Tuesday, September 21, 2010

At a Glance: New fall TV shows that may prove remotely interesting

Tuesday, September 21, 2010
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Autumn is my favorite season for many reasons. Mostly because the weather offers a nice break from extremes and a lot of holiday vacation time is coming up, but I digress. It is also the season when new TV shows compete to capture our ADD-afflicted attention spans. Their objective? To hook us and keep themselves employed for the next seven years, of course.

In the spirit of giving them a shot, let's all attempt to pause from Tweeting/Facebooking about our weekend (you know no one reads that stuff anyway, right?) and see what's new on this year's viewing buffet. I haven't included them all, only those that appear most interesting to me because, well, this is my blog.

Pitt & Buscemi
Boardwalk Empire - HBO. Sundays, 9 pm ET.
Pay stations have an edge with me when it comes to a series. They usually have better actors, bigger budgets and more cursing, sex, and violence. This one also has Michael Pitt (The Village, Murder by Numbers) as a returning war hero and the 
pilot was produced/directed by Martin Scorsese. I'm so there!

Set in Atlantic City during Prohibition, the show centers around Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi), the not-so-by-the-book town treasurer. Already on the take from every business in town, Nucky realizes that the alcohol ban has positioned him to make a killing off of the mob, who will now be funneling their activities through his city.

The cast of characters includes many a mob legend, such as Lucky Luciano (Vincent Piazza), Arnold Rothstein (Michael Stuhlbarg) and Al Capone (Stephen Graham). All of these bad boys naturally need the force of good to contend with, which appears in the person of federal agent Van Alden (Michael Shannon). Legendary mobsters, Buscemi, Pitt and Scorsese? What's not to love? Well, we'll see.

Watch clip.

The Event - NBC. Mondays, 9 pm ET.
This is one of those time-shifting shows that alternately flashes back,
then forward, then back again, all to explain what's going on in the present.
In the pilot we meet Sean Walker (Jason Ritter), an apparently well-adjusted, normal enough guy who somehow ends up waving a gun in an airport two weeks later. Where did his girlfriend go? What happened? An event of some sort, maybe? We just don't know!

We also have a new president (Blair Underwood) trying to dig up information on a prison in Alaska run by the CIA via the enigmatic Sophia (Laura Innes). The episode ends with (you guessed it) an event that could change the world forever. Or did that already happen and this is just a flashback? Is Jack Bauer here? Oh, the suspense!

Watch clip.

$#*! My Dad Says - CBS. Thursdays, 
8:30 pm ET.
It is no coincidence that I mentioned Twitter above. Of course, if you've been reading Persnickety for any length of time, you know I do little without an ulterior motive. The premise of this sitcom is the first ever based on a Tweet-Feed. Specifically, this one, in which Justin Halpern repeats all of the politically incorrect utterances of his father.

It stars William Shatner as the multi-person offending pops, Ed Goodson. To counteract the loneliness such behavior inevitably induces, Ed asks his unemployed son (Ryan Devlin in the pilot, although word is the role has been recast) to move in with him and hilarity, hopefully, ensues. The cast also includes Will Sasso as Henry's brother Vince, and Nicolle Sullivan as Vince's overbearing wife Kathleen. I guess if they can make an entire movie about Facebook, they can make a series based on Tweets. My only question is, will all of the dialogue be 140 characters or less?

Watch clip

Rappaport & Cast
Outsourced - NBC. Thursdays, 9:30 pm ET.
Perhaps NBC was so busy trying to figure out a way to keep fans of The Office around after Steve Carell leaves, they failed to notice that we are trying to claw our way out of a recession. If they had watched the news at some point, they might have realized that jobs being sent overseas is not making Americans all that happy-schmappy.

Poorly chosen premise aside, this show follows American executive Todd Dempsey (Ben Rappaport) to Mumbai where he is sent to manage his company's call center. Once there, Todd discovers he is going to have to "Americanize" his team (including Rizwan Manji, Sacha Dhawan and Parvesh Cheena) so they can capably sell the product. It was apparently assumed that the culture clash between Dempsey and his Indian employees amidst the always hilarious racial humor would induce riotous laughter. So far, the premise has only caused controversy. In all fairness, the show hasn't even aired yet, but I'll still be keeping my bag of rotten tomatoes at the ready.

Watch clip.

The Walking Dead - AMC. Premieres Oct. 31, 10 pm ET.
What do you get when you mix the Thriller video with 28 Days Later? A Zombiepocalypse! Okay, so there's no singing and dancing, which is a damn shame! After nearly all of the human population are turned into flesh-eating predators, a small group of survivors attempt to find a zombie-free safe haven. As they begin to lose hope, they discover that there is little they will not do to survive even painstakingly choreographed boogying. Okay, okay, I added that last part. 

Season One of this horrorfest will be comprised of six episodes written by Robert Kirkman, the author of the comic book on which the series is based. Details are being kept on the down low, but the cast features Andrew Lincoln as police officer Rick Grimes. We have plenty of shows about vampires, so it is time that zombies get their share of the gore, but can brain-eating monsters who don't dance hold our attention long enough to stick with a series? Even if it cannot, the first few episodes may prove an interesting diversion from the normal fare.

Watch clip

What do you think? If you catch any of the premieres, please post your opinions up in the comments.


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