Tag Archives: the CW

Best & Worst of the New Fall Shows (2011)

Yeah, I know…I’ve been gone a long time. Sorry for that. Between working like mad on a new script (remember when I used to do that?) taking care of Greta and watching just about every new show out there, well, let’s just say it’s been a busy couple of weeks. Whew…

I’ll start with the worst of the new shows. And let me say from the get-go that I am only judging these shows by the pilots, you know, like the networks do. I’m sorry, but, if you can’t grab me from the first episode, I’m done with you. I mean, I wasted two seasons watching “Glee” and all it did was get worse and worse, so, sorry, new shows, I do not have time for lameness.

That said, I gotta tell ya, most of the shows I sampled weren’t that bad. I mean, even the one’s I’m not gonna watch for whatever reason were way better than some of the crap from season’s past, so, good on you, networks! OK, back to the worst of the bunch…

“The Secret Circle” (The CW) This show was just plain old boring, I’ve seen teen witches done better elsewhere, and aside from the presence of the always sexy Natasha Henstridge as the school principal with a secret, I could barely stay awake to the ending. Yawn…

“Free Agents” (NBC) I don’t even know why I watched this show to begin with. I absolutely loathe Hank Azaria and after watching the pilot, I like, double-triple loathe him. Yuck!

“2 Broke Chicks” (CBS) This show really bummed me out, man. I was so looking forward to it and really expecting a lot from the crackling-good cast, but, the writing was just not there to back them up. And on top of all that, the jokes were really gross. And not even clever gross, just gross and crass for crass-ness sake. Urgh…soooo disappointing!

“Whitney” (NBC) Same thing here. Gross humor, crude jokes, yawn. I will say that the lead actors grew on me as the half hour progressed, but, wow, that supporting cast felt like the table scraps from some long-forgotten 90’s sitcom: couple with pushy wife and mousy husband…check. Drunk and single best friend…check. Crazy, self-centered mom…double check. Oy…who needs it?

“The Playboy Club” (NBC) Dear NBC, just because you set a show in the 1960’s does not make it “Mad Men”. It’s not even that the show is that bad, it’s just kinda…eh. And when you think about how much dough NBC spent making and marketing it, “eh” is probably not the reaction they were going for. And for the love of God, please lose the Hugh Hefner voice overs…you weren’t changing the hearts and minds of America, Mr. Hefner, you were peddling smut. Classy, well-lit smut, but, smut nonetheless, so, please, get over yourself.

Now, before we get to the best new shows, I’d like to start with some honorable mention winners. You know, shows that I might watch if there was nothing on, but, not necessarily shows I’d add to my Tivo Season Pass anytime soon. Let’s call them the shows I’d watch if I had all the time in the world to watch TV…

“Pan Am” (ABC) Glossy, juicy, sexy, this show is really a lot of fun. The cast is great, the story possibilities are endless and those planes are so damn sexy, I mean, seriously, did ya see the couches in that French chick’s section? Amazing! I wanna live in that world, but, sadly, I just don’t have time to watch it.

“Charlie’s Angels” (ABC) Same thing here, the show is surprisingly good, with a totally game cast and a premise that, thirty some odd years on, still works. Hot chicks, guns, karate, pretty sunsets…it’s all there and it still works like gangbusters, but, I just don’t have the time. Sorry, Angels…

“The X-Factor” (FOX) OK, now this show was downright awesome! Fun, pithy, emotional…all the things that “American Idol” used to be. And best of all, Paula and Simon are back where they belong…together! The only problem is that it’s on every freaking night, and we are already committed to our returning favorite, “The Sing Off”, so, we might jump back into this one in a month or so, but, for now, it’s a pass.

“Up All Night” (NBC) We’re still kinda on the fence with this one too. Christine and I love all of the parenting stuff — I mean, whoa, some of the shit they joke about is like, ripped from our headlines! — but whenever they cut to Maya Rudolph (who I normally love!) the show goes all kinds of crazy…and not in a good way. We are regular viewers for the moment, but, one of two more wrong moves by Rudolph might just send us packing.

And now, for the best of the best, the shows that we will watch every week until they end, or, you know, get canceled before their prime like the late, great “Swingtown”. Anyway, they are…

“Prime Suspect” (NBC) Only “Whitney” has more billboards down here right now, so, I had a huge awareness of the show going into the season, but what I didn’t know was how totally fucking awesome it would be. Seriously, it’s like, pulse-pounding, truly groundbreaking-television. Fantastic acting, directing, writing, whew…mark my words, amigos, this is gonna be the show to beat at next year’s Emmys. AMAZING!

“New Girl” (FOX) OMG, I can’t tell you how pleased I was that this show didn’t totally suck. I’m not always a fan of Zooey Deschanel, but she lights up the screen with her goofy, sexy charm here. And her supporting cast is also totally awesome. Cute, funny, seriously-sweet…I kinda wanna marry this show.

“Revenge” (ABC) As dark and twisted and soapy-weird as “New Girl” is cute, this show puts the “j” in juicy, baby. And, man alive, is it good! I don’t know how they’re gonna stretch the premise over five years (or beyond), but if the acting, writing and totally cinematic sweep of the show is gonna be this good, well, sign me up! “Revenge” rocks!

So, that’s what I’ve been doing the past couple of weeks…what have you guys been watching?

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2009 Fall TV Season Report Card

Seeing as the Fall TV season has been up and running for a couple of weeks now, thought we’d finally weigh in on the crop of new shows. The good news is that, so far, most of the shows we’ve watched have been good. Seriously, I can’t remember the last time we added this many new shows to our Tivo Season Pass!

"The Beautiful Life: TBL" on The CW

"The Vampire Diaries" on The CW

"Melrose Place" on The CW

And though some of the most heavily-promoted new shows kinda sucked (I’m talking to you, “Cougar Town”) some of them are actually totally deserving of the hype (“The Vampire Diaries”, “The Good Wife”, “Modern Family”, etc.). But rather than bore you with long, detailed descriptions of the shows in question, we felt an annotated report card would be much more to the point.

So, without further ado, I give you our first annual Fall TV Season report card…enjoy!

Letter Grade: A+

“The Vampire Diaries” (The CW) – Long-lost loves, family secrets, dark, brooding vampires in high school…what’s not to love here? “Twilight” be damned, this show is the best of the crop so far…and the fact that it stars mi “The American Mall” amiga, Nina Dobrev, certainly doesn’t hurt. If you haven’t already, you must Tivo this show!

“Modern Family” (ABC) – This show has only aired twice and we laughed our asses off and cried during both episodes. A really sweet, heartfelt and hilarious look at one crazy extended family. Awesome!

“Glee” (FOX) – Best new show that started airing last season. It’s like co-creator Ryan Murphy threw his old WB show “Popular” in a giant pot, boiled away the fat and cheese and created something truly magical. “Glee” is a pleasure to watch from start to finish.

“The Good Wife” (CBS) – This show looked like such a snooze when it was announced, but it is so much more than meets the eye. The cast is superb, particularly Julianna Margulies’ mouthy sidekick, Archie Panjabi, who truly electrifies every scene she’s in. I’m not kidding, these gals have onscreen chemistry to burn. And seeing Josh Charles, Chris Noth and Christine Baranski back on a weekly series is never a bad thing either.

Letter Grade: A

“Melrose Place” (The CW) – Already a hundred times better than the original series, and a million times better than the hideously-lame “90210” remake that debuted last year, this “Melrose” is juicy, campy, sexy and best of all, crazy fun to watch. And unlike the new “90210”, the classic characters actually have a story and a reason to be there when they show up. Ooo, and speaking of, Heather Locklear is checking back in soon…so, bring on the awesomeness!

“Mercy” (NBC) – Didn’t expect this show to be good at all, but caught a few minutes of it in passing and am now totally hooked. Quirky characters that don’t annoy, zippy writing and a first-rate cast in a medical show about nurses? Wow, almost makes me forget that “ER” was canceled…

Letter Grade: B

“Accidentally On Purpose” (CBS) – I normally loathe Jenna Elfman, but it seems that I’ll watch anything to do with babies and pregnancy these days, so, I Tivoed the show. And, you know what? It’s not nearly as bad as it looks. I won’t Tivo it again, but you could find much worse ways to pass a half hour.

“The City” (MTV) – I know this show — a spin-off of the far-more-popular ‘The Hills” — is technically in it’s second season, but, wow, with two new alpha bitches on board, this is a brand new show in my book and it rocks!

Letter Grade: D

“Cougar Town” (ABC) – I am not easily offended, but the onslaught of crass, unfunny, gross-out jokes on this show made me wanna stop watching before the first commercial break. Yuck…just, yuck.

“Eastwick” (ABC) – Three charming female leads does not a series make. I don’t need a crystal ball to see that this mediocre reworking of an already mediocre movie is headed nowhere fast. Yikes…

“Trauma” (NBC) – The show opens with a kick-ass head-on collision between two helicopters in San Francisco, but it’s all downhill from there. Yawn…

Letter Grade: F

“The Beautiful Life: TBL” (The CW) – Models, runways, drugs, and a skeletal, strung-out Mischa Barton badly playing herself? What’s not to love? Well, amigos…everything. I don’t know what’s funnier…the fact that someone at the CW actually thought this show would be popular enough to warrant a cheesy nickname (“TBL”??) or the fact that it was deservedly canceled after two episodes. Urgh, what a train wreck…

Oh, yeah, and just for the record, these grades are for the episodes that have aired so far. So, if a cool show starts blowing chunks and getting all “Alias” or “Heroes” on us midseason, we reserve the right to change our grades. I mean, hello, it is only October…

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Brenda Walsh packs her bags…

I’m sure you’ve already heard the joyous news by now, but after filming her four contracted episodes of the super-lame new “90210” this week, our beloved Shannen “Shando” Doherty is leaving the show for good. Yay! There was some initial buzz about Doherty possibly extending her stay on the show, but thankfully, for the Brenda Walsh lovers of the world, that is not to be.

I say “thankfully”, because, if you recall, Christine and were borderline-offended by how bad this new, Aaron-Spelling-less version of “90210” is, not to mention how woefully underused the ferocious, crazy-eyed character of Miss Brenda Walsh was.

So, now that she is free from the shackles of the bumbling programming chowderheads at the CW, Brenda Walsh can live the rich and beautiful life we always imagined for her! Fly, Brenda, fly!

And, as far as “Shando” is concerned, we’ll watch her in anything…so, keep on keeping on, chica!

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The return of Brenda Walsh?

As huge fans of the original show in it’s heyday — and crazy-huge fans of almost anything Shannen “Shando” Doherty has ever appeared in, including even her craziest TV movies! — Christine and I were kind of dying to see the new and supposedly-improved version of “Beverly Hills, 90210” on the CW last night.

But after slogging through two hours of over-scored, oddly-paced dreck, all we can say is, what the hell? Or in the parlance of the CW’s far-superior teen sexfest, “Gossip Girl”, OMFG! Seriously, this “90210” sucked so bad that we actually fast-forwarded through huge chunks of the show to get to the good stuff.

And, if you watched the season premiere last night, you know that I am being extremely generous in labeling any part of it as “good stuff”. Though some of the actors were winning — the new Brenda and Brandon surrogates were both pretty decent, and the resident mean girl had her moments, but that was about it — the biggest problem with the show is that it was just plain weird.

Boring, badly written and strangely jumpy, the show jerked us around so much that I had some serious Tivo whiplash. Everything just seemed so rushed, and with no scene lasting more than two to three minutes, I actually screamed at the TV at one point: “Let those scenes breathe, baby!” I mean, honestly, if this series was not based on an older, better show, it would have never made it past the pilot stage. Yes…it’s that freaking bad.

Another key ingredient that was missing last night was the “Spelling magic”. Love him or hate him, Aaron Spelling knew how to make some damn fine guilty-pleasure TV. Sure, some of his shows crossed the line into straight-up cheese (“7th Heaven” anyone?) but for the most part, the man was a hit-making machine, whose absence was never felt more poignantly than last night.

With any semblance of nuance and character development chucked out the window with Jason Priestley’s iconic sideburns, the entire show was DOA. Seriously, even Spelling would have had a hard time saving this sinking ship.

And though the press have been running “Shando” stories left and right, our girl Brenda had like, two scenes and both of them were snoozers. Jennie Garth’s return as Kelly wasn’t much more interesting, but hell, at least she got to look kinda “teacher-hot” in some tight-ass blouses and share a mysterious phone call with someone about her young son. Was it the boy’s father? And is said father someone we know from before? Who knows…and really, who cares?

But the much-touted return of Brenda Walsh amounted to “Shando” basically eating at The Peach Pit with Kelly and then offering to babysit for her when she went on a date. Yawn-o-rama! You brought Brenda back from a glamorous life on the London stage for this?? Yikes…

The Brenda Walsh we loved was spunky, pig-headed, impulsive and crazy as all hell. And, lord in heaven, if you needed a babysitter, you’d call Andrea Zuckerman way before you’d even think of calling Brenda. I mean, really!

So, watch this slapped-together CW crapfest at your own peril, amigos. And if you want a true, old-school Brenda Walsh fix, I reccommend picking up some of the early, best seasons of “90210” on DVD.

And in the meantime…go, “Shando”!

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