So Many New Shows!I have a habit of sampling almost all new scripted shows on the major networks each fall. It doesn't always work. My DVR can only record two shows at once, and we are a one television family. I do my best. Some I'll watch until they go off the air. Some I'll watch for a few episodes. Some I only make it through a few minutes.
My thoughtsGiven the range of both premiere dates and my somewhat limited television time, some shows I've seen several times, while some shows I've only seen once.
Shows Still Rocking My World (with links to their official websites so you can catch up on episodes you may missed if you're so inclined!)
Ringer: I adore Ringer. Yes, it's improbably, ridiculous, over-the-top and cheaply produced, but it's entertaining. Sarah Michelle Gellar plays estranged twins Siobhan and Bridget. Bridget is down on her luck living in Wyoming while Siobhan is married to a man who doesn't know she has a twin and living a financially fabulous life in Manhattan. Bridget now thinks Siobhan is dead. Siobhan is actually in Paris and pregnant. Bridget is pretending to be pregnant. It's a campy send-up to the prime time soaps of the 1980's, and I cannot get enough. Also refreshingly the plot moves along at a quick pace. Some have compared it to The Lying Game, a show I love, and yes, it involves twins switching places and one fantastic lead actress, but they're not terribly similar. I love them both, but I confess to loving The Lying Game more.
Prime Suspect: A remake of the British series starring Helen Mirren, I was skeptical but excited about the Maria Bello version. Instead of solving one case a series as Mirren's character did, this version was Americanized to the case-a-week procedural that is so popular. I was curious, too, how the rampant sexism would translate to 2011. I'm incredibly impressed with Prime Suspect. It's raw, gritty and honest. The crimes have been intriguing, and Maria Bello is excellent both on the job and at home, as she struggles to be a step-mother to her boyfriend's young son (she isn't the most maternal) and deal with his ex-wife (who is comically cautious). It's a fantastic show that happens to be a procedural drama, and I hope its ratings improve so it lasts awhile.
A Gifted Man: I wasn't expecting to enjoy A Gifted Man. The premise is a bit hokey: brilliant brain surgeon runs into his ex-wife and realizes they both live in New York. He calls her again and discovers she's dead. He is not one to enjoy the emotional or gray areas of life and (realistically) freaks out. It's description even has me questioning why I like it. The acting is superb, which helps. The characters are strong, and there's the right balance of realism with paranormalcy. There's the right balance of humor (his sister, played by Marin Ireland, is amazing) and stress. The medical aspect has been interesting so far. Most importantly, it's not schmaltzy. I'm curious to see how I feel about this show at mid-season, but for now, it's earned a spot in my weekly rotation.
Shows I Already Gave Up On
Hart of Dixie: I wanted to like this show. It seems quaint, fun, and it stars Rachel Bilson and Cress Williams. It's just too much for me. Bilson plays Zoe Hart, who aspires to be a cardio-thoracic surgeon but lacks any sort of beside manner. She takes the one job offer she has, a general practioner in Bluebell, Alabama that was offered to her several years ago at her medical school graduation. When she gets there, she discovers he has died. Then she discovers she is actually his daughter.
- What goes wrong: with small-town charm, quirks, medical problems and Rachel Bilson, it should be a hit, but it simply tries to hard. It doesn't feel honest or organic.
- I stopped watching in the middle of the second episode.
- What goes wrong: almost everything. Instead of treating sexual assault seriously in the age, when a bunny is attacked in the opening minutes she kills the man with her high heel. Seriously.
- I stopped watching seven minutes in. The shoe killing did me in.
Unforgettable: I was a huge fan of Without a Trace and Poppy Montgomery was excellent on it. I like the concept of this police procedural: she's a detective who remembers everything. I'm a detail-oriented person who loves trivia, and I was hoping for obscure details helping solve crimes. The pilot was bogged down with far too much backstory (she was a cop--and obviously will be again soon--and her ex needs her help because she just happens to be the only witness.)
- What goes wrong: The writing wasn't strong enough for me, in dialogue or in the case of the week.
- I stopped watching 45 minutes into the pilot.
Charlie's Angels: I had low expectations here too. I thought it had the potential to be campy fun, but when I heard ABC was switching the order of episodes on the schedule, I saw red flags. Even campy fun shows should have a story arc that builds episode-to-episode. Still, I thought it might be a light-hearted program with smart women kicking butt. I hope it gets cancelled soon so Minka Kelly can come back to Parenthood.
- What goes wrong: Instead of embracing the possibilities of being a fantasy, Charlie's Angels takes itself far too seriously. It's not believable, and it shouldn't try to be.
- I stopped watching 20 minutes into the pilot.
- What goes wrong: It simply didn't grab me. I can't pinpoint why, but I was bored.
- I stopped watching about ten minutes into the pilot.
- What goes wrong: Nothing. It's good. I like it. I simply don't love it, and there are enough shows I do love (some not as good as Pan Am, arguably). It comes down to time. The episodic nature of television watching necessitates a personal and emotional engagement for me to carve time out each week. I don't have that with Pan Am.
- I stopped watching after two episodes.
Shows I'm Still Waiting to Watch:
- Terra Nova: I have high hopes for this one, as I have an odd fascination with dinosaurs. As soon as Mr. Nomadreader gets home from his vacation, we'll be watching!
- Person of Interest: I'm intrigued by this show, but I'm hedging my bets it's one I'll want to watch a few episodes of at once, so I'm waiting for four episodes to air before digging in.
- Grimm and Once Upon a Time: I'll give both fairy tale shows a chance once they premiere later this month.