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The ‘Dead To Me’ Pool of SF TV

Almost all of the new SF(ish) TV shows for 2008 have premiered. Since there are so many shows, and I have so little time to watch, This season has a bumper crop of SF related shows and there is no way I can watch them all so I have to ruthlessly prune what I watch so that I can watch a few of them. The cut line is necessarily low.

Dead To Me

Heroes – At one time, a must watch as soon as the kids went to bed, during season 1, this show has slowly slid down the slope into soap opera ridiculousness, where the characters are at the mercy of the ‘plot’, such as it is. Toss in new people with new powers, and the world, or New York, always in a state of constant peril, and Heroes was the first to be chopped.

Knight Rider – This was the second. NBC is trying to copy the cheese factor of the original series but also spicing it up with some sort of conspiracy surrounding Michael’s missing time. Maybe I’ve just matured beyond enjoying the cheese, but this doesn’t interest me at all. Throw in the fact that the guy playing Michael Knight looks like he’s 12, and ‘acts’ like Keanu Reeves and chop, chop, chop.

The Sarah Connor Chronicles – Somewhat sadly, TSCC is now on the cutting room floor. The writing was on the wall last year when John was able to write a ‘virus’ to infect the traffic mainframe in about 30 seconds of off screen time. The level of tech realism hasn’t gotten better and the overall story doesn’t appear to be going anywhere interesting. And why don’t the bad Terminators act like Terminators? Arnold’s original didn’t care about body count, these shouldn’t either. And you have Terminators after your son, and you’re going to insist he attend school? Without you there? Really?

On The Chopping Block

Eleventh Hour – I know this just premiered last night, but I was underwhelmed. While the story was somewhat interesting, it wasn’t really anything new for fans of science fiction. The big problem was with the characters. Neither of the main characters was that interesting or sympathetic, being just stereotypes of the female FBI agent and the non-socially adept ‘genius’. Yawn. One more poor outing and CHOP!

Sanctuary – Sadly, this one hasn’t grabbed me yet. The pilot was so slow moving I almost feel asleep (and I haven’t seen it all yet either, so maybe it gets better). Again, I didn’t find anything new in the premise, nor did I find the characters to be particularly interesting. The male lead is a poor man’s Shawn Spencer from Psych. Cool stuff will have to happen soon or the axe will drop on this one as well.

Even knocking all of the above out still leaves me with a lot of TV to watch: Chuck, Eli Stone, Fringe, The Mentalist, Pushing Daisies, My Own Worst Enemy and Life on Mars. Still too many for me, so the ones ‘on deck’, as it were, for the chopping are My Own Worst Enemy and The Mentalist.

What shows have you decided to chop out of your schedule?

About JP Frantz (2323 Articles)
Has nothing interesting to say so in the interest of time, will get on with not saying it.

18 Comments on The ‘Dead To Me’ Pool of SF TV

  1. I gave up on Fringe after the first full episode. There were things I liked about it — particularly Jackson and Noble’s interaction — but not enough to keep watching. When the inevitable first season DVD comes out, I’ll contemplate picking it up. (And probably pass.) And I’m seriously thinking about bailing on Heroes. And honeslty, I sort of liked last season. I think I’ll give it one more week, but that’s probably it.

    I’m not caught up enough on a lot of other shows to consider bailing. Yet. Although I’m thinking Sanctuary looked a lot more interesting when it was a web-only series.

    Do the bevy of shows I have no intention of ever watching (Knight Rider, Eleventh Hour, Eli Stone, Life on Mars — a little tempted there) count? Or Prison Break — which, at this point, is just bad science fiction/conspiracy thriller? I bailed after the (very fun) first season but caught a new episode recently. I didn’t see anything to make me regret getting out when I did.

  2. I guess everyone has a right to their own opinion.

    I have been a little underwhelmed by TSCC, I’ll admit that. But I still find it to be an enjoyable show. Yes, the Terminators really should have killed half of California by now, but c’mon…it’s television. There’s guns. A cute, good-guy Terminator. Lot’s of Fords and explosions.It’s good enough to watch when nothing else is on.

    I totally disagree with your assessment of Heroes. I love that show, even though I felt Season 2 fell off a bit. But Season 3 is right back at it. No, it’s not as wondrous as the first season. But the stories are still complex and intriguing. The characters are continuously developing. I absolutely love Heroes.

    The only show I was a bit disappointed in was Fringe. It’s kinda like X-Files but without the good stories. I do like the crazy father, but I can’t stand that son hate Daddy angle. It’s overdone.

    I kinda agree with you on the new Knight Rider series also. I saw the first one, and being the CGI/special effects junkie I am, I liked that part. But yeah…it’s just too cheesy. When you find yourself waiting for a car to “do something” and not interested in the actual story, that means it’s time to move on.

    BTW, has anyone noticed how heavy these shows are promoting certain vehicles. Heroes and Nissan was ridiculously obvious in the first season, and Terminator and Ford is doing the same. Or is it GM? But you get my point. I know times have changed, but I don’t remember Hazzard County being covered in Dodges during the eighties.

    Alright, I’m done.

  3. Pushing Daisies is on the chopping block for me, I’m really sorry to say.  While the premise and cutsie execution were delightful during season one, I’m finding it a bit cloying this season.  Having said that, my deep and abiding love for Kristin Chenowith, Chi McBride, Ellen Greene and Swoosie Kurtz will probably keep me coming back for at least a few more episodes.  Having said THAT, I secretly want Ned to kiss Chuck.  I know, I’m a bad person.

  4. Fringe was on the plank, backing slowly towards the edge but Episode 3 backed it away from the edge somewhat.

    TSCC is meh so I cut it out. I just haven’t been that on board with the Terminator universe because of time travel issues.

    Heroes is fun, if ridiculous. There is no way you can even attempt to look at the show as science fiction. It’s complete science fantasy with no rules whatsoever. Their time travel premise, powers system, and plot premise are completely ridiculous. There are so many inconsitencies it’s laughable.

    Knight Rider didn’t get past the draft board.

    Sanctuary is on the DVR haven’t watched it yet. The heavy use of green screen in the first few minutes is a bit disconcerting. Life on Mars and The Eleventh Hour are on the DVR as well.

    Pushing Daisies is fantastic and completely unique. As such, its season safe. Other Season safers are The Big Bang Theory and Lost.

    Non SF that makes the cut: 30 Rock, Office, Colbert Report, Prison Break, House, South Park, Mythbusters

    I think that the world is tired of over dramatized shows. The world is a bleak place and TV doesn’t have to be.

  5. I admit, if I don’t get to the remote in time I end up watching TSCC (okay, I admit, only because Brian Austin Green is nice to look at).  Fringe is still on the plus side for me only because I’m so desperate for something to watch that hints at SF.   But the time travel mistakes give me brain cancer.

    I didn’t bother trying Eleventh Hour because, frankly, it’s just Fringe with other actors – and Fringe isn’t even good enough to warrant the same theme with other actors.

    I’m not a Heroes watcher, so I can’t really comment on that one.  And Sanctuary isn’t something that perked my interest either.  “Sam” with a strange, unidentifiable accent and enough green screen to fill an ocean? No thanks.

    Knight Rider?  I caught 30 minutes of their big “mini-movie” a while back, and laughed myself silly. 


  6. @Jacob TSCC is hooked up with Dodge.

    I’m still holding onto TSCC, though I gave Fringe one episode and that was it for me. Just not my kind of show. I wasn’t expecting much out of Sanctuary (and that’s what I got), but I’ll give it a few more episodes. I still go with SG-A, Lost, BSG (whenever it comes back)… but that’s about it.

  7. By Life on Mars do you mean the British original or the inevitably inferior American remake?   

  8. Sarah Connor was pure writing cowardice!

    In the movies it was implied that Sarah hooked up with drug dealers and all manner of creaps to get what she needed and keep the kid safe. She couldn’t possibly do anything immoral since she knows everyone dies and her kid is the key to human survival. She could kill a room full of babies if it got her money/suppies to keep John alive.

    Although I wouldn’t want to see that, the show should be about them moving through the underworld, not going to school and living in houses. It should be crack houses, drug dealing, weapons trade with gangs and so forth, much like a heist film.  

    They dropped the ball on the grit. 

  9. Add another vote to the “Pushing Daisies” chopping block.  It started out quirky and original and fun…but I am now bored with it.    “Heroes” was on the chopping block, but saved itself with a couple of pretty decent episodes.


    The only show on right now that is completely above the chopping block fray is “Supernatural” – best show that I watch each week!

  10. @Ausir:

    I am talking about the US version of Life on Mars. After watching it, I was struck by how much they tried to copy the British version, at least when it comes to the way the characters look. And while I can see Harvey Keitel being a decent Gene Hunt if given time, Philip Glenister owned the role from the moment he came on screen. The same can be said of the Sam Tylers (Jason O’Mara vs. John Simm).

  11. I read about the ending to the BBC Life on Mars, and jesus!



  12. I haven’t watched any of Heroes S3 yet, but I’m planning on it – really! I swear! I really am!

    I haven’t watched but maybe 3 or 4 eps of BSG S4… I just couldn’t get into it.  The main story line still interests me, but not watching the show – I just want to know what happens and not suffer through all the angst to find out.  I listen the Galactica Quorum podcast for recaps and episode discussions.  Once BSG starts up again in January, I’ll give a try again.. but I’m not holding out much hope.

    I’m still watching Stargate Atlantis, TSCC, Smallville, Bones – oh, and Star Wars, the Clone Wars.  That does it for my TV viewing.   If I had to cut out BSG, TSCC, and Smallville – I wouldn’t be upset.  Bones is 45 mininutes of couch-time with my wife cause she likes that show, and Clone Wars I can enjoy and geek out over with my kids, who are also Star Wars geeks. And I’m a Gater – I’ll always be a fan of SG1 and SGA – even though some of it sucks.






  13. Saw the premier of Fringe – chop!

    I’m getting close to the edge with Heroes – Hiro and Ando are still good for a chuckle once in a while, but the rest of the show, as many have said, is well into soap opera territory.

    Sarah Connor is another one I’ve got mixed feelings about. Some of the episodes work for me, others, not so much. Getting a little tired of Sarah’s constant angst-ridden stares into the distance.

    And there are a bunch of new shows I’m not even bothering with – Clone Wars included (not after this summer’s garbage).

    On the good side, I have recently latched on to Chuck.


  14. This is why all these shows exist – they each appeal to some at least!

    I gave up on Heroes after season 1 – I was already unimpressed.

    Knight Rider is a bad show.  I keep thinkin it’s trying to be a Dukes of Hazard remake.  Two episodes was enough for me.

    Sarah Connor is mixed – some episodes are great, others are terrible and full of plot holes big enough to drive that Dodge Ram through (heh.)  I keep hoping it will go in a darker direction.

    I gave up on Pushing Daisies too – not sure why really, probably just because I ran out of time to watch it.

    On the other hand, I’m liking Clone Wars.  I guess that cements my status as raving fanboy, but while I can’t stand the droid army interaction (why are they programmed for 3-stooges comedy?) but I really like the rest of it.  The clones themselves are more interesting than I expected.

    I’ve watched Fringe so far, but it isn’t fantastic.  It’s really X-Files revisited.  Honestly, I don’t see it as being better or worse than X-Files overall.

  15. I’m glad to see I’m not the only one giving up on Heroes.  The first season was fantastic.  So how did it get to be so painful to watch by the third season?  Surely, this series must be an example of what not to do with a hit TV show.  I think the biggest problem is the story doesn’t progress, but just starts over with each new season.  You know, end of the world, hints from the future, must stop so-and-so.  Another problem is the bad guys need to stay dead when they die.  Everyone keeps coming back.  It’s like they have an ensemble cast they can’t fire, so they just keep shuffling actors into new roles.  And it’s practically incestuous – is it going to turn out that everyone is related?  And they are even recycling old ideas.  One of the best things about the first season was the comic book and the artist that paints the future.  Now in the third season, they have another artist that paints the future.  And the thing that bugs me the most is time travel.  Time travel can be the black hole of plotting, and these guys have fallen into it.  The first season used future knowledge in just the right dose.  The third season has turn the plot into a plate of spaghetti.

    I also gave up on Pushing Dasies.  I tried Fringe, Sanctuary and Life on Mars.  They are all iffy, but I might try them again.  I’m still looking forward to Lost, and I’m still amazed at True Blood.




  16. @Jim Harris

    “I tried Fringe, Sanctuary and Life on Mars.  They are all iffy, but I might try them again. “

    I’d try the original British version of LoM instead of the American if I were you.

  17. I thought Sanctuary was actually fairly decent, myself…I’ll give it a few more episodes to see which direction it goes.


    TSCC – I keep watching this only because of Summer 🙂


    Heroes – pure escapism entertainment…call it a guilty pleasure for me.


    Lost – Awaiting the new season!

  18. My wife thinks I should stop watching the shows that I yell at or mock continuously while watching.  So Heros is on the chopping block but I haven’t pulled the DVR plug just yet.  The second and third seasons really just became the first season in the broad brush strokes with time travel, the law of unintended consequences of time travel, and multiple powers with no consistency or plot.  You would think after the third go around that people would remember that Peter or Syler can explode, Clair and Peter and Syler and several others can’t dye, and that ham handed fixes to the past produce ham handed futures. 

    As to the Sarah Connor Chronicles, I imagine that the terminators don’t always go trapsing through town willy nilly killing people because, unlike the time travellers on Heroes, they realize that they might just eliminate themselves from existence if they did that.  It would have to get really bad for me to stop watching it, right now it is doing fine.

    I have started watching Fringe as if it is an unintentional comedy.  It is certainly a parody of the X-files and if the writers intend the humor and the weird obviousness of the plot then they are geniuses.  I suspect that it is just a mistake of lazy writing. 

    It is possible that my willing suspension of disbelief function has been damaged in recent years by this very same programming.  The slow slide to curmudgeon begins.

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