Monday, August 31

The CDP 2009-2010 Fall TV Preview.



Ladies and gentlemen, Nerd Easter is finally here. And unlike the Christian Easter we're all so fond of, my savior (the Almighty Television) actually does resurrect itself annually to save us from the banality, fear and confusion of an unstable and depraved planet. Lift ye hands to the Digital Lord and give thanks, Brothers and Sisters; the massive CDP 2009-2010 Fall TV Preview has finally arrived!

For the astounding fifth year in a row, we're back to share with you the scoop on over 80 new, returning and canceled television shows, spanning well over 75 hours of tube-watching entertainment, complete with over 40 photographs for your eyeballing pleasure. For you, it's a chance to see what I'll be devoting the bulk of my time to, and for me, it's a chance to once again hopelessly indulge in my vices and get just that much dumber-er.

And just for the record, I dig Easter. Cadbury Cream Eggs are proof enough of God. All posted times are for the Central Time Zone; try to keep up.

MONDAY



I Will Be Watching...

7:00-8:00 - House, M.D. (FOX)
7:00-8:00 - Ring Of Honor (HDNET)
7:00-8:00 - Antiques Roadshow (PBS)
7:30-10:30 - Monday Night Football (ESPN)
8:00-10:00 - WWE Monday Night Raw (USA)



And Here's Why...

Monday night at CDP Headquarters is...eclectic to say the least. In addition to watching the premiere sports event of the week (Monday Night Football) and the most popular medical drama on the air (House, M.D.), me and the Missus will take in three hours of Sports Entertainment in the form of WWE Monday Night Raw (the most popular show on cable television) and the up-and-coming talent explosion of Ring Of Honor.

And if all that seems just a little too masculine and white-trashy for you, we toss in the majesty of Antiques Roadshow for a touch of class. In hindsight, this isn't really eclectic at all; they're more or less the most popular shows on television Monday night, and we just happen to watch all of them, demographic information and studied viewing habits be damned.

After removing myself from House, M.D. for a season, I'm coming back to see how things have been, welcome Chase and Cameron back into the fray and remind myself why Hugh Laurie is the best dramatic actor on television. As a 'smart' pro wrestling fan, I was tickled pink when HDNet decided to give the indie promotion Ring Of Honor their own television show. If you're one of these folks that haven't given a crap about pro wrestling since you were a kid or teenager, you'll be absolutely blown away by the talents of some of these young upstarts.

WWE Monday Night Raw, while sorely lacking in star power and anything resembling a decent storyline, is still the flagship show for Vince McMahon's empire, and the live feel within the sold-out arenas is always a fantastic thing to check out. Same goes for Monday Night Football, although I'm probably the only guy in America that's going to miss Tony Kornheiser. Antiques Roadshow never gets old; my reactions to mind-blowingly expensive items are just as animated to the ones that are worth exactly nothing.



And I Might Take A Chance On...

7:00-9:00 - Dancing With The Stars (ABC)

I've never watched a season (or more than a full minute) of Dancing With The Stars, but they might have pulled off the nearly-impossible task of roping me in due to the inclusion of Chuck 'The Iceman' Liddell in this season's celebrity roundup. Liddell, who went on a tear in the UFC the likes of which we've never seen, is privately noted for his dancing abilities, but might also KTFO a judge that says anything negative about his style. Tom Bergeron ahoy!



But I Will Avoid At All Costs...

The Entire CBS Prime Time Block
(CBS)
(How I Met Your Mother, Accidentally On Purpose, Two And A Half Men, The Big Bang Theory and CSI: Miami)

Also known as 'The Block Your Mom Watches,' CBS continues to attempt revival of the dying dinosaur that is the Studio Audience Sitcom. I understand the raunchy, silly popularity of shows like Two And A Half Men and How I Met Your Mother, and I've actually heard positive words about The Big Bang Theory, but it just isn't enough to right a ship that I abandoned years ago. Furthermore, throwing a new Jenna Elfman comedy (Accidentally On Purpose) into the mix is more than enough reason to keep me thoroughly repelled.

TUESDAY



I Will Be Watching...

8:00-9:00 - Dirty Jobs (DISC)
8:00-9:00 - The First 48 (A&E)
9:00-10:00 - ECW (SYFY)



And Here's Why...

Tuesday is a quieter night at Headquarters; normally a chance for me to catch up on my programming, clear out the DVR a bit and maybe watch a movie or two. Of course, when I say 'quieter,' I mean 'only 4-5 hours of new television to take in.'

Dirty Jobs is a Discovery Channel mainstay; host Mike Rowe is the most masculine, charming dude on television, and I'm begging someone to take notice and give this guy his own talk show. The First 48 is, hands down, the best True Crime show on television, and that's saying a lot considering the saturation point of the competition. Word of warning, though; they pretty much give you access to everything and censor almost nothing, so be prepared to have your brain scarred. Rounding out the night is more WWE action on ECW.



And I Might Take A Chance On...

7:00-8:00 - Shark Tank (ABC)

I'm probably going to throw Shark Tank into my weekly rotation, not at all because I enjoy the idea of jackass billionaires waving proverbial carrots in front of the noses of talented inventors and entrepreneurs, but because I like to see new ideas from people that want to change the world.



But I Will Avoid At All Costs...

The Biggest Loser
(NBC)

The idea that morbidly obese people are sitting at home, eating snacks on their couch and rooting for other, even more-morbidly obese people to lose as much weight as possible, to me, would be hilarious if it wasn't so exploitative and disgusting. It makes sense that the only reason NBC would ever put an overweight person on any of their shows would be in this sort of cringe-worthy fashion.

WEDNESDAY



I Will Be Watching...

7:00-8:00 - Time Warp (DISC)
7:30-8:00 - The Middle (ABC)
8:00-8:30 - Modern Family (ABC)
8:00-9:00 - Mythbusters (DISC)
8:00-9:00 - Ghost Hunters (SYFY)
9:00-10:00 - Destination Truth (SYFY)
9:00-10:00 - The Ultimate Fighter (SPIKE)



And Here's Why...

In TV terms, Wednesday is the best night of the week at CDP Headquarters. This is our Family Night. Our TGIF. Our SNICK, if you will. We have the friends over, crack a few beers and pie, and watch a whole buttload of awesome television. We do this mainly because the bulk of our favorite Wednesday shows are on cable, which none of my friends have for some reason. Anytime you happen to be in the Madison area on a Wednesday night, give me a call and you're more than invited. But seriously, bring pie.

My favorite part of Wednesday (when Lost isn't on) is the FIVE FULL HOURS of non-fiction, documentary-esque and quality reality programming we get. On Discovery, we get the one-two punch of Time Warp and Mythbusters, two of the most informative and fun shows anywhere on the dial. Over on SyFy, we get the Skeptic vs. Believer block with Ghost Hunters and Destination Truth.



And seriously folks, anyone that gets any sort of enjoyment out of my page and my voice should check out Josh Gates on Destination Truth. You will not be disappointed. Each week, he hops in a plane and goes searching for mythical creatures, like Nessie and Bigfoot, hitting ridiculous pitfalls along the way (lying natives, faulty equipment, problems of all sorts). The joy doesn't come in what little evidence he manages to scrounge, it's in the hilarious journey.

Over on Spike TV, we get a returning season of The Ultimate Fighter. This show is a must-watch for not only established Mixed-Martial Arts fans, but anyone that's interested in getting their feet wet. In standard Reality Show function, we take 16 wannabe MMA fighters, stick them all in the same house, and watch as they train, develop and pummel the snot out of each other for the hopes of snagging a contract with the UFC.

Last but not least, we get two brand new ABC comedies in the form of Modern Family and The Middle. Every season a show or two like this comes along with high hopes and critical expectations, and here's to their plight. Modern Family looks very similar to the ill-fated (but amazing) Sons & Daughters, and The Middle will have to live up the wacky Gold Standard of Malcolm In The Middle. I have faith; so should you.



And I Might Take A Chance On...

8:00-9:00 - Glee (FOX)

...Although I don't really know why. There's a lot of buzz surrounding this show, and it shouldn't have a problem finding an audience after their wildly-successful post-American Idol debut last season. Whenever the United States is in the crapper the most, entertainment fans are more willing to turn to fantasy and musicals as an escape. This perfectly explains True Blood's inexplicable rise to HBO immortality (mind the pun), and also why Glee seems to be the breakout hit of the season.



But I Will Avoid At All Costs...

Cougar Town
(ABC)

The name alone sounds like a fake title created for a SNL sketch or Tracy Jordan film on 30 Rock (MILF Island?). ABC should know by now that sleaze-light, soap-y shows (even presented in sitcom form) aren't really the things that fans are clamoring the most for (and Desperate Housewives was a fluke). Furthermore, when it comes to sleazy and soap-y, nothing on national television can compete with premium cable and the FX network. Hey, blame the censors, not me.

THURSDAY



I Will Be Watching...

7:00-8:00 - FlashForward (ABC)
7:00-8:00 - WWE Superstars (WGN)
7:00-7:30 - SNL Weekend Update/Community (NBC)
7:30-8:00 - Parks And Recreation (NBC)
8:00-8:30 - The Office (NBC)
8:00-8:30 - Tosh.0 (COM)
8:30-9:00 - Community/30 Rock (NBC)
9:00-9:30 - Rob Dyrdek's Fantasy Factory (MTV)



And Here's Why...

Thursday is another huge TV night at CDP Headquarters, with another five hours of new programming to ingest through our cerebrum. However, unlike the non-fiction interest of Wednesday, Thursday typically brings more 'Ha-Ha!' than 'Hmm-Hmm?' And no, I have absolutely no idea what I just said, either.

The Crown Jewel of Thursday night is the 'Must-See Thursday' on NBC. Returning heavyweights The Office and 30 Rock return to stake their claim as the funniest shows on television, while the shaky Parks & Recreation tries to hit their stride in Season 2. SNL Weekend Update Thursday will pull some slack for the first half of the season (replacing the canceled My Name Is Earl), and the debuting Community will replace the craptacular monstrisity that was the American remake of Kath & Kim. Between you and me, I like Joel McHale, but Community looks...well, how should I put this? Not funny at all. Hey, maybe I'm wrong, though; it's certainly worth a crack.

The third of four WWE programs during the week, Superstars, enters their second season on WGN America. Superstars is very similar to the Saturday morning Superstars you used to watch as a kid, only you no longer recognize anyone and feel very, very old. Hey man, deal with it. Getting back into pro wrestling is a lot like drinking beer; you'll be disgusted the first few times, but soon you'll wonder how you ever lived without it. I'm not kidding.



Another new and promising drama is ABC's FlashForward. Following the Lost-influenced tradition of Invasion, The Nine, Six Degrees and at least a dozen others, FlashForward looks to buck the 'instantly-canceled' trend and bring forth something new and interesting. Time will tell.

Rounding out Thursday night are the two cable comedies Tosh.0 and Rob Dyrdek's Fantasy Factory. Comedian Daniel Tosh runs us through the disturbing, voyeuristic and always entertaining world of Viral Videos with his usually-fantastic wit, and Rob Dyrdek...pretty much does whatever the hell he wants to within the playhouse-esque world of his company warehouse.



And I Might Take A Chance On...

8:00-9:00 - Supernatural (CW)
8:00-9:00 - Fringe (FOX)

I've been on and off with Supernatural for years. It's a good show. It's hip, genuinely suspenseful at times and generally captivating, but tends to get lost in the shuffle of all the other good programs aired on Thursday. Same goes for Fringe, a show that held their own quite well in Season 1, and should take that clout seriously come Sophomore year.



But I Will Avoid At All Costs...

Vampire Diaries
(CW)

Why does this wave of interest in Vampires show up once or twice each decade? Oh wait, I know why (see my above social commentary on True Blood for the answer). Nevertheless, I'm not, nor will I ever be, on board. Vampires aren't real. They don't exist. And why are women so enthused and turned on by the eroticism of Vampires, when females are nothing but brutalized and dominated in the novels, movies and TV shows? I DON'T GET IT; NO STARS. Well, maybe I actually do get it, but to accept the reality that most women enjoy being dominated is a little too much for this pale little boy to wrap his dainty, nonthreatening fingers around.

FRIDAY



I Will Be Watching...

7:00-9:00 - WWE Friday Night Smackdown (MYNET)

And Here's Why...

Friday nights, for me, mean one of two things. One, I'll be drinking outside of the house, or two, I'll be drinking in front of the television. Because of this option, I don't watch a lot of new TV on this night; I either catch up on stuff I've recorded, or I actually partake in mingling with the remainder of the human race. Nobody ever said this life was going to be easy, kid.

If you've been following along from the beginning, you'll see that World Wrestling Entertainment has six hours of original television programming time a week, not counting their monthly Pay-Per-Views that are three hours a pop. Even if you don't think pro wrestling is worth your time, you have to respect the constant work, touring, production and writing that takes place each week in the WWE Universe. For my money, Smackdown is the best of the bunch, retaking their throne after years of Monday Night Raw dominance.

Either that, or just watch nothing. See if I care.



And I Might Take A Chance On...

8:00-9:00 - Dollhouse (FOX)

When it comes to Joss Whedon, you can bank on a few things. Critical darling. Cult Following. Can do absolutely no wrong. Almost instantly canceled (okay, maybe not all the time). Fanboys bitch and quote until the end of time. Hey, speaking of which...do Joss Whedon fans ever think that their excessive worship and constant reverence of the man just might be the same reason why his work doesn't seem to attract a mainstream audience? Just a thought there, kids.



But I Will Avoid At All Costs...

Brothers
(FOX)

Michael Strahan, a professional football player, deserves a television sitcom almost as much as Emeril Lagasse, a professional cook, did (remember that?). However, I've always admired FOX's devotion to taking such wild, stabbing chances at something that's so obviously a steaming, smoking ball of digital shit.

SATURDAY



I Will Be Watching...

7:00-8:00 - Cops (FOX)
7:00-8:00 - Dateline (NBC)
10:30-12:00 - Saturday Night Live (NBC)



And Here's Why...

Saturday, like Friday, should be your night out of the house. Go out to dinner. Hit the movies. Stop off for a drink. Stumble home and maybe, just maybe, indulge in a wee dab of intercourse. If you're me, however, you prefer to order dinner in, dislike movie theaters, own a fully-stocked bar and have been with the same woman for 10 years. For guys like me (and maybe guys/gals like you), there's still plenty of decent television to look forward to.



Cops is my rock. My confidant. Where I go when I'm sad and need an emotional boost. I can't imagine television without it (seriously, it's been on the air since I was 7). Same goes for Dateline, what with their sting operations, true crime stories and pedophile dragnet-arresting ways. Saturday Night Live; same deal. Always there for me. Something to look forward to. It is in these ways that Saturday night television is the macaroni and cheese of entertainment; safe, comforting and always there when you need it.

And hey, if there's still time, you can always sneak in some sex during the nightly news.

And I Might Take A Chance On...

Nothing!


If anything, I'm watching the 60 hours of television I have stocked up on the DVR; usually the stuff that's in what I like to call 'TiVo Limbo,' that gray area where a show is too important to delete without watching, but you couldn't bring yourself to actually sit down and watch it unless your life depended on it.

In fact, allow me to tell you what's currently sitting in my own Personal TiVo Limbo:



Tales From The Crypt - 14 Episodes
Freddy's Nightmares - 7 Episodes
Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist
Freaks
Burn After Reading
Torchwood: Children Of Earth - 5 Episodes

25 hours of stuff I'm almost certainly never watch, but cannot delete. Be honest with me; am I a DVR Hoarder? I'll let you ponder that a second while I move on.



But I Will Avoid At All Costs...

Everything Else!


Seriously, there's nothing on Saturday night but college football and Slap Chop commercials. "You're gonna love my nuts!"

SUNDAY



I Will Be Watching...

6:00-7:00 - America's Funniest Home Videos (ABC)
7:00-7:30 - The Simpsons (FOX)
7:00-11:00 - Sunday Night Football (NBC)



And Here's Why...

Do I even need to explain why I'll be watching AFV and The Simpsons? They're like the Citizen Kane and Plan 9 of television shows; two yin-and-yang works of art that have endured the test of time as classics in their own special way. One, being the smartest, funniest, most brilliant and time-honored work in the history of the medium, and the other a cesspool of vomiting babies and decimated testicles.

Sunday Night Football
cleanses the palate, so to speak, although I don't want to even refer to Chris Collinsworth in the same sentence as the word 'palate.'



And I Might Take A Chance On...

7:00-8:00 - The Amazing Race (CBS)

...But honestly, I probably won't. Is this a show about Aryans?



But I Will Avoid At All Costs...

Anything By Seth MacFarlane
(FOX)
(Family Guy, American Dad, The Cleveland Show)

Well, FOX is sure attempting to get their money's worth out of this guy. Considering all of the cash, cast, crew, writers, producers, sponsors and viewers that solely depend on Mr. MacFarlane's health and well-being, I'd almost, almost, like to see the guy get hit by a bus just to see how FOX would have to scramble.

Almost.

So, there you have it. A week's worth of new and retuning television shows, guaranteed to intrigue, enlighten and tingle the pantaloons. But hey, don't go anywhere, because we're not even close to done here!

TOP 10 NOTABLE MIDSEASON SHOWS



Just because it's not premiering in September doesn't mean it's any less important (well, in some cases it does). Here's a spotlight on 10 new and returning shows that will catch up with us at the very end of 2009, or near the beginning of 2010.

#10 - Scrubs (ABC)
The Rasputin of shitty comedy rises again! Zach Braff is clearly Satan.

#9 - Important Things With Demitri Martin (COM)
This show is hit-and-miss, but any fan of Demitri Martin will enjoy his hipster one-liners and meta sketches.

#8 - American Idol (FOX)
The only thing that will get me to return to this struggling franchise is the departure of Paula Abdul, so I'm keeping Idol on my radar come January.



#7 - Happy Town (ABC)
Trying hard to remind us of Twin Peaks (but actually more reminescent of Picket Fences), Happy Town looks to be an interesting, quirky and mysterious drama that drops sometime later in the year.

#6 - Better Off Ted (ABC)
I've been told that this is a good show by people who's opinions I trust. This is the only information I can relay to you at this time. Please stay tuned, however, for further bulletins should information change.

#5 - V (ABC)
Here is the official synopsis of this sci-fi remake from ABC: "Giant spaceships appear over all major cities of the world, the alien "Visitors" claiming to come in peace. As some humans begin to doubt the sincerity of the Visitors, Homeland Security agent Erica Evans (Lost's Elizabeth Mitchell) discovers that the aliens have spent decades infiltrating our governments and businesses and are now in the final stages of their plan to take over the planet."

Boom! Juliet gets her own show! And it's a remake of an already-awesome show! I'm there!

#4 - Day One (NBC)
In recent years, NBC cannot do post-apocalyptic sci-fi to save their lives (or really anything even remotely resembling the genre), but if they succeed with the 'Last People On Earth' premise of Day One, it could be a fitting, suitable and long-lasting replacement for the constantly-faltering Heroes.



#3 -Metalocalypse (TOON)
Brendon Small is my Joss Whedon. I love everything the guy puts his hands on. After Home Movies alone, he can do absolutely no wrong in my book. The long-awaited third season of Metalocalypse will continue our journeys with Dethklok, the Most Popular Band In The World, and their swath of ineptitude and metal across the planet. Absolutely hilarious; maybe the funniest animated series on TV right now, giving the Cartoon Network's Adult Swim block a much-needed anchor.



#2 - Friday Night Lights (TV101)
Okay, now we're getting serious. Friday Night Lights, a show that almost nobody thought would last more than a single year, is now entering their fourth of at least five guaranteed seasons of astoundingly brilliant and groundbreaking television. This comes at a bit of a cost, however, as new episodes will once again air first on the DirecTV-only 'TV101' Channel, before airing on NBC at a later date. Speaking as a guy that did not have DirecTV during Season 4, waiting for NBC to air your favorite show knowing that it has already aired elsewhere, is torture. Speaking as a guy that now does have DirecTV, I'm piddly-pantsed with anticipation.

#1 - Lost (ABC)
It's come to this. After over 100 hours and six years of what could be the best undefinable-genre show of all-time, we're down to just 18 more episodes to see how many answers can be wrapped and stuffed into such a seemingly small package. Not airing until at least January of 2010, Lost will arrive in a bittersweet fashion, with fans knowing that this will be the last go-round for the series that has captivated and obsessed them since 2004.

TOP 10 NOTABLE CANCELLATIONS



Take off your hat, tip a 40oz. and show some respect for the shows that are no longer with us this year. Some left us too soon, some left us after a long and illustrious tenure, and some had no business being here in the first place.

#10 - Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (FOX)
Apparently, I saw this coming long before anyone at FOX did. That sort of worries me.

#9 - Reaper (CW)
I'm assuming this was a documentary series following Blue Oyster Cult.

#8 - Samantha Who? (ABC)
Exactly.

#7 - Sit Down, Shut Up (FOX)
I had no idea that Mitchell Hurwitz was capable of creating something so crudely unfunny.

#6 - Everybody Hates Chris (CW)
After a good, long CW run, Chris Rock can now go back to being the funniest stand-up comedian on the planet. Come home; we've missed you.

#5 - Prison Break (FOX)
You have to hand it to them, they squeezed a lot of storylines out of such a weak and brief premise.

#4 - Kath And Kim (NBC)
Congratulations, Selma Blair. You are officially the Most Annoying And Unbearable Television Character That I Have Ever Had The Horrid Misfortune Of Viewing For An Entire Inexplicable Season. And yeah, I understand that means you did your job and succeeded as an actress to make this completely irredeemable bitch of a woman come to life before my very eyes, but that doesn't make the pain go away any faster. It hit way too close to home.

#3 - Pushing Daisies (ABC)
Such a shame. It was so funny! So beautiful! So quirky, demented and unique! It's a shame that not enough people understood it and gave it a chance.

Wait; who am I kidding? I didn't watch a single episode of this show, and neither did you.

#2 - My Name Is Earl (NBC)
Jason Lee, a proud Scientologist, serves on the Board of Advisors for the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, an organization founded by the Church of Scientology, 'dedicated to investigating and exposing psychiatric violations of human rights.' Basically, that same anti-psychiatry hogwash that Tom Cruise spouts about mental illness not being a legitimate medical disease, and that the use of any medication is a destructive and unnecessary practice.

In short, Jason Lee is a head-shakingly ignorant and egotistical moron, and I won't miss him one bit. This is the same mindset that tells parents to pray for their sick, diabetic children, instead of taking them to a hospital for an actual solution to their problems. Sorry to editorialize here, but...seriously, screw that guy. If you don't think there's at least one person on this Earth that wouldn't benefit from a therapy session and a bottle of pills, then there's really nothing I can do for you.



#1 - King Of The Hill (FOX)
On September 13, 2009, FOX will air the final two episodes of King Of The Hill, the second-longest running animated series of all-time. A series that managed to out-do even The Simpsons in brilliance from time to time. A Mike Judge symphony of the mundane, understated, subtly satirical and genuinely heartwarming. TV royalty, and one of my favorite shows ever. You will be greatly missed.

TOP 5 NOTABLE WEEKNIGHT SHOWS



When it comes to new, quality programming, it's not all weekly stuff you should be paying attention to. Here's just a handful of daily entertainment that are all well worth a place in your DVR Series Recording schedule.

#5 - The Jay Leno Show (NBC)
As a lifelong late-night talk show fan, I'm interested to see what's planned for Jay's move to the pre-nightly news timeslot. Hell, it might even help out Conan's slumping ratings, too.

#4 - Pardon The Interruption (ESPN)
The best (and only) show on ESPN that you should make a point to watch, PTI combines every aspect of asinine debate, shoddy journalism, Deadspin-esque satire and the idea that maybe- just maybe- hosts Mike Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser couldn't give a shit less about sports. I admire that immensely.

#3 - The Colbert Report (COM)
Look, everyone knows that Colbert's character is genius, but the one thing that sticks in my craw is the way he handles interviews. Going solo, Colbert's blowhard voice makes perfect sense, but it tends to be overbearing and overshadowing to the usually very interesting guests he invites onto the show. This is why I normally only watch the first two acts of The Colbert Report; it just gets too annoying when the very thing he's trying to satirize gets in the way of the actual point.

But yeah, we all know it's a great show. Check it out.

#2 - Attack Of The Show! (G4)
I'm a Tech TV guy. Loved The Screen Savers, loved Call For Help. Loved Leo Laporte, Cat Schwartz and that other fat guy that was always around. So when the computer-savvy, yet user-friendly Tech TV morphed into the Spike TV-esque G4, I essentially turned into a grumpy old man. What was once a place where technology fans new and old could congregate for information, tips and entertainment, had now turned into a haven of inside jokes, misogyny and programs where you make money by not throwing up.

It's still like that, but their flagship program, Attack Of The Show!, is still worthy of your time. Rounding up the best (and worst) of the Internet, gaming and computer news, DVD and movie reviews, gadget releases and retro throwbacks, AOTS! becomes the closest thing to an oasis of sanity than anything else on this smoldering wreckage of a once-respected network. Scathing!



#1 - The Daily Show With Jon Stewart (COM)
I'll be the first to admit; The Daily Show is not for everybody. It certainly has a Liberal, anti-FOX News Conservative slant that attempts to hack through the perceived hypocrisy and lunacy between both sides of the political aisle. It could easily be seen as Left-Wing propaganda, especially if you're completely rat shit insane and not a friend of mine.

For everyone else, this is the best show ever.

I came to the conclusion last week that The Daily Show is potentially the most important show on television right now. Not because of their conservative, Christian and Republican bashing, but even more so for their current criticisms of Barack Obama. Where networks like FOX News and dudes like Limbaugh and Beck shout defamatory buzzwords (Nazi, Socialist, Grandma-Murderer, etc.) with absolutely no fact or journalism to back them up, Stewart and the Daily Show crew call Obama and the Democratic majority to the curb in a direct and tough-love manner, almost as if to say, "Hey, we worked really hard to get you guys into office, can we please try not to mess up our chance, here?" Lots of right-wing pundits are more than critical of the current administration, but The Daily Show- the freaking Daily Show of all places- is the only institution that seems to be doing it with the most logical concern.

TOP 5 NOTABLE LATE NIGHT SHOWS.



Pop some kettle corn, crack open a cold Coors 16-ouncer and take your pants off, because we're staying up late tonight! Here are five of the best Late Night shows on the tube right now. No big surprises here, but still worthy of a mention and a spot on your DVR.

#5 - The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson (CBS)
Since Conan O'Brien took over the Tonight Show, David Letterman and Craig Ferguson have been beating out Conan and Jimmy Fallon in the ratings. Personally, I feel that Craig Ferguson is proof positive that it's almost impossible to get fired from a late-night hosting gig, but he seems far more comfortable in his role than a few years back, and for that, I commend the jittery man.

#4 - Jimmy Kimmel Live (ABC)
For Jimmy, just substitute all the stuff I said about Craig Ferguson, but replace 'jittery' with 'pudgy.' I appreciate that; you just saved me about five minutes of writing and funny, funny jokes.

#3 - Late Night With Jimmy Fallon (NBC)
Going back to his days on SNL, I would have pegged Jimmy Fallon as the absolute last pick to host an interview show, somewhere between Terri Schaivo and Gary Busey. I mean, he talks too fast, laughs at everything, can't carry on anything that isn't an ADD-fueled conversation and more or less acts like he's gacked to the rafters on blow. That being said, he's such a lovable and seemingly-genuine guy that you had to at least give him a chance, and I'll be damned if he hasn't come through in a big way.

I enjoy Fallon's program for a number of reasons, but what I find the most brilliant and adjacent to what his competitors are doing is his embracing of the technological and Social Networking age. He Tweets constantly, keeps in touch with his fans at a feverish pace, posts monologue jokes on Facebook and asks for feedback from the public; that's all pretty cool stuff coming from a late-night host. Can you imagine Letterman, Carson or Leno even considering a thing like that? This has rightfully earned him a dedicated 'cult' following (although I'm hesitant to call it that) and a certain intangible bond with his audience that he seems to fully embrace. It's genius, and it's something that Lorne Michaels must have seen in him many years ago. That new way of thinking alone is worthy of appreciation and viewing.

#2 - The Late Show With David Letterman (CBS)
David Letterman isn't the new 'King of Late Night.' He always has been the King, regardless of whether or not his ratings were usually underneath Leno's. With Leno's departure early in the year, we were left with only one grizzled veteran in the game, and I'll be damned if it isn't all the more enjoyable to watch. Last week, he turned a street hose on a pregnant woman.

#1 - The Tonight Show With Conan O'Brien (NBC)
Conan O'Brien in the ultimate success story. Proof that, if you're funny enough, you can do anything you want to do. From Harvard, to the Lampoon, to SNL, to The Simpsons, to Late Night and now to The Tonight Show, Conan has always been the funniest guy in the room on his amazing upswing into immortality, and nobody can tell me he doesn't deserve it.

THIS CONCLUDES OUR BROADCASTING DAY.



...Aaaaand that's going to do it, kids! This is your 2009-2010 Fall TV Preview; use it wisely and consult it as necessary when the premieres begin to air in the next few weeks. It's been a blast compiling this thing for you; it took me a week and approximately a half-bottle of Jameson, but it feels good to hit the 'Publish' button and walk from the computer to the television, where I shall be until May of next year.

Oh, and on a bit of a personal note, this also happens to be CDP POST #1000, a huge blogging milestone for yours truly that makes me happy and more than a little sick to my stomach.

I want to sincerely thank everyone who has been with me since Post #1 (approximately none of you, I reckon), everyone who buys my books, laughs at my essays and sends me day-making e-mails. When I'm up in my office, wrestling some silly story to the ground at 3 in the morning when I really should be in bed with my wife, you guys are the only thing that keeps me awake sometimes. When it's not fun, you make it fun. And when it is fun, you make it more fun. The writing opportunities and social connections I've made over the last six years are more than I've ever expected, and I have most of you to thank. The check is in the mail.

Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your week. Talk about the upcoming TV season, Post #1000, or anything else that happens to be on your mind. Thanks much.

Comments:
Wow - congrats on the 1000th post, as well as a bomb-ass TV preview. I have heard really great things about "Community", between that and "Flash Forward" that's pretty much all I'm looking forward to as far as new shows go. You should give "Sons of Anarchy" a try, it's about as R-rated as a basic cable show can get. And it has motorcycles.
 
EPHLAND - Thanks so much! Yeah, this year doesn't appear too stellar when it comes to premiering shows, but FlashForward will be on my radar for sure. It looks like a mix between Lost, a (good) M. Night Shyamalan film and Vonnegut's Timequake.

I've kept an eye on Sons of Anarchy; dude that played Hellboy is on that show, right?
 
The Amazing Race joke is my favorite...joke...ever.
 
Congrats on Post# 1000! Now off to my rebuttal: :)

I know that The Big Bang Theory has a lot stacked against it, but it documents a type of nerdiness and geekiness that no other TV show has ever done before. Example: in the opening scene of one episodes, the geeks are playing Klingon Boggle. In another, one declares a Skynet Emergency and the other one points out the no AI has become sentient and taken over the world. Oh, and let's not forget Kaley Cuoco.

The Amazing Race is probably the best reality show ever made. Seriously. Instead of documenting how bad human nature is (a la Survivor) it takes people who thinks they are friends, family, lovers, etc. and makes them work together in foreign environments and, heck, we can learn more about the world ever episode. Me and Mrs Haas never miss it.

"Conan O'Brien in the ultimate success story." -- Except that Dave's reruns beats Conan's new episodes in the ratings. I'm sorry -- not just beats, but destroys them.

And no 24 , aka "The Jack Bauer Power Hour"? What's up with that? The only other show we won't miss.
 
I may be the only hipster doofus to have never watched "Lost" or "24". Now get off my lawn.
 
Congrats on #1,000! Do you get a ribbon or medal? A trophy perhaps?

I jumped on the Sons of Anarchy bandwagon a couple of weeks ago; not sorry I did. Though Ron Perlman bugs the crap outta me.
 
HATHERY - I heard you LOLZ0RZ at that joke when you were reading it.

SMED - No Lost? And you're still a CDP fan? How do you manage to wade through all the Lost fanboyism without wanting to strangle me?

HOSS - Thanks, man! I don't watch 24 mainly because the Missus can't stand Keifer Sutherland and it doesn't work into our schedule. Furthermore, I think it would be too late to hop on board now. I watched Season 1, though, and I really enjoyed it.

Conan is still a success story, even if Dave beats him in the ratings (which I showed concern towards in the Preview). I was talking more about his rise to glory, not so much his current battles (his Inside The Actor's Studio was amazing). Point taken though, he has to get his numbers up big time.

I've been meaning to watch The Amazing Race for years now (it's always on my 'Give It A Chance' list), but something always comes up and knocks me off course. I'm sure it's awesome; I think it wins the Emmy for best Reality Programming every year.

You know what I think the issue is? I don't like CBS. In the last several years, the only CBS show I ever watched for a full season was Kid Nation, and I'm almost certain I was the only man in America doing so. And laugh tracks...man, can't we all agree that they need to disappear?

On your word, however, I'll give The Big Bang theory a crack. Only because I respect your opinion.

REESE - Thanks, hun! I missed you! No trophy or medal, but I do get the satisfaction of knowing that I've penned thousands of pages of material I was paid little to no money for. Heeeeyy...waaait a minute....
 
Did you feel a little bit dirty typing "SyFy"? I did.

I completely agree about Colbert. His interviewing style really gets to me sometimes. And I completely agree about Jon Stewart. The weeks when they are on vacation are so lonely in our house. I have no idea what to do with my time before bed.

Regarding laugh tracks, Harlan Ellison has this great little short story about a dead woman who is really pissed off that her very distinctive laugh is being used on laugh tracks to laugh at really bad jokes because she went to a GOOD show when she was alive. I don't remember the details or the title, but I'll try to find the title for you. You should check it out.
 
Berry-- That is hilarious, because I SWEAR I hear the same person laughing in lots of laugh tracks. :)
 
Many congratulations on post #1000! That's pretty epic. I'm only on #589, so I've a long way to go to catch up with your awesomeness/patheticness. ;)

Your TV preview has thoroughly overwhelmed me. Also, I have no idea how you watch this much stuff. I would go insaaaane if I spent that much time in front of the tube, but then I am kind of an over-active aberration of a human being. I pretty much just stick to The Daily Show, True Blood (my guilty pleasure), and Weeds. That's all I need. And this lamp!

Your dedication to the televised arts is notable, however, and I applaud you good sir on this seriously comprehensive post. Even if it does kind of make you a gigantic shut-in.
 
BERRY BEAR - 'SyFy' is embarrassing on all levels. I think this is karmic retribution for them cancelling MST3K a decade ago.

Good to see that I'm not the only one who wishes Colbert would 'break kayfabe' a little bit during his interviews. If you remember the name of that short story, you know where to find me.

EMILY - ...And this paddle ball.

Thank you! I sort of like the idea that the Madison cultural elite only sees me outside of the house 3, maybe 4 days out of the year. Trust me, this way is easier on us all.

For as much TV as I watch, I'm surprisingly not in front of the TV as much as you'd think. I mean, I still have to write and take the trash out and eat cereal and whatnot. On a supremely lazy week, I'll spend 20-25 hours in front of the TV, taking in about 60 hours worth of television thanks to DVR. The rest of the time I spend on meticulously balancing my checkbook and laying out my clothes for work the next day.
 
Excellent preview, as always. I'll toss in my recommendation of Better Off Ted, despite the name. It's kind of a hybrid of 30 Rock and the Office. Chuck is another show I'm happy to see back again. Also, Dollhouse has fulfilled my Whedonite needs very well, and I'm looking forward to the new season with great anticipation. And it's all the better that I can watch it on Hulu, because I'm almost never home on Fridays. In fact, most of the shows that I watch regularly are on Hulu, since I don't have one of those fancy DVRs or indoor plumbing.

I really have great memories of Conan throughout the years, but I'll always tune into Letterman. It's just a force of habit.

I did in fact watch Pushing Daisies, and I'm one of those insufferable bastards that says "So quirky, demented and unique! It's a shame that not enough people understood it and gave it a chance." But I'll admit that I hardly ever watched it on Wednesday night, since I usually had something else going on, so it's cancellation is totally on me as well.
 
WALLROCK - Thanks, man. I've heard good things about Better Off Ted, too; it kind of (kind of) reminded me of that short-lived Fred Savage show, Working. That show was fantastic; super ahead of its time. Perhaps I'll give it a look-see.

If I wasn't taking in 7 hours of pro wrestling a week, I'd probably have time to watch some new, acclaimed stuff, 'eh? Just a thought I may have heard radiating from everyone here.

I like Letterman, I really do. There would be no Conan without Letterman, which is truly ironic now that they're opponents.

We're all somewhat to blame for the cancelling of Pushing Daisies.
 
Hey, as TWOP proved to me, you can have fun with recaps even if you don't watch the show!
 
There's so much to this post, I don't even know where to start!! TV OVERLOAD OMG!

It seems like every show I like gets cancelled, so I'm not even going to hint that I like anything coming up in the fall. My DVR will be kinda busy. An awful lot of it looks like crap, though. This goes double for anything that has the words "reality" or "dancing" or "idol" in the title/tagline. I'm serious about that.

There are so many people I talk to who somehow have no idea that The Daily Show writers are at times just as critical of the current administration as they were of the previous one. All they see is Jon Stewart poking holes in the right-wing hate machine, and assume that the ridicule pendulum doesn't swing back the other way. I hate having to explain satirical political comedy to adults.
 
Not gonna lie, I'm a bit disappointed with some of your picks. Most importantly, Craig Ferguson is without a doubt much funnier than Jimmy Fallon. I don't even know what to say to your ranking of Jimmy Fallon not just above Craig, but two spots higher. To each his/her own, I guess.
 
MAUSLETTE - No doubt. For as much as I tune into The Daily Show to hear about all the things that the Right is doing wrong, I also tune in to make sure that we (meaning myself and the Left) are seeing to it that the promises are being kept.

CARGIRL - Please, let's just go one night without fighting. I'm still cleaning the spaghetti off of the wall from last night.

My choosing of Fallon over Ferguson is as simple as this. For as much as Jimmy acts like he's coked up, he's not. Craig, on the other hand, probably is.
 
We DVR'ed the rerun of The Big Bang Theory last night and I was laughing so hard I was in tears. Just sayin'.

In the sad news of the day, Spiderman will soon be fighting along side Mickey Mouse. What is the world coming to?
 
Wait...what does this mean for my favorite rides at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure?
 
Cargirl--since when do you think anyone is better than Jimmy Fallon? :)
 
here is very good reviews about these all tvshows. These all tv shows are my favorite. I watch these all shows. But Dancing With The Stars is my most favorite. I watch Dancing With The Stars episodes online. And I can not miss its any episode.....
 
I love to Watch TV Shows Online. Thanks for this wonderful post. I am a huge fan of tv shows and do not miss any series.
 
There is so much craze can be seen among peoples about tv shows. I am also crazy about tv shows and I Watch TV Shows Online.
 

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