Don’t forget your favorite ABC rejects

So it’s summer. Nice, right? Well, in your maddening sea of reruns, I hope you remember to pull ashore in time to watch the end of your favorite ABC shows. You know, your ABC favorites like Pushing Daisies, Eli Stone, and Dirty Sexy Money. And, of course, The Unusuals.

I’m more upset over Eli Stone‘s cancellation than I am about The Unusuals, but it’s a pretty slim margin. I loved The Unusuals. You could probably tell by my unusual attachment to Leo Banks and the fact that I adore any show with Amber Tamblyn. And the writing didn’t suck, too.

Honestly, I think the only cancellation this year I’m happy about is Cupid, just because if you were going to cancel it ten years ago, why bring it back with a sloppier cast? Anyway…

The Unusuals returns tonight at 10/9c to show their final eps. Why should you watch? Well, obviously, because it’s a good show. Also, because Noah Hawley (creator) twittered about a possibility of continuing the show elsewher, and if you support it now, maybe that will happen, no matter how fleeting it is. Honestly, I don’t know where and I don’t know how, but if it were to continue, I’d be a happy girl. A very happy girl. After all, we need to make sure Leo makes it to 43, right?

So watch tonight, and while you’re at it, write an email to ABC about how mad you are. Not sure what it might do, but show your support in some way. I’m hoping there might be a soft, faint glimmer of hope in what Noah twittered (should this be tweeted?), and I think the show deserves it.

Beyond that, don’t forget the rest of your ABC shows.

Pushing Daisies returns May 30 at 10/9c for three episodes (yeah, that’s this Saturday)

Eli Stone returns June 20 at 10/9c for four episodes

Dirty Sexy Money returns July 18 at 10/9c for four episodes

And while you’re at it, catch Kings on NBC, which returns sometime in June. Man, even though there’s good stuff on, this summer’s gonna be heartbreaking.

A cat, a cop, and a hooker walk into a precinct…

THE UNUSUALS: 1.01 “The Pilot”

Thank you for bringing Amber Tamblyn back to television. I’ve been a huge fan since Joan of Arcadia (and yes, I’m still bitter about that cancellation).

Last night’s The Unusuals was a hit, in my opinion. It was nutty, it was serious, and it was intriguing. It’s all about secrets, and what you know might not be the whole story.

We start with Shraegar’s promotion, bringing her to a brand-new precinct with no time to even change out of her undercover hooker attire. Enter our cast of unusuals, who each have their own stories that, hey, Shraegar is secretly hired to find out.

Enter intrigue. It’s not just about getting to know her new coworkers. She needs to know what’s going on beneath the surface, especially with her new partner. We already know some stuff: theft, cancer, 42-year-old death. It seems like not that bad a gig, except for the fact that her predecessor seemed to have the same job and was found dead in a park.

But the show’s not as dark as it sounds. I mean, sure, there’s investigating a death, but then we had Banks and Delahoy trapping a suspected feline-killer in a cop car with cats in order to get a confession. There’s the comedic aspect as well.

Personally, I have to give the show kudos. It’s hard to have a successful pilot when there are so many characters to keep up with. Sure, at the end of the day I had to look on IMDB to remember their names, but they actually did a great job of distinguishing people as three-dimensional characters without confusion or leaving a man behind. That takes talent.

Overall, I’ll keep watching. I think this was a great series opener and we definitely have a lot to learn. Like will Banks make it to 43? How did Delahoy survive those bullets (he seems very capable at avoiding certain death, ignoring that whole cancer thing)? And does Shraeger have more to hide?

Plus, I see kindred spirit in Banks. Maybe it’s because I’m paranoid or just the fact that he can actually pull off a bullet-proof vest 24/7, but I really like him. There’s this vulnerability I’m instantly loving and want to befriend.

Anyway, I’m looking foward to seeing more. And hey, if they had to get rid of Life on Mars (bitterness, bitterness), at least they replaced it with something decent, and not more reality TV.

High, low, or fluff?

CASTLE: 1.02 “Nanny McDead”

I really want to like this show. I really do. It’s just so painful to watch that I just don’t think I can.

And I’m sorry, Nathan Fillion. I wanted to continue watching you, not just because you’re a Whedon alum, but because if I see an actor I like, I want to follow them. Like Amber Tamblyn in The Unusuals. I will watch because of that.

Unless it’s a lame spinoff, then all bets are out.

And honestly, Nathan Fillion is doing a good job with the show. He’s doing the whole charming, funny, pompous guy routine well. And if we could do an entire series on his character plus his daughter and mother, I’d be quite happy. But no, we have to include all this procedural crap.

The writing’s the problem. It’s like someone on the writers’ staff is coming up with creative ways to find a body (covered in flowers and crumpled in a dryer are definitely unique), but then everything after that is just…crap.

Let’s look at last night’s episode. If we went into the predictability scale, from scene 2, we assumed it was the father that hired the nanny. In fact, I swore by it, 5 minutes in. The backup was his wife.

Now, we find out that it was neither of them. Here’s the problem. It took us 30 minutes to find out that it wasn’t them, and then they decide to throw a curve ball 5-10 minutes later by introducing an entirely new couple that we knew nothing about. At that point, you just wonder if the writers’ staff got halfway through the episode and said, “Oops. We have 30 more minutes. Let’s change who murdered her to someone else.”

I realize I’m asking a lot, but introducing people who are important to the logic of plot is kinda preferable.

Then, the final scene. I realize this is supposed to be the moment that we find out that our female detective (whatever her name is) is supposed to have good negotiation skills and be relatable and all that–aka, a big moment–but I was too focused on the fact that she was crouched on the floor.

Let’s back up. That seems like a stupid point, right? Well, the point of putting the gun on the floor was so that the girl with the HUGE KNIFE (wait, why did she have that huge knife? never mentioned) wouldn’t feel threatened and would give up said HUGE KNIFE. So female detective puts it on the floor.

Now, in police school, don’t they then teach you to stand back up? So what if the gun is on the floor if you’re just going to keep your hand on it anyway. Plus, if you’re going to keep your actor like that, make it real. Have her need the gun again. I was so busy analyzing that from a directorial standpoint that I missed the big moment.

Meanwhile, female detective is as one-dimensional as a kindergartener’s drawing of a pile of bricks. Note: That’s even less entertaining than a real pile of bricks.

I just wish that there was something fresh here. The fresh idea is that this writer’s following her around, but the only thing he’s adding other than quips is information that he gathers because so-and-so is a “big fan.” That seems completely unrealistic to me. Trust me. I can name some great authors that I buy everything they write, but if I saw them in person, I certainly wouldn’t recognize them. Authors do not equal celebrities in many cases. Richard Castle is not, well, Nathan Fillion for God’s sake.

Anyway, I don’t think I can bring myself to watch another episode, unless it’s background noise while I’m doing something else. They really just have to step it up. And sadly, there’s been no indication, like in Dollhouse, that a major event will happen to make the series any better.

It hurts me to know that such shotty writing is on TV when smart shows like Studio 60 and Eli Stone can’t seem to make it more than a season or season and a half.

Sorry, Nathan. I tried.

Well, this is handy

Need help remembering those mid-season premiere dates? Well, E! has made a nice list to help the cause. If you’re wondering what I’m most interested in, take a look below. Let me know if there are any you’re excited about, too. Including Dollhouse. That will ROCK.

Sunday, Jan. 4

Desperate Housewives 

Monday, Jan. 5

One Tree Hill

Tuesday, Jan. 6

Scrubs

Thursday, Jan. 8

30 Rock
The Office

Thursday, Jan. 15

Bones – Note that this show is moving to Thursday!

Friday, Jan. 16

Battlestar Galactica – I’m not as interested in this show because I’ve never seen it, but guest writer JC is, so new posts should be on their way!

Tuesday, Jan. 20

Fringe

Wednesday, Jan. 28

Life on Mars – Look! It’s still around!

Monday, Feb. 2

Chuck, 3D episode — Ok, I’m not actually interested in this show, but a 3D episode? Really? Probably won’t watch, but I needed to post that one.
Heroes, Vol. IV: Fugitives

Friday, Feb. 13

Dollhouse – Hell yeah!

Monday, March 9

Castle – I k now little about it, but Whedon alum and Dr. Horrible star Nathan Fillion is in it, so I might as well try it out.

Tuesday, March 17

Reaper – Not sure I’ll report on it, but might check out the second season.

Tuesday, March 24

Cupid – Debating whether it’s even worth checking out.

Wednesday, April 8

The Unusuals – Amber Tamblyn returns!

I’m noticing that some shows weren’t represented here that I know are coming back, namely, the CBS favorites. I’ll try to post them when I find out more.

I’m still heartbroken that Eli Stone is not on this schedule (supposedly, it will get a finale at some point), but I guess there’s not much I can to at this point except watch my season 1 DVDs over and over again. Sigh. Maybe I’ll be consoled by Dollhouse and The Unusuals. Maybe.

Science and Eli unite

ELI STONE: 2.08 “Owner of a Lonely Heart”

I love me some nerdiness. Especially when it goes hand in hand with one of my favorite shows.

This week’s Eli Stoneshowed us a future Nobel Prize winner who is basically Unibomber-esque. And in case you’re wondering, no, that wasn’t Amber Tamblyn. Instead, it was Danielle Panabaker. Who? Well, for those of you who didn’t watch Disney Channel, oh, five years ago (or more), she was one who got her start on Disney’s original movie Stuck in the Suburbs. Anyway…

I enjoyed watching her on Eli, despite the DC roots. I think she played the rebellious, bitter genius well, despite the fact that sometimes that type of character can come across as a cliche. I love incorporating the idea of science and invention into shows, too. It makes the viewers even wonder where we can go in science: What’s the realm of disbelief and what belongs in possibility?

Larger questions aside, this episode just made me lament the fact that the show is being cancelled. For a pretty regular episode, it really gave us some deep background into characters. Jordan’s marriage is imploding–divorce proceedings came and went–and now Taylor is finding out some skeletons in Jordan’s closet about her mother. Taylor’s mother has never been anyone we’ve even considered in this show so far, so it was a surprise to see some development and realizations. Or even to discover what her absentee mother meant to Taylor–she who has a more protected heart. I guess being a to-be mom brings out some of this (the baby being another thing we won’t see develop further after cancellation).

Then there’s Dr. Chen, who we’ve discovered is having a hard time with his business (who isn’t nowadays?). Even Eli is turning to other people when Chen won’t grant his wish of the Dark Truth. So we’re seeing some conflict with Chen as Eli still struggles with his future and his visions. This is actually becoming a common theme for this season–more so than the understanding of season one–and one that won’t get fully developed either.

Meanwhile, with the Dark Truth, we see more of Nate. I love Nate, and honestly, since the premiere of this season, I love him more and more. He’s so supportive and smiles so much more. So to see that he might be broken-hearted in an upcoming episode is terrible. I want him to have a happy ending. Can we fit that in before cancellation?

Clearly, cancellation is an error. We need more time. More time with these characters and to make Eli happy. How can he “Live Brave” with so little time? If it’s not an aneurysm, it’s ABC.

More moves and new shows for ABC

Very rarely are we usually excited about midseason shows. It’s more exciting now than it used to be for some. I, however, don’t watch American Idol, Lost, or 24, so it’s never meant that much for me.

But this year it’s rather exciting for me. With Dollhouse on its way in–the newest show from Joss Whedon with Eliza Dushku as the leading lady–this midseason should be rather exciting…as long as the show’s as good as the hype (I’m sure it is) and it sticks around (please, FOX?).

But what about the other networks. Say, ABC? Instead of going with the new, I’m excited that ABC is bringing back the old. Scrubs is back on deck for the ABC midseason, and I’m looking forward to it.

ABC recently announced their schedule for January and beyond. Scrubs will be given a full hour on Wednesday at 8:00–that’s two new episodes each week. Which is nice since they got shoved into the midseason.

I’m still wondering about this season. From what I heard last year, it was supposed to be its final season. When the writer’s strike kicked into high gear and stopped some of its episodes, the creator wasn’t sure how to continue the series. He has an entire plan as to how it was going to end and he didn’t want to truncate it, considering releasing the entire season as planned on DVD only.

With the new ABC adoption policy (you know, where ABC buys all old shows, whether from 1998 or 2008), I wonder how this is going to turn out. You could tell last season that some episodes were shown out of order now that the show wasn’t ending. For example, the season finale has Kelso still working at the hospital when earlier in the season he clearly retired. At least with the move to ABC, the creator gets to finish out his plot (which was really revving up, in my opinion).

The question, though, is whether it will actually end. I hear rumors–nothing confirmed–around the blogs about a ninth season: Will there be one? Will Zach Braff be involved? Why can’t I spell Zach Braff anymore without wanting to type Zac Efron? Why has my world plummeted due to the Disney Channel?

(Ok, the last two questions weren’t asked in the blog world.)

I hear that with the new season, we’ll be getting some new interns–new interns that could be used for a ninth season. Again, this is all blogosphere speculation. I don’t know what I think about this. Why can’t, if a creator sees a natural end, we just let a show end?

I think it’s time after this season. I’m thrilled we’ll be able to see how the creator wanted it to be, though annoyed that episodes are already out of order and it might be changed because ABC wants it longer. I guess I’m looking negatively already, when the season hasn’t even started, but the show’s been around for a while, the actors want to do other things, and I think it should be time after this midseason finishes up.

In other news, ABC’s announcement mentioned some spring shows in the works, including The Unusuals and the remake of Cupid. Good to see Amber Tamblyn’s show really is on deck, though I’m still skeptical of our reincarnation of Cupid.

Oh, and Life on Mars will be moving to Wednesday–a good move in my opinion.

No dates yet, but at least we know what they’re thinking. Well, except about some unanswered Scrubs questions.

Lack of the old, go with the new

The World Series stole my Wednesday night. Ok, not really, but since the only shows that I watch on Wednesdays are America’s Next Top Model and Bones, I really have nothing to write about. Bones was a rerun, and I’d have nothing to say about ANTM other than, “I can’t believe they chose to send Sheena home instead of Elina. I can’t stand Elina. Send her home. If she wins, I’ll be really mad. But I’m afraid they’re going to make her win. Grr.”

See? No one wants to read that.

So instead, I thought I’d write about an upcoming show. Slated for mid-season 2008-2009 (which basically means January-ish) is The Unusuals, starring one of my favorite actresses Amber Tamblyn of Joan of Arcadia. As every report seems to love to share, this would be her first TV series after Joan got dropped in 2005.

The Unusuals is a dramedy to be aired on ABC. I can’t quite get a grasp of the premise, other than that it’s a cop show that takes place in New York, and each of the members of the squad has its own quirk about him or her. Amber Tamblyn plays Casey, a young detective and black sheep of her family. Here’s the description found on TV.com:

The Unusuals is described as a comedic procedural. Sometimes life takes an unexpected turn, as in the morning Casey Schrager is a vice detective and later finds herself a part of the homicide squad. As Casey gets to know her new co-workers she discovers that each one has their own sense of humor and their own secrets. The Unusuals was created by Noah Hawley and is produced by Denis Leary, Peter Tolan and Jim Serpico, also known for FX’s Rescue Me.

Now, I’ve never seen Rescue Me, so I don’t know how funny that show is. But I’ve heard good things about it in general, so having Denis Leary on board makes me smile. My issue is that I still see Amber Tamblyn as a rather young person, so having her be a detective seems a little strange. Maybe it’s just because I keep picturing her as Joan or Tibby, but it just seems out of place. I’m a huge fan, though, so I’m looking forward to seeing how she plays it.

In general, I just want to know more about it. Promos, ads. I found this article about it, but that’s about it. Well, there are others, but most of them say about the same thing. ABC hasn’t posted anything on their site about it yet, sadly.

But I’m looking forward to it. It makes me feel better to know there’s a little bit of comedy involved–it explains the mustaches, why Eddie from Friends has been cast, and how it will stand out from the rest of the cop shows.

So stay tuned. The more I hear, the more I’ll let you know!