Tomorrow is the first true day of autumn and it's hard to believe we are nine months into this year already. When did they reschedule the apocalypse for again? That should be coming up fast.
It's the second week full of fall television premieres. Some of the most talked about new shows are beginning within the next seven days, as well as some returning favorites. After this, the premieres will be increasingly sporadic (helping to make our television schedules more manageable) and there are more shows coming mid-season. The weather has fortuitously shifted into prime snuggling conditions, so really there is no better place to be than curled up in front of the TV with popcorn, cocktails and your favorite human being or furry friend.
Here is the fresh meat making a debut on a television screen near you within the coming week - the good, the bad and the ugly:
"Charlie's Angels," Tonight, ABC - I'm not convinced that "Charlie's Angels" needs another remake, reboot, reimagining or anything prefaced with "re" in the near or distant future. One review I read said that it's devoid of comedy and sex appeal, and wasn't that what the show is supposed to be all about? Despite its extraordinarily attractive cast, all reports show that the new "Angels" is underwhelming (to say the least) and I don't foresee this one being on the air for long.
"Person of Interest," Tonight, 9 p.m., CBS - The fact that it's produced by JJ Abrams alone lands it on the must-see lists of many. It's getting mixed (but positively inclined) reviews but sounds like an interesting premise - a former CIA agent teams up with a computer whiz to try to prevent crimes from happening. Sure, why not?
"Whitney," Tonight, 9:30 p.m., NBC - Whitney Cummings landed her own sitcom now will it be funny? The Magic 8 Ball said it best: "Outlook not so good." On a top-10 list of fall TV's worst on the excellent TV blog Television Without Pity, it was ranked in both first and second place because it is that bad. They described it as "The kind of torture that is like going through an MRI machine while having a root canal while Fran Drescher's laugh plays on loop and Dr. House tries to kill/cure you." Better steer clear. I wonder if "Whitney" will be one of the first to get the axe? Her fans in Chautauqua County may not mind if they're still bitter over her canceling her appearance at the Lucille Ball Festival of Comedy in August.
"Prime Suspect," Tonight, 10 p.m., NBC Maria Bello is getting rave reviews for her starring turn as a quirky cop with a penchant for fedoras and sass-talking. Its origins lie in a beloved British series by the same name starring Helen Mirren, but all accounts say that this "Prime Suspect" succeeds due to Bello and her making the show her own. This is one worth checking out.
"A Gifted Man," Friday, 8 p.m., CBS Summed up as "'House' meets 'Ghost'" by The Daily Beast, Patrick Wilson stars as a talented but unconscionable surgeon who begins seeing the spirit of his ex-wife who encourages him to become a better person. That actually sounds like "A Christmas Carol." This show is getting mixed reviews, though I've read more good than bad - there seems to be a consensus that Wilson, a movie star, gives good television, too.
"Pan Am," Sunday, 10 p.m., ABC This the show I'm most looking forward to. Set in the 1960s and starring Christina Ricci, it's a drama about the time now long-gone when flight attendants were called stewardesses, the airlines didn't skimp on meals and drinks (is a bag of nuts still free?), and the skies were glamorous. "Pan Am" is garnering glowing reviews across the board. I'm have high hopes that it will temporarily quell my need for "Mad Men" - they've finally begun shooting the next season this week - but it sounds like "Pan Am" may not enforce a code of period accuracy quite the way the latter does. I just finished reading an article on aoltv.com about a group of real-life Pan Am stewardesses from the '60s reviewing the first episode and, unlike the onscreen portrayal, their hair had to be worn above the jawline. This may sound nit-picky, but people (especially "Mad Men" fans) take their period dramas very seriously. Regardless - if you can watch only one new show this fall season, all signs point to "Pan Am."
"Terra Nova," Monday, 8 p.m., Fox It's like "Jurassic Park" for TV, produced by Steven Spielberg and the critics are generally amped about it. There's really no reason not to watch it. It's certainly an ambitious project for television: it begins in 2149 in pollution and global warming-ravaged Chicago. A discovery is made for a way to travel back in time to prehistoric Earth and a brave group of people make a pilgrimage to this land, where they can start anew. Unfortunately for them, their new neighbors are dinosaurs. If "Terra Nova" flops, it's going to cost the network huge - those graphics! - and since the producers are well aware of that, I'll be shocked if it's not at least somewhat entertaining.
"Hart of Dixie," Monday, 9 p.m., The CW Finally, a starring role on television for "The O.C.'s" Rachel Bilson! Sadly, it doesn't sound like it's good - it popped up on a lot of "Shows to skip" lists. If the premise of "Sweet Home Alabama" began to wear thin before the movie was over, the odds of it working as a weekly show are low. Give this girl some good material already!
"Suburgatory," Wednesday, 8:30 p.m., ABC This new sitcom stars Jeremy Sisto (who will always be Elton from "Clueless" to me) and Jane Levy, TV's answer to Emma Stone, about a miserable teen moved from Manhattan to a small town by her overprotective father. The cast is getting gold stars, with some very entertaining supporting roles by Cheryl Hines ("Curb Your Enthusiasm"), Ana Gasteyer and more as eccentric neighbors. All reviews describe it as surprisingly witty and enjoyable - and if we get at least one new sitcom that lives up to the former standards of what a sitcom is supposed to be, we'll be lucky.
Here are some of the hot shows coming back for another season and it will be the last for a few:
"The Big Bang Theory," Tonight, 8 p.m., CBS
"Community," Tonight, 8 p.m., CBS
"Parks and Recreation," Tonight, 8:30 p.m., CBS
"Grey's Anatomy," Tonight, 9 p.m., ABC
"The Office," Tonight, 9 p.m., NBC
"Supernatural," Friday, 8 p.m., The CW
"Fringe," Friday, 9 p.m., Fox
"The Amazing Race," Sunday, 8 p.m., CBS
"Boardwalk Empire," Sunday, 9 p.m., HBO
"Desperate Housewives," Sunday, 9 p.m., ABC
"The Good Wife," Sunday, 9 p.m., CBS
"Gossip Girl," Monday, 8 p.m., The CW
"Mike & Molly," Monday, 9:30 p.m., CBS
REEL TALK: 'Drive'
"Drive" is not a movie that everyone will love. It's been nearly 48 hours since I saw it and I still can't decide how I feel about the film. It's an unusual neo-noir thriller with a bit of romance, excitement and an interesting narrative. A stunt actor (Ryan Gosling) - a man of few words whose character remains nameless, which I found to be appropriate - moonlights as a getaway car driver. There are some incredible scenes, the real-life "Grand Theft Auto"-style chase of a gamer's dreams, that really made this movie for me. When he's not driving, Gosling seems to be completely detached, with no real human connections in his life.
He becomes entangled with his neighbor, a sweet, demure young mother, and this is obviously a big mistake from the get-go for several reasons. First, this broad has baggage in spades. Her husband is due to return home in a few short days. Second, she lives just down the hall. Dating your neighbor is always ill-advised - but throw an ex-con husband into the mix, and there's no way it isn't going to end well. Needless to say, things take a turn for the worst, but where "Drive" goes from there is completely unexpected. My issues with this film aside, I am satisfied with where it ends up.
What I really didn't see coming was the extreme, shocking, vomit-inducing, gratuitous violence. The first graphic scene happens suddenly and unexpectedly, and each subsequent kill is just as bad, if not worse, than the first.
There are times when violence can add to a film and times when it can take away from it, and with "Drive," I'm leaning toward the latter. The classics implied instead of showed, and generally, they're better for it. I think "Drive" would have been better off without the gore.
The soundtrack is another polarizing element in this film. It's certainly discordant with what one might expect in a movie about a getaway driver. The soundtrack is heavily influenced by the '80s with synthesizers abound, I felt it helped to emphasize the feeling of detachment and loneliness - the cold, robotic nature of modern life as two people search for some kind of connection. Love it or hate it (I didn't love it), the music certainly gives the film a different vibe.
"Drive" wasn't exactly what I hoped for or anticipated, but it has its merits, all of which would become more apparent upon re-watching. It's different from anything else I've seen lately and for an avid cinephile like myself, that is no small feat. "Drive" is now playing at the Dunkirk Movieplex.
41 West will have live music by Pirate Dreams on Friday from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. and Side Effects on Saturday from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. The bar will also open at 12:30 p.m. on Sundays for football, food and drink specials. Karaoke is Thursdays and trivia is Wednesdays, both at 9 p.m.
Mourn the loss of summer at Cabana Sam's annual boat burning party on Saturday, with drink specials and music.
The Bemus Fall Fest is Friday and Saturday in the village of Bemus Point.
X Factor Update
As I wrote last week, Fredonia native Toni Dolce will be on the highly anticipated new show, "The X Factor," which just premiered Wednesday. My feature on Dolce will now be in Sunday Lifestyles on Oct. 2. To learn more about Dolce in the meantime, visit www.tonidolce.com and, of course, watch for her on "The X Factor."
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