Fall TV 2006 – week three

It’s a fitting “finale” to the month or so of premieres which we’ve been enjoying that my three favourite shows should make their returns within the same week. It’s been a busy few weeks, so I haven’t really given myself the breathing space to get all excited with anticipation. Lost, Veronica Mars and Battlestar Galactica were each making turning points in their overall storylines–The Others, going to college and Cylon occupation, respectively–so it’s cool to see where the next steps for each show are going to lead.

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Veronica Mars had a relatively low-key opening. It’s nice to see some new faces (Wallace’s new roommate is a welcome addition, but Mac’s slutty princess roommate is pretty annoying), and to know that Logan and Veronica are together again. I was disappointed that they’re going to retread on the date-rape story from last season’s “college preview” episode. I hope they resolve that one sooner rather than later. I’d heard that this season will have a number of multi-episode arcs rather than one big season-long mystery (which is a relief from the confusion that dragged down season 2). Sadly charming, reformed-rogue Troy has not shown up yet. I wonder if he’s going to… Nevertheless, I’m psyched to see Veronica settle into college life. Maybe there will be some people who might be a match for her there. (4 out of 5)

I loved the opening of Lost, flashing back to the Others as they watched Oceanic 815 break apart and fall from the sky—I’m a sucker for those “from a different perspective” scenes. As expected, we get to see a lot of the Others, but it wouldn’t be Lost if I didn’t find myself wondering, “What is going on here?” I was disturbed by the “bird in a gilded cage” treatment that the-Other-formerly-known-as-Henry-Gale gave to Kate. What’s that about? Is there no man who can resist her charms? However, watching Sawyer work his Skinner-box zoo feeder for the fish biscuit was priceless. While we’re on the subject, what’s up with this zoo? Where are all the animals? I’m sure there’s time for answers to come. It continues to amaze me where this show is taking us. Now let’s find out what happened to Locke, Eko, and the hatch. (4.5 out of 5)

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All those new ongoing-story-arc shows try to sustain the tension level, but nothing quites keeps those teeth gritted like a good occupation story. I had my concerns about Battlestar Galactica, fearing that life in Cylon-ridden New Caprica might be too bleak and gritty even by this show’s standards, but I was captivated throughout the two-hour premiere. Besides Apollo’s stupid fat suit (We get it, he’s gone soft. Sheesh!), and Starbuck’s “bird in a gilded cage” treatment (did someone peek over Damon Lindelof’s shoulders over the summer? That’s right, Ron Moore, I’m looking right atcha!) I’m really excited about where this show is going. I’m looking forward to the rebel battles and eventual reunion with the fleet. As much as Sharon annoys me sometimes (too much dimpling), I think it’s cool that she’s the liaison officer for the rebels. Also, I find that I loathe Tighe a little less now that he’s lost an eye (Is that mean?). Regardless of all the ch-ch-ch-changes, this show continues to be awesome. I’m so glad that this season we are only behind the US a few days rather than months. (4.5 out of 5)

There was only one new show of note this week, and it was a good one. I think The Nine really got it right, and showed all those 24-copying, too-many-coincidences, high-concept, high-tension, ongoing-story arc, relationship dramas just how it’s done (I’m talking to you Vanished, Kidnapped, Six Degrees, Brothers and Sisters, and Runaway!). This show (about nine hostages in a bank robbery gone awry who endured 52 hours together) really knows how to introduce characters in minutes and make me care about them–something that Six Degrees barely manages after three episodes. Then, it skips ahead to the aftermath of the robbery and we see those same characters, but they’ve changed. They’ve bonded closer than friends or family–which allows an action show to also be a relationship show. Clever rabbits! We’re promised that over the course of the episodes we’re going to see flashbacks to what really happened during those 52 hours, and if that wasn’t exciting enough, they’ve teased us with some mysteries too. What did the negotiator do wrong? What act of heroism did the suicidal middle-aged man perform? Why is the teenage girl withdrawn into herself and why is she visiting one of the two robbers in jail? What happened to the doctor and his girlfriend that caused them to split up? This show is sooooo water-cooler it’s not even funny. Now let’s hope enough people will watch it so that we make it to all those answers. (4.5 out of 5)

So ends the core premiere period for Fall 2006. There are a few stragglers, including 30 Rock (that other show behind the scenes on a late night sketch comedy show), and the Canadian return of Stargate SG-1, to look forward to. Also, I’m still anticipating the return of two of my faves: Medium and 24, later in the season. Nevertheless, even after dropping a number of shows from my DVR, my TV plate is still rather full.

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