Before diving back into new TV next week (this week's How I Met Your Mother and Top Chef will be covered in next week's post) let's take a quick look at the state of the numerous new shows that debuted this season which I've been watching.
Despite featuring one of my favorite pilots of the season, after three episodes there wasn't enough narrative urgency to keep this from slipping further down the queue as my TV time got crunched. Now, it seems like a dead show walking, having played out its string but unlikely to get picked up for any additional episodes. I'll finish it out, thanks to the style and characters, but probably not until other, more urgent or intriguing shows, bow for the summer.
Once Upon a Time
Another strong pilot and one of the show's I most regret falling behind on. Hoping to catch up with it soon. Definitely not perfect, but seeing fairy tale characters re-imagined (both in the flashbacks and the modern day) plus a Lost-ian style ongoing narrative is enough to keep me watching.
Hell on Wheels
Debuting during a time when it was tough to keep up on existing shows, I haven't started this yet, but I have the entire thing DVRed and plan to check it out. I do enjoy a good Western.
2 Broke Girls
When this show started, I was more intrigued by the diner setting than anything else. Now, the show succeeds thanks to Max and Caroline's whacky antics, and everything set at the diner is like an albatross around the show's neck, the one-note and racist caricatures of the gals' co-workers weighing the show down. Some effort has recently been put into rounding out some of those characters, but unfortunately, I don't think the producers think Oleg, Han and Earl are as much of a problem as they are. I'm still watching, and mostly enjoying, the show, but I really hope the diner cast moves beyond these one-note stereotypes fast.
Any momentum I had in watching this show was sapped when the third episode was interrupted by an overlong ALCS game, and the fact that little in the first two episodes was compelling enough for me to make the effort to watch that episode online. Mrs. Teebore and I recently watched the fourth episode (the one where the Newt-esque little girl infiltrates Terra Nova) and it was, like the other episodes, neither terrible nor terribly interesting. We'll finish it out just to see where things go, but again, with the entire season in the can, there's not a lot of urgency to do so.
Of all the new comedies I'm watching this season, this is the one that is still doing the most figuring itself out (for all of my issues with 2 Broke Girls, the show is clearly comfortable doing what it's doing), with Jess' character varying wildly from quirky and naive to childlike and stupid from episode to episode, the questionable setup of a potentially-dangerous will they/won't they story between her and Nick, and the fact that the show still doesn't know what to do with Winston long term. The consistent bright spot has been Schmidt who, while suffering through some of the same growing pains as the writers figure out his character, has managed to be consistently hilarious week in and week out. I'm sticking with this one, mainly because of Schmidt, but also because sometimes it fun to watch a show try to find itself, whether it ultimately succeeds or fails.
The best new show of the season that I've never written about, mainly because I like being able to just sit back and enjoy it. While the whacky world it's creating isn't anywhere close to being as well-developed as Springfield or Pawnee, nor anywhere close to representing reality, it has the potential to rival those cities, and watching Tessa explore that world and interact with a strong supporting cast in the show's first half has been tons of fun. When Alan Tudyk is the weakest member of your supporting cast, you know you've got a good thing.
Believe it or not, this is probably my favorite new show of the season. Consistently and ridiculously fun and campy, with a cast full of gorgeous woman, it's a nighttime soap in the best sense of the word. It's also a good template for how to tell satisfying self-contained stories within an episode while still maintaining an overarching narrative, enabling each episode to be satisfying on its own but not inconsequential. I have no idea how its premise could be sustained for multiple seasons, but for now, I'm enjoying the ride.
Up All Night
I rarely laugh out loud at this show, yet consistently come away feeling entertained. The big stumbling block early on was finding ways to integrate Maya Rudolph's broader Ava character with everyone else, and the writers found a nice way to do this by pairing her up with a restrained-but-funny Jason Lee. I have no idea how long he, or his relationship with Ava, will last, but it's a good sign that the writers recognized a problem and addressed it. Meanwhile, Christina Appelgate and Will Arnett remain, again, if not laugh-out-loud funny, consistently entertaining, and that's enough to keep me watching.
Mrs. Teebore and I only lasted two episodes. It tried to be everything Revenge is, but instead was leaden and boring. I love Buffy too, but this was terrible, and from what I've heard, we did right in bailing on it.
Mrs. Teebore is still watching, but I jumped ship after three episodes, and regret hanging in that long. That this is still on the air and Community is on hiatus is a travesty.
Person of Interest
Another show backlogged on the DVR, and another show whose preference for done-in-one procedurals in favor of a larger ongoing narrative made it easy to skip past when viewing time got tight. But I've heard it's gotten better in that regard, and will try to make an effort to catch up on it sooner rather than later.
No one expected both of this season's "fairy tales in the modern era" shows to be good and successful, but surprisingly enough, it somehow happened (granted, Grimm is helped out by being on NBC, where its numbers make it a success it wouldn't be on other networks; it'll be interesting to see what happens in the wake of its move to Thursdays). If Once Upon a Time takes it cues from Lost, this show is definitely a Buffy/Angel descendant (not surprisingly, given some of its creators), which helps make the two shows distinct and enjoyable in their own rights. The main actor is pretty awful, but the rest of the cast, especially Silas Weir Mitchell, is good enough for a genre show, and like Once Upon a Time, the fun is in seeing the different takes on old fairy tale standbys. And like Once Upon a Time, this is another show which I'm eager to catch up with.