TV Roundup: Oct. 1, 2005

I think the TV gods are toying with me. When I complain that Threshold had too much character and not enough aliens, I get Surface. When I complain about too many last minute twists in premieres, I get a great twist from Veronica Mars.

Night Stalker was the only new show this week, and it was pretty dull. A reporter following up on spooky cases should be right up my alley, but it’s just so uninteresting. The main creature of the pilot episode (which supposedly killed the main character’s wife as well, leading him to this personal quest) is some kind of –wait for it—big dog. We don’t even learn very much about this dog by the end of the episode and that’s the least of what doesn’t make sense about this show—very disappointing.

Boston Legal had kind of an odd premiere. There were a few new characters (don’t know if I like them yet, but they’re better than some of the old ones) and new stories spliced into a two-part episode from last season that was in-the-can but didn’t get aired because Grey’s Anatomy took over their time slot. Heather Locklear isn’t bad as a “black widow” client, and we had thankfully little exposure to William Shatner’s annoying Denny Crane.

Alias came back swinging. The premiere picks up from last season’s jaw-dropping cliffhanger: Vaughn’s not really Vaughn and then another car smashes into him and Sydney. Fortunately it doesn’t take us long to find out Vaughn’s real name (it’s Andre Michaux), but so much more happens in this episode taking the show in all kinds of new directions. It’s a testament to the show’s unpredictability that I don’t really believe what happened to be true. I’m still expecting another twist.

Veronica Mars has come back with a vengeance as well. After solving last season’s big mystery, another one needed to take its place. I don’t think anyone could have predicted that a schoolbus full of her classmates would go over a cliff! My only disappointment is the newly mopey Logan. His whip-smart banter with Veronica was one of the highlights of last season.

Smallville basically visited Superman II for its season premiere, complete with Phantom Zone villains, the Fortress of Solitude, and Clark losing his powers (I’m not betting that will last very long, though). I was a bit disappointed in the last minute appearance of James Marsters as Braniac—he looks too normal. Also, Lana and Clark have finally gotten together (I’m not betting that will last very long either).

Will & Grace put on another stunt as its premiere—a live show. It was a pretty funny episode (if a little over-the-top), but the live aspect was annoying (who wants to see actors try to stifle their giggles?). The only cool thing about it was that thanks to the power of timeshifting I got compare the east coast and west coast versions of the episode, which were actually slightly different.
That’s it for premieres. So far, the new shows have been dropping off my plate faster than cold peas. Next week I’ll come back with a tally of what remains programmed in my DVR.

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