The X-Files--middle of its 5th season.
Smallville--middle of its 5th season.
Supernatural--reruns of the 1st season in preparation for season 2.
Six Feet Under--3rd season
Ally McBeal--3rd season
Homicide: Life on the Streets--4th season
Gilmore Girls --6th season
Veronica Mars--3rd season
Of course there are exceptions to that rule. I was there for the very beginnings of Deadwood and Rome (both on HBO), Friday Night Lights on NBC, Millennium on Fox, and this season's Damages on FX. However as a general rule and as a means of protecting myself from getting too attached to a series that probably won't even make it past their 3rd episode, I generally choose to stay away. Sure I follow the media buzz surrounding those shows that I'm interested in but I always stay a safe distance away. Pre-launch buzz doesn't always translate into ratings. Can you say Bionic Woman, because I can.
However this season I deviated from the very plan that had always worked so well for me. My theory is that the shows that appealed to me reminded me of shows that are near and dear to my heart.
Because I can here's a look at Journeyman's beautiful opening title sequence.
My interest in Moonlight comes mainly from my love of Forever Knight. I really wanted to like this show. It had lots of potential but after watching the first few episodes I felt that it fell completely flat. Sure it was flashy and it looked great but there were so many inconsistencies, some of which I outlined here and here. I couldn't even look at it as campy fun. And I still call major foul at the ability of Moonlight vampires to withstand the sun long enough for Mick (don't get me started on his name) to do daytime investigations. When that popped up I couldn't help but feel my heart sink at the thought of Forever Knight's Nick and his loft filled with sun iconography and his longing to walk in the sun. Today news broke that CBS has chosen to not renew Moonlight for a second season. Despite my criticism of the show I have to say that the news really surprised me. I genuinely thought it would get picked up for at the very least a mid-season 13 episode order. The series had a lot of back stage drama with showrunners exiting left and right but it looked to me that once they passed their growing pains they might be able to carve out a fairly decent show. Oh well. Although I am slightly bummed that we won't get to see more of Coraline, Mick's wife and vampire master...er...sire. That's the word they use. She was spirited off to France by her brother along with Mick's only link to achieving temporary mortality. All that was rough on poor Mick. After all 50 years of not having coffee, sleeping in a bed or eating a cheeseburger is unbearable. Yeah I know I'm being facetious. I have to admit that there is an interesting story that could be told by Mick's still very fledgling status, even if Moonlight (where 400 is considered old) doesn't really treat him as a fledgling. In actuality it's probably worse for a vampire to still remember what it was like to be mortal than for a vampire who has already lived long enough to where their memories of mortality are fading.
Opening title sequence for New Amsterdam.
And lastly there's New Amsterdam, a show I enjoyed for its blend of Highlander: The Series' and Forever Knight's penchant for historical flashbacks and Forever Knight's police procedural. Occasionally I'd notice situational or story based similarities to Forever Knight but unlike with Moonlight, where I found myself annoyed, I was excited by them. Yeah, I know it's weird. Anyhoo, Nikoaj Coster-Waldau was a very appealing lead and the supporting cast was decent but like Moonlight the show suffered from it's romantic elements. John Amsterdam is cursed with immortality until he finds his one true love. OK fine but the current lady he believes to be "The One" is married. Well not really she's separated. The series had a trunucated season that lasted only about 8 episodes and by the second or third episode "The Alleged One" and John have hooked up. Say what? Don't get me wrong, I like romance but I'd much rather it not be the focus of my genre shows. That was one of the problems I had with Moonlight in that Mick and Beth were supposed to be the romantic pairing the audience was supposed to root for but the writers don't take the time to introduce the characters to us independent of their intended.
With Forever Knight, if pressed I'd define myself as a Nick/Nat Packer even though I love Nick and Janette together as well. In the third and final season, which coincidently was my first, I felt that Nick and Natalie were more or less together even with his sidetracking with other women. Nick and Natalie together was my default setting. The second season episode "Be My Valentine" which I'm sure a great majority of Nick/Nat Packers would hold up as their all time favorites really doesn't do much for me. Sure I like Nick and Natalie expressing their feelings for each other and other elements the episode had but it wouldn't make my list of all time favorite Forever Knight episodes. It is the first season, where Nick and Natalie are strictly friends but who also have their share of flirtageous moments where my status as a Nick/Nat Packer was cemented. All this is just a long winded way of saying that, when an on-screen romance is done right and allowed to progress (which admittedly Forever Knight didn't always do) it shouldn't take away from my enjoyment of a show. That's where Moonlight and New Amsterdam failed for me.
I realize that all this sounds like I'm super critical and hard to please. I'm really not. I like my share of mindless entertainment as much as the next person. That sort of segues me into the 4th freshman show that I took to watching--Gossip Girl. That's right, Gossip Girl, the show the CW pretty much threw every single advertising and promotional penny at. It's in no way my type of show and and I was slightly disgruntled that it was getting what seemed like 20 billion ads while Smallville got next to nothing. I watched one episode. One random episode in hopes of seeing a Smallville ad and in the process I got sucked into the episode's story. The same thing happened the following week and the following week before I lost my local CW station. Gossip Girl has the distinction of being the only freshman show that I watch to get a pick up. I guess being the CW's favored child has its good points.
And while I'm on the subject of renewals I should probably mention that season 2 of CBC's The Border is currently prepping and will begin production at the end of May for a Fall 2008 launch. That makes me very happy. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a Maggie-centric episode as well as some actual dialogue exchange between Catherine Disher's Maggie and Nigel Bennett's Mannering. And as long as I'm making my wish list known perhaps Geraint Wyn Davies can make an appearance. He's tied up at the Stratford Festival till late October but I'm still keeping my fingers crossed.