TV Diary

a) "Terriers"
As my wife noted recently, I've been kind of hardcore into FX dramas the past year, renting a whole bunch of DVDs of past seasons of "Sons of Anarchy" and "The Shield" and "Damages" and enjoying "Justified," but right now I'm most excited about this show, which stars the not especially famous Donal Logue and has a misleading title and not much of a promotional hook, so the ratings are terrible and I'm already kind of nervous about it not getting renewed. Some of the one-off plots, like the 3rd episode with the adultery case, are really strong, and the long term story arc unfolding over the course of the season is going in some interesting places, and the sister character they just introduced a couple episodes is great.

b) "Rubicon"
"Rubicon" is the kind of show that's slow and deliberate by design, but now that the season's over, I have to say that I don't feel like my patience was rewarded, and that I think it will be if it has a second season. There were some good bits of storytelling and I liked the overall mood, and toward the end of the season there were some hair-on-the-back-of-the-neck-standing-up moments, but really it just kinda ended with a sigh, and really you could've cut out 95% of the stuff with Patricia Richardson's character and not lost anything.

c) "Haven"
This is a show on SyFy that my wife likes and watched more regularly than I did, but when I did pay attention to it I enjoyed it, and the season finale was really really good and left off on an intriguing note, I hope they come back for a second season.

d) "The Big C"
In a way, this show's dramatic engine is the same as "Breaking Bad"'s: the main character gets a terminal cancer diagnosis, and immediately starts doing really wild, kind of irrational stuff that you're just supposed to accept as their way of coping or responding to the situation. "Breaking Bad" has a sense of heightened reality and a bit of payoff for some of the credulity stretching motivation, though, "The Big C" is a little more frustrating because Laura Linney's character is just kind of being a crazy jerk a lot of the time and you don't get a lot of justification for it. It's still a pretty light, watchable show, though, and I'm particularly enjoying the supporting cast, especially the homeless brother. The husband character, Oliver Platt, is pretty sympathetic, which makes Linney kicking him out of the house and focusing on raising their annoying son harder to accept, but again maybe it's leading toward something worthwhile.

e) "Mike & Molly"
Some folks really hate on Chuck Lorre shows, but really I think "Two And A Half Men" and "Big Bang Theory" are, if not great sitcoms, then really solid and consistent ones, and I'm happy to have another on the air that has a bit of a different feel from those (which is to say Lorre isn't quite putting the same show on the air 3 times like Seth MacFarlane). This show has a nice sweet love story at the center, along with the usual somewhat crude jokes, which mixes together surprisingly well, although some times the slapstick is just a bit too predictable and corny.

f) "Bored To Death"
I kind of strongly disliked this show's first season last year, but for some reason I'm really enjoying it this year a lot more. I don't know if it's gotten substantially better or what, the things that bugged me before are pretty much still there, but I feel like the comedy's a lot funnier or at least hitting me harder, it's kind of starting to feel like a dry satire of New Yorkers a la "Seinfeld" and the whole goofy conceit of the show is feeling more fun and adventurous than silly.

g) "Eastbound & Down"
This is another HBO show that debuted last year that I felt kind of ambivalent about, but with this one I'm starting to outright hate it. Pretty much the whole supporting cast from before is gone, except for Stevie, perhaps the most unpleasant character I've ever seen on television, and the main character is placed in Mexico for a lot of stupid fish out of water jokes and "hey isn't racism funny?" LOLs and general bullshit.

h) "Raising Hope"
This show is really growing on me in a big way, possibly because I can identify strongly with a show about a young guy caring for a baby, but also it has a really nice balance of sweetness and kind of absurd dark humor. Kinda glad Skyler Stone was dropped from the cast after the pilot, don't really like that guy, and also happy to see Shannon Woodward from "The Riches" turn up in a new show, too.

i) "Running Wilde"
I was never a big fan of "Arrested Development," always thought it went a little too heavy on clever and not enough on outright funny, but it had its moments, so I'm giving this show a chance, partly because I like to look at Keri Russell. It's had a few laughs, the Alan Alda bit a couple weeks ago was classic, but for the most part this just isn't my thing.

j) "The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret"
This is another show that I'm not actually sure why I'm watching it other than to kill time since I don't really like David Cross or Will Arnett much at all, but it's only 6 episodes and I'm already halfway through, so I'll probably stick with it. Cross really does pretty much suck, though.

k) "Children's Hospital"
I've always had such an intense like of Cartoon Network airing anything not animated that I nearly flew into a rage just at the existence of this show, but it had enough people I like involved that I gave it a chance and it is pretty funny and ridiculous.

l) "No Ordinary Family"
It's really hard to get past the feeling that Michael Chiklis just wanted to make "Fantastic Four: The TV Show" and settled for this instead. I probably enjoy this show more than I should, but really most of the main family is kind of boring but the supporting cast is good, and I'd almost rather just watch a show about Romany Malco being funny and Autumn Reeser being pretty.

m) "Outsourced"
I had some vague hope that this show would do something good and funny and interesting with its premise, but that's been quickly dashed. It's not terrible, it's not outright offensive most of the time, but it is a bit uncomfortable and tonedeaf when its culture clash comedy isn't outright cliched and predictable. Some of the joke writing is strong and some of the characters are funny, but it's kinda flat, hoping it gets cancelled.

n) "Better With You"
This didn't seem promising at all at first, but it's slowly emerging as one of the better new comedies of the fall season. A lot of it's very rote and predictable, but the actors are starting to inhabit their characters beyond vague types and they're some great running gags and callbacks here and there, and Jake Lacy's character is occasionally hilarious.

o) "The Event"
This never had much potential but I've been kinda trudging along with it, and after a pretty underwhelming pilot I actually started to get a little bit interested in the premise in the second episode, but then the next two episodes kinda put me to sleep. Hopefully the news that NBC has for some reason given this a full season order will help me kick the habit.

p) "Hot In Cleveland"
This show feels almost like a deliberate attempt to take the wind out of the sails of the past year's campaign to appreciate Betty White while she's still alive, letting her recite boring crazy-old-lady dialogue at a bunch of slightly younger old bags from classic sitcoms on a show on TV Land. This show isn't totally bad, I should say, but it'd be better if Valerie Bertinelli wasn't the most prominent character more often than not, she's easily the worst at comedy in the cast.

q) "Melissa & Joey"
Similar to "Hot In Cleveland," this is a niche cable channel (in this case ABC Family) playing on sitcom nostalgia by taking a couple familiar faces from '90s shows and putting them in front of a live studio audience. It's pretty corny, but I actually kinda enjoy this show, and only partly because Melissa Joan Hart has aged pretty well.

r) "Life"
"Planet Earth" was stone classic and I'm happy to watch anything from those folks, but really I'd enjoy this so much more if it was Attenborough narrating, or even if they got Sigourney Weaver again. Nothing against Oprah, really, but she's just not a good voiceover person, when her narration isn't kind of distractingly "hey it's Oprah" she just isn't really hitting the right notes, intonation-wise, or adding anything to the footage.

s) "Nick Swardson's Pretend Time"
It's sad that of all the good comics without TV shows out there, Comedy Central had to give this 3rd-tier Happy Madison flunkie a sketch show, but I gave this a chance to see if maybe his so-so standup translated well to this format. It's pretty aggressively dumb, though, and there's just something irksome about Swardson.

t) "Scream Queens"
I really enjoy this show because even though in a way it's totally a "Top Model"-style low stakes beauty contest, I like the fact that the people making the show and picking the winner really take horror seriously as a genre and really put these girls through some interesting challenges just to get a bit part in another goddamn Saw movie. Plus the girls are mostly pretty hot, and this season there was the hilariously dumb and talentless Sierra, who I can imagine only lasted more than a couple episodes because the producers knew she was entertainingly bad.

u) "The Whole Truth"
Maura Tierney's recent bout with cancer bummed me out a number of levels; mainly that I felt bad for her but also that I would've rather her stayed in "Parenthood" instead of Lauren Graham, and that she doesn't look great in the short haircut in this new show that I guess is due to cancer treatments. But this show isn't bad, fun premise and Rob Morrow is a good foil, but it's also kind of forgettable and if it got cancelled I wouldn't give it a second thought.

v) "A DIfferent Spin with Mark Hoppus"
About 7 years ago I co-starred in a student film with an actress who went to the same college as me, Amy Schumer, and ever since then she's had a pretty successful career as a comedian and even though I didn't really know her or stay in touch with her, I'm kinda proud of her and tend to note whenever she shows up in a TV show here. And her latest gig is co-hosting this show on Fuse with the guy from Blink 182, and even though Hoppus is kind of a goofball and is way too old for his haircut, it's a pretty affable, entertaining show and they really throw a lot of different good ideas into an hourlong show, kind of an ideal music-centered talk show format.
« Home | Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »

Post a Comment