The Yearly Check-Up | Television 2011

It’s December 13, which means that we have reached the mid-point in the 2011-2012 television season. New shows have entered our lives and television sets and some have even bid us an early adieu. (I’m lookin’ at you, The Playboy Club.) I think I’ve made it pretty clear that I was sampling most of what the networks had to offer this Fall, so I thought that it was only fair that I update you on which shows I’ve fallen for and which I’ve weeded out of my weekly schedule.

In the spirit of full disclosure, this is the list of NEW shows that I DVR and watch on the reg – whether I think they’re very good or not.

ABC: Pan Am, Revenge, Once Upon a Time, Suburgatory
NBC: Grimm, Up All Night, Whitney, Prime Suspect
CBS: 2 Broke Girls, Person of Interest
FOX: New Girl, American Horror Story
The CW: Hart of Dixie, Ringer, The Secret Circle

Let’s get to it…

Top 5 Fave Newbies:

Revenge – I think that this is the best new show of the season. I look forward to it every week and am disappointed when I’ve finished watching. The plot lines are compelling, the characters are engaging – and let’s face it – everything is so pretty! I’ve been a fan of Emily VanCamp since Everwood and it’s clear that the girl makes good choices.

New Girl – Molly did a great job of pointing out why you should be watching this show (or stop complaining about it, at least) way back in October. And kids, it’s just gotten better and better. Most notably, the Thanksgiving episode and last week’s “Bad in Bed” are two of the brightest moments in the 2011 television season. It’s no coincidence that those two episodes have featured Justin Long in a guest-starring role – essentially as the boy version of Jess. Young MAN!

(P.S. A lot of comparisons have been made between New Girl and another HIGH-larious sitcom, Happy Endings. Rest assured – just because you like one, it doesn’t mean you have to hate the other. I WILL explore this topic at a later date.)

Once Upon a Time – This is the newest of my favorite shows and frankly, the reason that I’ve been holding out on writing this post. I’ve known for a long time that it would find itself on this list, but how could I write about it when I hadn’t seen it?! We’re still only a handful of episodes in, but I’m completely transfixed with the town of Storybrooke. It really was destined to be good, coming from former LOST writers (so many fun LOST references) and with a cast of TV all-stars (Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Morrison, Lana Parilla.)

When it first debuted, I was a little skeptical that I would enjoy watching the fairy tale portion of each episode – but those flashbacks have proven to be one of the most compelling elements of the series. And in the present day Storybrooke, it’s so fun to try and figure out the who’s who of fairy tale characters. If anything, it’s just refreshing to have such a different kind of show to watch. (Also, RIP Hottie McHuntsman.)

Suburgatory – Love. I wrote about it when it premiered – and like New Girl, it has only improved. Cheryl Hines practically steals the show as Dallas and Allie Grant (Weeds) has had more than a few standout moments as the awkward next-door neighbor and Tessa’s closest friend. I wouldn’t say it nestles comfortably on the schedule between The Middle and Modern Family – perhaps a better fit would be after MF and before the more likely companion, Happy Endings? But if you have room for another sitcom in your schedule, it wouldn’t hurt to add this one. (So many good sitcoms these days, am I right?)

Prime Suspect – If you are the kind of person that likes doing things for others, then this is what you can do for me. WATCH THIS SHOW. It is so very good. And I think it’s about to be canceled. I’m going to play the blame game for a minute and point fingers at all of the television critics/reviewers that saw the pilot episode and immediately dismissed it. First of all, critics. Don’t you know the rules? You have to give a show at least two or three episodes before it finds its groove. Kudos to Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly for offering a mea culpa in his online column for his original review of the show.

Runner-Up:

Hart of Dixie – it makes no sense why I’m compelled to this show, but for some reason I totally am. Maybe it’s because the town square is the same one used in Gilmore Girls or the fact that there was a Friday Night Lights reference? Sure, I could do without Jaime King’s character (and her incredibly offensive Southern accent) – but as long as The CW has it on the schedule, I’m in.

Shows that I expected better things from:

Up All Night – Let’s all stop pretending we don’t wish this were a funnier show.

Person of Interest – So, so promising. So missing the mark. You would think with the powers of J.J. Abrams, Michael Emerson and Jesus (Jim Caviezel) combined, this would be an excellent show. The dialogue and acting are stiff and the plot is mediocre. I’m hoping that Abrams’ other new show, Alcatraz (premiering in January), will be stronger. (Note: I decided while writing this not to go back and watch the episodes that I’ve missed and to cancel the series recording. Boom.)

2 Broke Girls – Okay, sometimes there are laughs and even some sweet moments. But I need Whitney Cummings and Michael Patrick King to realize that girls go for smarter comedy than the cheap shots they’re throwing at us.

Shows that I’m in disbelief over their full-season order:

Whitney –I have no idea why I watch this show. I really am the worst. It’s just bad. So bad. Here’s what would make it better: Get rid of her two gal pals and replace them with girls less….man-ish? Then get rid of Whitney. Or just throw the show out altogether and find something great for Chris D’Elia to do. He deserves better.

—–

Do you agree with my Top 5 shows of the new season? Or are you shaking your head in disgust at my picks? Either way, head to the comments and let me know what you think!

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12 thoughts on “The Yearly Check-Up | Television 2011

  1. A) I can’t believe you still watch Pan Am. (wait, yes I can) I barely made it through the pilot episode. so sad. so bad.
    B) That tweet about Hart of Dixie couldn’t be more true, but I still love it, too! It’s gotten better, and yes, Jamie King’s accent is THE WORST. Can’t she be a “southern belle” with a modern day southern accent and fewer hoop skirts?
    C) Whitney is probably still on because you watch it.. 🙂

    • A) REALLY? I’m surprised you didn’t try at least once more! Not so bad.

      B) Right? I do not believe that towns like that actually exist anymore and I know for damn sure (this is where it gets a little race-y) that if they did, Lemon Breeland would not have ever dated the mayor. You know why.

      C)Probs. Like I said, I’m the worst.

      • A) I was going to give it another try, but the episodes just kept building up on the DVR and clogging up my life.

        B) I do know why and you’re right. Also, I read Lemon as Le-MON. Maybe if THAT was her name it would be more realistic. Whoa..

        C) You know what you need to do.

      • First, a complaint. I hate that WordPress doesn’t let me reply to a comment after the initial comment.

        A) I hear ya. Person of Interest is my Pan Am.

        B) Le-MON and La-VON.

        C) I do. I so very do.

  2. Random thoughts:

    I really dig Up All Night. I think it’s a great cast, and it manages funny and sweet pretty effortlessly.

    Chris D’Elia is THE reason to watch Whitney. Agreed he should just get his own show. Everyone else is terrible, and Whitney always acts like she knows she is on a show.

    New Girl is awesome and the “sex scene” in the “Bad in Bed” episode was the most effectively awkward thing I’ve ever seen.

    2 Broke Girls is kinda charming. Not great. I’m amazed at some of the jokes they get away with. Probably wouldn’t watch it if Heather didn’t like it.

    Haven’t seen Once Upon a Time, but I’ll take the opportunity to express my disappointment in GRIMM. I expected some X-Files, but it’s just another crime procedural that only HAPPENS to involve the supernatural. Everything screams THIS IS AN EPISODE OF LAW AND ORDER THAT WE COULDN’T MAKE WORK BECAUSE IT HAD WEREWOLVES.

    • I want to like Up All Night so much! And it is a great cast – the guest stars are even amazing, but I just find myself so completely bored while watching it.

      He’s so great. His reactions are so perfect and he makes fitting into that character seem so effortless. But yeah, the rest? Awful.

      I agree with you on Grimm. Another show that I watch because I sincerely want good things for it, but it keeps coming up short.

  3. My thoughts:

    I like your Top 5, although I bailed on Revenge I’m thinking I might need to give it another shot. It was just too “soapy” for me.

    I’m so far behind on Once Upon a Time, but I really, really like it.

    The tweet about Hart of Dixie is SO. right. on. I have strong feelings about that show because I lived in Alabama for 13 or so years. Towns like that don’t really exist anymore, aside from Fairhope, maybe. And yes, you are so right on the “race-y” comment. It just wouldn’t happen. Why, oh why is Bluebell so stuck in the 60’s in every sense that it can be. It just drove me crazy to watch it, so I had to stop.

    Pan Am was a disaster in my book. Couldn’t make it past episode 1.

    I stuck with Person of Interest for a while and it just never got better. I was so wanting it to be a great show, but it’s slow and stiff. Sad.

    I like Up All Night a lot, too. I think it’s sweet and funny without trying to hard. I do think Will Arnett is underused, though. He is the star of that show.

    • It can be soapy sometimes, but for the most part it’s just really, really entertaining. (Far be it from me to speak ill of soap, though. Ahem. I love me some Gossip Girl.

      I have to believe that the writers/creators are trying to create something different with Hart of Dixie. People cannot believe that is what small towns in the South are like. They just can’t. Was Stars Hollow that ridiculous and it wasn’t an issue for us because it wasn’t Alabama?

      So apparently I’m in the minority on Up All Night?

      • I feel like Stars Hollow was quaint and cute. Blue Belle seems off to me because the people actually LOOK like their from the 1960’s and then you throw in Rachel Bilson who is so urban and edgy. Yes, I get the contrast, but it’s too extreme for me. I’m not sure why I’m so hung up on it, but it really bothers me. 🙂

  4. I also am a follower of Once Upon A Time thus far. It’s the show I feel like I shouldn’t enjoy watching but find myself thinking about it afterwards. The writers are starting to find the sweet spot and let’s hope they don’t lose sight of it! (RIP hottie Huntsman). I did however see theories that he isn’t actually dead for various reasons so I’m curious to see how it pans out. One person noted that on imdb, he is listed for like 22 episodes.

    I slowly lost interest in Pan Am; I think they just went for too much too soon and the plot lines seemed a little schizophrenic.

    I definitely disagree about Person of Interest because I find it to be a pretty thrilling and well-developed show. Veni Vidi Vici is the standout episode so far.

    I’m surprised that 2 Broke Girls gets away with their jokes too! I mean I like a moderately dirty joke every now and then but mercy, sometimes my mouth just drops open when watching that show.

    Grimm kind of turned into a disappointment; maybe it was the effects but I just didn’t find it compelling enough. I may try one more episode.

    We actually talked about Hart of Dixie in my Intro to Linguistics class, my teacher asked if it was a show worth watching and most people were quick to respond “NO!” due to the stigmatized, offensive, and mostly inaccurate Southern accents.

    New Girl was just kind of boring to me, I may try to watch a few more episodes but once I skipped a week I realized I didn’t really miss it. I’d rather watch Doctor Who anyways.

    • I wondered about how many episodes he was listed for on IMDB. Sometimes that info can be misleading, though. He might just show up in flashbacks, etc. Crossing my fingers that he comes back to life! (A little reverse Snow White kissing action, maybe?)

      Agree to disagree.

      They’re just so blatant. I like a dirty joke to be a little more subtle. 🙂

      With Hart of Dixie, that’s just something I choose to move past. Love Rachel Bilson, love Scott Porter. Love TV shows about small towns!

      Trust me, New Girl has found it’s groove.

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