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Archive for the ‘Fall Preview 2006’ Category

Fall Preview: 1 vs. 100

Posted by Travis R Grant on October 13, 2006

It’s hard to believe that I am still doing fall previews and we are 2 weeks into October. Well, the truth of it is that NBC didn’t have 1 vs. 100 on its original line up for fall. I am guessing that they were waiting to see if Deal or No Deal was still going to have the same draw as it did last season.

If you would have asked me 9 months ago if I thought that Deal or No Deal was going to be a success, I would have told you no. I honestly thought that it would be too gimmicky and just not very entertaining. However, I would have been wrong.

With that in mind, I now look at 1 vs. 100. And honestly the jury is still out. Can NBC succeed with two game shows in their line up? We have seen that the prime time game show if done right can be a great success. But based on past shows, I think that they have limited life.

So, the question still remains, can two prime time game shows survive?

The concept of 1 vs. 100 is that one contestant takes on 100 contestants. As long as the one contestant keeps answering the questions right, then he continues on. If he eliminates all 100 competitors then he wins $1,000,000.

After each question he has the opportunity to take the money that he has won and quit. However, he can also risk it all by taking on the “mob.” With each person eliminated from the mob the cash prize goes up.

Also, the mob may consist of anyone. The premier will at the least have Ken Jennings from Jeopardy fame and some Deal or No Deal models. So, you never know who are going up against. You can also get a “lifeline” which appears to be polling the mob to see what the most common answer is.

The other part of the answer to the big question of will two game shows survive is the host. Howie Mandell makes Deal or No Deal what it is. Except for his annoying “let’s-go-to-commercial” bits, Howie seems to have just the right timing and personality to bring Deal or No Deal up a notch.

Can Bob Sagat do it? I don’t know. I still see him as the dad of the Olsen twins and punching out those terrible jokes on the original America’s Funniest Videos. This is really where I find myself stumped with this show.

One of the things I like about this show is that perhaps it will bring back some fun “family” entertainment to Friday nights. Maybe I am too nostalgic for the old days of TGIF. But for me it seems that Friday should be a day for parents and younger children to relax before the weekend. So, with Deal or No Deal and 1 vs. 100 maybe NBC will have some must see TV in our house.

Posted in Fall Preview 2006, Previews, Television, TV | 2 Comments »

Fall Preview: The Amazing Race 10

Posted by Travis R Grant on September 16, 2006

Perhaps the only reason that I even still turn on the TV anymore is because of The Amazing Race. Until LOST came around, The Race was the only show worth setting the VCR to record.

As far as I am concerned The Amazing Race is Survivor on adrenaline. If you have never seen the show, what have you been thinking? This is the reason the unscripted dramas were invented.

However, for an unscripted drama to be really successful, it really comes down to the contestants. The challenges are fun, but the real drama comes from watching the interaction between the contestants. So let’s take a look at a few.

Bilal and Sa’eed are best friends and Muslims. From what I have seen I don’t know that there is much to this team. Perhaps they bring some athleticism to the game, but I think that they are too overweight to compensate.

David and Mary are the parents of three children. If they can make it past the first leg of The Race, then I think that they have a chance. However, it all depends on how well they work together. I like this team because the have the average Joe feel about them. And I will definitely be cheering them on.

Dustin and Kandice are the buxom blonds that are standard issue with this show. Although they will say something about them being better players than they appear, I have to say that they will be like all other past beautiful girl teams; They just won’t be able to keep it together for very long.

Erwin and Godwin are brothers from California and the first Asian-American team on The Race. Although these are possible contenders, I just don’t hold out much hope for them.

Lyn and Karlyn are two mothers and best friends. Like David and Mary I think that they hold some average Joe appeal that my win them into the hearts of many viewers. I am also thinking that they may be the first to break the mom curse, and win.

Peter and Sara are both Iron Man competitors. That is a pretty awesome resume item when it comes to The Race. They cannot be ignored in this game. I see a future final three.

Tom and Terry are the over-represented gay population team. It still amazes me how many gay couples they have on this show. The gay representation sure out numbers the average homosexual population in the U.S. As a team, I don’t think that they are fit enough to make it through the first half of the show.

Vipul and Arti are billed as the first Indian-American team to compete in The Race. Why didn’t they bill Erwin and Godwin as the first Asian-American teams? Vipul and Arti might do well, but I don’t think that they will have what it takes to compete.

So, onto the predictions. I predict that the first out of The Race will be Dustin and Kandice. Bad for the ratings, but lends to the credibility of the show.

I predict that the final three will be Peter and Sarah, Tyler and James (you have to throw in the strong male team), and for the wild card position I say Lyn and Karlyn. Risky business predicting before The Race even start, but I will have final predictions later on.

My prediction for most lovable team is Lyn and Karlyn. My prediction for most hatable team is going to be Rob and Kimberly, the dating couple that this time will fight like cats and dogs.

I would love to see David and Mary win, but the average Joe couple seldom make it very far. So, as usual I will just be upset when they get knocked out, and I will continue watching the show anyway.

I am not sure about this season’s race. It just seems that people are typical, predictable, and nothing exciting. I hope that I am wrong, but if the contestants aren’t worth watching than the show isn’t worth watching.

Posted in Fall Preview 2006, Previews, Reality TV, TAR, Television, The Amazing Race, TV, Unscripted Dramas | 1 Comment »

Fall Preview: Kidnapped

Posted by Travis R Grant on September 8, 2006

From the first moment I saw a preview on TV for Kidnapped I was intrigued. I have recently given up on Without a Trace, for reasons that I might address later. But I really enjoyed the element of searching for a missing person, and Kidnapped, could fulfill that need.

However, as I learned more about this show, I had some concerns. The basic premise is that 15-year-old Leopold Cain (Will Denton) is kidnapped shortly after his father hires a bodyguard (Mykelti Williamson) and takes out a ransom insurance policy on his son.

So, Leopold’s parents, Ellie (Dana Delany) and Conrad Cain (Timothy Hutton), at the advice of a friend call in an expert, Knapp (Jeremy Sisto). They don’t call the police, perhaps from fear of the kidnapper. As the story develops it also seems that they have some family secrets that will be revealed.

Well, my major concern was the hiring in of Knapp. A former FBI agent who quit because he felt that obeying the law was too constricting. So, he became a high-profile missing persons private investigator. Knapp’s blatant disregard for the law concerns me.

However, this character adds much of the necessary suspense and action. He helps to add to the major plot of getting Leopold back and finding out who kidnapped him. Perhaps I am justifying here, but I sure feel that his lack of ethics will not be as important as I initially gave it credit.

So far NBC has done a good job at confusing everyone. Is it the father? mother? Perhaps it is a business enemy. Or is it someone we haven’t even heard about yet.

As for me, I am going to put myself out on a limb and say that Virgil, the bodyguard, is involved in the kidnapping. I think that there may even be a deeper organization that is truly at the heart of it. And that we will see that develop as this gets into more and more seasons.

This show mimics the idea of a season long plot made famous through 24 and it borrows from Without a Trace. I think that it will be a great show, and I hope to be able to catch it regularly. I think that if I miss a show, I will be lost.

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Fall Preview: Shark

Posted by Travis R Grant on September 6, 2006

Shark is a show deserving of its time slot and one that may really get my attention this fall. It has the excitement of the lawyer’s office, and the draw of a unique twist.

Sebastian Stark (James Wood) was a hot shot Criminal Lawyer who won most of his cases fighting for the bad guy. One case, however, turned his life around. He gets a rich guy off from a spouse abuse case, and then the victim is found dead at the hand of his client.

These circumstances lead Stark to a change of heart, but not necessarily ethics. When the mayor approaches Stark to head up a new legal team to fight high-profile criminal cases for the District Attorney. Stark takes the offer reluctantly in an attempt to make up for his wrongs.

His attempt to redeem himself from his past isn’t a complete about face. He still leans towards unethical legal practices and encourages his new entourage of young lawyers to blur the line of ethics. While these ethical issues seem a bit problematic, I can’t help but lean a little toward the old cliché that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

I would hope that as this show progresses, that Stark comes to a greater understanding of why the right thing is always that right thing. That following the rule book, while not always easy, is also a very important element to winning cases and being a human being.

Stark’s daughter, Julie (Danielle Panabaker), is the Jimmy Cricket that helps her father through this transition. Her love for her dad and hatred for his ethics brings him closer to an moral human being.

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t going to be a great family show. Many of the themes around the legal cases I expect to be offensive, and I may have to turn it off because of that. However, I hope that the direction of character development becomes more important to the writers than their desire to portray lewdness on the air.

This has great potential to be a story of redemption and change. The change will be hard. The metamorphosis with be intriguing. Combine all of this in a good lawyer story, and you have a great hit. I will definitely be watching to see how this show develops.

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Fall Preview: Standoff

Posted by Travis R Grant on September 4, 2006

Admittedly, I have never been a real fan of the Fox Network. They seem to be really pushing the buttons of ethics and morals on television. They have broadcast some shows that deserve accolades, like 24, however, for the most part I am not a big Fox fan.

Their new drama Standoff doesn’t change my opinion either. Standoff just slaps me in the face of blatant disregard for morals.

In Standoff, Matt Flannery (Ron Livingston) and Emily Lehman (Rosemarie DeWitt) are partners in the Crisis Negotiation Unit (CNU). Wow, that sounds like a great concept right there. Crisis negotiators could really produce a lot of great material for suspense, action, and entertainment. This really sounds like Fox’s answer to CSI, and with some creative writing and great acting, we could have a winner.

However, Fox can’t take a great concept and leave it alone. Instead they have to add an element where ethics are pushed over the line. Matt and Emily are having an affair.

Two partners are sleeping together. Sexual relations between partners usually results in a break up of the partnership. Despite the fact that this affair is revealed during the first episode, they remain partners throughout the season.

Apparently during a crisis negotiation, Matt looses his cool and reveals to those involved (including his own father) that he is having an affair with his partner.

Just a second, this guy, who can’t seem to keep calm during a negotiation, is supposedly one of the best they have? He is so good that Matt and Emily’s boss, Cheryl Carrera (Gina Torres), can’t separate these two because they are a great combination for negotiations.

Yeah, right! Matt is so good at negotiating that he reveals his deepest secret while on the job. Smooth…

Fox should have just stuck with the CNU angle. It could have been a great set up. However, they had to add a deeper element and that has really messed up their story line.

Is this show supposed to be a cop show or a romance? Their blatant attempt at trying to attract two different audiences at the same time will simply be a bust.

Sorry Fox, but you have struck out with me yet again. Perhaps next year.

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Fall Preview: 6º

Posted by Travis R Grant on August 31, 2006

I was hoping to write a positive review for a show from ABC. However, it looks like they have the worst line up this year of the three major networks. This is especially true when it comes to their new programs this fall. While I think they have some good concepts, their programs just miss the mark.

Specifically, 6º appears to be a great concept. However, from the previews, it just seems that there is something missing. I am interested in the how they tie the lives of six seemingly unconnected people together. And I think that the concept is interesting. However, is the concept alone interesting enough to hold my attention for a whole season?

Normally, I like to talk about some of the characters and plot of a show. However, as I have read the online description and watched the trailer. It appears that there is little character development and even less of a story line.

Perhaps as I watch this show I will come to know these people and enjoy watching them. But as for now, I have no interested in the characters, because there is no development. What interest I do have in this show is in the interconnection (or the six degrees) and how it all plays out. But as the show develops that interconnection will be lost because the six degrees will ultimately meld into one.

But what’s further is the story line. Why do we care how these people are interconnected? What is so important about these six people? Where is the drama? Where is the conflict? The trailer doesn’t show it; the online description doesn’t explain it. There appears to be no plot. And simple human interaction is not enough to entertain.

This show, , is a great concept. It stares in the face as being an interesting look at interpersonal, or maybe more correctly stated extra-personal relationships. However, it will lose viewers because it has little character development and even less of a plot.

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Fall Preview: Heros

Posted by Travis R Grant on August 30, 2006

It seems that after the great success of Lost, many of the major networks are trying there hand at putting together their own mysterious story. CBS has added Jericho, and NBC is trying it with Heroes.

And I think that these two new shows will both be a success.

Heroes is the story of ordinary people who discover that they have extraordinary powers. And these powers are also the interest of Mohinder Suresh (Sendhil Ramamurthy). Suresh is the son of a professor who took on his father’s studies after his father mysteriously disappeared. Both the father and son were genetic scientists who are interested in the evolution of man.

As Suresh continues his father’s research he comes into contact with people who have extraordinary powers. He meets people like Claire Bennet (Hayden Panettiere). Claire is a 17-year-old, high-school cheerleader whose body cannot be destroyed. She has jumped from towers, walked in fire, and other terrible acts, but can’t seem to hurt herself.

Hiro Nakamura (Masi Oka) is a cube farm employee who doesn’t fit in with his Japanese coworkers. He spends what free time he has in the office trying to get the clock to move backward. Then one day it happens. Ultimately he learns to teleport himself.

Matt Parkman (Greg Grunberg) is an unsuccessful street cop, who wants to do more with his career but seems to be holding himself back. However, one day while on the beat he hears a voice, and it leads him to solving a case. But where are they coming from.

Suresh concludes that it is genetic mutation that has caused each of these and several others to happen. However, there seems to be something even deeper to their mysterious abilities, and Suresh is determined to find the root of these changes.

Because, many of us have wanted to fly, walk through walls, or stop the clock at some point in our lives. And this show will grasp at the heart of our desire to be more than who we are. We will all watch relating to one character more than to another and seeing ourselves in many of them. This show will be a great hit. We will wonder about the mystery and wonder about the people.

The acting, production, writing, and execution of this show will be right on. The show will draw the viewer in for an hour and leave her wanting more. I expect that this will be a great success.

On a values perspective, I must say that I am concerned about a couple of characters backgrounds and I wonder how they will play out in the end. Only as the show develops can I honestly say whether I will stay with this show or not.

Despite the fact that I think this show will be a success, I am afraid that with all the mystery of Lost, Jericho, and Heroes, something must go. Only time will tell which of these three proves to be the most entertaining. I think that Lost will keep it well established audience, and that the second place will fall to Heroes. While I like the Jericho story better, I think that more people will relate to Heroes and thus tune in.

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Fall Preview: Smith

Posted by Travis R Grant on August 25, 2006

Have you ever wanted to be a master criminal? You know the guy every one turns to when they need something stolen from someone, and they are going to pay you a lot of money to do it? A life of lies, deceit, murder?

Yeah, me neither.

Sure, I would love to have an exciting action packed life, and perhaps if I didn’t watch so much TV I might actually get that. However, I am not going to become some high-life criminal who pretends to be a family man, so that I can get that action. However, CBS wants us all to find entertainment in such deception.

CBS’s Smith is about the life and actions of a “family man” who lives a double life as a master criminal. He is trying to get out, but he always seems willing to just one more job. After all, he needs to make just a little more after that last million dollar job.

The executive producers claim (video link) that their drive to make this show was to look at the inner evil in all of us. They equate the average man’s driving over the speed limit and illegal parking to professional criminals who steal, murder, cheat, and who knows what else they plan on showing us.

I am nothing like Bobby Stevens (Ray Liotta), accept maybe in the looks category. And I don’t really want to be. My minor infractions of the law are nothing like Stevens and his cohorts violent detest of the law while they parade themselves as normal family men.

At first, I thought that maybe this was about a man who was sincerely trying to turn over a new leaf. But as I watch the previews (video link), I realized that this isn’t a show about changing for the better. Rather it is an exhibition of evil. The producers smirk as they discuss the next crime that these men are going to commit. They love the idea that we can all live vicariously as evil people through their creation. They openly admit these their main character is not supposed to be likeable.

This show is socially irresponsible. This paints the life of a criminal as action without consequences. It sends the message that you can do whatever you want and have the good life too. Many will watch this show and think that this as a way out of their drudgery and into excitement. If you doubt me, ask criminologist how many people started showing a greater interest in a criminology career after the popularity of CSI.

Production wise this will be a great show. Acting will be superb. For those who chose to watch it, they will probably mistaken think they are watching a movie and not a television show. Honestly, I expect that this show will last for a couple of seasons. It has the potential audience of 24.

However, I will not be watching and I hope that it doesn’t make it into next year. I don’t watch TV to see evil celebrated.

Posted in Drama, Fall Preview 2006, Previews, Smith, Television, TV | 1 Comment »

Fall Preview: ‘Til Death

Posted by Travis R Grant on August 23, 2006

I really struggle with comedies lately. It seems that the family comedy is almost completely extinct. When you turn on a proported family comedy it ends up being something that you wouldn’t watch with your children.

And I am afraid that Fox’s new comedy ‘Til Death, while not promoting itself as a family show, will ultimately prove to be a disappointment for me. The first clue is the name. With all the positive phrases to denote marriage, they had to pick a negative one.

While marriage is work and at times you aren’t sure if you can handle another minute with your spouse. There are wonderful times too. And while I wouldn’t want this show to sugar coat marriage, I just hope that it isn’t the bash on marriage show that it could digress to.

‘Til Death stars Brad Garrett as Eddie Stark who has been married to his wife Joy (Joely Fisher) for almost 24 years. And as with many marriages it has grown a little stale. The comedy is set when just next door a newly wed couple (Kat Foster and Eddie Kaye Thomas) moves in.

This juxtaposition of the new marriage and the old marriage is a great set up. The concept is fresh and unique. And the actors appear to be a great combination. I think this is a great next role for Brad Garrett. Ultimately, I predict that this will be a success.

However, it will end up being a disappointment in that too much humor will be made at the expense of marriage. This show could truly send the message that while marriage is hard, it can work and can be wonderful. However, I think it will send more of a message that marriage is just terrible and don’t bother; that the first few years of marriage are great, but after that it is just pure drudgery and not worth it.

I will probably watch a few episodes, and I will probably enjoy them. However, the negative messages will ultimately bring me to tuning out and finding a better way to spend my half hour.

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Fall Preview: Jericho

Posted by Travis R Grant on August 18, 2006

Okay, I have to admit that I am a sucker for science fiction. And perhaps that’s why I feel Jericho has a lot of potential this fall. However, the previews also show that this could be the next LOST.

The big question of this show is what would you do if? Thus, it becomes a dialogue, if you will, about what people do when they are presented with a situation they have never dealt with before. Some will choose wrong, most will choose right, and ultimately right will prevail.

I predict that this show will be the best new show of the year. It will capture the heart of America. It will show that evil exists, but the good will overcome evil. It will show how people can and do work together to make the world a little better, no matter what fate has dealt them.

The characters for this show are very interestingly put together. Jake Green (Skeet Ulrich) is the prodigal son, who happened to be in town for a short just time before the nuclear bombs hit. Now he decides to stay and help out. Thus, he becomes the unlikely hero of the story.

However, Jake’s relationship with his father, and Jericho’s Mayor, Johnston Green (Gerald McRaney) is troubled. This is where the main personal conflict develop. These two characters clash as they try to put this town back together again. This troubled relationship is often calmed by Jake’s mother, Gail Green (Pamela Reed).

There are also other great supporting characters that will add to this show. Perhaps the most intriguing character will be Bonnie Richmond (Shoshannah Stern). Bonnie is hearing impaired, and we will she how she copes with this very unique situation.

Robert Hawkins (Lennie James) is a mysterious stranger who seems to be able to handle many of the trials presented. He is the MacGyver of the show, but who is he really?

Jericho will have mystery, suspense, intrigue and so much more. This show will definitely be a success. Just how successful is yet to be determined.

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