Saturday, September 1, 2012
HGTV Has A Strong Fall Line-Up
So how does an aged TV critic cope during a particularly long bout of insomnia?
That's simple: At 4 a.m. I just got up, looked at my big box of fall TV series screeners and guess what?
I chose the four series being touted as the best of HGTV's fall schedule.
And don't laugh. Everywhere I go people shyly come up to me and state this is their favorite network.
After watching all four previews I believe them.
First up there's a new Canadian series titled Live Here, Buy This.
It's a pretty neat show that takes Canadian couples and figures out what they could get in various parts of the world that would match the price of their Canadian home.
First up was a personable, young couple but the problem here is they only get to peer into their computer rather than travel to the lush spots selected by HGTV.
In the first episode that includes swell spots on the coast of Croatia plus great Spanish locations and San Diego sites.
I think I've seen a variant on this show on BBC Canada but British couples actually get top reactl to the sites which makes more sense than me.
However, I'll probably keep watching just to compare the homes.
At an hour Urban, Suburban was last year's great surprise hit.
It pits brother and sister realtors against each other as the guy touts urban life with all its amenities while sis shows off more spacious suburban dwellings.
Phil DuMoulin is the urban expert and he's richly funny in showing off his urban haunts.
Sarah Daniels is the ironical sister who seems to get the best lines as she deflates his trial balloons. DuMoulin has been in real estate for years while Sarah is better known in Vancouver as one of the original hosts of Global Morning --she left after 17 years to also jump into real estate in White Rock, B.C.
They really compliment each other. Take the first new episode where they competed for the affections of a young Vancouver couple. The wife opted for urban so her husband wouldn't be stuck in commuting hell and thus have more time for their little baby.
The husband wanted suburban because they'd get more bang for their bucks and actually have a big yard for their tot --plus his parents lived nearby and could help mom to cope.
Urban Suburban took us on a merry spree through six competing homes. Tightly edited down to the bone it's compulsively edited and forces us to play along with the prospective buyers. Last year they also travelled to Ottawa and Vancouver.
That's one of HGTV secrets: we become voyeurs as couples get shown home after home. And we wonder which one we'd prefer.
Another new series and one that immediately hooked me is Four Houses Canada.
Every week four houses are profiled as the homeowners open their homes for inspection. Then they get to go and criticize the next house. A winner is announced every week.
The first hour was sheer fun particularly when we visited a home that might have been designed for The Munsters: all sorts of stuffed animals, gloomy atmosphere, some real scary stuff. Then the owner, in turn, becomes a judge and says of a competitor "I hate teak!"
And another contestant retorts:"You have stuffed animals and you hate teak?"
Which solicited a rich, ripe laugh from yours truly.
Four House Canada takes us away from the snobby of design mavens and shows what talented people out there have to offer.
I think it's HGTV's best new series of the fall.
Also new to HGTV this season is Leave It To Bryan.
The show is not in any way related to Leave It To Beaver, do you hear me?
Am I crazy or is there always a new series starring Bryan Baeumier just coming up on this network?
I mean I just finished watching Bryan build his dream cottage. And now there's this which shows the affable bald one trying to make dreams come true for a whole host of fans.
He gets a budget and then he must make the final decisions about the route the reno will take.
Look, I sort of liked this one but I'm still thinking about that beautiful cottage he just built only to desert it for yet another TV venture.
LIVE HERE, BUY THIS RUNS ON HGTV MONDAYS AT 10 P.M.
MY RATING: ***.
URBAN SUBURBAN RUNS ON HGTV TUESDAYS AT 8 P.M.
MY RATING:*** 1/2.
FOUR HOUSES CANADA RUNS ON HGTV THURSDAYS AT 9 P.M.
MY RATING: *** 1/2.
LEAVE IT TO BRYAN RUNS ON HGTV THURSDAYS AT 10 P.M.
MY RATING: ***.