Tuesday, October 17, 2006

What New Shows Should I Jump Onto?

Faithful popsurfer Joe asked an interesting question. Which of four new fall shows that are being buzzed about should he try and catch up with? Which are the best and -- just as importantly -- which will he be able to watch without feeling he's missed too much already?
Partly because I was away for a few weeks, I haven't caught any new shows yet this season. I figured if anything was particularly good I could always hop on the bandwagon (plus I'm already adding past seasons of The Wire and BG to my roster, courtesy of Netflix, thanks in part to your recommendations).

So out of the following shows, which ones would be the easiest to jump into at this point without missing a beat? And which would be most worthwhile?

Friday Night Lights
Ugly Betty
Good question! It's a brave new world we live in so "catching up" on new shows quickly depends on how much money you want to spend. For $8, you can buy the first four episodes of Heroes and Jericho at iTunes. At ABC.com, you can watch the first two episodes of Ugly Betty on streaming video for free (w commercials). And on NBC.com, you can watch last week's Friday Night Lights episode for free (w commercials). I think tomorrow that will switch to a rerun of the episode playing tonight. Everyone also seems to be doing quickie "what happened last week" clip summaries at their show's respective websites. You can ALSO of course join lots of peer-to-peer sites and get copies of shows that have aired. Please speak to your local law enforcement before doing so. Now what is WORTH catching up with? In order, I'd say:

1. Heroes -- this will be around for a few years and all your friends will be discussing it. Just so you can join the discussion and make up your own mind, I'd recommend spending $8 (about one movie ticket) on the first four shows. It's a fun show, though I do worry long term about maintaining the storyline. Happily each season will have one uber-villain a la Buffy, rather than one long mystery that doesn't end until the show does.
2. Friday Night Lights -- very easy to catch up with and I think the best new drama. BUT it's hurting in the ratings, so you might be jumping ONTO the Titanic.
3. Jericho -- also in for the long haul, at least a season. I've only watched the pilot completely. I thought it was pretty good but was surprised it maintained its audience so completely. Worth sampling. Like most of the serialized dramas, people feel they'll be utterly lost if they miss a week, but in fact it's pretty easy to figure out what's going on.
4. Ugly Betty -- if you're trying to pick up chicks, I recommend this one highly. 3/4s of the show is painless light dramedy, with the lead quite appealing. The ongoing telenovela like subplot (about 1/4 of the show) is by far the weakest element and frankly doesn't matter in the least. New chick at a fashion mag doesn't fit in because she's dumpy. Not hard to pick up on. I won't watch it every week, but there are worse ways of killing 40 minutes.


joe said...

Great stuff; thanks

Jimmy said...

I haven't been able to watch Jericho when it airs, but thanks to CBS making it available each week (so far) online I've watched every episode. I think it's one of the best new shows of the year. I also like Heroes, but again I can't watch it on Monday nights. Fortunately, NBC is making it available on Friday nights as part of the Sci-Fi Channel's Friday night line-up.

priv8pete said...

Heroes is the winner of that group in my book. Kinda dorky, but it keeps my attention. I'll see how interested I am once all the characters meet up or whatever it is they're eventually gonna do.

joe said...

All signs point to Heroes.

I'll catch the pilot on iTunes this weekend. If it seems like a winner, I'll tune in while NBC airs the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th episodes on Sunday night from 8-11 in place of football (because of Game 2 of the World Series).

The fact that Sci-Fi re-airs the show is crucial since it goes up against MNF in the fall -- and presumably 24 come January.

Michael in New York said...

Joe, Jimmy, time to get a DVR -- it';ll change your life, speed up your TV watching and you can tape two shows at once (while watching a third or a DVD if you like). And priv8pete, shame on you -- a nice family show depicting flawed but genuine Christians who pray AND a sports theme and you can't be bothered to watch? Hell is filled with Christians who didn't watch Friday Night Lights: they have to see Full House over and over and over again for all eternity.