Another day, another package from Fox. It is that time of year again, when courier drivers, publicists and TV beat writers surge into high gear. Fall Preview 2009-10 has arrived.
Fox celebrates by sending swag along with their screeners. This type of ballyhoo has tailed off in recent years--even before the recession hit--but Fox finds a way to keep reminding people we are in the fun business, which is always welcome here.
The best Fox screener may be for the two hour return of House, which finds the not-so-good doctor confined to a psychiatric hospital, his license to practise medicine on the line. An entire new hospital set was constructed for the back-to-back episodes, which will air Sept. 21.
Hugh Laurie, as always, is crazy good in this. The actor was at the Fox press tour party in Pasadena last month and I asked him if the character is any better after he emerges from his psych ward experience. "I think so," said Laurie, "although he's a fragile flower so I have my doubts."
Raising Laurie's game is the addition of Homicide: Life on the Street Emmy-winner Andre Braugher to the cast as the psych hospital's head shrink. Braugher is brilliant as always, filling the void left for the rest of the cast, absent from these two special episodes.
But enough about House for now. Tons to review over the next several weeks. I set the new season up this Saturday in the Toronto Star's annual Fall Preview issue, as well as in a post for Tribute.ca. There's plenty to cheer this season, including a few comedies that are actually funny! There's that whole Jay Leno thing, which I've just set up for MSNBC.com. Time magazine's James Ponewozik has a great overview on Leno's potential impact on the TV landscape here.
Here at TVFMF you can read reviews for each series as they premiere. Gentlemen, start your PVRs.