I will admit it. I get all giddy when a new TV season starts. I didn't get to watch as much TV last week as I wanted to, but alongside all my regular favorites (Welcome back, "Office," hello, Americanized "Kitchen Nightmares"), I checked out three new shows. The results made me think of Goldilocks: one show was "eh," one was just right and one show was so bad it made me want to throw a bowl of porridge at a dead Grimm brother.
So let's start with the mediocre. That'd be "Bionic Woman" also known as "The Battlestar Galactica Dinner Theatre Troupe Joins Every Other Actor in Vancouver For An Unnecessary and Ham-Fisted Remake." Aside from the always good Katie Sackhoff, there's just not much to recommend in the pilot episode. It wasn't really bad, but there wasn't much life to it. Incredible things happen, but in the presence of undeveloped characters, they don't have an impact. This is not to say it can't get better, but so far, I'm unimpressed -- except for the scene where Michelle Ryan as Jamie Sommers wakes up and finds herself attached to two swanky new bionic legs. The CGI in that scene is so bad that it makes Ryan's calves look huuuuuge, which meant I couldn't stop laughing when she screamed because I was thinking, yeah, I'd scream too if my boyfriend just gave me fat bionic calves. What am I going to tell the other girls at Weight Watchers?
I'll probably give "Bionic Woman" another try if only to see my BSG friends. Who knows? It could get bionically awesome...but with fat calves.
Now let's zoom a little further along the spectrum and discuss "Big Bang Theory," CBS' contribution to the recent "nerds are now officially awesome" phenomenon.
Honestly, this show is terrible. It's very, very bad, like "Phantom Menace" bad. The show revolves around two socially -- and potentially, mentally -- handicapped physics geeks who live across the hall from a hot, nice blonde girl who is stereotypically dumb but still nice enough to hang out with the geeks. They sit around and spew pop culture references at each other, including such tell-tale nerd buzz words as "Klingon" and "Battlestar Galactica" (see above). I imagine the two guys and the girl will eventually teach each other valuable life lessons. And I imagine the fake studio audience will sigh sweetly when it happens. And I imagine if I'm in some sort of "Clockwork Orange" torture scenario being forced to watch "Big Bang Theory," I will likely gag. But let's hope that doesn't happen.
All the actors seem to be trying, including the always likable Johnny Galecki of "Roseanne" fame. It's just that the material is incredibly degrading to its already two-dimensional cultural stereotypes. I guess I shouldn't expect anything else from the network that gives us "Two and a Half Men."
Luckily, the week was not a total wash, although it was something of a shocker to find that TV salvation came from The CW. Yup, I'm talking about "Reaper." I enjoyed the hell out of this show (pun intended) which tells the story of a young man named Sam whose parents sold his soul to the devil. Now, he has to work with Satan to send escapees from hell back where they belong. Bret Harrison as Sam is entirely likable and fun to watch as is his sidekick Tyler Labine, whom old school "X Files" fans will recognize as The Toad Licker from the Quagmire episode. Labine is channeling just a bit too much Jack Black for his own good, but I think he'll grow into his part. Ray Wise as the Devil is good, too, portraying The Naughty One as an easy-going fellow just doing his job. What makes the show appealing is its sense of humor and fun. I sat through most of it with a big goofy grin on my face because, honestly, nothing makes me happier than a TV show that combines comedy and sci-fi: my two favorite genres rolled all into one!
So, if you haven't seen Reaper, check it out tonight at 9 on The CW.