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State of the Networks: Fall Preview, 2007

It's ranking time here in RS's World of Televisual Fun.  Having completed this list, I am now FINALLY looking forward to the fall TV season again...just in the nick of time, really.  Funny how I didn't miss these shows while they were gone; indeed it feels like the May finales just happened.  I suppose I have Harry Potter to thank for that.  What'll I do next year?  Anyway, here are the shows I'm looking forward to, along with reasons why (or sometimes, why not), in order of my excitement levels.  Spoiler-free, I think, unless you count TV previews and published articles as spoilers.    

1. NCIS
I actually think this is the one I'm looking forward to most, if only because I haven't thought about it hardly at all since the finale.  I know there were disappointing things last season, but I keep thinking that Jeanne CAN'T hang around much longer, and once she's gone I'll be back to the characters I love: Gibbs, Abby, Ziva, Jen, McGee, Tony.  Without Jeanne, not even Michelle Lee or Mann will bother me; I'm convinced of it.  I could do without ever seeing Fornell or Franks again - because I can only handle one gruff old guy at a time, and his name is Gibbs - but the rest of them, I miss.  I love their silly moments and the random way that all their quirks fit together to make them such a functioning team.  I miss them!  I'm really, really excited for this one to come back.

2. CSI
Most of my interest in this season is geared towards the premiere.  SARA'S FATE.  I MUST KNOW IT.  Even though it's a lot like "Grave Danger" all over again, I can't help it - I *do* want to see the whole team rallying in a race against the clock to find her.  And yes, what I'm really looking forward to is Grissom's reaction, whether she's alive or dead.  (though obviously, I am hoping for the former, and OBVIOUSLY, I am hoping to end on a private GSR scene).  If I get cheated out of closure on that point, I'm going to be uber-pissed.

The rest of the season, eh, I don't know.  I don't know the state of Jorja's contract, and I cannot conceive of a CSI team without Sara.  I always figured we'd have to worry about Petersen leaving early, not her...  This has to be one of the longest-running intact ensemble casts on television, and it's been great, but it also makes it harder to accept any kind of change.  And like I said, I don't even know if she *is* leaving, so I can't even prepare myself for it, much less bother to care about any other upcoming character storylines.    Gah, it's all very up-in-the-air right now.  (although I do have to mention one thing - what is this nonsense about Nicky angsting over having to step up and be a leader this year?  Did we not establish in, like, season ONE that Warrick was being groomed to follow in Grissom's footsteps?  Or did his trainwreck of an impromptu marriage - which is STILL being dragged out - cost him that?)

3. CSI: NY
Despite the fact that it was my favorite show last year - which is the main factor in me ranking it so high in this list - I'm not that interested in this one's return.  Nothing really jumps out at me as being something I'm excited to see (except, possibly, for the Halloween episode - I watched 'the Amityville Horror' this summer just so I'd understand the context).  There's an upswing in ill-advised relationships, apparently at the expense of my beloved Mac/Peyton, and my interest in D/L has cooled significantly after their sex scene.  (I am STILL scouring my brain over that, trying to get rid of unwanted imagery)  Then again, they might redeem themselves if they can keep their relationship at a subtle level - and by "subtle" I mean there are to be no kisses whatsoever until at least midseason, and it goes without saying that bedroom scenes are banned forevermore.  Dial it down, and I'll enjoy it again.

I guess I do miss seeing Mac & Flack, though.  That's mostly what I'm looking forward to.  

4. Numb3rs
The fact that Dylan Bruno is still signed on as a full-time cast member has mightily improved my mood from where it was at season-finale time.  This show was actually doing pretty well last spring, I think, and so I'm looking forward to seeing the characters again.  Specifically, I want Larry back RIGHT NOW.  I also have my fingers crossed for a gradual phasing-out of Millie.  That would make me happy, although I don't know if I'll get my wish granted or not.  Maybe I'll just sit here and focus on good vibes for Charlie/Amita.  That's probably a safer wish, at least for a little while.

5. ER
By all accounts, short of a 7th-Heaven miracle, this is going to be ER's final season - you have to stick around for that if nothing else.  My viewership with this show has been erratic; I didn't even see it for the first time until 2002 and I only settled in last year, but thanks to reruns on network and cable I've seen nearly all the episodes, and I love it.  I've said it before and I'll say it again; it's the best medical show there is - House and Grey's Anatomy can't hold a candle to it.  The former has snark and the latter has sex, and ER has a little of both of those but what it *really* has is heart.  The doctors there are one extended, slightly crazy family, and the revolving-door pattern to their ensemble only makes it that much more realistic, I think.  To me it doesn't matter that all the "original" cast is gone by this point - County General itself is what holds everything together.  This doesn't mean I have any love for whatever new characters they introduce, of course, and I'm going to eat my heart out over Luka's absence, but Abby and Neela are still here, and they've long been favorites of mine, while I'm still thoroughly invested in Gates' storyline.  (which may collapse and die if he doesn't get Sara back, but for now I'm still invested).

6. How I Met Your Mother
My flist ignores this show LIKE WHOA, so sometimes I get discouraged and think maybe it's not as great as TV Squad has convinced me it is.  And then I go watch an episode and realize HELL YES IT IS.  It is the greatest comedy on television, incredibly smart, but not dull-smart/blending with drama like The Office is.  The characters are wonderfully developed, the story is full of layers, the laugh-out-loud quips are snappy and many, and its format - intercut with brief flashbacks or side-insert scenes during conversations for better illustration - keeps the show moving at a good clip.  Much like "The Class," I'm always surprised that an episode is over so quickly.  And yes, at long last, I have forgiven the show for having Robin give away her dogs.  Took me about 6 months, but I got there.  Can't wait for a new season of hilarity to start up.  

7. CSI: Miami
*settles back with a bowl of popcorn* You know, I'm tempted to stop taking this show seriously at all, and just settle back with the ranks of mockers who watch it for no other purpose than to laugh at how bad it is.  I tried very hard not to fall into that faction of viewers, because I *do* think this show was built on merit, odd mannerisms or no, and has a solid set of characters.  But...but it's so hard.  And I'm so vehemently against this whole random-kid-popping-up-out-of-nowhere storyline, you don't even know.  And the rich-people murders are getting VERY TIRESOME.  So is the Calleigh love triangle, now that I think about it.

But...if I can think past the premiere, there's a little glimmer of hope.  Love triangle or not, Eric's character actually seems to be achieving depth as Horatio's loses it, and this return-of-a-certain-male-character thing is going to add to it.  I actually have my fingers crossed that it's going to be well done and even satisfying.  

As for Ryan's Continued Asshattery, eh, it doesn't really bother me.  Voice thinks it's because I just love to say "asshattery" as many times a week as possible, but I think it's just because any storyline that distracts me from the fact that Natalia is still on the show brings welcome relief.  Besides, if there's one show I'm pretty sure I can deliver a good and coherent commentary on, it's this one.

8. Without a Trace
Like CSI, this one ended on a cliffhanger, and so most of what I'm looking forward to is the conclusion of that cliffhanger.  Also like CSI, what I'm really looking forward to about said conclusion is the 'ship payoff.  If I do not get Danny/Elena closure, I'll be one pissed viewer.

That being said, as rageful as I am about this news of Poppy's pregnancy being written into the show, I think I might be a little morbidly curious about how it turns out.  If they try to force more Jack/Sam on us I may have to spork my eyes out, but otherwise...it might be interesting?  I don't know.  I do know that I'm revved up to see missing-person cases again - unlike the homicides on my other procedurals, I'm actually *interested* in cases on this show - and that I've been reading my reviews from last season and thinking that maybe it wasn't really as bad as I thought at the time.  I dunno; I'm just eager for it to start again.  Less eager than for other shows, though, because it has a tendency to balance its impressive highs with strings of dull, flat episodes.

9. Bones
Yeah, we have a slight problem here.  TJ Thyne cut his hair.  With a weed-whacker, apparently; at any rate THE CURLS!  THE POOF-CURLS HAVE VANISHED!  And the facial hair has become scraggly (not gone altogether, which would look okay, but scraggly). It has killed my love of Hodgins/Angela.  As my love of Hodgins/Angela was supporting at least 50% of my interest in this show, that's not good.  Especially when Zack's hair is still in a state of Awful.  Depending on the number and quality of Cute Scenes they get, I might be convinced to overlook it, but for now...I'm just going to hope that Booth can support the show on his shoulders.  Fortunately, Booth has very strong, manly shoulders, so this just might be possible.

10. Survivor: China
Reality show, yes, which inherently renders it inferior to most scripted shows.  But it is also entertainment at its finest, and not just because of the Television Without Pity recaps.  If you've ever seen my reviews, you know that I can always find something to talk about.  I enjoy watching the interpersonal relationship aspect as much as the challenges themselves, and at the moment, I really enjoy getting to know a new crop of people every season.  (this is not always the case, but right now, I like marking down first impressions and seeing how they change by the midpoint)

11. Law & Order: SVU
Oh, SVU.  How many ways will you mess up this season?  I admit that having watched a clip from the premiere, I'm really excited about seeing Miranda Richardson guest-star.  (damn you, summer of Sex and the City...) After that, not so much.  I usually love Elliot's personal life, but not when it involves pregnant-wife and arrested-daughter storylines.  And where the cases are usually this show's saving point, I am ill-pleased with Lake's introduction to the show.  WHY IS HE HERE?  GO AWAY.

And seriously, if Munch doesn't get some meaty screentime soon, HEADS WILL ROLL.

12. Back to You

It's Kelsey Grammar & Patricia Heaton.  Both were extremely entertaining on their respective shows before this, and I think they'll be good on this one too. I am less pleased by the plot point that the characters slept together at some point - God, can't two people just have snarky banter without a sordid affair in their history?! - but I'm hoping that gets glossed over and never mentioned again.  And here's hoping the show is as funny as the previews portrayed it...

13. Cold Case
I've come to the conclusion that no matter what it tries, it is just not possible for this show to be exciting.  And that's okay.  I love it for what it is, the undervalued but solid little workhorse of a Sunday night crimeshow.  It's coming up on its fifth season with what seems like very little fanfare to its credit - hell, even NCIS eventually came out of obscurity - but it's had steady delivery throughout its course, and it's a nice appetizer before the week begins.  So, nothing great, but nothing disappointing, either.  And I admit, I want to see the aftermath of the shooting.  

14. Grey's Anatomy
Uh, let's see.  You blew up all the relationships, got rid of Burke, kept Mark and Callie, and brought in Meredith's half-sister.  Why am I still watching this show?  Oh, right, Bailey.  And also because I'm annoyed that everyone at college, the people who've obsessed over this show for the last two years straight, are suddenly "eh, I'm fickle and don't like it anymore; viva The Office!"  DUDE.  You don't do that.  When you pick a show, you stick with it to the end, dammit.  (*mumble* Unless it's The O.C., which totally deserved its yo-yo status on my lineup.)

Plus, if I find it truly unbearable, then I'll switch to pure rantviews.  Those are always fun.

15. House
I'm not looking forward to House all that much, to be honest.  It was never one of my favorites and it's become kind of a filler show that I watch simply because it's on and it's fairly entertaining.  Oh, and because I'm in love with Wilson.  Otherwise...the only other points in its favor are Cuddy's snark, and sometimes House's.  I think I'm burned out on House's caustic attitude, though, at least temporarily, the symptoms/treatments are often so gross that I have to look away, and my interest in Cameron/Chase/Foreman is absolutely zero.  *is still hoping they're gone for good, but not optimistic*

16. Private Practice

This, however, is the show I'm really wavering on, and have been ever since they recast Merrin Dungey.  I love Addison a TON, and I also love Violet and [Taye Diggs.]  If I could just watch all the doctors work, I think I'd find Oceanside an interesting place to watch.  The problem is that relationships, as on Grey's, are probably going to take over at least 50% of this show, and the relationships MAKE MY EYES BLEED.  God, even Mark & Alex weren't as gross as the guy Addison kissed in the pilot episode.  And I am not at all cool with Addison's best friend no longer being Merrin Dungey, which is a pity because that was one of the things I was most looking forward to.  Long story short, this show gets about a month of trial episodes and then it's first on the chopping block. 

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
proudofthefish
Sep. 17th, 2007 12:05 am (UTC)
Totally agree with you on CSI. I'm spoiler free so I hope CSI:NY will be good but I really just want good cases and I'll be happy.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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