Totally Tube 2007 keeps on rockin' with the next batch of show reviews: the See-Dubya.
After last year's limp new-programming slate, the CW is coming back this fall with a pretty solid group of newbies, including a few that could become new favorites. Check out our reviews and decide for yourself...
Chris Large/The CW Network, LLC.
DON'T MISS IT: Reaper
PremieresTues., Sept. 25 @ 9:00
Starring: Bret Harrison, Tyler Labine, Ray Wise, Missy Peregrym, Rick Gonzalez, Valarie Rae Miller
Reaper is the timeless story of a young man struggling to find his way in life, with a little help from his parents. These parents are a little idiosyncratic in their methodology, however, choosing to sell their son Sam's soul to the devil. The deal was done long ago, so when the devil comes for his due, Sam has no choice but to enter a life of demon hunting. But rather than ape Lucifer, Sam actually has more in common with the Chosen One, namely reluctance, confusion, sudden superpowers and all. There's even a Scooby gang of sorts! This show is not Buffy (what could be, really?), but with a pilot directed by Kevin Smith and fantastic, fun performances by Bret Harrison as Sam, and Tyler Labine as loyal sidekick Sock (think Jay and Silent Bob if Bob talked and they were less high), the show could be nearly as beloved. Plus, Ray Wise (Leland Palmer from Twin Peaks!) has the role of his career as the foul fiend himself...
Bottom Line: Devilishly good
Trae Patton/The CW Network, LLC
WATCH IT: Aliens in America
Premieres: Mon., Oct. 1 @ 8:30
Starring: Dan Byrd, Adhir Kalyan, Amy Pietz, Lindsey Shaw, Scott Patterson
A new sitcom that's funny?! And on the CW, no less?! We know, you won't believe it till you see it—but just do. Lead character Justin Tolchuk is an awkward 16-year-old high school social pariah. As a laughing stock with no friends, his overly involved mother, Franny, signs up for the international exchange student program to ensure her son will have at least one friend. But much to her dismay, the family's newest addition is not the blond, athletic Swedish boy she was hoping for. Instead Raja Musharaff, a Muslim kid from Pakistan, walks off the plane. The Tolchuks and their Wisconsin town don't exactly welcome him with open arms. Franny spends the rest of the pilot trying to return Raja, while one of his new teachers encourages her class to discuss the reasons they hate him—his people are responsible for 9/11, after all. Politically incorrect and surprisingly sweet at the same time, you'll find yourself falling for Justin and Raja, an unlikely duo who navigate the trials of adolescence together.
Bottom Line: American comedy may be making a comeback
Andrew Eccles/The CW Network, LLC.
WATCH IT: Gossip Girl
Premieres: Wed., Sept. 19 @ 8:00
Starring: Blake Lively, Leighton Meester, Penn Badgley, Chace Crawford, Taylor Momsen, Ed Westwick, Kelly Rutherford, Matthew Settle, Nicole Fiscella, Nan Zhang
Gossip Girl is the latest creation from O.C. (and Chuck—swoon) mastermind Josh Schwartz. It's soapy, it's glamorous, and yes, it takes itself a smidge too seriously--but then again, haven't all the best, guilty-pleasure teen dramas? Gossip, based on the bestselling book series, has definite shades of The O.C.: Penn Badgley's the new Seth, Blake Lively's the new Marissa, etc., and his dad and her mom seem a lot like Sandy and Kirsten Cohen. The series is about beautiful, wealthy kids living the high-society scene in Manhattan, but the twist is that Penn and Taylor's characters are outsiders looking in, and their family dynamic, along with the love connection brewing between Penn and Blake (who truly pop onscreen together), give this show some serious promise. And of course, Kristen Bell's narration as Gossip Girl herself (a fellow high schooler who blogs about the in crowd) gives Veronica Mars fans a reason to tune in, too.
Bottom Line: The season's guiltiest--and prettiest--new pleasure
David Bloomer/ The CW Network, LLC
DVR IT: Life Is Wild
Premieres: Sun., Oct. 7 @ 8:00
Starring: D.W. Moffett, Stephanie Niznik, Leah Pipes, Andrew St. John, Calvin Goldspink, Atandwa Kani
It's like The Brady Bunch meets 7th Heaven in South Africa. The Clarkes, a blended family with solid moral fiber, leave New York City when the widowed veterinarian dad transplants the kids to the African gaming lodge where his late wife grew up. And well, everyone's got an issue with it. Teenage daughter Katie can't believe she's been sentenced to an entire year away from her big-city boyfriend. She blames her stepbrother, Chase, since his arrest—for beating up her beau—is one of the reasons they moved. Of course, there's also the danger of the setting's untamed wild life to deal with, not to mention a whole new set of South African characters to complicate things. All in all, it's a sweet family series, if somewhat bland. But the South African backdrop—they're actually shooting there!—does add a new and exciting dimension. We'll give 'em points for that.
Bottom Line: Life is mild
-Additional Reporting by Korbi Ghosh and Jennifer Godwin