Now that I’ve basically seen all of Fall’s new shows (in exception of those that got really bad reviews and and really not worth even checking out), I think I’m ready to give my deliberations. Not all of these shows that I actually like has gotten the full-season pick up, but let’s just hope that it’ll happen soon. Of course you know how much I love Glee, so I won’t discuss it any further. But there are other shows that premiered this Fall that I need to talk about. And here’s my two-cents:
The first cancellation of the season was the Ashton Kutcher-produced “The Beautiful Life: TBL”, the show that was supposed to be Mischa Barton’s comeback vehicle, and I have to say, as much as I loved Ms Barton in The OC, I actually think that this show sucked the big one.
Forget about the fact that the title alone was beyond cheesy (what’s with the TBL abbreviation?), the story was a snooze-fest, the acting was amateurish, and really, the only thing good about the show is the “beautiful” cast and fashion. Even Ashton Kutcher’s 1 million followers on Twitter couldn’t really save this show from sinking quicker than the Titanic.
I do wish that The CW would cancel both 90210 and Melrose Place 2.0 as well though, but that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen soon enough, they’re trying to make those shows work at any cost, including firing two cast members (Colin Egglesfield and Ashlee Simpson-Wentz) from Melrose Place and stunt-casting Rumer Willis and Samantha Ronson in 90210 to try to keep the shows afloat. Well, good luck with that, CW. You should have given both Reaper and Privileged one more chance.
Another show that seems to not be going well and for good reason, is NBC’s attempt to recreate the “new” ER: Trauma, a show about paramedics in San Fransisco.
I have to say, I have seen all the episodes so far, and there is no way this show can be the new ER. First of all, aside from fun explosion and blood and gore (as much as basic network TV is allowed to show), the show really has nothing else going on. The story lines are half-baked and never really deliver a punch, the characters are not that engaging and furthermore, the show seems to be confused – Anastasia Griffith’s character is a poor man’s Meredith Grey, with her penchant for sleeping around and knocking back a few tequilas after work – but at the same time, the hectic action sequences try too hard to be somewhere between ER and 24. Conclusion: They should’ve kept Southland and cancel this one immediately. Or at least bring back Chuck earlier than expected.
Failing with one medical show already, NBC seems to be doing better in the nurses’ front with Mercy.
I have to admit, I was skeptical about this show at first. There are already too many medical shows in my opinion, and after they got bored with doctors, the shift to nurses didn’t really guarantee quality shows. Sure, there’s Showtime’s Nurse Jackie, but there’s also Hawthorne that proves to be nothing more than Jada Pinkett-Smith vanity project. However, Mercy changed my mind. It was actually good. Taylor Schilling as Veronica Callahan is engaging and believable, and she plays “scary and damaged” really well. The other cast members prove to be a delight as well, Michelle Trachtenberg’s Chloe is adorable and Jamie Lee Kirchner is definitely convincing as commitment-phobic but fragile Sonya. Sure, there are some similarities to Nurse Jackie – most prominently Veronica’s rebellious attitude – but they’re slowly moving away from being a poor man’s Nurse Jackie and hold their own as a charming new show that’s worth spending your Wednesday with. And the best part is of course their full-season pick up. At last, NBC can recognize a good show! (I’m still bummed by them axing the amazingly well-written and beautifully acted Kings).
Another show that NBC just picked up for a full-season is Community, the Joel McHale comedy about misfits in a community college.
And am I glad about that! I love Community, it’s hilarious, sweet (without being saccharine) and I always have a soft-spot for quirky oddballs (in which there are plenty here) trying to make sense of life. I think Joel McHale does a great job playing a fast-talking former con artist, he knows how to walk the fine line between selfish and sensitive without being too much of a jerk that we find him unlikeable or too much of a reformed bad boy that we don’t find him believable.
Of course talking about quirky oddballs, we can’t forget HBO’s Bored To Death that already got picked up for a second season a while back.
Okay, so not every episode is as funny as the pilot, but this show definitely has promise and the three stars: Jason Schwartzman, Zach Galifianakis and Ted Danson are so amazing that I’m pretty sure it’ll continue to get better as the show progresses. And besides, it’s not TV, it’s HBO. So quality is something we are sure to get from them.
While we’re on the topic of Comedy, one show that has gotten a full-season pick up is ABC’s Modern Family, one of this year’s biggest surprise hit.
I didn’t expect this show to be a hit, but it did very well and I’m pleasantly surprised. I knew it was going to be good – considering the critics all rave about this show – but I just didn’t expect it to be that good and that funny so early on. Mockumentary-style comedy usually takes a while to take off, with The Office and Parks and Recreation needing a second season to actually find their footing, but this one proves to be a comedic gold right from the pilot episode. Maybe it’s because when they’re not talking to the screen, we forget that it’s actually a mockumentary, the camera work is always deliberately smooth to differentiate this show from the other mockumentary shows, and I think that makes the show works so well. Not to mention every single cast member is so hilarious, it’s hard to pick a favorite!
In the Drama department, ABC also scored big with FlashForward, the show that at first had a very Lost-like premise but quickly became its own separate entity with its own interesting mysteries.
This show actually turned out to be better than I expected, even though I already had high hopes for it to begin with. The mystery is, in my opinion, far more interesting that Lost, and even though sometimes the way they only unfold a little bit of revelation in every episode is a little frustrating, I love the way it’s unpredictable in the subtlest way. Like the character Janis, for example, who saw herself being 17 weeks pregnant in her flash forward. When she and John Cho’s character Dimitri Noh got a little chummy in one episode, we thought for sure they would hook up one night and that’s how she’ll become pregnant in six months – but the writers decide to pull a fast one on us and in the last episode, it is revealed that Janis is actually a lesbian. Okay, now it’s definitely getting complicated. Not to mention she was also shot and (presumably) left for dead in the end of that episode, which makes me question whether these “flash forwards” will actually happen, or whether the fact that the whole world got a preview of the future can actually result in a completely different future than what they originally saw. Your brain hurting yet?
Moving on to CBS, one of their highly anticipated drama was The Good Wife, starring Julianna Marguielles that received good reviews from critics and has already gotten a full season pick up a few weeks ago.
However, for me, it’s actually not as good as I had expected and I stopped watching after a while because I simply got bored of it. I’m never a big fan of legal shows to begin with (except for the ones that incorporate silly hallucinations and song and dance, like Ally McBeal and Eli Stone), and for some reason I just can’t quite relate with Alicia Florrick, Julianna Marguilles’ character in the show. Maybe it’s because I’m not married and it’s hard for me to understand the struggles of being the wife of a disgraced politician, maybe it’s Julianna Marguilles’ unimpressive acting, but the show does not live up to the hype, in my humble opinion. CBS should just stick to crime procedural dramas and I would be just fine with it.
Finally, there are other shows that have been around awhile and have always been ratings-gold that I gave up on watching this season because the quality continues to decline, like Grey’s Anatomy.
Shonda Rhames really need to learn from the producers of Seinfeld, Friends and Sex and The City to quit while she’s ahead. Despite a strong season finale last Spring, the show’s return to ABC’s Fall schedule turned out to be a disappointment, and it’s not because TR Knight left the show (surprisingly enough, he’s really not that important of a character for us to miss him). I don’t really know why Grey’s suck lately but I guess the quality has just declined too much that it’s a little hard to salvage. I think instead of adding more cast members, they should just admit that it’s time to bid adieu and take a bow.
Oh and take Desperate Housewives with them if they do, before I pick up a shotgun and shoot Teri Hatcher’s character Susan Mayer in the face. Just when I thought she couldn’t be more pathetic, Marc Cherry proved that he’s still got it in him to make Susan Mayer the most pathetic character ever created in a show.
So there you go. The good, the bad and the ugly of Fall TV 2009.
What’s your favorite new show? What show do you think should bite the dust? And what show that you think needs to be resurrected in place of the shitty ones that are still airing now?