Monday, October 11, 2010

Roundup: This Week on TV

This year’s crop of new shows was kind of anti-climactic. There were no major breakout hits, and the biggest critical darling was canceled after just two episodes (Sorry Lonestar!) So where does that leave us? Well, I haven’t added anything to my TiVo yet, but I did give some new shows a few weeks to win me over. (You can only tell so much from a pilot.) Here are my feelings on some of TV’s new additions.

THE EVENT (Mondays at 9/8c, NBC)

The Basics: Weird things are happening. Government intrigue. Disappearing girlfriends. Possible aliens. I’m pretty sure one of them is the “Event.”

The Appeal: This year’s entry to win the title of “the new LOST

The Good: As wrongfully accused Sean Walker, Jason Ritter is an earnest protagonist everyone can root for. And after a somewhat jumbled pilot, the show seems to have struck a nice balance between mysteries and answers that leaves me anxious to find out what’ll happen next.

The Bad: The Event needs more character development. There’s so much going on plot-wise that’s it’s hard to learn anything about anyone involved. They could also use a more streamlined system of flashbacks.

The Verdict: This is the show most likely to eventually end up on my TiVo, if it doesn’t get canceled first. It’s got good long-term potential, so long as it doesn’t get so mired in mythology that we never learn anything about the characters.

UNDERCOVERS (Wednesdays at 8/7c, NBC)

The Basics: Steven and Samantha Bloom are married ex-spies who get pulled back into the spy game.

The Appeal: Creator J.J. Abrams knows spies (see: Alias and his Mission Impossible sequels)

The Good: This was my favorite pilot of the bunch, with strong sexy leads (Boris Kodjoe and Gugu Mbatha-Raw) and an amusing if sometimes over-the-top sidekick.

The Bad: There’s a reason partners on these kinds of shows don’t usually start out together, and it’s because it gives the story somewhere to go. I’m still not sure where this one is headed.

The Verdict: Still up in the air. As I said, it was my favorite pilot, but it felt so self-contained that I wasn’t all that anxious to see what happened next. They need more drama and higher stakes. Until they get there, I’m going to favor the funnier, more complicated Chuck.

HAWAII FIVE-O (Mondays at 10/9c, CBS)

The Basics: Remake of the long-running series about a special task force in Hawaii.

The Appeal: Critics were surprisingly excited about what could have been another run-of-the-mill criminal procedural.

The Good: They were excited because it’s a fun mix of action and drama with strong cast camaraderie. Plus, the smaller island setting allows for more personal stories, including the sweet but not saccharine relationship between Danny (of “Book ‘em, Danno” fame) and his daughter.

The Bad: A procedural with well-developed characters is still a procedural.

The Verdict: I won’t be watching this weekly, but the classic theme song sets the stage for a well-paced, action-packed, always enjoyable show that I wouldn’t mind catching occasionally.

TOP CHEF: JUST DESSERTS (Wednesdays at 10/9c, Bravo)

The Basics: Pretty self-explanatory.

The Appeal: It’s just like the Emmy-winning original Top Chef! But with more chocolate!

The Good: Just Desserts follows the Top Chef tradition of having clever and accessible challenges, plus the sugary results are nice to look at.

The Bad: Now that SPOILER ALERT Dexter look-a-like Seth is out of the fray, the competition could use a little more drama. Also, it’s possible that we don’t need another TV show about desserts and dessert-related competitions.

The Verdict: Who am I kidding? There is always room for more shows about desserts. Reality show spinoffs can do crazy well (see: Extreme Makeover: Home Edition) or fail miserably (see: American Idol Juniors). This one is somewhere in between. I’m not sure it’s quite as good as the original, but it’s fun to watch creative people at work, particularly when they’re making cupcakes.

RAISING HOPE (Tuesdays at 9/8c, Fox)

The Basics: Man-child Jimmy has to raise the baby girl he didn’t know he had when her mother goes to jail.

The Appeal: This was the first new show to get a full-season pickup.

The Good: The baby is cute and the cast seems to be having a good time.

The Bad: I can only take so many jokes about stupidity, and they seem be all this show has to offer. It’s stuck in mediocre sitcom tropes, without offering a truly original take on any of them.

The Verdict: Meh. I get my weekly dose of (better) jokes about charming idiots from Brittany on Glee, which is on right before Raising Hope. I’ll stick with Brittany and her gay sharks for now.

Top TV Choice for the Week Ahead:

30 Rock’s live episode (NBC Thursday at 8:30/7:30c). Tina Fey and company have plenty experience in live performance, and Tracy Morgan is just crazy enough that he’ll keep things unpredictable. Plus, Jon Hamm is guest starring. He’s always pretty good on SNL, and who doesn’t love Dr. Drew Baird and his hook hands?

-- Nora Sullivan '12

1 comment:

ashley said...

I had watched all the new tv shows but Lost is my favorite i also love to watch ESPN Internet TV