Sunday, September 30, 2007

Leftovers from Premiere Week: House, Chuck, and Reaper

Lightning-fast, the three premieres I watched this weekend:

House (9:00 Tuesdays, Fox)

Dr. House is back and hotterbetter than ever. We return to season 4 without the Team, and House is, typically, not at all happy about the change. Wilson resorts to holding House's guitar hostage in an effort to convince him to hire a new team, leading to House, hilariously, holding one of Wilson's patients hostage. Cuddy wears a tight dress and promises to leave House alone in return for said hiring, also unsuccessfully. But when House takes days to figure out why a woman who was crushed by a collapsing building is having so many other symptoms, he realizes he needs a new team and picks 32 candidates to undergo a six-week "interview" for the positions.

I was a bit nervous when House made a move towards hiring someone who was just like Cameron. It's in character for him to hire people who are sort of facsimiles of his old team in a desperate attempt to avoid dealing with change. In-character, but not at all good for the show. The best thing they could do would be to introduce young doctors who are actually funny and could do more than react to House in any given scene. So I hope that happens. The six-week job interview could be awesome. It would be like the beginning of American Idol.

The patient story was so-so. The case didn't have as many cool symptoms and there was no funky camera work inside her body, that I recall anyway. But one of the eeriest things I can remember seeing on television was Cuddy's realization that her patient, whose face was swollen and unrecognizable from injuries and burns, was silently screaming. Horror.

In Summary: Definitely still one of the best shows on TV.

Chuck (8:00 Mondays, NBC)

Chuck is an $11-an-hour Nerd Herd employee who receives a mysterious email from an old friend containing thousands of pictures with encrypted government secrets. Basically, someone died and made Chuck the new human computer. So of course the CIA and NSA (or is it FBI?) start chasing him, trying to use him. He survives a car chase, defuses a bomb, and develops sexual tension with a hot blonde NSA agent (or is it CIA...), all while looking and talking remarkably like Adam Brody's not-quite-as-cute older brother. I'll take it.

So Josh Schwartz strikes again, but unfortunately, this is no Gossip Girl. It's kind of uneven and, for a show about spies, not all that action-packed. Nevertheless, by resurrecting Seth Cohen under a new name, and adding Schwartz's slightly-nutty sense of humor and an awesome scene where two stoned skaters narrate Chuck's car chase ("Whoa, computer emergency"), Chuck succeeds. If my crazy TV/class/work/workout schedule doesn't wear me out, I'll keep watching.

In Summary: I'll give it a dece. Bonus points for cute nerd hero.

Reaper (9:00 Tuesdays, CW)

This was the nicest surprise of my weekend. Funny and original, it centers around Sam, a 21-year-old guy who just realized that his parents sold his soul to the devil before he was born. Now he has to mini-vac fugitive souls that have escaped from hell and return them right back where they belong, via the portal at the local DMV.

Possibly the best character, certainly the funniest, is Sam's best friend Sock, who's basically a cross between Jack Black and Seth Rogen, and made me laugh out loud like a dork to myself several times while I watched this streaming on The CW's site. Andi, meanwhile, is the UST character and as such mostly acts charming and causes Sam to be cutely nervous. I love me some painfully obvious UST, and even better if the rest of the show is funny. Plus, you can't beat a concept like this one!

In Summary: Enthusiastically recommend.