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What shows get the online buzz? Not what most people are watching

September 16, 2011 - Andrea Johnson
This clogged my in-box this week: According to a company called Banyan Branch, the biggest "online buzz" this fall is for three returning TV shows: "Fringe," "Chuck" and "Supernatural."

The producers for these three shows are apparently promoting them online with online entertainment magazines and Twitter. Apparently they are planning social viewing parties via Twitter. Fans of a particular show will use a pre-designated hashtag to have conversations with each other while watching the show.

It isn't surprising that these particular shows, all cult favorites of geeks who are likely to be Internet savvy, are the ones getting the online buzz. None of them are shows that are watched by a lot of people, even if they have a small group of devoted online fans.

On the other hand it's kind of interesting that this firm says there is mainly negative buzz for the FOX show "Glee," which has gotten so much attention in recent years and has been the darling of advertisers because so many young people watch it. I've never watched "Glee" but a lot of teens and college students seem to love it. Maybe the negative buzz means people won't be watching it as much this season.

As for the new shows that will start premiering this week, the firm claims there is little to no online chatter. No one seems that excited about new shows like "The Playboy Club," a retro show about the Hugh Hefner's Playboy Club back in the 1960s, or the remake "Charlie's Angels." I don't know if this is that surprising either since I wouldn't expect sci fi geeks to geek out online about "The Playboy Club." Your average fanboy's dream girl is Summer Glau, the actress who played roles in shows like "Firefly" and "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles," or Yvonne Strahovski, who plays Sarah on "Chuck," and not necessarily the well-endowed angels of "Charlie's Angels."

There also isn't going to be much for the geeks to talk about when it comes to "Charlie's Angels" unless it's about whether one angel is hotter than another angel. There isn't going to be much in the way of plot, after all.

As for me ... well, I'm not in the target demographic and I find Twitter tedious. I don't think I"ll bother to sign up for one of the viewing parties. I'm geek enough to admit I'll probably watch FOX's "Fringe" next Friday, if only to see how they write their way out of the "Peter never existed" cliffhanger they created with the third season ender.

What else will I be watching when most of the series premiere this week? Mainly the shows that aren't getting a lot of online buzz.

I'll watch ABC's "Castle" premiere at 9 p.m. Monday to see how Kate Beckett, who was shot in the chest in last season's finale, is saved. Despite mystery writer Rick Castle's saying "I love you" in the finale, my guess is that it'll be another season of "Will they or won't they?" Here's hoping that the producers don't go the way of "Bones" and annoy viewers so much they start not caring any longer if Castle and Beckett end up together. Speaking of "Bones," it will return on Thursday night on "FOX" and I'll have to watch just to see a pregnant Bones trying to crawl into small spaces. I found a lot about the show disappointing last season, but it's still one of the more entertaining procedurals on TV.

I'll probably watch CBS's "Criminal Minds" on Wednesday night to see how they bring Agent Emily Prentiss back from the dead and how her co-workers react to having been lied to while she was in international witness protection. "Criminal Minds" is usually far too gory and voyeuristic for my taste, but I do like the characters on this procedural. Market research shows that this particular show is a favorite of 30-something and 40-something women, so I suppose I'm squarely in their target demographic.

I'll have to watch CBS's "The Mentalist," another favorite of the age 30 and above, on Thursday night to see how they write their way out of THAT corner: their hero Patrick Jane murdered an unarmed man in cold blood in front of hundreds of witnesses in the season ender.

As for new shows, I'll watch FOX's "Terra Nova" on Monday night at least once just to see the dinosaurs and how the family escapes the dystopian Earth to go through a time warp to billions of years in the past. The kiddies should love it, but I kind of suspect the writing is not good enough to hold the adults' attention.

The FOX comedy "New Girl," starring Zoe Deschanel as an awkward 20-something who moves in with three guys after she is dumped by her boyfriend, looks pretty funny. It airs on Tuesday at 8 p.m.

CBS's "A Gifted Man," about a jerky doctor whose dead ex-wife comes back as a ghost to cajole him into working at a free medical clinic, might be cheesy or it might be good, but I'll give it a shot. It airs on Friday night at 7 p.m.

And the fairy tale "Once Upon a Time," which airs at 7 p.m. Sunday on ABC, looks like it could be either spectacularly good or a spectacular failure. Whatever else it is, it is not playing it safe and that deserves to be rewarded with at least a few minutes of my time.

Just don't expect me to go on Twitter to add to the online buzz.


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