Here's the link to the cheat sheet, which will also give you the ratings legend:
What I'm Watching Now Fall 2011 Primer
Let's get to what I'm watching now.
Terra Nova (FOX, 8pm ET)
Terra Nova is the blandest of the bland. The episode last week focused on the birthing of an injured dinosaur, and a murder of the strangest kind. There is just no character development going on, on this show, and I am incredibly bored with the characters' arcs we have been given, so far. Last night's episode said something about the power being knocked out by a meteor. I can only hope that is an omen of things to come. You can read that both ways. The first way is that a meteor wipes out Terra Nova. The second way is that something actually happens, and continues to happen. If last night's episode isn't so great, you should expect to see a ratings downgrade, next week.
Two Broke Girls (CBS, 8:30pm ET)
As I've said numerous times, I don't laugh at this show. However, I'm just interested enough to continue with it, and I don't think it's at all a "bad" show. I'm giving it a chance to hit a better stride, and I must see something that makes me think it has enormous potential as a sitcom. For the first season of Parks and Recreation, I watched it, and liked it, but couldn't figure out why, because it wasn't about much. Everything clicked in season two, and it's one of the most consistently great comedies on television. I've watched enough sitcoms in my life (except in the 2000s) to know when something has potential. If I haven't stopped watching it, yet, there's probably a reason. Unless the show downgrades significantly, before the end of the season, I'll make a decision about whether to cancel it at the end of the season. If you're looking for a semi-traditional sitcom, with lots of dirty jokes (for network TV), this could be a show for you to watch. It's very popular, so it ain't going anywhere.
House (FOX, 9pm ET)
House spent all of this season tearing down everything that was bad about the series, and rebuilding it from the ground up. Last week was the end of that story. This week we have the return of some of our old cast members, and it remains to be seen (only because I haven't watched it, yet) whether it will continue to stay at the highest level I have seen of the show, in a long while, or whether it goes back to the terrible ways of last season. At any rate, even though the case appears to be horrifyingly disgusting, I am tuning in to find out where it goes. I read on TV by the Numbers that the Creator of the show is meeting with FOX to find out the show's fate, this week. If it will end, after this season, he wants to be able to finish it off in grand fashion. If this is, in fact, the last season, we can start a pool about how House will die. ;)
Hawaii Five-O (CBS, 10pm ET)
Last week's episode was pretty interesting. I will give it that. It was directed by Joe Dante, and it was the Halloween episode. Dante did a very nice job fitting into the overall style of Hawaii Five-O, with the notable exception that he was massively in love with helicopter establishing shots. We even had an appearance by Robert Englund, and we all know how awesomely strange he can be. You'll have to watch, yourself, to find out how he'll be used, but, needless to say, the Halloween story line was "creepy". Now we can tune in, next week, to find out who wants a trip to Hawaii next! I'd probably even volunteer to be a vic, at this point, as long as my wife has her way paid, as well.
New Girl (FOX, 9pm ET)
I don't know if it was intentional, but the look felt a bit different in last week's episode. The series was on a relatively long hiatus, which means anything could have happened in those three or four weeks it wasn't on the air. I always find it fun to read about shows like this. I have literally not seen a show as polarizing as this show, in a long time. People generally love it or hate it. I guess there is an in the middle, because that's me. I find things about it that I like, but I also find things about it that I greatly dislike. Last week's episode had some very funny moments. The "gag" went on wayyyyyyy too long, but some aspects of it were done well. You don't need to be a very well informed TV watcher to realize this show has a ton of potential. It's mining every bit of it right now, in the constant struggle to find its identity. I think the biggest problem for it is that once it finds its way, it might not be any good. So, you'll just have to watch it find its way, and see what happens when it gets there. Part of what I think might be my draw to the show is that, in some ways, it reminds me of a nerdy version of Three's Company. Misunderstandings and bizarre situations were a big part of that show, and those things certainly play a large part in New Girl, as well, just not in the same big picture way. Maybe this is why the generations are so at odds with this show. If you grew up on Three's Company, there's probably something in here that you can enjoy, no matter how bad the rest of it is.
Body of Proof (ABC, 10pm ET)
You all know about my rampant almost hate of this show, and the direction it's going, while still having so much potential. Well, unless I am being messed with, the seeds were sown for two of my huge re-tooling suggestions to take place. If ABC/Body of Proof go through with these changes, I will forgive them for many things. The case was dumb, as usual, but, they actually sowed the seeds for THREE characters to be removed from the series. One won't happen (Lacey), one is probably going to happen (Megan's ex-husband), and one might happen (the departure of Jeri Effing Ryan!). ABC PLEASE make this happen. If you do, there is still hope for a third season. Seriously.
Unforgettable (CBS, 10pm ET)
That was a pretty weird episode. We have a missing child, and flashbacks to the angry Carrie of the past. This was a major regression for the series. We never had the idea that Carrie was a loose cannon, and it seems really bad, to me. Poppy just can't carry that kind of stuff off, even though it's clear she's a gym rat. With each episode, it looks like we're going to get closer to solving the mystery that caused Carrie's life block. Hurry up and resolve it, though, you're running out of time. This series is looking more and more, to me, like it's headed to cancellation. Even though the characters are all relatively likable, it's just a really straightforward police procedural, that doesn't really grab the audience in any meaningful, long term, way. I'm not expecting them to return to the strangeness of the last episode, again, so I'm not expecting a ratings upgrade or downgrade any time soon.
Up All Night (NBC, 8pm ET)
On this episode, they killed a sound man. Then they proceeded to make fun of said sound man for his "invisibility" and likely love for sound. Needless to say, this made me pretty unhappy. It's weird enough that this show has characters with the names Chris and Reagan (Regan is my sister's name), but now you gotta throw the dead sound man angle in? I know my career is relatively dead, at this point, but hopefully I haven't been forgotten, yet. At any rate, there are some pretty strange parallels with my life on this show. Do I like it? No, I don't like it, but it's still miles better than The Event. If I can make it through an entire season of a show like The Event, you can only imagine how bad a show must be for me to cancel it midway through. This show is safe from my own cancellation, at least to the end of the season. I'm still waiting for it to improve even a little, though. It just sits there doing nothing, with an occasional laugh here and there.
Criminal Minds (CBS, 9pm ET)
There's not much to write about a show like this, because it's basically just a sophisticated police procedural. The case was interesting, a serial killer who was once buried alive by an abusive father. The other story line is that Rossi's choice has now come to the forefront. It sucked to be him, at the end of that episode, but that's the way it goes. I don't think I have ever seen Joe Mantegna cry on screen, yet he cried on screen in each of the last two episodes. Watch this, it's good. Within the next two weeks, or so, due to Ion's running of season 6 on Tuesday nights, we will have seen every single episode of the series. I had more than a few sleepless nights watching the series, if I watched too many in a row. Now, I don't have to worry about that anymore, especially because of I have the great comedy of Psych, and the bad sitcom of Prime Suspect to distract me from the rather frequently horrifying story lines on Criminal Minds.
Harry's Law (NBC, 9pm ET)
Last week's episode was the closest this series has come to re-capturing some of the feel from season one. What I mean by that is at least Tommy Jefferson and Adam had similar amounts of screen time to that season. It was a really bizarre episode featuring the maniacal Prosecutor, from last season, and the maniacal Prosecutor of this season. I speculate that this episode was out of order, and was likely supposed to air after the Alfred Molina story arc, but I'm not really sure. I'm just not really sure where they're taking the show, yet, and it doesn't really matter, because this will 99.9% be its last season. It's a very good show, overall, the problem is that the young uns aren't interested.
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (NBC, 10pm ET)
I don't know what that was, but it wasn't an SVU. It almost seemed like it was borrowing stylistic elements from Prime Suspect. I believe that is the fourth episode, this season, to drag the victim through the mud. We were treated to the great Andre Braugher, in a guest appearance, but he was not at all likable. He was defending a rape suspect, who clearly did it, because they actually showed us the crime. He managed to get the guy off by burning the cops on procedure. If we could only get Andre to show up on Prime Suspect, maybe they'd make changes to their procedures. This is what I would call a political episode, to highlight what the Producers think is a hole in the system. It was a bad episode, and I was very confused by what they were trying to say. This show has clearly lost its way (while still being better than last season, overall), and in the last scene, they practically overtly told us that Benson will not be back next season (if there is a next season). Can I just mention that the Cutter character made me want to slit my wrists on the original Law & Order, and now he's becoming a regular on here? Grrr.
Revenge (ABC, 10pm ET)
If you have been watching this series, it should come as no surprise to you that I think the last episode was the best episode. I worry about the amount of convolution becoming condeluded, but, for now, they seem to have it under control. We're still a long way from figuring out what exactly is going on, but there were more reveals that are pushing us on our way. I'm willing to go out on a limb and say that I think Charlotte is Emily's half sister, but I'm not willing to believe that Emily and Daniel are half brother and sister, due to the awkwardness of their relationship. I am also willing to entertain the idea that Victoria is really Emily's mom, since we get no picture of who her mom really is. Things are heating up...
Psych (USA, 10pm ET)
Last week was a genre episode. It was a comic book episode. It had a ton of great lines in it, but I think it's almost going to be impossible for an episode of this series to ever live up to the hilarity of "Last Night Gus", which I have a feeling, as I wade through the entire series, will end up being the funniest. With that said, this series has never disappointed me, in the 30 or so episodes I have seen. If you're looking for a good laugh, in a show that absolutely does not take itself seriously, this is one of the most must see shows there is on TV. It's probably not for everyone, but if you don't like it, I don't like you (very much anymore).
American Horror Story (FX, 10pm ET)
Here are the people who I consider to be instrumental in getting me to watch this show. If I am convinced to do a full write up, each will get a second mention. Deana W. was the first to mention this show to me. My good friend, David Klotz, is the Music Editor for the show, and I heard about it when it was in its gestation period. I'm not really into horror, but I then heard from Erik C. asking me about it, and finally Jill T. convinced me to watch it. Jill deserves the most credit, because she really made a case for it. I was planning on watching it, but didn't actually sit down to do it until she asked me to. Jim C. is the final person to ask me about it, as far as I know. I like to give credit to all when I can. If I forgot anyone else who has brought it up to me, let me know, and I will update this post.
As for the show, I think it has gotten progressively better, which means it is in danger of going in a very bad direction. By now, all viewers should have started formulating their own thoughts for what's going on. Soon, we will have all of our ideas torn down or built up. I don't know about you, but my expectations are becoming very high for the series, which could spell some kind of disaster for it. It's already been renewed for a second season, so they will have a lot of time to think about where it's going by then. The likeliest place for it to go is to become a soap opera, with scary elements, but I think it will take awhile to get there. If this week's episode is better than the last, I will upgrade it to "The best of the best".
If you want me to do a thorough write up on the show, so far, please leave a comment for me, below. If I can get at least two people to ask for it, then I'll do it.
Parks and Recreation (NBC, 8:30pm ET)
I've seen lots of stuff written about last week's episode, but I felt it was one of the weakest I had seen, in quite awhile. That said, the quality of it, even at the lesser quality of it, was the equivalent of 300 Prime Suspects. Maybe I didn't like it as much, because it had a tinge of sadness behind it. Entertainment 7Twenty is dead. I know everyone saw it coming, but it's too bad it's actually happened. Maybe they'll give away all the merch for free? I can only hope. The best story line, in the episode, was April and Andy trying to cross stuff off of Andy's bucket list. My favorite random guest appearance appeared in this episode. The bank teller, played by Jeryl Prescott, was absolutely classic, and hit three homeruns in the episode (2 facial expressions and one classic line). I hope they find a way to bring her back, in some way.
Now that I've written all of this, I realize that everything was about endings. It was about the end of the world, the end of Ben and Leslie, the end of Entertainment 7Twenty, and the end of Andy's life. Maybe that's why it was kind of a bummer for me. Still, it was a great episode, and shouldn't be missed, because no episodes of Parks and Recreation should be missed by you. Get to it...NOW.
The Office (NBC, 9pm ET)
This week's episode was pretty creepy, overall. Andy is clearly in trouble, due to his terrible mismanagement of the Scranton office. The office is riddled with mistakes, and Andy needs a solution, because of Robert California's desire to eliminate them. Is he hoping to eliminate mistakes or eliminate people? I'll leave that to you to decide. Dwight comes up with a foolproof plan to save everyone. He invents a device that tracks mistakes, and if they make five mistakes in one day, an email is fired off to Robert California, and presumably heads will roll. We all know our lovable set of fools can break any system, and hijinks ensue. Watch it to find out what happens.
Person of Interest (CBS, 9pm ET)
I cannot say how important it is to suspend your disbelief, when watching this show. If you do, it will be one of the most enjoyable shows you watch all season (all in my opinion, of course). Last week was one of the most important weeks of the series, so far, if you've seen it from the beginning. It was a great episode, with plot points that worked really well. I think it's important to note that in our journey, so far, Finch and Reese have been picking up "chess pieces" for the future. They have several influential people in their pocket, that could prove very helpful, based on the work they've already done. Karra tells me to try not to over think the show, and to just take it at face value. I want to do that, but I think there is more of a history with Finch and Reese than we are presently led to believe. I love this show, and I could watch it five days a week. CBS, get it? Five days a week? That means I'd love to watch it in syndication. So, don't you dare cancel it!
Burn Notice (USA, 10pm ET)
Burn Notice has returned for a short winter season, so check it out, when you get a chance. This is a consistently great show, but similar to last season's premiere, it wasn't quite on form. This episode was extremely serious, because the crew is in a lot of trouble. Even the humor in the episode seemed forced, because humor really isn't appropriate, at this time. It's going to be really hard for Michael to get out of this jam, so this short season will probably focus on him finding a way out of it. The screw job, as usual, was great, but finding out he still is under the finger of Kirk, from Dear John, is a hard pill to swallow. Sadly, I don't really like this story line, and I hope they find their way out of it, quickly. The ratings were very low, in comparison to the summer ratings, for that episode. I hope they improve, next week.
Prime Suspect (NBC, 10pm ET)
Why, oh why, does NBC refuse to cancel this show? It has terrible ratings, and it's a terrible show. Please cancel it ASAP, so I can stop wasting my valuable blog space on it. That said, I'll still watch this turd until the very end. K thx bye.
Grimm (NBC, 9pm ET)
The series took a pretty big step down, last week, but I still found it enjoyable. It's always hard to maintain the momentum of a good Pilot, so it doesn't really surprise me that there was a drop. I'm going to leave it where it is, for now, but if this week's episode is similar to last week's, I'll have to bump it down to "The good side of average". I think with the big plot development, in the last episode, the focus will shift, and I expect it to go to much better places. That's why I'm not going to drop it down, yet. The lead is very bland, and not a particularly good actor, but the stories are still fun. Again, I much prefer it to Once Upon a Time, but I suppose that's more of a matter of taste. I think of it like Disney vs. Warner Bros., in regards to cartoons. If you preferred Mickey Mouse, you'll probably like Once Upon a Time better. If you preferred Looney Tunes, then you will probably like Grimm better.
I also think the cinematography, at night, is amazing in this show. It is so warm and inviting, to me, and this style is most evident in homes where crimes have happened. If that's a conscious choice, it's very interesting. If you were ever wondering what type of look I like, that's it. I wish I saw it more often.
The Walking Dead (AMC, 9pm ET)
I hate to say it, but this series is getting brutalized by people who, for some unknown reason, continue to watch it, just to make fun of it. This series is not nearly as bad as those people make it out to be, but it definitely has significant problems. The good news for the series is that it does not need to overcome its problems. Its ratings are extremely high.
The problem with a lot of people's expectations for this series is that it's not really a zombie show. It's a character driven show, with zombies. When you don't make that original distinction, it can be a real letdown. I'm not into the whole zombie thing, so I don't really have a problem with it. The only things that really bother me are how slowly the show is beginning to move, and that a lot of the dialog is really stilted. There's absolutely zero chance I won't follow this show to the end, unless the series has a major quality drop off once Frank's involvement has ceased. I also haven't read the comic books, so I can't tell you whether the series is following the story line of that closely. I'm sure many compromises have already been made, as is typical with television adaptations. All we can really hope is that the story pace picks up soon. That's really the largest problem with it, right now. It just feels embellished with cheapness, to me, though I'm sure I could be wrong.
Once Upon a Time (ABC, 8pm ET)
Do you remember what I said bugged me about this series? If you do, you will know that I don't like the fairy tale flashbacks. We had the old convention of the meet cute with Snow White and Prince Charming. Some of their scenes were fun, and a little different than what I had seen before. However, most of these scenes were really boring, to me. This was more of an exposition of their origin, in the fairy tale, so we didn't get a whole lot of the "real world" type stuff that I do enjoy, on the show. Most of that stuff took place in a hospital, and there wasn't much to it. This was the first episode that Emma appears to be beginning to believe. People may be beginning to wake up, figuratively and literally. I didn't particularly like the episode, but the quality of the show would have to take a significant drop in order to have a ratings downgrade. It will also have to have a substantial rise in quality to get bumped up higher, as well. It's just a slightly better than average show, that you can usually watch and not be annoyed terribly, when you watch it.
Homeland (Showtime, 10pm ET)
This is the other show I added, this week. All I have heard, for the last several weeks, is that this is the best new drama on television. I completely disagree with that (for me it's Person of Interest), but it's certainly a good show. It's safe to watch, if you have Showtime, and you should watch it from the beginning, because it is extremely serialized, and slow moving. I thought this week's episode wasn't interesting, at all, but when I began describing it, I realized that three or four really significant things happened. I think this series loves to misdirect you and re-direct you. It wants you to think one thing, and then it nearly immediately debunks it. You really don't know what they want you to think, yet. My feeling is that if there is a significant amount of foreshadowing about a character, or event, to disregard it. I have a whole lot of theories about where the show is going, and if you want me to do a full write up on the show, let me know in the comments section. Just keep in mind that post will be filled with spoilers.
As I said above, if you would like me to do full write ups on American Horror Story and Homeland, I am pretty sure I am capable of writing them. If you do want that, tell me in the comments section (write which one or both), and I will be glad to do so. I'm making a low bar, here (like NBC), and only need two people to say they want me to do write ups for each one. That's what I'm watching now. See you next week, unless you want me to do the other write ups for American Horror Story and Homeland. Thanks for reading.