So I think I’m watching more current television than I ever have in my existence, i.e., where every show is my choice to watch and no one’s going to make me watch it but me. And shockingly, many of the shows are new. So I decided to list in order from last to first, my takes on the shows that are compelling me to bust out the Hulu. Absent from this list are:
– Shows I watched with gleeful addiction when they ran during the summer (e.g., “Degrassi” and “Hell’s Kitchen”)
– Shows that I still would watch, but haven’t gone out of my way to watch on the computer (e.g., “30 Rock,” “Modern Family,” and especially “Raising Hope”)
– Shows that I should be watching, but have not caught up on (e.g., “Weeds,” and to a more upsetting-to-my-brothers extent, “Dexter.”)
– Shows that I sent away in a fit of effigy, but would maybe give another chance to if I liked an ep or two (e.g., “Glee” and “Community” (streets ahead!))
– Shows that are burning out my DVD player, but are no longer in production (e.g., “Party Down” and “The New Adventures of Old Christine.”)
8/7. Tie: 2 Broke Girls and New Girl
Not in a very long time have two shows filled me with ambivalence so early into a series. Both star gorgeous yet interesting looking actresses with fabulous hair, one of whom even has big boobs, which almost is never allowed on mainstream television. Both shows made me lol and even tear up at their first couple of eps. Both shows have a really enjoyable secondary character or two. But both shows make me cringe a bit too often, and not in the “Freaks and Geeks” glorious awkwardness sort of way. “2 Broke Girls” relies too heavily on weird racial stereotypes, which I think is maybe the point; they are shooting for irreverent but it’s just landing on “Um, really?”
And “New Girl…” SIGH. I am not a Zooey Deschanel hater. I am a Zooey Deschanel adorer. But omg it’s like, CALM THE FUCK DOWN, ZOOEY, WE GET IT, YOU’RE “ADORKABLE.”
First of all, that expression needs to be shot. Second of all, seriously, girl needs to rein it in a bit. Right now, she’s just coming across as a way less charming, way more annoying, non-mentally handicapped version of Charlize Theron’s character on “Arrested Development.” I feel like in the pilot, she struck a good balance – still “big” enough for a sitcom, but human and endearing, if you again, don’t already hate Zooey. The second ep, a little more annoying, but made up for it with a very sweet last scene. Third ep is the one everyone is saying was the best yet, but she just made me want to pop her in the (albeit beautiful porcelain) jaw.
Not sure which show’s going to get knocked off my queue first. “2 Broke Girls” for all its faults has some really nice chemistry between its two leads, and Beth Behrs/Caroline is surprisingly likable to me. Also, I support any show that mocks annoying restaurant customers (snap scene in the pilot is great). “New Girl” has a very good supporting cast (Deputy Leo in the house! The Damon Wayans, Jr. loss is not the show’s fault), and is promising the imminent arrival of My Girlfriend Lizzy Caplan. Really, I want to like both shows, so while they are last on the list, I’m not giving up on either of them just yet.
6. Pan Am
Pretty sure this would be much higher on the list, but it was the last one I got around to watching, and I’ve still only seen the pilot. It was very good, and of course has my Soul Sister Christina Ricci, but I wasn’t super in love with the rest of the cast, though everyone did a good job. I think I’m just not as bowled over by Kelli Garner as some seem to be, despite her apparent inclusion in “Buffy’s” “The Body.” I’ll keep watching though, and expect to like her and the show at large, more and more with time.
Sad that one of my favorite and life-altering shows is only fifth on the list out of eight? Yes. Impressive in its own right that it’s still on the list after 11 years? Also yes, IMO. Truth is, whether this show is long in the tooth or not is of little importance to me. I could watch the show itself for 30 more years, and never get sick of it. My biggest problem with “Survivor” is the same as it’s always been – often bad casting and over interference by the producers. Fans seem to hate the Redemption Island twist, and vocalized this last season. I actually didn’t vocalize this because a) I don’t mind them trying something new, and b) Boston Rob was back, and I am a fan.
But two seasons in a row “Survivor,” really? I’m as guilty/proud as anyone to be a part of the “Survivors as Celebrities” fan club, but bringing back old Survivors yet again just feels masturbatory at this point, and while interesting to watch, and nothing against the returning players, it is no longer the game I fell in love with. Perhaps that will give the show another decade in a Madonna-reinvents-herself kind of way. I’ll keep watching as long as the show’s on, but for now give me the “Like a Virgin” record and “Survivor: Palau” DVD set, as far as these things go. New season’s piled three eps in on the DVR, and aside from the fact that I’m stoked to watch it with my brother Eric again, I don’t really care all that much that I’ve missed a few weeks. This, IMO, should not be. However, here it is — still a great show. Still Number Five. Hope one season soon it will be back at/towards number one, as I believe it deserves to be.
4. Up All Night
Another not-perfect show, but it’s by far my favorite sitcom of the new season. I agree with all the critics and viewers who say that this show needs to figure out a more cohesive tone, but I absolutely LOVE Christina Applegate, and am ecstatic that she’s gotten another good role. She and Will Arnett are perfect together, and I may be in the minority, but I prefer him toned down and vaguely confused to cocky and bastardly. Maya Rudolph’s character is part of the problem with the aforementioned tone, but she is great in her role. Even Nick Cannon is randomly there being tongue in cheek about himself, and is enjoyable.
My favorite thing about this show though, well besides Christina Applegate, who I’ve always thought is one of the most talented comediennes of my generation, is that the show seems to be addressing something that I just haven’t personally seen done quite like this before. People who hold onto their (by pop culture standards, for lack of a better term) youth and “coolness” really up to the point where you kind of can’t anymore, especially if you’re in a committed, long-term relationship. The baby arrival was just kind of the final nail in the coffin. Of course they are still cool, and youthful, and hot, but the show does a very interesting job of their coming to terms with no longer, fittingly enough, quite being Nielsen’s target demographic. It’s pulled off much better than I can explain it, and Christina Applegate (did I mention I love her?) seems to be having a fun time sinking her teeth into the role, even dressing up in full Kelly Bundy regalia for a flashback.
3. Grey’s Anatomy
Speaking of long in the tooth, that is a phrase that’s been applied for awhile to this show. And I get why. I think it was around the third or fourth season that I stopped watching, and it wasn’t until I caught the S6 shooting eps On Demand that I started again, but once I did, I fell back in love with a vengeance. There isn’t much new to say about the show that I haven’t said already. I love the cast, both old and new, and pretty much without fail, this show gives me a welcome catharsis of tears every single week.
My only complaint right now would be that there seems to be a meta backlash at my beloved Lexie/Chyler Leigh. Apparently a lot of the fans find her deeply annoying and this season, she’s been way marginalized, and even in the last two eps has been overtly told to Go Away by other cast members, even sent out of state in the ep before last. While I love her, I can appreciate that Shonda Rhimes seems to be listening to the viewers, something she’s failed to do in the past, to a major degree. So I’m sad that Lexie seems to be taking the hit that Izzie didn’t, but still glad to see a return of focus to the original remaining three interns, Meredith, Cristina, and Alex. Especially Alex, as IMO Justin Chambers has done some of the most underrated work on television over the series’ run. Additionally, the characters of Avery and April seem to be getting fleshed out more, which rocks.
Plus, Kevin McKidd. Now sporting a shirt and tie! He’s just an amazing actor, one of the best additions to the cast ever, and works so well with the incredible Sandra Oh.
I may have left this show once before, but never again; I’m in this one ‘til the code turns blue and we get the sad words, “Time of death” and “We did everything we could.”
The only reason I even heard about this show was that I once again have a desk job, so have reacquainted my OCD with Television Without Pity’s photo gallery lists. In this instance, it was a “What to watch/DVR/skip during the new fall season.” They raved about the “Revenge” pilot, and while I’ve never been an Emily VanCamp fan, the idea of a show based on “The Count of Monte Cristo,” in the form of revenge against snobby Hamptonites, intrigued me. I figured, why not check out this quiet little show on Hulu?
I got around to watching it sometime after the aforementioned sitcoms, and sometime before “Pan Am.” I was instantly hooked, and from that moment on, it became my television crack cocaine. I’d say just “crack,” ‘cause, addicting, but it’s a show about fancy people, so, cocaine.
I am not even sure how to put into words, why this show, despite arriving at a Clay Aiken-close number two, grabbed me so tightly, and has kept me in its grip for five episodes, and leaves me wanting more to an exponential degree every week. But for me anyway, it’s become the breath of fresh air that comes along only once in a blue moon. Really, I can’t think of a show before or after “Buffy” that’s had a similar effect on me. Where it’s still a new sensation, but when I remember that there is a new episode of “Revenge” to watch, I feel strangefully peaceful and thrilled, all at once.
“Revenge” also has a remarkable cast. As I mentioned earlier, I was never a fan of Emily VanCamp. Granted, “Everwood” always felt too morose even for me, and “Brothers and Sisters” had taken an awkward turn by the time Miss Emily arrived, so it’s probably not her fault at all. And either way, I am now enamored by her. She’s like, almost not even human, in the way she manipulates her face and body in a combination magical (AHHHH!!!)/robotic way. Enough so that she can go almost effortlessly toe to toe with…
…Madeleine Stowe (that rhymes!), who has never been more glorious. Never. And I’ve seen both “Last of the Mohicans,” and that one movie with Ray Liotta, so I know. She’s aged just enough to lend credibility to Queen Victoria, and dare I say it, puts any and every other Lady Macbeth to shame. At very least gives them a run for their money. She. Is. Perfection. What she brings to the table gives the underrated (by me) VanCamp a whole lot to work with, and the results are magnificent.
And there are so, so many more great actors, but this is long enough, I think. My favorite besides the ladies mentioned is Gabriel Mann, playing Nolan in a way that gets me to consider him for my short list of Men I Might Be Okay With Playing The Joker If Nolan (!) Allowed. The name of the list is longer than the list itself, but this guy is great, and the way that his character has unfolded thus far gives me faith not only in the actor, but the writers.
There are so many more I could and would mention, because there’s not a single one on the show that I don’t think is doing a fantastic job. IMHO? Come along for the “Revenge” ride, because it’s going to keep getting even awesomer.
(PS How did I not notice that it is RILEY in the trailer as her dad?!?!?! I knew the actor was replaced, but omg.) Also? Now that I’ve seen several eps, I think this little girl could totally become the next Dakota Fanning. She’s a great little actress.
Stay Tuned for Number One!