New Girl

New Girl is a series about a flighty young lady who becomes roommate with a group of  young men. Even  though it follows some standard sitcom plots, it has very much its own texture… to the degree that I’m not going to review it yet. I’m going to let it flow over me for a while to see if I buy into its rhythms. (In that, it reminds me of the first time that I saw The Gods Must Be Crazy, and it was a half hour in before I was invested in its rhythms.

But it’s worth trying to see if it’s your thing.

Published in: on September 30, 2011 at 7:48 pm  Leave a Comment  

A Gifted Man

The premise of A Gifted Man seems like a warning sign: rich doctor is visited by a ghost, who inspires him to take better care of those in need. Oh, no, here comes Dr. Ghost Whisperer. Medium, MD.

But it’s better than that. It’s better in texture. It takes its characters more seriously than it takes its premise. It’s not an Eli Stone wild trip into turning flighty, it’s a look at facing change in one’s life… and if you pay attention, change may not be good. There’s an argument to be made that he was a better ddoctor before being more caring than after… although I’m not certain they’ll explore it.

In any case, I’m not saying this is a great show, or must be seen; I’m saying that this is a show which I expected to watch one episode out of my misplaced sense of duty and dismiss; instead, I’m taping episode 2 tonight. We shall see.

Published in: on September 30, 2011 at 7:39 pm  Leave a Comment  

Pan Am

Pan Am is not, as may have been feared, an attempt at a broadcast Mad Men. Yes, of course it exploits a polished version of the 1960s, in dealing with the famed airline… well, mainly the sharply-dressed stewardesses of the airline (there are male characters, but this is clearly the females’ show). However, it does not have the pretense of insight and commentary. Rather, it’s a broader, shallower drama, something that actually fits in quite nicely into the after-Desperate Housewives slot it now occupies.

Not, mind you, that it has (or tries for) Housewives’s sense of humor. But it does have the various individual storylines running within the context, and just as DH has its various personal storylines and then runs one larger, generally murder-oriented storylines running, this also has one broader play, as one of the stewardesses is actually a newly-recruited intelligence agent, in a story where Not All Is As It Seems.

The aims of the series aren’t that high, but for the most part, they reach them. It’s a watchable piece of unimportant, not particularly realistic, fun. As I said, a good match with DH.

Cringeworthy quote: “Mr. Anderson, people have underestimated me my entire life. And they’ve been wrong.” Well, yes. By definition. If they weren’t wrong, it would not be underestimating, it would be an accurate estimation.

Published in: on September 29, 2011 at 5:03 am  Leave a Comment  

Mixed signals

CNN RSS feed headline: Census: Same-sex couples soar

Headline of actual article that link takes you to: Census Bureau revises down same-sex couples figures

(Both are accurate; it’s more a matter of which spin to choose.)

Published in: on September 28, 2011 at 12:20 pm  Leave a Comment  

Unforgettable

The new crime series Unforgettable is based on a short story, and while I haven’t read it, I bet it’s a good one. A person whose memory stores everything can use it to unravel crime, but cannot unravel the mystery from her own past.

Problem is, a short story doesn’t necessarily equate to a good series. What we end up with is “detective with special trick solves crimes while unraveling the dark mystery from her own past”. So basically, it’s The Mentalist without the fun. The Mentalist isn’t that great with the fun. This just felt like pointless gimmicky downness. Not for me.

Published in: on September 27, 2011 at 6:47 pm  Leave a Comment  

Dear Mr. People-who-make-Breaking-Bad

No one has written a check to the Internal Revenue Service for years now. The checks are now made out to the Department of the Treasury.
Just thought you should know.

Published in: on September 27, 2011 at 4:31 am  Leave a Comment  

Whitney

You know those one-camera shows that seem to be interchangable, Traffic Light and Happy Endings and , umm, there was another one, all with fashion-obsessed thirty-somethings yammering over meals? Well, much of the Whitney pilot feels like it was supposed to be one of them, only they decided to focus on one of the couples, and do it one camera…. but when they are gathered together, it feels like a flawed version of the other thing. It was a bit funnier than the absolutely horrendous ads they were running, but…

Published in: on September 26, 2011 at 6:11 am  Leave a Comment  

2 Broke Girls

The title 2 Broke Girls seems like a missed opportunity. After all, it launched after Two and a Half Men and its regular slot will be right before Two and a Half Men; had they simply titled it Two Broke Girls it would show up right next to its companion show in every alphabetical listing, which would seem convenient… at least to those of us with a sense of organization.

The show itself could use some improvement. It’s nominally a two-character-centered show, but the pilot suggests that one’s the “story” character, and one’s the “flavor” character – like on The Big Bang Theory, where Jim Parsons does an excellent  job playing Sheldon, but he’s not a character that can have a real running plotline, because that would require change or at least the envisioned possibility of change, and the character’s immune to it. In this case, of the two titular characters, one is the daughter of a Bernie Madoff stand-in (interestingly, not the only such figure on the tube this season), and it looks like her role will be to be uncertain how to deal with the lower-class world she now inhabits. She’s the flavor character. The plot character is the smart-mouthed career waitress with bad taste in men and a second job doing child care…. in other words, Opportunities For Things To Happen. The show sticks with her at home, work, and other work; it’s her tale, even if the diner is the main set.

Surrounding the gals at the diner are three other workers – the owner, who is played in an affable but funny method; the chef, who is played as a not-amusing shmuck, whom I’d rather not watch; and… hey, that’s Garrett Morris over by the cash register!  The character says he’s 75; that’s got to be tough to be cast as someone much older than you are…. and then it hits me. Garrett was a relative oldster in the original SNL cast (not the oldest; that award goes to George Coe, although he wasn’t aboard long), and SNL launched a fair while ago…. [sounds of Wikipedia]… he’s 74! Egads! Still has his timing, though.

James Burrows is in the directing chair, at least for the pilot; I assume he’s sill the regular on Mike & Molly, and this is just his usual effort getting things launched.

It’s a workable concept, an okay cast, but the script needs work. There were a couple of genuine laughs to be found, but there were also more things that were simply gross without achieving humor. So will they polish it down. I certainly won’t bet against this one being a financial success; it’s time slot is good, in between two strong hits, one which is managing to carry a lesser series. So if it survives, will it be polished into quality, find its own quirky charm, or will it just be generic filler comedy? Time will tell. Or maybe width, or some other dimension.

Published in: on September 26, 2011 at 5:53 am  Leave a Comment  

Dear Mr. People-who-make-Castle

We here at the House of Nat’s TV like Castle as a bright, fun banter show. The deep emotional story and convoluted ongoing story surrounding the investigation of the death of our lead female’s mom? Just makes us want to reach for the fast-forward. So if you want to maximize the happiness of the House of Nat’s TV, tie it up and move on to happiness.

Published in: on September 25, 2011 at 4:58 am  Comments (3)  

2.0 and a Half Men

The launch of the reworked Two-and-a-Half Men had some very good aspects and some very bad aspects.

The bad aspects were bad. True, there’s no comfortable way to kill off a character, but the funeral scene was too over the top in its dark humor, and just felt uncomfortable. There’s levels of meanness, and even with the negative characters involved, this still managed to cross a line.

And then there was the cameo by the title characters from Dharma & Greg (if unnamed here.) The very different couple whom you loved seeing conquer their differences for five seasons? Well the joke is, haha, they really don’t end up getting along! If somehow this pissing on the fans of Chuck Lorre’s earlier show had added to the plotline of this episode, that might be forgivable… but no. There’s all sorts of funny things they could’ve done with the couple, as long as they were bringing them on… but they’d rather just show off how mean they could be.

The good news? None of these had to do with the direction the show is going in. The stuff with the new guy, Ashton Kutcher? It worked. He brings a different rhythm to a show that could use some freshening (it was dropped rom my watch list last year.)  So it hints to good things in the future. We shall see.

Published in: on September 25, 2011 at 4:45 am  Leave a Comment  
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