Monday, October 17, 2011

Some Thoughts on the TV Season So Far (New Shows)

We're only midway through the rollout of the new TV season, and I have some comments and thoughts on the shows I've seen so far.

1. And the first to be cancelled is...

I would've laid money on the fact that it would be "The Playboy Club." Hef has always been delusional about how much of a cultural touchstone those Playmates are. And really, if you can't show their boobs, who's going to watch. This might've worked as a cable show. On broadcast TV, where people go apoplectic if you see an errant nipple, forget about it. So they tried to throw in some kind of murder mystery nonsense (at least from the previews, I couldn't stomach actually watching it)... and you know we don't have enough of THAT kind of stuff on TV... so CANCEL. No surprise.

2. More on the exploitation of women front

Another show, which, frankly, only succeeded in the 70s because it was all about jiggly T&A was sadly lacking the T&A in this version (Charlie's Angels). I would take the acting to task (it was dreadful), but then, the acting in the earlier version was no Meryl Streep either. (Sorry, Kate Jackson.) But truly, this show should be some fluff, if done right. People watch this for mindless entertainment that looks pretty. Is that so hard to create? Apparently so. One overall theme I noticed this season (and usually I only watch really good shows, so maybe it's always like this) was really bad tech stuff. On Charlie's Angels, we had some dreadful camera/editing choices.

All those girls had to do (other than shake their booties in cute costumes, which they didn't do) was pretty much say a line and hit their marks. They couldn't even do that. Now, Minka Kelly, who's been around on a series or two (the wondrous Friday Night Lights and Parenthood, to name two that she was better in), will be the only one you ever hear from again. The one with the Afro consistently stood in a well-framed shot (you kinda want to get all three Angels in the same shot), blocking at least one of the other two. Very frustrating. I don't remember ever seeing such bad camera work on a TV show in primetime.

3. Odd directorial choices

But then we have the odd directorial choices. An intriguing premise, Unforgettable, is based on a woman who is unable to forget. However, unlike the actual women who have this affliction, who recall everything at a moment's notice, this woman goes back into a crime scene to find details that she forgot. But the way they do it is that Woman 1 is sitting there looking at herself (Woman 2) as she does whatever it is she does. A real step backward for technology and innovative direction. I saw only part of one show, and that nonsense made me cross Unforgettable off my list.

4. More 60s female eye candy

The other show which delved back into the 60s era for its female objectification that worked (full-season pickup) was Pan Am. Some mini viewings have shown it to be basically a soap opera in fancy locales, but then, the whole 60s Pan Am stewardess thing was a juicy one, and it sounds like they're doing it right. I might catch this one out more later.

5. Real women make gains

There were some surprise breakout hits of this season so far. The biggest: Zooey Deschanel's New Girl. People love her. (Haven't watched it yet myself.) But one that is also a big hit that shot up my TiVo queue was 2 Broke Girls. Kat Dennings is the breakaway star, IMHO, although Beth Behrs makes a thankless rich girl role believable and heartwarming. Very well-written, a fun show, I highly recommend checking it out.

The other show from female comic Whitney Cummings is "Whitney" (gee, wonder where they got that title?). It's a bit too much Whitney for me. Although the guy who plays her boyfriend is really smoking hot sexy. So that makes it watchable. But why he'd put up with such a crazy whiny obnoxious too-skinny girl like her really escapes me. Her friends are marginally funny, but every episode revolves around Whitney, and that's already old after two episodes of viewing.

6. We shoulda kept Medium or Ghost Whisperer...

Guess CBS's got to have a "let's talk to dead people" show, and I do hate to diss a show that Susannah Grant is involved in... but... Well, here are the good things: Jennifer Ehle is a luminous ghost. Emmy winner Margo Martindale is in it. Tony winner Patrick Wilson is in it. Still, it's one of those rich and successful surgeon finds his heart in the ghetto through his dead wife dramas. Just don't know if I can stomach it, frankly. Oh, and back to the Item number 3, the sound guys should be fired. There were two really key moments in the pilot where the sound was so muffled that I had to rewind it three times to hear what the heck they were saying. ONE of those times was in the "Oh, btw, she's dead" line that pretty much sets up the entire series. Really really really bad.

7. Good things

One show that I wish I'd been able to view (it's on my TiVo), that apparently is doing things right is Person of Interest. Interesting premise, great actors, great production team and high-tech effects. I can't wait to catch up with this one. You should too.

I'm really grooving on (as I've written elsewhere) both Survivor (Good vs. Evil season) and Dancing with the Stars (I'm rooting for David Arquette, although Ricki Lake is quite inspiring too).

Homeland rocks my socks in previews (also sitting on my TiVo). Can't wait to delve into this one.

American Horror Story looks intriguing (plus, Connie Britton!), but sounds really scary. Not sure about this one.

8. Coming Up

It's the battle of the fairy tales: Grimm (featuring ex-Buffy the Vampire Slayer production people) vs. Once Upon a Time (featuring Ginnifer Goodwin and Lana Parilla, and Robert Carlyle). Both could be good. I'm looking forward to both.

What are some of your favorite so far?

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