Fall 2012 TV Season – And, we’re off

Before I start this rant, please understand that I do not have cable or satellite TV, so I’m limited to the 5 major broadcast networks, plus the 3 PBS stations I can get on my antenna.
In reviewing tonight’s TV Guide, I’ve become seriously anxious for 7PM to get here. I have 8 1/2 hours of new programming scheduled to record on my 4 Tivos.
It’s been a very boring summer. Except for the 16 days of Olympic glory, and an occasional episode of Big Brother that was note-worthy, there hasn’t been much for me to watch.
You see, I’m not really that big of a reality TV fan. I do love Big Brother, and I watch Survivor and The Amazing Race, but as for any of the other competition shows, I’m just not that into them. I don’t like watching untalented wannabe performers make fools of themselves, and I don’t like watching marginally talented artists belittle them for other people’s enjoyment. So, The Voice, American Idol, America’s Got Talent, So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing with the Stars hold no interest for me to the point that I have their hashtags blocked on my twitter feed because I don’t want to even hear about them.
I also do not enjoy watching pathetic and desperate singles trying to find ‘true love’ on a network dating show. My own love life is pathetic enough. I don’t need pretty 20-somethings to remind me of what I’m missing. When I was a pretty 20-something I didn’t have any trouble finding dates, so I have a hard time relating to these people. Now, make a show about overweight, middle-aged divorced moms trying to find a partner that will fit into their hectic lives and I might watch that.
Over the summer, I’ve spent days getting caught up on a bunch of cable shows that I love that are now available on Netflix Instant. I’ve watched every available episode of Burn Notice, Pretty Little Liars, White Collar, Drop Dead Diva, Downton Abbey, Merlin, Teen Wolf, The X Files, Switched At Birth, The Glades, Eureka, Warehouse 13, and so many documentaries that I feel like an expert in the history of the English monarchy and the American Civil War.
Although several shows premiered last week, like Bones, The Mob Doctor and Revolution, the majority of shows premier tonight. Most of tonight’s debuts are for returning shows, like How I Met Your Mother, 2 Broke Girls, Hawaii Five-0, and Castle, but there’s one new show, Partners, that I’m going to give a chance.
I’m not a huge fan of 1/2 hour comedies, but I really like How I Met Your Mother, and last year’s new show, 2 Broke Girls is one of the funniest shows I’ve seen in a very long time. I’ve added Partners to the recording list because I do like most of the cast, and I’m willing to give it a chance. I tried watching Mike & Molly, and as much as I adore Melissa McCarthy, there’s something about the show that makes me uncomfortable. This disappoints me, but with the number of shows I watch, I just don’t have time to record and/or watch things that don’t entertain me.
The main staples of my TV viewing pleasure are 1 hour dramas. I’m not particularly picky about if they are procedurals or sci-fi, soaps or dramedies. I just like shows that have compelling characters with interesting storylines. My main goal is to escape my real life, and get lost in someone else’s for a while.
My favorite Monday night show right now is Castle. The chemistry between Nathan Fillion, and Stana Katic is magical, and the supporting cast is chock-full of talent. Before Castle premiered so many years ago, I was not a big Fillion fan. Most of the characters I’d seen him play were creepy and slimy (for the record, I’m the 1 person who did not like Firefly), and I had this overwhelming urge to slap him every time he showed up on my TV. Before Castle debuted in March, 2009, I caught Nathan doing a promo on some talk show, and it completely changed my opinion of the man. I fell absolutely in love with him. He’s charming and self-deprecating, and a funny, funny man. His personality really comes out in his portrayal of Rick Castle, so of course I love Rick, too. One of the cheesy things about the show that endears it to me is the Nikki Heat novels that have been released each summer since the show started. As my mother would call them, they are mind candy. I’ve always like detective novels, and that’s what these are. I don’t know exactly who write them, as they are supposedly authored by Rick Castle, but seeing as he’s a fictional character my guess is that it’s one or more of the writers from the show. The books do a perfect job of catching the feel of the characters as they are portrayed on screen.
I’m especially looking forward to tonight’s episode of Castle because of the cliffhanger they left us with last spring. The finale closed on Castle and Becket finally consummating their long simmering attraction for each other. One of the reasons I like the books that go along with the show is that in the books, Castle and Beckett’s alter-egos have a (mostly) successful romantic relationship. The eternal optimist in me is hoping that the writers, who do such a great job of balancing the work/personal relationships in the books, can translate that to the screen. I’m a realist though, so I’m prepared to be disappointed in that aspect. I would prefer if they would solve the mystery of why Beckett’s mom was killed, and who killed her, so we could move on from that. It was interesting at first because it gave us some insight into where Kate was coming from, but now they’re throwing so many twists and turns into the story that I’m losing track and therefore, losing interest. I guess we’ll see what happens tonight.
The other returning 1 hour show premiering tonight is Hawaii Five-O. I like this show well enough, but the quality of the acting and of the scripts leaving me wanting a bit. Star Alex O’Loughlin is very nice to look at, and seems like a nice guy, but the boy really isn’t a very good actor. I kind of feel bad for his more talented co-stars who get lower billing, and probably less pay. I wonder how often they get frustrated by the whole thing, or do they just cash their paychecks and thank god that they get paid to live and work in Hawaii? Scott Caan plays a great sidekick. Danny and Steve’s ‘carguements’ are classic, and they entertain me each episode, and the bottom line is that that is what is important. When the show premiered a couple of years ago, we were lead to believe that Steve’s mother had died in a car explosion caused by Wo Fat, the big bad. But, in last season’s finale, we learned that may not be true. And now, with the promos they’ve been airing for the past few weeks we know that Christine Lahti will be showing up as Steve’s mom. I love Ms. Lahti, and I’d like to see her stick around for a while, but since she’s not even listed on IMDB as being in tonight’s episode, I’m not holding out much hope. Oh, and I have to give a special shout out to Masi Oka who plays the medical examiner since he attended the same university that my daughter did.
The rest of the shows I’m looking forward to tonight are Bones, The Mob Doctor and Revolution. They all premiered last week with strong enough episodes to bring me back for week 2. Bones is a known entity that I love. I really like how they’ve integrated the romantic relationship between Bones and Booth into the story so seamlessly. Maybe some other shows (cough Castle cough) can take a clue. But, from reading the description for tonight’s episode it sounds like maybe there’s some tension. I hope it’s nothing major. We need more strong female role models who work hard at balancing work and family life.
The Mob Doctor is going to have to work a little bit to keep me interested. I loved the star, Jordana Spiro, from her days on My Boys, and the fact that Zach Gilford (Saracen from Friday Night Lights) plays her boyfriend gives them extra points, but the idea of being blackmailed by the Mob both makes me uncomfortable, and kinda pisses me off. Since they killed off the mobster that was telling her to kill people at the end of the first episode I’m hoping that theme has been put to rest for the most part. Being manipulated into having to treat gun-shot wounds and not report them is one thing, but if they’re going to have her try to figure out how NOT to kill someone each week, that will get real old real fast. The truth is I don’t see this lasting more than a few weeks. I didn’t see last week’s ratings, but this has cellar dweller written all over it, Fox isn’t known for giving drowning shows much chance to find their audiences. If this makes it back after the baseball playoffs, I’ll be shocked.
Revolution was the other new show to debut last week, but I’d actually watched the pilot three or four times on Hulu+ over the summer. This is obviously trying to grab the Lost audience, but other shows have tried and miserably failed. We’ll have to see what NBC does to 1) promote it, and 2) give it time to find its stride. I liked the pilot enough to watch it repeatedly, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have some flaws, and many questions that need to be answered pretty quickly. First of all, they’re going to have to address how it is that batteries lost all of their power at the same time as all the other electricity went out, and why can’t they find a way to recharge them? The techie in me is having a real problem with that. The other issue I had was with the amount of stuff they still have in good condition (like clothing, and an asthma inhaler) after fifteen years. I know these are petty things, but as Arsenio used to say, they make me go hmmmm.
Last and well, probably least is this strange little summer show that’s been on The CW called The L.A. Complex. It’s about a bunch of wannabe singers/actors/comedians all living in a cheap long-term motel in Hollywood, and how hard it is to get your big break. Tonight they are airing the final 2 episodes of season 2. This is apparently a Canadian production, but they’ve done some fun location shots in Los Angeles. Having lived in Los Angeles, and having been a frustrated actress as a teenager, this show sucked me in, but every week when I watch it I get so frustrated. Every single character is an idiot who doesn’t seem to have a clue how Hollywood works. Maybe that’s realistic, I don’t know. I’d already given up my dream of being an actress by the time I moved there, but even at 19 I knew about casting couches, and that getting your SAG card was a catch-22, but I’d done my research. In my 13 years of living there I never really knew anyone who was a struggling performer, but then I didn’t live in that part of town. There’s so much more to Los Angeles than just ‘the industry’, but few people who’ve never been there realize that. I say that I don’t know why I continue to watch this show, but the truth is that I have a Season Pass on one of the Tivos, and when I run out of other things to watch it’s nice to have something new, even if it is laughably bad. I also don’t like to commit to something and not follow it through to the end. I’ll probably watch these two episodes sometime tomorrow, but not sure how much effort I’ll make if it comes back for a season 3.
Well, I’ve killed a couple of hours trying to get these thoughts out, so I guess it’s time to get dinner going. I’d hate to miss the start of Prime time. Here’s the order of how I think i’ll watch the shows to most efficiently use my time:
How I Met Your Mother (I’ll have to watch this live, commercials and all, but once it’s done I’ll switch over to recorded shows so I can fast forward)
2 Broke Girls
The Mob Doctor
Castle (depending where I am, I may switch this up and watch Castle live since it’s the one show I’m most excited about, and don’t want to be spoiled for)
Hawaii Five-0
The L.A. Complex.

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