Tag Archives: bored to death

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. 😉

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? 😉 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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My 12 Days of Christmas Countdown: Fourth Day

On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me… two grown men in a pear tree. Yes, ladies and gentlemen of the blogosphere, today’s list is all about the bromance. Romance is great and all, but it tends to end quicky, especially on TV. But a bromance lasts forever, and due to its enduring nature, it’s time we compile a list that honors this special relationship.

So without further ado, here it is:

My Top 10 TV Bromances of 2010:

1/ Troy and Abed, Community.

What happens when a pop culture savant and a former high school jock meet in a community college study group? The beginning of a beautiful bromance, of course. Troy and Abed started out as supporting characters in NBC’s cult comedy but the second they began their bromance, they started stealing the show. From their catchy “Donde esta la biblioteca” rap to building the coolest blanket fort in the history of television, we can’t get enough of these two best friends, we even shed a little tear in the Halloween zombie episode when Abed “sacrificed” himself so Troy could be the hero. The Jeff/Britta/Annie triangle may have dissolved into thin air, but Troy and Abed, whether in the morning or in stop-motion, will last a lifetime.

2/ Shawn and Gus, Psych.

Is there any bromance on television today that is as strong and enduring as that of Shawn and Gus? I doubt it. First, they’ve known each other since they were “little Shawn” and “little Gus”, second, they have been partners in crime (and solving crime) for five seasons and showing no signs of slowing down, and third, they both have the same passion for desserts and obscure 80s references. You see, those are the things that make a bromance lasts. And if Shawn’s relationship with Juliet can’t break this bromance up, nothing can – which is why it deserves the runner up spot in this list.

3/ Bobby and Andy, Cougar Town.

Andy may be married to Ellie in this addictive ABC comedy, but we all know that deep down, the person he loves the most is not his wife, but his wife’s best friend’s ex-husband Bobby. This bromance is awesome because not only are Andy and Bobby the best of friends, but Andy totally has a man-crush on Bobby. Not even Bobby’s son Travis or ex-wife Jules worships him the way Andy does, and Bobby always reciprocates. Aww, so sweet.

4/ Jonathan, Ray & George, Bored To Death.

Anyone who thinks a failed writer, a cartoonist and a magazine editor-in-chief can’t be best friends should really check out this hilarious HBO comedy and be proven wrong. Not only are Jonathan -the failed writer turn quirky private detective- best friends with both Ray -the clingy cartoonist with a weird obsession about his penis- and George -the editor-in-chief of Edition Magazine and avid marijuana enthusiast-, they’re also best friends who are always there for each other and willing to help each other out. Ray even took a rubber bullet on the forehead (shot accidentally by George) when trying to save Jonathan from two kidnappers (don’t ask), now if that doesn’t say lasting bromance, I don’t know what will.

5/ Chuck and Morgan, Chuck.

For fans of NBC’s spy/geek show Chuck, nothing is more satisfying than watching Chuck’s relationship with his super hot spy girlfriend Sarah blooms on television. But before there was Chuck and Sarah, there was Chuck and Morgan, and as the last three and a half seasons will tell you, Chuck and Morgan is the relationship that can stand the test of time. Sure now that Chuck has a real, steady girlfriend they are not as close as they used to be, but the bromance is still very much alive between them. Morgan is even helping Chuck to plan his awesome proposal to Sarah. Isn’t that the sweetest thing ever?

6/ Ted, Marshall & Barney, How I Met Your Mother.

This hit CBS sitcom may have started out as Ted’s search to meet “the mother”, but since there’s no end date in sight and the ominous titular character may never appear, I think we should see this show for what it is; it’s not romance, it’s bromance. Let’s face it, Ted’s relationship with his two best friends Marshall and Barney is the only one that is actually healthy, sane and showing signs of lasting for a very long time. And they’ve had their share of ups and downs too, but they always seem to be able to make it work. So whether or not Ted ever meets “the mother”, we at least know for sure that Marshall and Barney will always be there for him.

7/ Jimmy Darmody and Richard Harrow, Boardwalk Empire.

This particular bromance is a unique one, and I contemplated on putting it on the list, actually. You see, the friendship between Jimmy and Richard Harrow doesn’t really have the typical signs of bromance, but considering how loyal these two men are with each other and how they’re willing to go to bat for one another after only a short period of friendship, I decided to put them in number seven. Jimmy meets Harrow, the man with half a face aka The Tin Woodsman of Atlantic City, in a VA hospital. They are both broken and wounded from the war and they are immediately drawn to each other. They’re both tortured and violent, but like in the trenches, they’d die for each other. How this relationship is going to play out in the world of Boardwalk Empire, I don’t really know, but it’s probably going to stay strong considering Jack Huston, who plays Harrow, has just been promoted to series regular. I guess this bromance is here to stay after all.

8/ Nate and Dan, Gossip Girl.

In the world of Gossip Girl’s Upper East Side where everyone sleeps with everyone else and relationships get all tangled and become a bit incestuous, bromance is not something that tends to flourish. How can it, when in a matter of episodes your girlfriend could be sleeping with your best friend, or you could be sleeping with your boyfriend’s best friend? I know, it gets confusing, believe me. But through all the crazy incestuous relationships that occur in this show, the friendship between Upper East Side golden (retriever) boy Nate Archibald and Brooklyn’s struggling writer Dan Humphrey seems to be able to stay somewhat strong. Sure, every now and then a buxom blond will come between them, but in the end, their love for each other is deeper than their love for Serena’s ample bosom. And for that, even though they come from the bromance-less world of Gossip Girl, Nate and Dan get to be in this coveted bromance list.

9/ Steve and “Danno”, Hawaii Five-O.

The bromance in number nine is so good, they had to do it twice. I am hazy on the original Hawaii Five-O Steve and Danno, but considering that the classic is always better, I’m thinking the bromance between them is just as entertaining as the 2010 version. As partners in Five-O, Steve and Danno may not always see eye-to-eye, in fact, bickering and arguing seem to be their favorite past-time, much like an old married couple. But when bullets are flying at them and they have to catch bad guys, they band together and become an undefeated team. Now isn’t that what bromance is all about?

10/  Damon and Stefan, The Vampire Diaries.

This last bromance in the list is quite unique, considering that they are actually brothers, and not just “bros”. And aside from actually being brothers, the relationship between these two hot Salvatore boys is also complicated. They used to be best friends, you know, back in 1864 when they were still humans, until a certain vampire temptress seduced the both of them, turned them into bloodsucking creatures and drove a wedge between them. Over a hundred years went by with both brothers constantly (and sometimes literally) at each other’s throat, but recently after Damon switched to the good side, their relationship seems to be on the mend. Sure, there’s that little thing of Damon being in love with Stefan’s girlfriend, but I’m sure they’ll find a way to work it out in the end. Bros before hos, right? 🙂

And there you go, My Top 10 TV Bromances of 2010. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it. Check back in tomorrow, I’ll be listing my Top 10 Stocking Stuffers of 2010, who knows, I think it could help those of you who still have to do some very last minute Christmas shopping. I know it helped me a lot!

Until then,

xoxo

Binky Bee

Lead Me

What’s a TV show without its leading men?

Granted, I’m not usually one who gravitates toward the alpha males but when it comes to TV, I wholeheartedly adore them. And since I’m still severely blocked – despite finding the cause of my writer’s block, I still can’t seem to write even a single sentence – I thought I’d just do the next best thing… make a list.

And here’s a list of my favorite TV leading men:

One/ Michael Westen in Burn Notice.

michael-westen

Played by Jeffrey Donovan, this one spy managed to steal my heart unlike that other famous British spy because he is the perfect antithesis of everything that makes me not like James Bond. First, he doesn’t drive a flashy car. Second, he’s not some lothario who has a knack for picking up bimbos who turn out to be villains. And third, he knows how to make his own spy gadget, DIY MacGyver style, which means, he’s not only handy when it comes to unraveling global conspiracies – he can fix the dishwasher too. And we all love that in a man. Sure, his relationship with his mom tend to interfere with his spy-business but what man doesn’t have mother issues?

Two/ Chuck Bass in Gossip Girl.

ed-westwick

Played by British import Ed Westwick, I don’t think he was meant to be a “leading man” when the show first started but now that the show is in its third season, this charming little devil has turned out to be more than just a teenage lothario and an unfaithful sidekick. Not only has he managed to make us fall completely and madly in love with him when he finally told Blair Waldorf that he loved her, he has also made the transformation from troubled bad boy to confident businessman so seamlessly and effortlessly in only a few episodes, proving that Chuck Bass never does things half-assed. That’s more Nate’s job.

Three/ Chuck Bartowski in Chuck.

zachary-levi_l

Played by the always funny Zachary Levi, this one reluctant geeky spy has stolen my heart from the pilot episode and he continues to make me fall for him. He may not be the typical leading man with ruggedly handsome looks and an ability to kill a man with his bare hands (but now he may just be, since the second season finale ends with him suddenly knowing kung fu) but that doesn’t stop him from being the man of our dreams. He’s sweet, endearing and a little awkward – but that’s just part of his charm. Besides, don’t we all want our spies to be a little more down-to-earth and kooky? And the good news is, he’ll be back on our screens sooner than expected! Yippee!

Four/ Demetri Noh in FlashForward.

john-cho

Okay, so he’s not exactly the leading man in this show but he might as well be thanks to Joseph Fiennes’ underwhelming performance as agent Mark Banford. Demetri Noh, played by Harold and Kumar’s John Cho, is the most interesting character by far – and not only because he knows he’s going to die. He’s complex and interesting and most importantly, human and believable. If you knew you were going to die in five months, wouldn’t you react the way he had reacted so far? And let’s face it, when he came out guns blazing at the end of episode 7, it was HOT! Now who’s praying that he actually manages to prevent the future from happening? (ME!).

Five/ Shawn Spencer in Psych.

james_roday

There’s a reason why this character, played by James Roday, is torn between two very attractive women (one of which is played by his real-life girlfriend Maggie Lawson) right now. He’s brilliant. He may be a fake psychic but we all know he’s a great detective. And despite his knack for silly humor and obscure 80s references, he has proven to be a true leading man when he not only took a bullet but managed to play the hero in the fall finale of the fourth season. And he has great hair. Really, what more could you ask for in a leading man?

Six/ Sheldon Cooper in The Big Bang Theory.

JimParsons

He may be arrogant and is borderline Asperger’s, but you have to admit he’s truly a genius. Played by Jim Parsons, Sheldon Cooper is the anti-leading man but the one you’ll most likely fall in love with not because he’s such a sweetheart – exactly the opposite, you’ll love him because he’s eccentric, annoying, anal and incredibly funny. He prefers comic books than girls, he is a suspected android, he’s devoid of empathy and he really doesn’t like it when you sit on his part of the sofa – but let’s face it, we’d totally sit at his feet and listen to him ramble on about string theory any day.

Seven/ Damon Salvatore in The Vampire Diaries.

Ian-Somerhalder

True, technically he’s not the leading man but let’s face it, without this character, played by the impossibly sexy Ian Somerhalder, The Vampire Diaries would be a total snoozefest. Damon Salvatore, the evil, heartless, and violent bloodsucking resident of Mystic Falls, is what makes this show so good. He’s devoid of conscience, he’s rotten to the core but he does have a soft side that he only shows in rare moments. And when his younger brother is all tortured and Heathcliff-like over the state of his vampire-ism, Damon shows what being a vampire is all about: soulless fun. And let’s face it, evil vampires are always so much sexier!

Eight/ Don Draper in Mad Men.

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Yes, he frequently cheats on his wife. And yes, he stole someone else’s identity and is basically living a lie. But who cares? He’s hot! Played by charismatic actor Jon Hamm, Don Draper is the ultimate “mad man” – he’s suave, well-dressed and has a commanding presence despite his underlying insecurity. He is the true leading man because despite his many, many faults, we find ourselves forgiving him over and over again. He’s Don Draper, damn it. He’s the reason why Mad Men is the show that everyone talks about these days. And if those eyes can’t win you over, I don’t know what will.

Nine/ Jonathan Ames in Bored To Death.

jason-schwartzman

Yes, I do love a big-nosed Jew, get over it. But that’s not why I love this character that’s played to perfection by Jason Schwartzman. Jonathan Ames is a quirky oddball, and he knows it. He’s soft-spoken and slightly delusional, but that’s what makes him so hilarious. He’s also going through a writer’s block, like me, so I can totally relate. He always somehow finds himself in crazy situations without meaning to, and he’s still pining over his ex-girlfriend despite not having the balls to actually make a change and win her over. He’s the leading man that most leading men despise, but that’s exactly makes him a great leading man.

Now that you know my list, who do you think should be No. 10?

 

 

 

All Things Considered…

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.

tbl

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.

*Sep 25 - 00:05*

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.

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.

community

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.

bored-to-death

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.

117464_768

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.

flashforward

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.

The Good Wife

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.

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?

xoxo

Binky Bee

10 New Shows To Watch This Fall

Summer is officially over, and with the end of summer, comes something that TV addicts and couch potatoes like me have been waiting for: new Fall television. Every year, Fall comes with the excitement of discovering new, and hopefully good, shows that we can fall in love with… before screaming and crying foul the next Summer when the network decides to, again, pull the plug on the shows we’ve come to love but gets no love from Nielsen ratings.

But with each new Fall television, we start hoping again and this year is no different. The networks are ready to present us so many new shows in the hope that we will actually watch them and love them. Of course, it’s not humanly possible – unless your job is watching TV like Michael Aussiello and Kristin Dos Santos – to watch every new show that premieres every Fall, especially since we still have old favorites to watch. So, as any good couch potato would, we use the hot summer days to troll around various websites to get the dish on the upcoming shows as well as reviews from major publications whose taste we trust the most.

Or maybe it’s just me?

Well, in any case, after much research, I’ve compiled a list of 10 new shows you should check out this Fall. Of course I haven’t seen most of the shows here because they haven’t premiered yet, so don’t blame me if you don’t end up liking some of them. I may not end up liking some of them. But at least, this will help you weed out the truly bad ones that don’t even deserve your TiVo time.

Anyway, let’s get right to it, shall we?

1/ Glee, airing on Wednesdays at 9 PM EST on Fox.

Lea Michelle as Rachel Barry and Cory Monteith as Finn Hudson in Glee

Lea Michelle as Rachel Barry and Cory Monteith as Finn Hudson in Glee

Don’t let all the awesome singing or even the title fool you, Glee is not another “high school musical”. No, the cast doesn’t break out into a song in the school cafeteria for no reason (which was the reason why The Man hates musicals. In his own words: “Why do they have to break out into songs for no reason? No one does that!”), and no, the kids in McKinley High are not perfect little students like the kids in High School Musical. And no, Finn Hudson, the football star turned Glee club member, does not wear as much guy-liner like Zac Efron did (well, still does). On the contrary, Glee has all the edginess of the other Ryan Murphy show Nip/Tuck, toned down a bit for basic cable and a younger audience combined the humor of cult-favorite Freaks and Geeks. It’s hilarious, sweet (without being fake) and has all the feel-good nature of a musical without losing sight of the reality of high school and the nature of the outcast.  It’s different, ambitious and I guarantee you’ll love it. Hey, didn’t we all start singing Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing after the pilot had a special preview after Idol finale last April (or May)? You gotta love a show that can make Journey cool again.

2/ Flashforward, airing on ABC starting Sept 24, at 8 PM EST.

The Cast of Flashforward

The Cast of Flashforward

Arguably the most buzzed-about show this season, Flashforward has all the makings of becoming the new “Lost”, with more appeal for those of us who don’t like Lost because it’s set on their worst nightmare (the whole plane crashing on a deserted island without any electricity or bug spray, eek) – of course by “us”, I mean me, since everyone seems to not be bothered by it. The premise of Flashforward is interesting: “Everybody in the world blacks out for two minutes and 17 seconds, then awakes to a world in confusion. People believe they are having memories of the event, but they turn out to be flashes of the future. Something big is going to happen, and the series focuses on the people who either want it to happen or try to stop it from happening.” (from the San Fransisco Chronicles). Now I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a winning show for me, a sci-fi loving geek. Not to mention, the cast is pretty awesome: Shakespeare In Love Joseph Fiennes and Star Trek’s John Cho (or the other guy in Harold and Kumar), among others. Expect this show to birth loyal followers and many fan websites with discussions and interpretation of each episode, much like Lost and the other JJ Abrams show, Fringe.

3/ Modern Family, airing on ABC starting Sept 23, at 9 PM EST.

Cast Of Modern Family

Cast Of Modern Family

I know, ABC is not known for its strong comedy, but I think this year ABC can totally own it with Better Off Ted getting a second season and this new comedy starring Julie Bowen of Ed and Weeds fame. First of all, the premise is interesting: it’s Office style mockumentary of three American families. Yes, it may sound kinda tired, but according to critics, it came out original and shockingly funny. As we know from The Office, this faux-documentary style comedy takes patience and the humor lies in its subtle nuances, so don’t expect the traditional laugh-out-loud comedy early on. But just like The Office, I think this is going to be the kind of comedy that we can fall in love with if we just give it a try. So I’d recommend you to give this one a try, especially since Julie Bowen is always awesome in whatever role she portrays.

4/ The Good Wife, airing on CBS staring Sept 22, at 10 PM EST.

Julianna Margulies in The Good Wife

Julianna Margulies as Alicia Florrick in The Good Wife

Yes, we know, after ER, Julianna Margulies seems adamant about appearing in yet another legal series, but I think we should let her slide this time. If only because she plays the wife of Mr. Big without having to click her Manolos three times. If you miss Chris Noth aka Carrie’s Mr. Big on television, well this is the show for you. The Good Wife tells the story of “a woman who stepped aside from a promising law career to raise her children, only to find out later that her politician husband (Chris Noth) has been involved in a sex and corruption scandal. Standing (shocked) by her husband at his news conference, she appears to indeed be “the good wife” but quickly chooses to take charge of her life and family by going back to work. But that has its own issues because 13 years have passed and old friends are very successful while fresh young lawyers prove ultra-competitive.” (from The San Fransisco Chronicles). I know, this may sound lame after cable TV churned out so many ambitious legal shows in the recent years (Damages came to mind), but it got good reviews, and it’d be interesting to see Chris Noth play an Elliot Spitzer-like disgraced politician instead of just another version of Mr. Big for once.

5/ Cougar Town, airing on ABC starting Sept 23 at 9.30 pm EST.

Courtney Cox in Cougar Town

Courtney Cox as Jules Cobb in Cougar Town

I know, the title is kinda lame – after all, it leaves little to the imagination. We know exactly what the show is going to be about: cougars! Woo hoo! And okay, so Courtney Cox hasn’t really fared well on television after Friends, her F/X show Dirt was canceled after only 2 seasons. And yes, reviews are mixed on this Bill Lawrence comedy, with some recommending us to watch and some think that we should just pass on the show, but I think we should give it a shot. First of all, despite the lame but effective name, Cougar Town is more than just about cougars roaming around looking for a hot young thing to pounce on. Give Bill Lawrence some credit, people. Didn’t he bring us Scrubs? Didn’t we totally love it? And from the looks of things, it seems like Cougar Town is less about the obvious: older women trolling after younger men, but more about a recently divorced mom of a 17-year-old boy navigating a world that is age-obsessed, beauty indulgent and judgmental, especially when it comes to divorced mothers. So I recommend leaving all judgment out the door and just tune in to see whether this show really does live up to its expectations.

6/ Eastwick, airing on ABC starting Sept 23, at 10 PM EST.

Lindsay Price as Joanna Frankel, Rebecca Romijn as  Roxanne Torcoletti, and Jamie Ray Newman as Kat Gardener in Eastwick

Lindsay Price as Joanna Frankel, Rebecca Romijn as Roxanne Torcoletti, and Jamie Ray Newman as Kat Gardener in Eastwick

If you’re wondering, yes this show is based on the 1987 film The Witches of Eastwick starring Cher, Michelle Pfeiffer, Susan Sarandon and Jack Nicholson. And if you’re skeptical about the show, I don’t blame you. The Witches of Eastwick was pretty memorable and nobody does devilish as good as Jack Nicholson. But before you sigh and roll your eyes, I suggest that you put all your skepticism aside and give this one a try. First, because as it turns out this is not the first adaptation of the movie, but the third. The first two were complete failures, never becoming anything more than unsold pilots. The fact that this one actually gets picked up says something about the quality. Second, it looks like this show has a lot going for it, not just the three main stars (it’s good to see Lindsay Price and Rebecca Romijn back so soon to television after Price’s Lipstick Jungle was canceled and Romijn’s character in Ugly Betty was written out due to her pregnancy) but also Canadian actor Paul Gross who plays Darryl Van Horne, the man/devil that brings them together. He’s no Jack Nicholson, but then again, the show doesn’t really stay close to the movie and instead becomes its own entity, which is a smart move on its own. Will it be the next Charmed? Only time will tell, but I’ll definitely check this one out.

7/ Community, airing on NBC starting Sept 17, at 9.30 PM EST.

The Cast of Community

The Cast of Community

I love Joel McHale in The Soup, so I’m already biased about this show and plans to watch it the minute it debuts on Sept 17. But my personal feelings aside, it seems like this show has generated enough buzz and good reviews to guarantee a win. Community tells the story of a disgraced, fake lawyer and brilliant con/liar who ends up going back to community college and leading what could be best described as a band of misfits in a study group. Joel McHale taking on the role of Jeff Winger, the brilliant con man is already pretty awesome by me, but this show gets even sweeter with the return of Chevy Chase to television after his guest stint in Chuck last season. Top that off with a slew of comic talents in this show, and this looks to have all the makings of another NBC comedy success (think The Office and 30 Rock). Especially with reviews that described the humor as “fast, cutting and original with a dose of silly and sweet to it”, I’m pretty much sold and I can’t wait for this addition to NBC’s already strong Thursday comedy line up.

8/ White Collar, airing on USA staring Oct 23, at 10 PM EST.

Tim De Kay as Peter Stokes and Matthew Bomer as Neal Caffrey in White Collar

Tim De Kay as Peter Stokes and Matthew Bomer as Neal Caffrey in White Collar

If you miss Bryce Larkin in Chuck and want to see more of him, I think this show is for you. If you are not a fan of Chuck, but a fan of smart television, I think this show is for you too. This show is described by Alan Sepinwall of The Star-Ledger as “part Catch Me If You Can and part ’80s buddy cop movie” tells the story of the unlikely partnership of a con artist and an FBI agent who have been playing cat and mouse for years. Neal Caffrey (Bomer), an incredibly charming criminal mastermind, is finally caught by his nemesis, G-Man extraordinaire Peter Stokes (DeKay). When Neal escapes from a maximum-security prison to find his long-lost love, Peter nabs him once again. Rather than returning to jail for his daring getaway, Neal suggests an alternate plan: he’ll provide his cunning criminal expertise to assist the Feds in catching other notorious and elusive criminals. Initially wary, Peter quickly finds that Neal provides insight and intuition that cannot be found on the right side of the law. So far, this show has received glowing reviews, with critics calling it a “Bouncy, slick and very much on-brand from the channel that gives you Burn Notice and Monk.” (and uhm, Psych, of course!) – looks to be a promising show, I suggest we give this one a try.

9/ Bored To Death, airing on HBO starting Sept 20, at 9.30 PM EST.

Jason Schwartzman as Jonathan Ames, Ted Danson as George Christopher and Zach Galifianakis as Ray Hueston in Bored To Death

Jason Schwartzman as Jonathan Ames, Ted Danson as George Christopher and Zach Galifianakis as Ray Hueston in Bored To Death

The three stars of this show alone are enough to get me to watch, the fact that it’s in HBO and that it received glowing reviews make me even more excited about this comedy about a New York writer in crisis who inadvertently (and ill-advisedly) becomes a private detective. Jason Schwartzman, former drummer for Phantom Planet who successfully made the transition to acting as delightfully quirky oddball, is offset nicely by Zach Galifianakis, fresh off his hilarious role and shot to super stardom in The Hangover, and of course the always irreverent and crazy Ted Danson. After delivering a seriously haunting performance in Damages, it’s good to see the man back to his comedic roots. Not to mention, this show also boasts guest-starring roles by indie queens Parker Posey and Olivia Thirlby (Juno), and Golden Globe nominated actor Oliver Platt. This show looks to be another HBO comedic win like Entourage and Hung, so make sure you tune in for its debut on Sept 20.

10/ The Vampire Diaries, airing on Thursdays at 8 PM EST on The CW.

Nina Dobrev as Elena Gilbert and Paul Wesley as Stefan in The Vampire Diaries

Nina Dobrev as Elena Gilbert and Paul Wesley as Stefan in The Vampire Diaries

Okay, before you start protesting, I know this isn’t the kind of show us True Blood loving adults usually watch. And yes, I get the eerie similarities to Twilight, what with vampires attending high school (in broad daylight, I might add, and not catching fire like Godric did at sunrise in True Blood) and falling in love with a cute, suburban teenage girl with an Italianate first name. But it’s been a while since we’ve had anything by Kevin Williamson on TV (I was a huge Dawson’s Creek fan, can’t you tell?) and I’m willing to give this one a try. After all, if anyone can make a show with a Twilight-like premise interesting, it would be Mr. Williamson, who brought us the angsty Dawson’s Creek foursome a decade or so ago. A review from The New York Times said, “Mr. Williamson understands the modern American teenager more fully than Ms. Meyer, not only in the sharp grasp he maintains on adolescent idiom but also in his realization that young people feel as empowered in their roles as knowing cultural consumers as they can be by fulfilling their romantic longings.” In other words, I think we may like this one a whole lot more than Twilight. And even though I still don’t get why a vampire would want to go to High School despite having lived for hundreds of years, and even though I don’t understand why these melancholic teen vamps are so immune to sunlight, I’m willing to give this a try. I haven’t seen it yet despite it having already aired the pilot just last Thursday night (I still have Leverage to catch up on, and let’s face it, this one can wait till the weekend), but I will be watching, if only for the devilishly handsome Ian Somerhalder (Boone from Lost) who is sure to wreak some havoc in this vampire-age Romeo and Juliet tale.

So there you go, the 10 shows to watch this Fall. Let’s hope they are as good as the reviews depict them to be.

Which new show will you be tuning in this season?

xoxo

Binky Bee