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Monday, January 5, 2009

C'mon Big TV! Mama Needs a New Pair of Shows!

Forgive my lame headline, but I feel as though TV in 2009 owes us. Us, being faithful television viewers, that is.

Granted, we'll watch just about anything they put on the air ("A Double Shot of Love," anyone?), but we are starting to reach our limits. Last year -- writers' strike or no writers' strike -- was just awful. It's getting to the point where we're so hungry for good TV, we're having television mirages -- picturing good writing, funny plotlines and non-annoying characters. Only after reaching to turn up the volume do we realize we're left with just a fistful of sand.

OK, that's a bit dramatic, but you get the point. We want, nay, NEED good TV. So c'mon 2009 -- how about a television comeback year?

Channel Surfing bloggers Sara Boyd, Malavika Jagannathan, Adam Reinhard and Thomas Rozwadowski are more hopeful than ever this year. Taking a glance at the new and returning shows for winter, we eached picked a show to preview -- with our hopes and expectations -- then will return later this week to let you all know how it went, and if we're doomed for another year of bad television.

"Nip/Tuck" -- 9 p.m., Tuesdays on FX

It's been quite the journey for Sean McNamara and Christian Troy, and it seems that moving their plastic surgery practice to Los Angeles only added new drama. So far in its fifth season, I had to wonder what the writers were smoking when they dreamed up some of the plotlines. Don't get me wrong, it was shocking and full of surprises, but also quite clear -- with this show, there is no line they will not cross. I'll be honest, I still have to look away during their quite graphic surgery scenes, but last season, I found myself even looking away when they weren't in the OR. Between Sean's crazed agent/stalker, the return of Dawn Budge (played by loudmouth Rosie O'Donnell) and Gina's return and sudden, er, downfall (yikes) it seems there's a lot riding on "Nip/Tuck's" return. Though I can't imagine with the direction they're taking this show, we'll be disappointed by the return.

-- Sara Boyd

"True Beauty" -- 9 p.m., Mondays on ABC

OK, let’s be honest, I’m kinda figuring that “True Beauty” – premiering tonight on ABC – is a cross between Ashton Kutcher’s other beauty-isn’t-just-skin-deep show “Beauty and the Geek” and Tyra Banks’ ridiculous but addictive “America’s Next Top Model.” With both Kutcher and Banks involved, I don’t think it’s a stretch. Based on the promo, “True Beauty” seems more like “Beauty and the Geek” than “Top Model.” Ten beautiful people come together and compete in challenges that they think are judging them on the outside, but – drumroll – little do they know that it's their “inner beauty” that counts. Although this has guilty pleasure potential written all over it, I’m not quite sure where it’s going after episode one when the true nature of the competition is revealed to the contestants who are still fighting over $100,000 and a spot on People magazine’s “100 Most Beautiful” list.

-- Malavika Jagannathan

"Scrubs" -- 8 p.m., Tuesdays on ABC

New home, fresh coat of paint. It makes sense, but "Scrubs" has been so unwatchable for three seasons, what could possibly bring back fans of the early eccentricity that defined Sacred Heart Hospital? Start with honesty. Creator Bill Lawrence has been shock-'n'-awed by the promotions department at ABC, so much so that he seems re-energized by a series that, despite meager ratings, has managed to keep its talented cast in place all these years. In a recent Entertainment Weekly interview, he promised a return to "real" characters so the audience would once again care as the final pieces of the puzzle -- notably J.D.'s (Zach Braff) exit from his longtime hospital home -- are put into place. It appears some hot and heavy network love is all Lawrence needed for a return to form -- though let's face it, even if the reason is Seinfeldian spite toward NBC ("If this show can pull in better ratings than, like, "Kath & Kim," it would really make me happy," Lawrence said), that's good enough for us non-newbies who wouldn't mind giving the show a second chance in its final season.

-- Thomas Rozwadowski

"According to Jim" -- 7 p.m., Tuesdays on ABC

As one of Channel Surfing's mortal enemies (we have quite a few, actually -- curse you, "American Idol!"), "According to Jim" occupies a rarified position in the world of TV, comparable to GM's role in the automobile market: It's too big to fail. Now in its eighth season, the sitcom, which stars Jim Belushi (who reminds me of the movie "Walk Hard," where the father keeps telling his son "The wrong kid died!"), is critically reviled, and floats just high enough in the toilet bowl ... er, Neilsen ratings ... to keep popping back up year after year. But are we being too hard on this monumental piece of excrement? Having never seen even a full minute of it myself, I volunteer my eyes, mind and soul to the watching of a complete half hour. I vow to go into it open-minded and treat the show fairly ... which is more than I would ever promise to "American Idol."

-- Adam Reinhard

Be sure to check back later this week to see what the Channel Surfing bloggers thought of the week of returns and new shows. Who knows? Maybe we'll even *gasp* like one of them!

Sara Boyd, ; Malavika Jagannathan, ; Adam Reinhard,; Thomas Rozwadowski,

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