Fox's Fall 2005-2006 Television Season: What Worked and What Sucked
by Justine Manzano
Hello again, everybody out in TV world! For these last couple of weeks I have enjoyed ripping into last year’s premiere shows and some that had already existed, but that either managed to remain good, took a turn for the worse, or finally gained my attention. This week I’m taking a look at Fox’s fall season to determine how much time I’ve wasted this year. I value my television watching time…I value it a lot.
DISCLAIMER: There are, of course, some shows that I haven’t seen that I am sure rocked…but I didn’t see them, so I can’t say anything about them. This article is only about my experience with TV this season. If I missed something, and you want it added to the G-POP annals, send us your article at firstname.lastname@example.org and let your word be heard.
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Bones: How could I not watch this show from the time of it’s very inception? It stars David Boreanaz, whom I have often explained is probably my absolute favorite male celebrity. The former star of Angel is not a perfect actor (he made The Crow: Wicked Prayer, didn’t he?) but in this series, he came into his own. Boreanaz never misses as FBI agent Seeley Booth. Bones follows the cases of Forensic Anthropologist, Dr. Temperence Brennan (Emily Deschanel) as she works with Booth (who has nicknamed her “Bones”) to solve crimes with very little evidence aside from the dead bodies of the victims. Brennan and her crew of smarties can figure out anything, and their chemistry as a cast is great. There are things that are wrong with this series although towards the end of the season these things seemed to tone down. Brennan had lived in many harsh environments as an anthropologist and while it makes sense that she would be able to defend herself, it makes less sense that she would be able to kick a bouncer through a wall—the show goes a tad overboard with Brennan’s “superhero” behavior. And while it’s clear that she’s bookish, it’s annoying that she is completely inept on the subject of Pop culture. Thankfully, the stories and the emotion that come from them are beautiful and ring true. And Deschanel and Boreanaz have a chemistry that hasn’t been seen since Moonlighting. This series is a must that looks like it can only get better next season.
Skating With Celebrities: I hate reality programming. I love figure skating. So, I was torn as far as what to do with this show. Despite what I believed to be my better judgment, I went with it. It wasn’t a great series—it was really mindless fluff, but it was fun mindless fluff. Having always been the type of person to shout that someone “singled their triple jump” when watching figure skating (a fact that I have mentioned in reviews of movies like Ice Princess and The Cutting Edge), it was fun to be able to watch these celebrities learn the basics. My main complaint was that the judges had their favorites picked from the beginning and thus often (but not always) let it color their judging. I have to applaud both the courage of the celebrities and the patience of their famous figure skating trainers. And while I don’t agree with their final judgment (Jillian Barberie and John Zimmerman SO should have won), at least winners Kristy Swanson and (then married) Lloyd Eisler got a sordid adulterous relationship out of the series! Reality Television is better than soap operas! After all of the injuries that were caused by this show, God bless any celebrity with the courage to sign up for a second season!
Family Guy: Well, this season saw the return of this animated gem, that proves to us the power of fan reaction when it comes to getting a show back on the air. And with it’s return, it is quite possible that this show got even crazier—screw the censors! The show follows the wacky Griffin family, including the moronic dad, Peter, the baby who plans to take over the world and plots his mother’s murder, Stewie, and the family’s martini swilling talking dog, Brian. The series is ironic and silly and finds a way to make me laugh with even the strangest of things—who can forget about the episode in which Stewie and Brian struggle not to say anything insulting to a child born with an upside-down face? Perhaps you had to see it to understand—pure comic genius!
Reunion: I feel as though every time a series comes up with a truly unique concept, it is either embraced fully or beaten down with a stick. Reunion was one of the latter. You began your journey as a viewer of the series with the knowledge that one of the group of friends in the series had been brutally murdered. Then, you started your true journey. Starting from their high school graduation, the series follows the six friends, one year per episode as they endure drama after drama, and every time, you are guessing at which of the friends is now dead and which of the friends may have put them there. It took the series almost all of it’s twelve episodes to reveal to us that Samantha (Alexa Davalos) who had a love affair going with two of the men, was getting involved in drugs and had two children—one with each man, and one of those was given up for adoption, was the one who had been murdered—a revelation which only opened up that many more doors as to who could have committed the murder. And then, they cancelled it! This was a cruel act on Fox’s part. This was the kind of show that would’ve only worked for a season—so why not give it its full season? Why cut it off leaving all of it’s fans desperate to know who killed Samantha? And considering all of the crap Fox allowed to survive this season, this was one that at least should have been allowed to complete the mystery. Until then, we can only guess…unless we go by the rumor that it was supposed to be Sam’s daughter. I plan to…I like that choice!
Head Cases: Wow-what the hell were they thinking when they thought up this one? This may have been the fastest cancelled fall show this season. This series follows big-time lawyer Jason Payne (the lovely Chris O’Donnell who graced our presence later this season with the awesome Grey’s Anatomy) as he has a nervous breakdown and then tries to rebuild his life. But, he can’t do it alone, so he works with fellow attorney and released mental patient Russell Shultz (Adam Goldberg, who also appeared in Joey this season—these guys waste no time, do they?) Together, these mentally screwed up lawyers (now there’s an oxy-moron!!! I couldn’t help it…I work in a law firm) will make their firm take off…if they can stop Russell from kicking the crap out of opposing counsel! Seriously? Fox thought this would take off? I mean SERIOUSLY? Well, thankfully, this premise got dropped into the gutter directly after episode 2. This is a good thing. O’Donnell and Goldberg are both excellent actors who shouldn’t be loaded down with this tripe—it’s nice to see them free once again!
Prison Break: This is another one I haven’t seen yet, but I don’t think that takes away my right to call it crap after I find a loop hole this big. My readers can feel free to correct me, but what the %*%$(^(&%$? No self-respecting judge in his right mind would sentence a man to a prison his brother designed, and they would especially not put the engineer himself there! They would probably sentence them to any other prison BUT that one! That, right there is complete idiocy and it is the basic premise of the show. That was enough for me to never look at the show again…but then, Fox renewed this crap…
Kitchen Confidential: I mainly watched this show because it starred Buffy alum Nicholas Brendon, who I absolutely love. I thought he would be a main character. He was extremely minor. Kitchen Confidential is actually based on the memoir by chef Anthony Bourdain. The main character here is “Jack” Bourdain (Bradley Cooper), a chef who lands himself in rehab and gets a second chance when the owner of a hot shot new eatery gives him a shot as the head chef. It’s difficult to watch Jack struggle to stay out of trouble, and intriguing, but not funny—and that’s the nail in the coffin on a comedy series, isn’t it? This show had a great deal of potential, but the jokes fell flat. If it wasn’t trying to be funny, the show could have been worked into a decent drama. But, trying to be funny, it just turned out to be plain sad…
Okay, that’s it for this week folks! Happy Anniversary to G-POP—where else would you find a recap like this one? NOWHERE! Stay tuned for next week, when I rip into The WB, Cable Television and 2 shows I forgot…Oops!!! Next week is the final installment of this little series, so enjoy!