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There’s no season like fall TV season
September 15, 2011 - April Diodato
The kaleidoscope of colors on display as the leaves change and the return of some delectable seasonal foods and drinks are among the many reasons why I enjoy the autumn. However, what I truly look forward to most is fall television. At long last, our favorite shows return to resolve the cliffhangers we were left to ponder all summer, and the new shows we have been hearing about for months will finally air. This coming week has more fall premieres than any other, with one highly-anticipated show featuring a very talented former resident of Chautauqua County. Get out your calendars and prepare to mark them accordingly – I have the full scoop for you.
Fredonia Native Has 'The X Factor'
Toni Dolce grew up in Fredonia and moved to New York City with the dream of becoming a successful singer. She will now be on one of this fall's hottest shows, “The X Factor,” which premieres next Wednesday, Sept. 21, at 8 p.m. on Fox. She has one powerful voice and tons of tenacity, and if she doesn’t have “the X factor,” I don’t know who does. Since the complete details on Dolce's “X Factor” experience can't be released until after the show airs, my story on her will be in the OBSERVER on Sunday, Sept. 25. Fans of the show (which is a huge hit in the UK) and Simon Cowell won't want to miss it.
Other New Shows
I won’t be listing them all, but here’s a dossier of what’s worth dedicating some space to on your DVR:
- “2 Broke Girls,” Monday, 9:30 p.m., NBC – There are a lot of movie stars migrating to television this fall. Kat Dennings, who enjoyed some blockbuster success with “Thor” over the summer, stars in a sitcom about two gals struggling to get by in this economy. Dennings is a sassy waitress and nanny who befriends a newly-broke heiress. TV Guide calls it “a modern-day ‘Laverne & Shirley,’” and the NY Post deemed it the funniest comedy to be shown during the upfronts screened in the spring. That sounds promising, and these days, who can’t relate to the perils of barely scraping by? Those of us similarly broke will surely be watching this on Hulu the next day instead, because cable does not come cheap.
- “The Playboy Club,” Monday, 10 p.m., CBS – There are two period dramas set in the 1960s debuting this fall attempting to fill the void left by “Mad Men,” which won’t be back on our TVs until sometime in 2012. The first is “The Playboy Club,” and it’s not getting the rave reviews that the other, “Pan Am,” is garnering (more about that show next week). It looks pretty entertaining to me, with a Don Draper-esque character (Eddie Cibrian as Nick Dalton) and lots of foxy ladies in bunny costumes, including Amber Heard (“Zombieland”) and Jenna Dewan (“Step Up”) – of course, with plenty of secrets and drama. If nothing else, this will probably be the new show least difficult to convince your boyfriend to watch with you.
- “New Girl,” Tuesday, 9 p.m., Fox – Indie darling Zooey Deschanel stars in one of the shows most often listed on the fall TV “best” lists. It’s a sitcom about a girl recently scorned by a disastrous break-up who becomes the new roommate of three guys. They happily accept her application to move in when she tells them that her friends are models, but are dismayed when she won’t stop crying and watching “Dirty Dancing” on repeat; taking pity on her, they resolve to help her get back on her feet. The first episode is available to watch for free on iTunes. I checked it out and it’s funny, Deschanel is adorable, relatable and has a very enviable wardrobe. I will be tuning in for episode two!
If you watch TV, chances are one of your shows will be back this week. Rejoice! Here are some hot shows with season premieres in the next seven days with miscellaneous commentary for some:
- “The Vampire Diaries,” 8 p.m. tonight, The CW
- “It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” 10 p.m. tonight, FX – If you’ve seen any of the commercials that have aired in the past month or so, you know that “Always Sunny” is bigger and (hopefully) better this season – and by that, I mean Mac got super-fat. Star Rob McElhenney packed on 50 pounds to play “Big Mac” for season seven. I’m worried the fat jokes will get old quick, but I have faith in my “Always Sunny,” one of the most consistently hilarious and irreverent shows on television.
- “Dancing With the Stars,” 8 p.m. Monday, ABC – With Chaz Bono, Nancy Grace, Ricki Lake, George Clooney’s ex Elisabetta Canalis and a Kardashian sibling dancing for the title this season, there will be plenty to cheer for and against in season 13. And seriously, people need to get over the fact that Bono is transgendered. It is not worth an outrage. Everyone is different. Accept it.
- “How I Met Your Mother,” 8 p.m. Monday, CBS
- “Two and a Half Men,” 9 p.m. Monday, CBS – Now with Ashton Kutcher and probably still not funny. CBS should be thanking their lucky stars for the tiger blood running through Charlie Sheen’s veins, because they couldn’t have asked for better and more far-reaching publicity for a show that should have been canceled a very, very long time ago.
- “Glee,” 8 p.m. Tuesday, Fox – The season two finale was disappointing but that won’t dissuade fans from tuning in for a year of new characters, romances, drama, and lots and lots of singing. With some of the main characters graduating this season, how will they wrap things up for Rachel, Finn and Kurt, and are we getting that spin-off or not? Only time will tell.
- “The Biggest Loser,” 8 p.m. Tuesday, NBC
- “The Middle,” 8 p.m. Wednesday, ABC
- “Modern Family,” 9 p.m. Wednesday, ABC – There’s a reason why this show sweeps up at awards shows – it’s excellent! If you haven’t already, be sure to check it out this season.
- “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” 10 p.m. Wednesday, CBS
- “Law and Order: SVU,” 10 p.m. Wednesday, NBC
TV's Biggest Night
The 63rd annual Primetime Emmys will be on Sunday at 8 p.m. on ABC, hosted by Jane Lynch of “Glee.” Perhaps that means it will actually be entertaining this year. Of course, the best part is the red carpet, and the coverage starts at 5 p.m. on E!
REEL TALK: 'Contagion'
Hypochondriacs and germaphobes beware. “Contagion,” directed by Steven Soderbergh with a star-studded ensemble cast, will make anyone think twice before sharing a drink, shaking hands or touching anything on a public transportation vehicle, and might send viewers racing to stock up on hand sanitizer. It's a smart, effective thriller about a new flu that quickly becomes an epidemic – a disaster fantasy that could easily become a reality. The disease in the film is based on a the nipah virus, which actually lead to an epidemic in pigs and human fatalities as well. It's no wonder that after seeing it, I started to feel like I was coming down with something.
“Contagion” is one of those movies with so many subplots and characters – just like Soderbergh's “Traffic” -- it's difficult to feel particularly attached or moved by any one of them. It was interesting to explore all aspects of an epidemic – the sick, the medical community, the journalists, the politics involved – but I know that I'm not completely satisfied with or affected by a film when I leave the theater without remembering a single character's name. Of course, anytime I started to become interested in one of them, they were stricken ill and quickly dead.
Movies that are overloaded with A-list actors with several interwoven storylines have become trendy, but some are more engaging than others. “Contagion” was somewhat successful, but would have benefited from focusing on one story and developing it further. Performances from Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Gwenyth Paltrow, Jude Law, Marion Cotillard and Laurence Fishburne – just to name a few – were all fine, but with so much going on, there wasn't much time for anyone to shine.
“Contagion” is a film worth seeing and may be the most unnerving horror movie I've seen in some time, but in a so-far outstanding cinematic year, it simply doesn't stand out.
“Contagion” is now showing at the Dunkirk Movieplex.
- BJ's has a show tonight featuring three bands from out of town. Cleveland's Nomads are joined by a pair of Rochester bands. Nomads deliver instrumental post-rock in a style similar to Explosions In The Sky and Castevet. Routine Involvements kick out the garage inspired pop jams. Finally, Alberto Alaska play a modern style of hardcore, like Fire When Ready. The show starts at 10 p.m. The usual policy of charging $3 for 18-plus while being free for the over 21 crowd is in effect.
- The opening of "Lawrence Urbscheit, Works from the Studio and Beyond" will be held at the Adams Art Gallery from 7 to 9 p.m.
- 41 West will feature live music by Passion Works from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Saturday. The bar will also have karaoke on Thursdays, trivia on Wednesdays and football on Sundays, opening at 12:30 p.m. on game day with drink specials and food. Go Bills! Best season ever, you mark my words.
- Two festivals happening this weekend: the Grape Festival is held Thursday through Sunday in Silver Creek, and the Heritage Harvest Festival is held in Gowanda Saturday and Sunday.
- The Folk-in-Fredonia Music Series at the 1891 Fredonia Opera House begins the fall season Sunday with the annual “Free-For-All” at 3 p.m. Admission is free, but you need a ticket – get one from the Opera House Box Office or call 679-1891.
April Diodato is the OBSERVER Lifestyles editor. Send comments and events to email@example.com
Cheer on Fredonia native Toni Dolce as she belts it out on “The X Factor,” to premiere on Fox Sept. 21. Submitted Photo.