Fall 2010 TV Preview – Thursdays

Part Four of the Seven Six Part Series (This has been edited because  I realized that there’s nothing on Saturdays but College Football, COPS and America’s Most Wanted.  Do you really need a review of those?)

Thursday

8:00 p.m.

ABC:     My Generation (September 23, 2010 – NEW SERIES!)

What a difference ten years can make. In 2000, a documentary crew follows a disparate group of high schoolers from Greenbelt High School in Austin, TX as they prepare for graduation, then revisits these former classmates ten years later as they return home to rediscover that just because they’re not where they planned doesn’t mean they’re not right where they need to be.

These students couldn’t wait to graduate and head out into the real world. But the world they were entering got very real very fast. As these classmates return home to revisit their old hopes for their future, they’ll discover that, even if you don’t get exactly what you thought you wanted out of life, it’s not too late to get what you need. – ABC

Shawn: OK, ABC, that’s enough already with the pseudo-documentaries.  It’s becoming as overused as 3-D is for feature films and like 3-D it’s just a cheap gimmick to try to convince people that your crap show really isn’t a crap show.  Do you think audiences aren’t going to notice that this show is no different from any other show about 20-somethings from different walks of life who all have something in common that brings them together?  This entire premise alone is going to piss off your target demographic for that hour (namely me) because it points out how old I am at 35 compared to these knuckleheads.  Don’t need that, sorry.  Despite the fact that the show makes me feel old, let’s be honest, it just looks dopey.

8:30 p.m.

CBS:     $#’! My Dad Says – (September 23, 2010 – NEW SERIES!)

$#*! MY DAD SAYS (pronounced “Bleep My Dad Says”), based on the popular Twitter feed by Justin Halpern, stars Emmy Award winner William Shatner as Ed Goodson, a forthright and opinionated dad who relishes expressing his unsolicited and often wildly politically incorrect observations to anyone within earshot. Nobody is safe from Ed’s rants, including his sons, Henry, a struggling writer-turned-unpaid blogger; and Vince, the meek half of a husband/wife real estate duo with domineering Bonnie. When Henry finds he can no longer afford to pay rent, Ed reveals a soft spot and invites Henry to move in with him. Henry agrees, knowing that the verbal assault will not abate and now there will be no escape. Describing their father/son relationship is tricky, but Ed will easily come up with a few choice words. – CBS

Shawn:

This is by far the most unfortunate post I have to write.  You see, I’ve been a big fan of Justin Halpern’s Twitter Page “Shit My Dad Says” for well over a year now and of course, I’m a huge fan of all things The Shat is involved with but I’m sorry to say that this is going to suck.  Not only is it EVERYTHING that I absolutely hate about sitcoms with the recycled and clichéd jokes, characters and plots it’s 180 degrees backwards of the whole premise of “Shit  My Dad Says!”  Just watch the trailer below to see what I’m talking about but first read this from Amazon in which Halpern explains the premise of the book bearing the same title:

‘At 28 years old, I found myself living at home, with my 73-year-old father. As a child, my father never minced words, and when I screwed up, he had a way of cutting right through the bullshit and pointing out exactly why I was being an idiot. When I moved back in I was still, for the most part, an idiot. But this time, I was smart enough to write down all the things he said to me.’

Now please explain to me how a wise-cracking jerk of a father, who’s apparently pretty senile and his sensitive and always correct progeny bear any resemblance to the description you just read FROM THE GUY WHO INVENTED THE THING?!

The answer is simply that they don’t resemble each other whatsoever but Halpern isn’t stupid.  He must know that this is garbage and that his new-found fame from this silly little twitter account will be over in about 15 minutes and he’s cashing in while he can and you know what?  I don’t blame him whatsoever.  If a bunch of no-talent hacks like the cast of Jersey Shore or The Hills or Keeping up With the Kardashians can get paid, why not a guy who has actually made millions of people laugh?  But please, be honest and don’t kid yourself into thinking that this is going to be anything but the highest level of suckitude©.  Believe me, I sincerely hope I’m wrong about this, but I know I’m not.

AND WHY THE HELL IS HALF THE CAST OF MADtv IN THIS???

NBC:     Community – (September 23, 2010)

Shawn: I have to admit, I’m a convert to Community.  When it debuted in 2009, I had high hopes for it because it looked clever and starred E’s Joel McHale (The Soup) and he’s always clever and funny.  It took me three episodes to be very disappointed.  Then, around Christmas-time (I think), I was in the garage working on a project and NBC was running a back-to-back marathon of the sitcom and I completely changed my mind.  Community improved dramatically and is very funny. I definitely recommend Community.

Watch full episodes of Community, here.

… And check out this great sneak preview, here.

9:00 p.m.

The CW:     Nikita (September 9, 2010 – NEW SERIES)

When she was a deeply troubled teenager, Nikita (Maggie Q, “Live Free or Die Hard,” “Mission Impossible 3”) was rescued from death row by a secret U.S. agency known only as Division, who faked her execution and told her she was being given a second chance to start a new life and serve her country. What they didn’t tell her was that she was being trained as a spy and assassin. Throughout her grueling training at Division, Nikita never lost her humanity, even falling in love with a civilian. When her fiancé was murdered, Nikita realized she had been betrayed and her dreams shattered by the only people she thought she could trust, so she did what no one else before her had been able to do: she escaped. Now, after three years in hiding, Nikita is seeking retribution and making it clear to her former bosses that she will stop at nothing to expose and destroy their covert operation. – The CW

Shawn: I’ve already done a full review of Nikita, see it here.  Good but not great.

Watch full episodes of Nikita, here.

FOX:     Fringe (September 23, 2010)

Shawn: Fringe is one of my favorite shows on TV currently.  If you haven’t watched it before it’s like The X-Files on steroids with a J.J. Abrams spin.  The stories are great, the characters are well-developed and it’s grown into a wonderful and fascinating story arc.  For those of you who are new to the series, don’t bother starting in, now.  You’re going to have to go to Netflix and add the first two seasons to your queue, or you’ll be completely lost, but it’s certainly worth saving the new episodes on the divver recordification device for when you’re done watching the old episodes.

Watch full episodes of Fringe, here.

NBC:     The Office (September 23, 2010)

Shawn: Every time that I think The Office has run out of steam, it does something that keeps me coming back for more.  Looking forward to yet another year at Dunder Mifflin.

Watch full episodes of The Office, here.

9:30 p.m.

NBC:     Outsourced (September 23, 2010)

“Outsourced” is NBC’s new workplace comedy series centered around a catalog-based company, Mid America Novelties, that sells American novelty goods including whoopee cushions, foam fingers and wallets made of bacon, and whose call center has suddenly been outsourced to India.

After recently completing Mid America Novelties’ manager training program, Todd Dempsy (Ben Rappaport, off-Broadway’s “The Gingerbread House”) learns that the call center is being outsourced to India, and he is asked to move there to be the manager. Having never ventured out of the country, he is unprepared for the culture shock. Overwhelmed, Todd discovers that his new staff needs a crash course in all things American if they are to understand the U.S. product line and ramp up sales from halfway around the world.

The sales team Todd inherits includes Gupta (Parvesh Cheena, “Help Me Help You”), a socially awkward employee; Manmeet (Sacha Dhawan, BBC’s “Five Days II”), a young romantic who is enamored with America; Asha (Rebecca Hazlewood, BBC’s “Doctors”), a smart, striking woman who finds herself intrigued by Todd; Rajiv (Rizwan Manji, “Privileged”) the assistant manager who wants Todd’s job; and Madhuri (Anisha Nagarajan, Broadway’s “Bombay Dreams”), a wallflower who suffers from extreme shyness.

Todd also discovers other transplants working in his office building, including an American expatriate, Charlie Davies (Diedrich Bader, “The Drew Carey Show”), who runs the All-American Hunter call center, and Tonya (Pippa Black, “Neighbours”), a beautiful Australian who runs the call center for Koala Air. – NBC

Shawn: I don’t know what appeals to me more, the politically incorrect tone of this series or the fact that it looks absolutely hilarious.  I also like the premise that they telemarket novelties like rubber vomit and whoopee cushions.  Looking forward to this, I hope the show can live up to the hype in the trailer.

NEXT: Friday

‘Nikita’ (The CW – Thursday, 9:00 p.m.)

When she was a deeply troubled teenager, Nikita (Maggie Q, “Live Free or Die Hard,” “Mission Impossible 3”) was rescued from death row by a secret U.S. agency known only as Division, who faked her execution and told her she was being given a second chance to start a new life and serve her country. What they didn’t tell her was that she was being trained as a spy and assassin. Throughout her grueling training at Division, Nikita never lost her humanity, even falling in love with a civilian. When her fiancé was murdered, Nikita realized she had been betrayed and her dreams shattered by the only people she thought she could trust, so she did what no one else before her had been able to do: she escaped. Now, after three years in hiding, Nikita is seeking retribution and making it clear to her former bosses that she will stop at nothing to expose and destroy their covert operation.

For the time being, however, Division continues to recruit and train other young people, erasing all evidence of their former lives and turning them into cold and efficient killers. One of these new recruits, Alex (Lyndsy Fonseca, “Kick-Ass,” “Desperate Housewives”), is a beautiful girl with a violent past and a story not so different from Nikita’s. After her parents were murdered, Alex’s life completely derailed. Haunted by her horrific past, she ended up drug-addicted and homeless until Division “rescued” her and brought her into the fold.

Division’s top authority, Percy (Xander Berkeley, “Kick-Ass,” “24”) spent years being a good government soldier, taking his role as an insider and using it to turn the secret organization into a lucrative spy-for-hire shop. With Nikita gone rogue, Percy will do whatever it takes to destroy her and protect the empire he’s built, and he often turns to his top lieutenant, Michael (Shane West, “ER,” Once and Again”), for help. Michael trained Nikita when she was a recruit and is now faced with the responsibility of tracking down his renegade student. At the same time, Michael is in charge of training Alex, Nikita’s young replacement, along with other recruits, including Thom (Ashton Holmes, “Boston Legal”), who has been at Division for a year and is anxious to prove himself, and Jaden (Tiffany Hines, “Bones”), a beautiful and tough young woman who challenges Alex at every turn.

The recruits all spend part of their training with Amanda (Melinda Clarke, “The O.C.,” “The Vampire Diaries”), a master manipulator who can turn any ugly duckling into a swan and any bleeding heart into a killer. Her use of psychological warfare and strategy is key to Percy’s entire operation. Amanda has only had one failure during her tenure at Division: Nikita, the recruit she was never able to break.

Nikita also left her mark on Birkhoff (Aaron Stanford, “Traveler,” “X-Men: The Last Stand”), the nonconformist computer genius who was caught hacking into the Pentagon’s system from his college dorm room and was recruited into Division at the same time as Nikita. Birkhoff never admits to anyone that he misses his former colleague, and he has managed to hold onto his own rebel spirit, his geek-speak and his slacker dress code.

This is the world of Division that Alex now finds herself facing everyday, and she is just beginning to understand why the legendary Nikita has dedicated herself to taking them down. – The CW

5 out of 10

This is the second attempt by American television to bring the French film La Femme Nikita (which was turned into the 1993 American film, Point of No Return starring Bridget Fonda) to the small screen and it is the most ambitious and best written and performed yet. That doesn’t mean that it’s great or that I love it.

This is a pretty short review because there’s not much to say about it.  The premise is exactly what the show description says it is and Maggie Q brings sexy to a whole new level here and the violence and action is on par with the best of any action show of the last decade.

The plot is pretty compelling, if not that original but the supporting cast is doing nothing for this show except for Nikita’s protegé Alex who is a plant in Division to bring it down. The only problem with Alex is the ridiculously convoluted way that she was able to infiltrate Division to begin with.

It’s very well shot and is pretty visually stunning and I’m actually pretty impressed with the music arrangement.

At the end of the day, it’s a decent show but I’m not sure how much patience audiences will have for it but I expect to personally give it until at least mid-season.

Watch full episodes of Nikita, here.