Wednesday, September 22, 2010

TBG TV: 2010 Fall Preview -- Wednesday

Shows I'm Already Watching: My deeply-embedded bias against child actors keeps me from crowning Modern Family (ABC) as the best new show from last season, but the silver medal is nothing to sneeze at. Well-written and brilliantly cast, the individual storylines with each of the three couples/families could easily stand on their own from week-to-week. That the writers so effectively weave them into an often-satisfying finish is no small feat.

I'm still on board with Cougar Town, but found myself enjoying the season a little bit less by the end of its premiere season. Early on, Courtney Cox's "Jules" character was played for self-deprecating laughs on the dating scene with several eccentric – and excellent – characters in the background. Somewhere along the way, the show turned into Friends: Over 40 -- Grayson slept with Jules' girlfriend Laurie , but realized his mistake and tried to keep it a secret. But, then Andy found out and told his wife, Ellie -- Jules' other girlfriend. Grayson and Jules then slept together and EVERYONE knows except Jules' ex-husband, Bobby. Yes, I'm still on board!

Show I'm No Longer Watching: Well, I guess this is goodbye, Law & Order: SVU. Mrs. Bootleg and I didn't discover you until the spring of 2004, when our then-infant son Jalen was hooked up to his portable heart monitor and on house arrest during the first two months after he came home from the hospital. Thanks to the continuous loop of reruns that aired on the USA Network, we were caught up on all five seasons in a week and a half. I followed the first-run episodes for six more seasons on NBC, but I'm officially out. The increasingly absurd storylines, ridiculous plot twists and seemingly weekly " crossed the line, hand in your badge...!" proclamations proved too incessant to overcome.

New Show to TiVO: I don't have high hopes for Undercovers (NBC) -- the latest JJ Abrams drama -- but, in accordance with the wishes of the National Black Caucus and Ebony Magazine, I'm obligated to give it a shot. Boris Kodjoe and Gugu Mbatha-Raw star as husband-and-wife superspies. (Alternate title: Mr. & Mrs. (Black)Smith*) In the promos I've seen, Mbatha-Raw's gun-wielding believability falls somewhere between
Melanie Griffith and Kathleen Turner.

* -- There is no way - NONE - that I was the first person to make this joke. But, I've been sitting on it since I first heard this show was on its way and I make no apologies for my lazy, racial play-on-words.

New Show with No Chance: I already told you about my favorite Wednesday night show. Modern Family gives equal time to three different relationships. There's the "married, middle-aged with children" unit; the "older man marries woman half his age" couple and the "committed gay men who've just become fathers". Easy to follow...the concepts are accessible to most viewers...1, 2, 3. In the 8:30 PM timeslot, ABC is debuting Better with You -- described by one its stars as being "about relationships in three different stages". There's the "about-to-get-married" couple, the "ain't-never-gonna-get-married" couple and the old married couple. Easy to follow...the concepts are accessible to most viewers...1, 2, 3. No thanks, ABC. You've got me covered 30 minutes later.


SHough610 said...

Re: Law and Order SVU, I always think of a line from Scrubs when Kelso says, "We get it, the pedophile did it!".

I actually felt the opposite about Cougar Town as it went along. I thought that the quality of the show was parallel to the increase in hottness of Busy Phillips (who had just had a baby when the show started and is back in fighting form).

Aaron C. said...

After reading a couple of "Cougar Town" season two previews, it's clear I'm WAY in the minority of viewers here.

I mean, I obviously like the show, but the decision to move from "dating Jules" to "Jules' Crew" still felt like something that should've happened more organically, rather than the abrupt way it was handled.

SHough610 said...

Bill Lawrence has talked about how the first five or six (I think, it could have been as high as ten or twelve) episodes of a series are finding the footing and figuring out how to tell the stories. My guess is that the stories were more organic and funnier for the writers when it became Jule' Crew.

It also took the expiration date off the show, IMO. There are certain shows where the premise leads to a point where the goal is met or you frustrate the audience. If it had been solely about Jules finding a man, it would have eventually slid into Jules' Crew or something similar. But I don't think it would have lasted as long. Similarly, How I Met Your Mother would fail if it weren't for the strength of the supporting cast. LOST had to eventually confront leaving the island.

As for if it was successful, YMMV.

Other Joe said...

Better With You has No Chance In Hell of surviving. Josh Cooke is this generation's Ted McGinley as far as cancellations go and it gets worse when he is paired up again with Jennifer Finnigan. They both were on "Committed" a few years ago, and the only thing I remember about that show was that there was sad clown that lived in her closet.

Aaron C. said...

My money is still on "Undercovers" being the first casualty of the new season. (At least among the so-called "big three" networks.) If my Twitter feed is any indication - and why wouldn't it be? - everyone on Earth hated it.