Monthly Archives: September 2011
The readers have spoken….or written I guess. And now, as promised, here is the first edition of the TVpocalypse Queue Poll, (there is an actual poll at the bottom of this post…I promise), where the community will decide what shows will rise up and replace those shows that will inevitably fall off the TVpocalypse Top 25.
The response was better than expected and we actually have 12 shows in the running. And while I have a feeling there will be a few spots opening up soon for a myriad of reasons (e.g. seasons ending, network cancellations, general suckyness), there sure won’t be 12 spots opening…and so we vote.
And while I have used this blog to pour my TV heart and soul out into the abyss that is the blogosphere, I understand that a lot of you might not have a complete grasp on my TV viewing sensibility just yet. So with that in mind, I figured I would offer a quick snippet with my first impression of each of the nominees (or as quick as my stream of consciousness, run-on sentence writing will allow).
American Horror Story (FX)
I was already ALL over this one. Three good things here. First, FX has a near flawless track record for great shows. Second, a horror TV show is an anomaly…you have to think this could be really, really original. And third, Tammy Taylor. For those of you who don’t know, Tammy Taylor was the mother character on one of the greatest shows ever, Friday Night Lights (if you have not seen it, go now…you can come back later, I’ll still be here). FNL is one of those pantheon shows for me, where if any of the major players go on to another show I feel obligated to at least give it a try. Clear eyes. Full hearts. Can’t lose.
I have to be honest, I don’t know that this is in my wheelhouse. This is based on books and I don’t read. And when I say I don’t read books, I mean I REALLY don’t read books. At all. It’s pretty safe to say that I have not read a book in AT LEAST 4 years…and that’s conservative. To my defense, I watch 25+ TV shows and there’s only so much time in the day.
Another pantheon show playing here. Band of Brothers. Damian Lewis, or Col. Winters as I’ll always remember him, stars in this show. It looks like the type of show that could attempt to fill the whole in my heart that was created when Jack Bauer decided that there was no more terrorism to stop. This show was also already on my radar.
Walking Dead (AMC)
Speaking of shows that were already on my radar. I have just heard too many good things from too many people to not believe this show is great. Of course, if I take this on I’ll need to do two things. One, I’ll need to rally on season one within 2 weeks (suddenly, I think I know what I’ll be watching this weekend). And two, I’ll need to get over my anger/beef with AMC for the debacle that was The Killing. Let’s just say it’s a good thing Mad Men isn’t on right now because AMC and I still aren’t speaking.
Raising Hope (FOX)
This show took a similar path to Happy Endings for me last season (which I watched last night…and loved it). I liked the looks of it. I had DVR’d a bunch of them. And yet, for whatever reason, I never got around to watching it. It’s not that I have anything against it, maybe it’s just another one that fell through the cracks (I’m but one man…I can only watch so much TV).
Big Bang Theory (CBS)
I was harassed by multiple friends on this one in the past. Too many people probably…which of course means I played stubborn and decided NOT to watch it just to be a pain in the ass (to know me is to truly love me…or so I like to think). This show does look extremely watchable. And even though I’ve been assured that I don’t need to rally on its’ history, the fact that it has been on for multiple seasons (and I haven’t seen any of it) does concern me slightly.
Terra Nova (FOX)
This show looks like an unmitigated disaster and I actually actively decided to NOT watch this. I’ve been burned too many times by these all budget/no writing titles in the past. Yep, that’s right The Event…Flash Forward…Heroes…I’m talking to you!
Covert Affairs (USA)
This is an interesting pick. I know that a lot of the summer shows on cable are really good, but for some reason I view them as minor league-ish. They’re on in the summer. They’re on lesser networks. I know, I know…very snobbish…but that’s how I feel. But with that being said, I wouldn’t be entirely opposed.
As I mentioned in the comments, I loved this show when it was on NBC. And then I tried to follow it when it went to TNT, but I was one of the many who got lost in the move. For whatever reason, I forgot to DVR it, or I couldn’t find it, or who knows why. But, I do have a history with these characters, so it would not be a huge undertaking to jump back into this.
New Girl (FOX)
One problem here…I don’t really like Zoe Deschanel. I think it’s the whole hipster thing. Plus, from the promos I’ve seen for this show, it seems like it’s trying REALLY hard.
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (FX)
I’ve seen this show a couple of times, and I always like it. I think I haven’t locked into a season pass for this because I almost view it as one of those shows I could stop at whenever I want to and mindlessly enjoy in a pinch…like during the summer (sorry again Covert Affairs) or even some late night when the DVR is empty (hey, it happens once in a while). I don’t really have any other explanation for not being a dedicated Always Sunny viewer, because it really does seem to play in my dark comedic wheelhouse.
Kudos to Cat for actually finding a show I’ve never heard of. If I were to take on this show, I would be taking it on completely cold. Of course, since I am a TV whore, this would not be a problem for me.
So there you have it folks. 909 words sure seems snippet-ish to me. I’m looking forward to seeing what shows rise to the top. Thanks for all the great feedback….keep it coming!
The Playboy Club is an unmitigated disaster. And I love it. And while I’m fairly certain that I can’t really explain my fascination with this show, I figured I might as well try. Hell, it might even help me understand it.
The very first thing that hit me in the very first minute of the very first episode was an overwhelming sense of déjà vu. I’ve seen this show before….but where?! And then it hit me. I was watching a bad imitation of Showgirls. Yes, THAT Showgirls. The Showgirls that is always front and center during anyone’s “What is the worst movie of all time?” debate.
(Editorial Sidebar: The following paragraph will get into a fairly substantial amount of detail about a movie probably 3.7% of you actually saw. For the other 96.3% of you, here’s all you need to know about Showgirls. When it came out, the buzz for this movie was huge (and this was pre-internet being the internet, and certainly pre-social media). And the reason there was so much buzz was because Jesse from Saved by the Bell was about to star in a movie about Vegas showgirls. The modern day equivalent of this would be something along the lines of Miranda Cosgrove from iCarly going into a Cinemax soft-core movie next year. Showgirls had excessive nudity, completely over-the-top and contrived sex scenes, and absolutely no script or story to speak of. To call this movie a bad would be an affront to all the bad movies that were ever made before this one. And now back into our Showgirls/The Playboy Club breakdown…)
Carol-Lynne is the Gina Gershon rip-off. She’s the old pro hanging on for dear life. A little bit wiser for having been in the game for as long as she has, but at the same time a bit too desperate to keep the party going as she realizes it’s all coming to an end real soon. This is only further provoked as she watches Maureen enter the club. Maureen is the Elizabeth Berkely rip-off. A doe-eyed starlet, whose innocence is magnetic to the other characters, but a complete threat to Carol-Lynne. And whereas Maureen is somehow in awe of Carol-Lynne’s singing/performing, Carol-Lynne is in full-on catfight mode as she watches her much younger boyfriend take a bit too much of an interest in the newbie. Now here’s where I would begin to state a case that the Nick character is a rip-off of the Kyle McLaughlin Showgirls character, but unfortunately, I can’t. You see, I was too distracted by Eddie Cibrian’s apparent obsession with Jon Hamm.
From the clothes, to the lighting, to the hair, to the controlled and deliberate speech pattern, it’s obvious that Eddie Cibrian is doing a very thinly veiled (yet miserable) imitation of Jon Hamm’s Don Draper. But this nod to Mad Men (and by nod, I mean thievery) seems as though as it’s woven into the DNA of the show. They do a magnificent job of taking bits and pieces of much more ambitious and thought-required TV shows, dumbing them down, and making them ready for mass consumption.
You want a mafia show with all sorts of political graft but Boardwalk Empire isn’t quite your speed? No problem, we killed the head of the Chicago mob in the first 10 minutes of the pilot and Nick is already paying kick backs to the corrupt Mayor of Chicago for an endorsement in his run for state’s attorney. Does a storyline where a closeted gay married man lives in an era where gays had little to no hope for mainstream acceptance sound interesting to you? But is Mad Men just too slow for you? We’ve got you covered, because one of the Playboy bunnies’ hubby is doing his own rendition of Sal from Mad Men. I would also call the unnecessarily mysterious presentation of Hef in all his scenes a direct rip-off of the Charlie scenes from Charlie’s Angels, but I think the new Charlie’s Angels probably has the “ripping off the original Charlie’s Angels” angle covered in spades.
So right about now, you’re probably asking yourself “why the hell do you watch this show?”, and it’s funny you should ask that, because after reading through this rant I find myself asking, “why the hell do I watch this show?”.
I think I watch it because it is so dumb. It takes me back to a time when TV was simple and I didn’t always have to think so Goddamn much. A time when Billy and Alison could start working at a small ad agency called D&D advertising with no background in the industry and, somehow, days later find themselves working on a Super Bowl spot. A time when there was no question that Valerie would be able to successfully manage The Peach Pit After Dark despite having absolutely no experience in seemingly anything even remotely related to running or even working at a club. I think I watch it for the exact reasons it is so bad. This show is the anti-J.J. Abrams, and you know what, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
For those of you who follow college sports, you might consider this the “Others Receiving Votes” section of the TVpocalypse Top 25 (hence th snappy name for this post). For those who don’t follow college sports, it’s the section of the poll that features those teams who aren’t quite ready for the full on Top 25. But if one of the teams in the poll happens to slip up….then these teams will be ready to pounce.
Now pardon me, but I have a confession to make. I’ve been watching other shows. And since we’re all friends here, I’ll be honest with you….I’m beginning to like one of them. You might consider this to be a warning to all the shows that are currently in the TVpocalypse Top 25. In fact, you might say that there is one show that is on the “come”. You might actually call it an “up-and-comer”. Or that it’s “coming on hard”. Or maybe even that it’s “coming up hard from behind.” (It was just too easy. At least I spelled them all with an “o” and not a “u”.)
So now that the suspense is all but gone, let me tell you why I am on board with the new Whitney Cummings show Whitney. Actually, before we go there, let me give you some history here. I had actually made a conscious effort to NOT watch this show. It was heavily promoted (really, really, really, really, really heavily promoted), but for whatever reason, I got the stinking suspicion that every highlight shown in the promo spots would be every highlight ever. And on top of that, the highlights weren’t all that high.
But then I heard Whitney Cummings do an interview on The Howard Stern Show. And she killed. And then I remembered how much I liked her stand-up. So I decided during one of my daily 2 ½ hour, 3 state commutes to work to give her (and the show) a chance. So I watched. And I liked it. And after much consideration, I have finally come to a theory as to why.
A few months ago, I saw Bridesmaids. I hated it. I mean I really, really, really, really hated it. And here’s why. The movie didn’t know what the hell it wanted to be. The ads that got me into the theater made it seem as though this was The Hangover with women. But the movie wasn’t nearly that focused. The writers got caught in the trap of trying to please two disparate audiences — men and women. So while there were moments when the movie was The Female Hangover, (generally only when Melissa McCarthy was on the screen) there were also moments when it was 27 Dresses. And guess what? I don’t want to see 27 Dresses…not even for a moment. If I wanted to see 27 Dresses, I would have gone to see 27 Dresses. And they kept doing it. Look, look, look….we’re Dumb & Dumber….oh, no wait, we’re The Proposal. Now we’re Bachelor Party….nope, we’re Love Actually!
And this is exactly why Whitney was so good. It pretty much does one thing, and it seems to do it well. It’s a group of women who all seem to have a guy sensibility about them. That’s it. In TV terms it’s much more Dream On (how’s that for an archaic reference?) than it is Sex and the City. There’s a whole lot of sexy, tastefully tasteless innuendo, and not much in the way of snuggling and men being forced to apologize for acting like men. I’ve been racking my mind and I don’t know that I’ve ever seen anything quite like this show. Needless to say, I’m pretty much in.
Now I’m sure there are those of you out there who would say that 25 shows are plenty, and I would agree, but what if one of those shows REALLY sucks (I’m talking to you Fringe) and I would need to replace it? I felt as though I owed it to you, the TVpocalypse readership, to have a few on-deck….just in case. So I’ve been keeping my eyes open. I’ve been reading early season reviews. I’ve even been spot-viewing a show here and there (worked out well with Whitney, not so much with Whitney’s other show Two Broke Chicks). But I am just one man. So I’m asking you, my loyal 11 readers, to throw some suggestions my way. I know a couple of you have done so in the form of comments on other posts or even during conversations in person, but now I making it official. So I am pleased to announce the first-ever TVpocalypse: You Decide What I Watch promotion! Here’s how it works:
Step 1: Post a comment with a show you think I should be watching. Maybe even plead its’ case with a sentence or two.
Step 2: I’ll put up a poll featuring all of your suggestions.
Step 3: You vote for the show you think I should pick up.
Step 4: I drop Fringe like a bad habit
Step 5: I start watching your show.
It’s that easy folks. TVpocalypse — a blog that’s for the people and by the people!
1. Modern Family (Last Week: 1)
2. Boardwalk Empire (Last Week: 2)
3. Sons of Anarchy (Last Week: 3)
4. Dexter (Last Week: 4)
5. Jersey Shore (Last Week: 6)
This show is just too good to ignore. There seems to have been much debate over Gianni being a TV whore who only dated Snooki to get on TV (or at least there was between the 4 people I discussed this with at work). I disagree. And I have an opinion on what really went down (shocking, I know). Gianni was not dating Snooki, he was dating Nicole. And Nicole does not go around throwing the cooka (can I get a ruling on the spelling here?) at clubs. Nicole is probably a sweet girlfriend who just happens to quietly put out like a porn star. He probably thought she was a changed little guidette. And then she threw the cooka out at that club in Florence, and then suddenly he realized….”Jesus f’n Christ, I’m dating Snooki! What time’s the next flight to Newark?”
6. Real Housewives of New Jersey (Last Week: 7)
I have two words for you….On Display. Enough said.
7. How I Met Your Mother (Last Week: 11)
I’ll tell you what…I want to hate this show, but it’s too funny to truly hate it. Again, I have a theory. It’s a really funny sitcom for 28 minutes, and then they go and put the “ooooohhh….is this the mother???!?!” cherry on the top of each episode and it sucks for the last two minutes and I get all PO’d again. Nonetheless, 28 minutes of good TV will apparently move you up 4 spots in the TVpocalypse poll.
8. Blue Bloods (Last Week: 8 )
9. The X Factor (Last Week: 5)
On the upside, reports of this show being terrible were greatly exaggerated. On the downside, this model might be a bit stale. With that being said, I still have faith in Simon. Four hours might be a bit much for me, but when you throw in an I Touch Myself (a song that was almost the 1992 Bergen Catholic Senior Prom song…another story for another time) cover from a sixty-something year-old woman…it can’t be all that bad.
10. Parenthood (Last Week: 9)
11. Top Chef: Just Desserts (Last Week: 10)
12. Up All Night (Last Week: 13)
13. The League (Last Week: 14)
14. Blue Mountain State (Last Week: 15)
Episode two was all about sexting. And by sexting I mean it dealt with the specifics about how to take good pics of one’s junk, how to effectively frame it for the best reaction, and of course determining whether or not to attribute your face to it. I’m not joking. I couldn’t be, because you can’t make this up. And that would be why I watch.
15. Pan Am (Last Week: 16)
16. The Office (Last Week: 17)
Andy’s the boss, and Spader is still around. Not exactly stunning, but it was probably the best case scenario. It’ll be interesting to see if they can get their mojo back.
17. House (Last Week: 18)
18. Gossip Girl (Last Week: 21)
19. American Chopper: Senior vs. Junior (Last Week: 22)
20. Hung (Last Week: 23)
21. The Playboy Club (Last Week: 25)
It’s not that I loved this show, but I tell you what, I didn’t hate it. This show is such a train wreck that it begs to be watched. I have some very definitive thoughts on this show, but I want to give it one more viewing before I go on a full-on rant (how’s that for a tease?).
22. Happy Endings (Last Week: 24)
Didn’t air and episode and I still haven’t seen more than 6 minutes of this show, yet somehow it creeps up 2 spots…
23. Person of Interest (Last Week: 19)
…and this would be the somehow. Welcome to the Mendoza Line. If you are at or below this line, you are officially in trouble of falling off the TVpocalypse Top 25. This show was even on The Unwatched List, but the only thing that could keep and Unwatched List show from being at the bottom of the poll would be….
24. Fringe (Last Week: 12)
…a disastrous season premiere from a show that needed a really, really good one. In case you missed it.
25. Harry’s Law (Last Week: 20)
What is this show about again?
Introducing the recurring theme for my weekend-end posts. You see, with 25 shows (and then some) on the docket and a mere 120 hours of potential viewing during the week (less if you include work), the Weekend Rally is what makes the TVpocalypse a possibility.
So until someone decides to fire up and offer me some sort of a revenue stream based on my abnormal television habit, my weekends have become a DVR binge that is essential in keeping up with what at times seems to be every show currently on the air. But more than just catching up, I have found that the Weekend Rally is possibly the best litmus test for my feelings towards the shows in the TVpocalypse Top 25. Basically, if you’re a show and you’re sitting on my DVR on Sunday night when I go to bed, it’s pretty safe to say that I’m none to excited about you (not really sure how you, the reader, would become a show really…but I think you get the point). So, with that theory in mind, I give you the inaugural edition of….
The Unwatched List
This week, of the 25 shows in the poll, 19 had new episodes. Of those 19 shows, two remain on my DVR unwatched. Harry’s Law. Person of Interest. Congratulations, you’re officially on the “watch” list for not being watched. The new poll will be revealed tomorrow, and it’s pretty safe to assume these two will probably be creeping south.
If these were the shows that I chose not to watch, this next weekly award is for the show that I only WISH I chose not to watch. With that, I give you the….
Worst Episode of the Week
Fringe (Neither Here Nor There)
Generally, as I mentioned in an earlier post, I judge my disinterest in an episode by the amount of time I remain buried in my laptop. The more I’m trolling Facebook, the less interested I am in the show…obviously. But beyond apathy, is disdain, and that is what Fringe drew out of me this week. I was flat out aggravated.
It’s never a good sign when, as you’re watching a show you think you like, you find yourself asking questions like, “What the hell is going on here?”…“Where the hell are they?”…“When the hell are they?”…and of course, “What f’n universe are they in?” This show REEKS of Lost (and in my book, that’s not a good thing…it actually may be the worst thing). It seems that J.J. Abrams is just as confused about where this show goes as he was with his other eminently hopeful, yet decidedly disappointing show.
They might as well have called this year’s season premiere a series premiere. Because by combining the two universes and creating yet ANOTHER universe, the show has essentially made viewing of the previous seasons a complete waste of your time. Suddenly characters from these previously separate universes are now thrown into the same world to establish brand new relationships (Don’t even get me started on the ridiculousness that is having two Olivia’s dealing with each other in this new world). And even worse than that, they’ve seemingly made every effort to do away with any and all remnants of the relationships and inter-character dynamics that brought you in to this show to begin with. I mean, no Pacey? That’s your idea?! We only see Peter in windows and mirrors and in the reflections of his father’s television set?! That should make for some meaningful scenes between he and the rest of the cast that we’ve been watching grow together over the last 3 seasons!
So at this point, as a viewer of this show, you’re being asked to learn about a whole new cast of characters. To quote the great Ricky Watters, “FOR WHO? FOR WHAT?” “Oh yes J.J., let me go all in and learn ALL about Olivia and her new friend alternate-universe Olivia, so that come this year’s season finale you can go ahead and fuse this universe with some other universe I can’t even begin to understand so that all of this season is also rendered completely meaningless and we can do this all again next season!!!”.
In my mind, this would be the equivalent of someone taking my children away from me every year and replacing them with new kids who both have the same names as the children they replaced. And this someone has not only replaced my children with complete strangers, but is now somehow confused that I don’t love them the exact same way as I did the two little girls that I spent years getting to know and understand and love. OK, maybe that’s just me.
Anyway, if this show doesn’t make a rally of its’ own, something tells me it’s about 4 or 5 weeks away from having 4 or 5 episodes sitting unwatched on my DVR.
5. X Factor (Seemingly Every Day @ 8pm on FOX)
A note for my readers: While this show has aired, I have barely watched a minute of it yet, and while I still am confident I will be on board, let’s just say the bits and pieces of feedback I have received from those who have watched it are not entirely encouraging. I will be knocking out the 12 hours of X Factor shows (or maybe it just seemed that way) this evening with my 9 year-old daughter. At least she’s very excited still. I have a bad feeling this could be taking a nosedive.
Although I am a bit worried that this format is getting a bit tired (see The Voice), I trust Simon when he says that this show will be entirely different. Two years ago (Simon’s last year) Idol was hard to watch. I’ll chalk that up to him being checked out and already being consumed with X Factor (that and the fact that he seemed to like Ellen about as much as Paula likes doing the show straight). And last year, Idol was an unmitigated disaster. To call it unwatchable would be kind.
Apparently, there was so much talent in last year’s show that no one was bad…or ever made a mistake…or was poorly dressed….or botched a performance…at least according to last year’s “judges”. And I use quotes around “judges” only because that would somehow insinuate that there was actual judging happening at some point during last season.
I have always enjoyed Simon, and I actually like to hear his take on things, and last year’s Idol only made me want for more of Simon (only in the way where I’m NOT a 19 year Hollywood starlet looking for her meal ticket). The fact that a sloshed Paula is along for the ride is merely icing on the cake….or a Vicodin on top of an Oxycontin cocktail in Paula’s world.
4. Dexter (Sundays @ 9pm on SHO)
Six Feet Under is on my all-time pantheon of must-watch, great TV shows. So just like Will Arnett will always bring me in to any show moving forward because of his work on Arrested Devlopment, much of the cast from Six Feet Under has the same pull over me. Peter Krause brought me in to Parenthood, and Michael C. Hall has done the same for me with Dexter.
With that being said, this show has been great….for the most part. I would argue that season 1 was possibly one of the best seasons of television any show has ever produced. That, my friends, is a blessing and a curse.
The following two seasons, while very good, never really captured the brilliant storytelling established in it’s opening season. But that was quickly quelled in season 4 when John Lithgow’s on-screen dueling with Michael C. Hall made the show as great as it ever was, which of course made for a tough act to follow…again. But while last season was a bit slow at times, it did seem to find it’s footing by mid-season and finished strong…setting up high hopes for this season. Fingers crossed.
On a completely side note, the show has brought on Colin Hanks for a prominent role this season. Let me begin by saying, the work of his that I’ve seen, I like. But he kind of creeps me out. He looks just enough like his dad (Tom Hanks…duh) to make you take a double take, but just different enough to make it odd somehow. He and Jason Ritter are very similar that way. It’s almost as if they are CGI representations of what their famous fathers (John Ritter…duh) would look like if they were younger, but only we know what they looked like when they were younger, and it wasn’t like that. (Cue the crickets). Maybe it’s just me.
Regardless, I’m hopeful we get a season 1 & 4 Dexter, and not a season 2 & 3.
3. Sons of Anarchy (Tuesdays @ 9pm on FX)
This is my first year watching this show. This was the show that my friends would harass me about. “You watch every show on TV…you HAVE to watch Sons…you’ll LOVE it!” This of course makes me resist even further (because I’m stubborn and a general pain in the ass like that).
Finally, one day this summer I was playing with my Netflix on Apple TV and I figured, “What the hell? I’ll give it a try.” Three weeks and three full seasons later, I was fully up to speed and fully on board. It’s just a great show, and season 4 is off to a flying start.
With that being said, I have one complaint….of course. Charlie Hunnam is too goddamn pretty. Don’t get me wrong, I love the character of Jax and his performance as the morally-torn would be king of the Sons is pitch perfect. But, if you look at him in the context of what you think the biker gang scene should be…and in the context of the other actors and actresses they’ve cast for the rest of Sons and their rival gangs….it’s a LITTLE hard to accept.
How would such a pretty boy be born of such hard looking people? And if he was that pretty, how would he not have his ass kicked up and down by every newbie punk who was looking to make a name for himself in the gang? I guess the argument would be that BECAUSE he was a pretty boy, Jax needed to learn to protect himself better than anyone else. I would argue that it probably would have been easier to simply cast a banged up actor. Can’t Hollywood go and find the next Jackie Earle Haley?
2. Boardwalk Empire (Sundays @ 9pm on HBO)
Not only was season one tremendous in every respect (storylines, character development, production value…and on and on and on), but it set the stage for what could be an even better season two. I know I like a show when I watch the trailer for the coming season and get goose bumps resembling the ones I get when Rocky is able to somehow get up and leave Creed on the mat. I have but one concern for this show, and that is cost. And before you go asking why the hell I would concern myself about HBO’s production costs, allow me to explain.
Let’s be honest, this show must cost a bloody fortune to make. Period clothes. Period cars. Insanely detailed sets. A-list talent. Massive amounts of CGI to recreate Prohibition era Atlantic City. Oh, and some guy name Scorcese producing the whole thing. You see, I’ve been burned by HBO on this sort of thing before. I loved Rome…and then they went and cancelled it because it cost as much as creating a Hollywood blockbuster every week.
It’s difficult to complain about the product that HBO puts out there, but you must admit, it is a bit troubling when a show like Rome gets canned after two years, while Arli$$ was on the air for what seemed like an eternity.
From a straight TV-viewing standpoint, this show is incomparable. You could watch pretty much any other drama on TV and think, “Wow, this is great!” and then watch Boardwalk Empire after it and be made immediately aware of how not-great that other show is. You see, this show is basically a different species. It’s not a TV show. It’s an Oscar-worthy, 12-hour movie that airs an hour at a time over the span of 3 months. It’s that great.
1. Modern Family (Wednesdays @ 9pm on ABC)
This show is just plain funny. There are so many great characters that it’s hard to pick your favorite. In that way, and because of the fact that it’s such a great ensemble of players, I ALMOST want to compare it to Arrested Development….but then sense returns and I think better of it.
With that being said, it’s still one of the most consistent shows out there, and even its’ “bad” days aren’t all too bad. Couple that with what was an off-the-charts hysterical season premiere taking place at a Dude Ranch and I have high hopes for another strong season from this year’s Emmys darling. (Thank God the “take the cast to Jackson Hole” boondoggle wasn’t The Brady’s go to Hawaii or worse yet, The Keaton’s go to London…because it very easily could have been.
On a completely side note…again (I can’t really help it, my mind works in non-sequiturs), what the hell was up with the boy who gave Alex her first kiss? I would argue that while he didn’t set Italian-Americans back as far as Buddy from Cake Boss, he was definitely worse than the Jerseylicious crew. What was the point? Does everything have to be Jersey-fied now? Because by hinting that he lived some 2400 miles away leads me to believe that he’s from Jersey…and by the looks of him, probably Garfield. The joke was too easy, and I guess I expect more from these writers.
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out part 1 , part 2 , part 3, and part 4 of the TVpocalypse Pre-Season Top 25 poll!
And of course click the “like” button above to like TVpocalypse on Facebook!
10. Top Chef: Just Desserts (Tuesdays @ 9pm on Bravo)
Welcome to the top 10 folks! And fresh off our testosterone-driven spots 11-15, which included both Blue Mountain State and The League, I’m coming back all the way around with a little something for the ladies here…Top Chef: Just Desserts.
The Top Chef franchise has become a staple in my viewing rotation. It has essentially turned into a CSI/SVU-type juggernaut where there are seemingly 47 different iterations of the show and there always seems to be a new season of Top Chef running (and by seems, I mean is) ….and I am completely fine with that. The great thing about this show is that unlike some of the other bastardized franchises (e.g. CSI, CSI:New York, CSI:Miami, CSI:Butte), there hasn’t been any fall off in any of their executions.
The only “problem” with Top Chef is that it has ruined me for other competitive cooking shows. The talent level on this show so far exceeds that of its’ competitors that it has turned me into a complete cooking competition show snob. I can’t watch anything like Chopped or Hell’s Kitchen for more than a few minutes without becoming insulted as to the lack of chefmanship on these shows (see…this show has me using words like chefmanship). I’ll still go with an Iron Chef when it’s on, but only the original one with subtitles, and that’s more for the unintentional comedy brought on by the bad translations and ridiculously inane ingredients than for the cooking or competition.
If this show was in a cooking version instead of a baking version right now it might actually be a spot of two higher since then that would mean I’d get to look at Padma for the better part of an hour…and that’s only going to help things (Aaaand back to testosterone. Sorry ladies).
9. Parenthood (Tuesdays @ 10pm on NBC)
It’s as if NBC is conspiring to start up the annual “NBC to cancel Parenthood” rumors even earlier than usual this year. Last season was really solid and if you had asked me about this show prior to last week’s season premiere, it probably would have been up a few spots higher. But that’s how troubling I found the introduction of the story line featuring Alex’s pending trial and incarceration to be.
I mean, I just can’t wait for Haddy’s Aunt Julia to take on the case (despite the fact that she has now criminal litigation background), and Alex to break up with and cut off Haddy for her own sake, and Adam to somehow catch wind of all this and come to Alex’s rescue with Zeke in a season finale “you can’t afford to miss”. It should really be surprising and compelling TV!!! (where’s the sarcasm button on this thing?)
8. Blue Bloods (Fridays @ 10pm on CBS)
I can’t really explain why I like this show.
First of all, it’s a “cop show”, which I find to be somewhat boiler plate in that there’s a formula of sorts, and they generally stick around for a while just because while they’re not great, they’re not all that bad either. Law & Order (all 47 variations of it), CSI (all 32 variations of it), even NCIS (not cops per se, but military police-ish)….they would all be shows that I think of when I think of “cop shows”.
Secondly, there’s a serious writing flaw in this show. And that would be that every single major crime that happens in New York City, is handled by every single member of the Reagan family, every single time. In the family there’s a Chief of Police, a DA, a detective, a PO walking the beat, and they all play a role in every case. Hell, even the retired cop patriarch of the family finds his way into waaaay too many of these investigations to not want to call bullshit.
But I don’t call bullshit, I just keep watching. Because, while it might not make the most sense, I just like this show. I like the characters. I like Tom Selleck. And yes, I like Donnie Wahlberg (I have ever since he played Lipton on Band of Brothers). I guess that, coupled with the fact that it’s part of a borderline fool-proof genre, and you have yourself a pretty damn watchable TV show.
7. Real Housewives of New Jersey (Sundays @10pm on Bravo)
I am not one who blindly subscribes to any and all iterations of this franchise. I pick and choose my housewife spots. I believe there is a very simple formula for these shows. The key to a watchable Housewives show is that you must have one cast member who is EXTREMELY likable. If I hate the entire cast, I hate the show.
Bevery Hills. Hate them all. Atlanta. Hate. I used to like OC, but then Gina went and got all bat shit crazy, so even that one is questionable now. But not Jersey. Jersey is TV gold. The Joe vs. Joe brawl. Gold. Ashley vs. Jacqueline. Gold. Melissa singing On Display. Gold to the gazillionth power. Yet despite all of that, it’s Caroline and the rest of the Manzo’s that make this show watchable. She is the steady voice of reason that helps slow down the rest of the cast’s downward spiral into the bowels of hell. Call it a Jersey bias, but I love Caroline and I love this show.
6. Jersey Shore (Thursdays @ 10pm on MTV)
And speaking of Jersey….you had to know this one was coming. Bitch and moan all you’d like, but you know you love this show. It’s literally impossible not to. The only thing that frustrates me about this show is that I didn’t think of it first. Contrary to the beliefs of those in the 49 other states, the guido phenomenon is not a new one. If you were with me at the 1992 Bergen Catholic Senior Prom after-party in Seaside Heights, you would know that this segment of our society has been alive and kicking for the better part of 20 years now.
With that being said, I know there are very vocal portions of the Italian-American population arguing that this show is an abomination and that it sets back our people two generations. As an Italian-American myself, I would agree that it is an abomination (and I mean that as a compliment and that is why it is almost cracking the top 5 of my pre-season poll), but this does nothing for the image of Italian-Americans. The Jersey Shore kids are SO absurd that it’s impossible to take them seriously. It’s almost as if guidos (or the exaggerated guidos they portray) are another species. They’re not human let alone Italian-Americans.
I would argue that Buddy from Cake Boss is 100 times more offense to Italian-Americans. He is essentially a bad I-talian stereotype from some 60’s sitcom. The problem is that middle America takes him seriously. Because of his show, they must think that we’re all constantly yelling “Oooooooh” and screaming at our sisters and mothers. To the contrary, I would hope they’d be able to infer that the large majority of Italian-Americans are not GTL-ing or FPC-ing. I would hope.
The bottom line is that this show is chock full of insanity every week (which is obviously good). I am always a little sad (I don’t even think I’m exaggerating there) when the last screen title comes on and you know you’re entering the last segment before it’s over. Plus, any Italian-American who still sits down to Sunday dinner every week is OK in my book.
15. Blue Mountain State (Wednesdays @ 10pm on Spike)
Since it seems that about 82.7% of my readership (give or take .3%) are women, I’m going to go ahead and be completely transparent on this one. Ladies, you’re probably not going to like this show. And as if the fact that this show is on Spike wasn’t evidence enough, let me go ahead and make one point perfectly clear…this show was not made with you in mind.
Here’s what Blue Mountain State is. It’s completely mindless. It’s bankrupt of any real character development or arcs (in fact, I’m going to go ahead and guarantee that the word arc has never come up in any of the writers’ meetings for this show). The football scenes are entirely unrealistic. And the main reason for that would be that there is only one (at most two) members of the cast that looks capable of suiting up for a Pop Warner football team….nevermind a major D-I college football team. There’s binge drinking and rampant drug use, but don’t worry, that’s all offset by the steady stream of gratuitous female near-nudity.
And for whatever reason (or maybe exactly those reasons), I can’t stop watching.
14. The League (Thursdays @ 10:30pm on FX)
The League is a show about a bunch of old friends who play against each other in a fantasy football league. Yep, another one for the ladies.
My friends with whom I am in a fantasy football league had been harassing me about this show for a while (12 of us in the league, 9 of which were in the same freshmen year homeroom at Bergen Catholic High School…might explain my eventual affinity for this show). Yet for one reason or another, I never seemed to get around to it. Then, last spring, I finally powered through season one on Apple TV. I think I knocked it out in about all of 3 days…always a good sign.
It’s just an extremely watchable show. Sure, there are some fatal flaws (e.g. FX not having the money to cast a full 10 or 12 guys and thus having certain league members who are never seen or heard, but instead are only mentioned in the context of their draft or weekly match-ups), but they also happen to nail some of the ridiculously fun nuances that make fantasy football so great.
The elaborate trash-talking and mean-spirited banter that goes back and forth between otherwise grown men (I may or may not write a weekly 1400 word recap that is merely a platform through which to taunt my lifelong friends with many of the same barbs that were thrown at them as far as back as 1989). The ridiculously excessive amount of time and work league members are willing to put into the management of their teams just for the right to win an imaginary game with their imaginary team for a chance to win their imaginary championship. I guess when you put it in writing, it is a bit hard to grasp the allure of fantasy football…and, cue the ladies jumping back over to dooce.com.
Anyway, throw in what looks like a recurring role for Seth Rogen this season and I’m borderline moderately excited for this season (don’t think they’ll be running with that quote for their upfronts….”FX is proud to bring back The League for a third season 3, TVpocalypse says “I’m borderline moderately excited for this season”).
13. Up All Night (Wednesdays @ 8pm on NBC)
Arrested Development might very well be the greatest show ever created. I’m going to go ahead and put that out there. And on top of that, GOB might very well be my favorite character on my favorite TV show ever. And because of that, I’m basically willing to give Will Arnett a chance on any project he ever takes on. Hell, I was one of the 14 people watching Running Wilde last year (I was one of the 3 of those 14 people who actually liked it).
With that being said, I was very excited when I saw he was back with a new show along with Christina Applegate (a.k.a. Veronica Corningstone, a.k.a. Kelly Bundy). And what got me even more enthused was the fact that the trailers looked pretty damn funny. Of course, what got me LESS enthused was when I watched the pilot episode last week and it seemed as though every single highlight had already been seen in said trailer. Ruh roh. I’m blindly hoping against hope on this one. Of course the upside of this show failing would be a greater sense of urgency for Will Arnett to go and make that Arrested Development finally happen.
12. Fringe (Fridays @ 9pm on FOX)
Here’s what I’m going to hope for in this upcoming season of Fringe:
I hope there’s only one of every character.
I hope that unlike one of his other shows (I’m not going to name names, but it rhymes with Cost), that J.J. Abrams actually has some sort of an idea as to where this show’s story is going.
And finally, I hope that said idea is not “they’re time traveling” or “they were all dead the whole time” or worse yet, “the ending is left for the viewers to interpret.”
I promise you, if I see one smoke monster or polar bear roaming in front of the Twin Towers in an alternate universe as a zeppelin goes over head….I might very well instantaneously quit this show.
11. How I Met Your Mother (Mondays @ 8pm on CBS)
It almost seems like the writers pitched this show built around a father in the future telling his kids about “how he met their mother” with not a whole lot of faith that the network would actually buy the idea and give them the green light. And because of that, they hadn’t really figured out how this would all play out in any kind of long term way. Imagine if you will:
Summer 2004. The creators of How I Met Your Mother are finishing their pitch to CBS.
Writers: …and we’d call it How I Met Your Mother. Get it?! Because he’s always telling the story of how he met her. Well, whaddya think?!
CBS execs: Great. Love it. Make it. Maybe change the name, but we’re in!
Writers: Really? I mean…great. See you at the Emmy’s! Hahaha!
CBS Execs leave the room.
Writers: Now what the f$#% do we do?
And now seven years later, in many ways it seems like they’re asking that very same question. How long can one show stretch out one premise (7 years and counting I guess). If I hadn’t been on this show since day one, I’d have been long gone already. I’m just in too deep, or as I like to call it, I’m “Entourage-d”.
20. Harry’s Law (Wednesdays @ 9pm on NBC)
The only thing more ambiguous than a dime a dozen cop show, is a dime a dozen courtroom show. Apparently I missed the first season (never really heard of it), but somehow I don’t think it will be much of an issue. Yet with Kathy Bates on board I’m somewhat blindly hopeful.
It’s the TV equivalent of considering whether to take it to the next level with that stripper you’ve spoken to at the club a couple of times (I’m sure we’ve all been there before). You know the one…she’s got five kids from four dads. You know…the one with the somewhat questionable, sore-ish looking thing near her lip. You really do know it’s not a good idea. But she is stripper hot, and you think maybe — just maybe — this time it will be different. And then you allow yourself to talk yourself into it. Bad idea.
Committing to this show is a decision I pretty much know I’m going to regret sooner rather than later. And when I say sooner, I mean sooner as in 4 weeks from now when NBC unceremoniously dumps this show only after allowing me just enough of time to get fully roped in.
19. Person of Interest (Thursdays @ 9pm on CBS)
A moment of candor (just a moment…I promise), prior to Sunday I was not planning on watching this show. And then I watched the Jets v. Jags game and Pats v. Chargers game back-to-back, and in that time I would conservatively estimate that I saw an ad/trailer/live read for Person of Interest some 492 times. That’s a conservative estimate. And despite the fact that I work in marketing, I let the CBS marketing machine have it’s way with me and now have this show locked and loaded on my DVR.
So while I do feel somewhat cheap, stupid, naive and used for allowing myself to be railroaded like this, I back into a justification by telling myself that Ben from Lost and Jesus from The Last Temptation of Christ are on the show. And you simply can’t argue with Ben and Jesus logic.
18. House (Mondays @ 9pm on FOX)
This is the last season for House, and that might very well be the only reason I’m still there. That pretty much says it all I think.
17. The Office (Thursdays @ 9pm on NBC)
See above, except insert The Office where it says House.
The big cliffhanger from last season will be revealed on Thursday’s season premiere….Who’s the new boss?!! And while cliffhangers are usually a good thing, there’s a slight problem with this one. And that would be that none of the episodes with any of the new boss candidates were all that good.
I wouldn’t take it as far as saying I care who is named boss, but I think it’s more that I care who isn’t. And really, there are two candidates who I’m hoping don’t become the new Michael Scott.
The first is Will Ferrell. To fully understand the gravity of this statement, you need to understand that I love Will Ferrell. It’s not that I like some of his work, I literally love all of it. Anchorman. Talladega Nights. Step Brothers. Yes, yes, and yes. But in there lies what may be the biggest indictment of just how lost this show has become. They couldn’t even get a Will Ferrell appearance right. It just wasn’t funny.
The next candidate I don’t want to see become the new boss would be James Spader. Seeing as how I missed all of his more recent Boston Legal work, I’m just going to go ahead and call him Rip — his character’s name in Less Than Zero. And therein lies the problem. Rip is my permanent James Spader point of reference, or more precisely, all of the characters he played in that era are. Drug pushers. Entitled rich kids. Swarmy, spineless rats. That’s the James Spader I know and love. The only thing going through my mind every time I see him on screen is “She thinks your shit Stef, and deep down, you know she’s right!” As I write this, I am beginning to realize this might actually be more of a personal issue.
Anyway, it should be interesting to see where they go with this on Thursday…or maybe it won’t be…and maybe that’s why The Office is ranked 17th.
16. Pan Am (Sundays @ 10pm on ABC)
Apparently networks other than HBO are allowed to air programming on Sunday night. I had no idea. Seriously though, who the hell at ABC thought this was a good idea?! A period drama up against HBO programming? God forbid they shave The Bachelor down to 6 hours of programming a week and get this on a weeknight, huh?
Aside from that though, I honestly don’t know a whole helluva lot about this show (of course, I won’t let that stop me from setting up a Season Pass for it). Like I said, it’s a period drama. It has Christina Ricci. And it details a gloriously romantic time in American history when air travelers didn’t have to have to pay an additional $30 for the honor of traveling with their luggage.
I’m definitely not as certain about this one as I am about The Playboy Club, but let’s just say I wouldn’t be stunned to see a whole bunch of 20/20’s in this timeslot come November.
If you haven’t be sure to check out part 1 of the TVpocalypse Pre-Season Top 25 poll and be on the lookout for part 3 tomorrow!
25. The Playboy Club (Mondays @ 10pm on NBC)
Every season there are those shows that have no hope. The shows that are DEFINITELY going to get cancelled. The shows that only got made because the network couldn’t find a reality show to slide into that time slot. You know heading in that it’s going to be gone by midseason, yet you defy all common sense and you still ante up.
This show makes those shows seem like sure things.
There is a very real chance The Playboy Club gets cancelled during its’ first commercial break. So, of course, I’m in.
24. Happy Endings (Wednesdays @ 9:30pm on ABC)
This was a midseason replacement for ABC last season. I think I read a good review of it. And I think maybe I saw a good preview for it. And I think someone might have even told me it was a pretty good show.
So I Season Passed (yes, that’s a verb now) it last year. And then I kept reading that it would probably get cancelled. And then it didn’t. And now I have a season’s worth of Happy Endings (I only wish that was as good as it sounds) sitting on my DVR waiting to be watched BEFORE I can even get into this season’s shows. Of course, something tells me I’d be able to pick up the storylines without the benefit of having viewed last season pretty quickly. And by pretty quickly, I mean by the end of the opening credits during this season’s premiere.
23. Hung (Sundays @ 10pm on HBO)
This show is so Goddamn slow. And it’s borderline terrible. And I can’t really remember a time when I thought it was good. Yet, I am now entering my third season of watching it. The only excuse I can offer is that it goes on after HBO shows that I actually enjoy, and I’m too lazy to change the channel and find something else to watch. First I say, “Hello, my name is Scott, and I have a TV problem.” And then you say, “Hi, Scott!”
22. American Chopper: Senior vs. Junior (Mondays @ 9pm on Discovery)
I’m about 74.8% certain that the Discovery Network has orchestrated the entire Teutel family feud. Without the brawl, the split into two companies, and the awkwardly painful father/son dynamics, this show would have been relegated into “oh wait, these are actually new episodes?” territory ala Dirty Jobs and other completely formulaic serial shows on cable networks about 2 seasons ago.
Despite this, I still find myself going through spells where this show starts building up 3 or 4 episodes in the DVR queue…and not really caring that that has happened. That’s probably not a good sign.
21. Gossip Girl (Mondays @ 8pm on The CW)
As a seasoned veteran of the Beverly Hills, 90210 franchise, I can tell you that I have some very real concerns for Gossip Girl. We are one main character trying to get a record deal away from this show entering the same sad state of affairs that 90120 entered during it’s personal Death March of Bataan some 11 years ago.
Yep, that was only 11 years ago. Of course, the show was dead for about 3-5 years prior to that, but no one had the heart to tell them. It’s almost as if FOX was just pulling off some giant Weekend at Bernies scam on its’ viewers as they dragged the corpse formerly known as Beverly Hills, 90210 around until any and all signs of life had finally shriveled up and fallen off of it. (“The prosecution would like to call 58 year-old Ian Ziering to the stand….and the prosecution rests”).
The mere fact that as you’re reading this, you’re no doubt saying to yourself, “Yep, I could see Serena launching a music video this season” is really all you need to know about the dire state this show is in.
Check out part 2 of the TVpocalypse Pre-Season Top 25 poll !