Fall TV Kicks into High Gear

Matt Busekroos

On Monday, Sept. 22, the new television season officially begins with the return of the CBS comedies and “Heroes” on NBC. As we say goodbye to the summer that brought us the good (Beijing Olympics), the bad (“I Survived a Japanese Game Show”) and the ugly (“The Secret Life of the American Teenager”), the arrival of old favorites could not be welcomed soon enough.
College students are constantly inundated with work while trying to hold social obligations. With such limited time, how do you know what to watch?
Mondays are busy (and tiring) as the weekend comes to an end and the work for the week is just beginning to pile. The combo of “Gossip Girl and “One Tree Hill” is a staple for many girls (and some guys) on campus; however, one of the best new shows last season was “Chuck.” “Chuck” is an hour long program that stars Zachary Levi as Chuck Bartowski. The affable Chuck works at an electronics chain and discovers that he holds a computer chip in his brain, which carries clandestine government secrets. John Casey (Adam Baldwin) and Sarah Walker (Yvonne Strahovski) are agents hired to protect Chuck. In the process, Chuck and Sarah share a fake romance to protect their identities, which ultimately leads to palpable sexual tension. On Aug. 27, NBC picked up “Chuck” for an entire 22-episode season (after an initial 13), indicating a strong start for the show. At the root of the show’s strengths is its infallible mix of comedy, action and drama. “Chuck” premieres Monday, Sept. 29 at 8 on NBC.
The whimsical and visually stunning “Pushing Daisies” comes back after a successful freshman season that earned the show a wondrous twelve Emmy nominations. Ned (Lee Pace) has the gift to bring people back to life with the touch of his hand to their skin. Ned and his partner in crime, Emerson Cod (played by the always brilliant Chi McBride), investigate murders for money using Ned’s special gift. Ned used his power to bring his childhood friend (and love interest) Chuck (Anna Friel) back to life, along with his golden retriever, Digby. If the person Ned touches stays awake for more than one minute, they fully come back to life and someone in close proximity kicks the bucket instead. One day as a child, Ned’s mother collapsed and died. Ned brought his mother back to life after discovering his power; however, Chuck’s father died instantly since he was close to the scene when Ned used his gift. In the first season finale, Chuck discovered her father died by the hand of Ned’s power. As the second season heats up, it will be up to Ned to get Chuck to restore her faith in him. “Pushing Daisies” premieres Oct. 2 at 8 on ABC.
The traditional, multi-camera comedy is practically dead; however, it is the Julia Louis-Dreyfus fronted “The New Adventures of Old Christine” that is one of the funniest sitcoms on television. An Emmy winner for the role in 2006, Louis-Dreyfus plays “old” Christine Campbell, a single mother, who has neurotic tendencies and is surrounded by her best friend Barb (Wanda Sykes) and brother, Matthew (Hamish Linklater). Christine has a solid relationship with her ex-husband Richard (Clark Gregg) and his girlfriend “new” Christine (Emily Rutherford). The comedy is already entering its fourth season and is expected to unveil an unforeseen twist involving two characters embarking on a same-sex marriage. “The New Adventures of Old Christine” returns Wednesday, Sept. 24 at 8 on CBS.
Forget your weekly Thursday night trips to Hammer Jacks and stay home to watch NBC’s “The Office.” The 2006 Best Comedy Emmy winner returns for its fifth season and will be sure to pick up on several storylines that were left dangling in the season finale last May. The main conceit of “The Office” is that it is a single-camera “mockumentary” based around a struggling paper supply company, Dunder-Mifflin. Michael Scott (Steve Carell) is the Regional Manager, who is consumed in a tiring relationship with his ex-boss, Jan Levinson (Melora Hardin). Michael and Jan split in a post- strike episode after the two threw a disastrous dinner party. Jan came back in the season finale to tell Michael that she is pregnant, but not with his child. After spending the finale enamored with the new HR Rep., Holly (Academy Award nominee Amy Ryan), Michael gave up wanting to court her and decided to help Jan with her baby instead. Paper salesman Jim Halpert (John Krasinski) planned to propose to his receptionist girlfriend Pam Beesly (Jenna Fischer); however, another salesman Andy (Ed Helms), proposed to accountant Angela Martin (Angela Kinsey) before Jim had the chance to ask Pam. Expect Michael to struggle with his feelings for Holly while standing by Jan’s side; we’ll also see how Jim and Pam cope with a long distance relationship with her at Pratt over the summer. “The Office” premieres Sept. 25 at 9 on NBC.
As the long, hot days of summer fade behind us, we look ahead to next week when our favorite television shows return. The 2007-2008 television season was a complete wash due to the writer’s strike. The costly upheaval halted television production for six months, much to the chagrin of networks and television aficionados alike. Hollywood is hoping this year brings a renewed success to television that was missing last season. Pop the popcorn, curl up in bed and prepare for a great season of television.