Must Read: HuffPost Article on the State of the Network Comedy

Happy-Endings_320This article by Maureen Ryan has been passed around by every TV lover I know today and is a definite must read.  I find the changing TV landscape to be one of the most fascinating things going on in the business world these days.  If I could go back to school, I would study the television business model and how it’s changed and adapted (or not) over time.  Happy Endings is definitely one of my favorite comedies on TV right now and I would be bereft if it disappeared because it’s not well suited to ABC (which is just the truth) so I’m very hopeful that if ABC decides to get rid of it, a cable network will pick it up.  Its worked for Cougartown (another one of my favs that ABC threw away).

Ryan’s article makes some great points about why a show like Happy Endings is flailing – time slot changes, the way that ratings are reported, the fast-paced pop culture references – but I really think that it comes down to the whole Network vs Cable debate.  There are just too many channels producing original material and so much of it is actually worth watching that shows that are even a little less than mainstream tend to just get sucked into the ether of the big 4 networks.  I’ve become more and more picky about the shows that I devote my time to and this is the biggest reason why.  Happy Endings would be great on cable where it can push the limits creatively a little bit and may not have to deal with the spotlight of being on a big network.  When a show isn’t required to “save” a network, it tends to feel more comfortable in its own skin.

Fox Tuesday Night: First winners of the season (IMHO)

Maw Maw (Cloris Leachman) steals a dead woman’s dress.

I have read some wildly disparate views on Fox’s Tuesday night line up over the past few days but I come down firmly on the “pro” side of things.  I love everything about it.  I love that Raising Hope is just as weird and loving and demented as it ever was.  I love that Ben & Kate continues that trend but also ups the ante by creating a world much closer to reality than Raising Hope.  I love that the roommates on New Girl are starting to really gel (despite the fact that Winston still feels like he is shoehorned in there) and that Jess has become more than just a typical “Manic pixie dream girl” trope (although there is still definitely room for improvement).  And I love that The Mindy Project is trying to show a woman who is both girlie and professional and together and a mess and confident and awesome all at the same time without giving her excuses or judging her in any way.  Of the new comedies this fall, Ben & Kate and The Mindy Project are the only ones that have really made me laugh out loud. Continue reading

Returning Shows Quick Takes: Parks and Recreation, Castle, Bones, How I Met Your Mother

The list of returning shows that I watch is astronomically long.  It’s a serious problem and depending on how the new crop of shows do, I may have to make some cuts.  While most of the shows that I’m really looking forward to haven’t premiered yet – shows like The Vampire Diaries, Fringe, Revenge and Homeland – a few of my favorites are back.  But are they better than ever?

Parks & Recreation: Still my favorite sitcom I think.  I just adore the characters so much.  On last week’s premiere I felt like a few of them were a bit too much like caricatures than actual people (especially Ron and Tom) but hopefully things will even out a little bit.  I really liked Leslie’s realization that outside of Pawnee, IN she doesn’t have much of an influence and that she used that realization to have more of an influence in Pawnee.  The big fish/little pond story has been done before, but never with such an optimistic fish.  Regardless, this show still cracks me up. Continue reading

New Show Reviews: Go On, The New Normal, Revolution, Last Resort, The Mob Doctor

I guess that the official start of the Fall TV season has come and gone since both NBC and Fox have premiered both new and returning shows over the past couple of weeks.  Although, I think it would be epic if no premieres occurred until after the Emmys (which are this Sunday 9/23 – mark your calendars).  I mean, what a great kick off to the season that would be!  Anyway, that’s not the case.  On top of the fact that NBC used the summer Olympics to give a sneak peak at Go On and Animal Practice, multiple premieres have been available online for a few weeks and I have watched them all.

Last Resort: Technically, Last Resort doesn’t premiere until next Thursday, but I caught it online earlier this week (on Hulu – love that site!) and I loved every second.  That doesn’t mean it’s perfect – far from it – but I am totally hooked.  I am so glad to see Scott Speedman back on TV and in a character who is far different from those I’ve seen him play before.  While, like Revolution, there are a lot of characters and different threads being set up in the pilot, I am interested in where these stories are going and intrigued about who these characters will turn out to be.  I think one thing that really separates the handling of such large casts of characters is that on Last Resort they are compartmentalized very definitively and separately – there is the submarine crew (headed by Andre Braugher), the island inhabitants, the NATO workers, and the people in DC.  I’m excited to see all of these threads weave together and split apart.  But, I’ll be honest, like with the beginning of Fringe which I basically stuck with simply because I am a big fan of Joshua Jackson, I watched Last Resort mostly for the Scott Speedman factor and that will probably keep me coming back until the show itself finds its legs and grabs me. Continue reading

Bunheads: Color me confused

Fanny (Kelly Bishop) helps herself to Michelle’s (Sutton Foster) unpacking.

How do you feel about Bunheads?  ABC Family’s show about a former Las Vegas Showgirl who moved in with her deceased husband’s mother has me a little stumped.  I’m not sure that I like it, but I can’t really say for certain that I don’t like it.  Things in the plus column: Sutton Foster (who is proving to be a great comedienne and perfect for creator Amy Sherman Palladino’s writing), the opening credits, the rat-a-tat language, Kelly Bishop’s tightrope walk between elegant and bohemian, and the potential for actual dance in every episode.  Things in the minus column: the “quirky” townsfolk, the lack of structure, the uncertainty about what this show is about – is it about Michelle and Fanny’s relationship?  The ballet school?  The teen dancers’ struggle?  Michelle’s quest to find success?  Fanny’s innate awesomeness?  I’m just not sure. Continue reading

Summer Shows are Almost Here!

Summer is almost upon us and that means a new round of shows to watch and enjoy.  I love the fact that summer series are almost universally light and fun (well, dark, edgy shows about drug-dealing high school chemistry teachers notwithstanding) and am especially looking forward to all the dancing going on this year.  Here’s a look at the new and returning shows that I’m most looking forward to.

 

In Preparation for Upfronts: NBC & Fox order new shows

Welcome back to my TV Scott Foley!

Upfronts are next week!  That’s totally crazy.  I’m still waiting to hear the fate of some of my favorites (specifically Parenthood, Parks & Recreation, Community, and Cougar Town) but we’re starting to get some news on the new shows that the networks are ordering.  Just today, Fox picked up 5 new shows including The Goodwin Games by the creators of How I Met Your Mother.  I was fortunate enough to sneak a peek at the pilot script and it had me laughing out loud.  Plus, it stars Scott Foley so one third of my Felicity triangle is complete!  I’m also excited about the Mindy Kaling comedy but nervous for what it means for The Office despite the fact that I’m sort of over that show.

 

 

The cast of 1600 Penn includes Bill Pullman as the president and Jenna Elfman as the first lady.

Here’s a more detailed look at what NBC is taking to series so far.  In my opinion, Revolution looks like it will start out great and intriguing and then devolve into a big old mess – the cast is too big.  The most promising of the NBC slate definitely looks to be 1600 Penn which stars Josh Gad as the black-sheep son of the President of the United States.  The photo alone makes the show look hilarious.  I’m sure there will be plenty to dissect when the schedules are officially announced next week.

2 Broke Girls – I actually liked the season finale

Martha Stewart gives Max (Kat Dennings) and Caroline (Beth Behrs) a shot at the big leagues.

I wanted to like 2 Broke Girls so much more than I actually like 2 Broke Girls.  It has all sorts of elements that I like: Kat Dennings, female protagonists, female writers (I’m big on adding female voices to the television landscape).  But it never quite felt right.  It always felt like it was trying so hard to prove something – that women are funny; that women are raunchy; that making fun of hipsters is the new hipster thing to do; to be honest, I’m not really sure what they were trying to prove – so the show never really came together for me.  But last night’s season finale actually had me laughing a few times and had a few, completely ridiculous moments, that won me over and showed me a glimpse of the relaxed, fun show 2 Broke Girls could be.   Continue reading

Mid-Season Review: Scandal, Don’t Trust the B in Apt. 23, & Best Friends Forever

The cast of ABC's new show, Scandal

Despite the fact that it seems a little late in the season to be debuting new shows, a slew of them have just hit the airwaves.  I caught the pilot episodes of Don’t Trust the B in Apt. 23 and Best Friends Forever On Demand a couple of weeks ago and was charmed by both of them while Scandal‘s premiere last week left me on the fence a bit.

Dreama Walker & Krysten Ritter of Don't Trust the B in Apt. 23

First of all, while Don’t Trust the Bitch in Apt 23 is a great title, taking the “itch” out of “bitch” is annoying.  Man up, ABC!  ”Bitch” really isn’t a bad word anymore.  But the show itself has a lot going for it in my opinion.  Krysten Ritter is what Kat Dennings wants to be on 2 Broke Girls but isn’t – she is caustic and sarcastic while at the same time not completely without compassion.  James Van Der Beek is hilarious playing the exaggerated version of himself that he has been perfecting over the past couple of years in Funny or Die sketches.  And, so far, Dreama Walker seems to be holding her own.  I think the writers made some really good choices with her character – giving her a backbone instead of making her a complete pushover for Ritter’s character to walk all over.  I’ve only seen the pilot, but I’m definitely looking forward to seeing how this show develops.  It really does seem to be a hipper, edgier version of 2 Broke Girls and without the laugh track and multi-camera shooting style, Apt. 23 definitely comes across as more authentic. Continue reading