Remembering the TV Critics Press Tour: Last Musings of a Decompressing Critic
It has been three days since I got home from the two-week marathon that is the TCA summer press tour, and my body is still stuck somewhere between West Coast and East Coast time -- which means you get odd bursts of energy at midnight and 3 a.m., but can't keep your eyes open during a 10 a.m. meeting.
But another thing a few days from press tour offers is a little distance. I didn't have much when I wrote this Floridian piece published today about some of the odder trends in network TV this fall -- particularly the influx of Brits playing Yanks -- but with a few more days perspective under me, I've got a few more observations.
So, borrowing a format cribbed from my pal Robert Philpot at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, I want to add a few more notes to the press tour aftermath.
Most Buzzed-About Shows
Best thing about TCA is you get to talk TV with 150 other people who are just as obsessed about TV as you. And some of them are even a little smarter -- so you get some valuable perspective on what's working and what ain't this fall.
So far, the only buzzed-about new shows seem to be ABC's Pushing Daisies, which features a fanciful pilot about a guy who can bring people back from the dead with a touch, but send them back to the beyond for good with another touch. so what happens when he touches a dead girlfriend? NBC's Chuck and CW's Reaper also got some heat, both focused on nerdy guys granted heroic powers (Chuck gets secrets downloaded into his brain and the Reaper becomes a slacker bounty hunter for the devil) Hey, I told you this fall season wasn't so hot.
Most Hated Shows
ABC's Cavemen is probably tops here, just because its such a broad premise so widely missed. also not much liked is Fox's New Amsterdam, mostly because it's a show about a cop (police procedural) who lives forever (sci fi/fantasy) but may become mortal if he finds his true love (romance) Could they stick more moving parts on this thing? And shows with no pilots, or pilots so extensively remade they might as well be new -- including CBS' drama about a vampire private eye, Moonlight -- automatically land on most critics' to hate lists.
Most welcome trend -- With science fiction and fantasy shows ruling the movie box office and TV, this comic book geek has really enjoyed seeing writers and producers on top TV shows who are also active in the comic industry. From the top executive at BET to top writers at Lost and Medium, the TV industry is filled with folks who respect the storytelling of comic books and still work in the medium, which makes some of these science fiction and fantasy shows go down a bit better.
Most unwelcome trend -- The lack of truly great TV comedies, which even veterans such as Kelsey Grammer and Two and a Half Men creator Chuck Lorre couldn't explain.
Coolest TCA Moment -- Besides watching Jeff Goldblum play pool in the Sand Room at the Friars Club or confronting the Cavemen at the Beverly Hilton patio, it was probably watching House star Hugh Laurie suck out loud at Skee Ball during a street carnival held by Fox (I told him it was a good thing he didn't have to win an Emmy that way) and watching Brian Williams explain how fans of his appearances on the Daily Show "keep saying, Brian we want more Big Giant Head." Which he actually said. Really.
Coolest non-TCA moment -- This year, I made sure to get out of the hotel by scheduling visits to sets outside the official press tour lineup. So I spent time on the set of CBS' new Hispanic family drama Cane, where a very nice, but very distracted Jimmy Smits made sure I saw everything there was to see on set and chatted me up. I also hung out a bit with the most underrated guy in late night television, CBS' Craig Ferguson. And I saw Oliver Platt in the passenger's seat of a convertible in Beverly Hills, looking like he'd had about 10 times too much hair of the dog, if you know what I mean.
Sigh. Los Angeles. I miss it already...