TV Review:
Fall TV offers originality, fun
Posted Nov. 2, 2007

Erin Konrad
Arts Editor

While most college students don’t have time for television, this new fall season has brought several original, not-to-miss series to the small screen.

Although Thursdays are filled with programming that has been debuted in seasons past and Fridays are a virtual wasteland of repeats and bad reality series, the best new shows can be seen during the beginning of the week.

On Mondays, “Aliens in America” airs on the CW network at 8:30 p.m.

This sitcom is a hilarious take on the hardships of high school as seen through the eyes of the oft-teased Justin and his new BFF, Raja, who just happens to be a Pakistani exchange student.

Dumped into a Wisconsin suburb where Muslims are still strictly associated with Sept. 11, this show offers a sweetly, ironic take on xenophobia. Viewers easily find themselves rooting for the underdog, and this quality keeps the show from slipping into too cheesy a territory.

On NBC, “Chuck,” airing at 8 p.m. on Mondays has adapted a brand new genre for television – action comedy.

Chuck is an employee of the Nerd Herd (think Geek Squad) who accidentally views government files that are permanently downloaded into his brain.

He soon joins forces with a sexy CIA agent Sarah (played convincingly by Yvonne Strahovski) who has vowed to protect him from other agencies who would also want access to government secrets.

Thus, the video game junkie becomes a spy as he remembers certain people or events that have become embedded into his own internal hard drive.

This comedy is fast paced, yet still believable, allowing for an entertaining new adventure each week.

On the drama side of the spectrum is “K-Ville,” Fox’s new cop drama that airs at 9 p.m on Mondays.

While the show has a routine cop-buddy plot, the action takes place in New Orleans’ dangerous Ninth Ward.

The unexpected pairing of actors Cole Hauser and Anthony Anderson produces a great adrenaline rush with each escapade the pair experiences.

The best part of this new show is that they actually film in New Orleans, which lends itself to the show’s haunting locale of a city still trying to recover after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.

An added bonus: the show has given many new jobs to people trying to rebuild their lives in the city, plus adding revenue for the recuperating locale.

Tuesdays bring one equally exciting new addition to the action comedy genre.

“Reaper,” airing at 9 p.m. on Tuesdays, is the CW’s new comedy starring Bret Harrison as slacker Sam, who finds out on his 21st birthday that his parents sold his soul to the devil when he was born.

The devil comes calling (played deliciously by Ray Wise) to recruit Sam as a bounty hunter to collect souls who have escaped from hell.

This presents an interesting challenge to Sam and his goof off sidekick Sock (Tyler Labine in a role that seems made for Jack Black.) Each week the pair attempt to fight dangerous villains in order to help the devil.

This show is smartly written with an interesting and comical premise that keeps the laughs coming.

Wednesdays have many of the best new series (hope you have TiVo!) “Gossip Girl,” airs at 9 p.m., is this season’s answer to “The O.C.”

Executive produced by the creator of the “The O.C.,” Josh Schwartz, and adapted from the best-selling teen novels of Cecily von Ziegesar, this drama is one of the best primetime soaps on television right now.

The writing is witty, and the characters are all stylishly played by beautiful young people who fit convincingly into the setting of the upper crust Manhattan elite.

Another cop drama with a twist is found in NBC’s “Life,” which airs at 10 p.m. on Wednesdays.

Damien Lewis expertly plays a cop who was wrongfully convicted in a murder case, and spent 12 years of a life sentence in prison before being exonerated.

He starts his new life by going back to work as a detective with the $50 million he was awarded from the settlement.

While the side plots usually aren’t that inventive, Lewis’ character has his own interesting quirks and is still secretly trying to figure out how he was set up to take the fall for a crime he didn’t commit.

The last series is certainly not the least entertaining of the shows.

It might even be the most inventive (and perhaps complicated) plotline of any show currently on television.

“Pushing Daisies” is a fantastical, Tim Burton-esque drama airing on ABC at 8 p.m. on Wednesdays.

The show focuses on a pie-maker who has a gift of bringing the dead back to life by touching them.

However, he must touch them once again to put them back to death to prevent negative consequences from arising. He uses his talents as a part-time partner of a P.I. to help solve crimes.

He simply touches the dead, asks who killed them, and then touches them again.

When he brings back his childhood crush from the dead, he falls in love all over again and refuses to touch her so she can remain alive.

This is when the story gets complicated, but a great supporting cast makes this show worth watching.

Erin Konrad can be reached at ekonrad@ulv.edu.

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