Jacob Zinn :: journalist + photographer

The fall TV season begins

Posted in TV & Film by Jacob Zinn on October 1, 2009

It’s October, and by now, all TV shows have made their season and series debuts. Here’s a quick run-down of what I’m watching.

  • Of FOX’s four shows in the two-hour Animation Domination block, American Dad!‘s fifth season opener was the weakest. Its plot is similar to previous episodes: Steve’s a wimp, so his dad Stan tries to make him man up, this time by putting him through a Vietnam War reenactment on a country club golf course. Steve takes it a little too seriously, and in the end, he’s still the strange kid he was at the start.
  • On Sunday, The Cleveland Show made its premiere. It started like another episode of Family Guy–the animation is clearly the same–but it’s clear the writers are trying to give the show its own style of comedy. It reached enough viewers to start some Twitter chatter, but this was only the pilot episode. Cleveland’s in Virginia now, and hopefully, Seth MacFarlane won’t rely on Cleveland’s former neighbours to get laughs.
  • Courteney Cox doesn’t make me want to relocate to Cougar Town, but her show is developing a following in the 18-36 demographic. The second episode aired Wednesday night, in which Cox’s character tries reliving the hard-partying 20s she never had and regrets it when she wakes up hungover. She’s still not the most convincing cougar, but she’s on the prowl, waiting to sink her claws into young lions.
  • Desperate Housewives is off to a bit of a rocky start–the storylines are going back and forth to things we’ve already seen. Mike and Susan are married, Katherine hates Susan for taking her man, the Scavo’s are expecting twins, Carlos and Gabrielle have to deal with a teenager and Bree is having a “tasteful” affair with Carl. Too many new ideas at once are making the show cluttered–pace yourself, Marc Cherry.
  • Family Guy played it safe and debuted their eighth season with the fifth Brian and Stewie road adventure–“Road to the Multiverse.” They crossed dimensions to parallel universes, including a Robot Chicken universe where Stewie (voiced by Seth MacFarlane) asks Chris (voiced by Robot Chicken creator Seth Green) how it feels to be on a real network. The show was packed with jokes and it seems unlikely that next weeks episode will live up to these new expectations.
  • Now that the pilot episode put everything in context, Modern Family‘s second episode made for some humour for the modern family. The gay couple bring their adopted Vietnamese daughter to preschool, the father of three gets taught a lesson while trying to teach his son a lesson and Ed O’Neill’s a little more caring than he was as Al Bundy. If you haven’t seen it, don’t fall behind and catch the next episode on Wednesday.
  • The Simpsons + Seth Rogen = a great 21st season premiere. Homer adds another profession to his list: actor in superhero film. Every year, critics say Matt Groening is running out of ideas, but he’s still got the opening time slot Sunday nights on FOX. There are so many jokes stuffed into modern episodes that there’s bound to be something to laugh at, as long as they keep it that way the rest of the season.
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