Fall 2010 In Television

There’s a lot of TV out there.  You don’t watch it all, and neither do I.  Especially since I don’t have TV anymore.  But here are Five Shows to Watch and Three Shows With Issues.  First the good ones.

Five Shows to Watch

5.  Undercovers

I was skeptical about this show.  Two married people being spies, using “sexpionage?”  JJ Abrams or not, that didn’t sound appealing to me at all.  But at a friend’s persistent urging, I watched the premiere on hulu.  Guys.  It was good.  Like, 10-ish minutes into it, I was hooked.  The two leads are both ridiculously good-looking, and unlike a lot of TV married couples, they’re interesting and have chemistry – even though the premise is kind of about them not having “the spark” any more.  But it’s intelligent, snappy, and well-done.  Definitely recommend it.

4.  Caprica

It’s a prequel to Battlestar Galactica, which probably means it won’t appeal to just about anyone that didn’t love BSG.  Nevertheless, it’s pretty quality.  It’s fun to see a society drunk on technology and moral relativism, and to see characters yearn for truth, right, and wrong.  It’s also fun to see the origin of the story I love so well.  That being said, a great many of the characters are obnoxious, and I really have to try hard to invest in them.  Not for everyone, but that’s life.

3.  Bones

It’s strange how many people I’ve turned on to this show, and yet I’ve never been highly invested.  In fact, I haven’t watched any of this season – yet – but I can guarantee it’s quality.  Because that’s what this show is – consistently high quality.  The chemisty – not just between the two leads – is phenomenal.  The cases are fun, there is witty banter, and good-looking characters.  Nothing not to love.

2.  Community

First I saw Modern Warfare – a paintball episode slash parody of zombie/action/dystopic future movies.  Absolutely brilliant, and one of my favorite TV episodes of any show, ever.  I finished Netflix-ing the whole series last month, and fell even more in love with it.  It’s got Joel McHale, who has my ideal life, Chevy Chase as a ridiculous, clueless, crass old man, and a stellar supporting cast.  They frequently get thrust into outrageous situations, and constantly reference all my favorite awesome things.  Watch, and love.

1.  Fringe

Fringe is amazing.  It started off slow, but by the end of the first season, you knew something big was up.  Season 2 delivered on that promise, and showed us awesome things.  Season 3 promises to be bigger and better in just about every way.  Anna Torv kicks 12 kinds of ass and is hot doing it.  Joshua Jackson is witty and charming.  John Noble is absolutely brilliant playing a crazy and, well, brilliant scientist.  And the rest of the cast is solid too.  The romance between the leads is subtle, slow-building, and completely believable.  The stories are crazy, but done so well you pretty much never say “yeah right.”  This is TV done right, and I can’t wait to see what they throw at us this season.

Honorable Mention: Running Wilde.  Just watched the pilot, and enjoyed it.  I mean, it’s got Will Arnett and Keri Russell!  And it’s from the creator of Arrested Development – arguably the best sitcom of all time.

Three Shows With Issues – They don’t get pictures.

3.  Chuck

OK, so I’m really starting to get tired of this show.  Sarah Walker has no personality.  Neither she nor Chuck really have any thoughts in their heads that aren’t about the other.  The plot has continued to make less and less sense (Morgan being hired by the CIA, but never taken to Langley and field-trained in Burbank? Right.  The CIA running a business, but hiring a bunch of morons to work there too?  Dumb), and is clearly running out of ideas.  It’s not awful, but it’s time for this show to start wrapping things up, rather than just trying to stay on as many seasons as possible.

I believe this show has potential, and it’s not AWFUL, but I feel like trying to keep it going is a huge mistake.  My recommendation: watch, but don’t campaign to save it.

2.  The Event

I’m sorry, but ABC needs to stop trying to fill the void left by LOST.  V doesn’t fill the hole.  It tries so hard, but it just doesn’t.  Flash Forward was a snore-fest with no likable characters, and I’m glad it got canceled.  The Event is shaping up to be the same thing.  I mean, the success of LOST wasn’t the non-linear story-telling, the huge cast, or the supernatural elements.  It was the CHARACTERS.  At best, the supernatural elements heighten interest in the show, but more often than not were merely tolerated because people cared so much about the characters.  At worst, that sci-fi/mystical stuff makes people peace out.  I’m not saying shows shouldn’t have sci-fi/etc., but I am saying that it doesn’t predestine a show for greatness.  I only saw the first episode of The Event, so I may not be the authority on whether it’s gotten better or not, but I was bored the whole first episode.

1.  Glee

Remember the first half of the first season?  The great sexual tension and chemistry between Finn and Rachel?  Poor Will trapped in a loveless marriage by his manipulative wife and compulsive need to be a good guy?  Sue Sylvester being a huge bitch to everyone?  And episodes that had themes, rather than stunts (GaGa, Britney, Madonna)?  WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED?!?

Finn and Rachel got together, but there’s ZERO chemistry.  Like seriously, it’s on a Chuck/Sarah level.  Will turned into a total creep who makes out with random women and uses glee club to feel sexy in front of TEENAGERS.  Sue stopped being that snarky.  And when the show isn’t obsessed with this or that celebrity, it is heavy-handedly shoving its opinions down our throats.

Particular sore points for me this season: Artie being incredibly sexist (but we HAVE to like him because he’s pathetic and in a wheelchair), Kurt shoving his version of homosexuality (which includes considering himself a girl – literally – and ignoring Finn’s “NO MEANS NO!!”) down everybody’s throats, Brittany rubbing her boobs all over John Stamos (her character is 17 while his is in his 30s/40s) in a skin-tight flesh-toned body suit, making fun of a potential transsexual, and an absolutely disgusting GQ photoshoot.

But no one will ever say anything against this show, because the musical numbers are so fun.  They ARE fun, but I’m just about at the point where I’ll buy the music and nothing else.  This show has serious problems, and they need to do something about it.


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