TV Shows at Mid-Season: An Update

Back in September, I wrote about the new fall shows I was looking forward to. That was a long time ago, in TV time. Here’s my mid-term report card.

Already gone:
The Playboy Club
Prime Suspect

Still there, but I’m not watching:
It wasn’t a bad haunted apartment building story, but I kept forgetting to watch.
Pan Am
The show did its best, but it was just too girly for me. I wanted more espionage and less talk about weddings.
The Secret Circle
It’s a teen-skewered show, it’s got witches, and it’s on after The Vampire Diaries, so I was ready to be on board. But this show made me nuts with the badness. The big problem: Bob McKee, in his Story seminar, could explain. Scenes that went on and on with no change in the status of the story question. I only watched two and a half episodes, andΒ  nearly every scene was a bunch of people talking about how the girl had to accept her witchy powers or the group wouldn’t be as strong. Get that? Nearly every scene was a bunch of people talking. OMG shut up and be witchy, already!
Choppy and silly. Yeah, we’re police detectives, but we can’t do anything without our consultant who can remember every second of every day of her life except the one where her sister was killed. Bored now.

Still watching, but I wouldn’t be devastated if they were cancelled
American Horror Story
A-List production values and clever mixing of gruesome horror with black comedy. But … there’s just nobody to root for. I’m not even invested in the screwed-up teenager, and believe me, that says a lot. I would like Vivian to get it on with Luke, the security company guy, just because someone should be having sex with Morris Chestnut. But it’s hard to see how they can stretch the storylines out for long.
Why am I still watching? I have no defense.
New Girl
I don’t watch half-hour comedies very much, so don’t go by me. This is cute, I like the players, the jokes mostly land … but I kind of forget about it from week to week.
Right away, it became soapy and silly. It’s still trashily fun, though I’d like to see Sarah Michelle Gellar in something more substantial.
Terra Nova
It looks great. The actors are good. The dinos are cool. But it’s made bland by being too family-friendly. I am shipping the heck out of Taylor, the commander of Terra Nova and Mira, the leader of the rebel Sixes. They need to hook up and make lots of superbutch, superbeautiful babies who can fight dinos with their bare hands.

OMG, I love these shows!
Once Upon a Time
I keep waiting for the spell to break and for me to realize this is pretty cheesy. But it doesn’t. And Jiminy Cricket’s backstory episode? Ruled my world. I think they’ve tapped into what makes fairy tales so compelling and timeless, some dark root metaphor storytelling that appeals to the limbic system or something.
Person of Interest
Sharp writing and directing by Jonathan Nolan, brother of director Christopher and writer of one of the best screenplays ever (Memento), set the tone for this paranoid little show. I’m digging the players, dark and twisted though their redemption paths might be. Can’t wait for the cop (Taraji P. Henson) to be the target so Reese (Jim Caviezel) will have to get close enough to help her save herself.
It really is The Count of Monte Cristo meets Veronica Mars with The O.C. thrown in for soapy gloss. Emily Thorne sets ’em up and knocks ’em down, week after week. Best surprise: Nolan! The computer whiz who just wants to serve Emily’s agenda even though she treats him like a bad dog. Though we now have filmed evidence that Nolan is a solid 3 on the Kinsey scale, I still ship him with Emily.

This wasn’t on my list of must-see shows, but I’m loving the comedy about a father-daughter team who move to the burbs from New York and snark on the neighbors.

How about you? Are there any great shows I’ve missed?

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16 Responses to TV Shows at Mid-Season: An Update

  1. W. J. Howard says:

    Person of Interest is the only one we stuck with. It’s one of the best new shows in a long long long time in my book. Great all around idea, LUV the characters and the story lines have really delivered so far.


    • Chris Devlin says:

      You’re much better off if you can ditch shows. I tend to get compulsive about watching them long past the time they really do much for me.

      But Person of Interest is a great one to stick with. It’s really got legs.That episode where Reese was falling apart, debating what to do with the serial rapist while the guy sat there and begged… Gut-punch writing at its best.


  2. Terry Wright says:

    “The Walking Dead?” OMG… the last scene of the mid-season finale… Bobette and I were shell-shocked – literally. And she LOVES “Once Upon a Time” We don’t watch any of the others. I’d like to catch Terra Nova but I keep forgetting to watch it, like I kept forgetting to watch “Lost”… “Harry’s Law” and “The Closer” top of our list. Oh …and don’t forget “Survivor” … I’m happy that “Dancing with the Stars” is over. We’re looking forward to the next season of “Justified”… Best ever show.


    • Chris Devlin says:

      I wish I could have stayed with The Walking Dead, if for no other reason than to keep up with the conversations. Everybody loves it. But I just found the people to be too stupid to live–I kept rooting for the zombies. (Not a good sign.)

      The Closer is awesome. I’m glad they’re winding it up while it’s still really good.

      I’ve heard great things about Justified and I love Timothy Olyphant from the Deadwood days, but I forgot to watch that when it started and now I’m behind.

      Thanks for sharing your TV shows!


  3. Karen Lin says:

    Yeah..what happened to Sophie! And what a hero that sherrif – ook it upon himself to do the most difficult thing of the season. His burdon. His bravery. For complicated character study – still House.


    • Chris Devlin says:

      Even though I don’t watch Walking Dead, I keep hearing comments around the internets about that finale. Sounds intense.

      I’m so glad House seems to have found its footing again. Last season was rough–a real test of a loyal fan. I’m enjoying the new docs and House is back to his irascible self.


  4. j.a. kazimer says:

    How I love your blog!

    I was so glad to see The Playboy Club go. I mean, come on, life in the 60’s wasn’t that cool.

    What I am so excited to watch in January is The Finder from the producer of Bones. I love the book series, and loved the little taste of the show we got last Bones season. Which yes, I know, my lust dooms the show.

    I do enjoy The New Girl more than I thought I would. Same with Suburtory, all due to the father and daughter relationship and less to do with the cliche look at the burbs.


    • Chris Devlin says:

      Glad you like my blog! I made it a pop culture blog just so I could do forays into TV and movies.

      Yeah, I only watched the Playboy Club pilot episode and it was just … blah. Overdone and yet undercooked, if you know what I mean. And Eddie Cibrian wasn’t shirtless enough. That might have kept it on the air.

      I’ll have to check out The Finder, sounds good.

      Love the father/daughter relationship on Suburgatory. And the witty writing.

      Thanks for weighing in, good to see you.


  5. Karen Duvall says:

    Ooh, we watch a lot of the same shows! But i don’t watch them when they air, i catch them on at weird hours when i feel like it. πŸ™‚

    I still love Grimm, getting a wee bit annoyed with Once Upon a Time (all my questions give me a headache), watch American Horror Story open-mouthed as i go “seriously?” (it’s just so creepy), adore Pan Am because of the historical significance of the sixties (major historical moments and their impact on everyday people = major win for me), enjoy Terra Nova, really like Revenge (brilliant characters IMO), and i never miss an episode of Body of Proof (the show rocks!).

    I agree with everything you said about The Secret Circle. It could be so much better. It’s shows like that that make me wish i wrote for television so i could fix them. Ha! πŸ™‚

    I don’t watch many sitcoms anymore either, but i do get a giggle out of New Girl and Last Man Standing with Tim Alan is great.

    Great report, Chris! πŸ™‚


    • Chris Devlin says:

      Thanks! Glad you liked it.

      I have a lot of questions about Once Upon a Time, though I’m okay with letting them play out for a while. (Though, what’s up with boy Henry? Is he somehow Regina’s murdered father reincarnated? Who is Henry’s father in this realm? And how did Regina know the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming had had a kid and given him up for adoption? And yeah, where did that book come from?) It’s all very intriguing and I like the way they interweave stories from the past and the other realm with the present storylines. I only hope they have a big plan and it doesn’t fall all apart as the show goes on–4400, I’m looking at you.)

      Pan Am is very well-done and I love Christina Ricci. I tend to give up on straight dramas pretty quickly, unfortunately. The Good Wife is probably the only one I’m still watching after three years. (Great writing on that show.)

      Oh, and Body of Proof was good, but it conflicted with two things I was watching last year so I didn’t keep up with it. On the other hand, do I need more shows? πŸ˜‰

      Thanks for your thoughts.


  6. Janet Lane says:

    Interesting overview, Chris, from someone who has limited time for viewing. Like Karen, I like to watch on my own time, and love buying the series on DVD. My husband, John and I relish MAD MEN. “Survivor” is a fun psychological study as the producers toy with the players and manipulate the show when the competition gets lopsided. Juliana Marguiles (sp?) is fabulous in “Good Wife.” And because I write historical romance, I was fascinated with “The Tudors” — what a fine series!


    • Chris Devlin says:

      Mad Men is a superior show and it’s not surprising since creator Matthew Weiner cut his teeth on the Sopranos. I love the pacing, how they just take their time to tell the story.

      I’ve never seen The Tudors, though I was intrigued because of Jonathan Rhys-Meyers–such a fine Irish actor. (And a FINE Irish actor, if you know what I mean.) Do you find the history to be fairly accurate? I wondered if they were modernizing it, because of the short hair and the ‘no wigs.’

      Great to see you, thanks.


  7. “Once Upon A Time” = one of the best concept “re-boots” ever! πŸ˜€


  8. Annie Downs-Gabel says:

    My vote for best new show is Homeland with Damian Lewis, ClaireDanes, and Mandy Patinkin. It’s fantastic!
    And, yep, I’m loving Revenge too!


    • Chris Devlin says:

      Annie, hi! Great to see you.

      Homeland looks great, though seeing Damian Lewis again makes me miss Charlie Crews from “Life.” I’ll have to catch up on it soon.

      Glad you’re liking Revenge. Week after week, it’s a lot of fun. It’s also cool to like something that’s not on the verge of being cancelled for once. I just heard that Person of Interest is on the bubble for renewal for next season. ;-(

      Thanks for your comments.


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