TV: Red Light, Green Light (Fall 2010)

I wanted to do a TV: Red Light, Green Light post for this TV season to think through all the shows that are up in the air in terms of whether I will keep watching them. This fall season has not been great on TV. New shows are not catching on and even long-running shows are losing their luster. Many series that I tried to watch have already been cancelled by their networks (saving me the trouble of avoiding them). But here’s a quick summary of my take on fall TV.

Red light

I thought there was potential, but now I’m over it.

  • Outlaw / The Whole Truth – Two lawyer shows that I hoped to like but they just seemed derivative and were “trying” too hard. TV names like Jimmy Smits, Rob Morrow, and Maura Tierney could not save them from being cancelled already.
  • The Defenders – A lawyer show with a bit more whimsy (Jim Belushi and Jerry O’Connell as Vegas attorneys) but I didn’t care enough about them to keep watching.
  • Lone Star – Highly praised show about a Texas con man didn’t charm me (or audiences) as it was the first fall casualty.
  • My Generation – I liked this show about a bunch of high school kids ten years after graduation. Too bad it also got axed.
  • Running Wilde – I tried to like this odd little sitcom but it was too quirky for me.
  • The Event – This show had potential to be one of my favourites, but it took too long on the tease and failed to hook me. Plus its time jumps and confusing mysteries didn’t help. Now I don’t care what happens to Jason Ritter’s character or what the Event is.
  • Lie To Me – I used to love this show, but two years of the annoying, self-important Dr. Lightman has been too much.
  • Life Unexpected – I like soaps like this show, but I can’t take another self-serving “Sorry I screwed-up, I’ll never hurt you again” (until next episode) scene.
  • Caprica – A dark and complex sci-fi drama is so needed and Caprica had so much going for it, but then it became boring and painful to watch.
  • Nikita – I love spy/assassin shows, but this one lacks fun, and the episodes are repetitive and devoid of interesting characters.
  • No Ordinary Family – Going where Heroes already failed is risky, and this lightweight, should-be-on-Disney-channel, series is nothing special. Each episode makes the series title more and more ironic.

Yellow light

We had a good run, but things are getting iffy.

  • The Office / Community / 30 Rock – What was once quirky and fresh has now become a bit annoying. I’m tired of the same snarky hijinks.
  • Desperate Housewives – I think I have a love-hate relationship with this show, but it always seems to redeem itself in time.
  • Being Erica – The time-travelling life redos are getting a bit repetitive (ironically), and the writing is becoming preachy, but I still like what they’re trying to do, so I’m still on board.
  • The Simpsons – Some funny, some not. ‘Nuff said.
  • Undercovers – I wanted another Alias, but this isn’t it. When the network cancels this show, I won’t miss it.
  • How I Met Your Mother – These characters are getting old, and the schtick is wearing thin. They really need to shake things up.
  • Fringe – As much as I like the two-universes idea (and love that they alternate episodes between the universes) I am annoyed by Fauxlivia and I just want them to step up the conflict. This scenario is really dragging on too long.
  • Merlin – Yes, I know this is just a fun little fantasy show, but I don’t want to take one step forward (plotwise) and two steps back (repeating past stories).

Green light

My good books runneth over.

  • Medium – This is a great combination of family drama, crime procedural, and supernatural hokem. Please don’t cancel this series!
  • Stargate Universe – I used to hate this show and watching it was like torture, but now I’m really enjoying the drama on board the starship Destiny.
  • Modern Family / The Big Bang Theory – Stalwart, hilarious shows. Must-see laughs.
  • Hawaii Five-O – I think this is the best new show of the season. Scott Caan alone is worth a watch (and the catchy theme song).
  • Better With You – Show started out as the perfect companion to Modern Family, but I think it still needs to get funnier to hold its own. Come on Putneys, you can do it!
  • Outsourced – I know what you’re thinking, but I just like ethnic humour — even the broad kind. I want this show to succeed.
  • Castle / Chuck – These are just two fun shows in their respective genres. Chicken soup for the TV viewer.
  • Lost Girl – Canadian version of Buffy, kind of fun each week. “Into every generation”, right?
  • Sanctuary – The season ender was a quantum leap forward in cool stories, and there are glimmers that this season will live up to that. This is a monster-hunting show of a different stripe, and I think it’s going in an exciting direction.
  • The Vampire Diaries – After giving up on it last year, who knew I’d be singing its praises in season 2? This show has got the right mix of story and plot over teen angst and vampire moodiness.
  • Supernatural – In contrast, we’ve been to the dark side so often with Supernatural, that it’s starting to get a bit too heavy, but I know this show is a quality show, so I am keen to see what’s in store for the Winchesters.
  • The Good Wife – I was a little nervous about where season two was going (what with Kalinda and her car-smashing fit) but the episode with the potential sexual misconduct case was good tv drama. This show deserves its raves.
  • Glee – So does this show. I think people are finally coming down off the hype-high and understanding what this show is. It’s not all things to all people, but I love it. I look forward to the sensational songs-and-dances, as well as the comedic and dramatic ups and downs.

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