Could we try it again, a little darker this time?

Only the edgiest bloggers taunt a man for his font selection.I’ve been reading Rain’s updates on the new TV shows that are coming out, but for some reason it still didn’t click with me that there are new TV shows coming out. It must’ve seemed relevant to me at some point, since my faux-TiVo has been recording all this stuff. The cat only records the “Lengths of String Moving Slowly then Very Quickly” documentary series on the Discovery channel (and, for some reason, “CSI: Miami”), so I must’ve been the one to set it.

Still, it was a surprise to come home from work and find a big chunk of programming begging to be watched. There’s no point in mentioning “How I Met Your Mother,” since that series has built up so much goodwill with me that they’d have to make an entire episode of the cast just making fun of me specifically and showing naked pictures of me while they point and laugh before I’d quit watching. I’ll never understand how a show that’s so relentlessly likeable could always be on the verge of cancellation, so I just hope that people keep spreading the word and it stays on the air. At least until we find out who the mom is, or until the slap bet runs out.

There’s not much point in mentioning “Heroes” either, since I just don’t get what’s going on between me and that show. Just like it was with most of last season, I watched the whole pilot rolling my eyes. And just like it was with last season, I’m compelled to keep watching. (Announcing that Veronica Mars is going to be on it just made it completely inevitable). I just hope that they don’t try to make the guys with the Worst Irish Accents Ever into recurring characters.

The first new show I saw was “Reaper,” which answers the question that’s been bugging every human for decades: What would it be like if Kevin Smith directed “Dead Like Me?” As it turns out, it’s not bad. I’m not jumping up and down or starting the local chapter of the fan club or anything, but it’s interesting enough, reasonably entertaining, and the writing and the performances are all above average. I don’t know if a show can just be “solid” and survive without a huge marketing campaign behind it, but I’d like to think so.

For a show with its concept (a slacker’s parents sell his soul to the devil, so he’s forced to send escaped souls back to Hell), it was surprisingly straightforward action/comedy. Still, it had just enough clever bits to stand out: Ray Wise as the devil, an interesting take on the battle between Heaven and Hell from the devil (“I’ve seen how this plays out. God wins.”), and a (bad) guy getting sucked under a zamboni and leaving a long trail of blood on the ice. It’s laughably obvious that they originally wanted it to be darker than it turned out — a friend of the leads is badly injured halfway through the episode, then the episode ends with the two leads giving a recap and setting up the rest of the series. But then the very last shot clumsily inserts badly-injured guy, as alive and kicking as LL Cool J at the end of Deep Blue Sea, as if he’d been standing there listening to the entire conversation but not saying anything. That actor must have one hell (hey, funny!) of an agent.

And speaking of wanting it dark, how about that “Bionic Woman?” After watching the pilot, I’m a little creeped out at how accurate prediction from a year ago turned out to be. It’s not dead-on, of course, but there are eerie similarities, which leads me to one of the following conclusions:

  1. I have untapped psychic abilities;
  2. The makers of the show have been reading my blog;
  3. There’s only so much you can do with “The Bionic Woman” and a guy who likes digging up TV series from the 70s and “reimagining” them darker and edgier.

The third is the most likely, which puts me in an interesting position, because I can’t decide whether I’d rather see a darker, edgier version of “The Love Boat” or “Fantasy Island.” (Extra-credit challenge to Mr. Eick and his production house: “Three’s Company.”)

I liked the pilot well enough, and even though I wasn’t blown away, I’m hoping the series lasts a while. I’m not all that intrigued by the Black Mesa Secret Military Ops stuff, or all the predictable drama they slathered on, but I do like the cast. Bionic Starbuck is 1000 times more interesting than the main character, but the rest of the cast is still interesting enough to keep me watching. And keep me hoping for more bionic catfights.

I’m still wondering what it is about NBC that makes people look so weird, though. The aforementioned Bionic Starbuck kept reminding me of Heath Ledger as the Joker, for some reason. And Michelle Ryan is so beautiful it hits eerie, then wraps around to being beautiful again but oddly off-putting. (Plus, she does a dead-on perfect American accent.)

That’s all I’ve seen so far, and likely all I will see until the heavy-hitters of “Battlestar Galactica” and “Lost” start up again next year. Everything I’ve seen has been fine, but it says something that the best TV I saw tonight was a year-old episode of “The Venture Brothers” that I’ve already seen four times, and it still had me laughing out loud.