TV Diary

a) "Gracepoint"
I never saw the British series this was based on, "Broadchurch," but I like that FOX decided to adapt it into a 10-episode miniseries so that they're not instantly trying to stretch it out into a longer run (which seems to be how "The Killing" got into that whole season 1 finale fiasco). That said, "Broadchurch" is shooting a second season now, and I wouldn't be surprised if FOX tried to bring this back if it's successful enough. And I probably wouldn't mind, the first 5 episodes have been really good -- this kind of crime drama feels so familiar at this point, but the cast is good enough to fill out the characters beyond archetypes and make you care what happened to this kid. And they've been throwing so many red herrings around that I really have no idea how it's all going to shake out.

b) "Scorpion"
This CBS show about a team of geniuses helping out the government with high tech problems was probably always going to be silly and unrealistic. But the fact that the main character is named after and loosely based on a real guy and that the character talks about being a genius and what it's like to be a genius just makes it kind of hilarious and corny. I'm happy they're still putting Katharine McPhee on TV, but I probably won't be able to keep watching this show even for her.

c) "Constantine"
The first screen adaptation of Constantine, the Keanu Reeves movie, was widely criticized for not being faithful to the comics, but since I never read those I was free to just enjoy it as a movie, and it was actually pretty good, great visual effects. The TV show seems to be working harder at being faithful to the comics, depicting Constantine as blond and British, but again I don't really know or care how well that's working out. The pilot was solid and the visual effects were great by TV standards, but I'm not hooked yet.

d) "Gotham"
I don't think I care enough about the DC universe to watch this show. Might as well watch "The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles" for all I care. I thought maybe with Donal Logue in the cast there might be some degree of fun, but the guy from "The OC" is a super boring lead and it just seems like they're laying on the FORESHADOWING of Gotham's future way too thick.

e) "Madam Secretary"
I feel like I should love to watch a political drama about just Bebe Neuwirth and Zeljko Ivanek, but the premise of this one is just too premise-y. And the second episode is called "Another Benghazi," so I don't think I'll even keep watching past the pilot.

f) "Sonic Highways"
I actually like the Foo Fighters a fair amount and don't mind that this big ambitious trip through American music history is being done mostly through the scope of a bunch of Dave Grohl songs. The first three episodes were a lot of fun, although it's hard to imagine any of the future episodes being more compelling than the D.C. one, just because of Grohl's personal history and because of my personal interest in and experiences with D.C. But the song they did in Nashville is the best one I've heard from the record so far.

g) "Friend Of The People"
TruTV is going through one of those cable network identity crisis phases where they're trying to reinvent themselves and put on different kinds of shows. So now the channel formerly known as Court TV has a sketch comedy show. It's not bad, good cast of up-and-coming comedy types, Jermaine Fowler seems like the standout in the cast. Not all of the sketches are good, but they're pretty short, so they keep things moving and it doesn't get boring.

h) "Manhattan Love Story"
This has already earned the distinction of being the first canceled show of the fall season, but I didn't think it was bad -- certainly had more promise than the other shows that have since been canceled, "A To Z" and "Bad Judge." The whole voiceover conceit yielded more laughs than I thought it would, and it didn't lean too hard on hoary 'men think like this, women think like this' stuff after the first few minutes. Analeigh Tipton is charming, hopefully she gets another series soon.

i) "Selfie"
I feared the worst that this show was gonna be just a bunch of tired Twitter/Instagram jokes run through a regrettable My Fair Lady premise. But I didn't realize at first that it was created by the same person as "Suburgatory," which I figured out around the third episode, which was absolutely hysterical ("Of course they have a prenup, there's a BILLION DOLLARS on the elevator"). The premise is still a little icky, but  it could work if they keep up the satirical edge of it all, and Karen Gillan, who even found a way to be funny in a horror movie in Oculus, is just killing it.

j) "Marry Me"
Just as I'm glad the creator of "Suburgatory" has a new show to take its place after its cancellation, I'm very happy that the cast of "Happy Endings" has spread out to "The Mindy Project" and "New Girl" and a couple of new shows, including this one, which is by the creator of "Happy Endings" in addition to having Casey Wilson in it. I'm not totally sold on the show, the cast doesn't seem to really gel beyond Wilson and Ken Marino, but they're both good enough for me to keep watching.

k) "Benched"
Another "Happy Endings" alumnus, Eliza Coupe, wound up with a new show, and I'm kinda mad that it's over on USA where nobody will see it, since it's better than almost every new network sitcom. The first scene of the pilot alone was crazy, but the whole thing has a lot of potential.

l) "The McCarthys"
I feel like there's a seed of a funny show here, but it's buried inside a bunch of cliches about a gay guy whose family is a bunch of sports-loving jocks. I may watch it just for Kelen Coleman, though, who I have a lot of residual affection for since she played the only sympathetic character on "The Newsroom." 

m) "Newsreaders"
I feel like Mather Zickel is a really slept on comedic actor out of all the people he works with, and was happy that he finally got a proper vehicle when "Childrens Hospital" spun off "Newsreaders" into its own show. So it's a little annoying to me that they replaced him with Alan Tudyk for the second season of the show, although Tudyk is also really funny and kind of underrated in his own way, so I'm good.

n) "American Horror Story: Freak Show"
Other than "Coven," which I got a few episodes into, I've only watched the first episode of each season of "American Horror Story," and I don't know if I'll get any further with this one, either. The clown is cool, the special effects on the conjoined twins are impressive, but I just kinda don't care. These shows are never scary, or even really suspenseful, just creepy, which for me isn't really passing muster as horror.

o) "Parenthood"
I'm kinda glad they're doing a 'farewell season' and wrapping this up, although the show is such a rambling sentimental yarn that I don't know how they can ever wrap things up. For every episode that actually hits me on some emotional level or really makes me laugh hard, there's an episode or two that's full of tedious plotlines about the studio or the school.

p) "Sons Of Anarchy"
I'd been anticipating the final season of "Sons Of Anarchy" big time considering that the previous season ended with one of the most shocking and gut-wrenching finales I've ever seen on TV. And I'm still on the edge of my seat to see how it all ends. But aside from the odd little moments foreshadowing that Gemma is losing it, it's mostly been a lot of flailing around with gang rivalry plots that constantly result in gigantic shootouts where an implausible number of people get shot, like literally in every single episode lately.

q) "Saturday Night Live"
"SNL" has actually been pretty funny so far this year, although as ever, the internal politics of "SNL" are as interesting as the comedy itself. I liked Cecily Strong on Weekend Update, but I'm cool with her going back to focusing on sketches and Michael Che seems like a better foil for Colin Jost, who has actually had his moments lately after starting rough last season. Meanwhile Leslie Jones has jumped from writer to cast member kinda quickly and unexpectedly while the other black woman added to the cast after Lorne Michaels caught hell for not hiring one for decades, Sasheer Zamata, has been fading into the background. And Vanessa Bayer, now in her 5th season, is suddenly starting to feel like a really solid part of the cast, while Kate McKinnon isn't getting as much screentime as I'd like. But yeah, it's been funny. Especially the fake commercials. The Jim Carrey episode really impressed me, some of the funniest stuff he's done in a long time.
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