I’ve been watching some of the new series so you don’t have to. You can thank me later.
My buddy badger likes to say he’s a Captain Kirk fan, not a William Shatner fan. That’s how he was able to enjoy the Star Trek reboot. I am, however, a William Shatner fan. “Boston Legal” was brilliant for a short time, largely due to Shatner. He flunked as a gameshow host and no one watches his talk show, but CBS seems to be counting on him to help them on Thursday nights.
[An aside: I had to look up which night this show (and all shows) air because I timeshift everything. I long for the days when no one cares what the Thursday night line up is because no one watches TV as it’s happening (except for sports)].
I watched the pilot and it made me laugh. But as it so often the case, the pilot only gives the surface flavor of this particular gobstopper. I can see this gelling into a pretty good comedy. They need to tone down some of the more silly aspects. In the pilot, for example, there is a running gag about how Shatner’s character doesn’t like the Girl Scouts. It doesn’t fit and it should have been cut, but I sense it was an effort to write something other than acerbic bon mots for Shatner.
This sitcom originated from a Twitter account in which a guy loses his job and moves in with his father, who is at a stage in his life where he doesn’t censor himself. He began tweeting his dad’s witty observations and soon he had 500,000 followers, a book contract and a development deal with CBS.
From such shaky origins, the best of television does not spring. We’ll see.
I really liked “My Name Is Earl” because it was different from anything else. “Raising Hope” has much of that same feeling: snappy dialogue, funny/pathetic characters, a skewed angle on the rural working class and a setting there oddball behavior is considered the norm. But the premise is a little stale: immature and unprepared guy finds out he has to raise a child he didn’t plan on.
Of course they put their own twist on it: the baby, Hope, is the product of a one-night stand with a serial killer who is subsequently captured, convicted and executed, leaving the immature and unprepared guy with a baby daughter.
The cast is great and there was even a little shout out to “Earl” in the pilot. This could be the best new show on Fox this season and therefore is probably doomed.
I want to like this show. It has flown under the radar for the most part because I haven’t seen so much as a commercial for it. I saw it on the schedule and watched the pilot. It is a relationship sit-com that tracks three couples: a young couple who has been together for a few months and are engaged; a couple who has been together for nine years, but aren’t married, and the parents of both women who have been married for 35 years. Snappy dialogue, good-looking actors and nice performances by Debra Jo Rupp (of “That ’70s Show”) and Kurt Fuller (you’ll recognize him when you see him) as the parents.
Again, the pilot made me laugh, which is a good sign, but these kind of shows don’t stand out of the crowd based on being funny. So look for them to use their beautiful actors on magazine covers and whatnot to try to raise awareness. Doomed.
Awful. I like Will Arnett, I loved “Arrested Development” and maybe the show will get better, but the pilot was unwatchable. I mean that. I didn’t finish it. I stuck it out long enough to see Arnett’s character “rescue” a tribe about to be displaced by his father’s oil company by putting them up in a hotel in whatever city this takes place in.
The day of the premier, Arnett tweeted that he’d be willing to bribe anyone with a Neilsen box to watch the pilot. That may be what it takes to save this turkey. One major criticism is that I don’t buy that Keri Russell’s character likes Arnett’s. He’s just not likable. The addition of David Cross may help, but only marginally.
It’s a fish-out-of-water comedy about Todd Margaret (David Cross) who is a temp at a company in the States. The new boss (Will Arnett) mistakenly thinks he’s a shark, so he sends him to London to sell energy drinks. Antics ensue. Margaret is a pathetic case and the pilot had very little in terms of funny and a great deal in terms of uncomfortable situations.
Neither Cross nor Arnett can carry a series. Now they co-star on each others. Pass.
A wacky comedy about an American novelty company that outsources its call center to India and the fish-out-of-water white guy sent to manage them. The pilot was okay. There is potential there, but the subject is grating. I’m expecting some interesting things from Diedrich Bader as another white guy manager for a different call center.
I have no idea how this show is viewed in the Indian community and my knowledge of the culture is completely dependent on my years of working in a motel combined with a reading of Son of the Circus. So don’t go by me. There are some stock characters here: the assistant who is sabotaging the boss, the shy girl who must have some sort of inner strength, the beautiful woman who will be the romantic interest for a short time, the young guy who is obsessed with American cinema. Time will tell. My feelings about the show aren’t very strong one way or the other.
A reboot of the classic drama. I like the chemistry between McGarrett and Dano. I’m liking the action sequences and the rest of the cast. This could be a great series. The opening of the pilot dealt with McGarrett’s father being murdered while McGarrett listened on the phone. When the credits rolled, I saw that Jean Smart was on the series. My first thought was “Oh, she must be playing McGarrett’s mom. This is going to dissolve into Burn Notice.”
Instead, she plays the governor of Hawaii. Being governor of Hawaii must be a really cool job because you get to say lines like “Find him, and get him the hell off my island.” Worth watching for the great scenery and to watch the relationship between the team grow.
The series that might single-handedly bring back the merkin. “Boardwalk Empire” is going to be Steve Buscemi’s signature role, from here on out. This is his Henry Hill, his Tony Montana, his Don Corleone. He’s working it . . . hard. And that’s great. I like him and it’s fun to see him play a heavy, rather than the guy the cops pick up to flip on the real bad guy.
It’s a period piece set in Atlantic City in 1920 between the enactment of prohibition and the 19th Amendment. Buscemi plays Enoch Thompson, the city treasurer and the guy who runs the illegal booze in and out of Atlantic City. As period pieces go, it tries a little hard. 1920s east coast gangster slang is a little heavy handed anyway. It’s like trying to figure out cockney rhyming slang, context doesn’t always help.
HBO announced that it will get a second season based on the numbers from the premier, which were the highest since “Deadwood,” which got canceled after two seasons because “Rome” was so expensive to shoot (and was canceled after two seasons). It will probably share the same fate as “Carnivale” which was outstanding, but inaccessible and therefore canceled after (wait for it) two seasons. I fully expect Clancy Brown to show up in this series at some point.
There is more to come, if I get motivated enough to watch some more new shows. This Fall TV season has not excited me like in previous years. I don’t know if that’s a reflection on me or them.
Let’s say them.