pop culture

Fall TV Update: What I Like, What I Hate

Back in May, I posted about the fall TV shows I was most looking forward to.  Well, we’re knee-deep in fall and are well into the new television season, and I have a lot of thoughts about what’s airing on TV.  Here’s a run down of what I’m watching, what I’m skipping, and why.

New Series I Like:
1. New Girl (FOX)

Zooey Deschanel’s particular brand of manic pixie dreamgirl doesn’t work for everyone (does anyone else remember when she tweeted: “I wish everyone looked like a kitten”?), but I’m not going to lie: it kind of works on this half-hour sitcom.

The show’s pilot set up the rather simple premise: Jess (Deschanel) gets dumped by her boyfriend and moves into an apartment with three guys who advertise the place on Craigslist.  They try to help her get over the breakup and she introduces them to the wonders of Dirty Dancing.  With a casting replacement in the second episode (Damon Wayans, Jr. had to be replaced because he’s on Happy Endings), the show took a slight nosedive in quality.  However, by the third episode, it had me back in its clutches.  The slow chicken dance at the wedding?  Oddly charming.

Y’all can’t deny that the best scenes are between Deschanel and Jake M. Johnson, who plays broken-hearted Nick.

2. Suburgatory (ABC)

I’ve been a fan of Jeremy Sisto’s since I saw Clueless, so it was a given that I’d check out his new half-hour comedy on ABC.  The premise is simple: single-father George (Sisto) moves his 16-year-old daughter Tessa (Jane Levy) out of Manhattan and into suburbia in order to give her a better life.  The two of them are flummoxed when they realize that their suburban neighbors are even crazier than the folks in New York.

Sisto and Levy are pitch-perfect in their roles, but the show benefits from a strong cast overall.  Cheryl Hines is absolutely terrifying as their neighbor who has her sights set on George.  The show is funniest when it’s subtly taking apart the inherent whiteness of suburbia, and the fact that it’s pretty smart doesn’t hurt, either.  I definitely think I’ll keep watching this one.

3. Revenge (ABC)

Emily Thorne (Emily VanCamp) spent her childhood in the Hamptons with her father.  When he was falsely accused of a crime, her family was torn apart.  All grown up, she plots an intricate revenge plot to get back at the people who set her father up to take the fall.

Soapy, a little campy, but also pretty smart, Revenge is a twisty little drama that gets better every week.  Van Camp and Madeline Stowe are both excellent at staring each other down.  There might be a few too many characters right now, but I’m finding that every episode gets better, and it’s one of the shows that I most look forward to each week.  I have concerns about the longevity of a premise like this, but for the time being, this show is really, really enjoyable.

4. Hart of Dixie (CW)

Dr. Zoe Hart (Rachel Bilson) ends up taking on half of a medical practice in Bluebell, Alabama.  The town is very different from her native New York, and Hart clashes with the town’s other doctor, his daughter, and most of the townsfolk.

Created by Josh Schwartz, who had a strong hand in The O.C., I knew I’d be checking this one out.  It helps that the cast boasts Jamie King, Scott Porter, and Rachel Bilson, all of whom I like quite a bit.  The show is total brain candy: frothy and silly and totally predictable.  I still find myself watching it late at night when I can’t sleep and need to unwind after a long day.

Apart from those new shows, I’m still obsessed with Happy Endings, Parenthood, Modern Family, Community, and Parks & Recreation.

New Shows I Hate:
1. 2 Broke Girls (FOX)

Max (Kat Dennings) is a surly broke waitress working in Brooklyn.  Caroline (Beth Behrs) is a disgraced socialite looking for a second chance.  The two end up roommates and co-workers and hatch a plan to open their own cupcake bakery.  Craziness ensues.

I wanted to like this one.  I did.  I love Kat Dennings, but this show is not that funny (the laugh track! oh my god, the laugh track!), and homegirl is working way too hard for the jokes.  Behrs is shrill and annoying and I just want her to eat a sandwich.  Also, the show is totally, completely racist.  And not funny.

2. Ringer (CW)

Twins Siobhan and Bridget (Sarah Michelle Gellar) end up in a crazy mistaken-identity plot.  One of them is dead only not really.  I only watched the first episode, and I don’t care enough to look up an actual plot summary.

This show is boring.  It’s campy in the most un-fun way possible.  SMG has dead-eyes in it and plays both twins exactly the same.  It’s convoluted, takes itself too seriously, and bored me to tears.

The other shows I was going to talk about in this section have been canceled (what up The Playboy Club and Charlie’s Angels?), so there’s really no need.

Apart from these new shows, I’ve given up on Glee.  I just can’t do it any more.

What are you watching?  Are the new shows living up to your expectations?


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