Wednesday 28 Sep 2016

Fall 2010: network television
Matt Seinberg

Every year, I look forward to fall. It's my favourite time of year for great weather. It's also the start of the major television networks new program season.

Traditionally, the television season can start anywhere from the first week to the third week of September. I have collected the "Fall Preview Issue" of "TV Guide" since I was a kid, probably dating back to 1972. I think I missed one year and for that year, I have a newspaper TV pullout instead. Last year I forgot to buy the fall preview issue and a friend of mine was kind enough to mail it to me.

I'm obsessive when it comes to certain things. This issue of "TV Guide," its "Fall Preview," is one of my compulsions. This issue, of "TV Guide," lists shows to which I am looking forward to watching. There are also shows I couldn't care less about and likely won't watch.

This column is not about reviews, since I haven't seen them, yet. This column is what I hope to watch and enjoy.

I don't care what network airs a show, only the day and time. I have a DVR and two VCRs hooked up to cable boxes. These devices record my favourite shows.

Many tapes remain unwatched from last season. I'll get around to these shows, eventually. Every year I get fussier about what I record and watch.

The shows I am looking forward to this year are "Hawaii Five-O", "The Defenders," "Lone Star," "The Event," "$#*! Says My Dad," "Outsourced," "Law & Order: Los Angeles," "Chase" and "Blue Bloods." These are on the broadcast networks and don't include possible taping from cable networks.

"Hawaii Five-O" is a reboot of the classic CBS show, which starred, Jack Lord and James MacArthur. The original version aired for an amazing 12 years from 1968-1980. Who can ever forget that riveting opening theme song by Morton Stevens?

The new version of "Hawaii Five-0" stars Alex O'Loughlin, as top-cop Steve McGarrett. Scott Caan, son of James Caan and part of the "Oceans" ensemble cast, portrays Danny Williams, second banana to McGarrett. There are big shows for O'Loughlin and Caan to fill and I can't wait to see it.

"The Defenders" shares a title with an old lawyer series, but little else. Jim Belushi and Jerry O'Connell star as high profile Las Vegas lawyers who take cases nobody else will take on. Does that make them brave or crazy?

"Lone Star" is part "Dallas" and part "The Sting." James Wolk plays Robert "Bob" Allen, a scheming con man who leads two lives, with two women who love him. He schemes with his father, John Allen, portrayed by David Keith, and against Clint Thatcher, portrayed by Jon Voight. Any show that focus on women, money, oil and men scheming against each other, fireworks are bound to fly.

"The Event" stars Blair Underwood as the US President. Art imitating life? From the promotional spots running on NBC, I can't figure out the premise of the show. From what I've read elsewhere, it seems to involve the CIA and some sort of secret plot. Is this another failure, such as "FlashForward," from the 2009 season?

"$#@%, Says My Dad" stars the former Captain Kirk, TJ Hooker and Denny Crane actor, William Shatner. During the taping of an episode of "$#@%," the fellow Shatner portrays was yelling corrections about his character from the audience. "$#@%" may be interesting, if not great.

I can say nothing bad about Shatner; I enjoyed all his shows. I love everything "Star Trek." "$#@%" is the first sitcom for Shatner. He had a recurring role, as "The Big Giant Head," on "Third Rock from the Sun," but that was years ago.

"Outsourced," about a manager sent to wipe a staff of customer service representatives, in India, into shape. Who hasn't called for help, expecting to find an American on the other end of the line, only to hear an obviously foreign accent? Let the sacred cow jokes begin.

"Law & Order: Los Angeles" replaces the original, the so-called Mother Ship, but nothing can truly replace the original. The Mother Ship aired for twenty-year. Its longevity sealed when Jerry Orback joined the cast, as Detective Lennie Briscoe, in 1992, and S. Epatha Merkerson joined, in 1993, as Lieutent Anita Van Buren.

The LA-version stars Skeet Ulrich and Corey Stoll. Unlike the Mother Ship, characters in the LA version hang out. I l hope this spin-off is half as good as the Mother Ship.

"Chase" is a cat and mouse game. Kellie Giddish portrays US Marshall, Annie Frost, who chases, what else, various fugitives from the last. Her base is Houston, Texas.

This show reminds me of "The Fugitive" and "Flashpoint." If the scripts hold up and don't fall into the cliche trap, the show has a chance.

The other show I'm really looking forward to is "Bluebloods." Tom Selleck portrays Frank Reagan, the New York City Police Commissioner. His two sons are on the force and his daughter works in the office of the DA.

Most recently, Selleck portrayed "Jessie Stone," a low-key, former substance abusing, small-town police chief, in a series of movies for CBS Television. Stone, in some ways, an aging "Thomas Magnum," is a good fit for Selleck. A big-city police commissioner never was and is not now a fit for Selleck.

Occasionally, I go through the old "TV Guides" and wonder about shows that were hits and misses. Remember when M*A*S*H premiered in September 1972. First panned by critics and ignored by viewers, the show aired lasted until February 1983. Then we have After M*A*S*H which exited after only two seasons. This confirms that lightning seldom strike twice.

Enjoy the new television season and make up your own list of hits and misses. Program your DVR, today. I sure will.

Matt Seinberg lives on Long Island, a few minutes east of New York City. He looks at everything around him and notices much. Somewhat less cynical than dyed in the wool New Yorkers, Seinberg believes those who don't see what he does like reading about what he sees and what it means to him. Seinberg columns revel in the silly little things of life and laughter as well as much well-directed anger at inept, foolish public officials. Mostly, Seinberg writes for those who laugh easily at their own foibles as well as those of others.

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