Monday, October 17, 2011

Fall Television - The Best Shows So Far

Well its been about a month since the first fall premiers aired.  Between baking and keeping up with my DVR, I've had time for little else in the past four weeks.  We're coming to a time where the leaders of the pack are emerging.  Here are the shows I watch within a couple hours of their airing:

Caution, if you haven't seen the episodes, spoilers ahead...

The Good:

Hart of Dixie - I am adoring this sweet, funny little night time soap.  From the awesome country music soundtrack to the lovable Summer Rachel Bilson.  I love that the show maintains a sense of humor about itself.  I love that they go for the easy laugh: "I just played Dixie with my butt.  This is officially rock bottom." I love Scott Porter.  I love that the mayor warned her to beware of Burt Reynolds while walking around at night which got a chuckle from Hubby.  I loved even more that Burt Reynolds ended up being a pet alligator.  Though that made me wonder how they know which alligator is Burt Reynolds.  Its not like he's missing an eye or had a large spot.  It would be pretty dangerous to assume that the alligator you've just come across is a pet and then be mistaken.  But I digress.  Now, will the emergency of the week get a little tired? Yeah, probably.  But I have faith in Josh Schwartz to not milk the whole "I want to take over my father's practice while his partner doesn't want me to" thing too far.  There already seems to be a little back story intrigue developing between the mayor and Scott Porter's fiancee.  Which will be perfect for a mid-season sweeps about Rachel Bilson and Scott Porter not deny their attraction to one another.  Though, my money is on the red-neck neighbor for her true love interest. 

Ringer - Oh my goodness how campy is this show? It is awful.  But then why isn't it listed under The Bad or The Ugly?  Because y'all this show is SO awful it crosses over into awesome.  It is just laughably bad.  From the moment I saw that horrible green screen scene on the boat I was hooked.  I adore Sarah Michelle Geller and Ioan Gruduff (or as Hubby calls him "Mr. Fantastic") is a treat to look at.  But she is potentially the worst liar on earth and he is simply a moron.  I hate the name Siobhan for a main character and hate the nickname Shiv.  Her best friend reminds me so much of Blossom that on a weekly basis I find myself IMDBing the show to confirm that Mayim Bialick doesn't play her.  Bridget may be the least evasive junkie ever.  And yet? I just can't look away.  I clap my hands with glee when something ridiculous happens - like wee little SMidGe wearing a white silk blouse and 4 inch heels to dispose of the dead hitman's body and some how wrangling it into a steamer trunk all by her 90lb self in under 20 minutes.  Love!

Modern Family - This show had me at Hello.  I have loved every moment of it since Cam presented baby Lilly complete with Lion King intro music and a spot light.  So far the third season is maintaining the status quo with the laughs.  I especially loved Cam's banner and sparklers for the announcement that they're adopting a little boy.  The one thing we unanimously don't like in my house is New!Lilly.  She is awful! I know that saying a child is awful is not nice.  And let me be clear.  The actual little girl(s) who play her are probably lovely child(ren).  But she went from being this adorable (albeit weepy) little silent baby to being practically a teenager with a bad attitude.  She's been SORASed* beyond recognition.  I understand that the twins who played her before were not enjoying it and their mother did what any good mother would do and decided not to continue.  But there are so many child actors now a days, I can't believe that the only Asian child the casting directors liked were these little girls.  They couldn't have found a 2 year old? or even 3? If New!Lilly is a day under 5, then I'm 27.  In the season premier, she had a full sentence to say.  Why? We don't need any more comedians in this already awesome cast.  She should be and adorable set decoration and prop.

* SORAS - Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome - Occurs when a plot contrivance baby has outlived it's cute quotient (usually after having been kidnapped at least once and/or having suffered some horrible baby only disease) and the child gets sent to boarding school (or in the case of Belle Brady on Days Of Our Lives) toddles up the stairs to go to bed and comes down a sassy 16 year old ready to be paired with a love interest and have it's own plots. 

Revenge - I honestly didn't think I'd like this show very much.  I was inundated by the previews so I felt compelled to watch.  I like that she is not going around killing people but just ruining their lives.  Sure the show is a bit heavy handed with some things.  And there are a few plot issues I can't get over: Really? The super hot townie guy named his boat after and is still hung up over a little girl he met when he was 12? And that isn't supposed to be creepy? But otherwise it is a frothy good time.  I'm not sure how they'll have a season two.  But you know what? Maybe they don't need one.  For now, I'm truly enjoying this show and eagerly wait for Wednesday nights to see what will happen this week.  Just this weekend I got the following text from my cousin Anne: "Ok, I'm caught up on Revenge and you're right, I'm hooked" and I replied "yay!" (see I'm not always wordy.)

The Vampire Diaries - What can I say about this show that hasn't already been said?  It is quite simply, fantastic.  I love that they found a creative way to essentially break up Elena and Stefan.  Rather than going to the common love triangle or petty squabble or heaven forbid having them "take a break."  I love that she didn't just hop into bed (proverbally) with Damon but that the spark is still there.  I love that Caroline and Taylor have finally joined together into a pretty super couple.  And I love that these people aren't idiots.  When Caroline was missing for a few hours, Taylor put the pieces together and then actually went to the correct person who could help him help Caroline.  Perfect.  I could do without the Jeremy seeing dead people story line but I'm willing to let it play out.  I love that Alaric is having an identity crisis and that it has resulted in him becoming a sarcastic booze hound - or as he so eloquently put it while watching a house full of his drunken history students, "I am every parents' nightmare.  I'm the chaperon from hell." I still watch every episode with a smile and a squeeee.  I'm such a fangirl, I can't even hide it. 

Grey's Anatomy - I have watched Grey's Anatomy since the very first episode.  And I'll admit there have been times where I haven't liked it that much (um Ghost Sex? George getting married over night to Callie? And then cheating on her with Izzie his "sister?) But in recent years, Grey's has gotten a little better.  It isn't as funny or quirky anymore which is a little sad, but I think this year it is getting back to that.  We are seeing more friendships amongst the adult doctors.  I love that Mere's house is still a bit of a halfway house for wayward docs.  I hope that Alex will get to have a love interest this year.  Not one who will go crazy and/or die and/or leave him.  I loved him and Izzie before she started having tumor/ghost sex with Denny.  I love that he is a kickass pediatric surgeon.  Let him be one show! So, yes, it appears that I am reinvested.  Dammit! Just when I thought I was out, they pulled me back in. If you used to watch and have given up, maybe give it another shot.  It's a helluva lot better than Secret Circle and Project Runway is almost over so what else are you watching on a Thursday night at 9pm? 

Project Runway- As with most reality competition shows that I watch (Top Chef, The Amazing Race) I like the general concept of the show but the cast members can make me love a season or barely care about it.  This season I think I'm back to loving it.  I adore Anya and really think she is going to win the whole thing.  I get so annoyed with the other contestants when they bitchily snark that she has no sewing experience and that they should win because they've been sewing since they were 8 (yo Laura, that is not a factor.  Just because you've been sewing since you were a wee child (PS, what 8 year old sews? were you in a sweat shop?) doesn't mean you "deserve" to win.  You will win (she won't) if you are the best DESIGNER.) Yes other designers, that applies to you too.  This is a DESIGN competition - not a sewing competition.  In the finale you don't have to sew your own garments.  You are allowed to outsource that as all the real designers do.  Do you really think Michael Kohrs sits down at his Singer and sews each dress he makes?  You are insane.  They have little Guatemalan women (or 8 year old Laura) to do the actual sewing for them.  The key is to design a garment that people want to buy and Anya does that.  She is the first designer they've had on this show in a long time who makes beautiful but accessible clothing.  And she is such a genuinely nice, smart person.  Normally I'd just DVR a later showing of this show and watch on the weekends but stupid Lifetime only airs it once and they make it an hour and a half.  Last season, that meant I ended up not really watching.  This season, that means that I've bumped other shows in order to watch PR real time.  Next season, who knows. 

Nikita - I was originally really intrigued by this show.  I have been looking for a replacement Alias ever since 2005 (the last season didn't count... too much scrambling and back story changing.)  But Nikita didn't really get her hooks into me until the end of last season.  My sister and I typically get together to watch The Vampire Diaries together and one evening she wanted to stay a little longer to watch Nikita since she didn't have a DVR.  So I begrudgingly obliged and watched with her.  And I got hooked.  Damn you Shane West and your gravely voice and your chiseled good looks! And that smirk! Lord help me when he smirks! Excuse me, I need a minute.  Ok.  I'm good.  So anyways, yeah, the end of last season got me back into Nikita, but I was nervous that Thursday nights for me were too busy, so how would I keep up with watching Shane Nikita? Luckily, they moved it to Fridays! Yay! The stories are still a little redundant and sloppy.  But I love where they are going with the show.  I also love Julie Cooper Melinda Clark, and she's great when she is strong and in charge and evil.  Honorable mention goes to Lyndsy Fonseca.  I'm glad that she's finally gotten off that couch and I covet her hair.   All viable reasons to watch a TV show I know. 

Blue Bloods - This is one of the few shows I can watch with my husband.  He enjoys the cop drama, I enjoy Donnie Whalberg.  We both enjoy counting how many times Tom Selleck takes a deep sigh and sounds like an old man.  Is the family aspect of the "family full of cops" plot line a little heavy handed at times? Yes.  Is it getting old that the police commissioner's hot headed son seems to randomly be assigned (or inserted) into every hot ticket crime? Of course.  But you know what... it works.  I am really looking forward to Rabbit from U-571 getting a meatier story line this year.  And I'm so happy they dropped that stupid "Blue Templar" C-plot that they kept trying to make happen last year.  I could do with less of the quirky grand daughter, and they should stop making Danny's wife such a nag about various parts of his job.  A job he's had since he was 18 and she married into and has lived with for a decade.  But overall, I really enjoy this little family drama and hope it continues to do well. 

The Amazing Race - This show has always been a favorite of mine.  Of any reality competition show out there, this is the one I'd like to do the most.  I love seeing all the foreign locations and love imagining how I'd handle each challenge.  As I mentioned with Project Runway, the strength of each season really depends on the cast and as of yet I don't have a particular couple I'm rooting for yet.  This season has been a little slow and I'll admit it is mostly watched as background entertainment while I do my grad school homework assignments that are due Sundays before midnight.  (hey! you don't develop such a deep and abiding love for TV as I have without being a procrastinator!) There really isn't much else on to get me to stop watching. So for now, I'm still in. For better or worse. 

Up next? See what shows I (or the networks) have already cut from the season.  

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