Sunday, October 02, 2011

Fall TV, Part 1

Hey, look, Cracked judged the new season the same way I did! Only much funnier!

Okay, but now we've all actually seen things, so here's a follow up post on my list of what I am was looking forward to this fall.

I found the pilot delightfully silly, and was pleasantly surprised by how well Sarah Michelle Gellar pulled off her dual role (the styling didn't hurt — even if it at one point required her to have a completely unrealistic hairdo to indicate which twin she was). I didn't mind the painful greenscreen everyone was talking about; I was too distracted by the bizarre filter they had on the lens in the same scene. I'm much more bothered by someone getting into a cab in New York City and saying "I'm going to the airport" (hat-tip to Jenn for catching that one), or the plot hinging around an apartment being empty because they're firing the contractors — but wouldn't they have to come pick up their tools? Fantasy needs to have rules, and I'm completely fine with whatever crazy evil twin shenanigans they want to throw at us, as long as I believe in the underlying world. Obviously the show isn't meant to be realistic, but it still needs to be grounded.

Also, I just don't find it very compelling. Boy pointed out that the main character (Bridget, as Siobhan) has no real relationships with anyone, since she's pretending to have known every character on the show already, or pretending not to. It makes it hard to care about anyone.

I'm two episodes in, and I'll give it at least one more, because it clearly has potential to be trashy fun, but it needs to get more interesting and less clunky quickly.

Vampire Diaries
I've only watched the first episode of the season, but they're definitely playing to their strengths (naked Ian Somerhalder), and are staying true to form by unexpectedly killing off a character I quite liked, and generally remaining campy, over-the-top fun (a potential running theme for the season).

The Secret Circle
I've only watched the pilot so far, so I'm reserving judgment, but I'm not impressed. There's a lot of setup in the pilot, which is to be expected, but it's all pretty dull, which is avoidable. The cast so far has very little chemistry (which, again, can change over time) and aren't all that interesting individually either. I thought this show would hit my sweet spot (teen drama, supernatural, slightly silly) but so far it's pretty meh.

Soooo good! And already over! I know it will be back for more in a few months, but this three episode mini-season was such of a tease! I really want to believe that the whole cast records the show together every week, like a radio play. I know that's not how animated shows usually work, but it really has that feel to it. I've always loved how they treat the show as if it's live-action, with the opening credits with the cast and the tight continuity across episodes. But the fact that it's animated lets them get away with a lot (like everyone being awful). This arc has been great, and I hope it achieves what I assume is its goal of getting them new viewers from Sunny for the rest of the season.

How I Met Your Mother
I don't feel like I have anything insightful to say about this show, but I've quite liked the first few episodes of the season. The cast seems to be having fun, and they somehow make all the gimmickry work for me.

The Sing Off
I love this show. I can't really explain why. I know it's just another singing competition, and the fact that they're groups doesn't really change the format at all. I'm not even all that into a cappella. But I just love it. It's refreshing to have judges (two out of three anyway) who are actually giant music nerds, giving actual criticism. And Sara Bareilles is charming enough to make up for the fact that she never really says anything and I don't like her music. I love this show so much I gave up Gossip Girl for it. GG was on the cusp already, but I didn't really think I'd give it up for this. But The Sing Off started a week earlier and I'm not letting it go.

The Playboy Club
You guys, I really like The Playboy Club. I swear I'm not trying to be contrary to every critic and basically every viewer here. I'm not saying it's a good show. I recognize that it's terrible, but two episodes in I'm totally enjoying it. It's not without its problems. Chiefly that Maureen might be the dumbest person on television. They seem to be trying hard to make her a strong woman, even though she's in a Bunny costume (I assume because she's in a Bunny costume). We see her stand up to various men, and while she definitely needs help hiding the body and all that, I didn't get the sense that the man had to rescue her. But then she leaves her blood-covered costume lying around where anyone could find it, and stands in the bathroom with the door open playing with the key from the man she killed, which she supposedly has with her to get rid of. I hope the mob kills her and Laura Benanti becomes the singing, snarky lead of the show as she deserves to be.

But yeah, I'm totally enjoying this terrible show. It looks good, and there's enough going on that I'm always interested. I actually sort of like how seriously it takes itself — that makes the campy moments feel unforced. I'm sorry, everybody.

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