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Seven Kingdoms Come: HBO’s “Game of Thrones”

By on Oct 15, 2009 in Previews | 3 comments

Though it might not reach our screen until late 2010 or 2011, I’m very excited for HBO’s Game of Thrones, a prospective series based on George R. R. Martin’s book series A Song of Ice and Fire. Admittedly, I haven’t read any of the novels, but anything that brings medieval fantasy to television piques my curiosity (excepting Merlin, that is). Since I am totally ignorant about the plot, here’s what Wikipedia has to offer: The story of A Song of Ice and Fire takes place in a fictional world, primarily upon a continent called Westeros but also on a large landmass to the east, known as Essos. Most of the characters are human but as the series progresses other races are introduced, such as the cold and menacing Others from the far North and fire-breathing dragons from the East, both races thought to be extinct by the people of the story. There are three...

High Expectations and Higher Education

By on Sep 2, 2009 in Previews | 1 comment

2009-2010 New Series Preview, Part 4 I was prepared to love Community, NBC’s latest venture into single-camera comedy. The premise is funny: a fake lawyer goes to community college to become legitimate and ends up becoming a fake Spanish tutor in a study group full of misfits. The actors (like Joel McHale and Chevy Chase) are all well-cast for their roles. The humor is, for the most part, fresh and unexpected. (For example, a slighted study-groupie tells the lawyer, “I thought you were like Bill Murray in any of his films, but you’re more like Michael Douglas in any of his films.”) And to top it all off, there’s no laugh track.  But for some reason, I only liked it. Incidentally, I can actually speak with authority about this show, because I have seen the first episode. (Being the minor-league TV critic that I am, I jump at any chance to preview new shows....

Re-married with Children

By on Aug 25, 2009 in Previews | 0 comments

2009-2010 New Series Preview, Part 3 ABC has four new comedies in the pipeline, and three of them have unfortunately unfunny previews: Hank, The Middle, and Cougar Town. If producers do put all the best bits in the previews, well… the outlook for those shows is bleak. But the fourth, Modern Family, looks to be riotous, and it has been earning acclaim from television critics more reputable than I. (You know, the ones who don’t have to rely on previews to pass judgment!) Modern Family follows three couples (and their progeny) in an Office-like mockumentary way: a couple raising three children, a newlywed couple with a May-December age gap, and a gay couple with an adopted daughter. And, in a hitherto secret twist, all the couples are related. Many shows of this ilk require a few episodes for the viewers to really understand the characters and thus understand the humor, but...

A Different High School Musical

By on Aug 18, 2009 in Previews | 3 comments

2009-2010 New Series Preview, Part 2 Statistically, only a third of all new shows avoid cancellation during their first seasons. I have no doubt in my mind that Glee will be among them this year. It’s riding the wave of popularity for all things song-and-dance, and yet it’s edgier, funnier, and so much more fulfilling—for my money, at least—than That Which Shall Not Be Named. Glee follows a teacher who, unsatisfied by his stagnant life, rekindles his dream of taking McKinley High’s glee club to fame and glory. He finds club members in some of the school’s most derided outcasts: a showbiz-obsessed goody-goody, a paraplegic nerd, a stuttering goth, a flamboyant fashionisto, and a Jennifer Hudson wannabe. And to bolster the social standing of the group, he also recruits a quarterback, one who actually starts to enjoy the club. In addition to the talent and humor of...

Two Minutes, Seventeen Seconds

By on Aug 1, 2009 in Previews | 0 comments

The following post was originally published on my old blog on April 20, 2009. 2009-2010 New Series Preview, Part 1 ABC has a lot of fine prospects for the 2009-2010 season, but one of the most exciting is a pilot called Flash Forward, based on the Robert J. Sawyer novel of the same name. (I don’t love that title, but that’s neither here nor there.) The story begins with a worldwide event: the population of the world blacks out for two minutes and seventeen seconds, during which everyone experiences a vision of his or her future. FBI agent Mark Benford, horrified by what he sees, assembles a team to figure out what the event means and how to prevent the future it projected. The team assembles a vast mosaic of visions as they ask people the same question: “What did you see?” It’s an ambitious premise that could set off a tangled, enigmatic plot in the vein...