The New TV Season – Fall 2010
September 21, 2010

What I’m Watching


Castle — My favorite new show. It’s not challenging or deep and doesn’t say anything significant about human nature (although I could make an argument it’s one of the strongest portrayals of solid family interaction on prime time) but it’s consistently enjoyable. I fear that they’ve bought into the Moonlighting fallacy too much, with teasing and separating the leads, but their flirting is fun. Nathan Fillon is gorgeous as best-selling man-about-town Rick Castle, while Stana Katic is a cop to admire in putting up with him.

Chuck — I’m still surprised this was in the Comedy Emmy categories, but at least it was nominated. All-around entertaining, with something for everyone: action, romance, workplace humor, buddy bonding. Has learned the lesson that you can put leads into a relationship and still have plenty to write about, as Chuck (Zachary Levi) and Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski) will be fully partnering this year.

How I Met Your Mother — I wish they’d kept Big Bang Theory on Monday, because we enjoyed the sitcom block, but now, this may be the only one I stick with. Two and a Half Men was never great, but it’s getting increasingly creepy with the aging kid and Sheen’s real-life sleaze bleeding in. Mike and Molly has potential, and good actors, but I’m hearing that they make fun of the leads too much instead of laughing with them. Fat jokes are the last bastion of intolerant comedy. Anyway, HIMYM is funny and touching in its portrayal of young urban adults learning to grow up.


Glee — They’re promising a Rocky Horror episode! I can’t say anything that will win you over to this musical comedy if you’re not already a fan, given how much good press it gets, but I enjoy it and often wind up singing along.


Cougar Town — I think it’s funny, and I like the cast. That’s all I ask from a sitcom. The rest of ABC’s night, I’m not as interested in, perhaps because they’re so aggressively middlebrow in their family focus.

Hellcats — Surprisingly good. I’ve come to a new appreciation for cheerleader shows because they show such strong athletic women of all different types, and it’s still rare to see that anywhere else. That this one doesn’t descend to stereotypes and shows some serious relationship questions is a plus. Most surprising thing about it: it’s executive produced by Smallville‘s Tom Welling.


Bones — Fans seem to be very upset that the leads aren’t together, but I’ve never approached this show as a fan. I enjoy watching each episode, but then I never need to see them again. That’s the only show that works that way for me, weird. I like the supporting squints best these days, anyway, and I admire David Boreanaz for finding a great role beyond Buffy.


The Good Guys — I really love this action comedy, but I don’t want to get too attached, since it’s on Fox Friday night. But it’s really entertaining, and I wish more people would give it a try. They’re promising more character interaction, which should make the show even better.

Time Wasters

These are the shows that I have on for background while doing something else.


Dancing With the Stars — Only because my mom watches it, so it’s something we can talk about together, and we have a second TiVo with space. Otherwise, the much stronger Monday night offerings would win over it.

Gossip Girl — It seems like this show has been on forever, what with all the plot twists they’ve gone through. It’s lost a lot of its charm for us now that the kids are in college, because we subconsciously expect them to start acting more adult. But that would ruin things.


No Ordinary Family — I have to try it, given the “everyday people become superheroes” angle, but I fear that it may be boring to those of us who already know the cliches, and it’s going to be tough to beat The Incredibles at this game. Especially since they’re hinting at a continuing backstory mystery, which is more of a turnoff for me at this point.


Undercovers — I’m hearing it’s pretty but shallow, which makes it a good candidate for guilty pleasure. And the leads (Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Boris Kodjoe) are very pretty.


Human Target — Glad to see a woman join the cast … and it’s Indira Varma, who died on the first episode of Torchwood. They’re promising a lighter touch, which would be nice. I’d also like more Guerrero (Jackie Earle Haley), please.

Don’t Bother


Hawaii Five-O — The scenery’s lovely, and I like the supporting cast, but I don’t have time for another procedural, especially one where the lead (Alex O’Loughlin) is so uncharismatic and stiff. Plus, the sheer weight of all the promo they’re doing has already made me tired of it. Yes, it’s neat hearing the theme song again, but 30 seconds of great music does not qualify a show for a spot on my TiVo.

The Event — Couldn’t care less. With Lost done and Heroes dead (plus all kinds of interchangeable, forgettable clone attempts not even completed), why would anyone try launching another expensive mystery show? Large star-studded casts just make me wish I could see them in something more enjoyable.

Lone Star — This show about a Texas con man is getting good press, but I’m not looking to add new shows to my list, and I’m not particularly interested in seeing a guy regularly cheat on good women as a premise. There’s enough male wish fulfillment on TV already.


Life Unexpected — After enjoying last season, I’ve already cut this one off my watch list. It got much too stupidly dramatic, due to network demands, making drastic changes ham-handedly.


Nikita — Lord, no. The ads, featuring what looked like bathing suits, stripper heels, and weapons were a total turn-off, although I’m sure they reached their core audience of immature men.

My Generation — Didn’t we see this a few years ago, only it was a murder mystery that never got solved?

S#*! My Dad Says — Why bother, when you can’t even print your title? I love the Shatner, but this seems lame. What works on Twitter doesn’t work in extended filmed form.

How about you? What new shows are you trying, or old favorites you wish more people watched?

19 Responses  
Ed Sizemore writes:  

No Big Bang Theory?

Johanna writes:  

Oh, you’re right. I mentioned it under HIMYM, and then I forgot to come back to it. Yes, we still watch that, too. In fact, we’re rewatching season 3 right now since the DVD just came out.

Greg Manuel writes:  

I used to be a fan of “Bones,” until I saw the episode where she helps acquit her father of murder. I lost all respect for the show then…plus Angela annoys the holy hell out of me. I’d totally watch a show where Dr. Sweets fights crime w/ Gordon Wyatt as his sidekick, for sure!

Do you watch “Community”? What about “Parks & Recreation”?

Maddarilke writes:  

I’m a woman, and I worry about the impact the infusion of estrogen will have on HUMAN TARGET. I’d hate for them to just have put it in gratuitously to give the gang something (or someone) to do, while they’re dodging bullets.

Another mistake under the new showrunner: the firing of Bear McCreary, the guy who did the gorgeous music for the show. They intend to spike shows with pop songs. I don’t think this will go well.

I’m pretty much going to be watching the new season for Jackie Earle Haley. As you say, MORE Guerrero, please.

Lyle writes:  

So many shows. I’m giving Hawaii 5-O a chance because A) Daniel Dae Kim, B) Jean Smart (hopefully recurring as the Gov) and C) an intense amount of childhood nostalgia for me. Plus, I get giddy any time actors have to try to say “Kalanianaole Hwy” or “Humuhumunukunukuapuaa”

Nikita had an interesting pilot, it actually reminded me of Dollhouse except the creepiness was much clearer, there wasn’t a question if you were supposed to hate the group. It’s an interesting update to the franchise, though I still don’t quite get why that movie has had so many spin-offs.

I’ve got high hopes for Raising Hope, since it comes from the creator of My Name is Earl and has Cloris Leachman.

BTW, I think the series My Generation reminds you of is Reunion on Fox. Neat idea, terrible story.

Johanna writes:  

KC says:

Can’t really speak for Johanna, but we did try Community. Despite watching a number of episodes, it just didn’t click for us. I find Chevy Chase too annoying to watch these days.

As for P&R, I fell asleep three different times trying to watch the pilot, so goodbye! (Same thing happened with me and 24.) Heard P&R has gotten better, but it isn’t on right now because NBC keeps jerking it around. Love Amy Poehler — just not in this show…

Neither one of us is a big fan of TV’s current overuse of the faux documentary style. We love the original Christopher Guest-directed films (and early examples like A Hard Day’s Night and The Rutles), but TV, again, has overdone a good thing.

And our #1 rule about TV — you can’t watch everything.

Johanna writes:  

Greg, I don’t like the dad Bones stories much either, but I love Angela. I’m so glad she and guy are back on track (vague to avoid spoilers). KC’s already explained the others. There are a number of NBC sitcoms loved by critics and major TV watchers that just don’t work for me. Perhaps they’re aiming at a different kind of humor.

Lyle, you’re from Hawaii, right? I can imagine how cool that would be to see on TV again. The reasons you mention to watch Raising Hope are why I’m skipping it. I got enough of Cloris on Dancing With the Stars. And thanks for the reminder that other show was called Reunion.

James Schee writes:  

Hmm… only show not on your list that I like is Supernatural. Yet given that Dish Network doesn’t carry the CW station in my area I only watch it on DVD.

Hellcats is another CW show right? I read some articles and saw a commercial somewhere and it looked fun. I don’t think they have those online to watch though.

Is Nikita supposed to be another version of that syndication show/movie La Feme Nikita or something? It didn’t sound interesting either way.

HIMYM had a really great first episode to kick off the season, looks like they are finally moving forward with the show again when it seemed to be in a bit of a standstill towards the end of last year.

I loved 2 & 1/2 Men when it first started, but when every character on the show became creepy losers it lost me.

BBT is my favorite sitcom on TV, it’ll be nice to have something to watch on Thursdays Yet it just seems like a LONG wait to get to it.

Bones – I was like you in just enjoying the show for the mystery of the week. Yet despite not caring at the time about them having a relationship, when they built so much up on the show in PR that they were getting together. Only to then have that season ender take place in her novel instead. I don’t know why but it just irritated me for some reason, I don’t think I even watched a single episode last year.

Human Target was such a fun series last year, not sure how adding a cast member is going to work but we’ll see. Too bad, since Dollhouse is no more, they didn’t bring Amy Acker’s character back as a regular.

Greg Manuel writes:  

@Johanna – I actually didn’t mind the others…it’s just that one episode where the Dad goes on trial. I found it pretty unheroic of Bones to let the defense use her to float a theory of the murder that she knew was false and it didn’t just take me out of the story – it took me out of the whole SERIES. So now whenever my fiancee and I watch an episode and Bones & Booth finally catch the killer, and the killer makes with the confession, I find myself saying: “…so let’em go. C’mon, didn’t you hear what he said? He LOVED her!”

Thom writes:  

Hmmm…most of what I am looking forward to is:
Boardwalk Empire-delivered exactly what I expected. Rare for a show to succeed at that anymore.

Bored to Death-low key humor, but I loved the combo of Jason Schwarzman, Zach Galafanikas and Ted Danson. They were a terrific team.

East Bound and Down-very dark comedy. I am very curious to see where they take this one.

Walking Dead- A good zombie story is about the survivors. The comic tends to understand that, Darabont seems to get it…the cast seems to understand. I found the four minute trailer compelling.

BBT and HIMYM are ones I will continue with…

Lyle writes:  

Johanna, I couldn’t remember if you liked My Name is Earl or not. If you didn’t like it, you wouldn’t be interested in Raising Hope, either. Yeah, I’m originally from Hawaii. Oddly, there was something exciting about Hawaii 5-O being filmed locally that didn’t feel the same about Magnum PI.

James, Nikita is indeed TV series based on La Femme Nikita. This one, however, jumps forward a few years. Nikita has escaped the mysterious program (which is supposed to be a US gov program but has been corrupted by military contractors who want to keep governments unstable so their services are needed) and has spent the past few years putting together a plan to destroy it, which included getting an agent of hers into the program.

So it’s kind of a sequel to La Femme Nikita, though the double agent kinda plays the role of the young Nikita, our introduction to the program.

I usually have little patience for the “But she’s a tough fighter, so the skimpy outfits are empowering!” excuse, but the pilot showed Nikita repeatedly outsmarting the entire division on her own, so I can accept that her sex appeal is part of her power.

That was my reaction to the pilot, at least. I haven’t had the chance to watch the second episode, yet.

David Oakes writes:  

I actually liked “The Event” more that I thought I would. It reminded me that I needed to leave the TV on to watch “Castle”, because otherwise DWTS would have me running.

(What was “Event” about? I couldn’t say. I didn’t even watch it closely enough to think about the mysteries I don’t know about. But Jason Ritter is so cute as Liberal Jack Bauer.)

Now that BBT is on a night other than Monday, I hope I can remember to watch it *and* Castle in the same week. *And* “Good Guys”. I think, like NBC for the last two years, my TV watching will all be done on-line in the month before the new season when they unlock all the returning shows to build an audience.

Johanna writes:  

Thom, I’ve been intrigued by the idea of Bored to Death, but I think it probably has too much pot for me. And I don’t do zombies, of course. :)

Lyle, I liked the early Earl, but I checked out soon after that.

Grant writes:  

I have to agree that The Event is a time waster. I watched that last night and I have to say that it tried my patience faster than any other show in recent memory. Also seemed pretty derivative of Flash Forward. The fact that I saw the “event” coming a mile away also didn’t help.

I’ll just stick with Burn Notice and reruns of Rockford Files and call it good.

Johanna writes:  

You know, I don’t think I’ve ever seen an episode of the Rockford Files. (Because by the time I was old and jaded enough to appreciate it, it wasn’t airing anywhere near me.) I really should.

Scott writes:  

I take it that you meant that Castle was “new to you”.

Maybe they could rename Shatner’s show to “Shat The Man, says…”

Johanna writes:  

Oh, yeah. Bad phrasing. I meant “newish”, recently, but that was confusing.

Greg Manuel writes:  

Funny…she doesn’t LOOK newish!

Kat Kan writes:  

I’m also from Hawaii, now living far away, so we watch Hawaii Five-O mostly to catch the scenery and to figure out where on Oahu they were filming. Oh, and those quonset huts – there are lots of them still being used for homes in the Waianae area; one of my former colleagues lived in one.

We watched The Event – won’t be going back to it; the episode was highly annoying.

My whole family loves Chuck, and we’re looking forward to the return of Human Target.

I watch Castle online and on DVD.


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