Monday, May 17, 2010

Monday TV Tidbits

I know I've been away from the blog for awhile, but today marks a good day to check-in with plenty of TV activity. First up, NBC and Fox announced their fall schedules today, and I look at the shows I'm most excited for this fall (despite not having even watched the trailers yet). Next, what I thought was the How I Met Your Mother finale but clearly wasn't. And finally, a very action-packed Gossip Girl finale. Spoiler warnings for the latter.

Next year, the networks have some big shoes to fill with two of the biggest giants in appointment TV retiring: Lost and 24. So what are they doing to cash in on that void? From what I've seen, it appears not much. So far the upfronts have led to announcements of the typical parade of cop shows and lawyer shows (if fewer doctor shows) and nothing trying to be the next Lost. But there are a few shows that seem promising.

Undercovers - Not only the first pick-up of the season, but one of the most high-profile new shows for the fall. With JJ Abrams returning to his Alias roots by putting out a spy show, it's bound to make for a good time.

Running Wilde - Creator of Arrested Development + Will Arnett + Kerri Russell. That's enough to make it my most anticipated comedy so far.

The Event - Wondering what to watch when 24 ends? Well The Event isn't very subtle about trying to fill the void. Not only is it a thriller that features the president as a character, but it's even in 24's current timeslot. Whether it lives up to its predecessor or not, seems worth a shot.

Terra Nova - We have to wait til midseason for this one and nothing's been shot yet, but this Spielberg produced time-travel dinosaur show is the only thing that seems to be thinking on Lost's scale.

ABC, CBS, and the CW are still upcoming, so more to come later this week.

For some reason, I thought tonight was the How I Met Your Mother finale, but despite its year-in-the-making premise, it was clearly just another episode. It was fun to revisit season 4's activities, but did the movie-within-the-show have to be SO exaggerated? I know it's through Future Ted's distorted memories, but it still came off as particularly broad, especially since we were told it was instantly the 5th highest grossing movie ever. More proof that the show is getting more sitcommy with age. Still better than The Office's attempt to do a movie-within-the-show though. But revisiting the Stella arc just served as a reminder of how little Ted's had to do since then. Maybe he'll get something in the real finale.

Lastly, the Gossip Girl finale aired tonight with lots of crazy twists. It didn't seem like there was too much left to do after last week's episode, which so thoroughly tied up the William Baldwin storyline that it felt like a finale in itself. But turned out there was plenty leftover: Jenny's general craziness, Chuck's ultimatum to Blair, Dorota's pregnancy, and so on.

I have to say, for a show as ADD as Gossip Girl that typically finishes up its storylines within 3 episodes and then moves on, these last two episodes did an impressive job pulling everything together. Jenny's drugdealing, Dan and Georgina's one night stand, Jenny and Eric's early-in-the-season fight - all came back. Even Georgina's Grand Central entrance was straight out of the pilot. So while most of the episode may have been designed to shock, at least there's that.

As for the big twists: Jenny and Chuck was just icky, but at least it had some dramatic consequences. Blair banning Jenny from Manhattan was pretty bold. But still, gross. Dan and Serena - last season made everyone beyond sick of them when they broke up again and again, but the show did work best when they were together. Just no more scenes about the Bass brunch. And who knows, maybe it will make Serena seem like less of a bitch than she's been all season (and especially as of late).

Chuck getting shot: Already in interviews the writers aren't even pretending there's a chance he might die. Clearly just for cliffhanger drama. But I guess it worked. Still, biggest cliffhanger was Georgina's pregnancy. I believe it's real (though it sure looked fake), but she's still got to be up to something. Could it be Dan's brother's? Or did the show forget he exists? I certainly did. And what was up with all that stuff about Russia?

Whether any of these things lead to an improved fourth season I couldn't say, but with most of the season ranging between uneven and dull, at least the finale got my attention. With a baby, a gunshot, a pregnancy, a deflowering, and a send-off, most of the May trademarks were present. So not a bad way to start finale week.

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