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SFOTV: A Look At Returning Shows

Last time out, I took a look at the new genre-related shows that premiered this fall. Fair is fair, so this time around, I take a look at the returning genre shows, and how they’re doing. Blood Ties: I like this little vampire show. At the core is a romantic triangle which includes Vicki (Christina […]

Last time out, I took a look at the new genre-related shows that premiered this fall. Fair is fair, so this time around, I take a look at the returning genre shows, and how they’re doing.

Blood Ties: I like this little vampire show. At the core is a romantic triangle which includes Vicki (Christina Cox), Mike the cop (Dylan Neal) and Henry Fitzroy the vampire (Kyle Schmidt). Vicki has feelings for both men, and I just plain enjoy the posturing the two males do around her.

The show also includes the monster of the week that the three combine talents to defeat, along with Vicki’s assistant Corren, played by Gina Holden of “Flash Gordon” notoriety.

I have my doubts about the show’s return. It was created as a syndicated venture in Canada and was bought by Lifetime in the United States. They bought the first 13 episodes and aired them last spring in a prime Sunday timeslot. The show performed well, and they bought the back nine for a fall season. But it appears that somewhere along the way, they lost faith in the show, seeing as it’s now scheduled late night on Fridays. I’d love to see it back, but I doubt it will return. If you’re a fan, enjoy what you’ve got because I don’t see us getting any more.

Ghost Whisperer: This show left me scratching my head in confusion when the new season began. Last year, they had built up a story arc about spirits being stolen — or kept from crossing over — combined with a man who had the same ability as Melinda (Jennifer Love Hewett), and it was pretty darned interesting.

Enter Season 3, and that arc is gone. Instead we are dealing with a new arc about ghosts trapped under the town in a part of Grandview that was buried and forgotten. The formula of the series is a taste of the arc in each episode, and a mythology episode every three or four. A perfect blend, in my opinion, but I wish the prior storyline hadn’t been abandoned.

“Ghost Whisperer” has been a solid performer for CBS, remaining stable in the ratings for three seasons now. Unless it hits a ratings disaster, I expect we’ll see a Season 4. I just hope they finish this arc before moving on to the next.

Heroes: This show started the season with a slow approach to building the story, just as they did in Season 1. I, for one, like the slow build and haven’t had the problems with the show that so many others have. It’s like a car slowly accelerating, then it shifts into gear and takes off.

The takeoff just began over the last few episodes, and it was worth the wait for me. I did have a problem with how repetitive the Maya (Dania Ramirez) and Alejandro (Shalim Ortiz) storyline has been. But with the addition of Sylar (Zachary Quinto), that promises to pick up as well.

“Heroes” — like many other shows — is being cut short this season by the Writers Guild of America strike, and I actually think it’s a good idea. The producer on record says he has heard the fans and will take steps to fix the show so it can grab hold of those viewers who have wandered off. A long break between seasons might be just what we need for such a fix to occur.

Given that NBC has very little to offer as far as successful programming is concerned, I expect to see more “Heroes” next season.

Smallville: This season is the best of “Smallville” in 10 years. There, I said it.

The addition of Laura Vandervoot as Kara is a breath of fresh air. Tom Welling’s Clark is put into a position of mentor, and it’s a welcome change. Kristen Kreuk has been amazing this season as the lying, possibly evil Lana. She may not have the Luthor name any longer, but she has the spirit. It’s a good thing because Michael Rosenbaum’s Lex doesn’t have it. They have backpedaled on Lex, moving him away from the evil that has been building in the last few seasons.

The only thing I really don’t like about the show this season is what’s happening to Allison Mack’s Chloe. Over the last half-dozen episodes, they have been stripping everything from her, like career and boyfriend. It’s painful to watch, and I fear for the fate of one of my characters. The fact that Lois is being set up to steal Chloe’s dream makes it hurt even more. I just wish Lois would go away.

“Smallville” is one of the top performers for The CW, and it would be a lock at returning if not for Michael Rosenbaum saying he doesn’t plan to come back for another year. “Smallville” without Lex would be like a banana split without a cherry, a complete waste of time. Rumors say we could be seeing Kara take the lead in a new season. It might work, but that would mean throwing out almost the entire current cast. If they did that, might as well re-title it.

Stargate: Atlantis: The SciFi Channel already renewed this for a fifth season, so it’s very likely we’ll see more when this season is over. I don’t say it with 100 percent certainty, because this is the SciFi Channel. Fans of “Farscape” know what I’m talking about.

The big thing happening with “Atlantis” this season was the addition of Amanda Tapping’s character, Sam Carter. However, it seems the producers forgot to tell the writers about the change. Tapping’s character is being written exactly like Tori Higginson’s Elizabeth Weir. Where are the conflicts in command between Sheppard (Joe Flanigan) and Carter? Where are the scientific debates between McKay (David Hewlett) and Carter? Nowhere, that’s where.

This season is the same old thing as the previous year. And it’s boring. I had hoped for so much more this season, and “Atlantis” has yet to deliver. The show may be getting a fifth season, but I don’t know if it deserves it.

Supernatural: The suits strike again. The WB requested the addition of female leads to the show. Only one of those leads is working out. Ruby, the demon, fits the story perfectly. Bela the thief feels shoehorned into the stories, and doesn’t add anything to the mythology.

The two other changes made this season stink of network suggestion, the lighting of the sets is just that, lighter. The darker tones have disappeared. And the classic rock of the ’70s and ’80s has all but vanished. The show was skewing over 30 in the demos, and I fear the changing of the music was a response to that. At least they haven’t added the teeny-bopper pop music that saturates shows like “Smallville.”

It’s one of The CW’s stronger performers, but I don’t think the network likes it much. I’d like to say it will be back for another season, but my gut is making me feel cautious about it.

That’s the end of my look at the fall season. I look forward to the new and returning shows that the winter season will bring.

Ed Left is a columnist for Airlock Alpha, working out of Chicago. He also is the Webmaster of Sci-Fi On TV. He can be reached at eleft@airlockalpha.com..

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Could they be a gh...gh...gh...ghost? Rut-ro! Shaggy
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