Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Watched TV Lately?

by Maggie Sefton

Okay. . .better late than never, right? I started watching some of the new television series programs last Fall but never got around to posting on the CC blog. I did not check them all out, but I did check out a few. And---the last few weeks of the season, I checked into some others. I'd be interested if any of you have seen the programs and what your comments are.

FRINGE, on Fox: Perhaps I mentioned this before, but it's worth mentioning again. FRINGE has built a following of viewers who like the sci-fi/fantasy mixture of alternate universes and parallel lives and travel between them. Again. . .characterization is always key in building a series, and the main players are well-developed with fascinating personalities. Plus, the special effects scenes are cool.

THE EVENT, on NBC: So far, so good. The writers have gotten me interested with excellent characters and non-stop action with the "good guys/gals" trying to keep from being caught & killed by the "other guys." Again---the sc fi/fantasy element is invoked as we learn that Earth has scores of aliens who look just like us and have infiltrated everywhere. Even the FBI. :)

DETROIT 1-8-7, on ABC: This is one of the best police action dramas I've seen in years, and I remember the days of Hill Street Blues. Again. . .it all comes down to good characters, and this series has some of the best new characters to prowl the small screen. And their back stories are hinted at in the episodes. My favorite is the fascinating Detective Fitch. What a great face, and that stare of his is guaranteed to make suspects confess in the interrogation room without Fitch saying a word. He just stares at them. Hilarious. They start to lose it, then spill everything they know. Actually, this is an Ensemble production with no one character being the main lead. Everyone gets to be on center stage for a few moments, enough to tease you into wanting to know more about their pasts. Especially the intriguing African-American female lieutenant and head of that group of Detroit detectives.

NIKITA, on CW: Maggie Q makes a great kick-ass "special agent" for an off-the-books CIA operation gone rogue. Nikita has gone off the reservation to combat the "evil" that this secret rogue operation has set in motion. Great action scenes, too.

V, on ABC: I didn't see this last Fall because of schedule conflicts, but I'm recording it now that it's re-started. There were some "catch-up" episodes designed to attract some of us who wanted to give it a try. More sci fi center stage in this one, what with spaceships hovering in the skies above major Earth cities. But, again, it's the characters and their stories that carry it. I've bought in so far. Let's see how it goes. Again, aliens who wear layers of human skin to appear "just like us." Wow, everyone in the Universe must want to look like us. :) How self-absorbed is that?

BLUE BLOODS, on CBS: With Tom Selleck as the father figure in a big Irish-American family of cops and/or prosecuting attorneys. The good characterization and story lines have kept me so far, plus there's an intriguing sub-plot developing about a past betrayal that caused the death of Father Figure Selleck's son.

DOWNTON ABBEY, on PBS: I just started watching Sunday night before last, and I'm hooked. Great characters and lots of sub-plots going on, set in early 1900's England. Kind of a later Upstairs/Downstairs plotline showing the staffs trials/tribulations as well as the gentility's problems. Love those PBS historical series.

Have you checked out some of these shows? What do you think?


Sherry Lewis said...

I've never watched Fringe, Nikita or Downton Abbey and may try them one of these days.

Have no interest in V so probably won't try that one.

On the fence about The Event. I think it's trying too hard to be a mix of 24 and Lost, and it's not really succeeding. The inconsistencies are annoying.

Love Detroit 1-8-7. It's one of my new favorites. Fitch is a great character.

Blue Bloods has potential but tends to be preachy which keeps me from being really enthusiastic about it.

Another favorite of mine is The Good Guys with Bradley Whitford (hilarious!) and Colin Hanks. More humor than drama usually but crazy funny.

Booklady said...

The only one I've seen is Blue Bloods. I like it, but Friday night's is not a good TV night for us and I know I've set it up to DVR, but it seems to always get bumped or disappear. Must have a non Tom Selleck fan gremlin in the house.

Anonymous said...

I am DVR'ing Downton Abbey and from the snippits I've seen, it looks good. I also watch V because I remember seeing the original back in the 80's.

Jen from MN

mechelle said...

SUPERNATURAL....on CW Friday nights at 9pm. One of my favorite shows ever!

Anonymous said...

We watch Blue Bloods. I would probably watch Tom Selleck read his grocery list, but....that's another story. :-)

We have seen the last 2 seasons of Fringe and will watch this one after it comes out on DVD. Seems to work better for us that way.

I have recorded the two episodes of Downton Abbey that have aired so far. I may wait until the whole show has aired or I may start watching soon. I loved the movie Gosford Park and I suspect I will enjoy this a lot.

Suzanne said...

I watched some of Fringe when it first came on but then forgot about it.

I wanted to like V but the old V was one of my favorite shows and I just didn't like the new characters and haven't watched any more of it.

I am going to look for Downtown Alley as that looks interesting.

I just found Criminal Minds over the summer/early fall and am now hooked on that, repeats and new shows.

Also Leverage when I can remember when it is on.

CindyD said...

We didn't get hooked on any new shows last fall. We watched the first episode of The Event and decided it wasn't for us.
But we watched Harry's Law last night and really, really enjoyed it! Can see lots of Boston Legal in it (which we loved) but good in its own right, too. Especially since there were no four letter words or gratuitous violence.

Sarah said...

Downton Abbey is absolutely superb- have seen all the episodes up until the first series' denoument as WWI is declared in 1914. We had 8 episodes of it but I believe it has been pared down for US viewers. It is rather silly at times but very entertaining, I hope you all enjoy it over there and am looking forward to the second series.

Maggie Sefton said...

Sherry---You know, I noticed the same thing about The Event & Blue Bloods. So far, I'm watching, but if they bore me--I'm gone.

Booklady---Check those DVR instructions again. It's easy to accidentally input wrong instructions.

Maggie Sefton said...

Anonymous---Wow, I didn't remember their was an original version. I'll be the special effects are waaay better. :)

Also---did you glimpse the previews at the end of the credits for Downton Abbey? That fabulous Maggie Smith character has received a letter from a "friend" informing her of the gossip she heard in London about her granddaughter. Ooooooops. Looks like the "incident" is about to become public. I think Thomas is behind that leak. What do you think?

Maggie Sefton said...

mechelle---Hmmmmm, I haven't discovered that. I'll have to record it.

Kay---If you liked Gosford Park, I bet you'll love Downton Abbey.

Maggie Sefton said...

Suzanne---I overlooked Criminal Minds, I'll check it out. If it doesn't grab me in the episode I watch, I'm afraid I don't return. Brutal, I know.

And I've not heard of Leverage. When is it on and what's it about?

Maggie Sefton said...

Cindy D----I haven't seen it, but I'll give it a try.

Maggie Sefton said...

Sarah---Ohhhh, I sincerely hope PBS doesn't cut the US version short!! You'll have to keep track for us and let us know what subplots they left out. :) Cheeky of me to ask that, but when you're entranced by a series, these things matter---especially with novelists who live with subplots all the time. Thank you, Sarah.

Jody Crocker said...

Love Fringe!
I'm enjoying Downton Abbey. I've heard that we are frequently shortchanged on PBS with the British shows. I still enjoy watching them.
Watched a few episodes of V, just didn't grab me.
Going to really miss The Closer after it finishes up next season.
My husband & I both love The Good Guys.

Aurian said...

Aren't V and Nikita (La Femma Nikita) very old tv-series?

RosieJo said...

I LIKE Blue Bloods. Originally tuned in because of Tom Selleck but watch it now for Mark Walburg. I still have my Tom Selleck volley ball poster in the laundry room. Now, he looks like the poster's grandfather!

Linda McDonald said...

I have not seen any of these shows. I guess it is because when I'm home at night after getting home from work, cooking/eating dinner, walking the dog, sharing news of the day with my hubby, I start my relaxing time with a book. Often times, in the bathtub with a book. When that's done I'm usually so into whatever book I'm reading, I end up continuing to read and the tv never comes on. Some of these shows sound really interesting though.

signlady217 said...

I started watching Blue Bloods when it first aired because I just adore Tom Selleck! :) And I will continue watching that one. (On a side note, they are doing a third ""Three Men" movie with him, Ted Danson and Steve Guttenberg: "Three Men and a Bride" is set to be released sometime in 2012; I loved the first two so I'm excited about that. Don't know if Nancy Travis will be appearing again as Mary's mom, or who will be playing the grown-up Mary.)

Most of the other shows mentioned here I don't watch either because they conflict with something else I'm already hooked on, or they are on a cable channel that we don't get. And I'm running out of time to watch anything else online! :)

And remember, you can watch many of these online, too, if you missed them. Somebody mentioned Criminal Minds (which I love, but it can be pretty intense); for some reason CBS doesn't air full episodes of that one online like the rest of their shows, and I haven't found them anywhere else, either. Bummer!

And yes, V and Nikita are remakes of older shows.

Barbara said...

My husband turns on the TV the minute he comes in the door so we know a lot of shows, and this year we have more that we like than any year I can remember: Blue Bloods, Leverage, The Closer, the CSIs (which are becoming funny, esp. Miami), NCIS, NCIS-LA, The Defenders, Bones, Detroit 1-8-7 (definitely a winner), The Good Wife (bad for my blood pressure), The Mentalist, Hawaii 5-0, plus all the sports we love. If he's going to turn it on, I might as well find shows I love. He doesn't hear well, even with hearing aids, so it's too loud to do anything else - like read for instance.

Debra said...

I like Blue Bloods but only watch it because it's one of the few shows hubby watches every week. My Dad was a police officer in Philly and I was an ADA so that keeps me watching it too.
Love Downton Abbey and anything Masterpiece except for the Jane Austen stuff.
Have you seen Murdoch Mysteries? It's set in Toronto in the 19th century. The detective has "new" ideas, like using shoe impressions as evidence, rides a bike and the ME is a woman,one of very few docs then much less ME. Husband has family in Toronto as do many folks who are from the West Indies and that has factored in some stories. It is clever.
I also watch Castle, a mystery writer who has a thing for a detective.

Min said...

I started watching The Event because I love Jason Ritter, Laura Innes, and Blair Underwood, but it reminds me WAY too much of "FlashForward." After ABC pulled the plug on "FlashForward" with no warning and rewrote the last 15 minutes of the last episode in hopes of giving viewers closure (but only making the episode more muddled) - and this after giving the show a three-month winter hiatus in hopes of IMPROVING viewership...? And now that NBC is doing the same with "The Event,"...? Yeah, I threw in the towel.

I really like "Blue Bloods," but I grew up watching "Magnum, P.I.," so my mom raised me to be a Tom Selleck fan, whether I wanted to be or not. :) As a law school drop-out, some of the cases legal shenanigans make me roll my eyes, but since it's not done by people with legal expertise (calling David E. Kelley!), I didn't have high hopes for that, anyway.

I really love Nikita and originally tuned in because I adore Shane West, but now I adore Maggie Q, too. What a great example of a strong, Asian female role model! My sister can't stand it, but she was a huge devotee of the Le Femme Nikita, whereas I have literally never seen that. Plus, it's a kick to see Lyndsy Fonseca (the daughter from "How I Met Your Mother") all grown up and kicking a little ass.

Suzanne said...

Leverage stars Timothy Hutton and 4 others. They are all some type of crook and work together to outsmart other crooks. They usually are helping someone and end up getting back money etc that was stolen. I started watching it when I noticed Christian Kane was in it and still watch it. It's on Sunday nights on TNT and is one of those shows that has a weird TV Schedule, it's split up into two (I think) sections a year. It finished up before XMas. It's not due back till summer. I missed a few of them this season as I forgot on Sunday nights so I am hoping repeats start soon.

ev said...

Fringe and Blue Bloods are switching days so check your listings.

Just watched the new epi of Downton Abbey. I'm buying this one for my collection. Masterpiece does such a wonderful job of these.

Dru said...

I watched Fringe the first year and I think put it on a different day and lost track.

The others haven't seen. Most of my favorite shows are on cable, like Leverage, Burn Notice, The Closer, In Plain Sight, Rizzoli & Isles and White Collar.

Nanc said...

So good to see you mention Detroit 187!!! Being a Michigander it is a terrific shot in the arm for our area...it is filmed in downtown Detroit and suburbs and the majority of the actors have actually moved here. It is a great show!
I'm a fan of BBC America...Dr. Who, Being Human and others. Tremendous T.V.! I also love Castle...very sharp writing and character development...
This is a fun topic...thanks!

Maggie Sefton said...

Jody---I know what you mean about V. It didn't grab me last fall. Maybe I just miss LOST, so I'm checking out all sci fi/fantasy shows.

Aurian---Someone earlier mentioned that V is a re-make, but I didn't know about Nikita. Wait a minute. ..somthings's coming out of deep memory. :)

Maggie Sefton said...

RosieJo---Yes, the Mark Wallburg character is excellent. Laughing at the Selleck "grandfather" image.

Linda McD---I totally understand. Believe me, my TV watching time is limited, so that's why I record stuff that I can watch later. I don't watch other shows, unless I'm interested in them.

Maggie Sefton said...

signlady---I was just glad that Selleck found a tv project that lets him work in an ensemble again.

Rural View---You certainly have a full schedule. Wow.

Maggie Sefton said...

Debra---Murdock Mysteries sounds very interesting. What channel? And what day does it appear?

Min---You make a good point. I recognized that plot device from FlashForward, a brief series attempt that had possibilities until the network or writers/director frittered them away as you described.

LOL on your comments about Selleck & Blue Bloods.
Re: Nikita---I agree totally. I love Maggie Q in that role. She's great. And the plotline & supporting cast are excellent. Lots of subplots weaving together & great action scenes.

Maggie Sefton said...

Suzanne---Okay, I hope I will remember about the series next summer, but unless there's a reminder, I don't hold out much help.

ev----I noticed that Fringe & Blue Bloods are switching times. I hope this helps both with ratings.

Maggie Sefton said...

Dru---Maybe you can do a search on your cabe tv remote. Good Luck.

Nanc---I was also glad to see Detroit get some good promotion. And I'm overwhelmed on the many comments on this subject.

I definitely think we should follow up on this subject of favorite TV shows. Everyone has shown such interest. Thank you, folks.

Kaye said...

No interest here in anything sci-fi but Downton Abbey is fantastic!
We always watch Leverage, White Collar, Burn Notice, and one or two others. Reading takes precedence in our house.

Maggie Sefton said...

Kaye---I know what you mean. I have limited time for tv watching bec there's reading and other act ivities. That's why I'm so brutal in turning off a program if it doesn't grab me in the first episode. Sometimes I don't even wait till the episode is over. If the plotline is obvious (particularly in a romantic comedy/quasi action series) or the writers resort to tired old situations or I can finish the dialogue before the character---then I'm gone. And I don't come back. :)

Debra said...

Murdoch Mysteries is on PBS. In NY it airs on Tuesdays on Ch 21. It starts and ends at odd times 8:50 to 9:40 pm.
Here is an Amazon link describing the shows.

Donna Harris said...

I love FRINGE, V and The Good Guys... and Memphis Beat and Justified... I find I don't watch very many series on ABC, NBC, or CBS anymore... except Gray's Anatomy and Desperate Housewives. When they have a good series like Pushing Daisies, they kill it.