Barrelhouse Takes on the New Fall Season

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip -- This show's well-written enough that it's forced me to reconsider my position on both Matthew Perry and Amanda Peet, which, believe me, is really saying something.

The Class -- Here's the premise of this show: A doofus tries to impress his girlfriend by rounding up everyone from their third grade class for a party -- and not only do people show up, their lives are indelibly linked afterward. If this set-up sounds intriguing to you, by all means tune in. And then smack yourself over the head with a mallet, because you're the reason so many crappy sitcoms get put on the air.

Friday Night Lights -- The jury's still out on this one. I wasn't a big fan of the movie, which I thought glossed over some of the book's more interesting sociological observations about life in West Texas. So far the TV show seems to have potential -- Kyle Chandler is particularly good as the new coach -- but it's maybe a little too Varsity Blues, minus the bad Dawson-Leery-trying-to-sound-tough-and-Southern element, of course. I'll probably keep watching, though, because I love football. Plus NBC's making it hard to avoid by airing each episode roughly eighteen times a week.

How I Met Your Mother -- God, this show pisses me off. It would be one thing if it was just consistently lousy and I could stop watching (see: The Class). But all the secondary characters are really funny and fun to watch -- on a recent episode, Doogie Howser Barney takes Nick Andopolis Marshall out to meeet girls, but then keeps stealing the girls for himself with his "Do you like magic tricks?" line. High-larious. On another episode, Barney leaves a note for his one night stand explaining that he's in fact a ghost who's only allowed to appear in the flesh once every ten years -- maybe, the note says, he'll see her again in a decade, "if [she] hasn't lost her figure." Unfortunately, we eventually have to go back to the main storyline about dopey Ted and his pie-faced girlfriend and God I just want to smash them both in the back of the head with a fucking brick. Do the show's writers know how annoying Ted is? Are they setting us up for a twist ending in which we find out he's been narrating the entire story from The Great Beyond after getting run over by a delivery truck? Is that too much to ask?

Grey's Anatomy -- Speaking of annoying narrators, am I the only one who finds Meredith unbearably whiny and self-absorbed, even by the admittedly lowered standards of television dramedy? Really? Just me, huh? I'm all alone on this one?

The Office and My Name is Earl -- still really, really funny.

Men in Trees -- Quirky single girl from the big city trapped in Alaska. Not enough cliche potential for you? What if I told you she was a relationship advice expert? Whose fiance recently cheated on her? Yeah, there we go.

Brothers and Sisters -- I've been Tivoing this, but I've only mustered the energy to watch the first episode, which seemed a little ... I don't know .... rudderless, maybe? There were a lot of characters, and a lot of yapping, and then someone died, and maybe there's a financial scandal? Also, Calista Flockhart plays a conservative pundit, which is pretty much the only way Ally McBeal could become less likeable.

Everybody Hates Chris -- I think this show's really funny. Why aren't you watching it? Because you people like to disappoint me.

So there you have it. I'm sure I've left out some shows -- both good and bad ones. So feel free to add your own reviews in the comments.


aaron said...

The Unit -- A show about Delta Force by David Mamet and Shawn Ryan (The Shield). President Palmer stars. Compelling stuff mostly, but then you realize they are rehashing old Mamet plots (like the Spanish Prisoner) or whimping out. One episode featured a) an infected CIA female spy b) a suicide bomber belt and c) a bus full of similarly infected terrorists about to board a plane to spread the disease across the world. However, a + b did not equal blown up c. Which would have been really daring television.

The Class -- I liked this at first after seeing 1.5 episodes...no longer, however. The sexual tension between the "girl who married old athlete" and "the slacker" has already been defused, because the story gives no reason for them not to carry on an illicit affair. Also, did you know that the chick who played Janis Ian in Mean Girls is on the show? Me neither. She's lost about 30 pounds and all her funny.

Met Your Mother-- This show works sometimes, thanks to Barney, but again, sexual tension defused too quickly.

Friday Night Lights -- too many muscial montage moments substituting for acting, and they don't know their football as well as they should.

Grey's Anatomy -- I stopped sporadically watching after the epiosode when they got the bomb out of the dude and then the bomb squad guy blew up and then cut to commerical and then back and everybody's happy that everything worked out so great. no mention of the blown up dude again. but he was connecting with Meredith, to the point where she would at least show some regret over him being blown to smithereeens

The Wire -- just an awful show all around. I just hope Marlo finds a good woman soon, who can keep him in line.

NFL Sunday Ticket ShortCuts: You have to pay a crapload, but you get to see every NFL Sunday Ticket game from start to finish in under 30 minutes from Sunday night through Tuesday. Just the plays.

Pete said...

Men In Trees - Gee, this doesn't sound *at all* like "Northern Exposure." Hey, Hollywood, I've got this great treatment for a domestic comedy about a guy who's a comedy writer for a 1960s musical variety TV show. I call it "The Dirk Von Dirk Show." Whaddya think?

dave said...

Dexter: Good god David from Six Feet Under is creepy in this thing from Showtime about am amoral serial killer and blood spatter forensics genius who only kills serial killers. So he's kind of like a serial killer with a code of honor and a shitload of scary medical equipment. The creepy/serious/fun tone of the first episode is going to be hard to keep up, but it's worth checking out.

Friday Night Lights: High hopes for this, but I'm really not sure. Did the quarterback have to get a spinal injury, instead of just blowing out a knee? Isn't Kyle Chandler a little too, um, nice to be a high school football coach, especially in Texas? Man, my high school football coach was a raging prick, and we were in the middle of Pennsylvania. And I'm not sure about a five eight, one fifty pound dude being the best quarterback the recruiter from Notre Dame has ever seen. Has anybody seen the size of quarterbacks nowadays? They are gigantic, wide men, approximately the shape of refrigerators. Anyway, all that said, it's still promising -- well acted pretty much and interesting to look at. The ghost of the movie, and of Varsity Blues, hang pretty heavy over this thing, though. I mean, I'm hoping Billie Bob makes an appearance soon. And that cool whip bikini thing.

Flavor of Love: Tied for The Wire as the best show on television. Ever. Flava Flav is matched only by New York, who is the most crazy person ever shown on television ever, and that includes the news.

Studio 60: I like the Aaron Sorkin walky/talky thing. Matthew Perry and Bradley Whitford are great. As much as I love staring at Amanda Peet, and I do love it, I'm not quite buying her in this thing -- too many glimmers in her eye, perhaps. There's some gravitas that's just plain missing. Still, good show, even on a down night (last week's episode: note to Mr. Sorkin -- comedy plagiarism isn't exactly a nuclear crisis) still better than most of what's out there.

South Park: Still goddam brilliant. They say they'd like to go after Dane Cook this year. I'll be in the first row for that one.

Mike said...

Anybody still watching The O.C.? I haven't seen that one in over a year, but I heard Marissa died last season and Caitlin Cooper is now one of the main characters?

Also, I gave up on Veronica Mars last season because I missed a couple key episodes and so things got too confusing (maybe that means I'mdumb, if I have trouble following the plot of a WB show).