Fall TV 2011 – week 3

Apologies for being a bit late to posting, but I have to say, this season’s stock of new shows is proving to be more quantity than quality. Here’s another 10 shows that I’ve watched this week (without many standouts).

Happy Endings is back after a brief showing at the end of last season. This FriendsHow I Met Your Mother hybrid is pretty funny. In the premiere, single gal Penny gets a new place and believes it has a curse that is turning her her into an old maid, so she throws a 1920s party (makes sense, right?). I know that it’s a bit more far-fetched than anything that Monica or Robin might go through, but I’m a sucker for ensemble sitcoms. Suburgatory is a new show about a teenage girl whose dad (played by the surprisingly likeable Jeremy Sisto) moves her out to the ’burbs. As you can tell from the title, it’s got the dry, sarcastic humor of an indie film (but unfortunately not a lot of it). Mike & Molly are back after their season-ending engagement. Unfortunately, watching Mike repeatedly get himself in the dog house is getting old fast. Tragic that the writers felt the need to have big-guy Mike stand up and sink a fishing boat just to get some laughs this episode.

While 2 Broke Girls is a surprisingly funny new odd-couple sitcom, How To Be A Gentleman is surprisingly lame in comparison. The whole “manly men need to be dumb and work out all the time” idea (aka life according to Jersey Shore) was predictably cliche and the only bright spot on the show is Flight of the Conchords’s Murray (Rhys Darby) as the cluelessly cuckolded brother-in-law of the main character, Andrew. Unfortunately, his appearances and one-liners are so out-of-place that it seems like he’s on another TV series altogether. Similarly, Pan Am (a drama about 1960s airline stewardesses) was another girlie soap. Their lives don’t seem super-interesting (even the one character who is a spy was kind of blah).

The new show I’ve enjoyed the most so far has been Terra Nova (another surprise since I thought it would be a been-there-done-that situation with humans trying to live among the dinosaurs). I also feared the family issues Steven Spielberg likes to have mixed in with his sci-fi (luckily that toned down quickly). Ironically, Terra Nova is kind of the only new sci-fi show this season, and it’s set 85 million years in the past. Merlin (the tales of the most famous sorcerer ever as a young man) returns after last season’s climax brought together Arthur’s famous Knights of the Round Table, and Morgana went to the dark side, leaving her father, Uther Pendragon, catatonic with grief. The season premiere was a bit ridiculous as an evil ritual opened a tear in the universe that allows ghosts to fly around and chill people to death, including Merlin himself (As if! Even the preview of episode two shows him up and about again). In a completely different vein, Hart of Dixie features The O.C.’s Rachel Bilson as a hotshot young surgeon who inherits a medical practice in Alabama. This fish-out-of-water story has some potential, but I don’t know that all the supporting cast can win me over with southern charm alone. Hopefully they will become more interesting as the episodes progress.

Finally, The Good Wife returned without really dealing with the immediate events of Will and Alicia hooking up. However, now Eli Gold is working out of the Lockhart Gardner offices, allowing him to spy on Alicia more. The case of the week faced Cary against Alicia (I can’t stand Cary) and Kalinda playing cat and mouse with her lover, Sophia, a P.I. who started working for the D.A. (aka Alicia’s ex) — Could this show get any more incestuous? Well, as long as they keep the story lines involving the Florrick children to a minimum I’ll be happy.

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