Saturday, September 22, 2007

New SF on TV: Chuck and Journeyman

I'm not normally the first to see new TV shows, but acting on a tip from my friend Craig, I've already recorded and watched two new SF shows from NBC, Chuck and Journeyman. They premier on network broadcast next week, but they're available now for free viewing without commercials! In our area, they're on Comcast's free "On Demand," and you can record them like any other show. (You have to dig a bit to find them, though.) I think you can also stream them online, though to me that's not nearly as appealing.

My wife and I watched Chuck the other night, and loved it! I did not altogether expect to, because the premise of a computer nerd who accidentally downloads the contents of the U.S. intelligence network into his brain seemed—well, a little thin. And I suppose it is. But the story was written with such wit and humor, was so funny and well acted, that we were both hooked and can't wait for the next episode. On a scale of 1-5 secret government data discs, I give this one a 4, easy.

Journeyman's premise is a journalist who, inexplicably and involuntarily, gets zinged back and forth in time—how and by what force, we don't know—seemingly for the purpose of his setting something straight for someone in need. Summarized that way, it doesn't sound too original. A little like Quantum Leap, but without the channeling of another person. Again, the writing and the acting catalyzed everything; Journeyman was engrossing and moving, and handled the built-in "Honey, where the hell have you been for two days?!" problem with believability and finesse. On a scale of 1-5 time machines, I give this one, too, a 4. It might be a tougher premise to sustain, but I hope they get a chance to try.

We all know that good shows sometimes die early if they don't get the right buzz, so I hope you go and check these out. Next up, the new Bionic Woman, which I understand features not just one but several actors from Battlestar Galactica.

"We have read your manuscript with boundless delight. If we were to publish your paper, it would be impossible for us to publish any work of lower standard. And as it is unthinkable that in the next thousand years we shall see its equal, we are, to our regret, compelled to return your divine composition, and to beg you a thousand times to overlook our short sight and timidity." —rejection slip allegedly from a Chinese economics journal



At 9:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dish Network also had those two shows available for free preview and Sally and I watched Chuck and also were pleasantly surprised. I didn't end up watching Journeyman though. I find it increasingly hard to jump on a new series before it has made through one season and has been annonced for renewal for a second. I just hate getting the carpet yanked out from underneath me once i've gotten into a series. Especially since the networks usually feel no obligation to offer up any kind of resolution most times, they just leave you right in the middle of some cliffhanger.


At 8:31 AM, Blogger Charlza said...

I've been so pre-occupied with rebuilding my website, I forgot to tell my DVR to record all the new shows. Thanks for the reminder!

I only realized this week that the actress in Bionic Woman is the same actress from the BBC/BBCA series Jekyll. I just got the DVD last week. I described Jekyll in a local listserv...

It's well written, suspenseful, somewhat graphic, has well developed characters with a touch of ruthless playfulness, a streak of dark humour and some wicked plot twists.

At 12:19 AM, Blogger Jeffrey A. Carver said...

I'm with you on the cancellation bit, Marco. (Though, somewhat to my surprise, NBC did allow Studio 60 to achieve some degree of closure.)

My impression of Journeyman--based on one episode, mind you--is that it will have a continuing story arc, but that individual episodes will be somewhat self contained. (I could, of course, be completely wrong about that.)


At 5:53 PM, Blogger Charlza said...

Chuck was somewhat interesting, so I may try to work in trying it again.

Journeyman was actually more interesting than I expected and with the added twist 20 minutes until the end, I find myself wanting to watch it.


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