Last year at this time, I was complaining that so many summer shows were still on, I had no time to check out any new programs. This year, that’s not the case. Both dancing shows are done (one permanently—sniff!), Mad Men is not on until March or something, Flashpoint took a hiatus… My PVR’s been near empty for weeks.
But I need a distraction from the news, which I’ve been particularly depressing of late. So I’ve decided to audition a number of new shows, to see if any are worth sticking with.
Best new show (so far)
Completely unfair to judge this yet, as I haven’t even watched all the new shows I intend. And just one episode isn’t much to go on. Nevertheless, I feel I should mention CBC’s Michael: Tuesdays and Thursdays (which, confusingly, actually plays on Wednesdays) as I suspect most haven’t heard of it. It’s a half hour comedy, pretty simple premise: Michael has been in therapy for 15 years for various social phobias. His doctor is writing a book about it.
Doesn’t sound like much, but it’s funny. And feels true. And it has women characters as well, and they even get to talk to each other (not about men). And it’s fun spotting the various Ottawa locations in use. And being Canadian, it’s both unlikely to overstay its welcome, or get cancelled prematurely—at least this season. CBC has no doubt ordered a certain number of episodes, all of which it will broadcast.
New shows I’m checking out only because of the cast
Because it features the delicious Gale Harold, whom I loved in Queer as Folk, here playing a very nasty warlock. It’s a show about teenage witches in a small town. And based on one episode, it’s… exactly what you’d expect a show about teenage witches in a small town to be. So far, not promising to be more, à la Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But still, enough entertainment factor there for me to return for more episodes and see how it goes.
Speaking of Buffy, Sarah Michelle Gellar is back in this new series, playing identical twin sisters. Boy, has this one received mixed reviews, some really dire. And sure, the premise is fairly ridiculous, but again based on only one episode, I’m willing to give it a few more views to see how it develops.
3. New Girl
This one stars Zooey Deschanel, and its main selling is most definitely that it stars Zooey Deschanel. It is totally running on her personal charisma. I found the first episode OK. It had some funny moments. I know feminist me is supposed to be offended by her manic pixie dream girl persona, but in a season also giving us a redone Charlie’s Angels and The Playboy Club, (and I’m not so sure about Pan Am, either) it’s hard to work up the outrage.
Returning shows I’m looking forward to
This is one I never would have picked before. Not that I dislike The Mentalist, but it’s more Jean’s show, just one I also don’t mind watching, because the characters are fun and have good interaction.
But I have to say that last season’s finale really blew me away. It was completely gripping in and of itself, in a way that show isn’t usually, it apparently resolved the Red John storyline that had underlined the series since its start (but had become increasingly and a somewhat absurdly convoluted), and in way that I really didn’t expect but still didn’t seem unrealistic at all.
Now, I just can’t wait to see how they get Jayne out of this, and back to helping the CBI solve crimes. (They promise it won’t all have been a dream.)
Here’s another show that went out last season with an ending both surprising and realistic, and it should be great fun watching all this unravel. I love this show for its consistent ability to make me laugh out loud. For real.
Because the only hockey players I want to see are those wearing figure skates.
Returning shows I’m not sure I’ll keep returning to
I’ve already decided to drop the too-uneven How I Met Your Mother, and I’m not sure about these two:
Because in the past, no matter how bad this show sometimes got mid-season (and it could get pretty bad), it always seemed to pull together a finale that made me love it again. But last season? Holy geez, that was crappy. Replaying the Quinn-Finn-Jessie-Rachel love triangle again? Seriously? It’s the night before Nationals, and they haven’t even written the songs they’re going to perform yet? What?
And having made Coach Sylvester a total cartoon then decided we all needed to cry over her sister, what the heck will they do with her next? And apparently they had some reality show this summer to pick new cast members.
I don’t know, Glee. You’re sitting on the PVR there, but I’m not feeling in a big hurry to press Play.
Brennan and Booth and baby. Boring!
And for a bit of dancing
I have been checking out Nico Archambault’s Ils Dansent, focusing on the training of 10 male dancers. With no dropping of one dancer each week! Just learning new and increasingly complex choreography. Nice-looking show. And I can certainly use the weekly exposure to the French language.