Axel-In-Charge: Extending "Secret Wars," Excitement for a "Totally Awesome Hulk"
It’s Sweeps Month in televisionland this month, but that doesn’t mean that every network is playing it safe. Sure, sweeps means new episodes of the top-rated shows as everyone tries to put their best foot forward, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some all-new things to be watching in November, as well…
Am I alone is thinking that this is probably the most enjoyable procedural on network television, with the possible exception of Castle? Clearly, it’s all about the Joss Whedon connections in casting… Or perhaps it’s this show’s ability to mix the soap operatics and murder with enough of a sense of humor that keeps the whole thing moving fast enough to sweep past the kind of self-consciousness that keeps me away from the bigger CSIs and NCISes around. This year’ll be an interesting time for the show, with the season split into two – A six episode mini-season before the new year, and then the remainder coming back late in the back half of the year – thanks to star Emily Deschanel’s pregnancy… which happens to coincide with her character’s pregnancy. With the will-they, won’t-they Booth and Brennan romance seemingly decided in the affirmative as a result, will things settle into a late-period Moonlighting lull, or are there twists and turns yet to come? We’ll see… (Nov 3rd, 9pm on Fox)
Not a season premiere – This is the last third of the show’s fifth season, which officially started back in June and has had a truly bizarre schedule throughout the year – but fans of the spy thriller with a chip on its shoulder and a smirk on its face can rest assured that things will run uninterrupted as the season’s final six episodes build towards a suitably explosive climax… and, likely, cliffhanger. Which side will Michael end up working on this time? (Nov 3rd, 10pm on USA)
Not a serial but a one-off British political thriller airing as part of PBS’ Masterpiece strand, this movie – centering around the death of the boss of British secret service MI5, and a government report that holds particularly sensitive material (on its eighth page, as the name might suggest) – sports a great cast (Michael Gambon, Bill Nighy, Rachel Weisz and Ralph Fiennes), an amazing writer/director (David Hare), and the kind of intelligence and subtlety that’ll make you wish television tried this kind of thing more often. (Nov 6th, 9pm on PBS)
Having demolished the “Wandering around, eating things and cracking wise to the camera” genre on No Reservations, Anthony Bourdain returns with this new show that aims to do the same for the travel genre in general. Spending less than 48 hours in well-traveled layover hubs across the world, Bourdain intends to find out the best way to spend your short stay without spending a lot, with – as you’d expect – impressive results. And, of course, a fine amount of cracking wise to the camera. (Nov 21, 9pm on the Travel Channel)
I’ve already written about my love for this show on many occasions, but suffice to say: John Rogers’ smart, funny crime show returns for the second part of its fourth season at the end of the month, finally giving us the Nate meltdown that we all know has been coming for quite some time (Please? Pretty please? Also: More Hardison/Parker, thank you very much). (Nov 27th, 9pm on TNT)