New Shows & Episodes

Some random viewing notes from the past several days:

I didn’t exactly dislike the pilot for FlashForward, but I wasn’t all that impressed either. Could it be any more derivative of Lost?  It’s mostly well made and not without promise conceptually, but in terms of its time-travelling genre content, it failed to surprise at every turn. And for crying out loud, ABC, we’re not idiots! “Remember the kangaroo…it may be important.” No shit, sherlock! You’d think the viewing world at large hadn’t learned anything over the past ten years.

The much, much better pilot I saw was Modern Family. Funny, funny stuff about three unconventional, connected families. Ty Burrell steals the show as the “cool dad.” The faux-documentary style is definitely right out of a Christopher Guest movie or the original Office, of course, but that’s hardly a bad thing. We’re season-passing this one.

After its terrific pilot, I had high expectations for Glee, but so far it hasn’t really found its feet. Episode three was painful…and the music, for me, is always painful. In the service of subversive humor, I’ll put up with anything, but so far the first hour’s nicely balanced tonal disconnect has skewed too far into the afterschool special department. Jury’s still out, here.

Finally, we caught up with the unaired first season Dollhouse closer “Epitaph One” online, in preparation for the season two opener, “Vows.” All I can say about “Epitaph One” is: wow. By far the most interesting, complicated, and compelling Dollhouse ever done. On the other hand, I don’t think you need to watch it to go on to season two; in fact, it struck me as a brilliant series finale for a show that, weirdly, hasn’t ended yet. At the end of the this show’s improbable run, do we get a complementary “Epitaph Two?” As for “Vows,” once again the mission-of-the-week didn’t thrill me much, but the lore continues to get more interesting – and the scene between Amy Acker and Fran Kranz (whose Topher Brink gets more fascinating with every line of dialogue) was one of the show’s best moments so far. I hope Acker sticks around but I’m guessing she’s not. On the other hand, nice to see another Angel alum onboard — welcome Alexis Denisof! Just a cameo so far, but I’m guessing Joss Whedon has no intention of wasting him on a bit part.

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