Tag Archives: ABC

Fall 2011 Television Report Card: Returning Shows

Hello! As promised, I am still here to bring you the Report Card for this Fall 2011 Television season. It’s not an easy task, watching all this TV, but someone’s got to do it. No, I’m kidding, I do this because I want to give more meaning to spending hours and hours of vegging out in front of the television and devouring more TV shows than your average network executive. πŸ˜‰

We have reached November and the sweeps have officially begun. Some shows have even had their Fall finales, and some networks have released their mid-season schedule (No Community, NBC?? WTF?). Anyway, as infuriating as NBC’s decision to bench Community can be, I still have to make good on my promise to report to you how our returning Fall shows are faring this season. So without further ado, let’s just take a look at our Fall 2011 television season so far and see how they’re doing so far. Is this a great TV season, or is it the worst in years? Let’s take a look, shall we?

SUNDAYS:

Truthfully, the only returning show that I still watch on Sundays is HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. I don’t watch The Good Wife (please don’t make me explain why again, I’ve done it so many times in this blog), I have given up hope on Dexter after the disappointing season 4 and I don’t watch The Walking Dead (serious zombies are not my thing. I prefer my zombies hilarious, a la Zombieland and Shaun of The Dead). And I’m so not into How To Make It In America (which is basically Entourage, with a smaller budget). Which means I’m going to have to compare Boardwalk Empire with last season to be able to judge it fairly. And so far, this season is not much of an improvement. I love that we get more Richard Harrow, Rothstein, Capone and Chalky White – who are all great characters played by amazing actors, but I think the show could benefit from some character developments. Last season the female characters suffer from lack of developments, and this season, it seems the writers don’t really know what they want to do with Jimmy Darmody, which is a shame since Michael Pitt is definitely a great actor who can deliver perfection every week. Now that the season’s inching closer to the end and the stakes are raised, I’m hoping they’ll finally get it together and give us a truly satisfying finale that will make us forget about the frustrating early episodes.

Sunday Night Grade:

Boardwalk Empire: B- (It definitely got better midway through, and Richard Harrow alone made the show deserving of this grade)

MONDAYS:

Like I said in my previous post, Monday night is definitely a pretty crowded night of television for me, so if a show is lacking in quality on a night like this, I usually give it up pretty quickly (goodbye, Hawaii Five-0!). But one show I know I won’t ever give up even if it gets 8 seasons like Entourage (which I highly doubt because nobody seems to be watching it except for me and a few people in Brooklyn), is HBO’s Bored To Death. Now in its third season, this Jason Schwartzman, Ted Danson and Zach Galifianakis screwball comedy continues to be hysterically funny and wonderfully odd. As one commenter in NY Magazine’s Vulture blog once said, “Bored To Death is Entourage for people who hate Entourage.” – a fitting description for a show that is light, funny, a tad insane and a whole lot of fun.

Of course in terms of ratings, Monday nights belong to CBS’ How I Met Your Mother, now in its 7th season (and we still haven’t met the mother yet! Do we even still want to?) and ABC’s Castle, now in its 4th season. How I Met Your Mother may not be as “cool” as Bored To Death in terms of comedy, but surprisingly, this season is not half-bad. It was flailing in the beginning of the season but now I’m enjoying it more, and not just because they seem to be revisiting the Barney and Robin romance once again. I’m not too crazy about Kal Penn as Robin’s boyfriend because she seems to have more chemistry with a stick of butter than with him, but eh, at least he helps drive the plot forward. Meanwhile, Castle benefited from having a strong season opener and even though the show focuses more on the cases of the week instead of the Castle-Beckett sexual tension, it actually works in their favor. Who knows, maybe they’ll just pull a Bones next season and have Beckett pregnant with Castle’s baby all of a sudden. That’s one way to beat the Moonlighting curse!

Speaking of pregnancy, The CW’s Gossip Girl is going through with the Blair Waldorf pregnancy plot, though now almost halfway in the fifth season, she still looks as thin as ever (seriously, stick a pillow under there or something!). However, despite the ridiculousness of every single plot, I think this season is actually an improvement, or maybe the last two were just so bad that anything can be seen as an improvement. Two things I would want to be rid off in this show though: Dan Humphrey’s floppy hair and Elizabeth Hurley. As Jessica Pressler of NY Magazine’s Daily Intel blog notes, “She’s the only British who can make her real British accent sound fake.” Too bad it doesn’t seem like her (and Dan’s Jeff Buckley hair) are going anywhere soon. Across the (Canadian) border, the addictive CBC drama Being Erica is now in its fourth and final season, and sadly the season has been underwhelming so far. I like that Kai is back, but I was kind of expecting Erica to have finally resolved her issues with men already by now, and yet she seems to still be as damaged as ever. I just hope that it’ll improve fast, since we all deserve a satisfying series finale and conclusion to this journey.

Monday Night Grades:

Bored To Death: A (I just can’t find anything bad to say about this show!)

How I Met Your Mother: C+ (Still in a continued decline from the early seasons, but there’s hope of a turnaround)

Castle: B (The quality remains consistent)

Gossip Girl: C- (We still need to suspend our disbelief every week, but at least some plots are quite enjoyable)

Being Erica: B- (Come on, Erica, get your shit together, girl!)

TUESDAYS:

Tuesday night television used to be the most exciting night for me, mostly because of Glee. But that show burns out so fast (more on that later) that I’m not even that excited about it anymore. But Tuesday night continues to be a great night for television simply because of the little show that could on NBC called Parenthood. Honestly, I don’t know why people aren’t watching this show. It’s honest-to-goodness that amazing. Emily Nussbaum of (now) The New York Times once said that Parenthood is the television equivalent of a nice, warm, bubble bath. You just want to soak in the goodness, preferably with a glass of red wine in your hand.

When Parenthood continues to warm our hearts in its third season, I can’t say the same about Glee, which saddens me because it was only two years ago when the show stole my heart and made me a devotee. But Glee, much like its characters’ relationships, turns out to be just another puppy love – it burns hot, it burns bright and then it fizzles away. Out of the six episodes that have aired so far this season, only two were actually great and reminiscent of the early episodes of season one. Ryan Murphy can’t seem to figure out what to do with half the cast, and he’s got to write in parts for winners of The Glee Project too. I still hold out hope that this show will return to its former glory before this season’s over but from the looks of things, we may have to bow out just as soon as the New Direction seniors graduate. However, another Fox comedy Raising Hope seems to be faring a lot better than Glee, if only in terms of quality. It may not have as many viewers, but now in its sophomore season, Raising Hope is still as funny, crazy and irreverent as its freshman year. If Glee continues to dwindle in quality, I wouldn’t be surprised if New Girl and Raising Hope end up replacing it as Fox’s favorite.

On to the good ol’ cop procedural, Canadian drama Flashpoint has just moved from CBS to Ion TV and yet continues to churn out solid episodes. It’s edge-of-your-seat thrilling while still tugging at your heartstrings at the same time. I will even go so far as to call this show the “Parenthood of cop procedural“. It doesn’t disappoint even after four seasons and two cast changes. Over on ABC, Body of Proof seems to be finding its footings in its second season, and Dana Delany’s character is a lot more sympathetic now, but it still has room to grow. Let’s hope for their sake they find their groove soon, because I don’t think ABC has given it a back-nine order yet.

Tuesday Night Grades:

Parenthood: A (It makes me laugh, it makes me cry, it’s perfect)

Glee: C+ (there are two solid episodes this season but the rest are still meh)

Raising Hope: B (It’s still hilarious and such a fun show to watch)

Flashpoint: B+ (it does get heavy-handed sometimes but overall it’s damn good television)

Body Of Proof: C- (still not that great but it has its moments)

WEDNESDAYS:

When it comes to Wednesday nights, it’s pretty clear who dominates in terms of ratings: Modern Family. This ABC comedy won big at the Emmys and people are still loving this big, crazy, slightly dysfunctional family show. And don’t get me wrong, I still love this show very much, but I think in its third season, Modern Family is starting to enter The Big Bang Theory-like state: it’s still funny and the masses love it, but it doesn’t really go beyond that. We’re not attached to the characters or even the plots anymore, we just watch every week for the laughs and that’s it. I’m not saying it has come to that, but if it’s not careful, it can very well be in the next one or two seasons, because so far none of the season three episodes that have aired was particularly memorable. They’re all funny, but I somehow just don’t connect with them – unlike in seasons 1 and 2. On the other hand, ABC’s sophomore comedy Happy Endings seems to hit all the right notes lately. Sure, it had a rough start last season but it quickly turned around and made us fall in love with its quirkiness. Ever since Cougar Town is banished to mid-season (or maybe even longer, DAMN YOU ABC!), Happy Endings is the only ABC show that makes me feel like I’m hangin’ with the coolest people on earth when I watch it. And that feeling is – as Penny would say – amahzing.

Meanwhile over on USA, Psych has finally returned for its sixth season, after being bumped to Fall to make room for Suits last Summer, and I’m happy to report that even in its sixth season, the show is still as fresh and fun as ever. I like how they handle the Shawn and Juliet relationship, which is really to shove it in the background. But it works! It’s always tricky when a will-they-won’t-they couple finally get together and the only way they can sustain it Jim and Pam style is to push it to the background a little bit, until they make big life decisions such as getting engaged, married, having babies etc. And since Shawn and Juliet aren’t ready for that kind of leap, it’s best to only get glimpses of their blossoming romance for now. Finally, on to CBS’ Criminal Minds. Not much to say, except that it’s good to have the gang back together again. Last season felt a bit off with both AJ Cook and Paget Brewster getting the cut, but luckily CBS realized its mistakes and rectified the situation by bringing both actresses back. And now we can finally focus on the serial killers – and Matthew Gray Gubler’s fabulous hair.

Wednesday Night Grades:

Modern Family: B- (It’s still good but it’s not as great as it used to be)

Happy Endings: A (It’s seriously amahzing, you guys)

Psych: B (It’s still funny but sometimes it does get a bit “been there done that”)

Criminal Minds: C+ (Still comfortingly watchable, but it’s already in season 7)

THURSDAYS:

First, I just want to take a moment to mourn the darkest timeline of all: NBC benching my favorite show Community for mid-season, which means there will be no Community come January. Let us all put on our black goatee and plot the destruction of the world. Okay. Moment over. I don’t want to dwell on it, especially since the thought of no Community can trigger a breakdown, Abed-style. I’m just praying that the powers that be will let this little show gets what it deserves: six seasons and a movie. Especially since this season, the show continues to deliver amazeballs episodes. Yes, I said it. Amazeballs. Why NBC chooses to bench this show (and cancel Prime Suspect while they’re at it) and let the insipid Whitney live on to annoy the masses is beyond me. Obviously, this is the darkest timeline. I’m just waiting for someone to right the wrong. I’m talking to you, Bob Greenblatt! Anyway, moving right along, my second favorite show ever, Parks and Recreation, also has not disappointed me yet this season, despite their decision to break up my favorite sitcom pairing since Jim and Pam: Ben and Leslie. What used to be romance was replaced by angst and blossomed into romance again and oh! It’s just so good, it deserves a place in Ron Swanson’s Pyramid of Greatness.

The Office post-Steve Carell isn’t doing too great, however, which is a shame because I had always seen that show as more of an ensemble instead of a Steve Carell show. But I guess he left some big shoes to fill and somehow both James Spader and Ed Helms haven’t managed to do that just yet. The dynamic feels off somehow, and I’m still not getting why Spader needs to be there all the time. I’m still hoping they’ll finally get it right but it’s looking less and less likely now. Something tells me The Office should’ve just ended when Carell left. Over on CBS, The Big Bang Theory still gets monster ratings, and yes it’s still enjoyable to watch, but it’s getting less and less memorable now that it’s in its fifth season. I just simply can’t care about the characters anymore and I watch it with about as much enthusiasm as when I watch 2 Broke Girls. This show will live on forever, probably (hey, Two and A Half Men still exists, right?) but I’m not so sure I’m sticking around for the long haul.

Moving on from comedy to drama, Bones on Fox has just premiered its seventh season a couple of weeks ago with a pregnant Brennan and I have to say, they have managed to avoid the Moonlighting curse pretty cleverly with this plot, that happened mostly because of actress Emily Deschanel’s real life pregnancy. Brennan being pregnant help gives the show something else to focus on besides the Booth/Brennan relationship. We still get to see them as a couple but the shift in dynamic is a lot smoother this way, and they’re still just as interesting to watch as before they got together. Another upside: Sweets gets more to do, and I always love it when I get to see more of John Francis Daley (see my 10 Hottest Men of Fall list for clarification). Over on The CW, my favorite supernatural show this side of the millennium, The Vampire Diaries, also isn’t showing signs of a decline now in its third season. The plots remain interesting, the twists continue to surprise, the guest stars are added delight, and the relationships that are formed and broken continue to be exciting. Last season we had Jeremy and Bonnie hooking up, this season we had them breaking up thanks to Jeremy’s ghost vampire ex (don’t ask). Last season we had Matt walking out on Caroline because he couldn’t deal with her being a vampire, this season we had Caroline hooking up with werewolf Tyler who was later on turned into a hybrid and sired by Klaus, which ruined their ongoing romance (again, don’t ask). There’s always so many things going on, so many interesting characters at play in this show. The only downside? The producers are not shy about killing off beloved characters, so I’m always anxious that someone awesome is going to die in every episode. I don’t need that kind of anxiety in my life!

Thursday Night Grades:

Community: A+ (I’m biased, I know.)

Parks and Recreation: A+ (Again, totally bias. Don’t protest, it’s my blog!)

The Office: C (It’s really getting frustrating to watch)

The Big Bang Theory: C- (I just can’t care about the characters anymore)

Bones: B (Overachieving Brennan would probably not be happy with this grade)

The Vampire Diaries: B+ (It still gets a little too cheesy at times, but overall it’s still awesome)

Fridays:

Friday night television is usually the night when good television comes to die, or what we die-hard TV fans call “Programming Siberia”. And while it’s true that high ratings for Friday night shows are not easy to come by, it doesn’t mean that there isn’t any quality show on Friday night, because it just so happens that Friday night is also “Geek Night”, with Chuck on NBC airing at 8 pm and Fringe on Fox airing at 9 pm. With those two shows on any given Friday night, do you even question why I never leave the house? πŸ˜‰ And so far, both shows totally deliver in terms of awesomeness. Chuck is in its fifth and final season and it’s still as entertaining as ever. I like that the stakes are raised and they keep giving us something to look forward to every episode, as well as the fact that I still have NO CLUE how they’re going to end the series. It’s going to be epic, for sure, but they’re clever enough not to give away the ending from the beginning. Fringe doesn’t disappoint either, after introducing a new timeline (Abed will LOVE this) at the beginning of season 4 that complicates things and at the same time makes them even more interesting. Plus they upgraded Seth Gabel to series regular, and he’s been pretty awesome so far. The only downside? With dismal ratings, I have a feeling this show will not make it to season 5, unless by some miracle. So internet! You know what to do, start a crazy fan campaign so huge Fox just has to give it one more season – or at least 13-episodes final season like Chuck.

Friday Night Grades:

Chuck: B+ (They did downgrade Beckmanand there’s just not enough of Jeffster this season)

Fringe: A (It deserves an A for Agent Lincoln Lee alone!)

And there you have it, my Report Card of the Fall 2011 Returning TV shows. What’s your favorite show of this season? Do you think NBC is crazy for benching Community? (The answer is yes) How ’bout that Ben and Leslie kiss? I will be back soon with my annual Christmas lists – so be on the lookout for that. For now, I bid you adieu and until next time!

Xoxo

Binky Bee

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Fall 2011 TV Report Card: Freshman Shows

Hello! As promised in my last post, I am here to bring you the Report Card for this Fall 2011 Television season. It’s not an easy task, watching all this TV, but someone’s got to do it. No, I’m kidding, I do this because I want to give more meaning to spending hours and hours of vegging out in front of the television and devouring more TV shows than your average network executive. πŸ˜‰

This week is the last week of October and very soon the networks will pull out all the stops to get viewers to tune in to their November Sweeps episodes (expect stunt casting, major twists and the whole shebang in the next few weeks) so before the whole insanity begins, let’s just take a look at our Fall 2011 television season so far and see how they’re doing so far. Is this a great TV season, or is it the worst in years? Let’s take a look, shall we?

NOTE: As you can see in the title, this week I’ll be dedicating this post for the Freshman shows that have just debuted over the last six weeks. Returning shows will follow in the coming weeks.

SUNDAYS:

When it comes to Freshman shows, Sunday nights belong to Showtime’s Homeland. Sure, Once Upon A Time debuted big last Sunday night on ABC, but it doesn’t make it quality television. Homeland on the other hand, is not only a hit for the premium cable network, it is also really, really good. Domestic terrorism has proven to be a difficult genre to sustain, but so far, Homeland has hit it out of the park with every episode. Of course, there is no guarantee this show won’t turn out to be another The Killing (I am still pissed at Veena Sud, by the way!) but considering the show runners used to work on 24, I hope they know better. Look for Homeland to do well at next year’s Emmy’s too, at least scoring nominations for Claire Danes and Damian Lewis, and maybe even Best Drama.

Over on ABC, the retro-sweet Pan Am isn’t doing too well on ratings, but oh I wish it would. I actually like it. No, it’s not brilliant television. And it’s clearly, clearly, not Mad Men. It’s not even ABC’s answer to Mad Men. It’s just a fun Love Boat-esque nostalgia soapy little show with beautiful people and gorgeous 60s costumes. That’s all. You can watch this show while doing the laundry or checking your emails. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. So do me a favor, and watch this show so it will at least get a full season?

Sunday Night Grades:

Homeland:Β  A- (I only give it a preemptive minus just in case it decides to pull a “Killing”)

Pan Am: C+ (Not quality television but definitely a fun Sunday night watch)

Once Upon A Time: D (Like I wrote in my review: meh)

MONDAYS:

Monday night is always a crowded television night for me, mostly because there are about five to six shows to watch on any given Monday. Even though I hate that NBC shifts Chuck to Fridays on its fifth and final season, I was a little relieved that I didn’t have to cram in eight shows in one night. Out of the six shows that I watch on Monday nights, to my surprise, Hart of Dixie came out on top, something I did not expect at all. After all, the show is from Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage’s Fake Empire – and both The OC and Gossip Girl, though deliciously perfect guilty pleasure shows aren’t exactly what I call “quality television” (I’m not counting Chuck in this list though Schwartz serves as co-creator because the show came from his partnership with Chris Fedak and not Savage) but Hart of Dixie is not only a charming little show, it’s actually pretty good, you guys! It’s like the perfect mixture of Gilmore Girls and Everwood and Rachel Bilson gets more and more convincing as a doctor as the season progresses. It’s not going to win any Emmys, but it’s still a great show to wind down to on a hectic MondayΒ  night.

If Hart of Dixie has enough sweetness and sincerity to charm your pants off, CBS’ 2 Broke Girls has the exact opposite effect – it’s not going to charm your pants off at all, unless you’re a self-loathing weirdo who is into meanness and crass. The problem with 2 Broke Girls is not in its lame jokes or the laugh track or the somewhat old-fashioned multi-camera approach. The problem with 2 Broke Girls is that it relies way too heavily on mean comedy, and mean comedy just feels grating after a while. Take the whole Asian jokes that many viewers consider racist. I wasn’t offended even though I’m Asian so I don’t think they’re that blatantly racist, but still. Race jokes are tricky and best avoided, and they are even more offensive when they sound mean-spirited. I love me some Kat Dennings so I’m sticking around but if the show doesn’t tone down its meanness soon, I may have to check out sooner than later. Meanwhile, HBO’s Enlightened, despite centering on a woman unhinged, turns out to be a lot more charming that 2 Broke Girls can ever hope to be. It’s still not funny ha-ha, but it gets better as the season progresses and doesn’t disturb your inner peace with every episode, something 2 Broke Girls’ writers should learn from.

Monday Night Grades:

Hart of Dixie: B+ (It’s not good enough for an A but it’s the kind of sweet little show I’d love for years so definitely a B+)

2 Broke Girls: C- (I’m still holding out hope that it will improve before the season’s over)

Enlightened: B (It’s a great show, but it takes a while to get used to)

TUESDAYS:

Without a doubt, when it comes to Tuesday night on Fox, Zooey Deschanel’s New Girl totally rules. Not only does it generate bigger ratings than its lead-in Glee (something that even Fox doesn’t expect at all), it is also one of the new shows that get the most buzz online, mostly because Zooey Deschanel has a huge and I mean huge following on the world wide web. For a so-called indie darling, she definitely has mass appeal. Sure she has a polarizing effect, some people (myself included) LOVE her and some people just can’t stand her. But the majority rules, and the majority loves Deschanel and her new comedy. It is sometimes a little much (it’s like the writers are trying to kill us with twee), but at the end of the day, it’s genuinely funny and a great addition to Fox’s Tuesday night comedy block. Plus, the massive success of this show has somewhat boosted Raising Hope’s ratings so I just cannot hate on Deschanel. I can’t. I don’t have it in me.

The CW’s Ringer can only dream of getting a fraction of New Girl’s success but for a show with a truly terrible pilot (I’m not the only one who gave it a bad review), it has actually improved into something not at all terrible. It’s not suddenly good, but it’s definitely watchable and yes, absolutely fun to watch, something I did not expect would happen. I guess the writers learned from the atrocious pilot and began shaping the show into something of a guilty pleasure. It’s total soap and melodrama, and sometimes I still think Sarah Michelle Gellar deserves better but I can totally get on board now. No more ridiculous boat scenes, instead, they choose to go the Gossip Girl route with scandals, blackmail, betrayals and juicy little schemes. Plus, Veronica Mars’ Jason Dohring (Logan!) has scored a recurring role and it’s a good sign the show can only get better.

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Tuesday Night Grades:

New Girl:Β  B (The twee-ness can be a problem sometimes in this show)

Ringer: C+ (It’s getting better but it’s still not good enough to score higher)

WEDNESDAYS:

Ryan Murphy picked the right time to debut a new show, because FX’s American Horror Story kind of makes me love him again. I’ve gotten tired of Glee these days, especially since season 3 has yet to return to the awesomeness of the first 13-episodes of season 1, but I don’t mind it so much now that I just have to wait a day after Glee to be thoroughly entertained by the Murphy-helmed horror show that is American Horror Story. Sure, the pilot wasn’t that strong – just frenetic and crazy – but the subsequent episodes turn out to be a lot more solid than the pilot, especially these last two weeks, largely due to the writers’ decision to tone down the “shock-and-awe” and focus more on subtle creepy revelations a la The Sixth Sense. it’s still crazy (at this point I won’t even be surprised if the whole Harmon family turns out to be ghosts as well) but it’s the good kind of crazy and Murphy’s penchant for the outrageous kind of works well in this genre. His decision to actually have a writing team is also a contributing factor why this FX show may just be this Fall’s surprise hit. That, and Dylan McDermott’s man-ass. πŸ™‚

Another guilty pleasure drama worth mentioning this television season is ABC’s Revenge, that appeals to most viewers and critics for its unabashed and straight up melodrama. I never thought I would actually enjoy this show this much but I really do. The protagonist in this show, Emily Thorne is so hell-bent on revenge that she always wears the same crazy-eyed “vengeful” expression on her face that I’m starting to wonder if maybe she really is crazy. TV critic Emily Nussbaum (now on New York Times) mused on her Twitter once that maybe Emily Thorne is just insane and the people she exacted revenge on never really did anything to her. All those videos she watches on her laptop that justify her need for vengeance turn out to not exist and in the finale it’s revealed that she had been staring at a blank screen all along, a la John Nash in Beautiful Mind.Β  Don’t worry, the show is not sophisticated enough to come up with that twist, which is exactly the reason why it’s so appealing.

On the comedy front, NBC’s Up All Night and ABC’s Suburgatory seem to both be enjoying a quite successful run. Up All Night may not be ratings gold, but it scores high on the coveted 18-49 demo and without a doubt NBC’s most successful Wednesday comedy series this side of the millennium. Sure it’s still trying to figure out what it wants to be but it’s always funny and it even makes Nick Cannon bearable (I didn’t think it was possible). Suburgatory also takes a while to find its footing but as the season progresses, the show starts to grow on me, even though I do wish for more screen time for Alan Tudyk. He’s just so criminally underused!

Wednesday Night Grades:

American Horror Story: B (I’m cautious, just in case “the Ryan Murphy curse” rears its ugly head)

Revenge: C+ (C for the quality and a + for its “peach melba-esque” appeal)

Up All Night: B (It’s really funny, but it’s still not that solid)

Suburgatory: B- (The minus is for underusing The Great and Mightily Awesome Alan Tudyk)

THURSDAYS

Thursday night is another crowded night for me, mostly because NBC has a pretty awesome comedy block (well, except for the fact that the insipid Whitney is in the coveted spot after The Office, that should be reserved for one of the better shows – Parks and Recreation or Community while 30 Rock is on a long hiatus) so I’m very hesitant about adding new shows in the schedule, knowing that I won’t be able to get through them all and they’ll spill over to the weekend. But Person of Interest on CBS and Prime Suspect on NBC are two shows I’m glad I added to the already crowded schedule, because they are both really good procedural in different ways, and the kind of shows I can watch for many, many seasons (if they’re lucky to get more than one or two seasons). Ratings weren’t impressive for both shows, but I hope the networks are patience with them and give them time to build at least a cult following. They are really that good. Person of Interest is more high-concept and Prime Suspect is more down-to-earth but both consistently churn out solid episodes, with good writing and brilliant acting. Sure, Maria Bello’s abrasiveness is a lot more appealing than Jim Caviezel’s brooding stare (for some reason) but they’re both great shows to commit to, and I hope more people will because I’m just tired of being heartbroken every season when they cancel my new favorite shows.

Over on The CW, The Secret Circle‘s not-so-merry band of witches have done quite well on the ratings, building on its lead-in Vampire Diaries nicely but for some reason, even though it’s from the same team that made Vampire Diaries a truly awesome show that is so not just another Twilight clone, the show hasn’t really won me over quite yet the way Vampire Diaries did around the same time in season one. These witches just aren’t quite as interesting as the vampires, most probably because no one is truly psychotic yet, and we’re still hazy as to who’s the big bad in this show really is. I also would appreciate their ballsy move to kill off a regular character more if they hadn’t done the exact same thing with Vampire Diaries back in the day. However, I still hold out hope that Kevin Williamson and team will finally get this show out of its funk and make it just as awesome as its predecessor, so I won’t give up until this season ends.

Thursday Night Grades:

Person of Interest: B+ (The procedural part of the show tends to overpower to longer arcs and it gets predictable at times)

Prime Suspect: B (Now that they’ve toned down on the sexism, they could at least make Maria Bello’s character just a smidge more likeable)

The Secret Circle: C- (So far, I still find the season pretty much meh, but I’m still hoping for a turnaround)

FRIDAYS:

I can’t technically grade this show just yet because technically it hasn’t premiered just yet and I have only seen the pilot and it wouldn’t be fair to judge only from one episode. Some shows have strong pilots and lousy season, while some others have weak pilots but awesome season. But still, I actually really enjoyed NBC’s Grimm, even though I had really low expectations so I think it’d be safe to say that I would still be enjoying the show as it goes into its subsequent episodes. After all, it got a later premiere date than the others, so it should have more time to make the necessary improvements. I’m looking forward to episode two, and I hope I won’t be disappointed.

Friday Night Grade:

Grimm: C (It was not the strongest pilot, but it actually has potential)

There you have it, the Fall 2011 TV Report Card for all the freshman shows that I watch. Don’t worry, I will also do the same with the returning Fall favorites as well, but it will have to wait until late November/early December to include the returning favorites that get a later premiere dates (Chuck, Bones, etc). Check back in next week, though, because I will post my Ten Hottest Men of Fall list. You know you want to! πŸ˜‰

Till then,

Binky Bee

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Pilot Watch, Week Five: The Fairy Princess and The Big Bad Wolf

"I'm on TV" By Patrick J. Adams

Hello and welcome back to pilot watch, where I watch the new shows that have just premiered this Fall season and report back to you. I know I promised you all that I would review Once Upon A Time this coming weekend but since the pilot for the show has been released on the web by ABC, I can actually post this earlier than expected. So yeay for that. I love this whole early release on the web/iTunes strategy. Makes my job a whole lot easier. πŸ™‚

Okay, this week instead of just reviewing Once Upon A Time as promised, I figured I’d throw in a bonus and review another new show that’s about to premiere, Grimm on NBC since the pilot has also hit the web a week earlier than the scheduled premiere date. With Once Upon A Time and Grimm, ABC and NBC both try to take on the fairy tale/supernatural genre. I don’t know what it is about these two networks lately. They both tried to cash in on Mad Men 60s revival with Pan Am and The Playboy Club (and failed – The Playboy Club was canceled after three episodes and Pan Am’s ratings continue to decline after the premiere episode that I don’t think the show is long for this world. A shame though because unlike Playboy Club, I actually like it), and now they both are trying to take on the same fairy tale genre. Will both shows succeed, or will one or both die a quick death? Only time will tell. For now I can only tell you what I think of both shows. Which do I think deserve to succeed and which do I think needs to die quickly? Read on and find out!

1/ Once Upon A Time, airs on ABC, Sundays, 8/7c.

When I was contemplating on which show of this fairytale genre to put in the Ten New Shows To Watch This Fall, I picked ABC’s Once Upon A Time over Grimm simply because I did not hear good things about Grimm from the Upfronts in May. Journalists and TV reviewers that got the chance to watch both pilots seem to choose this show over Grimm even though they didn’t exactly give either great reviews. Let’s just say, Once Upon A Time was supposedly the lesser of two evils, and that’s why I chose this one to put in the list. And boy was I wrong about that.

Don’t get me wrong, Grimm isn’t exactly groundbreaking television either nor is it particularly good (more on that later) but Once Upon A Time made me groan and roll my eyes so much that my sister thought I was having a seizure. In all fairness maybe I am the wrong person to review this particular show because I was never big on fairy tales to begin with. My parents didn’t teach me to believe in fairy tales growing up, and so even though I knew all about Cinderella, Snow White and the citizens of the Enchanted Forest or whatever, I wasn’t particularly sold on the idea. And it could just be that I don’t like this show because I think fairy tales are stupid, but I’ve watched enough television to be able to make this assessment: it’s just not good. You’ve got Snow White with atrocious hair, Prince Charming who looks like Chris Martin from Coldplay, Jennifer Morrison trying to act like a tough chick but doesn’t quite cut it, a creepy precocious 10-year-old that used to be Bobby Draper, and a flimsy premise that I’m sure sounded awesome during the pitch but totally lame in execution. Fairytale characters being cursed to live in our world, our reality where “there is no happy endings” – sounds good in a pitch right? Totally pathetic in execution. Snow White ends up as a third grade teacher. Ookay. Prince Charming’s in a coma. Dunno where the seven dwarfs are but Rumpelstiltskin gets to run an inn and the Evil Queen gets to be a mayor of a sleepy, forgotten small town of Storybrook, Maine. Now if you were an Evil Queen and you cursed everyone you’ve ever known to live in a world where only you can get a happy ending, why would you settle being a mayor in a sleepy small town in Maine? Couldn’t she dream bigger, if not White House,Β  at least the mayor of NYC?

Like I said, maybe I’m unfairly judging this show because I think fairy tales in general are laughable, sexist and some of them are kind of racist, but Once Upon A Time is not worth your DVR space, especially when there’s great shows on cable (Homeland! The Walking Dead! Dexter! Boardwalk Empire!) on Sunday night. How bout waiting till 10 and tune in to Pan Am instead, it’s such a fun show and I kind of want it to last. πŸ˜‰

Verdict: Not Worth Your Time.

2/ Grimm, airs on NBC, Fridays, at 9/8c.

Like I’ve mentioned above, when the pilot for this show was first screened during the May Upfronts, I did not hear good things about it. In fact, journalists seemed to be so turned off by it that I decided to choose Once Upon A Time to be the fairytale show worth mentioning in my Ten New Shows To Watch This Fall list. And yes, now I admit it. I was wrong. So so wrong. Mostly because of how much I disliked Once Upon A Time, but also because the pilot for Grimm is actually, all things considered, not that bad.

No, it’s not great, and no it’s not even that good. There were a few moments that – just like Once Upon A Time – made me roll my eyes and mutter, “Oh come on. Really?” at the TV. But when it comes to actual storytelling, Grimm does not frustrate me as much as Once Upon A Time. Maybe because we all know that the Grimm Brothers’ “fairy tales” were all pretty dark, so the concept of this show was easy to accept (almost all Grimm Brothers’ stories have a “serial killer-y” quality to it and some are downright disturbing), and maybe because they try to balance the supernatural nature of the show with some good ol’ police procedural, but despite the plot holes and the blatant disregard to “real police work”, it was pretty enjoyable. It reminds me of Warehouse 13 a little bit, with less humor. It’s Supernatural meets Law and Order: SVU – again, with less humor. And considering how low my expectation was, I was actually pleasantly surprised.

Again, Grimm is not groundbreaking television and it’s not the right companion for fun, sexy, hilarious and nerd-tastic Chuck but I think if the writers are careful, it has the potential to be a pretty enjoyable Friday night show. Sure, out of the two shows I’ve reviewed in this post, I have a feeling this one will die quicker, mostly because I don’t think the network even has that much faith in it (scheduling it for Friday night aka Programming Siberia pretty much shows how little faith NBC has for this show) but if you can only watch one fairytale shows, I actually think this one is the lesser of two evils. And it’s not just because David Giuntoli, the lead character, kind of has that Gale Harold circa Queer As Folk quality about him.

Verdict: Not For Everyone, But If This Sort of Thing Interests You, Give It A Watch.

And there you have it, my reviews of the pilots I’ve seen in the past week, and my last “Pilot Watch” post. My work here in done, friends, now it’s your turn to decide which ones you want to commit to.Β  In the coming weeks I will be posting my Fall 2011 TV Report Card, where I’ll be giving you my thoughts on how Fall TV is doing so far. I’ll also be posting my Ten Hottest Men of Fall list, so keep a lookout for that. You know you want to. πŸ˜‰

Until then, I shall bid you adieu! Till next time!

Xoxo

Binky Bee

Pilot Watch, Week Three: The Mediocre and The Mildly Entertaining

"I'm on TV" By Patrick J. Adams

Well hello there! Welcome to another week of Pilot Watch! As you know, since September marks the start of Fall 2011 Television season, I’ve been checking out the pilots for various new shows over the last couple of weeks to see if we can find our new favorite show, or be disappointed with networks in general. So far, this year has definitely been better than last year but maybe it’s only because 2010 was the most disappointing year of television ever. The new shows of Fall 2011 may not be groundbreaking television, but they’re definitely an improvement.

This week, I am reviewing two new shows that just had their premiere a few days ago: ABC’s Pan Am and Suburgatory. Yes, Fox premiered the Spielberg-produced dino series Terra Nova last Monday too but I didn’t watch it. The reason is simple, dinosaurs are just not my thing. I’m more of a future person than past when it comes to my sci-fi television. Give me aliens and robots any day! Granted, Terra Nova is more like Jurassic Park than actual pre-historic dinosaurs but still. The thing that bugged me about Jurasic Park is that this all could’ve been avoided if we all just left the past in the past. It just makes no sense to me, bringing back dinosaurs. πŸ™‚

So anyway, now that I’ve cleared that up let’s get straight to the reviews and see whether these two ABC shows delight or disappoint. Enjoy!

1/ Pan Am, airs on ABC, Sundays, 10/9c.

Pan Am and The Playboy Club are supposed to be the Big 5 networks’ answers to Mad Men, and if you watch these shows expecting another Mad Men, well, you’ll be sorely disappointed. The Playboy Club tried really hard to be a Mad Men clone and failed miserably (though casting creeper Eddie Cibrian in a Don Draper-type role may indicate the producers don’t really want this to succeed after all), and even though new NBC Chief Bob Greenblatt is patient enough to give this flailing show a chance, expect it to die a slow death by Christmas time. While Pan Am, that just premiered last Sunday, seemed to come with a disclaimer with its pilot episode that says, “Warning: If you come here expecting Mad Men, you need to change the channel right now. But if you’re more expecting for The Love Boat in the skies, you’ve come to the right show. Welcome aboard Pan Am!”

That is not to say that I didn’t like the show, however. I actually am delighted with this one. Pan Am is the anti-Playboy Club. It doesn’t try too hard to be Mad Men, in fact, it doesn’t even try, period. Instead, it sets a more realistic goal to be, as I’ve mentioned above, The Love Boat albeit in the skies. Five minutes into the pilot, I was already thinking Love Boat (and NY Mag’s Vulture agrees with me), which actually makes me enjoy this show properly. Pan Am doesn’t try to be realistic, political, or even anything else but good soapy fun. And there’s nothing wrong with a little soap every now and then, isn’t there? πŸ˜‰

Sure, some plots are laughable (like the whole CIA subplot, puh-leaze!) but if you watch this show with the same expectation as you watch Desperate Housewives (ya know, the early seasons), then these silly little ridiculous plots won’t bother you so much. Just see it as what it is: mindless escapism and sit back, relax and enjoy the flight!

Verdict: Watch It. It’s a Total Guilty Pleasure Show.

2/ Suburgatory, airs on ABC, Wednesdays, 8.30/7.30c.

Ever since Modern Family became a massive success, it’s clear that family comedy is making a comeback, and ABC tries to make it happen again this year by adding this freshman show about living in the plastic world of suburbia in its Wednesday family-friendly comedy line up. And as far as ratings go, their strategy worked. Suburgatory, while not a sensation yet, got good enough ratings to keep them in the safe zone for a while. But is it good enough to merit a “Must Watch” verdict in this review? Well, not exactly… But I have a feeling this show will improve once it has found its footings.

Suburgatory is actually pretty funny and ironic but the problem of the show is that it tries a little too hard to be ironic. The suburban satire was a little too extreme, and you gotta wonder what kind of suburban mom actually is in favor of her daughter prancing around the neighborhood in skanky mall outfits, but the jokes are quite funny, the characters are likable, especially (and I’m not just saying this because I’m a Firefly geek) Alan Tudyk, who made his glorious return to television in orange fake tan and speedos.

Sure, you kinda want to cringe when the sullen teenage daughter despises things like clean air and quiet neighborhood, but if you take a moment and realize that most teenagers despise everything their parents try to impose on them, even the good things, then you can enjoy this show for what it is, a fun tongue-in-cheek look of single parenthood and the suburban life. And really, it’s not half bad.

Verdict: Watch, But Give It Time To Find Its Bearings.

And there you go, my reviews of the two shows that premiered this past week. I’ll see you back here next week where we’ll be checking out Ryan Murphy’s American Horror Story and see if the man behind Glee and Nip/Tuck can put a fun spin behind this age-old genre.

Till then!

Xoxo

Binky Bee

Pilot Watch, Week Two: The Oh So Good and The Awesomely Bad

"I'm on TV" By Patrick J. Adams

It’s week two of new Fall pilot premieres and you know I’m still here to watch and report to you lovely people of the blogosphere what I think of the new pilots the networks have to offer for this season. It’s not easy, getting through all these pilots, which is why I should warn you that I didn’t watch all that premiered this week, only the ones featured in my Ten New Shows To Watch This Fall and a few others that I was curious enough to check out.

This week, more shows premiered, but only two really deserved a mention (since I already reviewed New Girl last week, even though it technically didn’t premiere until last Tuesday night): Person of Interest and 2 Broke Girls. The rest are kind of blah, with the notable exception of Revenge, a show that is camptastic for its “melodrama for melodrama’s sake” approach that actually works. So which shows are worth your time and DVR space and which shows you (and the networks) need to forget ever existed? Read on and (let me) be the judge! πŸ˜‰

1/ Two Broke Girls, CBS, Mondays 8.30/7.30c

This Fall not only marks the beginning of the female domination in comedy, it’s also the season that brings not one, but two indie princesses to mainstream television: Zooey Deschanel with Fox’s New Girl and Kat Dennings (Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Charlie Bartlett) with CBS’ 2 Broke Girls. And if ratings for both shows are any indication, it seems that mainstream television audience is just as much in love with these indie darlings as the film festival hipsters.

2 Broke Girls tells the story of an unlikely friendship between a street-smart Brooklyn diner waitress and a down-and-out former Upper East Side princess, as they work together raising money to launch a cupcake business. Created and executive produced by Sex and The City’s Michael Patrick King and comedienne Whitney Cummings, who incidentally also had her own sitcom launched on NBC on the same week, this show may not be groundbreaking comedy but it’s still fun and sweet at the same time. Sure, some of the jokes are a little lame. But both leads, Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs, are great actresses and they can convince us to smile even when the jokes felt flat. This show is also smart enough not to portray broke socialite Caroline Channing as an airhead vapid narcissist a la Paris Hilton (which would be annoying) but instead gave her depths and intelligence (after all she did go to Wharton Business School). All in all, this show is a great addition to CBS’ Monday night lineup and I’d rather commit my time to this one than Kutcher-infused Two and A Half Men.

Verdict: Give It A Watch, You’d Be Pleasantly Surprised.

2/ The Playboy Club, NBC, Mondays 10/9c

Thanks to the success of Mad Men (that show has just won its fourth consecutive Emmy, which is no easy feat), this season the Big 5 networks are trying to ride on the show’s coat tail by launching their own version of the “retro” genre: ABC is premiering Pan Am this Sunday night, about (what else?) Pan Am stewardesses in the 60s, possibly inspired by that episode of Mad Men (in season 3 if I’m not mistaken) when Don Draper hooked up with a Pan Am stewardess, and NBC premiered The Playboy Club, about (what else?) Playboy Bunnies in the 60s, also quite possibly inspired by the fact that Mad Men’s Pryce dated an African American bunny from the club, if I remember my Mad Men correctly. And guess what? I don’t know about Pan Am (yet, check back here next week for my review) but NBC’s The Playboy Club doesn’t even come close to the greatness of Mad Men. It doesn’t even deserve to be called “a poor man’s Mad Men”. If Matthew Weiner saw the pilot, he’d be laughing so hard, he’d wet his pants, I’m telling you.

You’re probably thinking, “Oh but it can’t be that bad, you’re just bias because you can’t stand Eddie Cibrian.” And it’s true, I can’t stand him, but still. I watched the show to support Dr Simon Tam Sean Maher and I went into it hoping that I’d like it despite my hatred of all things Cibrian (because my love and loyalty to Firefly and its alumni is that great), and even with my unwavering allegiance to the crew of Serenity, I can’t say anything good about this show. The problem isn’t just Cibrian, though he’s a part of it, the problem is in its heavy-handed exposition and the fact that it tries REALLY hard to be Mad Men, to the point of unoriginality (Cibrian’s Nick Dalton is Don Draper if he were a Playboy Club-frequenting lawyer, the Bunny Mother Carol Lynn is Joan Holloway if she were a “Bunny Mother”, the new Bunny that accidentally killed a mob boss is Peggy Olsen if she were an ambitious Playboy Bunny). Fellow WordPresser and Twitter friend Madmonq puts it this way: “[The] Playboy Club is like a retarded inbred midget trying to play Don Draper“. Harsh, but true. I love you, Sean Maher, but you really need to find a new job, STAT!

Verdict: Don’t Waste Your Time, Watch Castle Instead.

3/ Revenge, ABC, Wednesdays, 10/9c.

I feel like I shouldn’t be reviewing this show and instead just direct you to the New York Magazine’s Vulture review of the pilot, because I think it succinctly describes the exact appeal of ABC’s new guilty pleasure show (“Like the television equivalent of Peach Melba, it may be out of style, but it tastes pretty good.”). No, seriously, do read the review after you finish checking out this post because I agree 100% with their assessment and I have nothing new to add, really. πŸ™‚ Revenge, as the review in Vulture stated, is straight up melodrama and in an era where bad TV shows try too hard to be ironic, tongue-in-cheek, or subversive to mask the fact that they’re really truly awful, it is like a breath of fresh air. It’s camptastic, yes, but it fully owns up to it and doesn’t try to be anything else. That’s what’s so great about it.

That’s not to say that the show doesn’t take itself too seriously, because it does. It takes itself so seriously that I don’t think anyone even cracked a real joke in the pilot. Scandals abound and every character has a secret a la Desperate Housewives, only it doesn’t even try to pretend it’s a satire. It’s not a satire, it’s pure and simple melodrama and for some reason, I am sucked in. Like Dynasty and Dallas in the past, I simply MUST watch this show. And if you’re not too much of a hipster and can appreciate the good ol’ days of campy, melodramatic primetime soaps, I promise you’ll love this one too.

Verdict: Just Watch. You’ll Love It. But Totally Deny That You Do.

4/ Person of Interest, CBS, Thursdays, 9/8c

Out of all the pilots that have premiered in the last two weeks, I have to say that this one is my new favorite drama. And considering that it’s on CBS, well that’s definitely saying something. It’s not just because it had Michael Emerson, and executive-produced by JJ Abrams, though it helped, the reason why I’m falling hard for this show is because it is that good. And not just for a CBS show, for a TV show in general. After last year’s disappointing Undercovers, JJ Abrams has finally redeemed himself (again) in my eyes.

Person of Interest has an interesting premise and is probably the most high concept procedural on CBS right now. It tells the story of a presumed dead ex-CIA agent (or something, they were pretty vague on what government agency the protagonist used to work for) played by Jesus Jim Caviezel, who is hired by a genius (and also, presumed dead) billionaire named Finch (Michael Emerson) to help him stop a future crime before it happens. I told you it’s high concept! It is definitely a welcome change from the usual crime procedurals of CBS, while still retaining the user-friendly format of high tech, crime solving badassery that the CSI and NCIS franchises are known for. It’s smart but kickass, it’s entertaining but at the same time paranoid, it’s got a great cast – with Taraji P. Henson playing a cop investigating our elusive protagonist, and it’s relevant in this post-9/11 world, where there’s only a thin line between vigilance and paranoia. If you want a smarter, more interesting procedural than the many CSI franchises, you have to give this one a try.

Verdict: Watch It or You’ll Regret It.

5/ Charlie’s Angels, ABC, Thursdays, 8/7c.

Remakes don’t always work on TV, especially when the remake is of a beloved TV show of decades past. NBC tried to reboot both Bionic Woman and Knight Rider without much success, and The CW also failed miserably when they tried to resurrect Melrose Place for the Facebook generation. Still, the relative success of The CW’s 90210 (now in its third season) and CBS’ Hawaii 5-0 (now in its second), not to mention the fact that Nikita somehow magically got a second season pickup, gave ABC enough confidence to give this Charlie’s Angels reboot the green light, especially since it’s produced by Drew Barrymore’s production company, the same one that produced both movies. And the result? Well, let’s just say it was so bad, I actually felt sorry for the three angels, especially Minka Kelly – and Victor Garber, who was just hired recently as the Voice of Charlie. They must’ve fallen on some hard times to want to be involved in this piece of crap.

The problem with this show is this; it’s plain stupid. Really bad writing and the acting is not exactly Emmy-worthy either. Sure, even the original wasn’t exactly Emmy-worthy but it was a different time, there wasn’t that many channels to choose from back then. There weren’t an abundance of brilliant shows being churned out by the cable networks every season to set a standard for quality. And yes, the movies weren’t exactly genius either, but we forgave the stupidity of both movies because they were campy and funny. This reboot is neither smart nor funny, which means it’s just awesomely bad. Hawaii 5-0 looks like groundbreaking television compared to this one. It’s so bad I gotta wonder what the execs in ABC were smoking when they gave the OK. I mean, that must’ve been some powerful hallucinogenics, right?

Verdict: Do Yourself A Favor and Watch Community and Parks & Recreation Instead.

6/ Hart of Dixie, The CW, starting Monday, Sept 26, 9/8c.

This show technically doesn’t premiere until Monday, but as executive producer Josh Schwartz promised via Twitter last week, the pilot episode has been available on iTunes for early viewing since Thursday, in an effort to drum up interests and get a positive buzz going. And of course, I can’t resist to check this show out early. How can I? Summer Roberts Rachel Bilson has finally returned to TV, and I’ve missed her. Plus, she brought Friday Night Lights’ Scott Porter along for the ride. And I’m always happy to see an FNL alumn back on my television (why do you think I checked out Charlie’s Angels? :-)).

Hart of Dixie tells the story of Dr. Zoe Hart (Bilson) who left Manhattan for Bluebell, Alabama when her career as hotshot NYC surgeon stalled thanks to her poor bedside manner and inability to remember any of her patient’s name. It’s a fish out of Manhattan story, that’s kind of been there, done that, plus it’s really hard taking Bilson seriously as a surgeon, especially since she still slips into Summer Roberts speak every now and then (“Diarrhea and diaper rash? Ew!” was seriously one of her lines), BUT, it’s still a charming little show with a good soundtrack and sprinkled with Southern hospitality and polite back-stabbing here and there that I think I’m going to keep watching. Besides, Rachel Bilson’s wardrobe in this show is so inspired. I’d watch every week just to get some style inspiration.

Verdict: Not For Everyone, But If You Loved The OC, This May Charm You As Well.

And there we go, the six pilots I happened to watch this week. Sorry I’m a little late with this, it’s been a crazy weekend! But I’ll be back next weekend for more pilot premiere reviews. Next week it’s Pan Am and Suburgatory’s turn. Will they delight or disappoint? I guess we’ll see!

Xoxo

Binky Bee

Ten Hottest Men of Summer 2011

It’s the first week of September, and you know what it means. Summer is winding down and we have to say goodbye to our favorite Summer shows and get ready to indulge on all that Fall television has to offer. But before we bid adieu to Summer I think we should show our appreciation to the men responsible making our Summer even hotter. πŸ™‚ After all, without them, these last three months would be a little unbearable, wouldn’t it? No? It’s just me?

Well in any case, I want to do what I do best – objectifying men in a fun way – and I hope you’ll indulge me. πŸ™‚ These men will be taking a break from our TV screens and I want to remember them fondly until they return to get us all hot and bothered again soon. This Summer we don’t get to bask in Don Draper’s glory or laugh our asses at from Shawn Spencer’s antics but I think the sight of Alexander Skarsgard’s perfect behind should make up for the absence of the Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce men or everyone’s favorite faux-psychic/real detective, right? So without further ado, let me present to you the Ten Hottest Men of Summer for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!

1/ Alexander Skarsgard, True Blood

Sure, we may not like Emo Eric that much this season. Sure, the sex scenes with Sookie were actually kind of a snoozefest by True Blood standards, but there is no denying that the sight of Alexander Skarsgard naked pretty much made up for all the disappointing moments of season 4. The recapper for NY Magazine’s Vulture blog even called Skarsgard’s incredible derriere “the golden orbs” and yes, we would like to see more of those, please, much more than we would like to see… uhm well, everything else. His 1,000-year-old viking vampire character may not have the best luck this season, what with the whole memory wipe and being controlled by a witch, but I’m guessing each and every one of us would give anything to get lucky with him. Am I right, ladies (and gents)?Β  πŸ™‚

2/ Matt Bomer, White Collar

This sleek con artist may not have fangs and immortality, but his sly smile, hypnotizing blue eyes and beautiful body pretty much make up for his lack of supernatural abilities. And unlike Eric Northman who spends most of his days in gym shorts, Matt Bomer’s character Neal Caffrey dazzles us with his sexy skinny suits and fedoras. If we bump into him on the streets of NYC, we may actually let him con us just so we get more than five minutes alone with him, that’s how fabulous this man is. And now that we know White Collar has been renewed for a fourth season, we’re just so glad that we get to see more of Matt Bomer… Hopefully shirtless. All the time. It is a Summer show after all.

3/ Gabriel Macht, Suits

Speaking of men who look good in suits, this newbie to Summer television doesn’t waste time stealing our hearts when he took on the role of fast-talking, ambitious lawyer Harvey Specter in USA Network’s new hot Summer show Suits. Despite being a Summer TV newbie, this versatile actor has been the token cool guy in a lot of movies, and he has even played a superhero once. I feel a little guilty lusting over him since he’s Jacinda Barrett’s husband and baby daddy, but it’s his own fault for being so dreamy, right? And besides his character Harvey Specter is not only single but very, very willing. So yeah, let’s just compartmentalize the whole wife and kid thing for our viewing pleasure.

Follow him on Twitter: @GabrielMacht

4/ Jeffrey Donovan, Burn Notice

Just like Skarsgard, Mr Donovan has been in so many of my “hot guys” list I think I’ve lost count. But even though he has made multiple appearances in my various Top Ten lists, he definitely deserves to be in this one because he truly did make our summer a little hotter, and not just because his character Michael Westen is still a burned CIA spy. This guy kicks ass, but loves his mother. He blows shit up, but breaks down and cries every now and then. He’s tough but sensitive. In short, he’s pretty much the perfect man. And I’m willing to fight his ex-IRA badass girlfriend Fiona if it means I get a chance to spend one night with him. PS: That rustling sound in the background is the sound of Jeffrey Donovan’s lawyer filing a restraining order against me. πŸ™‚

Follow him on Twitter: @Jeffrey_Donovan

5/ Luke Mably, Combat Hospital

Last Summer, he sank our fangs into our fangirl hearts when he starred in ABC’s failed supernatural series The Gates as Dylan Radcliffe, one-half of the vampire power couple residing in a seemingly idyllic gated neighborhood. This Summer, he braves the desert sun and trades in his fangs for a scalpel in ABC’s Combat Hospital as Dr. Simon Hill, neurosurgeon extraordinaire, and Kandahar’s resident bad boy with a dark secret (no, he’s not secretly a vampire, that’s a different show). Whatever the role, I just hope that we get to have him every Summer, wooing us with his British accent, piercing blue eyes and oh-so-cool demeanor. Because he definitely makes the sweltering heat bearable.

Follow him on Twitter: @lukemably

6/ Ryan Kwanten, True Blood

I had actually sort of met the #6 hottie in person when I lived in Sydney a million years ago, but back then he was just a star of the popular Australian soap opera Home and Away, and I was too much of a snob to go ga-ga over a soap star. Now I’m totally regretting my snootiness, as you can imagine. He has gone from cheesy Australian soap star to certified hunky leading man and now every woman and supernatural being from here to Bon Temps wants a piece of him. Even though his character got the raw end of the deal in the beginning of this season, we still got to enjoy his perfect abs and beautiful body… And that’s totally fine by me.

7/ Patrick J. Adams, Suits

Gabriel Macht isn’t the only lawyer I wish were representing me this Summer, his young associate Patrick J. Adams totally steals the show and he’s not even a real lawyer. Who knew hearing this man recite legal documents word per word verbatim would get our senses all tingly? πŸ™‚ Troian Bellisario’s main squeeze may not have eidetic memory unlike his alter ego Mike Ross, but he is a talented photographer in addition to being a gorgeous man and brilliant actor. Now I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one willing to spend my nights with him reciting the penal code? (Sorry Troian, I love you and all but your man is just too hot!) πŸ˜‰

Follow him on Twitter: @halfadams

8/ Niall Matter, Eureka

When SyFy announced that this charming little show was canceled, I was so disappointed I nearly shed a tear. This show is so cute, funny, tongue-in-cheek and smart, and it’s such a shame that it has to end after its fifth season. And one of the reasons why Eureka is so much fun to watch is the hottest geek in the history of television, Zane Donovan, played by our #8 hunk Niall Matter. You see, most guys who look like that, with a body that sends your mind straight to the gutter, don’t usually have genius IQ. But in Eureka, it’s different. A genius hacker/inventor/scientist can have a face that launches a thousand fantasies and a body that makes you want to rip his clothes off. It’s a shame that we’re not going to see this hunky scientist after the fifth season, so let’s make the best of what little time we have left with him, shall we?

Follow him on Twitter: @NiallMatter

9/ Justin Kirk, Weeds

Just to clarify, I too think that Weeds have jumped the shark about three seasons ago and it is no longer the smart, ironic show that it used to be. However, I can’t stop watching it either, and it’s all because of our #9 guy. Justin Kirk or Uncle Andy is the reason why I chose to stay with The Botwins for better or for worse, because let’s face it, you want to commit to a guy like him. He’s beautiful, he’s funny, he’s got those soulful eyes that will just hypnotize you into doing just about anything for him, including continuing to watch a show that should’ve been canceled years ago. And for that reason alone I think I should award him the #9 spot.

10/ David Paetkau, Flashpoint

I just realized that there are at least three Canadians in this list alone, hmm maybe I should move up north, maybe that’s where all the hot guys are. πŸ™‚ Anyway, the last guy in our list is already married but I’m not going to let that stop me, especially since he plays the hottest SWAT guy in North America right now. As Sam Braddock sniper extraordinaire in Flashpoint, just his mere presence carrying a sniper rifle around can spark all sorts of uniform fetish. But really, it’s not the uniform, it’s the man: who’s gorgeous, tough and sweet all at the same time. Who wouldn’t want a guy like that to come to the rescue?

And there you have it, the Ten Hottest Men of Summer 2011. I hope you’ve enjoyed their company these past three months as much as I have. Now it’s time to take off our sunglasses, put on our beret and get ready to welcome Fall TV. Don’t worry, there’ll be plenty more hot guys to warm your nights… And I’m sure I’ll be making a list just for them in the near future.

Till Next Time,

Binky Bee

Binky’s 3rd Annual “Ten New Shows To Watch This Fall”

Ever since 2009, I have been posting my annual “Ten New Shows To Watch This Fall” post, a recommendation of the ten new shows that I, after an exhaustive research, think will be a hit in the coming Fall Television season. I did pretty well in my first year, only two of the shows I recommended were canceled (80% success is pretty good, you guys!) and of the eight successful show, one even won an Emmy Award (Modern Family). However, I could not repeat my success last year. My report card for 2010 was embarrassing, with Lone Star and My Generation canceled after only two (TWO!) episodes, Running Wilde and Undercovers canceled before the season was even over, No Ordinary Family, The Event and Better With You suffered the same fate at the Upfronts last May, and Nikita, even though it’s renewed for a second season, has been sent to Programming Siberia, or Friday nights, making it not quite a hit. Out of the 10 I recommended, only two were actually successful, and even so, their ratings were not spectacular (Hawaii Five-O and Raising Hope).

It is safe to say that 2010/2011 was a really bad television development year. Most Fall new shows collapsed and were canceled after one season, and even the mid-season premieres (The Cape, Mr. Sunshine, The Chicago Code, etc) didn’t do well either. It was frustrating for both the networks and us avid TV watchers. But, in times like these, there’s nowhere to go but up, right? So the networks unveiled their new pilots for the 2011/2012 development season with optimism and we all hope for the best.

This year, despite last year’s massive failure, I decided to continue the tradition of giving my recommendation on the Ten New Shows To Watch This Fall, and you decide if any of them is worth your time and energy. Just like the last two years’ posts, I haven’t actually seen all these shows, but I’ve done enough research to sort of make an assessment. Like the networks, I’m hoping for the best, and crossing my fingers that this year will be better. So here it is, for your viewing pleasure:

1/ Pan Am, airing on ABC, starting Sept 25, 10/9c.

Thanks to the success of AMC’s critically-acclaimed Emmy darling Mad Men, the 60s are back in style and the world just can’t get enough of it. This television season, both ABC and NBC have shows set in the swingin’ 60s, about the alluring worlds of Pan Am stewardesses and Playboy bunnies respectively. However, since The Playboy Club, NBC’s answer to Mad Men stars Eddie Cibrian and I can’t stand the guy, I am going to choose ABC’s Pan Am to be in this list instead. Pan Am tells the story of “the Jet Age”, when the Cold War was underway, the world was poised on the brink of a cultural revolution and everywhere change was in the air, according to the ABC website. In short, I think Pan Am would be a little like that one Mad Men episode when Don Draper hooked up with a Pan Am stewardess in season four (three? Can’t remember) but without the excessive smoking and with the addition of the always magnetic Christina Ricci. It should be a fun watch.

2/ The New Girl, airing on FOX, starting Sept 20 , 9/8c.

This new comedy got all the critics and journalists all excited when it was unveiled during last May’s Upfronts, and it’s not just because Zooey Deschanel is everyone’s favorite actress. This show pairs the always adorable Miss Deschanel with three dudes, and the result is a quirky, delightful comedy that I’m pretty sure we all will fall in love with. The New Girl tells the story of Jess Day, an offbeat and adorable girl in her late 20s who, after a bad breakup, moves in with three single guys. Unlike most female characters who are surrounded with straight guys on TV, Jess is neither tough nor overtly sexy. She’s goofy, dorky and awkward, which made her interaction with her new roommates a lot of fun to watch, and the trailer is both so adorable and hilarious I am positive you’ll fall in love with this show as much as I have.

3/ Person of Interest, airing on CBS starting Sept 22, 9/8c.

Lost fans, get ready for Michael Emerson’s return to TV! One of the most anticipated new shows to premiere this Fall, Person of Interest tells the story of a presumed dead former-CIA agent who teams up with a mysterious billionaire to prevent violent crimes by using their own brand of vigilante justice. Jim Caviezel, aka Jesus in Mel Gibson’s Passion of The Christ, plays the presumed dead former-CIA agent while Michael Emerson plays a software genius who invented a program that uses pattern recognition to identify people about to be involved in violent crimes. The premise sounds promising and it is one of JJ Abrams’ new projects to premiere in the 2011/2012 season (the other one is the mid-season Fox show Alcatraz), so I’m guessing this will be a hit almost right out of the gate. It is after all on CBS!

4/ Two Broke Girls, airing on CBS, starting Sept 19, 9.30/8.30c (8.30/7.30c starting Sept 26).

The man behind Sex and The City, Michael Patrick King, returns to television with this CBS comedy that promises to be more than just a SATC clone, and I hope for the sake of the always amazing Kat Dennings, it lives up to the promise. The show tells the story of two young women, street-smart, sassy Max and former Uptown trust-fund princess Caroline who are down on their luck waitressing at a greasy spoon diner who strike up an unexpected friendship in the hopes of launching a successful cupcake business. The pilot (trailer) looks promising and Kat Dennings is always fun to watch, so I hope it will be a fun addition to CBS’ Monday Night comedy. Sure, the laugh track isΒ  little annoying but it’s CBS. It comes with the territory.

5/ Once Upon A Time, airing on ABC starting Oct 23, 8/7c.

Fairy tales not only come true but are actually real this Fall on ABC, thanks to this new show that marks the return of House’s Jennifer Morrison and Big Love’s Ginnifer Goodwin to television. Once Upon A Time tells the story of bail bonds collector Emma Swan, whose 10-year-old son that she has given up for adoption years ago finds her and is in desperate need of her help. He takes her to Storybrook, a place “where magic has been forgotten, but is still powerfully close… where fairytale characters are alive, even though they don’t remember who they once were” according to the show’s website. I’m not a big fan of fairy tales and princesses and evil witches, but this show sounds a lot of fun to watch. Besides, it’s a welcome change from all the vampires and werewolves that seem to have dominated the supernatural genre in television.

6/ Up All Night, airing on NBC starting Sept 14, 10/9c.

I think it’s safe to say that we all love Christina Applegate and Will Arnett. But with Applegate’s Samantha Who? canceled after only two 13-episodes seasons and Arnett’s Running Wilde pretty much died on arrival when it premiered last year, their return to television hasn’t exactly been smooth-sailing. However, their luck may just change with this charming new show from creator Emily Spivey (Parks and Recreation, Saturday Night Live) and executive producer Lorne Michaels (SNL, 30 Rock) that gives us a funny, irreverent look at parenthood through husband and wife Chris and Reagan Brinkley. With Applegate playing working mom Reagan, Arnett playing stay-at-home dad Chris and Maya Rudolf playing Regan’s ambitious, self-centered yet vulnerable boss, I think NBC may have another hit comedy on their hands, and for the sake of both Applegate and Arnett, I hope I’m right.

7/ Ringer, airing on The CW starting Sept 13, 9/8c.

Sarah Michelle Gellar hasn’t done television since Buffy The Vampire Slayer wrapped so forgive me if I’m a little excited about this show. She may have given up on the supernatural and ass-kicking slayer business, but she has definitely decided to stick with the genre she knows she’s good at: mystery. In Ringer, she stars as a woman who, after witnessing a murder, goes on the run, hiding out by assuming the life of her wealthy identical twin sister – only to learn that her sister’s seemingly idyllic life is just as complicated and dangerous as the one she’s trying to leave behind. This drama is a little grown up than most of the network’s other dramas, but it may be a good thing. In any case, I’m just happy to see SMG back on my TV, especially when she brings Ioan Grufford and Kristoffer Polaha with her.

8/ Suburgatory, airing on ABC starting Sept 28, 8.30/7.30c.

Okay, I admit, I only put this show on the list because of Alan Tudyk, and as an avid Firefly fan, I just have to get behind anything that the former cast of Firefly is in. I still watch both Castle and Suits, don’t I? πŸ™‚ But a show that has Cheryl Hines, Jeremy Sisto and of course Alan Tudyk can’t be that bad, can it? Suburgatory tells the story of single dad George, who decides to move from New York City to the suburbs after he finds a condom on his teenage daughter Tessa’s nightstand. Tessa is horrified at the “plastic franken-moms” and over-manicured lawns, but little by little she and George begin to find a way to survive the clean streets of the ‘burbs. If you’re still trying to adapt to suburban living like me, I think this will be a fun show to check out this Fall.

9/ Hart of Dixie, airing on The CW starting Sept 26, 9/8c.

The OC fans, get ready for the return of Summer Roberts this Fall! Sure, I’m still trying to get my head around Summer Roberts Rachel Bilson playing a doctor, but this show does reunite her with executive producers Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, both of whom were responsible for her rise of fame in the first place, so I’m definitely giving this show the benefit of the doubt. Especially since in addition to Rachel Bilson, this CW drama also stars Friday Night Lights Scott Porter, who gets to show off his acting skills while walking, dancing and running! πŸ™‚ It’s a fish-out-of-New York story in which Zoe Hart, a brand new doctor, is transplanted from NYC to a small Southern town, and it can either be surprisingly charming or incredibly bad, but I think you should give it a watch anyway, if only because Rachel Bilson’s weekly presence on our television screen is sorely missed.

10/ Charlie’s Angels, airing on ABC starting Sept 22, 8/7c.

I know what you’re thinking. *Eyes rolling* Oh no, here comes another Charlie’s Angels reboot. Seriously? Don’t anyone in Hollywood have fresh new ideas for a TV show? And yes, most reboots of popular 70s and 80s shows sucked and have failed to garner interest. But I think we should give this show a break simply because Charlie’s Angels is always a fun watch. We did not mind the Drew Barrymore remake so much, did we? And all three angels; Minka Kelly, Rachael Taylor and Annie Ilonzeh are super hot and sizzling on screen. Add the sunny beachy Miami as primary location and I think, if done right, this could be our newest guilty pleasure show. And admit it, you want to hear mysterious Charlie to say, “Hello, Angels” one more time, don’t you?

Also worth a mention:

Enlightened, airing on HBO starting Oct 10, 9.30 PM.

HBO knows how to pick good shows, even Entourage was a fun watch back in the good ol’ days. So it’s safe to say this new Laura Dern comedy may just be a great addition to your DVR come October. Created by Mike White (School of Rock), this show tells the story of a self-destructive executive who after three-months of contemplation and meditation at a treatment center in Hawaii, returns to pick up the pieces of her old life and reshape the world she left behind. With Luke Wilson starring as her drug-addled ex-husband and Diane Ladd as her mother Helen, this comedy sounds just like what the doctor orders for all of us this Fall.

American Horror Story, airing on FX starting Oct 5, 10 PM.

After the success of Glee, Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk decided to go the very non-wholesome route of icky gorefest with American Horror Story, and judging from early reviews circulating on the web, they have succeeded. American Horror Story is crazy scary, fast-paced and totally campy fun and we all want that from a Ryan Murphy vehicle, especially one that stars Mrs. Coach Tami Taylor Connie Britton and the always brooding Dylan McDermott. Critics are unsure as to how Murphy and co will be able to maintain the frenetic pace of the pilot, but it’s safe to say that this new FX show is worth checking out, especially if you love any of Murphy’s other shows, like Nip/Tuck or Glee.

What new shows are you planning to watch this Fall?

xoxo

Binky Bee