9/27/11

The Boo-b Tube: What's Scary Bad & Terrifyingly Good on TV This Fall

While I normally just wax poetic about movies around here, I do watch a fair amount of TV, and with the new fall season of shows starting. I thought that I would talk a bit about what I was liking and what I could leave behind. Hopefully you folks will find this interesting because there's several shows coming down the pipeline that I want to talk about. Some of them, BBC America's Bedlam and FX's American Ghost Story will surely fit neatly into the horror/cult milieu that I normally cover. I can hardly say the same about this week's selections, but there are quite a number of interesting connections to the world of genre film along the way. Plus, is there a bigger cult out there than television viewers? I think not.

Monday: So far Monday night is one of the slower evenings when it comes to TV with only The Playboy Club capturing my interest. I admit to tuning in to see All The Boys Love Mandy Lane's Amber Heard dressed in a bunny costume, but she's actually the weakest link on the show. Setting  a show in the 60's is a tricky thing. Mad Men have it down, and there's another show on the fall lineup doing it right. While Playboy Club hits the setting, and most of the fashion, Heard's character acts and looks too modern while her co-star Eddy Cibian seems like he's doing a Don Draper impression. Though I've watched two weeks now, and I plan on continuing to watch, The Playboy Club is very much like the place itself, a pretty illusion with little substance. By the way, the real star here is actress Laura Benanti. I hate that I don't get to see her fill out that Bunny outfit anymore, but I love how she fills out her mean girl role as the Bunny mother. 

Might Also Watch: How I Met Your Mother (I'm still a season or two behind.), Dancing with the Stars (Once before Ricki Lake gets kicked off. I make no apologies. She's cute.)

Not Watching: Hawaii 5-0 (I know Dan-O, and you, sir, are no Dan-O.), Two and a Half Men (Never watched it before, Ashton is not changing that.), Gossip Girl (Because despite reports I'm neither a seventeen year old girl or gay.)

Tuesday:  Sarah Michelle Gellar, she's a horror icon thanks to her seven years as vampire slayer Buffy Sommers, and now she's come back to TV with the new CW show Ringer. First off, it is in no way related to the similarly named Johnny Knoxville movie, but it is kind of retarded in it's own way. Gellar plays Bridget, a hooker on the run from testifying for the FBI, who goes to visit her socialite sister Siobhan. When her sister kills herself (not really), Bridget takes over the high life, but finds it's full of as many problems as her old life. The producers stated that they drew inspiration from Blood Simple and old Hollywood Noir, and it shows to an extent. The problem is that those are movies and they exist in a finite space. This story over 90 minutes might be great, but over an estimated 500 minutes may be a stretch. Fans of Gellar will probably enjoy the show, and guys will appreciate that she dresses alternately like Buffy (Bridget) and Cruel Intentions  (Siobhan.) My only question is how one sister got a normal name and the other sounds like a character on Star Trek

Might Also Watch : I have the whole night open to only kind of enjoy Ringer.

Not Watching: Any NCIS (I need my show names to be words.), The Biggest Loser (Because no one should be watching this.), Glee (see also Gossip Girl), Man Up! (Shows need to be words, but not be punctuated or lame.), and Body of Proof (My biggest letdown from last season. I love Dana Delany, but that show is Bones without a personality)

Wednesday: Let me say before I go any further that Up All Night is not only the best show that I've seen this season, it easily had one of the best pilot episodes I've ever seen. Will Arnette (Arrested Development) and Christina Applegate (Samantha Who?, Married with Children) not only make a believable couple, they they have chemistry, they're funny, and they seem real. Being in my mid-thirties, I've known quite a few people who've had their first kid, and Up All Night seems to hit pretty close. I have to also give a shout out to Maya Rudolf (SNL, Bridesmaids) as Applegate's Oprah-esque boss. With Micheal Scott off the tube, the small screen needed a new self centered boob and Rudolf has given us one. My favorite part so far, when the new parents admonish themselves for cursing around their kid , but can't help saying how ."f**king beautiful" the kid is. 

On the other hand there were two more pilots I had more difficulty liking. I really wanted to like Free Agents with Hank Azaria (The Simpsons) and Kathryn Hahn (Crossing Jordan). I love both of these actors (and I have a major, major crush on Hahn), but the character's never connected and the show just left me feeling like I had an uncomfortable window into these two people's lives. Not in an Office kind of way either. More like a creep. 

Speaking of creeps, there's plenty of them in the Hamptons. Revenge is the second series with events taking place in the favorite holiday spot of the rich and douchey (Ringer's events also kick off there.). Emily Thorne (Emily VanCamp) has come to the Hamptons to get the titular revenge on a family she blames for the death of her allegedly ponzi scheming dad.  The problem is (and this is with only one episode viewed so far) that so far the show hasn't made me want her to get revenge. If the whole season is going to be geared around this gal sticking it to the bad guys, I need to be rooting for her up front, but instead I was bored and a bit bewildered. 

Might Watch: Law & Order: SVU  (Mariska is still there, but I'll miss Chris.), H8R (Bucking my vowels rule, I'm interested to see this show about celebs confronting their online haters.), America's Top Model: All Stars (On repeats, later. Come on. Don't be a h8r.)

Not Watching: Survivor: South Pacific (Sadly not about a group of folks subjected to an ongoing 30 day stage production of the Rogers and Hammerstein classic.), The X Factor (I was surprised to find this was a talent show and not about the original X-Men reforming as mutants for hire.) , I Hate My Teenage Daughter (Do I Need to Explain?),  Modern Family (The Best thing on TV I have no interest in.)

Thursday: There are so many good programs on Thursday. Community, Parks and Rec, The Office, and Bones all appear on that night. So it makes it all the more unlikely that the couple of shaky pilots I watched will capture my attention. I really wanted Charlie's Angels to be good, but it just wasn't. I've enjoyed many episodes or VIP more. I would have rather watched any episode of SheSpies. So I'm going to give it one more week to move beyond the pilot before I write it off. On the other hand, there's nothing worse than when TV takes a good comic and puts them on a terribly show tenuously tied to their material. While Whitney Cummings wouldn't make my top 10 comics working right now, she's a damn sight better than the unwatchable Whitney made her look. 

Might Watch: Person of Interest (I missed the premiere, but I'm still a titular reference.), 

Wont Watch: Prime Suspect (Real tagline: "Cop. An Attitude." My tagline: "Viewer. Not Interested"), The Secret Circle (It's about witches, but in a Twilight way so I think I'll pass.) 

Friday: Night is alright for fightin', but I haven't seen anything new on it yet. 

Might Watch: Grimm (Mark will watch.)

Won't Watch: Anything else Friday night. 

Saturday: I'm usually watching movies, and so must the rest of the country because not much comes on. 

Sunday: While Up All Night  is the best pilot I've seen this year, the second best actually has a pilot.  I went into this TV season expecting to really like The Playboy Club and be confused by the existence of Pam Am. After watching the premiere episode of the '60's era flying drama, I was really intrigued. Sure, it was a bit disjointed hopping around from Christina Ricci's beatnik Maggie being whisked off to be a special flight's purser ( a term I'm still not sure the definition of), a spy story, a runaway bride, an affair gone bad, and a flashback to rescuing Bay of Pigs prisoners to boot. There was no amount of things going on in the pilot, but it really drew me into the world. While I hope future episodes take a slightly more singular focus, I was still exceedingly impressed with the acting, visual style, and scripting. Pan Am  is a retro show that could actually delve into the same waters as Mad Men. 

Might Watch: Once Upon a Time (Ginifer Goodwin is Snow White, I'm in.), Allen Gregory (an animated show on Fox not by Seth McFarlane, I'll try it.) 

Won't Watch : Football (Cause it's lame.)

Well that about wrap it up for now. Let me know what you think folks. Would you like me to keep on blathering occasionally about the small screen? I promise more review and lots of surprises are coming in October as well. Until next time everyone, don't you go changin' (the channel unless what you're watching is terrible... or football, seriously it needs to go on for 3+ hours?) 

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