Midseason 2009, Part 1: January

As I’ve already written, this midseason has a lot of things going for it. For me, there’s the return of the big three this month: Lost, 24, and Battlestar Galactica. On top of other shows later, like Medium, there are many new shows, including the eagerly anticipated Dollhouse. Premiere dates will span January to March, so I figured I’d take a month-by-month approach.

Battlestar Galactica

Amazingly, they dealt with the reaction to discovering a burnt out Earth, shocked us with a hugely unexpected event, and even revealed the identity of the final Cylon — all in the first episode back. The writing and drama on this show is as good as ever, but it’s not easy to watch. The disappointment of a nuked Earth has left everyone in bad shape, especially the president (who has lost her faith completely). Every character is in a bad mood — Starbuck is not the only one with an attitude anymore. Tensions are at their worst, and it looks like rebellion is brewing among the masses. I’m sure there are lots of exciting surprises still to come. I don’t know where they’ll end up, but I can’t imagine that it’ll be some random planet. That would be quite an anticlimax. 4.5 out of 5.

24

Except for the November telemovie, it’s been a long time since we’ve seen Jack in action. I think Fox is trying to win us back by bringing back some of the old elements of 24. CTU may be gone, but So far the FBI have been the agency on hand, and Janeane Garofalo has come on board as the new “Chloe”. There is also a new FBI Bill Buchanan, a new FBI Milo, and a new FBI agent who seems a lot like a Michelle. So far this season has been pretty interesting, but there’s also a sense that we’ve seen it all before. I’m just waiting for the traitor to be revealed in the FBI, there’s some serious drama in the new president’s family, and I’m sure that the villains who are in- and in a good and a bad bad and bad things is a long time and a here in a wholeplay now are not the villains that will be around for the finale. As much as I’m enjoying the season so far, it seems like the producers are playing it safe with our expectations. 4 out of 5.

Lost

It’s sad that the ratings are down for this show, and it might be because the show has gone more sci-fi (with all the time travel and flashing, bright skies). I think it’s more exciting than ever. Yes, I liked the character elements as well, but after time-shifting an entire island, they have no choice but to commit to the sci-fi factor. I think we need to give it some time to settle into its new focus. The stories have been alternating between the island folk and the Oceanic Six. Hurley has already had some funny moments, and at least Jack has not been as annoying as he usually is. I’m really looking forward to where the show is headed this season, because I know that there are more weird and wonderful things to come. I’m still waiting for Jin’s return (not that I have any information or anything) and I want to see more of Charles Widmore (when’s his flashback?). It would also be nice if they tackled some of the longstanding mysteries like ol’ Smokey, and the 4-toed statue. I’m just sayin’.4.5 out of 5.

Lie To Me

I actually kind of like the the Hollywood trend to take crime procedurals and dress them up with an interesting gimmick. Lie To Me is the latest one to come along. This time around Tim Roth plays an expert in lying. People hire him to prove something based on his interviews, investigations, and analysis. I’ve only seen the pilot so far, but I liked it. Kelli Williams also stars as his partner, and as much as I loved her on The Practice, here she gets to smile, look sexy, and be less serious than she was on that show. However, I don’t know how they can keep the premise going for long. It will start to seem contrived that clues about lying always play so heavily into their cases. Also, the way the characters are always analyzing people can get kind of annoying. Nevertheless, there are a lot of fun facts about human behavior and body language presented in this show. Watching it will probably change the way I perceive people in my daily life. I hope that’s not a bad thing. 4 out of 5.

Burn Notice

So far I’ve only seen one episode of Burn Notice this season, and I can’t say it was anything that special. Michael was blown up by an exploding door at the end of last season, but you knew he wasn’t going to die. Now he’s assigned to track down his own almost-murderer. Nevertheless, even an average episode of Burn Notice is more fun than most. Hopefully, this season will also bring some more movement on the overall story arc so that some things will be a little bit fresher and more interesting. 4 out of 5.

Psych

This show is kind of in the same boat as Burn Notice. Maybe I’ve been spoiled by other shows, but fun episodes following a formula just don’t seem interesting or special enough. Maybe that’s why I never got into the CSI or Law & Order families of shows. Procedurals that solve a case each week do seem kind of repetitive. Sometimes I forget that Psych is a procedural after all. Main character Sean is still as funny as ever, and I still enjoy watching him bluff his way through every case. 4 out of 5.

Scrubs

I hope I’m not repeating myself here, but Scrubs is also pulling in more episodes of the same (even after switching networks to ABC). Not that that’s a bad thing, because Scrubs is a pretty funny show on its own. It’s always got that blend of heartwarming and humorous going for it. Even though they kind of learn life lessons each week, the characters don’t seem to have changed much over the many seasons. I guess I might have been spoiled by shows like Friends where so much was changed after 10 years. Sitcom characters aren’t really supposed to grow or change. I think they actually make a point of that on this show. The more Scrubs changes the more Scrubs stays the same. 4 out of 5.

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