Monday, September 30, 2013

Fall TV

I found myself with a little extra time off last week, so that meant opportunity to sample some fall television.

Let me back up for a moment.  Other than "The Newsroom" and "The Big Bang Theory," I don't watch prime time TV.  It's not because I'm a TV snob.  I'm asleep during prime time, and nothing has sufficiently motivated me to hit the "On Demand" button or watch on-line.

I'm a big James Spader fan, so I had to tune in NBC's "The Blacklist."  It was very good.  Spader plays an excellent creepy villain.  There's a lot of action.  On the other hand, it's violent and bloody.  It's one of those shows where you have to play close attention to everything because of all the twists and turns, and snappy dialog.  You can't miss an episode, or you'll lose the story line.  I fear "The Blacklist" requires more attention than I'm willing to give.  I'll try for another episode this week.

I'm on the fence about ABC's "Trophy Wife."  The title says it all.  Middle aged man marries hot, young woman.  He has three kids and two ex wives.  Hilarity ensues.  Well...  "Trophy Wife" had its moments.  Many of the characters are hard to like.

GSN's "The Chase" premiered several weeks ago, and a new batch of episodes hits in early November.  Most of GSN's original productions have been low budget, at best.  Several fell far short of the mark.  "The Chase" is the exception.  The concept is simple:  answer more trivia questions than an expert, named "The Beast."  There are a few enhancements that make things interesting.  If you can get past Brooke Burns' annoying voice, you'll have a great time watching "The Chase."

I hadn't seen CBS's "2 Broke Girls" in more than a year.  Not much has changed.  This could be one of the crudest sitcoms on TV.  We were treated to sex organ and sex act jokes before the first commercial Monday night.  The show is good for a chuckle.  There's an old adage that when you go blue, you really don't have a lot on your plate.

Speaking of blue, CBS has a new sitcom called "Mom."  This ain't "Ozzie and Harriet."  The central character is a recovering alcoholic and pot smoker.  Her mother is a recovering alcoholic and drug user.  Her teenaged daughter is a drinker, a pot smoker, and she might be pregnant.  Her son't father is a weed dealer who's months behind on child support.  By the way, the main character, Christy, lives in a really nice house for a waitress with a deadbeat husband.  Did I mention that Christy dates her married boss?  Times have changed, and I've always believed media reflects society rather than influences it.  I suspect there are a lot of Christy's out there.  Is it funny?  A little.  Rudy the chef is a scene stealer.

Robin Williams is the main offering of a new CBS show called "The Crazy Ones."  Williams and his daughter run a Chicago advertising agency.  Other than Williams acting goofy, there doesn't appear to be much here, and a little Williams goes a long way.  Granted, this was only the first episode, and there's a good chance the show will take a few weeks to develop.

CBS ran two new "The Big Bang Theory" episodes back to back Thursday night.  I've often thought the Penny/Sheldon one on one scenes were the strongest over the years.  The two have a quirky chemistry together, and there were plenty of those this week.  The shows were nothing spectacular, but they were darned solid and delivered on the laughs.  This is the start of season 7.  Raj can talk to women now, and it will be interesting to see where the writers take the characters.  I hope they never lose the social awkwardness that made the show charming from the beginning.

I really wanted to like NBC's "The Michael J. Fox Show."  I didn't.  Fox plays a TV news anchor who quits because of Parkinson's Disease.  He eventually comes back to work.  Fox handles his illness with grace.  Unfortunately, the rest of the cast, including children, are exceptionally annoying.

The same goes for the new CBS sitcom "We Are Men."  It's about four guys, living in an apartment complex.  They all have one thing in common.  They're coming out of bad relationships.  This is one bad cliche after another, and there's nothing new here.  Tony Shalhoub ("Wings" and "Monk") got me to watch.  His talents are wasted, and "We Are Men" could be one of the first cancellations of the new fall season.

Will I watch every show, every week?  Not even close.  However, there are some early offerings that I may drop in to sample from time to time.