TV Diary

a) "Believe" 
I'm a little over all the touchy-feely supernatural dramas the networks have been putting on the last few years, but I had to give this one a chance because it was co-created by Alfonso Cuaron, who also directed the pilot. And it is a pretty strong pilot -- there were two or three scenes that were about as gripping as parts of Children of Men or Gravity, he really lent his whole visual style to it. I'm assuming he can't direct every episode, but hopefully whoever else takes over is good.

b) "Resurrection"
Here's one of those other high concept supernatural network shows, minus the visual style or intriguing hook. It just has absolutely no personality or humor to it, which on some basic level makes it feel kind of lacking in the humanity to remotely care about the characters or what will happen to them, much less be intrigued by the premise. Watch the pilot, wash my hands and move on.

c) "About A Boy"
I continue to be fascinated by the way networks, especially NBC, will groom certain actors for stardom, and put them in series over and over, without actually putting them in a successful project that does anything to highlight their talent or charisma. David Walton, who was really funny the first time I saw him in the movie Fired Up, has been in 4 different NBC comedies in the last 4 years, and it's just getting kind of pathetic now (especially since his "New Girl" arc was probably watched by more people than all those shows combined). This isn't the worst of those shows (it's almost impossible to be worse than "100 Questions"), but it's also not as good as the mildly promising "Bent" and "Perfect Couples" and just feels like an unwanted adaptation of a book/movie that wasn't that great to begin with. There's just no chemistry with him and the kid and Minnie Driver, the premise doesn't quite work the way they're doing it, I even feel mildly disappointed in Jason Katims that he couldn't make this work like he did with "Parenthood."

d) "Growing Up Fisher"
I love J.K. Simmons, and he's way overdue to star in a network sitcom. This one ain't the one I was hoping for, though. It's alright though, at least way stronger than the other new narrated-reminisces-about-adolescence show, "The Goldbergs." The use of "Under Pressure" as the theme song feels very unearned, though.

e) "Mixology" 
Now this is a strong candidate for the worst new show of the season, it's just kind of pathetic what a hapless "young sexy single people in the city" sitcom it is. Everybody is good-looking and nobody is funny, in the classic missing-the-point post-"Friends" tradition. They try to be novel with the weird premise of every episode taking place on the same night, just zeroing in on different moments between different characters, but it feels kinda pointless with no real payoff.

f) "Review"
I like the whole premise of this show, after seeing all the different shit besides just restaurants on Yelp now it really is worth satirizing the whole idea of giving a star rating to every little piece of life. At the time, it's not quite an idea that can really fill out a weekly half hour series, much as Andy Daly gamely tries to wring everything he can out of it, stretching out each segment until it gets as ridiculous as possible. Maybe it'll find its footing and become something I actually do wanna watch consistently, but I'm not hooked yet.

g) "Lindsay" 
I only watched part of the first episode but it was just too much to bear even for the comedy value. Lohan is too crazy, too spoiled, too divorced from reality to even watch. I do think it's funny that they coined the term "docu-series" to attempt to market this as something other than a tawdry reality show, though.

h) "Carvers" 
I guess the SyFy shows like "Face-Off" and "Hot Set" that have to do with the production of visual effects for films have done well for them, because at this point they're just making random craft-y shows about stuff like guys who carve pumpkins or ice into sculptures for parties and corporate events. I'm pretty fascinated by sculpture in general, though, the idea of people taking a 3-dimensional object and cutting away at it into another shape, that's just an interesting medium to me. Not really exciting television, though.

i) "True Detective" 
Now that it's over, I have to say that this pretty much ruled. And as the season went on, it kinda felt like people were inventing reasons to be disappointed, or maybe admitting that they had their heart set on it being one kind of show and then wouldn't let themselves enjoy it for what it was. And honestly, I can understand being obsessed with the mythology of "LOST" and wanting that finale to address all of it, but how could you even expect an 8-episode show to actually get into all the crap people thought they were going to get into? But I thought the whole way it came together was pretty great, much as I wish it was 10 or 12 or 20 episodes and they had delved into the world a little deeper, the way they were able to give the big villain so little screentime and still be so memorable really played to the show's strengths.

j) "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon"
Of all of Jay Leno's crimes, his worst may be making it impossible for me to be justifiably outraged about Jimmy Fallon hosting the Tonight Show. Sometimes I just watch dude's monologue to be amazed at how bad he is at monologues. The rest of the show is fun, I guess, but still, I'm kind of a late night purist.

k) "Late Night with Seth Meyers"
Seth has been on TV for like 10 years and in a weird way I still don't really know how much I like him. He's funny sometimes, sometimes he isn't, he has kind of a smart-alecky dickish vibe but I don't actually think he is a dick. But compared to Fallon, I'm rooting for him. It was weird, though, to watch him stand up and tell jokes the first night and think "woah, Seth Meyers has legs?"

l) "The Pete Holmes Show" 
I'm glad this came back for new episodes recently, it really grew on me in its initial test run last year. Doing a semi-traditional late night talk show in a half hour feels weird, but then if I'm up after "Conan" I probably am not going to be staying up much longer anyway, so it works for me. I wish Pete did more interviews in front of the audience than the pre-taped deals, he seems to feed off the audience generally. The parts of the monologue where he seems to be just improvising, or at least not doing really topical stuff, are typically the funniest parts of the show. The skits are hit-and-miss, sometimes great, often just lame.

m) "Rick And Morty"
I've only watched this a couple times but I'm really on the fence about it. Dan Harmon's sense of humor and overall sensibility comes through, and it's made me laugh sometimes, but I'd like something about it to be stronger, even if visually it's gonna invariably be half-assed animation like most Adult Swim shows I dunno, I'd like the voice acting to be stronger or something.

n) "Kroll Show"
This show has been growing on me big time. I'm not crazy about all the recurring characters, but the one-off sketches, like the meal points soap opera, tend to be really hilarious.

o) "Girls"
This show has had as many flaws as it had virtues from the jump, and at this point the balance has just gotten further and further off. I'm a few episodes behind, wondering if it would just be aggravating to try and catch up. That beach house episode, yikes. Lena Dunham's "SNL" episode was actually pretty funny in parts, though.

p) "New Girl"
The Prince episode was about as anticlimactic as it had to be, but generally I think this show has been on a roll lately, last week was great. Kinda hoping Damon Wayans, Jr. never leaves, the show feels stronger with a bigger cast, more people bouncing off of each other, less repetitive Schmidt- or Nick-centric storylines.

q) "Workaholics"
Majorly lost interest in this show a while ago, but I caught a new episode recently that was hilarious, so it's not that they fell off. "Broad City" getting compared to "Workaholics" constantly just reminds me that "Broad City" is totally a better show, though.

r) "Suits"
This show is still great, although I feel like they've moved on from the initial premise and the show is kinda strained by still trying to wring drama out of Mike's secret being discovered. I have no idea how they could extinguish that fire and keep him at the firm or whatever, but they really need to stop leaning on the constant threat of exposure, it's just weak by now. Everything else, though, awesome show.

s) "Misfits" 
This is a British show that my wife got obsessed with for a few weeks and binge watched multiple seasons, at which point I sat down and watched the first episode with an eye on maybe catching up to watch some of the later episodes with her. Didn't really hook me enough to do that, although it was pretty good, and oh man, Antonia Thomas is awesome.
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