We continue our Fall TV Preview with a look at the best shows that Wednesday night has to offer…
Criminal Minds (CBS) Airs Wednesdays 9/8c, Premieres September 24th
Entering its fourth season, “Criminal Minds” is another in a long line of successful police procedurals for CBS. The twist? It focuses on the criminal instead of the crime. Even though Mandy Patankin isn’t on anymore, the show still features some solid acting from Thomas Gibson and Joe Mantegna. At first glance, it’s hard to delineate between this show and every other procedural created since “CSI” became a smash, but “Criminal Minds” stands out because it focuses on an FBI team at Qauntico which gives them quite a bit of range in dealing with crimes. We still have to deal with the usual personal lives of cops – messy divorces, personal dedication to old cases, and in-office flirtation, but the depth of some of the issues and scenarios they deal with is a lot darker than most other shows. Dealing with serial killers, torture and psychotic behavior gives this show’s tone an edge over the cookie-cutter-copies of police shows out there.
Recommendation: If you’re a detective-show junky that hasn’t discovered this one yet, do yourself a favor and tune in. - Cole Abaius
Knight Rider (NBC) Airs Wednesday 8/7c, Premieres September 24th
When our esteemed editor Neil Miller was looking to assign each of us a television show to preview for the fall, and then to keep up with each week for recaps, I would have done well to remember the line from Goodfellas: “Never say nothin’, and always keep your mouth shut.”
“Hey, I’ll take Knight Rider,” I said. Heh-heh. It was a joke. A lark. Irony.
But Neil, either a strict literalist or a cruel sadist, gave me the job. So here’s your fall preview for a show proceeding from one of the worst pilots I’ve ever seen on television. Basically, a scientist builds a talking car that can transform its paint job using nano-technology. It can also access traffic photos from satellites that can’t possibly exist, and use GPS to navigate itself–something that anyone with a car made after the year 2007 probably has by now. Not surprisingly, this remake of the 1980′s show starring David Hasselhoff has nothing new to offer. It does, however, give us a wealth of inane dialogue, a criminal disregard for logic, and, most damning of all for a show about a car with artificial intelligence, a lot of boring chase scenes. If I had a rating system, I would use beer for this one, because it took me upwards of twelve beers to get through the pilot, and by the second hour I was shooting tequila hoping to die of alcohol poisoning before the end credits. There is a ray of hope, however, in that a new show runner has been brought on board, and he also thought the pilot was crap. Screenwriter for the Fast and the Furious films, Gary Scott Thompson has said that his goal is to reinvent the series and offer viewers “something cool” every week. So even if you saw the pilot and thought it was unbearable, it might be worth seeing if they can turn it around now that it’s gone to series. I’ll be watching every week if alcohol-induced stomach cancer doesn’t incapacitate me before the show is canceled.
Recommendation: DVR it if you’re curious. You definitely want a way to skip the commercials. With a heavy tie-in to Ford Motors (the new K.I.T.T. is a Ford Mustang), the commercials during the pilot were almost as inane as the show itself. - Mister Hand
Pushing Daisies (ABC) Airs Wednesdays 8/7c, Premieres October 1st
“Pushing Daisies” is the kind of show that is just ridiculous enough to work. It’s your basic detective story where crimes are solved by the pie-maker who has the magical ability of bringing back dead things to life, the woman he loves whom he brought back to life but can’t touch ever again because she’ll fall back down dead, and a private detective that never seems impressed unless he’s knitting. Apparently, when you can bring things back to life, it’s easy to ask the dead who killed them. This show is probably one of the sweetest, quirkiest shows on television today – looking like something Lewis Carroll and Tim Burton (in his primary color phase) teamed up to make. The storylines are always funny, and it somehow manages to blend musical interludes with death.
Recommendation: If you like surreal, primary colors, and quirky-sweet murder mysteries, check it out. If you think it’ll be too weird for you, you’re probably right. - Cole Abaius
Sons of Anarchy (FX) Airs Wednesdays 10/9c, Premieres September 3
FX looks to add to its ever increasing resume of awesome and cutting edge shows with the premiere of Sons of Anarchy, a new darkly comedic drama about an outlaw rebel motorcycle club. Starring Charlie Hunnam and genre bad-ass Ron Perlman, Anarchy promises to pack in the thrills, the laughs, the action, and plenty of bullets tearing through the air; not to mention the earth shaking roar of dozens of bikes trekking down the highway. This adrenaline charged ride follows the club as they explore the other side of the law while protecting their small town from encoraching drug dealers, overzealous lawmen, and big corporations moving in. View the violence and the drama through the eyes of Jackson “Jax” Teller (Hunnam) as he copes with the changing face of the motorcycle club and new developments in his unstable home life. In case you’re worried about the idea of Robin Hood-esque bikers, make no mistake -the gang is also dedicated to preserving their ruthless and highly illegal gun running business.
Reccomendation: Put on your lather and straddle this hog every week as FX looks to have another surefire winner on tap with the balance of action and dark comedy in “Sons of Anarchy.” - Robert Fure
For more, check out our 2008 Fall TV Preview page.