​The New Season: TV (and lots of it)

What do TV viewers have to look forward to in the New Season? As Jamie Wax tells us, a LOT:

At last week's Primetime Emmy Awards, host Andy Samberg opened by poking fun at the endless number of shows on television:

Actress Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, best known for her movie roles (in "Scarface," "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves," and "The Perfect Storm"), has joined TV's crowded ranks. This fall she plays Nasreen Pouran, a Special Agent in Charge at the FBI, in the new CBS series, "Limitless."

When asked how surprised she is at how television has changed during the course of her career, she replied, "I'm gob-smacked!"

Matt Zoller Seitz is one of the television critics at New York Magazine. He has an overflowing stack of DVDs and online downloads to screen and critique.

"Imagine that you're climbing a mountain, and you get all the way up to what you think is the top -- that was just one plateau, and then you keep going, and you get to another plateau, and another, and another," Seitz said. "There's always going to be more television."

And despite all the talk about DVRs, according to Nielsen, 86 percent of us still watch TV the old-fashioned way -- at a program's regularly scheduled scheduled time.

And this fall there are more choices than ever, from variety shows, to superheroes ("I really, really like the new 'Supergirl,'" said Seitz, "because it's a throwback to another kind of superhero narrative, which is to say, cheerful. I'm tired of seeing superheroes brooding in the rain"), to Muppets ("They've actually gone the extra mile to convince me that these are actual creatures that live in the world").

Award-winning silver-screen directors are also making their move to smaller screens, including Steven Soderbergh with "The Knick" on Cinemax; David Lynch coming to Showtime with "Twin Peaks"; and Martin Scorsese's "Vinyl" on HBO.

"There are a lot of opportunities in television," said Seitz. "One of them is, you can endlessly explore and re-explore the same themes with the same characters."

But eventually, as with tonight's series finale of the CBS hit, "CSI," we have to say goodbye.

"I hate to let go of a show," said Seitz. "You invite this show, you invite these characters into your home week after week for years on end, and you get to know them."

Still, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio says, just when you think you'll never love again, "There are so many shows that we're kind of chomping at the bit for them to come back. You know, get the dishes done, and sit and see what else happens. Such good stuff!"

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