So, as promised, here's a rundown of what I'm watching/have watched on TV this season and what I think about it. I'll try to keep things pretty vague to avoid serious plot-point spoilers (for those in foreign markets) and will not include any spoilers for future episodes.
Chuck -- this has been the surprise of the season for me. I watched mostly out of Adam Baldwin loyalty (since he's one of two actors I've had any kind of direct, albeit electronic, communication with where he actually used my name), but it strikes just the right note for me, with the combination of action and humor. Adam Baldwin is in serious danger of running away with the show. His character is like what would happen if Jayne got some education and training, was given a badge and forced to live in civilization. The sight of him in the "Buy More" uniform still cracks me up. It makes me want to go to Best Buy.
Heroes -- I keep feeling like I should love it more than I do. The cast is so big and so spread out, with each person having his/her own, separate story, that not much seems to actually happen in each episode. My problem is that I only care about a few of the characters, so I spend a lot of the episode not paying much attention. But then you really have to pay attention to pick up on all the plot points so I miss a lot. I'd totally watch The Hiro Show, and I might even watch Matt Parkman: Psychic Cop (though I thought his story was more interesting last season). I'm on the verge of giving up due to not caring very much, and I suspect that will give me a great sense of relief.
Journeyman -- I like the patterns that emerge in the lives of the people he's helping (though why does he have to stalk them through their lives before intervening at the crucial point? It seems very inefficient), but again, to paraphrase Spike, I'm paralyzed by not caring very much. It would help if I could feel some connection to the main character or feel like something was at stake. Or maybe even that he deeply cares about what's going on. I suspect that for my patterns and consequences fun, I'll stick with My Name is Earl. This week, I found myself flipping over to Monday Night Football and the channels with early newscasts midway through the episode, so I have a feeling this will be it for me. I can use that slot for watching the latest Torchwood episode to go up on OnDemand (they put Saturday's episode up on Monday).
Bones -- I hadn't watched this before due to scheduling issues, but it's convenient in this slot, and I'm enjoying it. I like the witty banter, and I knew when I saw an earlier episode in reruns that I had to like the main character's partner when he'd actually read his partner's latest book and could discuss it. That's the way to a girl's heart!
House -- I'm a little surprised at how much they shook things up, given that they were at the top of the ratings. Usually, shows resort to this kind of shake-up when they're struggling. I guess I'll wait to see how things work out before I decide whether or not this works for me. I liked the interplay between the old fellows and House, but I'm terribly fickle, so who knows, I may decide I like the new set-up better.
Pushing Daisies -- LOVE!!! I didn't know what to expect, but I loved the pilot. It's so quirky and charming, and the storybook feel is enhanced by the narrator (I don't really like audio books, but now I want to see if my library has any of the Harry Potter audiobooks because I like his narration). You know that bit near the end of How the Grinch Stole Christmas where the Grinch's heart grew several sizes? I swear, that's how I felt during a couple of the moments in this show. I'm curious to see how well it develops as a series. I also love Anna Friel (our designated British actor playing American) and was even inspired to buy Our Mutual Friend on DVD after seeing this episode (she was in that, and that's one of my favorite miniseries ever).
Bionic Woman -- I'm very close to giving up on it. It gets maybe one more episode before I yawn. She's a bit too whiny for my taste, and the domestic subplots drag it down. Must we throw in the bratty kid sister? This was a show I wanted to like, and I just don't care much for it. They're starting up new Mythbusters episodes in that time slot, and that's sounding a lot more fun to me right now.
Life -- I still say it's House as a cop, but I like House, so that works for me. I suspect there is some Damian Lewis halo effect going on -- ever since his iconic portrayal of Dick Winters in Band of Brothers I can't help but like him. I even found myself sympathizing with Soames Forsyte (who was terribly misunderstood -- and I never rationalize on behalf of villains). I like characters who think in unusual ways, so I'm finding this kind of interesting.
(As an aside -- if they need adult actors for the end of the last Harry Potter movie, my vote is for Damian Lewis to be adult Ron. I've seen a picture of him in his late teens/early 20s, and I swear, he looks like he could be Rupert Grint's brother, so it stands to reason that you could imagine Rupert Grint growing up to look something like Damian Lewis does now.)
My Name is Earl -- I love the twists they've thrown in this season, and this continues to be the silliest, yet most profound, thing on TV.
The Office -- I was worried about what would happen with the loss of the will they/won't they angle, but now that I think about it, it doesn't change much of anything because Jim and Pam were always that way at work, and 98 percent of the show takes place at work. It also helps that the model for the show is the "center and eccentrics" or else, as I like to call it, "the only two sane people in a crazy world," so there's still room for lots of conflict between them and all the lunatics around them. Just so long as they don't go for the break up/get back together/we were on a break routine. I'm also worried that Michael is going beyond "how does anyone keep this guy on staff?" territory to "how is he not too stupid to live?" But it's still entertaining.
Supernatural -- It's back! Not much more to say there. We've got the car and the guys, so I'm happy.
Friday Night Lights -- I'm worried here. Last season was this perfect gem of a series, and I'm not sure they can sustain it. It also seems to be heading dangerously close to soap opera territory when before it had been more of a slice-of-life thing -- almost everything that happened was something you believed could, would, and did happen somewhere. Now, not so much. But it still has lovely moments, so I will withhold judgment until I see how it goes.
Moonlight -- I missed the pilot and watched the second episode. It's okay. I don't have a strong feeling for the main character, but I've liked Sophia Myles in the two things I've seen her in (an episode in the first series of Foyle's War -- that, incidentally, David Tennant was also in -- and an episode of Doctor Who). She's quite pretty, but still comes across as very real, and she also manages a mix of warmth and steeliness that works well in this role. I liked in the second episode that her character wasn't too stupid to live and didn't cling stubbornly to the wrong conclusion for too long. The normal chick in a vampire show seldom gets to be smart and capable, so I'm intrigued by the fact that this one is smart and has already saved the hero at least once.
Stargate Atlantis -- I wish they'd saved the other one and canned this one, but it's there, and I'll be watching, I guess. I'm curious to see how it works after the latest shake-ups. This is probably the least I've watched on Sci Fi Friday in ages, but with Doctor Who over for a while there's nothing much in that slot (I may use that slot for Doctor Who DVDs) and Flash Gordon was too boring to believe.
I'm not really watching anything on Saturdays. Sundays I catch The Simpsons, and I guess I'll be watching the occasional Mystery or Masterpiece Theater thing on PBS, or maybe a History Channel documentary if there's one I find interesting.
On BBCAmerica OnDemand, I'm catching up with Coupling. They're torturing me by only putting up a new episode every other week. It took me a while to warm up to this show, but by mid series 2 I was laughing myself silly. I hope they start over from the beginning to see if I find the earlier episodes funnier now that I'm into it more. And then there's Torchwood, which has been really hit-and-miss so far. When it's good, it's very good. When it's bad, it's dreadful. I think it would almost help if it wasn't a "post-watershed" show, because most of the dreadful stuff has pretty much screamed "We have no content restrictions!!! Wheeeee!" so that racy things are just thrown in for no apparent reason. Plus, I'm really hoping this isn't supposed to be some elite squad because they're frequently too stupid to live. I hope they wise up a little bit, otherwise I'd really have to wonder about Jack choosing to go back to that lot instead of traveling with the Doctor. In his shoes, I'd be tempted to just leave them to their own devices. Then again, with that bunch, that could be dangerous to the fate of the planet.
Wow, I sound really jaded. But I'm trying to limit my TV viewing and use that time for reading, writing, doing other stuff, or maybe even watching all the things I have on tape or DVD. And now today I go back to work on rewriting the book. It's brainstorming time, so I may go over to the library to check out the coffee shop patio -- caffeinated beverages and waterside tables should be good for creativity.