fall tv rundown, part 1


It’s one of my favorite times of year:  the beginning of a new fall television season.  So accordingly, over the next few weeks, I’ll be giving a spoiler-free rundown of the television that I’m watching and my thoughts, both new and old shows.  These may come in a peculiar order but I’m backed up on my tivo so I’ll get to shows when I get to them.  By the way, for those of you who don’t have tivo, most of the networks play a lot of their shows online which is so helpful for graduate students who spend primetime in the library.  It seems as though NBC will be allowing some sort of temporary download of their shows, since the greedy peacock took its shows off iTunes.  Note to NBC:  the future of television is likely to be some combination of on-air, online, and downloadable viewing.  Get used to it, figure out a creative way to deal with advertising, and don’t make it more difficult to watch programming.  The shows on NBC, aside from the Office, haven’t been that great anyway; it’s no ABC.

Back to the programming:

Prison Break:  yes I’m still watching.  Interesting premise to put Michael Scofield back in a prison without his brother.  I’ll keep watching but how many more seasons can this go?

Kitchen Nightmares:  I adore Gordon Ramsay but only because I’ve watched his British programs (BBC America is a must-have for me).  On that side of the pond, Gordon gets a more nuanced edit.  He’s still prickly but he’s prickly for a reason.  He’s passionate about food and he demands nothing but the best.  He also has a heart and you see it in almost every thing he does on these shows.  You only see this level of heart and empathy in him several episodes into any given season of Hell’s Kitchen, usually when he lets the last untrained chef go late in the season.  In both seasons of The F-Word, we see Gordon teaching his children where their food comes from by having them help him raise turkeys and pigs.  They are then killed (away from the children, of course) and then used for holiday dinners at his restaurants and at home.  Gordon tells us how worried he is about how attached to the animals his children have become and he tries to minimize the trauma of killing animals that have almost become family pets.  But ironically, it’s Gordon who’s crying at the slaughterhouse while his children seem to be completely unfazed by the whole process.  And Ramsay’s Kitchen Nighmares, the original version, is probably my favorite show because Ramsay is clearly invested in making these restaurants succeed, despite the abuse often hurled at him in the process.  And, in a refreshing change, when he suggests menu changes, he usually simplifies things.  He demands that pubs make bar food and Irish restaurants make Irish food.  The only people demanding that the food be fancy are the chef owners themselves.  But the edit that Ramsay gets over here is much less nuanced, subtle, or sympathetic.  We love to see him yell at people who have done little wrong, nor do we learn anything about food in the process.  Kitchen Nightmares is little different although I suspect the nature of the show makes it more obvious that he does want to help these people.  After all, he’s helping these restaurants turn a profit and then he leaves; he’s not hiring somebody to run his own restaurant.  I was hoping to see the Gordon of UK television; he’s not here but it’s still a good watch, especially last week’s episode.

Gossip Girl:  Just watched this one today online.  Great, well-produced teen soap.  It’s as good as guilty-pleasure teen drama’s going to get.

Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style:  If you love Tim Gunn, you’ll love this offering.  If you’re looking only for another makeover show, there are better ones on other channels.  But Tim Gunn’s list of ten pieces that all women need is really useful and isn’t silly.

Back to You:  It’s too early to tell.  I haven’t watched a sitcom with a laugh-track in a while (I generally stay away from comedies except for The Office) but I love Kelsey Grammar so I suspect I’ll watch this one for a while.

When I get through more premieres, I’ll do another installment.  But until then, what are y’all watching and, more importantly, what are y’all loving?


2 Responses to “fall tv rundown, part 1”

  1. 1 whitheramp

    i liked gossip girl and, as you know, LOVE the new tim gunn show (though i agree it’s really more about tim gunn and veronica webb — though i like how they really try to teach the women about fashion and what works for their bodies). but aren’t there a few things missing??? like, um, the new season of top model (looking fab, by the way)! and did you catch the 2 hour premier of beauty and the geek? priceless. come on, girl, get caught up already.

  2. Yay, another TV fan. I love the Tim Gunn show. I’m waiting for the premieres of grey’s anatomy, brothers and sisters and desperate housewives.

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