The Week In TV: Premieres A Plenty!

Last week, most of the new shows of the season rolled out, and I think we all have our new fave: Cougar Town! It's got laughs and love!

Hang on while I go drink some bleach real quick.

Okay. Anyway, if you thought all I did last week was watch Dazzle Me Dreamy hump air, sister, you are mistaken. I watched me some TV, and here are some things I saw:

  • FlashForward (apparently it's one word) was a pretty good pilot. Not Lost good, but still pretty entertaining. Plus it drew more than 12 million viewers, so good for ABC. It raised some rote but interesting questions about the nature of time and fate, and it had some good action and fun story mixed in with some really cornball moments (running in slow-mo, anyone?). Ah well, at least Joseph Fiennes has a job.
  • The premiere of Modern Family was entertaining, as well. It's a single-camera show that actually wants to gets laughs from its script, not just coast on the aesthetic, and there were some genuinely funny moments throughout. (Ty Burrell's painfully out-of-touch dad is flawless.) It was, with Cougar Town, the highest-rated half-hour comedy debut in two years, so it should be around for a few episodes.
  • The CW canceled The Beautiful Life, which I think was about Mischa Barton trying and failing to convince people she's not a horrible actress. Two and out! Also, A&E has canceled The Cleaner, probably because it was bad and nobody watched it.
  • It was also a good week for old people: NCIS kicked off its seventh season with its highest ratings ever -- a brain-hurting 20.6 million viewers and a 4.8 rating -- and spinoff NCIS: Los Angeles did almost as well. It's official: Aging boomers love them some bland procedurals from Donald Bellisario. "NCIS: For everybody who still misses JAG."
  • After ignoring it last year, I'm giving Fringe another try. It's like The X-Files Lite, but it can be fun and creepy and a good way to spend an hour, as evidenced by the season's second episode last Thursday which featured a mutant baby that burrowed out of its own grave to kill townsfolk. I know! So, I'm in.
  • I also ignored Dollhouse last year, but that's because Eliza Dushku is a singularly untalented performer and the first few episodes were so bad I didn't have the stamina. Then I remembered that, nostalgia aside, Buffy the Vampire Slayer took a whole year to figure out how to be good, so maybe this Joss Whedon show has the same problem. So I'm getting back into it -- though its low ratings make its survival pretty iffy -- and I'm curious to hear your thoughts.
  • Mad Men made its second (and more) explicit references to Vietnam! Plus Don's contract set the episode in July of 1963, a peaceful and reflective era for the nation. It was a good episode overall, chock full of plot twists and typically heavy symbolism (e.g., the difficulty of seeing something when you're staring right at it, from an eclipse to a job to a whole new life). But Don, sadly, didn't follow Jack Donaghy's rule: Never go with a hippie to a second location. Better luck next time, Don.
  • Are you watching Community? No? You fail. Joel McHale is killing, and it's the best thing Chevy Chase has done in 20 years.

Looking ahead to the rest of this week, we'll see if the premieres can hold onto their numbers and live up to their expectations, whether Dazzle keeps on humping, and if Joseph Fiennes ever slips up doing an American accent. And, of course, if Courtney Cox will sleep with the pool boy or if wacky hijinks ensue! Or both! I CANNOT WAIT.

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