Category Archives: 2007 Fall Preview

Heroes – “…Four Months Later”

“…Four Months Later”

September 24th, 2007

Slate recently posted an article about overpopulation against television casts, referring to it as a “plague.” As if to prove their point, Heroes started its second season struggling to come to terms with its expanding cast, and ignoring several of its key characters in the process. A meandering and inconclusive hour, “…Four Months Later” felt like we were being shown what a better writer could have done through subtle hints, as opposed to anything of true consequence.

The episode’s main focus was establishing that, forced to live normal lives due to the threat of The Company, our heroes are miserable. Noah moved from Primatech to Copy Kingdom, Claire went from athletic cheerleader to quiet Badminton player, and Nathan went from politician to alcoholic. It is only Parkman who gets out lucky, able to use his ability to read minds discreetly, earning a job as an NYPD Detective. Everyone else is suffering, big time. And do you know what? That doesn’t make for very exciting television.

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Cultural Learnings’ Fall 2007 Lineup: Thursdays

Yes, I am aware that there was a delay in posting Thursday’s lineup, but there was a reason for this. I’ve been anxious over this day in particular because, as per usual, it remains the most packed night of programming on the Fall Schedule, especially for me. And last night, I decided to see whether I might (finally) be able to cut Survivor out of my Thursday lineup. And, well, see below for whether or not that worked.

The Office

Airing four hour long episodes early in the season before Scrubs premieres, The Office is taking on Grey’s Anatomy single-handedly this year. It hopes to sustain last year’s ratings, and certainly has a decent shot at it. There’s some exciting developments heading into this season (Ryan as the boss, Jim/Pam, etc.), so even some uneven episodes won’t keep me away.

Cultural Learnings’ Review of The Office Finale 

30 Rock

This Emmy-winning comedy has the unfortunate circumstance of being located within a rather difficult timeslot: sure, it belonged to The Office last year, but it’s also against two other shows I’m interested in covering. Still, it gets this particular spot regardless of that development: the show was too good last season to consider putting on the backburner, although it doesn’t debut for a while yet.

Cultural Learnings’ 30 Rock Coverage 

Survivor: China

Yeah, I’m weak: as much as I might claim I can disconnect from this series in its 15th season, it just isn’t happening this time around. The cast of characters have already had a chance to make their impact, and the challenges despite repetition are usually enough to suck me in. I’ve tended to skip the Tribal Council sequences more now, but the point stands: I’m covering Survivor.

Cultural Learnings’ Survivor Coverage 

The Other Shows

Ugly Betty and Grey’s Anatomy are in a tough spot for me, one in terms of time period and the other due to a weak third season. Ugly Betty ended its first season on a high note, and certainly has a lot of momentum moving forward. But I never feel like I’m “caught up” in it, which is the way I perhaps felt about Grey’s Anatomy before a frustrating last stanza. The George/Izzie relationship took out a lot of steam, so it’s going to be wait and see for the series.

I’ll also be watching Scrubs when it returns late in the year, although my interest in that series has also wained.

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Filed under 2007 Fall Preview, 30 Rock, ABC, Grey's Anatomy, NBC, Reality TV, Scrubs, Survivor, Television, The Office, Ugly Betty

Cultural Learnings’ Fall 2007 Lineup: Wednesdays

Wednesdays are a day where there’s a lot of new shows debuting that I’ll probably be talking about at some point in time. Will Private Practice, ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy spinoff, bounce back from a weak back-door pilot? Will Dirty Sexy Money, one of three shows from Greg Berlanti on ABC’s Fall Schedule, take its fantastic cast and make it a primetime soap worth watching? And, as we’ll see tonight, will CBS’ Kid Nation overcome its child labor concerns to emerge as a feel good reality success?I want to answer all of these questions, but in the interest of cutting things down I’ve chosen two shows on Wednesdays that interest me that I’ll be covering in more detail. Considering that both are in danger of cancellation, I might be adjusting my Wednesday schedule (especially if Lost returns on the night early next year)

Pushing Daisies

I believe the adjective being thrown around for Pushing Daisies is “twee,” and I can’t really argue with that: its charm is perhaps its greatest asset, and Bryan Fuller’s series is the kind you fall in love with. I consider it my duty to cover it more closely, if only to help stave off its cancellation the best I can. Plus, it should be interesting to see how a fantastic pilot adapts into a procedural drama.

Pilot Preview: ‘Pushing Daisies’ 

Bionic Woman

NBC’s remake of the 70s property is getting a lot of buzz from NBC, but the huge changes from its pilot and Isaiah Washington’s casting certainly provide an extremely interesting perspective to the new season. My interest is piqued by the concept and Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica) as the villain, but it should also prove an interesting case study for pilot changes as well.

Cultural Learnings’ Bionic Woman Coverage

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Filed under 2007 Fall Preview, ABC, Bionic Woman, Kid Nation, NBC, Private Practice, Pushing Daisies, Television

Cultural Learnings’ Fall 2007 Lineup: Tuesdays

[The above/below is really quite tentative, if only because of CTV’s lack of a consistent Fall Schedule. Right now, Gossip Girl is airing a day before its U.S. airings on CTV in Canada, so I’m covering it a day early. However, Pushing Daisies is debuting in the same timeslot two weeks from now. I expect Pushing Daisies to get moved, but this could all change]

Tuesdays are a perfect day for television at Cultural Learnings thanks to a relatively light schedule on Wednesdays. Of course, spiting me once again, the TV deities weren’t kind enough to offer a plethora of shows on this particular evening. As a result, let’s look at the three shows that (for now) have made the cut into the rotation.


FOX’s biggest drama series has never quite had itself in a state of upheaval like this one: with Chase, Foreman and Cameron unemployed and a new set of residents incoming (Including Kal Penn (Kumar) and Olivia Wilde (The O.C.’s resident lesbian)), it seems like a good time to start paying closer attention to Hugh Laurie and company. I’m hoping this new element might cut down on the procedural predictability, but we’ll see.

Cultural Learnings’ House Coverage


Faced with the enormous task of battling off with House, a show that controls all sectors of the viewing audience, Reaper might struggle to gain traction. However, its pilot is quite sharp, and I think that there is a lot of potential in its concept that is worth investigating further. A few weeks in, I might be begging people to stop watching House to switch over to The CW for a change, but we’ll see if it even lasts that long. Fingers crossed.

Cultural Learnings’ Reaper Coverage

Gossip Girl

Earlier this evening, I already started covering this new drama from O.C. creator Josh Schwartz; it’s one of those shows where slick production values and adequate writing elevate what may otherwise be tossed aside as teen fare. My cynicism may grow too large to be contained within shorter articles, but for now we’re going to follow the Serena/Blair battle until the bitter end.

Cultural Learnings’ Review: Gossip Girl


Filed under 2007 Fall Preview, CTV, FOX, Gossip Girl, House, Reaper, Television, The CW

Review: ‘Gossip Girl’

From the moment that Gossip Girl opened with Peter, Bjorn & John, I felt a wash of Orange County air sweep through my window. Where else but Josh Schwartz’s former flame, ‘The O.C.’, would you find such attempts at musical relevance (a bit late due to the pilot delay)? After a month of endless promotion from CTV in Canada (Including a series of hideous testimonial-based commercials touting ‘Team Serena’ and ‘Team Blair’), it was almost a relief to know that young viewers would worry no longer: the next big teen drama has arrived.

I was most shocked by those elements of the series that the show’s endless commercials didn’t quite show us: Serena’s post-suicide attempt brother that brought her home, specifically, was definitely not in the teen debauchery commercials. Instead, we got the love triangles, the drinking and the debauchery. It’s just like how the commercials for The O.C. didn’t so much foreshadow the parental drama inherent to the show’s plot; said drama exists here as well, with two fathers and two mothers getting recurring story points within the episode.

If I were to put myself in the shoes of one of the show’s target viewers, those who would “pick a side” in the show’s central Serena vs. Blair showdown, I’d say that it was a successful first outing for the series. It delivers just the right amount of sexual content, underage drinking and upper class debauchery, and establishes the novel’s back story well; by the time the show intercut Chuck forcing himself on Serena and Serena’s past-fling with Nate, I could hear the sides being taken and the arguments forming.

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Filed under 2007 Fall Preview, CTV, Gossip Girl, Television, The CW

Cultural Learnings’ Fall 2007 Lineup: Mondays

[Although I’ll be covering some of this week’s early premieres, I thought I’d take a break this week and let readers know what shows I’ll be focusing on this television season. Thanks to writing a thesis and all, admittedly post volume might be lower, but I think it will simply challenge me to say more in less words. And I think we’d all agree that’s in the best interest of everyone. So, each day, I’ll preview the shows I’ll be following in this year’s lineup at Culturall Learnings. This doesn’t exclude other shows, but simply means they won’t be a focus. If you want me to write about anything, always feel free to send me an email at cultural.learnings @!]

Cultural Learnings’ Monday Lineup


NBC’s sophomore drama series disappointed with its finale, but I’m more than willing to give this strong ensemble another shot. With Kristen Bell appearing for an extended guest arc, and the Heroes: Origins segments to air at the end of the season, it’s looking like an interesting year for the crew. I’ll start the coverage with a look at the show’s season finale airing September 24th, where at least one of the characters in peril during last year’s finale (Peter, D.L. and Nathan) will perish.

Cultural Learnings’ Heroes Coverage 


A comedy of sorts from Josh Schwartz, Chuck follows the exploits of a Nerd Herd employee who finds himself a wealth of government secrets due to an email. The dialogue is sharp, and Schwartz has shown an ability to tap into the humour in more serious situations in the past. The show debuts on September 24th, and you can find my review of the show’s pilot by following this link.

Pilot Preview: “Chuck” – Cultural Learnings 


Little boxes on the hillside, little boxes made of ticky tacky, little boxes…sorry, I got carried away. Weeds’ infectious theme song isn’t the only thing keeping me interested: things heat up tonight with Mary-Kate Olsen’s arrival and further escalation of the U-Turn storyline. I’ll be covering the series until it rides off into the sunset in November. You can find my existing Weeds coverage by following this link.

Cultural Learnings’ Weeds Coverage

How I Met Your Mother

I discovered this show over the summer, and it was well worth my time: it is the best traditional sitcom on television, and is certainly deserving of more attention. The show premieres on September 24th with guest stars Enrique Iglesias and Mandy Moore, as Robin returns from Argentina while Ted has moved on from their breakup. This is one I hope that gains more viewers: if you want some more info, check out our coverage by following this link.

Cultural Learnings’ How I Met Your Mother Coverage

I’ll also be watching Aliens in America, The CW’s freshman sitcom, and may occasionally update on its progress and perhaps pick it up post-Weeds depending on how balancing four shows goes.

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Filed under 2007 Fall Preview, Aliens in America, Chuck, Cultural Learnings, Heroes, How I Met Your Mother, NBC, Television, Weeds

“When Does Lost Return?”, “What’s up with Jericho?” and Other Burning Fall Season Questions

[Taking a break from the Emmys coverage briefly, the fall season brings a lot of premieres, but also a lot of questions. So, to help answer those, here’s some answers to the most commonly asked ones. If you have any other questions, feel free to send us an email at cultural.learnings @]

When does Lost return?

Due to its shortened season, and to avoid running into any hiatuses, Lost will be starting its 16-episode run sometime in January or February of 2008. This should give producers more time to produce episodes, and hopefully we’ll get a better season out of the arrangement. It does, however, mean a fairly lengthy delay before new episodes: the Season Three DVD releases in time for Christmas, so you can satiate your desire with that if you’re desperate.

What’s Up with Jericho? Wasn’t it Renewed?

The short answer to this question is that it has been renewed, but it does not yet have a timeslot in which it will air. CBS is waiting on reaction to their new shows, as an open timeslot might mean that the already completed episodes of Jericho could begin airing as soon as possible. Otherwise, if nothing falters, the network will likely look for a slot at midseason (January) in which to air the episodes.

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Filed under 2007 Fall Preview, ABC, Battlestar Galactica, Jericho, Lost, Television, The Amazing Race

How ‘The Office’ Spent Its Summer Vacation

This YouTube video is spreading across entertainment blogs as I type…actually, it spread a lot earlier. But, to join the bandwagon in spreading a genuinely funny piece of entertainment, here’s The Office’s Summer Vacation. After the jump, I’ll discuss the video’s contents from a “What does this tell us about Season Four?” perspective.

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Filed under 2007 Fall Preview, NBC, Television, The Office

Dancing with the Stars: Season Four Cast Revealed

There are many contestants officially lined up to join the impressive lineup of stars who previously donned the fancy costumes and took part in Dancing with the Stars, ABC’s hit reality series. While the entire list of contestans can be found over at Zap2it, I want to point out the people who are pretty well guaranteed to perform well based on past expectations.

Mel B of The Spice Girls – The Spice Girls tour hype is growing, and her fame is perhaps the biggest amongst the female viewers the show craves. She’ll be a voting force, and by all logic should be able to dance. I know she’s gained weight, but she’s likely already been in training for the reunion tour anyways. She’s a contender. Plus, her partner is fan favourite Maksim.

Jane Seymour (Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman) – Les Moonves at CBS says that he still receives mail telling him to bring back Dr. Quinn, so I think that Jane Seymour might be a strong force with some of the older viewers that the show also brings in despite its flashy nature.

Cameron Mathison (All My Children) – Didn’t they learn their lesson in Season One when Kelly Monaco beat John O’Hurley and a riot ensused? Soap fans are a devoted, devoted bunch: just imagining his voting bloc considering it consists of young female supporters, and I think he’ll be paraded into the Semi-Finals at the very least.

Rounding things out: Floyd Mayweather Jr. (Boxer), Wayne Newton (Performer), Mark Cuban (Billionaire), Jennie Garth (90210), Josie Mavan (Who?), Marie Osmond (Singer), Albert Reed (Model/Surfer), Helio Castroneves (Nascar Driver).

Dancing with the Stars premieres its fourth season (Has it been that many? Yikes.) on September 24th with the first of three shows that week.


Filed under 2007 Fall Preview, ABC, Dancing with the Stars, Reality TV, Television

2007-2008 Fall Premiere News – Oh Canada, Early Airings of New Shows

According to CTV’s Fall Schedule, revealed recently, Canada will get day early airings of two drama premieres that are highly anticipated.

The CW’s Gossip Girl will be airing at 8pm on Tuesday, September 18th. This is a day earlier than its September 19th premiere on The CW.

Also, Pushing Daisies (The critic’s darling making its way on the hype train to hopefully success, pictured) will also debut at 8pm on Tuesday, October 2nd. This is also a day earlier than its ABC premiere on October 3rd.

Now, which show will actually be staying in the time slot? Well, that question doesn’t appear to be entirely clear. Either way, this news means that Canadian fans might be able to watch these shows a night early…or, if the schedule shifts around, they might only ever air once.

For all of the U.S. Premiere dates to compare, you can check out Cultural Learnings’ Fall Premiere Database.

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Filed under 2007 Fall Preview, ABC, CTV, Gossip Girl, Television, The CW