Back to School

The new season has at last begun, and eager students are buckling down all over campus, absorbing new materials, debating new ideas, and anticipating developments to come.

I’m referring, of course, to the new television season.

I’ve only caught one new series thus far this season, and don’t yet have anything worthwhile to say about it. I’m intrigued, however, by the fact that two otherwise very dissimilar returning series focus in their early episodes on back-to-school anxieties. Of course, there’s a difference between being depressed and directionless and being a sitting duck for whatever’s coming out of the hellmouth next, but nonetheless: school is apparently, this year, a scary place.

So what new shows are you watching?

4 responses to “Back to School”

  1. I’ve been watching Push, Nevada. I both like it and I’m bored by it. There’s an element of forced connection to Twin Peaks that grates on me: it’s trying too hard to be “quirky” and “offbeat.” At the same time, I like the lead character, who seems nicely layered as a character, and the slowness of the show itself. Yes, the slowness.

    Not much happens in the hour really and for some reason, I’m liking that. Maybe it’s a response to the usual frenetic pace of E.R. and 24 and West Wing and all the cop shows that have SO much going on in the hour. It’s nice to have a slow leisurely pace.

    But again, I’m not really all that interested in the mystery that’s supposed to engage us and I’m finding the attempt at offbeat characterization of the town and its goings-on rather silly in its obviousness.

    But at least there was no preaching going on, as in Wednesday’s West Wing. I’ve given that show a considerable look-see since you convinced me at MLA a few years ago to watch, but Sorkin’s speechifying in the form of dialogue is starting to drive me away.

    I’m just waiting for the next Project Greenlight – the absurdity of the concept of that show coupled with the absurdity of EVERYONE’S behavior on a movieshoot can never be topped for sheer entertainment. Why see the movie? It could never top the show.

  2. I’ll confess — after all my persuasions — to having ceased watching The West Wing early last season. I got to the point where the real-life political situation in the world we actually inhabit was so bad that no amount of Sorkin speechifying, as you put it, could give me hope. And, if anything, the attempt at hope-giving struck me as cloying and unearned. Witness the role of the NSA on the show: in the era of Condoleeza Rice, Anna Deveare Smith’s thoughtfulness seems like a pipe dream. I think The West Wing, for better or for worse, needed the Clinton White House to make its particular brand of political analysis work. Now that it’s Wednesday on the Mickey Mouse Club (when anything can happen), the analysis has turned into an egregious kind of wish-fulfillment.

    And Project Greenlight: I’m with you on the superfluity of the film that results from the show. After all, unless Ben Affleck shows up in the last 15 minutes to save the day, how could it possibly work?

  3. Your comments about the demise of The West Wing only confirm why I never bothered to watch the show at all (so that would be Homicide, The West Wing….) BUT. I did finally become convinced that I was missing a real jewel in Buffy, so with the help of FX, I am now (almost) entirely caught up on that show and feel like I can talk about it with some amount of knowledge. Or perhaps it’s because I have all along been part of my very Scooby gang and never even knew it.

    But let’s get to the real must-see tv: The Sopranos. I thought the second episode this season was one of the best of the series, and I am already deliriously ensconced in blood, deception, bad hair, worse accents, and tomato sauce. The only new show I have added to my roster is Firefly, and though I think the show has potential, it also has a potentially fatal timeslot, 8pm on Fridays.

    And yes, the new season of Project Greenlight: let the trainwreck begin!

  4. School is apparently a scary place this year? Isn’t it scary every year? It’s an academic version of Project Greenlight.

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