Thursday, January 20, 2011

Midseason Musings

I don't know about you but I watch a lot of television. A lot. I might even be considered a "television junkie." With many shows in reruns for another week or so, now seemed like a good time to take a quick look at the shows, new and old, and see how they're doing.

American Dad - I don't like American Dad as much as Family Guy, but I like it more the The Cleveland Show. It doesn't wow me but it's fun. I really liked the Christmas episode. I enjoyed angry, wrathful Santa.

Bones - I've been a little ambivalent about it the last few seasons. It's felt a little too formulaic, but I think they have revived the show a little by deepening the character relationships. The most recent episode was one of their strongest because it forced Bones to examine her life and allowed her to have a few necessary breakthroughs.

Castle - I love Castle. I love Nathan Fillion. There's very little I don't think he can do (except maybe rap like NPH). I think some of his considerable talents are wasted on Castle, but I like seeing him as a lighter  character. The show itself keeps growing. The supporting cast is getting more developed, and that's fantastic because all of them are wonderful. I would like to see more of a story arc than just the average standalone procedural.

Chuck - Linda Hamilton. How awesome is she? I love her inclusion this season. It's deepened the mythology and lead to some hilarious and heartbreaking episodes. I love that Casey is learning to navigate fatherhood (sort of) and that Sarah and Chuck have been dealing with genuine relationship issues while working together. It's these type of stories that help keep the show grounded.

The Cleveland Show - It's okay. Occasionally there will be something that makes me laugh, like "It's a Great Pancake. Cleveland," but mostly, I watch it in the morning when I'm having breakfast and just want a little something to watch.

CSI - I miss the Grissom years but Laurence Fishbourne has been embraced. It's a show that had its peak and is now slowly going downhill, but it still has some life left to it.

CSI: Miami - Not only has it felt stale but it pissed me off recently, when out of nowhere, without any context to the storyline, religion was brought into the episode, and Horatio went to visit his dead wife on her birthday. It was awkward, weird, and left a bad taste in my mouth.

CSI: New York - Not as stale as Miami but definitely feeling a little stiff. The addition of Sela Ward was brilliant. She's given the show some extra life. What kills me about this show is this is the show where they should spend a little more time of the relationships and not just the crimes. The writers created all these interactions and then rarely go anywhere with them. It just leaves you dangling and not in a good way.

The Event - I have tried to get into it. I hear it's gotten better but it started off soooo slowly and felt like it didn't have a clue what kind of show it wanted to be. I stopped watching after five episodes. I'm going to go and try to finish it but so far, I'm unimpressed.

Family Guy - This season started off strong with the Clue-like murder mystery, then became a little uneven, and got better with Brian and Stewie and emaciated Santa. Sometimes I think Seth MacFarlane is at his best when he's writing the longer episodes. Other times, I just think Seth is nuts.

Fringe - I had to give Fringe up last season because of time constraints, but I started watching again and I'm so glad I did. It was risky to alternate between the two universes, but it has worked out brilliantly. Even with missing last season, I was able to just jump right back into the world and understand what was going on. This is one of the few shows I get excited about seeing.

Glee - See other posts for my opinion on it because there is not enough space for my thoughts on it.

Grey's Anatomy - I was sucked into Grey's about four years ago and I've sporadically watched since. Last season's finale was definitely "Must See TV" but other than the first few episodes of this season, I haven't been impressed. It feels tired, but the most recent episodes have gotten stronger and are starting to suck me back in... at least for a little while.

Hawaii Five-O - One of the few new shows I've fallen in love with. Smart writing, strong cast, good action and a gorgeous location. I would like them to develop Kono more, but other than that, it's a solid show.

Human Target - It's a fun show. I thoroughly enjoy it and by adding a couple of strong females to the cast, including their new benefactor/boss, they've taken the show to a new level of hilarity. It's got great action, interesting situations and characters and funny. It's the whole package without taking itself too seriously. What more can you ask for in a show?

Lie To Me - Sometimes feels a little formulaic but I love this show. Strong writing, fairly interesting stories, great cast and Tim Roth always keeps it interesting because I never know what to expect from him and as a wannabe performer, it's really fun to watch and study on-screen.

The LXD - If you haven't seen it on Hulu, go now and watch. The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers is just that - extraordinary. It has a cohesive storyline, and while the acting is sometimes cheesy or stiff, it doesn't matter because that's not why you watch the LXD. The dancing is amazing. All the gravity defying moves are 100% the dancers, no wires or anything like that. It's beautiful to watch.

NCIS - Keeps holding steady. It's well written and well acted. I like how they are delving into the other characters' pasts like using Tony's father or dealing with Ziva's daddy issues. I hear there will soon be an Abby-centric episode as well as a flashback to Tony's days as a Baltimore cop and his first meeting with Gibbs. It's definitely one of the shows I really look forward to each week and watch the reruns often when they are on USA.

NCIS: Los Angeles - Started off rocky but steadily improving. I really like the unexpected team of Chris O'Donnell and LL Cool J. They just work so well. Adding Deeks and sending Nate away helped smooth out some of the bumps and Linda Hunt's Hetty is hilariously terrifying, though sometimes I think they lay it on a little too thick. I love Hetty but it gets a little one note after a while.

No Ordinary Family - I like it but I don't watch it regularly. I'm still playing catch up with it. It's cute. I think they are still finding their footing. I really the focus on how the family struggles to maintain a normal life with the powers. Only one of them is really interested in using his powers in a heroic way, while the others are just trying to adjust and figure out why they got them. One thing I found annoying was how they all got powers that were exactly what they needed like the son with the possible learning disability got brain powers. Just a little too convenient for my tastes, but this is one of the new shows I hope sticks around for a few seasons. There's still a lot of potential with it.

Private Practice - The show really came into its own with the Charlotte King rape plot. It forced everyone to step up their game, from the writers to the cast, and everyone delivered. As I said earlier, KaDee Strickland has been simply beautiful this season. There are a few stories that as bland or feel tired, such as the current Addison wanting a baby story, and I really hope they can find a story for Naomi because right now, as much as I adore Audra McDonald (they really need to get her to sing on the show), she doesn't have much to do and frankly, I wouldn't miss her if she left the show. Overall, the show has been really strong and if you haven't watched it before, this is the season to give it a shot.

The Simpsons - They're like an addiction I can't quit. We all know the show is tired and will eventually have to end, but until then I continue to be a loyal viewer. Occasionally, they have a really good episode, the kind that reminds me of the first few seasons, but more often than not, it's nothing special.

Supernatural - I <3 this show way too much. It's like crack for me. Hot guys driving across the country, in an awesome car, killing evil beings? I'm there. Supernatural is reminds of Buffy because it often gets mocked and overlooked, but it's a show filled with great stories and great characters and at the heart of it, it's about two brothers and the trials they go through in order to keep their family together. Plus the writers are not afraid to laugh at themselves and pop culture or break the fourth wall, which always leads to fun times. If you don't believe me, check out the season 5 episode, Changing Channels.

The Walking Dead - See group review for that.

So these are the shows I watch on a regular basis. After tallying the number up, I find myself a little scared at the amount of TV I watch. This doesn't even count the midseason or off-season shows like So You Think You Can Dance and The Cape or the shows I watch sporadically like The Big Bang Theory, Raising Hope and Nikita (recommend them all). You might have noticed these are mostly network shows, and there's a good reason for that. I don't have cable so most of my watching has to be network tv or what I can easily access on the interwebs. I know there are amazing cable shows out there like Dexter, Sons of Anarchy, White Collar, Breaking Bad and Mad Men. Eventually I will get to see those shows. Until then, I'd love to know your thoughts on the current season and if you can recommend any shows, I will gladly give them a shot.