Thursday, October 6, 2011

What You Should Have Watched #12

It’s been a month since the new TV season started with the season premiere of Sons of Anarchy. Not all of the shows for this season have premiered yet. The fairy tale shows don’t start until later this month, and Bones doesn’t start until November. One of the returning shows I’ve really been looking forward to, The League, starts back tonight. But I’ve already dropped a few shows, so I thought it would be a good time to give a little rundown of the season so far. I’ll probably do this again around Christmas, midway through the season and right before the mid-season replacements start showing up.

Let’s go ahead and start with the shows I’ve already dropped. The season’s first casualty was the Sarah Michelle Gellar helmed Ringer. I’ve got a soft spot in my heart for all actors/actresses who have had a working relationship with Joss Whedon. Nathan Fillion got me to Castle. Adam Baldwin got me to Chuck. AllisonHannigan got me to How I Met Your Mother. David Boreanaz got me to Bones. There have been a few hiccups, most notably with V, which starred Morena Baccarin (who I really enjoyed in Homeland). So while the promos for the Ringer looked dreadful, I wanted to give it a chance. It got a half an hour from me before I turned it off, deleted the episode from my DVR and took it off the weekly schedule. I’ve decided that, barring Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I don’t like SMG’s acting. It’s stiff and unfeeling, and I couldn’t tell the difference between the two sisters. I won’t get into the horrendous green screen effects. Do a Google search and you’ll find plenty of reviews lambasting them. So yeah, I was only able to give it a half an hour. It was just bad. Who knows, maybe it just needs to find its legs and it’ll get better as the season progresses, but I won’t be sticking around to see if it happens.

The next show to get the axe (well, my axe at least) was Glee. I really enjoyed this show during its first season. It wasn’t edgy, but it was doing something different. It pandered heavily, but it did so in a charming way. I liked how it took every character’s stereotype and made them stand out. By the end of the season, though, almost everything I liked about the show had been blown up so much that it was nauseating. It was trying to do TOO much, and nobody was just acting, they were all overacting. I continued to watch the second season, but most of the time I skipped over any actual story and just stuck around for the songs…or any scene with Mike O’Malley, who played the “every man” father of Kurt O’Malley, the token gay student. He has always been the most believable and likeable character. I liked his reaction when Kurt came out to him, and liked that his reaction was believable. He didn’t just accept it, not did he abandon his son. He supported him, even though he didn’t fully understand what his son was going through. But with an ensemble cast this big, one recurring character and some good music isn’t enough to keep me around. I fully decided to drop it when I realized that I had this season’s premiere on for almost 45 minutes and I didn’t have any idea as to what was going on…and I didn’t care. That was the nail in this show’s coffin for me.

There were two shows that surprised me: Two and a Half Men and 2 Broke Girls. I wanted to watch TaaHM to see how they handled the hole left by Charlie Sheen, but I forgot about it until a friend texted me about halfway through. I saw Ashton Kutcher’s entrance, and you know what? I didn’t hate it. I laughed, and I thought that I’d stick around for a bit. As the show ended and TBG began, I stayed on the couch. The show started with a busty Kat Dennings ripping on a couple of hipsters, so I stuck around for the whole episode. As with TaaHM, I laughed and thought I’d stick around for another episode or two. It wasn’t until both shows had ended the following week that I had realized I missed them both and didn’t really care. Maybe if I weren’t DVRing all of my shows in high definition I’d add them to my list. But since I AM DVRing everything in HD, the recorder fills up quickly. Dennings IS nice to look at, but the wasn’t THAT funny, and her boobs couldn’t save it for me. And despite my enjoyment of the first episode of the new season, I really haven’t liked Kutcher in anything he’s done. I’m okay with only seeing what I’ve seen.

There have been a few new shows that I’ve been happy with. New Girl has been cute and funny and wonderfully entertaining. It’s got the same feel of Happy Endings, but it’s not just a rehash. I also like how they explained away the addition of Lamorne Morris (Winston) since Damon Wayans, Jr. stayed with last year’s surprise mid-season hit Happy Endings. It’s not a replacement, not the same character with an interchangeable actor. This is a totally different character that fits well with the rest of the cast. I like Zooey Deschanel’s quirky character and each of her roomies. I like that one of them is a douche bag who has to put a dollar in a jar every time he gets called out on being what he is. It’s not really all that original, but it’s well-scripted and well-acted, so it’s a keeper.

For me, NBC hit the mark with Free Agents but dropped the ball with Up All Night. Free Agents did a great job of putting strong characters in whimsical situations. HankAzaria and Kathryn Hahn played off each other wonderfully, and the four supporting cast, well, supported the two leads admirably. One of the supporting actors was Anthony Head, who also played Giles in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I started watching this because it actually looked entertaining, but I would have at least watched the pilot because of him. He’s one of the Whedon alumni who I’d like to see in more things. The other thing this show had going for it was Azaria’s character being a divorced single father. I find myself being drawn to shows with similar leads (Louie hit eerily close to home).

The only thing that Up All Night had going for it (for me, anyways) was Will Arnett. Christina Applegate is pretty and Maya Rudolph is funny, but they really didn’t bring anything to the table here. So I was watching solely for Will Arnett, whose character turned out to be an aging ass hat who wanted to keep his youth while still being a father. Oh grow the fuck up. Yes, you had a baby and your life changed. Boo fucking hoo. You change, and you thank God for putting you on this new path. I would have been much happier with this had it been more like Mr. Mom, hijinks of a brand-new stay-at-home dad.

So having said all that, I was extremely disappointed to learn today that Free Agents was cancelled and Whitney and Up All Night were picked up. I hate it when shows with promise don’t find a wider audience, and mediocre or just plain bad shows get at least a full season. I look at the glass as half full, though, and view this as a boon for my DVR…one less show to take up space.

I’ve only seen the first episodes of both Person of Interest and Suburgatory, but I liked what I saw and am keeping them on the DVR schedule. I was actually surprised with PoI. You expect run-of-the-mill crime dramas from CBS, but Michael Emerson brings the quiet intensity that he brought to Lost, and Jim Caviezel’s character is a wonderful badass. I wasn’t expecting the level of violence that his character brought to the show, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Suburgatory didn’t really bring anything new to the table, but it’s got Alan Tudyk, who is great in everything he’s in, and Jeremy Sisto’s character is a single father, so there’s that again. I’ll need a couple more episodes before I can really give it a better review.

Terra Nova is the only show I’ve recorded but haven’t watched yet.

Then we’ve got the returning shows. Everything has been just as good as I remember, and there’s been enough awesomeness (the club taking out the Russians in Sons of Anarchy and Kate Beckett’s revelation at the end of the season premiere of Castle). My favorite season premiere, though, as probably been the seventh season premiere of Supernatural. Misha Collins really got to flex his acting chops by portraying a few different personalities as Castiel, God and the Leviathans. I was disappointed with his apparent “demise,” but he’s an angel who was God for a bit, so I’m guessing he’s pretty hard to kill.

I’m happy with my view schedule at the moment. I don’t have so much on my plate where my DVR will get full, but I’ve got enough there so that I shouldn’t have a night with no new shows to watch.

Probably for the rest of the month I’m going to whore myself out with an impassioned plea: click on the ads. PLEASE click on the ads. I don’t care if you exit it out of it immediately or actually look around. This isn’t some professional blog where I believe in the products I’m shilling. These are automatic ads placed by Google. But my experiment this weekend proved to me that I actually AM making a spot of cash whenever the ads are clicked. So I’m going to put this little disclaimer on the bottom of all my posts for the next month or so, and I hope you’ll take an extra 10 seconds after reading my blog to click on an ad. Thanks so much!

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