Fall TV 2007 Pt. 1 – Returning Shows

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Everyone starts with the new shows, but since I watched the old shows first, that’s where I’m going to begin:

Heroes

I’m assuming you all watched the return of last year’s hot new show, so let’s get to it. I’m still not convinced that Hiro’s time-trip back to feudal Japan isn’t a premature shark-jumping, but we’ll see. David Anders is just not the same without a cool Sarky attitude. Meanwhile, I like that the normals (i.e. Noah Bennet and Mohinder Suresh) are teaming up to bring down the Company — if only they’d hook up with Ando, they’d be unstoppable! Clearly Claire has inherited her adopted father’s inability to be low-key (I mean, change the glasses if you’re going into hiding, HRG!) but her new beau can fly? Is there a dating-service for specials? I’m also not sure about the killer Dominican wonder-twins. If they’re intended to be main characters, I hope they get a lot more interesting. Nevertheless, my standards are just too high from last year’s awesome season. If the mysterious baddie killing the older-gen heroes like Kaito Nakamura is any indication, we have a lot of fun in store.

The Simpsons

Even after a summer on the big screen, The Simpsons made it back on the air with new episodes before the baseball finals. Alas, save for the clever opening credits where Bart skateboards through a Springfield deep in clean-up efforts after the Dome incident from the movie, and the return cameo of the beloved Spider-pig, it was a pretty lacklustre retread of themes that The Simpsons has covered before. Even Stephen Colbert as a life coach could not add much comedic oomph to this episode where Homer loses himself to a love of the private-jet lifestyle — whatever.

Shark

My only lawyer show this season: James Woods returns to his unscrupulous Sebastian Stark character with as much quick-lipped zing as ever. A Russian mob boss’s comeuppance becomes the motivation not only for Jeri Ryan’s return (this time as part of Stark’s team — yay!) as well as the introduction of the semi-ubiquitous Kevin Alejandro as the new young hothead. Alejandro seems a bit over-the-top and makes me miss boring pretty-boy Sam Page a bit. Yes, daughter Julie and her teen melodrama are also back — oh joy.

How I Met Your Mother

I love that the premiere leads off (and closes) with a reference to the titular meeting of narrator and future-mom. It shows that, once again, this is the most intricately-mapped-out sitcom around. Most of the events of this premiere were pretty cliche, but Barney was still as good as ever. I don’t really like that he’s taking a back seat to Ted’s (and guest Mandy Moore’s) wild antics, but I’m sure that will correct itself soon.

Stargate Atlantis

With spacey sci-fi becoming a bit of a rare breed, it’s nice to get back to the Atlantis gang earlier than in previous years. They packed so much jeopardy into this premiere episode that they were even able to make fun of it (Dr. McKay gets upset every time he breathes a sigh of relief only to get summoned to the control room in the next second.) Jewel Staite (formerly Kaylee from Firefly) seems to be doing a good job as the new doctor, and it was nice to see Amanda Tapping as Samantha Carter bridging continuity with Stargate SG-1 for us fans, before she comes onto the Atlantis team for good.

Smallville

[Big sigh!] Where to begin with you, Smallville? As usual, the season begins with a recovery-episode after the major disaster that every character was caught in for the finale. Evil Clark, again? Supergirl Kara, again? Luthor’s redemption (this time Lex instead of Lionel), again? I like the fact that Clark has the Martian Manhunter to turn to for advice, but wasn’t his father written off the show to give him a chance to grow up on his own? Why replace Jonathan Kent with another father-figure? Finally, Lana. [Another big sigh!] Her non-death was the non-shock of premiere week, but explain to me why a half-Asian girl (granted, I guess Lana Lang is not half-Asian, but Kristin Kreuk is) would want to wear a blond wig to go incognito in Shanghai? Seriously!

The Office

First, I am so sad to see the boozy, over-the-edge version of Jan. However, it’s nice to see that Michael still lives in his own little world — is it me or is he getting humourously stupider each season? Great to see PB+J as a couple; and Kevin’s reactions and realizations are so hilariously priceless! I always hated the character of Meredith, but at least now that she was hit by Michael’s car, she’s gotten a bit more dimension (still creeped out by Creed, though). I wish we had seen more of BJ Novak as Ryan the temp-turned-boss. What’s he like in the big chair? But, get rid of vapid Kelly already!

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