Rotting my brain

{homersimpson} The mail! The mail is here!  {/homersimpson}

Okay, not the mail but rather the Fall TV schedule. Yes, I know, it’s Autumn but when in Rome — or Babylon? Paris, Texas? Anyway, I’m here so I may as well learn the local lingo, right? Besides, it’s handy for remembering which directions clocks go in: spring-forward, fall-back. Clever, eh?

Uh, where was I?

Oh right. Disclaimer: this is not a gaming post.

This is a post celebrating the end of the summer televisual drought and the beginning of the end-of-year gogglebox smorgasbord. As with all buffets, some of it will be yummy and full of delicious viewing goodery*, much of it will be bland, if filling, and a fair bit of it will be — I have to be blunt — unmitigated shite. Of the good stuff, here’s a selection of what I’m looking forward to on primetime, and if you’re a huge fan of something I find crap, then that’s the beauty of having too much choice.

Hugh-Laurie

Heroes — we’re only taping this for the spousal unit. Heroes had a lot of promise and a lot of potential, and has failed to meet either as far as I’m concerned. If you’re going to write a multi-character, multi-layered narrative, make sure you know what the hell you’re doing.

House — Hugh Laurie is da bomb. Nuff said.

the forgotten — Back in my younger days, I thought Christian Slater was the shiz. He’s still pretty nice to look at, so we’ll give this one a spin.

Eastwick — oh look, it’s an old franchise we may be able to bring to TV! With hot babes who have witchy powers! Sa-weet! Yeah… not expecting much from this one either. My prediction — it’ll be axed after 8 episodes.

CSI — getting a little long in the tooth, and the loss of yummy Will Petersen doesn’t help (to my candy-roving eye, anyway), but it’s still the best of the CSIs. The NY version is too cold and the Miami version is too full of itself (et tu, Caruso), not to mention too full of people I don’t give a rat’s ass about doing money-related stuff to other people I don’t give a rat’s ass about. The final unforgivable-ery is that I absolutely cannot stand the Eric Delko character — smug, 2-dimensional, bullet-attracting, what’s to like? I’m totally crossing my fingers that he’s been eaten by a grue. We’ll be taping the NY and Miami versions on the off-chance they’re improving again, but I’m not holding my breath. That policeman chap in the NY spinoff is rather tasty though.**

Criminal Minds — somewhat hit and miss. The really good episodes are really good, but most are just a reasonable way of passing an hour’s viewing. In what might be a rather obvious motif, however, I find the nerdy awkward genius quite scrumptious. The female characters are fairly well drawn (actually, most of the characters are), which helps, and I’ve been a Thomas Gibson fan ever since Dharma and Greg (yeah, I have a soft spot for hippies. Sue me.).

The Mentalist — another hit and miss show with a really droolworthy lead. Apparently this was a runaway hit last year? Maybe. The episodes are almost as formulaic as Columbo used to be, but as with that venerable show you watch it not so much for the murders as for the way they’re solved, and to see how many people Jane will manage to offend within the first 5 minutes. I do wish they’d done more with the family-murdering serial-killer backstory, but I guess when it got popular they decided they needed to string that one out more. Oh, and it would mean actually working out some kind of character progression for the lead, and that’s something TV shows have trouble with.

Over the summer doldrums I became unexpectedly addicted to NCIS, so we’ll be watching the new series of that too. You can’t beat cute semi-goth nerdy genius forensic experts; and she gets the best lines, too. The LA version looked rather like LA, all makeup and no substance, so we’ll probably be giving that a miss, though I was surprised to find I thought Chris O’Donnell was okay in it — usually he’s more wooden than a logjam.

I taped the first couple of episodes of The Vampire Diaries, and so far my reaction is: gack! From what I can tell, it’s 90210 with fangs; though — again, and as is so often the case — the bad brother is WAY hotter than the good brother, and gets all the good dialogue. Go Caine! Boo, Abel!

I keep meaning to give Numb3rs another go, because I loved Northern Exposure and thus have a pre-set bias towards Rob Morrow, and because back in the day, Peter MacNicol was the best thing in the otherwise increasingly watery Ally McBeal. And yet… the female FBI woman kind of sucks (and, surprise! she’s the pseudo-scientist psychology type), the plots aren’t all that, and I never felt the ensemble quite gelled. When you’re doing a show like this, a good ensemble makes it or breaks it, at least for me — I’ll watch a show with very little plot if the cast ensemble has enough going for it (case in point, Eureka — who cares about this week’s OMG we’re dying plot, right? It’s the people in it who matter — well, and the weird science is kinda cool some days too).

We’ll see what Stargate: Universe is like, though again, I’m not holding my breath.

That’s not a comprehensive list, but it’s what I could think of off the top of my head. Now I’ve got to go earn my keep so I can waste countless hours rotting my brain on the coming TV-gobblefest!

*Yes, it’s a word.

** If my objectification of men bothers you, get over it. Mmmm, eye candy.