We're a couple of months into the fall 2012 television season and there's already been a few shows given the ax (buh bye "Animal Practice"), while some shows -- like "The Walking Dead" -- have become institutions.
But even the great hit shows will one day fade into the sunset. Not so sad if they've had a 100 or more episodes -- real sad if they only had one season. So respectfully submitted for your perusal are five shows you're probably not watching -- but should be. Catch them soon or they will soon be gone ...
No. 5 -- 'Hot Set'
Syfy channel should probably change it's name to "Cheezy reality shows and bad B horror movies" channel to better reflect most of its recent content (although admittedly it doesn't roll off the tongue). But there is at least one new gem of show called "Hot Set."
Hosted by movie guru Ben Mankiewicz, "Hot Set" is technically a game show where two set designers are given $15,000 each to build -- in only three days -- a Hollywood quality set based a snippet of script. Because it's the Syfy Channel, the scripts are all far out -- a marooned astronaut on an alien world; Alice in Wonderland; Alien Queen Warlord -- and as anyone who's ever tried making a sci-fi show will tell, $15,000 over three days isn't a lot of time or money to build an exotic set.
As a game show, it isn't much. But as a glimpse to how movie magic is actually accomplished, it's fascinating. It only had six shows and hasn't been renewed yet -- so catch if you can in reruns. It's got to be better the "Shark Tornado" or whatever the hell else is on ...
No. 4 -- 'NOVA scienceNOW' (with David Pogue)
With Discovery and the History Channel more interested in gator hunters and aliens, there isn't a whole of watchable new science shows on the tube. That said, "NOVA scienceNOW" is a pleasant exception. While not a new show (it debuted in 2006), it does have a new host in David Pogue. Pogue's a legit scientist in his own right, but he still has a deft touch with the camera.
So if you're tire of getting your science from Jamie and Adam, here you go. It airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on PBS.
No. 3 -- 'Happy Endings'
ABC's dirtiest comedy is aimed squarely at 30 somethings, who haven't embracing this show as they should, but it's dang funny no matter what age you are. It's a very funny cast -- Damon Wayans Jr. and Eliza Coupe might be the best married couple since Lucy and Desi -- and the jokes come a mile a minute. ot all the jokes work, but when they come one a minute, it doesn't much matter. It airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.
No. 2 -- 'Elementary'
Jonny Lee Miller is simply awesome as a modern day Sherlock Holmes. The supporting cast with Lucy Liu and Aidan Quinn is as good as there is on television as is the production value -- it's a beautifully shot/designed show. Add to it some good, believable plots and it's easily one of the best "cop" shows on TV. It's also (with the exception of "Vegas") the best looking cop show on television. The show tends to use mostly wide lenses, meaning that the show's locations/sets must look all that more real. It's a nice touch.
But tune in for Miller, who seems to channel Doyle's greatest invention. It airs Wednesday's at 10 p.m. ET on CBS.
No. 1 -- 'Vegas'
CBS does cop shows right, and you only have to watch "Vegas" to prove that. A simply great cast lead by Dennis Quaid and Michael Chiklis with "Terra Nova" star Jason O'Mara and "The Matrix's" Carrie-Anne Moss to boot), "Vegas" is set during the 1960s, when the city was just growing into the capital of sin.
Quaid plays a rough and tumble rancher who is pressed into service as sheriff when mobsters from Chicago begin opening gambling dens -- and shallow graves -- all around town. Quiad is absolutely pitch perfect in the role -- you swear he must have been born under a tumble weed. Chiklis plays his foil, a mobster who is trying to bring the mob out of the stone age -- yet often returns to his brutish roots.
A great cast isn't much good without good writing and this show has it. From solid plots to snappy one-liners (Quaid asks Chiklis if mobsters ever do real work, to which Chiklis says, "Sure. We built Rome."), "Vegas" is a cut above. As are the sets and costumes. If you like "Pam Am" or other period shows, you'll appreciate the hard work (not to mention money) that goes into making a show set during the 1960s. The best thing I can say about "Vegas" is that it reminds me a lot of "Crime Story," which remains perhaps the best cop television show ever made.
CBS ordered a full 22 episode season, but last week cancelled Episode 22. Not a good sign. So catch while you can, because it's easily the best new show of the 2012 season. It airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET on CBS.
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