Review: New TV shows

The 2008-2009 season has opened again, and now we get to see the SAG strike after-math. And it doesn’t look pretty at all. Here are the new entries so far:

The Mentalist: CBS, home of the procedural crime shows, comes with another entry, mixing in a bit of all the other show (mixing flashy imagery, dark and light drama, and a serial killer for a continuous backstory), but most of all, looks like a complete rip-off of USA network’s Psych. While Psych is laughing your ass of funny, which dynamic characters to fill in stories, this one focuses on one character that really doesn’t seem to get off the ground. While looking at this used-to-be-fake-psych character from a drama viewpoint, it doesn’t stand out enough to really hit any wow-factor.

Fringe: Not to be missed becaused it’s headed by one of my most favorite producer around (JJ Abrams), it’s a blatant X-Files rip-off. From the opening sequence (hand print sign), to a recognisable theme, and to top it off, taking an X-Files producer in its crew (Darin Morgan) to top it off. It’s more episodic than one expects from Abrams, but since this show airs on Fox, it might be a logical choice for the target demographics. The look, feel, and atmosphere is still very X-Files like, including the running theme of believer vs. unbeliever, supernatural and faith vs. science, but still, I expect Abrams will pull it off to make something special of this show.

Gary Unmarried: If the last decade of comedies have proven anything, it’s that normal sitcoms just don’t cut it anymore. A single look at single-cam (My Name is Earl, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia), and you clearly see the era of Friends and Mad About You is really over. This one is no different. Sure, a few soft laughs are available, but overall, it’s too cliche, and not special enough. I won’t be touching any sitcoms soon, this genre is really dead.

Raising the Bar: TNT comes with a court-room drama, a genre I usually like. Here it lacks a lot, mostly a smart guy to push special court cases forward (say, someone like David E. Kelley, who does/did it from a drama standpoint (The Practice) or comedy standpoint (Ally McBeal, Boston Legal)). So here you have mostly predictable dull cases, and a whole group of not-so-interesting characters. The characters from both sides (prosecutors and public defenders) are supposedly a tight group of friends, a fertile ground for cliche conflicts. A noble effort to show every case from both standpoints (though the public defenders are naturally ALWAYS the protagonists), but creator/producer Steven Bochco doesn’t seem to be able to put something off the ground that’s worth mentioning.

Knight Rider 2008: NBC resurrects an old eighties properties, and updates it with *gasp* … HORRIBLE CGI ! In the times of the A-Team and Airwolf, the Knight Rider fared well alone on the cool factor, but in these times, it just doesn’t cut it anymore. Add some horrible characters (coupled with even worse actors), bad writing (and hence, badly directed and cut episodes), and you have a toe-curlingly bad series. Maybe fun to watch with a group of friends, purely for the purpose at poking fun, but besides that, it has no redeeming qualities.

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