Wednesday, September 20, 2006

TiVo Season Passes for the Fall Season

With the fall TV season approaching, I thought it would be interesting to look at what Season Passes we will be setting up on TiVo during Prime Time. I’m sticking to the prime time lineup, so it won’t be including the daily tapings of Pardon the Interruption, Good Eats, Scrubs reruns, Daily Show, and Colbert Report (or College Football Gameday on Saturdays). (No, we don’t watch all of those every day...except for Daily Show, anyway...but it’s lovely to always have them on call to watch.)


Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip – I was impressed by the opener, as were most people (though The Butterfly said she was bored...blasphemy). Berlin Niebuhr has done all the analysis that is needed at this point, and I pretty much agree with him…though I didn’t think the religion subplot was as awkward as he did. It definitely looks like it will be pretty easy to set a frenetic pace, which is where Sorkin shows work the best.

Weeds – Simply the best sitcom on TV right now. Even the mediocre episodes are great. No other show combines extremely edgy humor (strap-ons, Andy’s legendary masturbation speech a few episodes ago) with family drama and “I hope nobody goes to jail” tension. Perfect lead (the show would not work with anybody but Mary-Louise Parker), perfect cast (Kevin Nealon, Romany Malco, Elizabeth Perkins, the dude who played the “cool priest”—and Mary-Louise Parker’s love interest—in Saved), perfect mix of slapstick and drama. I can’t say enough.


Gilmore Girls – One of The Butterfly’s few vices. It’s not in the “Buy all DVD seasons” pantheon status of Buffy and Veronica Mars, but it’s up there. And I’ll admit it...once I get my mind ready for the fact that everybody on the show talks way too fast, it’s a tolerable show to watch. A little too quirky for me (and I like me some quirk), but it’s tolerable. And she repays the favor by occasionally sitting through backlogged PTI episodes.

Veronica Mars – If Weeds is the best sitcom on TV, Veronica Mars is the best drama. I’ve started a few different “Why is this show so good?” posts, but I’ve never finished one. It just is. The cast is perfect, the writing/plots are always intricate and surprising, they’re able to string out a primary plotline through an entire season because the subplots are strong enough to carry small arcs of shows, there are always a million different things going on, and the characters are so good that you don’t mind. And Kristen Bell and Enrico Colantoni (a classic "that guy") have phenomenal chemistry as father-daughter.

And Kristen Bell is hot. The Butterly is sure enamored with co-star Jason Dohring, as well. Something for everybody!

Wait…timeout. I like the girl on the show who most resembles The Butterfly (when she had blonde hair, at least). She likes the bad boy who in no way, shape, or form resembles me. And she admits to thinking that Weezil, the leader of the biker gang, is hot too. What gives?


This appears to be the day that we will be catching up on back episodes of Daily Show and Good Eats. Woohoo.


My Name is Earl – Luckily for us, we don’t have the telenovela fixation that berlin niebuhr does, so we’re free to enjoy Earl instead of juggling Earl, Ugly Betty, and La Fea Mas Bella. Thursdays at 7pm will be tense in the niebuhr house.

The Office – This show grew very slowly on me. I watched a few episodes during Season One, but it just seemed to me that it wasn’t really separating itself from the British version of the show. But near the beginning of Season Two, this show hit its stride, and now it’s a definite can’t miss. Steve Carell, the office romance, the perfect supporting cast...everything is so well-established at this point that, like good Cheers episodes, this show almost seems to write itself at this point. I was happy to see it win the Best Comedy Emmy (even though Weeds would have gotten my #1 vote).

Ace of Cakes – See? I’m a good spouse! The Butterfly gets control of the TiVo as you can see from this show and the next one on the list...


What Not to Wear – For the first few months that we had it, TiVo had absolutely no idea what to tape for us as “suggestions”. We had it doing college football, food shows, Weeds, What Not to went through a weird “record anything with homosexual overtones” period before settling on mostly Food Network shows and Premiership soccer. Which is fine by me.




Everybody Hates Chris – I first thought it got absolutely screwed with this lame Sunday 6pm time slot, but then I realized that that means it doesn’t interfere with anything else I’d be wanting to TiVo. It might cut off the ends of the 4pm NFL games, but I can go into another room to watch that. Good show here. When it first started, I was curious how they would manage to keep up the off-beat humor and pacing (by far its biggest strengths...that, and a strong supporting cast…especially the parents), but it stayed entertaining throughout the whole season, and now I’m looking forward to Season Two.

Simpsons – Come on, it’s an institution. Looks like they’ll be pushing this thing right through 20 seasons, which is just amazing. And it’s still strong. Granted, it’s not as good as it was in the 1993-1997 range, but nothing ever will be. It stays surprising, and, after a couple of weak seasons in the 2002-2004 range, they seem to have established a strong rhythm again. Maybe the challenge of the Family Guy gave them a creativity kick in the ass.

Desperate Housewives – The biggest debate on the schedule is Housewives vs Family Guy, but the fact is, Family Guy re-runs are on all the time, so I caved on this one. Actually, The Butterfly also prefers FG (gotta love her for that), but this show provides good bonding time for Butterfly and her mom (Madame Butterfly? Sorry...), and it would break her heart if we stopped watching it. And it’s silly enough to enjoy.

Iron Chef America – Can you tell there’s an Alton Brown fan in the house? I’m not talking about myself here, but I will say that I’ve learned more from him, kitchen-wise, than anybody else I’ve had the pleasure/duty of watching on Food Network. And Bobby Flay, though arrogant, makes some good looking dishes.

So there you go. As would be expected with a Good Nonsense weirdo, we miss most of the big-name shows (Lost, Survivor, Grey’s Anatomy, etc.), but we stay entertained.

Anything out there that we absolutely must add to the schedule? It’s pretty booked already.