Progress report

I just watched a good six hours of TV today. Here’s the thing I’ve discovered about TiVo — it lets you have something of a life during the week, but let things pile up and your weekend gets eaten up.

I spent Saturday catching up with The Daily Show and The Colbert Report while I did housework. And today, I watched two new pilots and some second episodes of new shows.

So how are things shaping up? Let’s count the ways.

Heroes: I’m not sure how this pilot could have been written differently, but I feel like it should have. The 4400, it is not. I was annoyed by how each of the "heroes" all had to tell someone about the strange things happening to them. The whole talk of destiny and genetics in the cab scene couldn’t have been painted with a more obvious brush. I did like the twist with Adrian Pasdar’s character. I’ll tune in next week because of the whole "To be continued…" bit, but I’m not really sure this show can deliver well on its premise. Verdict: One or two more episodes before I decide on cancellation.

Ugly Betty: The critics are wetting their pants about this show, and since I’ve never watched a telenovella in my life, I don’t channel the parallels. The "dum-dum-DUM!!" aspects of the show — the shadowy character at the end, the secretive CEO — are painted as over-the-top even though they don’t quite feel that way. Out of the freshman pack, however, this show does seem different, and I’m willing to give it a chance. Verdict: One or two more episodes before I decide on a Season Pass.

Smith: Still very sleek and packed with some real action, but … I’m feeling nothing for these characters. Virginia Madsen is about the only real hook in this show. Her quiet performance as the suspecting Hope Davis conveys much without revealing anything. Even Ray Liotta’s conflicted Bobby Stephens doesn’t seem all that haunted. The motorcycle chase in this past week’s episode was useless, and Amy Smart’s Annie is annoyingly predictable as the psycho sexpot. Verdict: One or two more episodes, and I’m back to Without a Trace.

Jericho: The mayor’s pep rally speech at the end of the pilot pretty much hinted at the by-the-numbers human drama this show is taking. That bar scene with the rednecks not caring about how they end up was just bad. The premise of this show is good, but I can buy into the fantasy island of Lost more than I can the post-apocalypse of Jericho. Verdict: One more episode before I decide on cancellation.

Shark: I actually recorded the second episode, but I didn’t watch it. I had already gone through so much television today that I didn’t want to burn any more time with a show of which I didn’t have a favorable opinion at the start. Verdict: Canceled. I am passing this show over.

Six Degrees: I like how the stories converged just a little more this past episode. And the stories themselves are engaging enough. They’re not riveting, but I didn’t come away from watching it feeling I had let go an hour I wouldn’t get back. Jay Hernandez is cute, and even graying and disheveled, Campbell Scott exudes the sexy. Verdict: Not a Season Pass yet, but getting there.

Still to go: Friday Night Lights and The Nine. I’m recording the second episode of Brothers and Sisters right now.