My wife and I have been trying to take in some of the new shows this fall season and while a few have fallen flat, there are some surprises.
First, a dud. "Life" kinda turned us off with the whole "zen" thing the lead character does, rambling to himself about being detached from the world around him. The big problem for us was that there's really no good hook that grabbed us and we saw it turning out pretty much the same way as "The Evidence" and "Blind Justice": Interesting but Canceled.
However, "Journeyman" has turned out to be a nice surprise. About 40 minutes into the first episode there's a "whoa!" moment that really piques your interest and by the end of that episode, you're thoroughly invested. The whole time travel angle brings a lot of possibilities to the table but the core of the show isn't really sci-fi, it's really about following your instinct to do what's right.
Another show that's got potential is "The Big Bang Theory" which is kinda like a version of "Friends" retitled "Geeks". It's surprisingly funny thanks to a mix of awkward and physical comedy and it helps that I'm sadly familiar with some of the more geeked out jokes that pop up.
My wife's new find is "Dirty Sexy Money" about a lawyer just starting out working for a rich New York family (complete with all the socialite stereotypes) while also trying to figure out who killed his dad, who was the previous lawyer for the family. It's like a soap opera in prime time, but with a lot of shock value moments like the live lions brought in for the family photo shoot or the polite blackmailer who sold a sex tape to a higher bidder but hopes that this won't affect any future business they might conduct. It's got Peter Krause from Six Feet Under and Donald Sutherland and William Baldwin, so it's got a stellar cast that plays well against one another.
"Pushing Daisies" is a unique show to be sure. First, is the fact that it's narrated story-book style. In fact, the whole thing plays off like a fairy-tale in a slightly twisted land of make-believe. It's got hints of Tim Burton, Roald Dahl, Jeunet & Caro and Terry Gilliam, except not as dark on all accounts. One wonders though, how long the premise can be maintained, considering that if the male lead touches the female romantic lead in any way, she'll die.
Finally, I've been happy to see that "Bionic Woman" has taken off well. Borrowing actors from another successful sci-fi series - Battlestar Galactica - has helped them, but at some point they're going to have to cut that umbilical. Katee Sackhoff, who plays (played?) Starbuck on BG does a great job as a damaged anti-hero; the first Bionic Woman who lost control and a piece of her humanity in the transformation. So far, every episode has included either another actor from BG or a reference to the show. In the pilot, a prison guard was played by a BG actor and in the third episode, the unethical doctor who created the bionics for Sackhoff's bionic woman is played by another recognizable BG actor. Amusingly, the second episode had no BG actors, but featured a clip of the show playing on a television in a house they were walking through.
Our Tivo is working overtime.