Saturday, September 18, 2010

The New Fall Television Season - Part One

This coming Tuesday is the first day of Fall. And starting with that on the same week is the next television season, when the major broadcast television networks initiate their full lineup of shows.

It is the one time of year that sees the most debuts for both brand new series and new seasons of existing shows, a tradition that's lasted for decades. Sure, nowadays you can find great shows on cable channels over the summer months and there are just as many good shows that launch mid-season as well. It's so easy to take this week of premieres every September for granted, even find it a little overwhelming. But, there's still a sense of majesty of that goes along with the changes in the atmosphere, the air and weather with it every Fall. With that, there's just something about a whole new lineup of shows to choose from that comes along with the new season.

In fact, you can say it feels too good to last.

Now, onto the shows themselves. What's truly interesting is just how many already launched in the weeks leading up to the new season. Take
The CW, for example. They've already launched their whole slate of new shows - both of them! Hellcats, which stars former Disney Channel actresses Ashley Tisdale and Alyson Michalka and focuses on a cheer leading team, debuted on September 8. The following night brought Nikita, a new series which re-imagines the old USA Network drama Le Femme Nikita, itself based on the 1992 film of the same name.

I haven't seen Hellcats, but I have watched the pilot of Nikita. The former does not pique my interest, because much like a good chunk of the CW network's shows, Hellcats is targeted at young woman. That is a demographic I am not part of, so I do not intend to watch it let alone give it any kind of judgement.

On the other hand, Nikita has a far wider appeal. It comes off like one of those shows that suggests that even The CW doesn't believe in their whole business plan of focusing on a singular target audience. (Not that there's anything wrong with such a practice, but it fits in far better on a cable channel, when you actually have to pay to see it. It's called narrowcasting for a reason, and the broadcast medium the CW operates on just contradicts it.) It goes farther than Smallville and Supernatural, both dark action shows that at least offer the females attractive male leads, in appealing to a wider audience.

The show itself is quite entertaining, following the premise of Nikita (Maggie Q) escaping from the scrutiny of the government organization, Division that trained her to be a spy, and her ambition to destroy it. The pilot alone suggests a series that follows closely to the style and intensity of the Jason Bourne film series. And the storyline following new recruit Alex (Lyndsy Fonseca) adds further tension.

What I regret is not having seen the second episode, even though the competitive nature of your average Thursday night lineup is not yet in full swing. It's even more embarrassing because like the pilot, "2.0" has been given an encore the night after it first aired. I just feel sort of lazy, much like when I haven't bothered to tune into Smallville last season, even though I always home on Friday nights. Perhaps I may make more of an effort to tune in for future installments, but I still have other shows to consider on the other networks.

And indeed, the CW is the easiest of the broadcast networks to consider because it's also the smallest. They don't even offer comedies, they're that small! However, size doesn't justify an attempt to narrowcast, and clearly not a whole lot is meant to appeal to my demo. As I said before, I do like Smallville and I should make more of an effort to watch it, especially since it's far easier than I realize. I even have the finale and the "Absolute Justice" event (meant as major service to DC fans such as myself) queued on iTunes. Sometimes, I even amaze myself in how lazy I can be. But still, I should at least watch "Salvation" before the season starts, as a way to try to do better.

As for the other shows, I reiterate that I'm not the target for most of them. However, I will give Supernatural due credit as a cool enough show, even if I barely watched it. Further, I will admit The Vampire Dairies had a nice pilot and has plenty going for it...and that's about all.

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