Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Fall TV Review: The returning shows

It's a few weeks into the new TV season, so I figured it was about time to post some of my thoughts on the shows I'm watching this fall. I'll start with the returning shows, and I'll try not to spoil anything (though SPOILER ALERT just in case).

Community might be the funniest show on TV, and it has not lost a step from the end of last season. Ken Jeong is still hilarious and steals every scene he's in, and the cast works well together. I'd be surprised if the show makes it past this season, especially since it's up against Big Bang Theory, but it's funny while it lasts.

Big Bang Theory is the only "sitcom" I watch, which should tell you something. It's awesome, and the shtick is still fresh, thanks to "Shamy".

30 Rock is absolutely hilarious. I'm stoked for the live episodes this week.

Chuck is my favourite show on TV right now. It still has the comedic edge, a great story hook, and the energy it needs to keep things captivating. It also has a great sense of humour about itself, like having Dolph Lundgren guest star as a Russian in the season premiere and spitting out lines from Ivan Drago in Rocky IV. Awesome. I am part of a devoted, though still small, fan base, so I hope that NBC gives the show the chance to finish what it has started.

Glee is a mixed bag for me through the first three episodes. Though there were flashes of musical genius ("Stronger", "Telephone", "Toxic", and "Losing My Religion" come immediately to mind) and some interesting character developments, the show has also featured a number of incomprehensible music choices, sporadic character development, and cloyingly saccharine sentiment disguised as genuine emotion. I suppose it's the trap of being a hit, but I think the show could return to the form it displayed in the first half of Season 1. Still, it has presented some interesting conflicts, and the "Grilled Cheezus" episode was at least worth watching to see how the show dealt with crises of faith. I think there is still a temptation to wrap everything up within each episode, and that there still might be too much pandering to audidences, but it's perhaps the biggest "watercooler" show around, and it is still interesting enough to watch. That may change, but for now I'm still tuning in.

Survivor: Nicaragua has had an interesting beginning, though there seems to be little strategic ability in this group of players. The Medallion of Power is a great twist, and it should be an interesting season as it plays out.

Dexter seems to still be strong, and I'm interested to see where it goes. You can't top John Lithgow, so I'm glad they're not trying to, but the show still has a lot of life left. It should be an interesting season, and Michael C. Hall is enigmatically captivating as always.

Other shows I keep track of, even if I do not watch them each week:

The Office is irrelevant to me. I might catch up on Season 6 and 7 sometime, but I haven't watched it since Jim and Pam's wedding. But when I binge on it, I'll probably get sucked back in. I know the show is still going, but I'd call it quits soon - next season if it keeps going the way it has. (And yes, that plan still fits my "7 season" theory, since "Season 1" was only six episodes long. Unless a show really has something meaningful to say, Season 7 should end it. See: Scrubs for proof.)

Futurama is on a temporary hiatus, but it's as good (if not better) than it ever was. Thank you, Comedy Central.

Friday Night Lights is entering its last season, but I still need to catch up on the last two seasons.

My wife has been watching How I Met Your Mother recently. She's partway into Season 3, so she may catch up soon enough. I like it enough to watch it once in awhile, but the whole feel of a sitcom with a laugh track really kills it for me. And again, I hope they end it at Season 7 (next year); it would just be cruel to keep it going.

I may try to catch up on Modern Family sometime. I haven't watched it yet, but I at least want to give it a try. And Breaking Bad and Mad Men are still on my "I'll watch them someday" list. And maybe I'll finally try out Parks and Recreation before it comes back in the spring.

And for those keeping track at home, that's three comedies, two comedy-dramas, one reality show, and one drama I watch every week, for a total of 7 shows in 4 hours. There are two comedies and another drama in my sphere of awareness, as well as a couple of shows I've been meaning to watch, but my TV-watching schedule feels almost full even without the new shows. I'll post about them soon, but so far it's not looking good for many of them to crack the line-up permanently. But that's the returning shows I'm watching this fall.


  1. If you like(d) The Office, you may like Parks & Recreation. Similar format as the Office ("documentary"), but consistently funnier (b/c the Office has gone downhill).

    However, there are rumours that Holly Flax will be returning (Michael Scott's one true love), which may improve the story line...

  2. I agree with Marc: try out Parks & Rec. But also give it some time. I didn't find the first few episodes to be very funny, but then it got amazing. As a bonus, my brother says that working for city government is really like that.

  3. Community is the funniest show on television. You are right though, tough timeslot... enjoy it while it lasts. And hope that Outsourced is soon canceled so we can have Parks and Recreation back. The Office has been bad for a while and has lost its spot on the must watch list.

    Chuck is... not so good. The budget cuts are painfully obvious, much of season three was sub par and it is hard to really buy in to a show that will be canceled at any minute... but it used to be so good.

    Can you still watch Dexter? I am emotionally traumatized from the end of season 4, I haven't been able to bear the thought of season 5. I guess that means its good tv...

    Too many dumb people use Survivor to break into show biz... no one uses strategy any longer. But can I turn it off? Of course not.

    Modern family is definitely worth a watch, so is The Middle.

    It all boils down to the fact that there is way too much good TV to fit into a week! Sons of Anarchy, Terriers, Boardwalk Empire to name just a few more. Of course the MLB playoffs, NFL on the weekend, Rider games at seemingly random times... One must determine their priorities.



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