Friday, October 22, 2010

Break-Outs of Fall TV 2010...

Three series to officially bite the dust. Two networks to announce full season orders. One favorite show to have already gotten the axe. One favorite show still currently on the bubble. Fall TV 2010 is turning out to be quite a nail-biter for My Life, Made Possible by Pop Culture!
When upfronts rolled around last May,
My Life, Made Possible by Pop Culture was quick to make judgments on new series based solely upon short clips and summaries emailed over from the various major networks. I was not in the hotels in New York City, sitting surrounded by other journalists and passionate showrunners, being swept up in the spectacle that put stars (and quite literally, too) in our eyes. Sitting alone on my couch before the butt-crack of dawn to accommodate the other time zone, I was one cranky critic, and I admit I was harsher on some shows than perhaps I should have been. Pilots are tough, and a one paragraph "hype" description is even tougher!

My Life, Made Possible by Pop Culture has said it before and will say it again-- in fact I'll say it again right now: I am not afraid to be wrong. When I wrote my annual "What DanielleTBD Will Be Watching This Fall" piece back in May, I made my decisions based on casting, clips, and those lackluster summaries. Needless to say my initial assessment has not entirely held up. Hell, some of the shows I am deeply engrossed in now were not even previewed for me back in May so they were left off simply due to ignorance about their existence! And that's just not fair. So without further ado, I present to you my break-out* NEW series of this fall season!

Raising Hope (FOX). A quirky comedy about a misfit young family who is in over their heads when it comes to raising kids and staying afloat but have a deep love and affection for each other and always work together to get through the hurdles and hardships. Martha Plimpton describes her character as someone who is "kind of tough...says what's on her mind...kind of doesn't take any crap, but at the same time...has a really gooey, chewy soft center kind of a sucker for love. But really, she could be describing any and all of them. The show also manages to sneak in references to other great comedies before it and utilize a baby on a sitcom in a non-obnoxious way. Bonus points for both of those hard-to-accomplish elements!

Terriers (FX). Take two scraggly, seemingly unlikely heroes and give them a little bit of authority, good hearts, and a whole lot of street smarts, and you have a new dynamic duo and dream team. One part crime drama, one part relationship drama, one part buddy comedy, and all full of intelligent writing, compelling characters, and award-worthy performances, this series draws you in from the earliest moments and keeps you engrossed in suspense of what will happen next for the rag-tag team. No two scenes, let alone episodes, are the same, and the show, perhaps not since Veronica Mars before it, makes viewers want to get involved in private investigative work of their own!

Nikita (The CW). This reboot of a cult classic tale seemed to be about stoic renegades and slick fight scenes at first glance, but as the weeks and episodes have gone on, secrets and truths about the characters have been revealed slowly to show that no matter how much the agency may be trying to turn troubled individuals into robotic, unfeeling machines who carry out operations without a second thought, they are still very real people underneath and throughout it all. Yes, of course the stuntwork is a thrilling ride on its own but the real pleasure in this series is getting to know the supposed heroes and villains. Because not everyone is who they appear to be.

No Ordinary Family
(ABC). Maybe I'm a sucker for a good story about a family (and select friends) banding together. Maybe I like the idea of one day waking up being able to do what I never thought possible before. Either way, this show has both elements for me. It satisfies my long-time interest in crime dramas but puts a non-procedural spin on the way in which it tells those stories and tries to solve those cases. It has a "larger than life" element hanging like a dark cloud over its characters, yet they go about their (new) daily lives, seemingly unaware, which means I have the reveal moment to which to look forward. It plays with mythology but first and foremost it develops its characters and shows us who these people are-- who they were before they became extraordinary and how they struggle to still be those same people, only maybe a little bit better.

*based on content, not on ratings

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