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Home » Culture and Criticism

TV Question Qorner: Midseason TV Report Card

Submitted by on October 26, 2010 – 2:23 PM43 Comments

What I'm watching — or no longer watching — and why.


Boardwalk Empire. I have to catch up on recent episodes, but so far, A-minus — the minus is for the pacing, which is very slightly slow and self-regarding in the first couple of eps, but seems set to pick up a bit now that the audience has had a chance to admire the set design. It's nice to see Gretchen Mol working, too. I've always felt that she got jobbed by Rounders and didn't get another chance to show what she could do until recently. Also: Omar.

Chase. One of the few things I still enjoyed about Prison Break as it sogged into the sunset was the relationship between Michael and Sucre. Amaury Nolasco, usually saddled with some variation on a magical-Latino theme, is extremely charming in spite of it, and his scenes with Wentworth Miller were among the few that seemed to untrack Miller from constant Blue-Steeling and into actual acting and reacting. I gave Chase a try mostly for him.

It's gotten punted from the DVR, though, not because it's bad but because it's just…kind of there. The show is trying to build to a reveal about Annie's father, but I feel like the lawperson whose dad is a crook is a trope I've seen too often, and I don't care about Annie enough to see it through (Kelli Giddish is good, but she has to try so hard not to let the Cliché-o-Tron 3000 digest her whole that she can't make much headway). They do get good guest stars, but it's not enough.

Detroit 1-8-7. Another one I watched on the strength of the casting, and another one I deleted in defeat after watching Michael Imperioli nearly herniate himself in an attempt to give the autism-spectrum veteran detective some depth. Imperioli is a fantastic actor, and because he's also a writer-director, he comes at material as a whole, but it soon became clear that there's not much he can do here — we've seen it done before, and better, by various Law & Order: CI detectives, and I think the Detroit 1-8-7 writers would have done better to take that character in a less D'Onofrio, more Noth direction.

I didn't see the version of the show that more closely mimicked the style of The First 48, but based on the elements that remain, I suspect it worked better that way and I don't see why the network overrode it. Like Chase, it's fine, not actively bad, has some interesting actors in it (Aisha Hinds, the lieutenant, made good work of a bad job in an SVU guest spot last year), but I was never excited about watching it, so: punt.

Hawaii Five-0. I tried; I did. Scott Caan is fantastic. I wish he were on a different show. Alas, he's on this one, and life's too short. Nix.

Law & Order: Los Angeles. As Wing aptly pointed out on the best new podcast you should obviously already be listening to, Extra Hot Great, it's not really a Law & Order — no chung-chung, no chyrons telling you the address, none of that. It is obsessed with pointing out How L.A. It Is, which is irritating, but I gave it a spin anyway, because I don't think Skeet Ulrich is as blank a slate as some critics (or at least I don't think it's a bad thing), and I liked Corey Stoll's energy. But they went with a quickness to the, to me, super-boring territorial-posturing-over-terrorism well; Terrence Howard, ordinarily a brilliant and subtle enough actor that I can temporarily forget his creepy attitudes towards feminine hygiene, has a ham under each arm and a few slices down his shorts; and this one doesn't do anything additional to or better than the now-cancelled mothership. Fail; punt.

Luther. Mmm…Idris Elba. It's a bit strange to see Stringer Bell in a state of British-accented psychological dishevelment — even more so because I've started rewatching The Wire from the beginning — but Elba is predictably great, great enough that I can live short-term with another chewed-to-pablum trope of the genre, the serial killer who's obsessed with taunting the police in ways so intrusive and flamboyant that there's really no way a real-life detective couldn't nail his or her ass to the wall. Can Western culture please give that shit a rest? Luther does twist it a bit, in fairness; at the end of the last episode, the lightness of the "One coffee doesn't mean we're friends" exchange is startling and interesting, and Ruth Wilson bailed out her annoying character just with that single scene. The acting is carrying the over-writing.

But the reason we are culturally obsessed with serial killers is the very thing they don't do in real life: explain how they do and are, and let us understand (and thereby avoid) the tragic mayhem that results. To give sociopaths a bunch of teasy, smug, socially lubricated talking to do in our art makes sense as a human instinct, to try to control the unpredictable, but as a shortcut to making police casework interesting, it's worn out its welcome.

Terriers. I like it a lot, although I don't love it, and I feel like perhaps I've missed something because I don't love it yet. With that said, I also feel like the one reservation I have about it — that it's too invested in a USA-detective-show-ish tonal palette that, instead of leavening the darker stuff, is a little shticky and distracting — is about to change. Sometimes a story wants to go in a bleak direction, and fighting that is a mistake; certainly the actors can carry it, Donal Logue in particular, so I hope my prediction is correct. Even that quibble is fairly minor, though (my other quibble, that Logue's hair had gotten too long, was also addressed in a recent episode — way to recognize for the CFF, hair and makeup! hee). This one's a keeper.

Top Chef: Just Desserts. I didn't expect to enjoy it at first, and I almost quit watching during the Seth-fugue series of episodes; I won't pretend that I don't like reality-TV craziness, because I do, but even for me, there comes a point when it's a medication issue that isn't ethical to watch unfolding, never mind pleasurable. But it's pretty good, and Padma-free living is the way to go — I know they won't fire her at this point, but maybe she'll quit on her own and they can make Gail the head judge on Top Chef: Savory. I'm also happy to see that Gail is dressing for her body more successfully on this version; she has a perfectly cute, normal figure, but in the past has tended to wear clothes that lumped her up unnecessarily. (My theory: wardrobe only buys dresses that look good on Padma, who's like a foot taller and built differently, and Gail has to pick from those. On her own show, this isn't an issue.)

The Whole Truth. I'll give it one more episode to make me give a shit, because, once again, I like the cast a lot but the premise is not doing it for me. Also, it's possible to make obnoxious characters sympathetic, but it's not always easy, and it's not happening with Morrow's character. On probation. [Edited to add: Joe R just told me it got cancelled yesterday. Problem solved!]


The Challenge: Inappropriate Historical Terminology. My continuing to watch the show is indefensible, and yet, here I am. Best wishes to Teej in his recovery; he's started strapping his bitch on over the last fewseasons, usually towards contestants I already hate, and I hope he doesso for many seasons to come. Also, shut up, Laurel.

Chuck. This fell out of the rotation last season, during my household's dark night of the DVR when we had to switch the boxes out like every two weeks — and I just never put it back on. I wasn't one of the people who hated Brandon Routh, or that arc, but the season overall felt inattentive and slow, and I just never got back into it; it had become a chore to keep up with, so I dropped it. Mr. Stupidhead reports that it's gotten its mojo back this year, and I'll no doubt catch up with it later.

Fringe. I'd expected the divided-worlds plotting to feel too slow and obligatory, but they've done a decent job with it. The interruption by baseball probably forced the show to move things along, in a way, instead of deliberately portioning out suspense to a contrived climax point timed to sweeps. That may still happen, but I'm encouraged so far.

Here's hoping that what we've seen to this point puts at least a short-term stop to the complaining about Anna Torv's acting. She's not the best in the cast, but the cast is extremely good; she's not the most emotive, but that's the character, at least partly. I don't need her to get an Emmy, but what do you expect from an FBI agent whose primary job, at least in the show's early going, was to ask Walter to explain things to the audience? No, she's not Bernhardt, but the part doesn't call for that. Give her a break.

Anyway. I'm grossed out that Alternalivia and Peter Did It, but I'm situationally grossed out, not grossed out writing-wise. Keeping it, obviously.

The Good Wife. Turned into one of my favorites last year — Kalinda is my hero. Love her outfits, love her attitude, love her awesomeness at her job, super-love her whole hate-fuck subplot with Jason Street, which really shouldn't work for me at all but somehow totally does.

I don't love Julianna Margulies, for reasons that aren't fair to her, really; she has a certain judginess to her face that's just how her face is, but it comes into her characters and I tend not to care for them as a result. But everyone else on the show is fantastic, and the decision to back away from the Alicia/Will pairing, at least for now, was smart (the execution was both abrupt and meh, if that makes sense, but the other smart choice was giving it to Alan Cumming to play). It's not the most groundbreaking material in the world, but some of it is fresh, and you can't beat the acting talent. Keeping it.

Hoarders. I might have to let it go soon. So few of the subjects get any real benefit from it, and I can't look at too many more piles of feces.

Law & Order: SVU. I should let this one go too, but I can't — it's too funny. The two-parter starring Desmond from Lost as a "tragic" pedophile? The PSA about soda and obesity? Its commitment to becoming steadily more ridiculous is unswerving. I'm in.

The League. It's actually new to my DVR roster, but I don't think I missed anything crucial last year. Paul Scheer is my favorite at UCB, and he's probably my favorite here. Hilarious show.

Project Runway. I've really enjoyed this season; expanding it to 90 minutes and bagging the separate model show works. The final three also works for me. I hope Michael C. is okay, though. That elimination was, while correct, utterly wrenching. Boyfriend needs to tell his family to fuck off.

Survivor: Nicaragua. Does the season play kind of weirdly to anyone else — as though they keep having to change things on the fly? Some seasons, I get the sense that the showrunners know it's a dud and just try to get to the end so they can start fresh with a new crop of contestants, but it's not exactly that this time out. Maybe they counted on Jimmy Johnson staying in it longer, and didn't know quite how to gin up excitement once the other Survivors (rightly) ousted him? Andy Dehnart deemed last week's episode both weird and boring, which is about where I am with it; if something compelling doesn't happen this week, I might ditch it until next time.


Alias. I've never watched the first season all the way through, and it's really fun — more so knowing that the actual plotting/season arcs always get reset, so I can just have it on while I do other things and not have to pay religious attention to it. Well, except when Garber is effing killing it, which is every scene he's in. Aw, Spy Daddy.

Modern Family. Still catching up on first-season eps, so it's in the Vintage section for now. I didn't think I'd stick with it past the first disc Netflix sent; it felt too broad in parts, but the main problem early in S1 is Phil, who is unwatchably awkward, and worse, his lines are timed to force the bloom. I call that the Kramer Entrance School of Nudging the Viewer, and I don't like it. Fortunately, the writers calmed him down a bit as the show progressed.

And what I do like about the show is its consistent ability to feint left and go right. I watch very few sitcoms, because most of them telegraph the jokes and plots from the very first scene, and watching the journey is not fun for me…I don't know why. It's a how-the-sausages-are-made issue, maybe, although I've never written for TV, so that's not the aptest description. Arrested Development could up-end that kind of thing, which is why I liked it; Modern Family isn't quite as deft and doesn't pack quite as much in, but it stays far enough ahead of me that I'll keep on with it.

The Wire. No need to get into the show's awesomeness generally, but I'll be the 18,283rd to say that, if you have avoided watching it because you're afraid the overhype from the show's fans will mean the show isn't as good as you expect, I had the same fear, but the show really is that good. Furthermore, it is a fox-fest.

My note here is about Wood Harris, who plays Avon Barksdale, and it's a question I've had since I first got into the show a few years back. Does Harris purposely play Avon as a mercurial guy whose affect is sometimes inappropriate? Or is his acting just not very good? There's a line in Episode 112, I believe, where Avon and Stringer have cleaned out the office and they're just kind of waiting around for the raid to happen, and Avon tells Stringer to open the safe instead of letting the police break the lock open. Harris's reading is a good example of what I'm asking about: "Well open it up, man, no sense ruining a good safe." Avon is pretty nervous in the scene, which is a good choice; Harris usually plays Avon as less steely than you'd expect, also a good choice. But is that reading "Avon is nervous," or is it just a weird reading?

Harris has a lot of line readings like that; you could justify them on various emotional bases, but the problem is that he's usually in scenes with heavier acting hitters like Elba or Larry Gilliard Jr. (who, by the way, gets more amazing on every rewatch). Those guys occupy their lines to the point where it's like watching a documentary; Harris frequently seems to live on top of his lines instead, and at times it takes me out of the scene, wondering if this is the best take they got and why it comes off like a rehearsal.

I haven't seen Harris in much else, but I recall having the same sensation during his guest shot on Southland (and speaking of, did that get sacked? Anyone know?), that he's a good fit physically and does his blocking seamlessly, but occasionally drops a clanker that doesn't feel intentional.

…I think that's everything I'm watching. What have you guys kept or punted from your initial fall-season lineup? Anything you think I'd like to add?

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  • Anlyn says:

    I have The Event on DVR, but haven't gotten around to watching it. And going by everyone's reactions (TWOP, Sepinwall, my brother…), I'll probably be deleting it without watching. Too much to do.

    I really like Terriers (if for nothing else because I really like the opening credits), but the ratings are so dismal that I'm afraid it won't be around for a second season. I really liked the sister, and am actually interested in where Britt and Katie's relationship goes. And I rarely give a rat's ass about TV romances.

    I don't have HBO, and am not going to spend the money on it for one show, but I'm really interested in Boardwalk Empire. I'll be checking it out on Netflix once it's available.

  • ferretrick says:

    Well, first off, The Whole Truth was officially cancelled today, so it's done anyway. But, MY GOD, what happened to Rob Morrow? Six or however many seasons of playing the straight, quiet guy on Numbers had him really bottled up,huh? I keep looking for pieces of the scenery in his new beard (which does look quite fetching).

    I never thought Chuck lost any mojo, but it is definitely firing on all cylinders this year, and Linda Hamilton is a great addition. And it's about freakin' time they put the General in the opening credits; the actress has comic timing "Jefster" and the rest of the boring Buy More crew should kill for.

    I love Kalinda on Good Wife, except when Archie Penjabi crosses the line from "quiet, low key, and subtle" to "mumbling so much the dialogue is incomprehensible." That's been happening a bit too often lately; it ruined the hate-fuck (hee!) scene last week. I'm glad I'm not the only one who is annoyed by Julianna Margulies and her permabitchface.

    Survivor sucks this season-I have no interest in watching a person who thinks its remotely appropriate to talk about beating a disabled contestant over the head with their artifical limb in any context. The show is so desperate for another love to hate villain, they keep casting people who are more and more loathsome each season and its ruining the show.

    Totally agree about Phil in the early episodes of Modern Family-stick with it. The actor and the writing of the character get much, MUCH better, and now he's a lovable as the rest of the cast. The guy's got great comic timing; it just took them a while to figure out how to write for him. Have you seen the episode with Manny going on a trip with his birth father to Disneyworld? If that doesn't sell you nothing will…sitcoms don't make me sniffle often.

  • Ellen says:

    Southland will be returning for their 3rd season in January!

  • Leigh in CO says:

    Funny – I just deleted my entire Detroit 1-8-7 folder last night, after seeing zero episodes. I needed to clear some space, and that got picked to go. It just didn't interest me all that much.

    Rubicon is one that I have found to be better than when it first started. Once we employed the mini-marathon method of viewing, it started improving immensely; the pace is slow, so having two or three episodes to watch at a time is helpful.

    Fringe has become one of my favorite shows maybe ever. I love Anna Torv (and think she's rocking the dual Olivias).

    Also: eating Twizzlers at the moment, anxiously awaiting the opportunity to vote for them again.

  • Jenn says:

    I've only really liked one episode of Survivor this season, the second one, when that annoying guy Shannon was voted out. My problem is that there aren't a whole lot of likable people this season. Who am I supposed to root for, Fabio?

    I always wind up feeling the same about every episode of Hoarders – that every story is pretty much the same – but when I see one's on, I watch. It's a sickness, I guess.

    Alias is still one of my all-time favorite shows.

    I keep forgetting The Challenge is on, so it's a good thing MTV reairs everything 50 times. I find myself rooting for Derrick every season he's on. He's become one of the more mature, grounded people. Also, Johnny Bananas can bite me hard.

  • Salieri2 says:

    Re: Fringe: Why John Noble doesn't have an Emmy is beyond me.

    And Anna Torv really is doing an outstanding job of playing essentially a 3rd and 4th version of her character–1) Brainwashed Olivia who thinks she's Fauxlivia and 2) Fauxlivia Pretending to Be Olivia But Wearing Far Too Much Lip Gloss and Practically Twirling Her Snidely Whiplash Moustache, Aren't You People Supposed To Be Geniuses Come ON?

    Pacey schmacey, I can't buy all the supposed sex appeal of Josh Jackson until they get that 8th-grade girl's peacoat off him.

    It's a shame Fox'll probably axe the show just when it starts to really hit its stride.

  • Missicat says:

    I really really want to like Hawaii Five-0. The show desperately needs 1. new writers who can actually write dialogue and 2. acting lessons for everyone except Scott Caan.

    Julianna Margulies will always be the sanctimonious Carol from ER. Blech.

  • Lisa says:

    Corey Stoll and his 'stache are the only reasons I keep coming back to LOLA. I hate LA-as-a-character pretty much across the board, but damn. The Stoll 'Stache is like a tractor beam, and I am but a lowly X-wing.

    I only know Idris Elba from "This Christmas" (I knooooow.) but I'm loving "Luther," because I heart BBCAmerica and will watch pretty much any of their program (except for Doctor Who) which MEANS. . .

    Law & Order: UK is THE SHIT. I know they recycled old Mothership scripts, but I do. not. care. Love it. Love love love. (And hellooooo, Jamie Bamber.)

  • attica says:

    I resent, in the wholly spitting-into-the-wind way that one resents How Hollywood Treats Women, that Gretchen Mol has been cast as the mother of a grown man in Boardwalk Empire. Played by an actor only nine years her junior. Sure, she has to play many scenes in various states of nudity, but I am certain that there are plenty of good actresses old enough to be the mother of a grown man who could handle that requirement with brio. Grrrr.

    In the Reality Cooking Competition genre, I'm digging this season of The Next Iron Chef. Ming Tsai is among the cheftestants. Ming Sigh, more like it. Dayum with teh hot.

  • Holly says:

    Man, I could have written your comment about Terriers. I don't love it, but I'd really like it to stick around for a while. I want to know what happens And… down to the observation that Donal Logue's hair is JUST a touch too long now, and I have been distracted for the last few eps by wishing it would get cut back to what it was in the pilot.

    Also, interesting to read your observations about The Wire. I'm in the middle of season 2, watching for the first time. And yeah, it really is as great as everyone says. I don't know that I was thinking about the Avon performance that closely, but what you say resonates. I get a strangely ineffectual vibe off Avon — like, he's the kingpin because everyone says he's the kingpin, but I frequently have a hard time figuring out why he's the kingpin except for Brianna and Stringer seem to want him to be. Which may be wise on their part; he's a brand, not a real leader. I don't know. It's a weird feeling.

    We watched the first ep of Luther this week, and it was FASCINATING to see how different Elba is in it. Then we watched our weekly ep of The Wire right after, so I spent a lot of time looking at him and trying to suss out the differences. It's a shame that Stringer is such a bad, bad man, because Elba makes him SO damn hot.

  • DuchessKitty says:

    Shows I've axed from the Tivo season-pass line up: Life Unexpected, Medium, Nikita, and sadly The Office, although my boyfriend Timothy Olyphant is going to be on for the next couple of episodes of the latter so I may have to rethink that decision.

    Shows I have saved unwatched on the dvr but am still committed to: Terriers (but I did watch 4 eps this past weekend), Cougar Town, Masterpiece: Mystery, and Parenthood.

    The new dramas I'm actively watching are Hawaii Five-O, and Law & Order: LA. I totally understand why people are disappointed in both of these efforts but they're growing on me. And my love for Scott Caan, Skeet Ulrich, Corey Stolls, and Alfred Molina are keeping me invested. Oh, and last week's L&O:LA ep actually had the "In the criminal justice system…" intro with the CHUN CHUNK, so maybe they're listening to the fans lamenting. No transition title cards yet though.

    And THANK JEEBUS for you, Joe, and Sarah – knowing that there are other sad, helpless addicts out there who can't quit watching MTV's The Challenge is comforting. And you three have been hilarious in your discussions about this season. More please!

  • JennyB says:

    First off, let me say this: The Wire is awesome. I don't care how rave the reviews have been, it will live up to the hype. I had a newbord, y'all, and I was watching it at 3 in the morning.

    But Sars, I totally agree with your assessment of Wood Harris. He wasn't awful, and he did maybe stand out because he was always up against some stellar cast members (Idris Elba gets a lifetime pass from me on the strength of Stringer Bell), but he always seemed like the weak acting link to me.

    And Larry Gilliard Jr. was amazing. I remember watching him in the episode where he's talking about The Great Gatsby and reinventing yourself. Spectacular.

    And now, I need to go watch all 5 seasons again. And renew my crush on Omar.

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    @Lisa: I just put L&O: Allo, Guvnor on my DVR after seeing the ads for it on Beeb America during Luther. I hope it is more awesome than "LOLA," or whatever NBC wants us to call it.

    @Holly: I get a strangely ineffectual vibe off Avon — like, he's the kingpin because everyone says he's the kingpin, but I frequently have a hard time figuring out why he's the kingpin except for Brianna and Stringer seem to want him to be — I totally agree. I had a conversation about that quality once, I forget with whom, but I remember comparing him to the most popular girl in my own class, who really didn't have a strong personality. Not NO personality, just not particularly fiery or stubborn or anything that you associate with "leadership," for good or ill. And my feeling was always that she let the other members of the popular crowd feel certain ways about themselves.

    Harris is often good at portraying that cipher quality, and the contrasting occasional impetuous reaction that String has to correct for; I think that's how we're meant to understand him, and the relationship of the others to him. But he's often ambiguous in how he's reading the lines, so you don't know if Avon is trying to convince himself of a given emotion, or if Harris is just hitting the wrong note.

  • Jenn says:

    @JennyB – my brother watched a bunch of episodes of The Wire while tending to a newborn. She's two now, and my dad keeps joking that he's heard her talking about Stringer Bell.

  • Liz says:

    Mad Men just finished up the best season yet. I miss it already.
    Don Draper is the most compelling charcter on television.

  • Haras says:

    Tried out Undercovers, but dropped it after 2 episodes. It just bored me. Watching old DVDs of Alias is a better use of time.

    I dropped Life Unexpected this year after the first two episodes. Used to be a pretty cute show last year, but it was just so repetitive. 30 Rock is on probation. Not quite ready to let it go, but not happy with its performance last year.

    The only new shows I'm sticking with right now are Terriers, The Event (mostly due to work peer pressure), and No Ordinary Family. I'm enjoying No Ordinary family more than expected. It's fluff for sure, but very watchable. And new to me is Dancing with the Stars. I can't hardly stand to watch it (I'm more of a SYTYCD fan), so a lot of fastforwarding happens, but I'm committed for the rest of this season anyway.

    Still digging The Amazing Race, Community, Project Runway, Top Model, Chuck, The Office (most of the time), and the occasional Modern Family episode. Round that out with The Soup and SNL, and I think I have way too many TV shows. Yikes.

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    I forgot to mention, likely from reasons related to shame, that I still watch The Biggest Loser.

  • Tyler says:

    I love Law and Order: SVU, it happens to be my favorite show. Paula Patton would have been a great ADA, had she not accepted the role in the new MI4 movie. The Jennifer Love Hewitt one was my favorite episode of all time.

    Project Runway talent-wise this year is not as good as years past. Mondo is definitely going to win it all, I think.

    Boardwalk Empire is not a favorite of mine, unfortunately.

  • Juliet says:

    Totally agree about Hawaii Five-O. Love Scott Caan (who I admit I'd never seen before), O'Loughlin and Daniel Dae Kim are hot, Grace Park is always a good kickass chick, and yet somehow, it's not compelling. It's enjoyable enough, but I don't feel the "Ee! What's going to happen next week?" compulsion that I get with other shows. I realized I was only watching if there was nothing else of mine on the DVR, so I punted it too.

    Also, I concur with Mr. Stupidhead about Chuck. :)

  • Sue says:

    Word on the L&O UK. The scripts are almost word-for-word, but the cast is terrific. Now if I could just not remember the old shows quite so well….or comparing them to the Mothership. But since I have no more Mothership, UK it is.

    Stuck with Hawaii 50 for no reason I can fully explain – no wait, I can. Jin! And trying to figure out how many ways they can explain putting Grace Park in a bikini or slutty dress…she's completely wasted on this. Jin!

    Axed Boardwalk Empire after five eps – I don't get the struggle between good and evil that they're trying to show in Buscemi. Who's awesome and all, but….no.

  • The husband and I are FINALLY watching the Wire (we bought the complete series in anticipation of this task) and LOVING it. We're half way through season 4, and oh! so great!

    We're also catching up on Modern Family (what? I have a newborn and spend a lot of time on the couch, feeding her) and we reached the same conclusion about the "feint left and go right" — AD mastered that art, but MF does it fairly well. And Sophia Vergara is HILARIOUS!

  • Kelly says:

    You should check out Sons of Anarchy if you haven't yet. Katey Sagal is kicking ass, but the rest of the cast and the writing is brick solid.

    L&O UK is my new fave. I just sort of stumbled on it one lazy afternoon, now I'm hooked.

  • Schlinkaboo says:

    If you have the time, give "Law & Order:UK" a ride. They're using cases from the mothership's early (good) seasons — the Felicity Huffman hooker ep was just on — with British legal adjustments. I don't understand all the law, but there are wigs and robes and the accused has to hang out in a jail in the courtroom. Awesome!! It's in heavy rotation on BBCAmerica, so no appointment necessary.

    I watch Hawaii 5-0 for the pretty pretty boys only. It's not good, not good at all, but Daniel Dae Kim is so very pretty and wears very tight jeans.

  • Jen S 1.0 says:

    Damn, Sars, you watch a lot of TV!

    Now that Mad Men's finished up (Delusional Don Draper Is Delusional) my only appointment TV is Sons of Anarchy and Supernatural (shut up). I feel like if I quit Supernatural now it wins, and this is the last season, so whatever, and the Day In The Life Of Bobby one was pretty good.

    Since I watch AMC so much, I feel obligated to watch that damn Walking Dawn Day Of The Zombies or whatever it's called: I mean, the commercials are on every five minutes with all the extras running around in makeup, and the productions values seem pretty high for TV, and it's like the channel is begging me to appreciate what it's done for me, look at all these cool zombies and horses and guns and shit, with angst! It's awesome! Like, oKAY, back OFF, quit trying to convince me you're cool! Shawshank Redemption was good but it wasn't made by Jesus!

    However, if they show any behind the scenes footage of the dead spontaneously dancing to Thriller or Lady Gaga I will love the show and tongue kiss it and take it behind the middle school bleachers.

  • AngieFM says:

    Had to weigh in on the Wood Harris thing. Yes, I agree–when I'm watching I have to remind myself that Avon must have been one bad dude back in the day, because it sort of doesn't come across now.

    Also though, and I may be alone here, but the woman playing Brianna (also seen on a number of episodes of "West Wing") always reminds me that she's an actor, whereas the others, as you said, seem like they're in a freakin' documentary. My husband and I always look at each other incredulously after a big scene and are like, "You realize they shot that and then went to craft services and called their agents and stuff. They're *actors*." But we don't really believe it.

  • Claire says:

    Can we please talk about my insane love for Lincoln Lee and my re-emerging and equally insane love for Charlie on Fringe? Because I love them both and I really hope that Olivia drags them both with her when she goes back to her right universe. Lincoln and Peter can have a sarcasm-off.

  • K. says:

    Wait wait wait. Kalinda and Jason Street?? Aw, shit – Tuesdays at 10 belong to Sons of Anarchy, and I sometimes DVR Parenthood but this I gotta see. I watched The Good Wife for a while and I kind of forget why I stopped, but it may have to get picked back up (although tonight's Sons is going to be awesome).

    Speaking of Parenthood, I'm sort of over it – it's focusing way too much on Crosby and Jasmine (although I don't mind seeing their son Jabbar, who is so cute he makes my ovaries ache).

    I'm also watching Luther (if I were coupled, Idris Elba would be my "Love you but if I ever get a chance with him, I'm taking it" guy. I think if I ever met him I would just start taking off my clothes), Boardwalk Empire, SVU (purely out of loyalty and hilariousness), Modern Family, 30 Rock, House, Hoarders, and have DirecTV so I'll be starting the last season of Friday Night Lights in a few days. And I'm not watching The Wire at the moment but just want to state that it's the best cop/criminal drama I have ever seen.

  • Meri says:

    Schlinkaboo, that's my justification for watching Hawaii 5-0. It's… really not good, but it has Daniel Dae Kim for me and Grace Park for my husband. And, if all else fails, I can distract myself with the Hawaiian landscape. My GOD is that state pretty when you're in Alaska in November.

  • Susan says:

    I'm so glad I'm not the only one watching too much TV. I have to talk up Sons of Anarchy, the best show I'm watching right now. The casting is amazing. I don't know how real MC's work but this is now my reality.

    I feel like I should love Terriers, but not quite, I do like it though. I'm always at least 1 week behind, driving some work friends nuts.

    Oh, and L&O:UK is great. I think the accents make everything better. It's been long enough since I watched the original that the stories are just sort of familiar and I can never remember who did it.

  • Louisa says:

    I feel guilty for not having started Terriers yet, even though Tivo has the episodes waiting for me and I keep seeing the commercials during Always Sunny. I've liked Donal Logue since the MTV days and True Blood's first season showed me what a freaking genius Michael Raymond-James is.

    I know Running Wilde will be cancelled any day now (if not already- I can't bear to look it up), but I really enjoyed it. Like Arrested Development Lite.

    I can't share your Top Chef: Just Desserts compassion for Seth, I was SOOOO happy when he self-destructed. Yeah buddy, you "decided" to leave. Don't decide to let the door hit you on the way out.

  • ferretrick says:

    BTW, the best new show this season by a country mile is Blue Bloods. Tom Selleck rocks. And its about time Bridget Moynahan found a show that has the potential to last more than half a season.

  • jive turkey says:

    Sars, have you ever watched Dexter? I Netflixed the first 2 seasons, and then caught up with the rest when they aired. I'm completely addicted. This season started out slow, but it's picking up.

    My Tivo rotation these days is: Boardwalk Empire, Dexter, Modern Family, The Office, 30 Rock, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and Eastbound & Down. (OK, FINE: Teen Mom on MTV. SHAME!)

  • Amanda says:

    All this love for L&O:UK makes me pissed off I don't have BBC America. ("We" do, as in my household; "I" do not.) I've seen the DVDs at Target, but I'm waiting for Netflix to add them.

    The only not-dead American shows I'm watching are MythBusters and Pawn Stars, along with the standard History Channel documentary-style fare. I wish I could stick with another hour-long drama, but the death of the Mothership has left me cold and bitter. Plus I don't have a DVR and taping things is a pain in the ass.

    An hour-long drama that's not In Plain Sight, anyway, which I watched from beginning to end in the span of about a week, because no one recommended it to me until after the third season ended. That one's not coming back until the spring, alas.

  • Lynne says:

    I'm a confirmed television addict and for the first time, maybe ever, I haven't really watched any new shows this year. The entire slate just looked terrifically boring to me. (I don't have access to HBO so I haven't checked out Boardwalk Empire. I hear it's good.)

    Still love The Good Wife. I also love the Kalinda-Jason Street storyline.

    I seem to be going through a British import phase though. Doctor Who? Can't miss it. Always hated everything about Law & Order (in all of its mediocre incarnations) but I really like Law & Order: UK. Couldn't tell you why. Being Human is really entertaining. Just about every Sunday, I'm watching Masterpiece Mystery. The new BBC Sherlock is pretty much the best thing I've watched this year.

  • Vincent says:

    First, some great craft observations here—glad I stumbled on this.

    In regards to Wood Harris' acting, I know he done a fair share of Shakespeare theater work. I haven't seen it myself, but that counts for something, right? Maybe not, as every high schooler has played Rosencrantz once in their life.

    I recently caught Legacy, a film starring Idris Elba, at a festival here in Chicago. A pretty decent film, but Elba's acting is phenomenal. It think it's doing the indie circuit pretty soon.

    Boardwalk Empire and Terriers have stuck for me. The former is everything I expect from HBO, but I do fear it retreading a lot of thematic ground from The Sopranos, just with more glitz. The latter, I've been surprised with. Great use of tone and temper—and a nice fill for the void Veronica Mars left.

    Chuck's been okay for me. I enjoyed last season's arc, though. The problem so far are the episodes that are bogged down by Chuck whining about his relationship insecurities in the middle of a mission. The last two episodes, however, have been top notch Morgan and Casey showcases. As excited as I was for Linda Hamilton's casting, I've been a little bummed by her performance.

    Stoked for The Walking Dawn Day Of The Zombies (haha) and the new season of Friday Night Lights coming this week.

  • Jen S 1.0 says:

    Woot, It's Always Sunny! This week's should rock with laughter and disgustingness. You know, like every week.

  • Meg says:

    All I have to say is that…the Kukui High football game from Ep 3 (?) of Hawaii 5-0 was filmed at my high school. Aw yeah. (Note: not saying a thing about the quality of the 'dialogue.')

  • Tina says:

    I absolutely agree about Wood Harris. I would go back and forth, watching it, thinking, is this just really subtle and low-key or is it just not working right? And it doesn't help that he was working with so many other extraordinary actors.

    Also, if any of you are into UK costume dramas, there is a kick-ass one on over here at the moment, called Downton Abbey. It has Maggie Smith in it being absolutely delicious, and the rest of the cast is great too. I think it will be shown on PBS in January.

  • Krista says:

    I gave LOLA a chance due to my love of Skeet Ulrich, but Corey Stoll has stollen me away. With the 'stache, the suit, and the baldnes I'm crushing very hard on a character that is barely a character. I haven't watched a L&O in awhile and am always disappointed when it gets turned over to the lawyers. I want a whole hour of the cops! The show needs work though. A lot of scenes last just a litle too long and I've never thought LA was anywhere near as interesting as NY.

    Any mention of Spy Daddy makes me want to pull out my "Who's Your SpyDaddy?" t-shirt and my dvds. Especially season two with all the smarmy baldness!

    I was really enjoying The Good Wife last year, but I was recording it and watching Parenthood. I got way behind so I deleted it. I've already given up on Parenthood, but haven't yet decided if I want to get back into The Good Wife or enjoy some free time. If I do get back into it that would make CBS my go-to channel on Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday.

  • Jess says:

    Funny I never really noticed Wood's acting until you mentioned it. I just finished watched season 3 and I thought he was great there, lots of good scenes with him and Idris and you see the contrasting personalities of Stringer and Avon.

  • Alyce says:

    House, Chuck, SVU, Community, 30 Rock, The Office, Parenthood, Top Gear, have a bunch of L&O:UKs DVRed, and my guiltiest of pleasures: NCIS. So predictable my grandma loves it.

    Waiting anxiously for the return of Parks & Rec.

  • Carolyn says:

    I'm so emotionally wrapped up in Detroit 1-8-7 as it represents the budding (but threatened!) Michigan film industry, I am incapable of discerning whether it is objectively good or bad. It's fun for me to recognize the filming locations, and two people I know or have seen in local plays were in this week's episode. Every week, I'm so caught up in scouring the screen for local points of pride, I have no idea how to form critical opinions on what I just saw.

    Of course, this is no argument for anyone else to watch it. I've just never had this kind of response to a piece of national-level entertainment before. If it gets canceled, I'll feel like it was another nationwide failure for a city I would defend tooth and nail, not to mention a death knell for my state's future.

  • annabel says:

    I'm still getting used to seeing Scott Porter up and walking around, but I like him with Kalinda too. I'm having the same sort of disconnect listening to Daniel Dae Kim speaking fluent English without any sort of accent. Hawaii Five-O is my "dumb but fun" show for now. I dropped The Event, No Ordinary Family and Undercovers after two episodes each.

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