandal (wrongfully accused type thing) and is now on the outs with them. And Kono…well, Kono is now a woman who happens to be Chin Ho's cousin and a brand new graduate of the police academy. Suits and ties? Only Danny wears a tie and it isn't exactly neat and tidy—shirt unbuttoned at the neck with shirt tail barely tucked in, tie loosened, sleeves rolled up. McGarrett? The basic jeans and T-shirt wardrobe. They also explained Danno as a nickname for Danny, at least the explanation that fits the 2010 version.

And then there's a new series from the long running and highly successful Law & Order franchise…Law & Order/Los Angeles. I watched the debut episode. It was okay, but I wasn't wowed by it. I read that USA cable renewed Law & Order/Criminal Intent for another season and they're bringing back Vincent De Onofrio as his Robert Goren character to replace Jeff Goldblum who departed the series. I like that, always thought Goren was an interesting character. In fact, I think I find that more interesting than Law & Order/Los Angeles. :)

CSI/New York (CBS) has a new detective forensics person, a woman from Virginia who replaces the departed Stella. She seems like a good character.  I've only seen one episode and she did not leave me with a negative impression, but I don't really have any opinion about her yet.

And, of course, The Mentalist, NCIS (have you noticed how much weight McGee lost over the summer?), and NCIS/Los Angeles are all back. I like the character NCIS/Los Angeles added at the end of last season, Deeks, the police detective who is their liaison with the Los Angeles police department.

And there's the new season of Bones (Fox) and Castle (ABC). Seems to be lots of speculation about whether Booth and Brennan will finally get together and same for Castle and Beckett. Hmmm…let's think about that. Moonlighting—as soon as David and Maddie got together and it was goodbye series. And Remington Steele—as soon as Remington and Laura got together it was goodbye series. Once that sexual tension and the what if is resolved, the spark in the series (as in continuing episodes week after week) usually dies as does the series. For the start of this season, the guys seem to have found other love interests for the time being even though we know those relationships won't last. Booth has the woman (a journalist?) he met during his summer training duty in Afghanistan and over the summer Castle got back together with his second wife for a fling.

And a sad note…one of the little bits of business that Castle used was to give their main character, best selling mystery writer Richard Castle, some real life best selling mystery writers as his poker buddies with them making occasional cameo appearances. James Patterson, Michael Connelly, and Stephen J. Cannell. Unfortunately, Stephen J. Cannell passed away a couple of days ago, on Sept. 30, 2010. A prolific creater, producer, and writer of television shows before turning his hand to writing novels. 

And The Mentalist? Simon Baker is such a cutie!

Criminal Minds…JJ departed. I heard Criminal Minds is going to have a spin off Criminal Minds (Los Angeles?) and the Penelope Garcia character will be a recurring character on the new one in addition to staying where she is. She's a great character, really like her.

CSI Miami moved to a new night with the season premiere tonight (Sunday, Oct 3). I kind of lost interest in CSI Miami when they started messing with the characters. Wolf is a good guy this week, he's a jerk next week, back and forth. And then we didn't know who Delco was any more.

And about to wind up its first season is another show I really like, The Glades on A&E cable. There's another cutie, Matt Passmore.

Lots of Aussies starring in American television series…The Glades, The Mentalist, and Hawaii 5-0. Maybe a third attempt at an American television series with Hawaii 5-0 will be a charm for Alex O'Loughlin after short runs with both Moonlight (he was definitely a sexy vampire) and Three Rivers.

Looking forward to the (November or December ?) start of the new season for White Collar and also Psyche on USA cable.

How about you? Any new shows you're into or returning ones that are favorites?


Julia Rachel Barrett said...

I wasn't overwhelmed with the premier of Hawaii Five-O, but I definitely liked the second episode and I love the cast - so I have high hopes for that show. Never watched the original.
NCIS is a given for me and I thought the first two episodes of the season were stellar.
The only other show I watch is The Big Bang Theory and that's been money.
Law and Order has been on a long time - I think I prefer the re-runs.
Great topic!

Taryn Kincaid said...

Not much into the remakes and the new shows are pretty much leaving me cold so far. Made it through 1.5 episodes of The Event. DVR'd a lot of them because I've been super busy the last couple of weeks. Think The Whole Truth looks promising, mainly because I like Maura Tierney and Rob Morrow.
But eagerly awaited returns of House, NCIS, The Good Wife, CASTLE, Dexter ... and I'm still loving all of those.
And...since the Yanks are in the play-offs, looks the DVR is going to be getting more of a work out.

Jennifer Jakes said...

I rarely watch series TV. I gave it up to have more time to write. But who can resist the hot guys on Hawaii Five-0?? I liked both the first and second show, particularly the snarky dialogue between Dano and McGarrett. I also like the open thread of the villian's unfound body on the first show. Can Hawaii Five -0 continue to hold my attention? So far, so good:)

Mary Ricksen said...

I like the Office. I just recently started watching the reruns on late nite TV, and got into it. Watched Hawaii 5-0. Although I love the handsome stars, it ain't nothing like the old one. Is it filmed in Hawaii. Or LA?

Beth Caudill said...

My staple right now is CSI:NY (I've dropped the other two. Just don't care about them anymore), NCIS and NCIS:LA (I love Chris O'Donnell)

Big Bang is great too, although still adjusting to the new schedule.

I'm on the bench about Supernatural. They've lost the edge they've had with both hunting. Maybe it's just the change from the Apocalypse. But if it doesn't get more interesting soon I may have to drop it. Don't know if the Sam and Dean eyecandy is worth it anymore.

I'm still on the bench for Stargate:Universe. Okay I watch it but it's kinda like a see it coming but can't turn away. Haven has grown on me although I don't think it will become a must see. Just something to watch late Friday night.

I can't wait for the midseason of Eureka to start. I love how they twist the "science" and make it funny.

Word Actress said...

Thx for that great update. I only caught a few of the new shows so it was good to hear ur take on some of them. I like Castle. He's adorable, his apartment is to die for, his daughter is delightful and Beckett is just getting more beautiful. The 'what if' factor in series TV and life is so much more intriguing and fun. If they get together, it will definitely mean the shows sad demise. I love the guy who plays the Mentalist, but I can't seem to take the effort to find out what night it's on. I like the doctor show that comes on after Grey's Anatomy. They do big story plots and they keep shuffling the deck enough to keep things interesting for viewers. Plus I used to lived down in Malibu/Santa Monica, so I love seeing the beach scenes.Modern Family cracks me up and Cougartown is actually growing on me. What else - oh, I've been painfully watching Dancing With the Stars even though their new name should be: Dancing With Anybody. I mean Bristol Palin, come on, she's famous for getting knocked up in high school. Gimme a break. I love Californication b/c of my crush on David Duchovny and Weeds and Mad Men but I'm always a season behind since I can only afford basic cable. There was a time when I only watched Showtime and HBO, never regular TV. I find most of the shows lacking. Thanks for the post...Mary Kennedy Eastham

Samantha Gentry said...

Julia: NCIS is a must see for me, too.

The first episode of Hawaii 5-0 was the pilot so there was extra time devoted to introducing the characters that goes back to story on subsequent episodes.

Samantha Gentry said...

Taryn: I think the concept of The Whole Truth is interesting in that it uses both pov instead of being a show about the prosecution or a show about the defense. Rob Morrow sure moved at lightning speed into a new series. They barely had Numbers wrapped before The Whole Truth would have been in pre-production.

Samantha Gentry said...

Jennifer: Yes, the relationship between Danny and McGarrett is much more interesting than the original. The remake has an edge to their relationship that give it a little extra bit of a kick--they work together so they'll have each other's back, but personally it's not as cut and dried.

Samantha Gentry said...

Mary: I'm assuming it's filmed in Hawaii. The original built full production studios in Hawaii for the show and then Magnum PI was filmed in Hawaii. So, they have the facilities to accommodate another series. Besides, I think a remake could pale by comparison if the original was filmed totally on location and the remake went with LA production.

Samantha Gentry said...

Beth: I gave up CSI Vegas a long time ago. Finally quit watching CSI Miami shortly into last season. I'm still with CSI NY. I'm recording tonight's premiere of CSI Miami. I'm willing to give it another try...we'll see on that one. I'm definitely on NCIS and NCIS LA.

Samantha Gentry said...

Mary: Yes, Castle is a fun show and his apartment is definitely to die for (don't even want to speculate on how many millions it would cost to buy it if it were real ). Interesting with Castle, his mother, and 15 year old daughter that the daughter is definitely the most mature.

The Mentalist is Thursday night on CBS (10pm Eastern, 9pm Central).

Fiona said...

I have 4 kids, 2 of them are in college now, one will go next fall, then there will be 3 at the same time. We have never paid for cable, even though entire family is into sci-fi big-time! Husband and daughter watch some shows every week...the boys watch what they want on their computers, or play games. I haven't watched any show since Angel went off the air...what was that, 5 or 6 years ago? I work multiple jobs, care for Mom, etc. If I get any spare time, I check my e-mails, then I write. Can't get books published if I never sit down to write them! I really don't think on my death-bed I will sob, wishing I had watched more TV in my lifetime! I can still sing every word from the Beverly Hillbillies. I've been scarred enough!

Samantha Gentry said...

Fiona: It sounds like you certainly lead a busy and full life.

Jules said...

I've seen both the old and the new Hawaii 5-0, and I prefer the new. Alex O'Loughlin is yummy, the writing is fresh and interesting and better than I expected from CBS. The supporting cast is great and there are definite undertones that can be read into the relationship between McGarrett and Danno, especially if you're inclined to think in that direction anyway, like I am. :)

Jules said...

Oops, I could have mentioned the new season of Vampire Diaries while I was at it - this year is touted as the Season of the Kat, so we know we'll see a lot of Katherine. The writing is a bit improved from the sad state it was in by the end of the last season. I see some hope for it now, but there are certain stupidities about it that still bug me.

Also, new show, Terriers - Donal Logue, and Michael Raymond-Jacques - definitely good stuff, good writing, interesting, fast paced and funny. Realistic. These guys are not perfect private investigators, they are quite normal. Worth a definite look-see!

Veronica Lynch said...

I am a fan of Terriers. I liked Donal Logue [first his interesting name, the unhero-like physique and smart mouth dialogue he sported in a previous cop show whose title escapes me at this moment in time]. While recovering from rotator cuff surgery I was channel surfing and found him again--buffed, long hair, scruffy beard and sloppy hair and the same smart mouth. Along with the sad sack partner, these two are not cut from the mold PI's but real people with real problems. Excellent show.
I like the new Hawaii 5-0. Has anyone else seen the same facial and hand gestures between Scott Caan [did I get his first name right?] and his father James Caan? It's sorty of spooky.
Another hit in my house is Blue Bloods. I love Tom Selleck, though he brought Jesse Stone from Paradise to New York. The supporting cast is great, especially Donnie Wahlberg and Len Cariou who plays the grandfather.
thanks for the interesting topic and the opportunity to sound off.

Samantha Gentry said...

Jules: Yes, today's Hawaii 5-0 is definitely edgier, more realistic, and the writing is crisper. I attribute part of that to simply bringing the show from 1968 to 2010. Today's society moves at a much faster pace than it did 42 years ago. The new version has a lot more realism to it.

I'm not familiar with Terriers. What network airs it?

Samantha Gentry said...

Veronica: Wow...another mention of Terriers. Is it on one of the premium channels like HBO or Showtime?

True Bloods does have a good cast, well established actors who know their craft. I enjoyed Len Cariou's recurring character of Michael Haggarty (the British spy) on Murder She Wrote. Len and Angela Landsbury have a long history. They starred together on Broadway in Sweeney Todd.

P.A.Brown said...

The two new ones I've enjoyed the most are Law & Order, Los Angeles, and Blue Blood. No Ordinary Family and Chase might be fun and Detroit 187 is iffy. I watched one of The Event and didn't watch the next one. I didn't watch Hawaii 5-0. One, because it just looked like Miami Vice and that got old before it ended and I didn't like that they set a show on the most culturally and racially diverse state in the country and the main cast is two Anglo men. Why not a Hawaiian? Why not something like Neil Plakcy does in his Hawaiian books? Is Hollywood so afraid of having non-white characters in major roles? I know it was a 'remake' but other remakes have been done where the race or sex was changed.

For old shows, I still love Family Guy and L&O SVU. And Glee. Love Glee. Not sure about Castle. The first show of the season wasn't as good as last years, but I'll watch a few more.

So it's like most new seasons, some good ones, some so-so. With my luck the ones I like will be cancelled. LOL.

Samantha Gentry said...

P.A.: Love your avatar. I'm sure I've seen that character somewhere before. Oh, the picture at the top of this blog post. I guess great minds think alike.

Same thing happenss to me occasionally. A show I really like gets cancelled and never makes it through the first season.