I don’t know how many people read this blog. In all likelihood, very few. Especially considering the infrequence of posts. But for those of you who might, and who might give credit to my endorsements, here are a few from this TV addict:
Chuck (NBC, 8/7c) – It’s a spy comedy packed with quirky, adorable characters, resolved sexual tension done right, fun action sequences, and plenty of gut-busting laughs. Our hero (Chuck Bartowski) is a lovable nerd-turned-lovable spy. A kickass, awkward, emotional, morally-centered, down-to-earth, nerdy spy. One who puts family first, actually got the gorgeous blonde with a license to kill (Sarah Walker), and values his friendship with his socially-clueless but loyal pal/co-worker Morgan Grimes. He even charms concern and friendship out of perfect American hero/soldier/spy Colonel John Casey. And he didn’t ask for any of it–least of all the CIA computer (intersect) in his head. The fans brought this show back from cancellation once. Let’s not let it get to that point again. It gets very little promotion. Up to you to give it a boost.
The Event (NBC 9/8c) – It isn’t perfect. And if you’ve read my last post, I’ve not watched LOST (nor have I watched 24), so I can’ t compare it to either show. It has a ways to go. But it definitely deserves better ratings than it has been getting. And with the appealing Jason Ritter driving the show, you’ve got at least a little bit of pixie dust to go on. It has potential. It’s complex, but it makes certain it answers questions before asking more. I for one don’t find the flashbacks annoying, and I for one am intrigued. At least they didn’t try to make the aliens plot some big reveal halfway through the season.
Lie to Me (FOX, 9/8c) – It got bumped up when poor Lonestar got bumped from the lineup after just two episodes (well written, well acted, but a little disturbing). For a show with a rather irrascible and unpleasant lead, it works improbably well. Lie detection expert Cal Lightman is a real son of a b****, but he manages to wander into likeable territory in dealings with his daughter Emily and esteemed colleague Gillian Foster. Supporting characters Loker and Torres are always fun to watch, but let’s hope Loker doesn’t actually leave the Lightman Group, because although Agent Reynold’s departure hasn’t really made too big an impact, Loker’s absence would leave a noticeable hole. One I don’t think the show can afford.
Castle (ABC, 10/9c) – Nathan Fillion is the best reason to tune in. And yes, I’m biased because of Firefly. But the show seems to be stepping it up a bit since the middle of last season, giving more depth and attention to the nice supporting characters and more personality to leading lady Kate Beckett (played by Stana Katic). It’s Richard Castle’s relationship with is mother and daughter that gives necessary heart to the show, and if nothing else, the show is more than sufficiently entertaining.
Hawaii 5-0 (CBS, 10/9c) – My remote takes me to ABC for Castle, but it gets precedence because it came first. And I don’t have a Nielsen box (sadly), so my tuning in to this newbie won’t help it any. But I catch it online. I’ve never seen the original series. I admit it up front. So I don’t know how this compares. But this remake is engaging and fun, and the scenery doesn’t hurt any. Besides, it has a roster of cool actors. That doesn’t hurt any, either!
NCIS (CBS, 8/7c) – One of my four priority shows for the fall (along with previously-mentioned Chuck, Bones, and Fringe). I didn’t get into this show (despite proddings from a friend–yet a different friend) until I was–surprise!–bored last August and could find nothing to watch on TV. I love the USA Network. Love. And they play lots of NCIS reruns. So fine. I’ll give it a shot. Bad for my bank account (had to buy all six seasons to prepare in just one month for the then upcoming seventh–which I also now own) but good for my addiction to television. A solid procedural with a cast of incredible characters that could very well be your own friends and explosive cases sprinkled throughout that make the otherwise very enjoyable episodes seem like child’s play. Mark Harmon’s Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs is, in short, the man. Michael Weatherly is great as the endearingly annoying Very Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo (and outstanding when portraying his serious side). Former Mossad assassin, Agent Ziva David (Cote de Pablo), is both badass and hilarious. Special Agent Timothy McGee (Sean Murray) is one tough and enjoyable geek. No one could portray the happiest goth girl you’ll ever meet, forensic scientist Abby Sciuto, like the awesome Pauley Perrette. And find me a person who does not simply love Dr. Mallard “Ducky” (David McCallum) and I just will not believe you. As for the man who manages to remain slightly shrouded in mystery, Director Leon Vance (Rocky Carroll), I always look forward to his next move.
NCIS:LA (CBS, 9/8c) – It’ll never live up to the awesomeness of its parent/lead-in show. The characters just don’t have the same level of appeal, nor the overall show the same chemistry or magic. But it’s shot in a rather appealing manner, sports some pretty faces, attacks some interesting cases, and is all-around entertaining. It has also set up some mysterious backgrounds for a few of the characters that give them plenty of future character-based material to work with.
Parenthood (NBC, 10/9c) – In a sea of procedurals (which I quite obviously love), it sticks out. And the ratings might not yet reflect it’s quality, but here’s to hoping that they soon will. I’m glad NBC has given it a second chance–aka a second season. Some familiar faces (like that of the ever-awesome Lauren Graham and the seriously funny Dax Sheppard and the eminent Craig T. Nelson) might draw you in, but the family relationships and family dynamic should keep you interested. Chaos ensues–sometimes approaching over-the-top but never quite reaching it–and I can’t relate to a huge and crazy family or to parenthood. But everyone can relate to some situation and some character. And the chemistry is certainly there.
No Ordinary Family (ABC, 8/7c) – I’m almost beyond the point of being distracted by the fact that Michael Chiklis was The Thing in The Fantastic Four. Most people probably know him best for The Shield, anyway. And Kay Panabaker looks so much like her big sister that I occasionally reflect on their Disney days. But this show is fun. Flawed, sometimes floundering a bit, and not always well-thought-out. But it’s fun. And it has potential to get better. And there are unresolved questions I’d like answered and mysteries I’d like solved before it’s cancelled. Hopefully, it’ll survive cancellation. Too early to tell.
White Collar (USA, 10/9c) – The second half of Season 2 doesn’t return until January, but boy-oh-boy I can hardly wait! It’s smooth, it’s witty, it’s funny, it’s engaging, it’s charming. Suave conman Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer) fights against his past to help his unlikely new best friend FBI Agent (of the White Collar division) Peter Burke (Tim DeKay)–a straight-arrow family man with a down-to-earth wife and a dedication to his work. Not that he has much choice in the matter. But the friendship/partnership of Neal and Peter is the best on television (that is, between two platonic male leads). And Neal’s friend Mozzy is delightfully paranoid, among other things. So glad Marsha Thomason is back full-time as Diana.
Covert Affairs (USA, 11/10c) – I’ve always been on the fence with Piper Perabo, but she’s quite enchanting as Annie Walker, new CIA recruit who is trying desperately to figure out who she can actually trust and how to be a good sister and aunt in the meanwhile. Annie’s blind friend and co-worker Oggie (Christopher Gorham) is positively endearing, and I’m loving me some Sendhil Ramamurthy as the somewhat mysterious Jai Wilcox. USA is all about the fun shows. And this may not be its number-one exhibition, but it certainly is fun.
Undercovers (8/7c) – It needs some finetuning, but the shots are good, and the actors are good, even if more unknown than most. The two leads might have names that are difficult to pronounce, but they are certainly attractive, and the show has some potential. If only it would last long enough to reach it.
Psych (USA, 11/10c) Hilarious. Absolutely hilarious. And brilliant. The writers and the cast have a great deal of fun, and makes sure you have your share of it. Fake psychic detective Shawn Spencer (the underappreciated James Roday) and his best-friend-since-kindergarten Burton “Gus” Guster (the handsome and talented Dule Hill) partner with the Santa Barbara Police Department to solve muuuurders. And they do so with some of the best chemistry on TV. In fact, their friendship/partnership is on par or slightly elevated above the White Collar one mentioned above. If only I had that much fun at work. Then again, I’d get in a great deal of trouble, too–because these friends most certainly do. The supporting lineup is amazing, too, and the writing chock full of wit and pop-culture (especially from the 80s) references. A must-see. (back for second half of Season 2 in November)
Terriers (FX, 10/9c) – A little more mature, a little off-beat, but absolutely engaging. Well-written. Pushes the boundaries a bit. Anti-heroes of a raw and rugged nature. A procedural that doesn’t quite fit within the boundaries but is worht watching.
Bones (FOX, 8/7c) – Check my archives for a gushing endorsement. And ignore all the negative people who are currently irritated that leading man Special Agent Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz) has a girlfriend that isn’t leading lady Dr. Temperance “Bones” Brennan (the lovely, talented, and underappreciated Emily Deschanel). This new chick is a nice temporary addition. And Booth will end up with Bones. It’s meant to be. And their will-they-won’t-they dance and incredibly obvious and crackling UST is not the only reason to watch the show. The ridiculously good-looking cast has four other intriguing and fun characters that are praiseworthy in their own rights. And the cases are almost always fascinating, the science really cool, and the bodies the best on TV.
Fringe (FOX, 9/8c) – Again, go back and read my rave review. But if you love science fiction, you’ll love this show. And if you don’t love science fiction, you still have a very good chance of loving this show. It’s brilliant. And it keeps you on the edge of your seat. It has a wonderful balance of touching personal relationships and fascinating science. It explores alternate universes, and gives you not one but two versions of all but one of the main characters.
Community (NBC, 8/7c) – You’ll have to DVR this little nugget of hilarity, or watch it online, because clearly Bones is priority. But certainly check it out. Who knew that over-the-top silliness featuring a rag-tag group of community college students could be so entertaining?
The Mentalist (CBS, 10/9c) – Let’s face it: Simon Baker is worth watching in almost anything. And yes, it’s another show about a fake psychic–but this one insists real ones don’t exist. And the premise and direction and tone and writing are in stark contrast to Psych. This here show is a drama–and a darn good one.
The Good Guys (9/8c) – Sadly, Human Target (which does not return until November and is another show worth watching, though not as good) was bumped up to Wednesdays. Good news for it. Bad news for The Good Guys, which is, in fact, a really good show. If only the ratings would reflect it. FOX’s Friday time slots are a proverbial graveyard. We know it. But maybe, just maybe, if people would give this riotous little gem a chance, it could survive. Starring straight man Jack Bailey (Colin Hanks, son of A-lister Tom Hanks) and funnyman Dan Stark (Bradley Whitford), whose ‘stache is practically a character of its own, this comedy has a unique style and a unique premise in the world of procedurals. Detectives Stark and Bailey are routinely assigned to the piddly cases–vending machine thefts, for example–but always clumsily stumble upon the big, high-profile cases that they manage to solve in unconventional, borderline-legal, dangerous, and bumbling ways that are rather clever and incredibly entertaining. Please watch!