Too Much TV – Fall 2010

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Image by derekraugh via Flickr

We watch too much television at my house. We should probably seek professional help. Instead, we’re trying to figure out how to juggle DVR schedules and On Demand shows so we can watch everything we want to see… HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHA… [ahem]

Ok, now that I’ve had my nervous breakdown, let’s go through the list…

Last Thursday on the CW, I tried to watch the new Nikita. And though there were some good things (the action was cool, gadgets were cool, girls were beautiful) it just didn’t engage for me. I blame that not on Maggie Q, who plays Nikita in this incarnation of the story, but on the weak characters surrounding her. Shane West as Michael pales when compared to Roy Dupuis in the Peta Wilson-led La Femme Nikita of the late 1990s. And though I used to love Melinda Clarke, her Amanda pales against Alberta Watson’s Madeline from the ’90s series as well… I could go on, but suffice it to say that I won’t be watching again unless I’m very bored.

This week, we have only one show. It’s one my wife started watching and when I found time to see it, I actually enjoyed it…

  • Parenthood (ABC), Tuesday September 14, 2010 at 10pm CST/9pm MST

Next week is insane however…

Let’s start with Monday, September 20, 2010. Eight shows that we want to watch happen to air between 7pm and 10pm our time. Geez. And even if we only watch the first episode of a new series (I’m not convinced I’ll watch The Event, Chase, or Hawaii Five-O, but want to see the first episode to find out), that only reduces the list to 5 shows on a single night…

  • House (FOX), 8pm CST/7pm MST
  • Chuck (NBC), 8pm CST/7pm MST
  • Rules of Engagement (CBS), 8:30pm CST/7:30pm MST
  • The Event (NBC), 9pm CST/8pm MST
  • Two and a Half Men (CBS), 9:00pm CST/8:00pm MST
  • Castle (ABC), 10pm CST/9pm MST
  • Chase (NBC), 10pm CST/9pm MST
  • Hawaii Five-O (CBS), 10pm CST/9pm MST

Tuesday, September 21, 2010 is a little better…

  • Glee (FOX), 8pm CST/7pm MST
  • NCIS (CBS), 8pm CST/7pm MST
  • Raising Hope (FOX), 9pm CST/8pm MST
  • NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS), 9pm CST/8pm MST

Wednesday, September 22, 2010, we only have a couple…

  • Undercovers (NBC), 8pm CST/7pm MST
  • The Defenders (CBS), 10pm CST/9pm MST

Then Thursday (September 23, 2010) explodes again… Even though I won’t watch Grey’s Anatomy or Private Practice (they’re my wife’s shows), that’s still seven out of nine shows…

  • Bones (FOX), 8pm CST/7pm MST
  • Big Bang Theory (CBS), 8pm CST/7pm MST
  • S#*! My Dad Says (CBS), 8:30pm CST/7:30pm MST
  • Fringe (FOX), 9pm CST/8pm MST
  • Grey’s Anatomy (ABC), 9pm CST/8pm MST
  • CSI (CBS), 9pm CST/8pm MST
  • Outsourced (NBC), 9:30pm CST/8:30pm MST
  • Private Practice (ABC), 10pm CST/9pm MST
  • The Mentalist (CBS), 10pm CST/9pm MST

And Friday (September 24, 2010) we only have a couple again:

  • Supernatural (CW), 9pm CST/8pm MST
  • CSI: NY (CBS), 9pm CST/8pm MST

So in the first big week of premieres, we’re looking at… 25 shows potentially.

To add insult to injury for our poor DVRs, there are more premieres scattered throughout October and November too…

  • No Ordinary Family (ABC), Tuesday, September 28, 2010, 8pm CST/7pm MST
  • Stargate Universe (Syfy), Tuesday, September 28, 2010,
    9pm CST/8pm MST
  • Human Target (FOX), Friday, October 1, 2010, 8pm CST/7pm MST
  • The Walking Dead (AMC), Sunday, October 31, 2010, 9pm CST/8pm MST
  • Lie to Me (FOX), Wednesday, November 10, 2010, 9pm CST/8pm MST

That’s a lot of television and I’m guessing a few will fall by the wayside before too long, but still… As Keanu would say – “Whoa.”

What are you planning on watching?
–Fitz

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Interview: Tim Roth of Lie to Me Talks About Season Two

In January 2009, FOX aired the first episode of a new series based on the work of Dr. Paul Ekman, an expert on body language and facial expressions, or facial “microexpressions,” and the art of using them to ferret out the truth. In the TV show, Lie To Me, actor Tim Roth plays Dr. Cal Lightman, loosely based on Dr. Ekman. Lightman knows all about using these microexpressions and has founded The Lightman Group, a private consulting company to help local and federal law enforcement in investigations.

[amazon-product]B001QOGY54[/amazon-product]Aiding Dr. Lightman are a number of colleagues, including Dr. Gillian Foster (Kelli Williams), Eli Loker (Brendan Hines), Ria Torres (Monica Raymund), and Ben Reynolds (Mekhi Phifer). All of these characters (including Lightman) have serious issues left to resolve from their pasts or that are currently being worked on.

Gillian’s husband Alec (played by Tim Guinee) was suspected of having an affair throughout most of the season. Instead it was discovered that he was a recovering addict and the woman he’d been seeing had been his sponsor. At the end of the season, Gillian and Alec separated.

Loker is more of an academic than a people-person, but has this unique quirk that he adheres to a principle of radical honesty – therefore he doesn’t lie. This presents some unusual problems throughout the season, including when he divulges sensitive information during an investigation in one episode. Loker has a “thing” for Torres that he hints at even in the pilot episode by telling her he wants to have sex with her.

Torres is the newest member of the team during the first season, and is initially found working airport security. Lightman sees her as a natural lie detector when he observes her and hires her on the spot. She sometimes finds herself in conflict between what she sees in microexpressions and what she feels emotionally, which causes issues.

And Reynolds is an FBI agent who assisted the Lightman Group in several investigations throughout the season. His street smarts and connections in law enforcement made him a valuable asset. And by the end of the season, Lightman had made him a job offer he couldn’t refuse.

The stories were a bit uneven at the beginning of the first season, but gained some consistency about halfway through. For me though it was the interactions between the characters and learning more about the theory of microexpressions that was absolutely fascinating.

Character-based dramas with a scientific element often have a lot of crunch to them, but rarely survive to see a second season. I think it’s a testament to the actors, writers, and crew that it lasted a season. My wife and I were both immediately hooked on the series in January, and we were quite pleased when we heard it had been renewed for another season. The second season premiere of Lie To Me airs on FOX on Monday, September 28, 2009.

Actor Tim Roth took some time out of his busy shooting schedule to speak with us about the upcoming season and had a few interesting things to say. He was very enhusiastic about Shawn Ryan, the show runner who helped with some of the late season one episodes and is running all of second season.

“Last season was – I thought of it as an experiment, really. It’s my first experience of doing this, and it was – I found it quite difficult at times. And we were working on stories just to find out – trying to find our feet, really, and I think by the end of the season we did. And when Shawn came on, he came on to do a couple of episodes last season, and I think it’s episodes 11 and 12 he came on to do, and with that, he brought a couple of writers in, and that was when I think we really found our strife, found a way of making this work, so it was very good when he came onboard this year.

The changes are many, but the one that I suppose I notice more is in the way the writing takes place and in the kind of scripts that the writers’ room are generating. The new writers that came onboard come from all walks of life. They’re very different and have very different ideas. And Shawn’s the kind of lynchpin, really, brings them all together and oversees things, and it’s been an incredibly creative force.

And then we have Dan Sackheim and Vahan Moosekian and those guys have taken on the look and the feel of the show and the casting, so it’s a very – it is a different animal, but I think its heart is still with last season, at least with the end of last season and moving on from there. But it’s been an extraordinary experience. I’ve loved it this year, really have. Last year was a struggle. This year has been an absolute pleasure.”

When I asked what the most difficult or enjoyable aspect was of playing Dr. Lightman, if it was the jargon, the attitude, or the combative approach he takes with his relationships, he said that it has changed slightly.

“I think initially it was the science and how… There’s a certain about of exposition that you have to deal with, and I found that that was very difficult in a limited amount of time to slide that into the audience and not to hit it on the head with a hammer, so that was an aspect that was tricky. It gets easier. The better the writing, the easier it gets. And this season, it’s been really very good, I think, very high standards.”

Another reporter asked if Roth was still shocked by the amount of work that goes into a television series or if he was settling into it.

“It is a ton of work. But when it works, there is – it’s very long hours. It’s a high page count. But when you’re enjoying it, when you get to the end of a day, or we get to the following morning, if you feel like you’ve accomplished something, then I’m okay with it. And I do very much feel that the season – that everyone who’s – from my assistant through to the set dressers to everyone, the V.P.’s and so on, everyone feels that they’re involved in something that’s very creative, and I think there’s a satisfaction to be had in that. Of course, you want your sleep, but hopefully, we’ll be around to do this for awhile. It’s a real pleasure at the moment. I’m happy in my job.”

This season they’ve added a number of new characters to the cast with Phifer joining as a regular and Hayley McFarland also joining as a regular as Lightman’s daughter Emily. (She was excellent in the role during the first season.) Someone asked Roth if it felt more like an ensemble this season, providing more people to play off on the set.

“I have more people to play off, but I’m still working the same amount of days. I just said goodbye to Brendan. He’s got 12 days off. And I thought – I’m wondering what that must be like.

It just gives me more to play with. I’m sure there’ll be more characters down the line. I know there’s hints of girlfriends and that kind of behavior, and maybe they’ll be recurring, maybe they won’t be. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re not. Would like them.

But, no, it just gives me more people to bounce off, and I must say I do enjoy that. And Mekhi and Jennifer (Beals) are terrific actors to work with.”

Erika Christensen plays a schizophrenic in the season two opener, and when Roth was asked about how she was to work with and how she handled the multiple personality issues of the character, he seemed really pleased.

“She was terrific. She was – I had seen her in Traffic. I did Traffic, but I didn’t know it was the same girl. I found her to be completely grounded, hysterically funny, very funny girl and way older than her years and with some serious acting jobs, and we laughed a lot, which is always a good thing, very, very important.”

Roth’s enthusiasm for the new season was great and I look forward to seeing the what the season holds for Lightman and his group. Be sure to tune in on FOX for the Lie To Me season two opener on Monday, September 28, 2009!

–Fitz

p.s. Pick up Lie to Me season 1 on DVD and other great shows at Amazon below!

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FOX Fall 2009 Premiere Dates (September)

Hi all…

I don’t know about you, but I’m excited about all the upcoming premieres of all our favorite FOX shows coming in September!

Here’s a list of the premiere dates:

  • Wednesday, September 9, 8-9p ET/PT: So You Think you Can Dance
  • Wednesday, September 9, 9-10p ET/PT: Glee(Series Premiere)
  • Thursday, September 17, 8-9p ET/PT: Bones
  • Thursday, September 17, 9-10p ET/PT: Fringe
  • Monday, September 21, 8-10p ET/PT: House (Two-hours!)
  • Friday, September 25, 9-10p ET/PT: Dollhouse
  • Monday, September 28, 8-9p ET/PT: Lie To Me

It’s going to be another exciting season. I can’t wait to see House in a mental institution… Talk about shaking things up on that series! And what’s next on Fringe? Who the heck knows!?

–Fitz

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