TV Red Light, Green Light 2011

I know it seems like I’m all about the TV shows now, but frankly I haven’t been out to the movies in a while. Whenever a movie comes out that I’ve been waiting to see, the reviews are always so mediocre or worse, that I lose interest in going out to the movie theatre, especially when there’s so much new tv to watch. (I promise I’ll get out there soon. Maybe The Immortals will be good. It’s coming out this coming weekend.) Anyway, a lot of new shows came out and I already gave my takes on some of them, but things have been changing quickly. My initial list has been pared down a lot. A lot of shows didn’t turn out to be too good (some have been cancelled by the networks). There have not been any revolutionary or instant-classic shows this season so far: no new Modern Family or Lost has come along. But here’s what I’m still watching, what I’ve stopped watching, and what’s still on the bubble.

Red Light: Shows I don’t watch anymore.

Charlie’s Angels and How To Be A Gentleman have already been cancelled (and I thought they were both terrible shows). I am not a fan of Pan Am, either. Too slow, characters aren’t interesting, and I find no charm in that whole Mad Men, 60s aesthetic. Ringer proved to be a bit disappointing. The circumstances and plots of the show resembled ABC Family’s The Lying Game and yet for some reason, the melodrama seemed much more enjoyable coming from teenagers than from supposed adults. The writing on Ringer seemed pretty weak and the suspense just seemed too contrived. Hello and goodbye, SMG. Sorry.

I also tried to resuscitate my interest in The Office, Nikita and Desperate Housewives, but the new Dunder Mifflin under James Spader and Ed Helms just wasn’t funny or fun enough to make me come back for good; Nikita had a game changing finale and premiere, but I still didn’t care about these characters and their issues. The week-to-week adventures were just not exciting enough on their own. As for Wisteria Lane, I never went back there, and hearing about how the storylines seem to be going this season, I don’t think I’m going to.

Other new shows that have fallen off my watch-list: Suburgatory: I’m tired of this kind of suburban sendup. Hart of Dixie was OK, but I couldn’t stand to watch each week as Rachel Bilson did something to anger the locals and tried to make up for it some how. That wasn’t the kind of formula I wanted in a show. American Horror Story is getting tons of positive buzz, and though I only watched one episode, it seems to have all the freakiness of the latter-day Twin Peaks. I don’t like the scariness/creepiness. I don’t like the very sexual tone, or the bizarreness of some of the characters. I don’t hate it, but that’s probably only because I decided to stop watching it. Homeland is another show that has been getting great reviews, but I don’t like military or terrorism themes very much, plus the gritty realism over thrilling action is not my cup of tea anymore. Finally, New Girl got dropped because I got over Zooey Deschanel’s cuteness, and I’m already watching a number of sitcoms about pretty young adults and their issues. I don’t need this one.

Amber Light: Shows that I may lose interest in if they don’t improve.

I am surprised how many shows are in the amber section. I think there are more mediocre shows these days, so I don’t want to waste too much time on the bad ones. The Secret Circle is on the high end of the scale, but they definitely need to keep the plots moving (like that other show with the vampires). While they have killed one of the main characters already, they are dragging their feet on so many subplots. Plus, for a show about witches, they spend too much time on non-magical problems and dramas. Harry’s Law has gone from being about an inner city practice, to a prestigious firm with quirky cases and characters. While I love all shades of David E. Kelley legal drama, if it becomes too much like Boston Legal, I’m going to have to call it quits. The Simpsons continues to be in amber, but it’s probably going to be that way until it gets cancelled (which doesn’t appear to be any time soon). It’s still funny in dribs, but not as hilarious as it once was.

Though I would find it hard to stop watching any of these shows, Fringe, Supernatural, and Glee (I know! I’m surprised that I said it, too! But even Brittany and Santana have become tired characters) have all slipped from their hey days and I really don’t give them as much priority as I used to. Similarly, Sanctuary, Chuck, Psych and Burn Notice all need to pick it up if they want to stay green.

Green Light: Shows that I like and watch faithfully each week.

The Vampire Diaries – Still firing on all cylinders now that Tyler and Caroline have become more likeable. Evil Stefan is a bit tiresome, but Original Rebecca might be kind of interesting. The Good Wife is still pulling out some great legal drama, Castle is still fun-filled crime-solving (mixing it up with a little hostage situation last week), Hawaii Five-O is also back in business, with a new girl and Masi Oka’s a great addition to the cast (love his Neo costume!). Person of Interest (new JJ Abrams vigilante series) was totally amber or even red at first. I was disappointed because I was expecting complex mythology and exciting action, and when both turned out to be so-so I dismissed this show. It wasn’t until I realized that the beauty of these episodes is in the dialogue and interaction between John Reese and the people he saves that I started to enjoy this show a whole lot more. Terra Nova, Grimm, Once Upon A Time, all have potential. To me they’re all like Hawaii Five-O was last year: enjoyable, but I won’t miss it if I miss it.

All my good sitcoms are still green: Community, The Big Bang Theory, Modern Family, and Parks and Recreation continue to bring the laughs each week. Mike & Molly and How I Met Your Mother are still OK chuckles as well. I’m glad for newbies like 2 Broke Girls (it’s funny ‘cos it’s sarcastic), and Up All Night (it’s got to maintain that contemporary humour and steer away from the cliche “mommy” jokes) to bolster the ranks. Also Happy Endings is only quasi-new and is gaining on its predecessor (HIMYM) in sitcom buzz.

Finally, the shows that I anticipate the most surprised even me. I am not normally a reality-competition fan, but I can’t wait to catch The Sing-Off each week. I have been a devoted fan since the beginning, but with an expanded season this year, I am enjoying the diversity of groups even more. The performances are a lot of fun (it’s really what I watch Glee for). Sometimes I wish they could have my faves from all the seasons go head-to-head. The new show that gets my vote is (surprise!) Revenge! It’s soapy like a vat of Palmolive, but that’s what makes it sinfully delicious (except for a couple of lame characters that really should be exiled to one of the many CW teen soaps). Who doesn’t love to see wicked rich people get their comeuppances? Am I right?

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