Wednesday, October 17, 2012

More new TV.... 

TV Review: Prime Time Network New Fall Shows, October 2012

Picking up where I left off, here are my thoughts on five programs that debuted in October. It took some juggling on my DVR, but I managed to view the first episode of each of these shows.

All times listed below are Eastern.

Arrow, 8pm Wednesdays, The CW.
This is a version of the "Green Arrow" series of comic books. Our hero is Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell of "Private Practice"), a billionaire's son, who is rescued from a remote island five years after an accident at sea. Once an irresponsible party boy, he returns to his home in Starling City a changed man. His alter ego is a vigilante archer in a hoodie; he possesses both mad fighting skills and killer abs. This modern day Robin Hood has a reluctant ally in Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy, daughter of David Cassidy), a public defender who is also his ex-girlfriend. We don't know Oliver's entire back story; more will likely be revealed in bits and pieces in flashbacks to come. While I was never a comic book reader and don't follow the super hero genre very closely, this show is stylish enough to attract the newbies. I believe the DC Comics crowd will want to stick around too.

Chicago Fire, 10pm Wednesdays, NBC. For a different kind of heroics, "Chicago Fire" chronicles a fire and rescue squad both on the job and off. Jesse Spencer, formerly of "House", and Lauren German, formerly of "Hawaii Five-O" are amongst the rather extensive cast. I was reminded of the times I watched "Emergency" way back in the 1970's as a kid. Luckily, the emergencies look much more realistic now. The fires are particularly impressive, and the techniques now used to fight them are interesting. But I must say the rest of the show is rather blah, not really giving us much reason to care about the squad's personal lives. So probably not worth tuning in unless you are a fire and rescue junkie.

Nashville, 10pm Wednesdays, ABC. This much-hyped look into the present state of country music stars Connie Britton of "American Horror Story" and Hayden Panettiere of "Heroes" as rival songstresses. Britton is Rayna James, a legend who is no longer selling out stadiums, and Panettiere is Juliette Barnes, an Auto-tuned young diva whose loyal fans have memorized every word of her songs. Juliette is not above stealing Rayna's producer, musicians, anything she can to get ahead. The ultimate indignity for Rayna is when her label insists that she cancel her current tour and become the opening act for Juliette. Both actresses are quite convincing in their roles, and they are actually doing their own singing of original music written by the likes of Elvis Costello and the Civil Wars. So there is plenty of quality here. Watching a weekly country cat fight is not quite my style, but I predict "Nashville" is going to be a hit of Grand Ole Opry-sized proportions.

Beauty and the Beast, 9pm Thursdays, The CW. This isn't the Disney version, or even a reboot of the 1980's series. This Beast is a man who was experimented on by the military, and an alteration in his DNA causes him to transform into an extraordinarily strong creature whenever his adrenaline spikes, sort of like a hot version of The Incredible Hulk. He rescues a beautiful young woman from certain death, and nine years later, when she is a detective, she discovers his identity. Perhaps this will appeal to under-30 romantics, but it didn't do much to entice me to watch it again.

Emily Owens, M.D., 9pm Tuesdays, The CW. Set in a gorgeous but unfortunately fictional Denver hospital, the title character of this comic drama is played by Mamie Gummer, daughter of Meryl Streep. We follow Emily on her first day as a surgical intern re-living all the stereotypes she experienced in high school, and she doesn't seem to have matured emotionally beyond that age. The internal monologue is so extensive that it breaks up the flow of the story. The scene where she follows her tough new boss on rounds is pretty much a carbon copy of the first episode of "Grey's Anatomy" except done half as well. The dramatic scenes work somewhat better. But if I had a surgeon with that little confidence, I'd want to switch hospitals.

As with the September shows, if you want to catch up on any of the above, check iTunes, hulu, and the network's own websites for download availability. Happy viewing!

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