Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What I'm Watching Now #12 (September 27, 2011 Edition)

Wow, it feels like forever since I've done one of these, and it's only been a little over a week.  I hope you've enjoyed my ratings blog posts, but now it's time to give you some perspective on what I'm watching now.  This is for the week of September 19-24, and it was a week filled with new series and season premiere episodes.  I hope it lives up to expectations.

Ratings Legend:

*Don't waste your time
**Some people may like it, but overall, it's not going to change your life if you watch it or miss it.  Shows between 2 stars and 3 stars are on the line of watchable.
***Solid, watchable show.  If I give something 3 stars, I think you can safely watch it, and usually enjoy it.
****You should definitely watch this show, at least once.
*****Why are you not watching this show?

Mondays: 

Alphas (Syfy, season 1 is over)****
9-19-2011 episode rating-***.5

As a follow up to the previous week's episode, it wasn't that great.  However, the payoff in the episode was quite nice, and it's worth a look.  There is apparently a mole inside of Dr. Rosen's team.  They're all "arrested" and taken to Binghamton to try to figure out who it is.  It's mostly a sit down and interrogate show, but once things get going, they stay going.  It's a good lead in to the season finale, which I've already seen.

The Big C (Showtime, season 2 is over)*** 
9-19-2011 episode rating-**.5

Jenny "Blow it all up" Bicks was in the house, again, as the Writer for last week's episode, which was the episode before the season finale.  Many big things happen in this episode, because that's what Jenny Bicks does.  It wasn't very good, but the big story points are important to see, if you've been following the series closely.  More big things are coming in the season finale, which is written by the Creator of the series, Darlene Hunt.  For those of you who have not enjoyed season 2, season 3 at least looks to be promising, while nearly certain to be the last. 

2 Broke Girls (CBS, 8:30pm ET)**.5
9-19-2011 episode rating-**.5

I've written little bits and pieces about this series so far, but this is the first time you'll see me write anything of substance.  This is one of the tightest sitcoms I've seen, in awhile.  It's shot well, directed well, edited well, and written well.  It just has this one glaring problem.  It doesn't make me laugh.  I feel like every joke and gag in the series is wildly telegraphed, and that it's easy to see what the punchline will be.  Maybe Kat Dennings is reading her lines a little wrong, I'm not sure.  She seems like she could be funny, but none of the deliveries are hitting my funny bone.  The blonde woman is pretty annoying, which is exactly what she's supposed to be.  Maybe I'll try to find a script for the Pilot online, and try to "punch it up", with some Chris Colley humor.  If I'm able to do it successfully, you won't be disappointed.  

I've already seen this week's episode, and it wasn't any better than the Pilot.  It wasn't any worse, either, it just was.  It's probably one of the best sitcoms I've seen on paper, but on videotape, it's not really getting it done.  The ratings are still outstanding for the series, so far, so it doesn't look like it's going anywhere.  It's possible the jokes are too tight, and they just need to cut out a few, or give more time for better deliveries.  This should be a good show, but it's not panning out that way, so far.  I'm still going to keep watching, though, in hopes that the "problems" get fixed. 

Hawaii Five-O (CBS, 10pm ET)***.5
9-19-2011 episode rating-**.5

Wow, that episode was nuts.  It was edited way too much, camera angles were dizzying, and it had to clean up the terrible ending to last season.  The Five-O task force has been dismantled, and Commander Steve McGarrett is in prison for the murder of the Governor.  If you've seen the series, you know this didn't happen, there's no cliffhanger, in that regard.  Chin is back with the Honolulu P.D., Kono is suspended, pending an Internal Affairs investigation, and I guess Danny is suspended too, just because he wears ties in Hawaii.  The man who killed Steve's father gets him in a prison recreation yard, and shanks him.  The episode gets off and running there, and continues to hit you with twists and turns all the way to the end credits.  It wasn't that good, and it was just too much bombardment on the eyes.  Steve Boyum normally directs better than this, but I'm starting to realize he likes to over edit his shows, if I'm not mistaken.  We're not supposed to notice that stuff, but it was all I kept noticing in the episode.  

The good news for fans of the series is that the show gets back on track, in the second episode, and gets back to the pace we're accustomed to.  This is Hawaii, life ain't supposed to move this fast, even if it is the scariest, most dangerous place on earth (according to this series).  The series is still too gimmicky, and it looks like it's doing several major re-toolings on the fly.  It didn't need to do that.  It just needs to be a solid, eye candy police procedural.  If they follow through with the changes they are acting like they are going to do, it's a huge mistake.  I'll talk more about that in my Friday edition of "What I'm Watching Now".

Tuesdays:

New Girl (FOX, 9pm ET)**.5 
9-20-11 episode rating-**.5

I heard about this series very late in the game.  Everyone claims it was heavily promoted by FOX, but I was literally unaware of it, until about three weeks ago.  I caught the Pilot online, before it aired.  I thought it was rough, a little too quirky, and in some cases very cringe worthy.  I saw that it had potential, and that it definitely deserved a second look.  There was a major casting change from the Pilot to the second episode, and I bet Damon Wayans, Jr. is really gonna wish Happy Endings was canceled last season, so that he could have done this instead.   

I've already seen the second episode, and I wanted to let you know that I'm giving it a significant rating bump.  You can watch the Pilot, for the groundwork, but if you start on episode 2, you can miss out on a lot of weird stuff that definitely needed to be fixed.  Stick with the series for at least two episodes, and if you don't like it after the second episode, you're not likely going to like it ever.

Unforgettable (CBS, 10pm ET)*** 
9-20-11 episode rating-***

I was hoping to get to do a write up on this series, but I'm not there, yet.  It just doesn't have enough going for it to do a full write up.  Nothing new has, actually, except for one series, which I would be doing a disservice to by breaking it down.  So, for now, almost everything will be going in my "What I'm Watching Now" posts.  Things can change in a heart beat, but don't expect any big Pilot breakdowns, except for one.   

Unforgettable features a woman who has a condition that only 5 or 6 people in the United States suffer from.  That condition allows her to remember everything she has ever seen.  It is what you can call a blessing and a curse.  The story begins with her volunteering in a nursing home, and moves to her counting cards while playing blackjack, and winning big.  Her memory comes in very handy, when she is taken to the back room of an underground casino.  When she gets home, she hears a large commotion going on outside of her apartment.  When she opens the door, she sees blood on the walls, and goes outside to find one of her neighbors dead.  The Police come, and nothing is what it seems.

There is a back story to the lead character, that is very important, and you'll just have to watch from there, to see what happens.  It was an okay Pilot, with a pretty decent amount of potential.  I think it's worth a few looks, and I am pretty sure I will be sticking around for the whole season.

Body of Proof (ABC, 10pm ET)**.5
9-20-11 episode rating-**.5

Below, I'm going to list all of the problems I had with season one.  This show needed to have a major re-tooling going into season two, so let's find out how it did.  You'll have to read this blog post to see the answers, just scroll down to the Body of Proof part.  

What's wrong with Body of Proof 

1. Dropped the idea of this completely (bad, good, whatevs)
2. It is clear that this character is now Megan's field assistant, or something.
3. Both cops were in the season premiere, no casting changes.
4. Not fixed
5. Not fixed
6. Partially fixed
7. Not fixed (I don't think)
8. I think they are down to the third one being the perp.
9. Not fixed
10. No casting changes happened.  The Arend character was used a bit more in this episode.

As you can see, if you compared what I wrote at the end of last season, with what they did in the season premiere, not much changed.  They didn't fix any of the major problems, but they did change the look of the series.  It's much darker, and I guess intended to cover up the facial flaws of the women on the show.  The series is still as dumb as a bag of rocks, but I'll stick with it.  I just can't believe how much they're butchering such a simple concept.  It's one of the least believable shows on TV, and the whole Desperate Housewives angle was truly disturbing, and unnecessary.  It was a really strange episode, with most of the characters acting very much out of character.  In fact, it was almost like a comedy.  Am I about to coin a new term?  If I do, it will be called a Comedical Drama.  The tone was just so wrong on this episode, and if it continues to go this way, it won't see another season.  The ratings were down significantly from last season, and I expect they will go even lower after last week's episode.

Wednesdays:

Up All Night (NBC, 8pm ET)**.5
9-21-11 episode rating-**.5

In good news, Up All Night didn't get worse.  In bad news, Up All Night didn't get much better.  Nearly all of my laughs in this series have come from facial expressions, not from what's being said.  The scene at the front door, with the new neighbor, and the very awkward conversation Chris and Reagan have with him is...disturbing.  I think Will Arnett is a funny guy, but he really seems to be dragging this series down, for me.  Christina Applegate is trying hard, but the material just isn't there, and she's reducing herself to playing down to Will Arnett's character.  Nearly every scene seems like there's just a basic premise written, and then they're told to wing it.  The series is so loose that it doesn't work for me.  I'm still going to keep watching, because I think that the looseness is the major problem, and that's pretty easy to fix on a sitcom.  The Ava character is still hyper annoying, and I just wish they wouldn't even show her.

Free Agents (NBC, 8:30pm ET)**
9-21-11 episode rating-**

This episode wasn't any better than the premiere, and it seemed a little bit worse to me.  The ratings for this series are awful, and I don't expect it to make it more than 8 episodes.  I'll watch it to the end, because it's not like Anaconda or anything...

Criminal Minds (CBS, 9pm ET)****.5
9-21-11 episode rating-****.5

JJ is back!  Prentiss is back!  The whole team, except the one who replaced Prentiss is back!  The episode begins with JJ testifying in front of what appears to be a Senate Committee.  Things have gone pretty wrong with something, and the whole team is called to testify.  The whole episode is about what happened, while the series was away for the summer break.  It's an excellent episode, and I sincerely hope we can get this series back to normal, after the very jagged sixth season.  This is my favorite police procedural on television, by a wide margin.  If you haven't seen it, you're doing something wrong.  My wife and I watched nearly every episode this summer, after being asked to write about it by my friend Ronda V.  We only have about 4 or 5 episodes we haven't seen prior to season 6, and about half of season 6 to see.  That's about 120 episodes of the series we've watched.  I really thank A&E for overplaying the series, so that we could see as many as we have.

Harry's Law (NBC, 9pm ET)*** 
9-21-11 episode rating-***

Welcome to the NBC house style, Harry's Law.  This series stuck out like a sore thumb on NBC, all of last season.  It looked low rent in comparison to the normally exceptional visual quality of NBC shows.  There is not a single scripted TV series that doesn't look great, on NBC, and I think they have the best overall visual style of any network.  Harry's Law and Up All Night are the only series that have deviated wildly from the NBC style.  That can't be said for Harry's Law, anymore.  This series now has a very high production value, with which will come higher expectations for ratings. 

This is also the first returning series I saw that had a MAJOR re-tooling.  It was so major, that it was downright disturbing.  I feel comfortable placing this series in the sarcama (sarcastic drama) category, because there is just so much caustic wit in it.  I laughed more in this episode than I did in any episode of any sitcom last week (outside of Parks and Recreation and The Office).  It looks like we're going to be taken on a winding story arc, this season, at least for a few episodes.  I'm not going to ruin anything about the season premiere, because I want it to come as a shock to your system, much like it was to ours.  The way the show is done is either going to cause its core audience to disappear, or it's going to bring a larger audience.  I'll be really interested to see the second week's numbers.  If it stays where it's at, for now, even on low bar NBC, it won't be able to stick around, due to the dramatically rising costs of the series.

Revenge (ABC, 10pm ET)***
9-21-11 episode rating-***

This is a series with an angle.  It's pretty easy to follow if you've ever watched any kind of convoluted TV.  If you were able to follow Damages, this is a piece of cake.  We're shown someone being murdered at the beginning of the episode, during an engagement party in the Hamptons.  Immediately after the body is discovered, we are thrust to five months ago.  Phillip Noyce, one of the top Pilot Directors available, helmed the Pilot.  It has a nice visual style, and it was a well done show.  What you come to learn in the Pilot is that nothing is as it seems.  Emily Thorne is an outsider, in an insider's town...or is she?  Through a series of clues, you'll find out that Emily knows exactly what she plans to do, she just doesn't know how it's going to happen.  It's what would be called a "deliciously evil" bit of television.  If you like the Pilot, you'll probably be hooked in further.  It's in my top 3 new dramas, this season, so far, but it's still not worth 4 stars.

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (NBC, 10pm ET)****
9-21-11 episode rating-**

Dick Wolf clearly doesn't get why his franchise is dying.  There are so many grievous errors, in the season premiere, that I just want the series, and franchise, to go away.  Instead of doing another ripped from the headlines episode, why don't you do a ripped from the police blotter episode?  I am so sick of seeing episodes based on national news type crimes.  It is boring, and half-assed.  It's a big part of the reason why the original Law & Order is gone, and why Criminal Intent began to fail. 

With the "potential" loss of Stabler (we all know he's not coming back), a new Detective is introduced to the unit.  That Detective is the person who played the lead in the wildly unsuccessful Chase, that had a hard time lasting a full season.  Then, they brought back my most hated character in the history of the franchise, ADA Cutter, to make things worse.  Having it be a rip off of the DSK rape case was the icing on the cake.  This series is done.  This is the last season.  Take it to the bank.  They're going to go even further, and next week, jump the shark with guest appearances by Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh.  This series has always shied away from "celebrity" casting (meaning people who will probably be playing themselves), but evidently it's lowered its standards.  I already can't wait to hear that this series is canceled, and that the franchise is officially dead.  It's almost hard to believe this is probably one of my favorite franchises in the history of television.

Thursdays: 

Charlie's Angels (ABC, 8pm ET)*
9-22-11 episode rating-*

This is in a close race, with one other show, for the worst new series of the TV season.  It's cast poorly and acted poorly.  It's all glitz and no substance.  It's boring, and absolutely not worth your time.  I feel sorry for you, if you don't believe me, and give it a shot anyway.  This episode was so bad that I'm not even remotely willing to tune in for a second one.  I predict the loss of viewers from the premiere, for the second episode, will be similar to the loss of blood from having your jugular vein cut.

Parks and Recreation (NBC, 8:30 ET)****
9-22-11 episode rating-****

Everyone's back, and most of them have really altered looking appearances.  Tom is only going to be occasionally showing up, since he's now working with his "media conglomerate" Entertainment 7Twenty.  I'll be Entertainment 7Twenty's Mixer, if they're interested.  Just make sure my checks don't bounce, and that they're heavy.  Did you check out that swag?  Look up Entertainment 7Twenty on google, and you can find their website.  In one area is a place called "swag", where you can see all of the products branded with their logo.  I really want some of that stuff, if anyone from Parks and Recreation ever accidentally stumbles upon this blog.

For me, the episodes are never about the story, it's about watching the cast, my favorite ensemble on television.  I'm kind of rooting for Entertainment 7Twenty to fail, so that Tom can come back full time.  It's just not quite the same without him.  However, if I'm working for Entertainment 7Twenty, I would root for them to succeed like totally hard yo.  I love this series, and it's a travesty if you have never tuned in.  Stick with it for a bit, and you'll fall in love with the characters and cast, just like I did.  It's impossible not to.

The Office (NBC, 9pm ET)****
9-22-11 episode rating-****

It's been a long, winding road for me, with The Office, but now that I understand how to watch it, I'm much more invested.  It's important to see how the characters interact with each other.  It's important to watch each person's story arc.  It's important to watch all the goofy, and funny side stuff, and shove it up your butt.

The episode started off with the very bizarre "planking" gimmick.  If it hadn't had a good payoff, it would have been creepy and disturbing.  We get to find out who the new "bosses" are, in this episode, and lots of bizarre stuff happens.  James Spader's performance is outlandish, and his character is one of the creepiest "normal" characters I have ever seen on TV.  I'll stick with the series until it bores me, but this isn't in my must watch list, even though it's a very good series.

Person of Interest (CBS 9pm ET)****.25
9-22-11 episode rating-****.25

I'm giving this series a 4.25 star rating, because there are enough issues with it that I can't give it 4.5 stars.  This episode was the equivalent of an A-, and, in my opinion, it is, BY FAR, the best new series of the TV season, so far.  It was definitely a little rough around the edges, but it has an extreme amount of potential.  If it falls off the rails, it will be a travesty, because it could be one of the most fun shows I've seen in a long time.  The fight scenes are awesome, for television, and I enjoyed the Pilot thoroughly.  It's the first episode of the TV season where I felt palpable excitement that I could be seeing something verging on great.  The first scene, alone, should be enough to draw you in.  The story will get you in, after that.  It was Created by the Director of Inception's brother.  If that's not enough to pull you in, you're making a mistake.  I don't even want to ruin a bit of this episode for you, so you'll just have to watch it to see what you think.

Whitney (NBC, 9:30pm ET)*
9-22-11 episode rating-*

This is the other series that's in a close race with Charlie's Angels for the worst new series.  Yes, it's even worse than Free Agents, in my opinion. The difference between the two series is that I'm willing to give Whitney a second chance.  It was a fully formed Pilot, but again, it just wasn't funny, to me, at all.  I'm sure there's an audience for this series out there.  However, it's not likely to be me after the second episode.

Prime Suspect (NBC, 10pm ET)**.5
9-22-11 episode rating-**.5

This series has some potential.  I don't think it will ever be worth 4 stars, but I think it will likely end up as a 3 star show.  Jane Timoney (Maria Bello) is a Homicide Detective.  She's in a division filled with a-hole, d-bags, who can't stand her.  They all think she got her job due to being on some kind of "couch", and they bully her, and shut her out of cases.  She is rankled and talks to her boss about it.  He tells her she will get a case, next time one comes up.  Through a series of events, something big happens.  We are shown that Jane is a "supercop" type character, and that she clearly knows what she's doing.  The rampant sexism in this show is a major turn off, and probably hasn't been seen in any cop show since the 70s, and at the very latest, the early 80s.  We'll see if they fix these problems.  NBC is allowing this series to be shot way outside of the "house style", and I do give it credit for the uniqueness of the look.  I didn't like the way it was shot (shaky cam, moving cam, etc.), but I can't remember a police procedural looking like this.

I'm pretty sure this series is DOA, because this type of show just has to premiere strong, and it didn't, at all.  We'll see if it gets any better, and if it picks up more viewers.  It's a rough series, not fully formed in the Pilot, and it has at least 2 or 3 more episodes before I expect it to hit its stride with what it will be.  It might end up being pretty good, but it's probably not going to be good enough to get another season.  I also think this is a very poorly cast show, and it's nearly embarrassing (at least for me) for a series to be cast this poorly on network TV.  Maybe I will change my mind about that, but I don't think I've seen such a polarizing cast in a successful police procedural ever.  CSI, which I have never seen, is the only one that seems to have weird casting like this.  However, that's from Bruckheimer, so you can't look at it like you would any other network TV shows. 

That was exhausting to write, and I started it way too late.  I hope you enjoyed it, and that it has the potential to influence some of your future viewing habits.  Thanks for reading.

No comments:

Post a Comment

There was an error in this gadget