Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Television Returns: Breaking down the "Gossip Girl," "Prison Break" and "OTH" Premieres

Yes, I know. I've been a bad blogger. There's only so many times I can apologize. Heck, even my blog posted a comment over the summer complaining about being neglected.

But Monday (Sept. 1) night unofficially started the new television season! Nielsen doesn't think so, but to heck with them and their comically outmoded audience sampling system. If the girls are gossiping, the men are prison breaking and the hills have only a single tree once again, then my TV season has most certainly begun!

As as of the moment of posting, we're only six hours from what The CW tells me will be the most important event of the fall. More important that USC-Ohio State? More important than the Emmys? More important than Yom Kippur? More important than the election? Yes. Apparently. But more on the premiere of "90210" tomorrow, of course, since The CW wants to make me suffer.

Anywho... Thoughts on the premieres of "Prison Break," "Gossip Girl" and "One Tree Hill" after the bump...

Click through...

[Spoilers coming, obviously. Duh.]

Gossip Girl: Absence appears to have made the hearts grow ever-so-slightly fonder for "Gossip Girl," which was up 35% over its first-season average viewership and delivered its best ever 18-49 ratings.

To mind? Not the best of series premieres. The juiciest subplot involved Nate and the Cougar, but is anybody else just about ready to put a moratorium on the Cougar subplot? I mean, remember how freaked out Brandon Walsh was to be gettin' it on with Lucinda Nicholson? She was the older woman even though Dina Meyer is exactly one year older than Jason Pristley and, thanks to the absurdity of "Starship Troopers," has played a high school student more recently. "The O.C." did fine Cougar work and fine Cougar work will be done again, but when "Gossip Girl" and "One Tree Hill" are rockin' equally bland Cougar storylines on the same night, it's both boring and it makes one wonder who, exactly, The CW is programming for.

But what else were we supposed to be loving? Blair making Chuck jealous? The writers know darned well that even though the fans pretend they want Chuck and Blair together, the idea of Chuck in love, much less Chuck in a committed relationship, is good for three or four episodes, tops. Chuck exploring his sexuality and acquiring a monkey? Endlessly hilarious, if what I've heard about the books is true. So bring on the monkey.

And away with Jenny Humphrey. Jenny failing to become a Queen Bee? Entertaining. Jenny's quest to become a fashion designer? Well, Donna Martin and Brooke Davis beat her to it. I think Donna didn't succeed in fashion until college and Brooke waited until after high school, so I guess "Gossip Girl" has to push the edge of the envelope. But to what end?

There's a problem on "Gossip Girl" with letting the kids be kids, albeit rich, snobby, vaguely evil kids. Chuck Bass owning a burlesque club didn't didn't really go anywhere. Jenny as a fashion designer isn't going to go anywhere. And Dan Humphrey pushing his way to the edge of teen literary superstardom (or even getting his foot in the door) for a series of confessional stories about teen love is every bit as sad as Lucas Scott's literary career.

I know at least one occasional reader won't be pleased as the "Gossip Girl"/ "One Tree Hill" comparisons, so I'm gonna stop here.

Prison Break: Sproing! That's the sound of the meat thermometer on "Prison Break" indicating that this turkey may be just about done. In its premiere, "Prison Break" averaged just under 6.5 million viewers. Last season's average was over 8 million. Yes, it won its demo, but once "Heroes" returns "Two and a Half Men" returns and the fall starts in earnest, I'd expect the audience to dwindle to nothing.

For a show that has needed to reboot itself each season, this year's reboot was even more of a sham than usual. Sara's resurrection? Lame. Michael's tattoo removal? Lame. The fact that a government agent would actually see a value in reuniting Michael with his psychotic brother, a pussy-whipped petty thief (Sorry, Sucre), a junkie ex-G-man and a sadistic disgraced prison guard? Sorry, but at its best, "Prison Break" strains credulity in a way that makes you go, "Oh my goodness, that's so wrong, but so right." T-Bag going cannibal? Exactly right. The assembly of the Injustice League to steal a MacGuffin? Anemic at best.

And will be ever see Sofia and LJ ever again? I kinda hope not. They were useless for a full season last year and I'd be better to just move on. And it would have been better to move beyond Sara as well, though I did like how damaged she appears to be. Take what you can get. The only reason I'll keep watching is my suspicion that Gretchen is going to want to get a ton of revent and that's bound to be hot.

One Tree Hill: Again, on the so-bad-it's-good front, the return of Crazy Nanny Carrie (the lovely Torrey Devitto) as Kathy Bates from "Misery" was at least hilariously tawdry, though she probably should have been wearing some sort of naughty nurse fetish gear. As it is, we know she'll only be able to torture Dan for a couple episodes before he turns the table and eats her pancreas. Dan is just too evil to keep down and no curvy temptress is gonna stop him.

What else? Well, Lucas made the only choice he could. Getting him back together with Brooke would have been too arbitrary, while fans detested Lindsay. Better to give the 'shippers what they want and back away slowly. Peyton and Lucas are now safely the least interesting characters on the show, so it'll be interesting to see how things get screwed up for them.

And we assume that Daphne Zuniga ordered Brooke's beating, right? I hope she gets revenge Gretchen-style.

And if Mouth really left, who would be sad? Really?

So anyway, that's last night's TV...

I wanna write a "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" review. And a "Sons of Anarchy" review. And I want to prep for "90210." But really, I just wanted to make it clear that with the fall season starting again, I'm ready to get back on the blogging pony.


1 comment:

  1. I've been reading the Gossip Girl series recently and I have to say, Chuck in the books is far less developed and charming as Chuck on the TV show. (At least so far, I'm about halfway through the book series). I think this is why on the show, they can get away with the "Chuck in love" story as long as they don't fundamentally change who he is -- and I don't think they will because it would be a horrible disservice to the character. That's the reason Blair and Chuck are interesting (to me, at least). They're both manipulative bitches, but deep down all she wants is someone to love her and treat her right, and Chuck will likely never be able to fully be that person. They are what keeps me tuning in every week. It certainly isn't boring Serena and Dan, that's for sure.

    I will admit, the recent "Chuck can't get it up for anyone but Blair" thing was patently ridiculous. He's 18. That just doesn't happen. Right?