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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Fall TV Review 2009: WHITE COLLAR

The USA network's new show WHITE COLLAR has just the right town of crime caper and humor to keep me invested in a second episode. I don't think the show will ever be Must-See viewing, but as a show to watch when nothing better is on, I can think of worse ways to spend the hour (ahem, FLASHFORWARD for example). Also going good for COLLAR are it's leads: the mega-yummy Mathew Bomer (of Bryce Larkin, CHUCK, fame) and the sexy-daddy Tim DeKay (he of CARNIVALE and TELL ME WHAT YOU WANT). Like I said, WHITE COLLAR has a good vibe to it, check it out.

MY RATING: B-

Friday, October 23, 2009

Fall TV Review 2009: THE JEFF DUNHAM SHOW

Mr. Dunham is a likable chap, fairly good with his ventrilo-ism, save for this throaty muscles moving rapid-fire. And the comedy stand-up bits and quick-cut skits are funny enough...for a first episode. But I wonder if the show can sustain my interest if the format is the same, week to week. Time will tell, of course. But for now, TJDS doesnt really offer anything new, and has a tough road ahead to make it to a second season on Comedy Central.

MY GRADE: C+

Monday, October 19, 2009

My Favorite Returning Shows 2009: Report Card

ABC:
*DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES: The addition of Drea Matteo and her brood doesn't excite me. The show feels stale this year, with Bree a shell of her former fierce self and Susan a more annoying bitch than ever before. Plus, Katherine's character is a pathetic mess, and the awesome Edie is, well, still dead. Let's hope that doesnt go for this show, either. GRADE: B-
*UGLY BETTY: For the first time since season 1, we are experiencing through Betty's eyes what it's like to move on up in the world. The show's soundtrack has been kicked up several notches, and the blossoming mentoring chemistry between Marc and Justin is awesome. I am also digging the new Nico! But I am totally over Matt. He's gotta go. GRADE: B+

NBC:
*THE OFFICE: This show continues to thrive. JUST when I thought I might be tiring of the gang, along comes the awesome wedding episode of Jim and Pam and WHAM!- I am invested in this office again. GRADE: A-
*30 ROCK: Still zany in it's fourth year. This is smart comedy, and fully deserving of 3 Emmys. And how about that TENNIS NIGHT IN AMERICA song! GRADE: A-
*PARKS & RECREATION: What an awesome improvement this year compared to season 1, which I happened to like a lot, thank you very much. The gang is meshing, brought on by the writers giving the characters more vulnerabilities. GRADE: B

CBS:
*HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER: The first episode was awesome, the second episode..well, let me just say it was the worst episode EVER. That would average the grade out to a , what, C? GRADE: Yep, a C.
*THE BIG BANG THEORY: I am not a fan of the Penny/Leonard coupling, but I give points to the writers for not dragging their union out. Instead they have had the characters consummate things, and, well, hopefully Leonard will be single again before long. As for the other characters? HIGHLARIOUS! GRADE: A
*TWO AND A HALF MEN: This one was always a dark horse for me. But yet I watch it and still laugh. It will never be a top ten comedy for me, but it still manages to find its way on my DVR playlist. Still, isnt it time for Chelsea to go? And WTF did the writers do to the character of Melissa? She used to be so much fun. Now she is so much annoying. GRADE: B

THE CW:
*SUPERNATURAL: Season 5 is on my DVR, but I can't watch the episodes until I buy season 4 on DVD.
*SMALLVILLE: Season 9 is on my DVR, but I can't watch the episodes until I buy season 8 on DVD.

FOX:
*I dont have any favorite shows returning on FOX.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

FALL TV 2009 REPORT CARD

The Fall season is now in full swing, and it's now become much clearer which shows will survive and be part of my permanent MUST SEE TV list.

ABC: The alphabet net has the most newbies that I am still watching (THE MIDDLE, COUGAR TOWN, EASTWICK and MODERN FAMILY). I just recently gave up on FLASHFORWARD (too slow and drawn out). And I had already dismissed THE FORGOTTEN, HANK and SHARK TANK.

NBC: Only one newbie remains (COMMUNITY). Though I liked TRAUMA, its ratings have sucked, and I just dont feel like getting sucked into the show only to have it dismissed the way NBC got rid of SOUTHLAND. THE JAY LENO SHOW is hit or miss, while MERCY is definitely NOT on the list.

CBS: Only a couple shows premiered: ACCIDENTALLY ON PURPOSE (Still watching) and NCIS: LOS ANGELES (Not watching). What about THE GOOD WIFE and THREE RIVERS you say? I say, NO WAY!

THE CW: I gave up on VAMPIRE DIARIES (too many teens all acting moody and brooding); and THE BEAUTIFUL LIFE is already gone. That leaves one of my favorite shows of the season: MELROSE PLACE! LOVE IT!

FOX: Fox has my absolute favorite show of the fall: GLEE! It also has BROTHERS (hated it) and THE CLEVELAND SHOW (Still watching it).

So, to recap the shows I am still watching from the Big Five: THE MIDDLE, COUGAR TOWN, MODERN FAMILY, EASTWICK, COMMUNITY, ACCIDENTALLY ON PURPOSE, MELROSE PLACE, GLEE and THE CLEVELAND SHOW. That's 9 shows and dwindling!

Friday, October 16, 2009

PROJECT RUNWAY

Now that the design field has been whittled down, it's becoming clearer who should emerge as Bryant Park material.

THE MEN: Overall, DISAPPOINTING! The most talented guy from this season is already gone (Ra'mon), and of the remaining guys, the two hotties (Christopher and Logan) have been alternating in the bottom two the last several weeks. I hate to say it, but I don't think a guy is going to win this year, unless fan favorite Christopher can step up his game. What's refreshing about Christopher is that he has no formal training. With schooling, he should go far in this industry. But winning RUNWAY? A longshot. As for Logan, he has coasted by on his charm and good looks. He doesnt seem to have the aesthetic to win. Odd man out is the love him or hate him Nicholas, who seems a little too bizarre to win it all. If the producers want to advance a guy to the final three, my money would be on Christopher.

THE WOMEN: Overall, AWESOME! And pretty (except for Gordanna, who has age going against her). Gordanna's dresses also run middling to bad, and she will be the next to go of the women. Carol Hannah will also go home. The two women going to Bryant Park will be Irina and Althea. And even though Irina's bitchiness turns me off, she has a strong chance of winning the entire show.

BRYANT PARK: It could be all-female race against (like last year's finale). But I have a feeling that Christopher will be snuck in to compete with Althea and Irina. As I said, Irina could win the whole thing, but Althea is a strong shot, too.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Fall TV: A Second Look: GLEE and UNIVERSE Rise; VAMPIRE Falls...

A month into the new season has brought some great additions to my TV viewing schedule (MELROSE PLACE, COUGAR TOWN, THE MIDDLE), and it looks like Fox's GLEE and SYFY's STARGATE: UNIVERSE will be TOP TEN contenders before the year is out.

GLEE: This show had a fun pilot, and its subsequent next two episodes were also fun. But it was Kristen Chenoweth's episode that GLEE became a TOP FIVE show for me, and is, easily, my favorite new show of the season. I cant remember a successful weekly musical tv show to be this successful since FAME, and even that early 80s show didnt really succeed until it produced content for syndication. With GLEE, the tone, the color pallette, the music and comedy: all of it is highly entertaining, and, most importantly, gets more excited week to week. If I were to rank my TOP FIVE shows CURRENTLY on the air (sorry LOST and TRUE BLOOD), it would look like this: 1. Big Bang Theory, 2. How I Met Your Mother, 3. Supernatural, 4. Glee, 5. Desperate Housewives or The Office. Of those 5 or 6 shows, only GLEE is a newcomer. (MELROSE PLACE would rank 7th, followed by Smallville 8th, Ugly Betty 9th, and 30 Rock 10th).

ORIGINAL GLEE RATING: A-
NEW RATING: A

STARGATE UNIVERSE: I never saw the other STARGATE shows, but UNIVERSE seems real and gritty and entertaining. Week to week it has drawn me in, but only 3 shows in it may be too premature to go balls-out YAY for it. I will have to check in with SGU midway through its first season to get a true assessment, but for now its on the rise.

ORIGINAL STARGATE RATING: B+
NEW RATING: A-

VAMPIRE DIARIES had the best grade of any new fall show (it tied with TRAUMA and got an A), but after 4 episodes, the show has become something of a bore. The cast is attractive, but the angst of the show is starting to grate. I hope it becomes more than this TWILIGHT-light show that it seems to be becoming. Still, it's a keeper (for now).

ORIGINAL VAMPIRE RATING: A
NEW RATING: B

Thursday, October 8, 2009

COUGAR TOWN: A second look

With Beyonce's SINGLE LADIES picture/music montage in episode 2, COUGAR TOWN became THE FUNNIEST SITCOM OF THE FALL! I have yet to watch episode 3, but I am encouraged by the writing and tone. This show is NOT trying to be all THE OFFICE or 30 ROCK Emmy-hungry. INSTEAD, its meant to make me laugh, and with its sexualized context, Courteny Cox has made COUGAR TOWN wholly and originally her own. MEOW!

Original grade: B
Updated grade: A-

THE JAY LENO SHOW: A second look

The dust has been settling (as have the ratings) for NBCs 5-nights-a-week experiment in savings money show, JAY LENO. It appears that, with curious viewers no longer surprised, the remains of the people watching are those that are comfortable with Jay's TONIGHT SHOW-like format. I am of the latter! I think its great that the 11 pm hour now has a comedy alternative! And its great to have only one guest to (sometimes) fast forward through. I am optimistic that ratings won't plummet TOO much more, and that the overall experience will have been a positive one for NBC. Because, I for one, am being entertained!

ORIGINAL GRADE: B-
UPDATED GRADE: B

Fall TV Review: STARGATE: UNIVERSE

I have never seen any of the other STARGATE shows, so I have nothing to compare this series to other than the original 1994 theatrical film. I am also comparing it to that other lost in space show STAR TREK: VOYAGER! and SyFy's recent BATTLESTAR GALACTICA. In making those three comparisons, I must say that UNIVERSE held my attention in the first 2 hours and has me wanting to enjoy this sci-fi ride. I am looking forward to the third hour which promises to displace the SGU cast onto a planet and out of the dark ancient ship that the crew has stargated into.

MY RATING: B+

Fall TV Review: SHERRI

A by-the-numbers comedy on LIFETIME, which wasn't a surprise considering that network's output of recent shows like RITA ROCKS and DROP DEAD DIVA. But for me to keep watching a show (with so many rich shows to choose from), a show NOW has to grab me and keep me upfront. SHERRI is neither bad, nor particularly good.

MY RATING: C+

Fall TV Review: THE GOOD WIFE

It's good to see Julianne Margoulis (I am too lazy to check out the spelling of her last name)back on TV, and the show has great production values. It's just not MY thing, in that it's too slow and boring for me. Viewers and critics are hip on it, just not me.

MY RATING: C-

Fall TV Review: THREE RIVERS

This heart transplant show is Dead On Arrival. It TRIES to follow the procedural formula of CBS's hit crime shows, only applying them to the hospital setting. SHNOOOOZE! And this goes for all the other lackluster hospital shows out there trying to replicate ERs success, or rather GREY'S ANATOMY's case in the program MERCY. And still to come is MIAMI TRAUMA on CBS this spring. Makes ME looking forward to the superior NURSE JACKIE in the summer.

MY RATING: D

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

My OFFICIAL Top FALL Pilots 2009-2010

1. VAMPIRE DIARIES (CW) A
2. TRAUMA (NBC) A
3. GLEE (FOX) A-
4. EASTWICK (ABC) A-
5. FLASHFORWARD (ABC) A-
6. THE MIDDLE (ABC) A-
7. ACCIDENTALLY ON PURPOSE (CBS) A-
8. STARGATE: UNIVERSE (SYFY) B+
9. THE BEAUTIFUL LIFE (CW) B+
10. MELROSE PLACE (CW) B
11. COUGAR TOWN (ABC) B
12. COMMUNITY (NBC) B
13. MODERN FAMILY (ABC) B-
14. THE CLEVELAND SHOW (FOX) B-
15. THE JAY LENO SHOW (NBC) B-
16. SHERRI (LIFETIME) C+
17. BORED TO DEATH (HBO) C+

18. NCIS: LOS ANGELES (CBS) C
19. THE FORGOTTEN (ABC) C
20. THE GOOD WIFE (CBS) C-
21. BROTHERS (FOX) C-
22. MERCY (NBC) D+
23. THREE RIVERS (CBS) D
24. HANK (ABC) D-

BOLD: Represents a show NOT on the broadcast TV
ITALLIC: Represents a show that has been canceled.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Fall TV Review: LET'S MAKE A DEAL

Okay, so I watched the new DEAL on CBS Daytime (though in the DVR age, is there any such thing anymore?), and though I found it fun, there just wasnt anything new that the producers added to the show. And that's not necessarily a bad thing. The new DEAL is very much like the original, in tone, though host Wayne Brady falls short of Monty Hall. Still, it's fun to watch when you dont have anything better to do.

MY RATING: B-

Fall TV Review: HANK

So far, this one is the worst of the season, it pretty much stinks on arrival. I realllly hope it doesnt hurt the ratings for THE MIDDLE, which deserves a much better lead-in than this terrible by-the-numbers Kelsey Grammar show. It was actually embarassing watching the former Frasier make a fool of himself. You can BET ON IT that I won't be watching episode 2. The sooner ABC can bring back SCRUBS or BETTER OFF TED to replace, the better for ABC!

MY RATING: D-

Fall TV Review: TRAUMA

I LOVED this pilot, which came as a HUGE surprise. Leading up to the telecast, most reviews were lukewarm to cold on it. But I found TRAUMA invigorating in those disaster-style movies of the 70s sort of way. Right from the opening shots, TRAUMA gripped me - and held my attention - all toward the final moments. I hope the show can sustain this mix of drama, action and suspense. AND i hope that viewers will find it and love it, too. NBC needs some rescuing of its own, you know.

MY RATING: A

Thursday, October 1, 2009

FALL TV: A second look

In my new show reviews, my rating grade has been based solely on the pilot. But its usually the second episode, and more importantly the second season, of a show where one truly gauges if one likes the show or not.

Of the new fall shows that got to a second episode for me, here is where I feel the shows are going: better, same, or worse.

MELROSE PLACE: Better. (Some of the cast still stinks, but I am starting to get addicted to it after 3 episodes).
GLEE: Same. I thought it was brilliant to begin with, and it still is quite fun to watch. Can't wait to see the Kristen Chenoweth episode on my DVR.
COUGAR TOWN: Better. I totally laughed my ass off during the Beyonce 'Single Ladies' photo montage. Courtney has a winner here.
EASTWICK: Same. Had the same tone of the pilot, but I fear that it will grow mundane.
BEAUTIFUL LIFE: Worse. And I guess the rest of the public agreed since TBL was canned after two episodes.
ACCIDENTALLY ON PURPOSE: Worse. Episode 2 want as funny, but the sitcom still has time to find its legs. I have faith.
VAMPIRE DIARIES: Same. The pilot was awesome, so the show couldnt really get any better in my opinion.
COMMUNITY: Worse. Like ACCIDENTALLY, it had a sub-par second episode, but still has lots of opportunity to correct itself.

Fall TV review: THE MIDDLE

After the disappointing BACK TO YOU, Patricia Heaton has a winner in the funny and inspired THE MIDDLE. Casting was spot-on and the pilot was just about as perfect as one could get. If the writers can sustain this level of entertainment, ABC has another winning new comedy on its hands (following COUGAR TOWN and MODERN FAMILY)

MY RATING: A