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Fall TV 2010: My Reviews of NBC Mondays of Chuck, Chase, and The Event

With the new fall season starting, new TV is bring us the good, the bad, and the mediocre, but how do you sort out the good and the bad? Here is what to watch this fall, so you can see the best new friendships, new loves, new action, and new heart. Now, NBC is rebuilding and for Mondays, then are making it or trying to get it to be action-packed, do they succeed?…

What NBC Says about Chase and The Event:

“Chase” is a fast-paced drama from Emmy Award-winning executive producer Jerry Bruckheimer (“CSI” franchise, “The Amazing Race,” “Pirates of the Caribbean” films) and executive producer Jennifer Johnson (“Cold Case”) that drops viewers smack into the middle of a game of cat-and-mouse as a team of U.S. marshals hunts down America’s most dangerous fugitives. Kelli Giddish (“Past Life”) stars as U.S. Marshal Annie Frost, a cowboy boot-wearing deputy whose sharp mind and unique Texas upbringing help her track down the violent criminals on the run. Cole Hauser (“K-Ville”), Amaury Nolasco (“Prison Break”), Rose Rollins (“The L Word”) and Jesse Metcalfe (“Desperate Housewives”) also star as members of Frost’s elite team.

“The Event” is an emotional, high-octane conspiracy thriller that follows Sean Walker (Jason Ritter, “The Class”), an Everyman who investigates the mysterious disappearance of his fiancee, Leila (Sarah Roemer, “Disturbia”), and unwittingly begins to expose the biggest cover-up in U.S. history. Sean’s quest will send ripples through the lives of an eclectic band of strangers, including: newly elected U.S. President Martinez (Golden Globe nominee Blair Underwood, “Dirty Sexy Money”); Sophia (Emmy Award nominee Laura Innes, “ER”), who is the leader of a mysterious group of detainees; and Sean’s shadowy father-in-law (Scott Patterson, “Gilmore Girls”). Their futures are on a collision course in a global conspiracy that could ultimately change the fate of mankind. Ian Anthony Dale (“Daybreak”) and Emmy winner Zeljko Ivanek (“Damages”) also star in the ensemble drama.

I enjoy action, I enjoy character, and I enjoy intrigue, and when I read all the pilot scripts last winter, one certainly peaked my interested. Chase. That series eventually went to NBC, and was picked up, and now with the pilot airing tonight at 10/9c, I find myself still enjoying it. Chase is not NBC’s big hope, that honor goes to The Event, which I will talk about in a bit, but Chase is something that takes a over-used subject (U.S. Marshalls) and makes it all about the action, and it is damn good action. Ironically, the “chase” sequences are of movie-like quality thanks to the kickass Kelli Giddish, but the series lacks in one thing, the script was featuring, character. Our lead Annie Frost (Giddish), is nothing more than a eye-piece into the world, and not a woman we know and I can only hope they explore that soon, and more characters I wish they would explore are on the show preceding it.

The Event is this TV season’s new seralized series, last year it was FlashForward and we all know how that turned out, and the future is certainly unclear for NBC’s offering which sure packs a lot in the first 44 minutes. The series lead, Jason Ritter (right), is awesome and nieve, and fun, and the show is a trip. The pilot is created in such a weird narrative structure, jumping time, characters every act, and you have to pay attention to get a glimpse in the world creator Nick Wauters is trying to create. No, the “Event” seemingly does not happen in the pilot, or does it, and it is a mystery the creators promised will be answered early, and if it’s not, then it may not be worth your time.

The Event is certainly an ensemble show from Blair Underwood as the President, Laura Innes as a mysterious detaniee to Scott Patterson (Gilmore Girls) as a loving father, and even Emmy-winner Zeljko Ivanek as the CIA director, and the ensemble rocks, as is the same with Chuck, which enters its FOURTH (!!) season tonight at 8/7c.

The season premiere is as Chuck always does, a series-changer of sorts, setting a new structure for the new year, as Chuck, Sarah, and Casey are battling new foes in their personal and professional spy lives. It is a smile-fest. I could not take a huge grin off my face the entire time I was watching, and you will see your favorite characters in a whole new life, including General Beckman (Bonita Friedericy, now a series regular) as well as the staple, Buy More, which is now a CIA/NSA headquarters. Chuck gives us smiles, The Event gives us things to think about, and Chase gives us that action we crave, the new NBC Mondays are one to watch, starting tonight at 8/7c, and for the sake of broadcast television as a whole, lets all hope it works out.

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New Seasons, New DVDs: Your Favorite Nerd and Troubled Brothers

Once again, my weekly DVD post has some returning favorites bringing new seasons to DVD.

Chuck, out tomorrow on DVD, gives us their complete 3rd season, which means all 19 episodes. Chuck is in my top 5 shows of the past season, which included deaths, reveals, and most of all friendship and love coming together into an action packed light-hearted drama.

The box set, includes one of the best blooper reels I have ever seen along with an outstanding mockumentary on the show’s signature band Jeffster. The other feature, a sort-of compilation of the season’s best moments capped by commentary of the cast is the usual but still interesting as three out of the five executive producers have left the show after this season, leaving only the creators Josh Schwartz and Chris Fedak to do the continued good work.

Also out tomorrow, is the complete 5th season of Supernatural. This season marked the only ever addition of a regular cast member to the show about two demon-hunting brothers (Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki). The addition was Castiel (Misha Collins) who goes on the hunt with the brothers.

The DVD includes the web-only series Ghostfacers, commentary, and a bunch of unaired scenes. Both of the sets are available tomorrow in stores everywhere!

Thursday’s Upfront Frenzy: The Renewals, Pickups, and Cancellations

Thursday was a pretty quiet day in terms of upfront news as it is fast approaching. That statement worked until tonight when the craziness started!

Matthew Perry in Mr. Sunshine

It all started with the report by Deadline.com that the staple Law & Order was cancelled by NBC because of a dispute with creator Dick Wolf. That was quickly called out too soon as reports of troubles are true, but negotiations are still ongoing but unlikely to change by Monday. NBC reversely picked up the David E. Kelly/Kathy Bates starring vehicle Kindreds for midseason and according to THR, the intelligent Garza legal pilot which is a chance for Jimmy Smits to shine. But the best news from NBC, CHUCK IS RENEWED. Enough said. (The other bubble show Heroes, may get a limited pickup to finish the series.)

ABC took to the waves by announcing six new pickups of series following the announcement of the first drama No Ordinary Family.

First up the new comedies, the fantastically written by star Matthew Perry and pals pilot Mr. Sunshine and starring Allison Janney was one of the three laffers. Mr. Sunshine focuses on a sports center manager (Perry) and his friends, think of it as the male-led Cougar Town). Second is Happy Endings, starring Elisha Cuthbert and Eliza Coupe, and centers around an almost married couple and their eclectic friends. I have read the script by David Caspe flows nicely and is a good adult sitcom. The last official pickup is the only multi-cam by the network, Better Together, which features Joanna Garcia and Jennifer Finnigan as sisters who are both in a relationship as well as their parents. Debra Messing’s ABC pilot Wright vs. Wrong is very close to a pickup as well.

The Cast of ABC's Detroit 1-8-7

The new dramas on ABC (more pickups to come tomorrow) include the Michael Imperioli fronted cop drama, Detroit 1-8-7, which had a solid script and a very nice cast including the underrated Aisha Hinds, and The Whole Truth which brings back Joely Richardson to the Jerry Bruckheimer drama, that focus on both sides of the law, with the other side shown by Rob Marrow. Joely is one of my favorite actresses and the script was a refreshing legal concept. The third drama pickup is My Generation (also called Generation Y), written tremendously by Noah Hawley (The Unusuals), focuses on a class of kids that were in a documentary in high school, and now are being looked at once again 10 years later. The class includes actors such as Mechad Brooks, Jamie King, and Kelli Garner.

In terms of current shows at ABC, a personal favorite V has been renewed for a second season, and now multiple sources including EW, are reporting that Better off Ted, Romantically Challenged, Scrubs, and FlashForward, are all cancelled.

CBS picked up their first freshman entry today, Mike and Molly. The pilot about a couple that meets at a meeting for “larger” people is from their favorite creator Chuck Lorre (The Big Bang Theory) and stars the wonderful women Melissa McCarthy and Swoosie Kurtz.

Lastly on the cable side, partner networks TBS and TNT, who are both doing presentations next week, picked up new series. TBS greenlit Glory Daze, which stars a crew of unknowns that play 80’s college students in Wisconsin. Finally in a pilot started at TBS, Franklin and Bash moved to TNT and Lynette Rice at EW is reporting has been okay-ed for series. The pilot about street smart lawyers stars Breckin Meyer and Mark-Paul Gosselaar.

Stay tuned throughout the night, tomorrow, and the weekend for the latest in advance of the Upfronts next week.

What I Will Be Watching – Monday, March 29th, 2010

Some great TV on in this start of the late winter week….

Chuck – 8/7c on NBC So who was Sarah’s red test? Will Casey come back in the fold? When is Shaw going to leave? Those are some of my questions going into Chuck vs. the American Hero. Chuck for me is really getting in a grove during this middle half of the season. Tonight, Chuck gets to pick who he takes on this mission, and his friends want him back.

Kell on Earth – 10/9c on Bravo How will Bravo exist without Kelly Cutrone now? Kell on Earth has now quickly become a Bravo staple for me, and the whole People’s Revolution crew is awesome. Skinner, Grace, Andrew, Robyn, and more, who couldn’t love this dysfunctional crew. Tonight is the finale as Kelly gets some sad news. Good news though, look for a lot more Kelly with Whitney and Roxy on MTV’s The City, next month.

Castle – 10/9c on ABC “Boom!” time. The second part of the Dana Delany two-parter airs after DWTS tonight and we will get the answer to the awesome cliffhanger that was Beckett’s building blowing up. Of course, she survives I do believe, but how and what will happen next? I’m excited!

Damages – 10/9c on FX  Is anybody watching Damages? From the ratings, it does not look like it. Tonight’s episode however really tests the story as Patty almost loses the Tobin’s case unless she gets some information as Ellen gets in hot water at the DA’s office. The episode end however is absolutely fantastic, and also look for more information on Winstone’s back story.

Beards, Tic Tacs, Names, and Exams: First Look at the Next 4 Hours of NBC’s ‘Chuck’

Chuck has many new missions, 12 to be exact for the year, and on his quest to become a real spy the next few are going to be critical. The next four in question, against a “Fake Name”, a “Beard,” “Tic Tacs,” and against the “Final Exam,” and they are critical, but they are some of Chuck’s best.

I was fortunate enough to get to see the next 4 hours which start airing tonight at 8/7c on NBC, and I do not want to say the show is perfect, these hours showcase what make it so close to perfection. They feature action, emotion, intrigue, depth, and most of all, fun, that make the viewing experience so memorable. I cannot say much of the plot because the episodes features so many revelations, I would not and Josh Schwartz and Chris Fedak do not want to ruin it for you. Episode 9 (March 8th) notably is directed by the series star Zachary Levi and is I believe the best episode the series has created.

I cannot not talk about the controversy surrounding the way the series left off before the Olympics and it is key to remember that the episode was never meant to be a cliffhanger as many fans thought. I among others was not happy with the direction of the show  during the last few weeks but for entirely different reasons.I was not happy with the story, the cases were not grabbing me and the integration of the Buy More and notably Hannah (Kristin Keurk) was not happening the way I had hoped. Others however were concerned that in the last episode, Chuck hooked up with Hannah, and Sarah with Shaw. Relax, Chuck and Sarah are not over and far from it, and to get angry over the hookups is unnecessary. Both Shaw and Hannah will not be around forever, and one will take off sooner than you think, so just step back, continue watching and enjoy the ride.

Please return to NBC and catch Chuck tonight at 8.7c!

Catching up on TV Part 1

Since I am officially caught up with current television (minus me watching for the first time House and Supernatural), I thought it would be a good time to tell you my thoughts for each show, and I would love to hear what you think! Check back tomorrow for the comments on programs from the second half of the week.

Castle – There is only good news for the comedic procedural that has seemingly integrated itself into the ABC brand like no other. Castle is climbing in the ratings and for once beating CSI: Miami in the demos which isn’t heard of in the 10PM timeslot on Mondays. The other good news is even in repeats the show performers better than any other ABC drama which means that new viewers are coming in through repeats.

Now creatively the show has been strong. Becketts’s backstory with her mother’s death has really been front and center for a couple weeks and it almost puts a “Monk” like layer to the story that gives me more of a personal connection. The case-of-the-week seemingly are just avenues to provide fun dialogue between Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic and I love those two together along with Castle’s mom and daughter who put a smile to your face. Well done ABC, and Castle returns with new episodes on Match 8th.

How I Met Your Mother/The Big Bang Theory – Now to a show that has not been on top of their game this year in Mother. The majority of the episodes have felt off and not true to the series with repeating stories for Robin, Lily and Marshall playing way in the background, and no progress with Ted. The 100th episode earlier in 2010 was solid and provide some new information on the title story but in order for me to really care, you must continue it and that has not happened. Very uneven but its 9:30 counterpart on Monday has been anything but.

Big Bang has not provided memorable moments like it should but it has never fallen to the bad column this year. The humor is endless, and each of the characters seem to be showcased in different ways each week. Both comedies return to CBS Mondays on March 1st.

Chuck- Chuck vs. the Mask sure was a controversial one. In the hour, the producers featured both Chuck and Sarah move on to new relationships and I was not okay with it. It was not necessarily the realationship, it was the way it was went about. Kristin Kreuk is a great actress and I was very happy to see her character Hannah take a larger role but for the past two hours she is being used in a role that is starting to hate Chuck and I do not enjoy that. I wanted Hannah to come in to the Buy More as just a fun, quirky girl, that can play with everybody and for her and Chuck to really form a bond. As far as Chuck and Sarah, as long as they are still friends with each other and sociable I could care less if Sarah jumps on board Shaw’s bandwagon.

Chuck is a show that even in the heaviest of stories has come out as a comedic and fun drama but for a couple weeks now that seems to be never present except for the great pairing of Ellie and Morgan and if this season they don’t find out about our hero we will have a problem. The gig is up, and it returns March 1st after the Olympics.

Kell on Earth – For two weeks, Kelly Cutrone has made my Mondays. By far the funniest and bitchiest hour on the first day of the week, Kelly and her staff provide a fast paced and interesting hour with the past week just being interesting to see what goes into a Fashion Week show and how to get fired from one. This next week, Kelly will travel to London for work and I am sure we will go both to her offices in Paris and LA as the show continues till the first season finale on the 29th of March. (more…)

New TV Monday: Castle, Fringe, The Big Bang Theory, and more…

Tonight, marks the real return of TV in 2010 with plenty of shows to watch:

Chuck – 8/7c on NBC As I hope you watched the tremendous return of this spy comedy last night, you will want to turn into this installment in its regular time and day. In the third hour, Awesome and Ellie get entangled in a dictators trip to Los Angeles, while Casey has a not so happy past with him.

Fringe – 9/8c on FOX Not the usually night for Olivia Dunham’s crew of sci-fi investigators but FOX has decided to air a unaired episode from Season 1 called “Unearthed.” To show you that this episode was from season 1, it includes a perfectly fine Charlie back on the team helping Olivia control the mayhem.

The Big Bang Theory – 9:30/8:30c 2009 was the year of the Bang, but I was not as overly enthused about the show as others. It is funny don’t get me wrong but it is not amazing. I still have high hopes that the funny will continue and tonight Koothrappali goes to the college party to meet girls. Danica McKeller of The Wonder Years guest stars.

Castle – 10/9c on ABC Castle snuck up on me, throughout this fall, I found myself wanting it to be Mondays just for this quirky procedural. Castle and Beckett are a fantastic combo and that is not any different when Castle’s ex, played by Alyssa Milano, comes into a case which throws a knot in Castle’s game plan. As always, hilarity ensues but always with a compelling case to counter it. Great TV!