September slipped gently past. It’s mid-October, so we are settled into our viewing pattern. It isn’t entirely a wasteland, but it’s not thrilling, either. Actually, the summer season was more interesting and varied than this “prime” season is. These are the shows we have taping on our DVR. We may not actually watch all of them … but they are our current lineup. It may change. Probably, it will. You never know, something new and interesting may replace some of the current dead wood. And so, as glorious autumn drifts towards the long, cold tunnel of winter, I bring you our television “regular” viewing.
The author reserves the right to change her mind at any time without warning.
Our Regulars – More or Less
This show sometimes reminds me of the old Cosby show, except that the kids are adults and working in law enforcement. It isn’t a unique concept, but it’s very well done. Tom Selleck has matured and makes the kind of Police Commissioner every large city wishes it had. For that matter, he’s the father everyone wishes they’d had. Granddad, the old school commissioner from days gone by adds a bit of spice. The adult children are each different, ranging from obsessive and a bit deranged (in a good way), to snarky, sarcastic and some might even say bitchy. Yet they manage to be believable as they hang together in crisis and snipe at each other the rest of the time. The next generation is growing up. With a little luck, this show will last. That the family doesn’t always get along really helps keep the series from getting too treacly.
Derivative? A bit. With Dennis Quaid and Michael Chiklis as the two oppositional forces, it works. Good acting and a decent script can have a remarkably positive effect on the quality of a show. More series should try it. Chiklis represents the dark side, but isn’t all bad. Quaid is the hero, but imperfect. The characters are surprisingly 3-dimensional, especially for a cop show. The sheriff (Quaid) is based on the guy who really was the sheriff of Clark County from the early 1960s into the 1970s. The 1960s setting feels authentic, and so far, the show is intelligent and the dialogue crackles. I’m feeling optimistic about this one. I think we have a winner.
With only a single show to go on, I nonetheless think this one is going to fly. It helps to like country music, since the show has a lot of it, but more important is the depiction of the world of show business in all it’s glory with its simultaneous viciousness, pettiness, and cruelty. For anyone seeking the spotlight, fame, and glory, Nashville shows the price you pay for the glamor. It poses the question that no one can answer: How much is fame worth to you if the thing you want most will surely eat you and spit you out in pieces? Can you stand up straight while riding the tilt-a-whirl?
Back again. Entertainment on the slightly heavy side of light. It’s fun to watch, usually, and maybe, with a little help from a few hallucinations, the show will finally move on from Red John into some other storyline. I’ve about had it with this obsession. I bet I’m not the only viewer wishing they’d move on. Enough Red John. Time for something else. If they don’t find a new direction, I think it will disappear at the end of the season … if not from television, than at least from our television. How about a little creativity, eh? The show has a good cast with a lot of chemistry, but they aren’t using it and rarely give any of the regulars individual screen time. They should. Moving the focus around would revive the show. They have potential, but aren’t doing much with it. It’s amusing, but getting old. The series won’t last if they keep repeating the same story every week.
We stopped watching it last season but gave it another try this year. The intricately melodramatic personal lives of doctors was annoying last year but became depressing this year. Is that an improvement? I can’t see any reason to watch it. It’s not interesting or funny. And it’s not going anywhere.
A notch above Private Practice only because the actors are better (sometimes), but in my unenlightened opinion, the series’ turgid melodramatics is boring. It’s a soap opera in prime time. Sandra Oh was the bright spot, and she’s MIA this season. Add a heavy dose of death and misery and you have a genuinely missable viewing experience. Cross it off my list. Again.
Danson is a big improvement over Fishburne, but the show has never recovered from losing Petersen and I suspect it never will. It’s going to limp along for a while, but it’s just spinning its wheels until someone gives them the hook.
It is what it is. The characters are paper-thin. More interesting last year when the concept was new, this year looks to be a virtual rerun of last year with minor plot differences. Yawn.
Another one that seems to have run out of steam. Failure to develop the characters or find new directions for stories makes me feel like I’m watching reruns, but I’m not. When you can predict the dialogue, but you haven’t seen the show before, it’s not a good sign. I’m hoping against hope that something is about to happen, but it needs to perk up soon. It’s … well … dull. Another yawn.
And baby makes three. Oh please, please, get back to cases, gore, and forensics and away from baby carriages and quibbling about domestic diddly squat. Where’s the snappy dialogue? Where are the interesting, if gruesome, cases? It’s turning into a domestic comedy set in a lab. Temperance, as a character, has changed without growing. Now she’s wifely and whiny, but no more empathetic or human. And Booth seems to be getting dumber by the day. He didn’t used to be stupid. What happened? This show needs to remember why people liked it in the first place and get back on track … before it’s too late.
Leroy Jethro Gibbs and crew are a bright light in a dark tunnel. The news that Mark Harmon has signed for another 2 years is heartening and I am grateful. I would love to see more of Jamie Lee Curtis. She was the first love interest for Gibbs who could go head to head with him and was “age appropriate.” There’s no hint of her returning, but I can hope. Very glad that David McCallum is back. I’ve enjoyed him since he played Illya Kuryakin on The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
The Closer spinoff isn’t as good as the original, but it’s coming along. The series is showing encouraging signs of character development. The Closer was character-driven and so is its spinoff. If they keep going in this direction, it might make the cut. I’m cautiously optimistic.
Sorry, but this series is over. It was over last year, but NBC didn’t have anything with which to replace it. I’m tired of it. I can predict the dialogue, who done what, and the resolution before the credits have finished rolling. Wrap it up. Time to move on.
It’s hilarious and now that this is the last season, they are throwing mud pies at NBC that I’m sure they wouldn’t have dared in earlier years. I wish it weren’t going away. Intelligent comedies are an endangered species and anything worth watching on NBC is rare enough to be noteworthy.
It’s different and it has potential. It depends on how the characters develop and whether or not they can move the story along and not get stuck rehashing the same issues over and over. If they don’t trap themselves, this show might be the only unique show of the season. Well, almost unique. Unique-ish. That’s something, anyhow.
Through its early seasons, the show moved forward. Characters developed, plots got complicated, but situations resolved and didn’t get stuck. Now, though, they are in a cycle of annoying characters, irritating yet strangely tense situations. We can neither believe the plot nor empathize with the characters. The script has people behaving illogically. You can have a character evolve, grow, try new things … but if you want to keep your audience, you can’t create a character, then write scripts that have them doing exactly the opposite of what you’ve led your audience to expect. Television shows create a world with its own logic, values and axioms. When you dump the structure you’ve built to do something else, viewers may choose to change the channel. We are those people. Tonight, we switched off in the middle of the show. The irritation factor exceeded the enjoyment level. We’ve had enough for now. We’ll visit later in the season to see if they have moved to a better place.
In summary …
Maybe there will be more good stuff coming up. The season isn’t a complete washout, but it’s not thrilling either. The dearth of originality is the season’s most striking feature. Of the new shows, onlyVegas, Nashville, and maybe Elementary show signs of life. The first two I think (hope, anyhow) might actually survive. NBC cancelled Harry’s Law while it was a hit, so you can never be sure of anything. For further insight, watch 30 Rock. For that matter, Star Trek Second Generation was cancelled while it was the number one show on television. It would be naïve to be overly optimistic. I’m grateful to movie channels and especially Turner Classics, as well as the World Series for keeping us from becoming comatose.
We need to a breakout season on television. It’s been too long since there’s been anything to get excited about. It’s not as bad as it could be, but that’s not saying much.
- Television Premiere Review: Vegas (thelazygeeks.com)
- TV First Impression: “Vegas” (popdose.com)
- Episode Review: THE MENTALIST (“The Crimson Hat”, Season Finale) (mralphafreak.wordpress.com)
- ‘Vegas’ review: Classic Western in 1960 (sfgate.com)
- Red John or Red Herring? (wtkr.com)
- Michael Chiklis on other side of the law in “Vegas” (cbsnews.com)
- Review of “Vegas” (classiclasvegas.squarespace.com)
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