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Saturday, September 24, 2011

New TV season

So far, not so much.

I made a point to watch Pan Am, which looked so promising, but I thought it was underwhelming.  They don't use the situation in an interesting way, and they're trying way too hard.  And what's with the whole espionage aspect - super silly.

I watched The Playboy Club, pretty much by accident, and it wasn't bad (my expectations were very low), but I can't see it being a Can't  Miss show for me (one of the commentators on NPR said, "They don't even have last names!" - I thought that summed it up very well).  Plus the mobster angle is just so tired.

[Side note - both these shows are supposedly attempts to cash in on the nostalgia that proved so popular with Mad Men, but I think the creators of these shows are quite unaware of what makes MM so appealing.  MM takes a pretty unvarnished view of the 1960s - all the sexism, racism and classism of the era are on full display; these new shows are timid in comparison; plus the acting on MM is world class.]

I even watched a little bit of Charlie's Angels, just to see what they did with it.  It wasn't bad, but certainly not appointment TV for me.

I watched The New Girl with Zooey Deschanel, probably the buzziest show this fall, and which I expected to love, but I thought it was pretty ho hum.  I might give it one more week, but maybe not even that.  [Addendum - I gave it another week and didn't alter my opinion - just not that funny.]

I watched the first episode of Up All Night, with Christina Applegate, which has also gotten a lot of buzz. It was cute, but not as funny or fresh as it should have been. Might check it out again, but I might not bother. [Addendum - I gave it another week and wished I hadn't.  Stupid and not funny.]

Also watched Raising Hope, which we had seen in reruns over the summer and enjoyed, but the premiere episode was kind of stupid, and definitely not something I would make a point to watch.

I checked out Two and A Half Men (both episodes) and I thought it was sort of funny, and sort of stupid and over the top.  I wasn't a huge fan of the show when Charlie Sheen was starring, and I can't see watching it now, but I wish them luck.

Suburgatory (on ABC) is being hailed by critics, so I gave the pilot a look.  Cute-ish, but not as good as I expected (with Jeremy Sisto in a much lighter role than I'm used to seeing him in).  I'll check out another episode before I decide.

It wasn't all dross, however.  I discovered that a lot of shows are available On Demand, so I watched a bunch of pilots that I wouldn't have normally seen.  Some highlights~

Prime Suspect is quite good (on NBC).  (I missed the pilot the night it aired because we were watching The Lion King at the Civic Center, but I taped it.) I didn't expect to love it because the tone of ads were not that appealing to me, but I kept an open mind (Maria Bello commands that) and I'll definitely continue to tune in.

Homeland with Clare Danes, and a bunch of other great people, is weird and compelling (on Showtime).  I'll definitely keep watching that.

Hank Azaria's comedy, Free Agents (on NBC), is funny and grown up (I didn't realize that it's a remake of a British comedy).  I'll bet it's the very first show to get canceled, but I'll watch it til then. [Addendum - it was the 2nd show canceled, after The Playboy Club; I got to see 4 episodes.]

2 Broke Girls is quite funny, and Kat Dennings does not disappoint.  CBS is not pushing this very hard at all (though they gave it the lead-in spot before Two and A Half Men), which surprises me, considering it's pedigree: Sex in the City creator Michael Patrick King at the helm.  I can't imagine why this hasn't gotten more of a marketing push; but they're probably counting on it's schedule spot to bring viewers.  I thought the second episode was less catchy than the premiere, but I'll still watch it out as long as it lasts (which may not be long).

The critics have not been kind to Whitney (who also produces 2 Broke Girls), which NBC has promoted heavily, and I had no interest in.  But once I watched it, I found that I laughed quite a bit.  It's a lot less forced than the promos made it seem (and not nearly as forced as The New Girl).  One of the very few shows filmed before a live audience, with some fairly adult humor.  I hope it lasts.

I actually enjoyed How To Be a Gentleman on NBC, which I watched for Kevin Dillon, but found myself smitten with perennial dork, Rhys Darby (Yes Man, Pirate Radio).  [It's been cancelled already as well, the highest rated show so far to get the ax, according to EW.]


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