Friday, September 12, 2008

My Fall Schedule: Thursday Nights...

8 p.m. - Survivor Gabon: Earth's Last Eden - (CBS) After watching last season's Fans vs Favorites to root for my friend Alexis, this unprecedented seventeenth season caught my eye for its location first. Delivering sixteen strangers (to each other, not to the genre) back to Africa (for the first time since the tenth season in Kenya) should be moving, considering it is the land from which we came, but odds are few will even look around; their eyes are on the million dollar prize. Jeff Probst holds up an apple in one hand and dares us to take a bite during poorly written promos, setting the tone for the quick-to-judge-and-then-carve-those-judgments-in-stone attitude of the show: yes folks, editors and producers worked around the clock this time to decide which contestants were the "good" and which were the "evil." Though in reality, each individual is pitted against each other for that grand prize, they will be riding that most basic theme all season long, and if nothing else, it's a clever enough hook to tune into the first few episodes to see which contestant is being depicted as which, and once I spend a few episodes with them, I'll probably be invested enough to want to see it through to the end. That's how Big Brother gets me every year anyway! (Season Premiere September 25)

9 p.m. - C.S.I. - (CBS) I gave up with this crime drama when they started choosing style over substance two years ago, and to be honest, I probably wouldn't be returning for this ninth season except for the fact that it will be William Petersen's last. I watch CBS enough throughout the week that I am confident I will see the previews for that episode long before it airs, so without fear of missing it, I must admit I will most likely only tune into that one episode. Too many changes have just been made for this show to feel like the same old C.S.I. I first fell in love with back in 2000. (Season Premiere October 9)

9 p.m. - Supernatural - (The CW) I admit it: I only began watching this show for Jensen Ackles, and now that Eric Kripke confirmed season four will open four months after Dean got sent to hell, with him somehow mystically back on Earth (as a demon or otherwise is still up in the air, though), there is no danger of even one episode lacking his ruggedly handsome face. Needless to say, this will be the highlight of my night, if not my week. It has been promised that this season the show will explore even more details and facets (and yes, some secrets) of the Winchester men, too. Sam spent a few months hunting without Dean, and that separation alone must have changed him; undoubtedly he kept up his search for answers about his mother's connection to the yellow-eyed demon, and after attending events and interviewing fans, the theories are running wild and creative, and I can't wait to see how the show delivers the answers. (Season Premiere September 18)

9 p.m. - Kitchen Nightmares - (FOX) Gordon Ramsay is somehow less fun when he's not screaming about "bloody risotto," but his Extreme Makeover for failing restaurants program is still unique enough that other networks are creating copycats in other industries (and not managing to top his success, I might add). In this season, Ramsay will visit kitchens that are just as dirty and vermin-infested as in last season (I wouldn't surprised if producers don't let the owners clean their places for a week prior just so there's more of a shock-and-awe factor when the camera crew arrives), but the cuisine will dabble in everything from more Italian restaurants to a healthy eating place. Hopefully the owners will be even more combative this time around, though, so Ramsay can do what he does best and get in their faces. There's nothing wrong with a little fighting in addition to the help. (Next New Episode September 18)

9:30 p.m. - 30 Rock - (NBC) In what appears to be a desperate way to "do over" the less than stellar Baby Mama, Tina Fey's anal retentively neurotic yet still a bit hapless Liz Lemon will begin her third season trying to adopt a baby. Much has been in the news about all of the guest stars lined up (from Jennifer Aniston as an ex-roommate of Lemon and Jenna (Jane Krakowski)'s to the Gossip Girls as classmates of Lemon when she was a teenager-- in a scenario that spoofs her first feature film, Mean Girls, I might add), but no one has talked about her doppelganger Megan Mullaly as an adoption agent coming to check up on Lemon's lifestyle. And if she visits the set of TGS, it's a safe assumption Lemon will still be eating blocks of cheese for one for quite some time. Kenneth (Jack McBrayer)'s storyline is being kept under wraps, but with the emergence of his widerspread impact on pop culture, there's no way they would scale down his role; I just hope he returns with some special footage of him at the Olympics! (Season Premiere October 30)

10 p.m. - Law & Order: Criminal Intent - (USA) When this third installment in the L&O franchise moved to a new network, I missed the entire seventh season because there was no advertising to tell me it was on, but thankfully Entertainment Weekly put a blip in their last issue about the eighth season, and even though there are nutty casting changes (Chris Noth is out and Jeff Goldblum is in?!), that is commonplace for the show, and as long as D'Onofrio and Erbe are still together, that's good enough for me. What I love about Law & Order is how it stays true to its original treatment (though I admit it's hard to ignore that the Order part of the show has diminished slowly but surely over the years) and therefore never fails to disappoint. (Season Premiere November TBD)

11 p.m. – The Cho Show – (VH1) Picking up where Bravo and Kathy Griffin left off, Margaret Cho and her team of parents, assistants, and gays bring humor pack to reality television. Though each episode is pretty obviously staged for cameras (Margaret hosts an alternative beauty pageant in one and goes off the grid in another), they are all unique and full of Margaret’s trademark “bitch” jokes from her stand-up. Her celebrity friends make periodic appearances, and she even encounters Gary Busey out in the “wilds of L.A.” See? VH1 can be classic without being trashy! (Next New Episode September 18)

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