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Indoor Cat’s Guide to… Judging the New Shows

Before I get started in the real stuff, I’d first like to give a shout out to my bestie, Introverted Knitter, who has been nominated for the Reader Appreciation Award. Definitely check out her blog, about her adventures with knitting and figuring out life post-grad school, and see if you can get her to spill on what my super secret Christmas gift is!

And now, the real stuff:

As I’ve espoused before, I try to give everything 3 episodes, excluding the pilot, before I decide if I like it or not. Again, I TRY to give everything multiple episodes. But, as happens every season, the hours in a day don’t allow me to watch everything new and everything old that I like, and the DVR available memory starts to disappear, so I’m forced to make decisions. And don’t get me wrong, I try HARD to make enough hours in the day. Like, up until 1 am trying to squeeze in as much TV viewing as possible before passing out. I just can’t do it!

So, here are my judgments (some snap, some carefully thought out after multiple viewings and asking opinions/reading other (aka legit) entertainment blogs) on the new fall shows. (I plan on posting later a little diatribe about disappointing season premieres, despite what those legit entertainment blogs claim. I’m looking at you, HIMYM.)

666 Park Avenue
Episodes watched:
1
Snap Judgement: Park Ave. has some creepiness to it, some darkness to it, but lacks a certain sense of gravitas to really make a major impact on me. It’ll be interesting to see where it goes with the Dragon’s Lair, and hopefully it can capitalize on the Rosemary’s Baby mood it had going at some points and get a little darker, a little more mysterious. It really is like American Horror Story-lite, which is both a good and bad thing.
Grade: B
(Final note: Don’t get too attached. Unless it pulls off something rare and actually gains viewers in the second episode, based on the premiere ratings I doubt it will last past the initial 13 episodes. It premiered to lower numbers than both Pan Am and GCB, both of which were cancelled. (Damnit, I wanted to see the pastor and Leslie Bibb hook up, even if they did look like brother and sister!))

Partners
Episodes watched:
1
Snap Judgement: Ugh! Bland bland bland! Not even Brandon Routh’s abs could make this show watchable (though it wouldn’t have hurt them to show them off a little in the premiere). The jokes fell somewhere between lame, predictable, and ridiculous. The plot was also ridiculous- Joe called Louis the first time he met Sophia’s Bush, but not after they got engaged? Sophia Bush would break off her engagement instantly without at least talking to Joe first? The relationships between these four characters didn’t ever seem real-they seemed to be relationships set up simply for the plot of a bland sitcom- and for a show based on the relationships between these four people, that’s a bad thing. KoMut seriously lucked out with Will & Grace. The casting on that was lightning in a bottle, which they did NOT recreate with Partners.
Grade: D (I liked the theme song, and Brandon Routh was there. BTdubs, wasn’t into Routh before he played a baddie on Chuck. What does that say about my taste in men?)

The Mob Doctor
Episodes watched:
2
Carefully Thought Out Evaluation:I am still trying to like this show, even though I’m 95% sure next week is going to be the last episode. (It will go on hiatus for baseball, during which time it will be fitted for cement shoes and take a little trip over to Lake Michigan.) My problem is that I like the actors in it SO MUCH: Jordana Spiro, Matt Saracen Zach Gilford, Zeljko Ivanek. I want it to be better than it is because I like them so much, I like seeing them on a weekly basis. I just can’t do it. They have no chemistry, the brother and Jordana’s ex are a) twins and b) wooden, the whole premise is still a little ridiculous (How is no one at the hospital noticing/caring that she leaves for hours at a time in the middle of the day? Why is her nurse friend so willing to practice insurance fraud for her? How is her mother so clueless about what’s really going on? How are she and Saracen the same age when he just graduated high school like three years ago?!)
Grade: D

Revolution
Episodes Watched: 3
Carefully Thought Out Evaluation: Here’s a show that I’d been looking forward to, and then I saw the pilot ahead of the air date. I left feeling underwhelmed. I watched the pilot again when it aired, and was closer to whelmed. Then I watched the second episode. Underwhelmed. I just feel like this is a show that could be awesome- they could create this amazing technology-free world and really build on this mystery of how it all happened and who’s behind it and if it can be undone. Instead, all that seems secondary every week to telling the story of how Miles can beat people up, Charlie can double for a poster board cut-out, and various people interact with them unconvincingly. I feel like the last two episodes have really shown what this show is going to be, and I don’t think I’m as psyched about it as I was for the the show promised in first half of the pilot.
Grade: C (There’s potential here, still.) (Fun fact: NBC has already picked up Revolution for a full season.)

Vegas
Episodes Watched: None
Snap Judgment: Can’t say yet. The premiere and last night’s episode are sitting on my DVR, untouched. I was unmotivated all weekend to actually watch the pilot, so I think that says something about my personal interest in this show. From all I’ve heard, it’s a good, if not somewhat mediocre, show. The numbers seem healthy enough, easily trouncing the timeslot competition. I don’t know if the numbers are what CBS was hoping for and if it looks good long term, but I can see it getting a full season order.
Grade: N/A

Emily Owens, M.D.
Episodes Watched:
1
Snap Judgment: Yesterday, The CW released Emily Owens via YouTube and Hulu (haven’t checked iTunes yet- I fail this week!). I watched, and it’s okay. The nerd (the titular Emily, played by Mamie Gummer) is a big ol’ insecure mess even though she’s on the top of her game. She’s JD-meets-Meredith (Scrubs, Grey’s for those of you not obsessed with medical shows), a somewhat out-of-touch dweeb who wants to fit in but is too up in their own head and too caught up with the butterflies in her stomach whenever The Guy approaches (med school crush Will, played by Justin Hartley). I hate to break it to you (slight spoiler alert), but the nerd doesn’t get the guy, at least not by the end of the pilot. Instead, she’ll just have to settle for Dr. Micah, the cute, caring, sweet, sensitive, actually-polite-to-newbies doctor with a sick mom and the face of Michael Rady. Oh shucks, what an awful consolation prize. Her life is super tough. I’m also fairly confident we’re going to find out that the daughter of the chief of staff isn’t quite as friendly as she’s pretending to be, and we’ll eventually see Emily and her high school rival Cassandra become friends.
Grade: B- (Good casting, some good chemistry between the actors; the plot lines and relationships between the characters could be a little less cliche, and the voice overs need to be dialed down a touch.)

Ben and Kate
Episodes Watched:
2
Mix of Snap Judgment and Careful Evaluation: I’m still wrapping my head around this one. It’s not quite at the level of funny I think it could get to. I do like the easiness between Ben and Kate- Dakota Johnson and Nat Faxon really do give off a brother-sister vibe. and Dakota Johnson is good at the mix of responsible and caring mom/young woman still figuring things out. BJ and Tommy (Lucy Punch and Echo Kellum) are good supporting characters and could even be used a bit more. I do think B&K fits well with the wackadoos on Raising Hope and that family-first feeling Hope has. Bottom line, I’m on the fence about this one. I’ll keep watching hoping it grows into the show I think it could be, but I also won’t be heartbroken if it never does.
Grade: B

The Mindy Project
Episodes Watched: 2
Mix of Snap Judgment and Careful Evaluation: Another show I’m mostly on the fence about. I find Mindy to be grating. I liked her book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (And Other Concerns) to an extent. I’ve liked her in various shows and movies. The key thing is, I’ve always liked her in small doses, and her book I liked to an extent, and also disliked in that it was a lot of shallow observances, with a few essays that exposed something real thrown in. Indoor Cat’s sister said it best last night- Mindy reminds me a lot of Lena Dunham’s character from Girls if Girls prescribed to romcom tenets. She’s self-absorbed, entitled, clueless to the real world around her. Mindy is willing to go from 0 to beyotch in about 1 second whenever she doesn’t like Daniel’s responses or attitude. Which brings me to the part of the show I do like: I like Daniel and his gruffness, I’ve-been-hurt-and-am-sick-of-shallow-people-I-want-someone-real-in-my-life attitude. I like Stephen Tobolowsky as kind of the father figure of the practice. I’m torn on Jeremy, the hot Brit doctor. He’s got the good looks thing going on, but we need a little more character depth from him pronto.  The trio of secondary females (the two receptionists and best friend) seem excessive to the show at this point.
Grade: B-/C+

Go On
Episodes Watched:
4
Carefully Thought Out Evaluation: I LOVE Go On. It’s got kinks to work out, sure, and exploring the other characters a bit more would definitely help deepen the world of Go On. But, overall, I love it. I think the cast has a great rapport- I especially love the bromance between Ryan (Matthew Perry) and Steven (John Cho), especially when we mixed it up and included George in there. I’m not sure why episodes 2 and 3 were aired out of order, and it was a bit distracting. Mr. K is still a little grating, but they use his weirdness sparingly, for the most part, so it works out. I think the best part of Go On is the sweetness at its core. It’s sweet seeing the people in Ryan’s life want to help him, and seeing Ryan want to help them too (even if that helps tends to go poorly!). Basically, as soon as an episodes end, I want to see the next one, so I’m definitely giving this show an:
Grade: A (Fun fact: NBC has already picked up Go On for a full season.)

The New Normal
Episodes Watched: 4
Carefully Thought Out Evaluation: This is one of the toughest shows for me to judge this year. I liked the pilot, though it felt rushed. I still thought it had a lot of heart and was looking forward to Modern Family 2.0. However, I just am not terribly jazzed about The New Normal. First off, I understand Nana is a racist, homophobic, bigot; please stop clubbing me over the head with that fact. Her “funny”/”Did she just say that” rants make me want to fast forward/mute the show, because I simply can’t stand them. This last episode did a better job humanizing her, but not enough. Rocky is a wholly unnecessary character, as this last episode proved. I just am not feeling the makeshift family feel for the main foursome (David, Bryan, Goldie and Shania). This last episode really threw me for a loop, because it was much better than the first few, so I just can’t make up my mind! In the end, my carefully thought out evaluation is that I need to give this show more time before I can figure out if I like it or not!
Grade: B most of the time, D sometimes, so I guess that averages out to a C, eh? (Final fun fact: NBC has already picked up The New Normal for a full season, so instead of 9 more episodes to make up my mind, I’ll have about 18!)

The Neighbors
Episodes Watched: 1
Snap Judgment: Call me crazy (don’t call me crazy, that’s mean!), but The Neighbors was actually better than I expected. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still bad; I just expected it to be a lot worse. It’s a cute enough idea, and there were a couple humorous moments in the pilot. It just seems like this show is better fitted for ABC Family than ABC. The humor is weak. If the show lasts, it would be wise to embrace the zaniness of living in an alien community. It really just has a bland feel behind it, though.
Grade: C

Animal Practice
Episodes Watched: 3
Snap Judgment: I suppose this is exactly what I expected from a show co-starring a monkey. The last two episodes have shown a little more chemistry between the characters, but I still don’t like most of the characters. I wanted to like this show so much, because I do like Justin Kirk and Joanna Garcia-Swisher, and Tyler Labine can be very funny. This is actually probably my favorite role of his (that I’ve seen), because he’s much more mellow, which is nice. It just doesn’t make me laugh, and that’s kind of key for a sitcom.
Grade: C

Guys With Kids
Episodes Watched: 3
Mix of Snap Judgment and Careful Evaluation: This is another show I think would be better suited on a network like Nickelodeon or TV Land or ABC Family. In fact, ABC Family could pair Guys With Kids with the Three Men and a Baby rip off they’ve currently got and make it men-with-babies hour. Here’s the thing, though- I kind of like Guys With Kids. Zach Cregger is actually very funny, Anthony Anderson is good at being broad and loveable, and Jesse Bradford is also there. Nah, he has his humorous moments too, but he’s very much the straight guy in their group of misfit dads. I won’t be heartbroken when this gets cancelled,  but it’s fun enough that I’ll watch it when I’ve got a spare half hour.
Grade: C+

Last Resort
Episodes Watched: 1 (though that will be changing tonight)
Snap Judgment:
I don’t think I’ve said this enough- I loved this pilot. It was like a little mini-movie, and a well-done one at that. That final speech- “Test us, and we will all burn together”- just crazy enough indeed! Plus, Scott Speedman looks good in a uniform! But, all we’ve got to go on right now is the pilot, and as awesome as it was, the show itself could easily be sucky. We’ll find out tonight. I doubt it, mind you- I’m pretty sure it’s going to keep being awesome. My one concern is the way-too-young-to-be-Scott-Speedman’s-wife Jessy Schram back in the States and how they handle her. I assume she knows nothing of why they were given the orders in the first place, subsequently attacked, and probably has no idea where Sainte Marina is on a map (if it were a real place, that is), so I don’t want too much focus on her. I think she’s supposed to remind us that the soldiers are humans with families and loved ones back home; I just don’t want them to use her as an emotionally manipulative tool, where when we see her, we know something big is about to happen to Scott Speedman’s character. I realize this show isn’t going float everyone’s boat, but it’s right up my alley. I can’t wait for 8/7c tonight!
Grade: A

And, last but not least:

Elementary
Episodes Watched: 1
Snap Judgment: I liked it. Johny Lee Miller is fantastic as Holmes, and Lucy Liu is good as Jane Watson. I thought they had good chemistry; I liked the COW (case of the week). I think their shooting style is cool during the COW scenes. It’ll be interesting watching Holmes and Watson grow on each other and form that classic bond. And, thankfully, the showrunners have said there will be no will-they-won’t-they back and forth with these two. It will simply be a pure friendship. I guess my only complaint is that I didn’t feel the show was really that special. It reminds me a lot of The Mentalist, probably because Simon Baker’s character is very Holmes-ian. But even if it is just a COW show, it’s a good one- maybe not watch live/right away, but definitely worth DVR-ing.
Grade: A- (Final note: This is my guess for next full season pick up, since it did very well in the ratings.)

EDIT: I forgot to include Made in Jersey originally. Which I think says it all.

Made In Jersey
Episodes Watched:
1
Snap Judgment: Obviously, it’s very forgettable! Her accent is ridiculous- I realize the actress is English, but there’s no way a firm like that would take on a girl with that kind of accent. Everything was very boring and the acting is not so great. I mean, if you have nothing else to do on a Friday night, it’s not horrible background noise, but I wouldn’t invest in it much more than that.
Grade: C-

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  1. Pingback: Indoor Cat’s Guide to… Even More Sneak Peeks « Indoor Cat's Guide to Geekery

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