Monday, October 01, 2007

I'm Really Not On ABC's Payroll but I Might As Well Be (hint hint)

Ugly Betty - How Betty Got Her Grieve Back - Season 2 Premiere
Grey's Anatomy - A Change is Gonna Come - Season 4 Premiere
Desperate Housewvies - Secrets and Lies - Season 4 Premiere
Brothers & Sisters - Home Front - Season 2 Premiere

4 shows, 3 Emmy's for 3 Fine Ladies. (And really, Chandra Wilson and Sandra Oh deserved it just as well, as did Vanessa Williams, Judith Light and Becky Newton on Ugly Betty and Rachel Griffiths on Brothers & Sisters. One can even make the argument Calista Flockhart because she wasn't annoying like she became on Ally McBeal).

Wow, what a difference a year can make. A year ago, Brothers & Sisters was deemed "troubled" and DOA, Ugly Betty was at first relegated to the Friday death slot, Grey's Anatomy was at the top of the heap and strong enough to move to Thursdays against the undefeatable CSI, and Desperate Housewives was coming off a sophomore slump.

A year later, ABC's ensemble dramadies (and really Dirty Sexy Money will probably join that gang, and Men In Trees deserves to be within that group and given a second chance in the post Grey's Anatomy slot (at least longer than the two or three weeks it was unceremoniously given earlier this year), instead of being relegated to Fridays again and giving the 10pm slot to losers like Big Shots or October Road... does ABC have a drama without a huge ensemble anymore? Not that I'm complaining, because I think they work well) have definitely done a switch up, with Brothers & Sisters becoming one of the best ensemble shows around (and unlike first predictions, did not become the Calista Flockhart show), Ugly Betty has perfected the charms of balancing between soapy melodrama and high camp comedy. Meanwhile, Desperate Housewives has bounced back, fallen, bounced back and fallen, and bounced back again with their attempts to revive themselves to Season 1 quality, now levelling off at decent and amusing comedyrama. Meanwhile, oh how the mighty have fallen. Grey's Anatomy had the highest gain, winning the Thursday 9pm slot, and had the biggest fall during Season 3, after the on-set drama bettered the on-screen drama. While the first post-Isaiah Washington episode didn't bounce back to pre-Season 3 quality, there was an air of freshness breathed back into the show as they quickly try to purge everything that went wrong in Season 3.

Some didn't love the first finale for Ugly Betty, with all the melodrama and cliffhangers. But I say this. It's based on a telenovela. That's what they LIVE ON. It's the bread and butter of the telenovela. So I found it fit in perfectly. Now, 4 weeks later on the show, Hilda is reacting to Santos getting shot, Ignacio is still stuck in Mexico, Betty must get over Henry who is with pregnant Charlie in Tuscon, Amanda got fat after learning Fey is her real mother, Wilhelmina is still scheming, Claire is still on the run and scheming to keep Wilhelmina away from Bradford, Christina is still underused, and Justin becomes an intern at Mode (!!!). Oh, and Daniel and Alexis are alive (duh!) but after some guilt driven by Daniel (Eric Mabius, looking more boyishly handsome than ever, to make up for the dreary storyline), Alexis wakes up as Alex (!) I CANNOT WAIT for this upcoming season. Especially with all the guest stars abound (Illeana Douglas already making an appearance, plus Freddy Rodiguez (Six Feet Under) as a new love interest for Betty, James Van Der Beek (Dawson's Creek) as a client of Mode's, John Cho (Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle) as someone that works with Henry, Victoria Beckham as Victoria Beckham etc. etc. etc).

Give me the damn Emmy.

On Grey's Anatomy, things are changing. Isaiah's Burke is out. Addison is gone into private practice. Callie is chief, Bailey is bitter for not getting chief (and back on the screen a bit more, now we need a LOT MORE. Give this girl more lines!). Meredith is still over McDreamy but get back together (can this story end please?), Izzie confronts George about her love for him (can this story end please?), Cristina tries to move on from being left at the altar letting us see more bitter but emotional Sandra Oh again and proving why I loved her in the first place, Alex pretends to be a dick but is longing for fake-amnesia girl, and all of them (Izzie, Alex, Cristina, and Meredith) now have their own interns. Interns that include George (looking mopey and getting some Emmy-worthy clip sequence scenes) and Lexie Grey (Chyler Leigh, Reunion), Meredith's sister who Meredith rejects at the end (I SOOOOOO didn't buy that she would be THAT big of a bitch).

Anyways, it's a change, and a start. Somewhat boring at times, but I'll give them a few eps to fix what they broke.

Over at Wisteria Lane on Desperate Housewives, the fixer is here and his name is Nathan Fillion (above, Firefly, Lost, Drive, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, etc. etc.), playing an OB/GYN like he did in Waitress. Did I mention how AWESOME Nathan Fillion is? He joins as husband to Dana Delaney, an old Wisteria Lane resident and friend of Susan's, back with a daughter who seems nothing like the little girl that was best friends with Julie. Bree is still faking pregnancy to hide Joy's real pregnancy and played to awkward comic effect. Lynette is hiding her cancer, a oh-no, one of those "important" (read: boring) storylines, but leave it to Felicity Huffman to make it funny and heartfelt, and particularly moving when she finally reveals it to the other housewives (and instilling that the show still works best when the 4 desperate housewives are together). It almost makes up for how annoying her character became last year. Finally, Edie did in fact commit suicide, but just in time for Carlos to find her (almost. Oh interloper Mrs. McCluskey! You silly old fart you!) and this traps Carlos into abandoning plans to run away with newly wed Gabrielle who seems less impressed by Victor Lang (Mad Men's John Slattery, who seems to have perfected the sexy but older dude role) every moment she's still with him.

While the show is not as compelling or funny as season 1, it seems to finally have gotten into a nice groove, mainly by keeping the ladies together again, even though each have their own secrets and lies to tell. A new mystery is born with new the new neighbours (Delaney and Fillion) and the gays haven't even moved in yet! I was just about to drop this show but they won we back with Hello Mr. Mayfair.

Finally, Brothers & Sisters, where the alcohol always flows, the family fights never stop, but the love in the Walker families always wins over in the end. Unless Rebecca's involved, then there is bitterness to no end, at least with Kitty who is unwilling to give her a fair chance. Tommy is dealing with a depressed Julia and a new baby, Kevin is dating senator Jack's preacher brother Jason (Eric Winters) and becoming very clingy and committed without wanting to say anything committing (why does that sound familiar to me?), Sarah and Joe are over but Sarah has one last hope to revive it, Uncle Saul's former secret gay paramour (or so we've gathered) drops by, dropping hints at this new direction his character is taking, Nora invites Holly to Kitty's birthday dinner, organized by Holly's daughter Rebeca, and on the year anniversary of patriarch Walker's death. Oh how the women have started to rule!

I love that Sally Fields is back on TV and loving it (especially after another Emmy win!) and that Calista Flockhart is doing so well on an ensemble where she hasn't taken over the show (despite wowing us in the worst wedding dress EVER), even when paired up with Rob Lowe (joining the cast for good) who also hasn't overtaken the show. Love that this show shows gays in a regular light, and they play out Jason (Eric Winters) and Kevin's summer lovin' so normally, just before Jason is assigned to a mission in Malaysia for a year (or at least until Viva Laughlin gets cancelled), and love that Emily Vancamp from Everwood gets to continue her upward climb.

and Pssst... ABC... wink wink... Call me! wink wink...

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