Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Fall Television Weigh-In

Now, as much as I love television, I don't watch every show that premieres. I don't have the time, or patience, or in most cases as of late, the slightest interest. Not to mention my addiction to Bravo style reality shows leaves me pretty busy, even with the benefit of a DVR. I just have to do what I can do when I can do it.

But still, there are some shows I am loving this fall. Naturally, I am excited about the return of certain old standby favorites...the current seasons of both Project Runway and Top Chef: Las Vegas have been excellent so far, and I'm really pumped for The Amazing Race (I want the kid with Asperger's to win!). But I thought I'd give some thoughts on the three new shows that I am really digging and see what you all think of them as well.


Community is one of those shows that so far is so good and so funny and so original that I'm worried it's going to get cancelled after the first season. After sampling some of the "best" sitcoms on television and being annoyed by the sheer amount of cheese, I was excited to see something premiere that for me is on par with the likes of 30 Rock or Arrested Development for the quality of humor and the originality of concept.

It was definitely a smart move to cast Chevy Chase in this show, because his experience brings a lot to the table, but it's Joel McHale (of The Soup fame) who really carries the show as its leading man. McHale plays Jeff, a successful lawyer who must go to community college in order to please the bar after his original college degree is proved to be fraudulent. I was happy to see that the kind of deadpan delivery and wit that McHale brings to The Soup translated to scripted comedy flawlessly, and I'm glad to see someone so genuinely talented getting a chance at his own show.

One of the breakout stars of the show is Danny Pudi who plays Abed, a very blunt and straightforward character with Asperger's whose timing and delivery is unmatched. This show is, frankly, one of the best I've seen in years and you would be seriously disappointed if you didn't do yourself the favor of catching up with the season on Hulu. Lucky for you, I provided you with a link. You could watch right now! Or you could watch on NBC Thursdays at 8/7c.


I'll admit, the first time I saw previews for this show, I didn't think it was going to be that good. I thought it was going to be another show that relied on a bunch of stupid cliches for cheap laughs. And while there are some cliches (I sometimes feel that, while hilarious, the gay couple on the show is a series of "gay man" caricatures), I think the show is original in its handling of the cliches. In fact, the strength of the show is its ability to take those stereotypes and make them funny again by forcing them all together into one family dynamic. What emerges from this mix is some pretty witty satire on the modern family (thus the title, I assume) and it's just a funny show to watch.

For me, Eric Stonestreet's over the top portrayal of a proud gay man in a couple that just adopted a baby is fantastic. I thought at first that he would be the main tool of cliche dispensation, but what I like about his choices is that they seem very natural. Sure, he's flamboyant but he also seems like a real guy. There is a moment in the second episode in which he reacts to one woman's criticism of Meryl Streep that just slays me each time I see it. I was also really impressed by one of the kids on the show, an actor named Rico Rodriquez, who plays Manny, an over the top romantic little ten year old who professes his love to a sixteen year old girl who works at the instant photo booth at the mall with a poem and a frilly white shirt. This kid is excellent. He practically makes the show himself.

The show is on ABC on Wednesdays at 9/8c.


ABC is well aware that when Lost finally ends in early 2010, they'll have a gap to fill. They want to keep their audience engaged and so they're clearly looking for something to fill that gap. I believe Flash Forward was one of the ways they were hoping to do that, so I was skeptical that it would be all that successful. So far, though, I'm really interested in what they have going on on this show, and I hope it can keep the momentum that its had since the first episode.

Now, I'll be the first to admit it-- this show is kind of cheesy. Maybe really cheesy. But I also know that I have a lower tolerance for cheese than the average viewer, especially in a seemingly "sci-fi" sort of plotline, and I still think this show has an interesting premise, so that says a lot. The basic plot of the show is that the entire world blacks out one morning for 2 minutes and 17 seconds, only to determine that each of them had a "flash forward" in which they experienced their lives roughly 6 months from that date. Obviously lends itself to a lot of drama and interesting twists, but could also easily fizzle out if the show doesnt handle the issue of passing time delicately. I've heard that the show was originally conceived as a mini-series, which seems smart, but I wonder if ABC will take the success and try to stretch it out for multiple seasons, which could definitely lead to some crappy gaps in the drama.

I will say that Joseph Fiennes has the making of any great leading man, and not just because he's so delightful to look at. He has a solid sense of delivery, which is rare for an action-packed show, I've found. I'll be interested to see how long this show can keep it's momentum. It's on every Thursday on ABC at 8/7c.

1 comment:

Emily S said...

Yeah, definitely loving Community. Haven't seen the other two though, but they sound great!