Saturday, December 10, 2011

Mid-Fall Check-In

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

Well, the fall season is well underway. Some shows have been cancelled, others given a full season, and others are still waiting to hear their fates. I've fallen in love with some new stuff and dropped others like hot potatoes. I figured it would be good to take a look at the original list of things I had hoped would be promising this season.

At the Top:
2 Broke Girls: The premise and the title aren't exactly the same, which is throwing some people. It's doing well with everyone, myself included. While the ridiculous number of sex jokes tends to bother me every third episode, I can see past them to the other humorous bits... as dated as they'll be ten years down the road. My big gripe is that Max and Caroline aren't doing much to save toward their cupcake bakery, but maybe it'll come in spurts or something. CBS really has itself some great comedy. 

Last Man Standing: This has really been a breakout hit in my eyes. I initially tuned in to see Tim Allen in a Home Improvement-esque show, just with daughters. While it's not the funniest thing on television, I really enjoy the interactions between the characters and the personalities of the family members. It's getting plenty of marketing and isn't suffering in the ratings, so hopefully we've got ourselves a winner here!

All-American Muslim: Overall, I have mixed feelings. On one hand, I think that they've just got too many families on this show. On the other hand, so much has happened in the first four episodes. I think that the show is doing a good job of fitting the premise - the lives, communities, and customs of those adhering to various degrees of the Muslim faith. And, I think that Dearborn is a good place to film, and that the families chosen have different things to offer the viewers. Still, the show isn't perfect and I wonder if the participants would even agree to film a second season. TLC shows are especially difficult to judge (Table for 12 never got an official cancellation, and that was ages ago!), but I certainly hope that we're going to have more than just the original order for All-American Muslim.

So Far, So Good:

Pan Am: we're only nine episodes into this show, which is floundering. It hasn't had big ratings since the pilot, and only 14 episodes have been promised to the public. The show isn't on ABC's mid-season line-up, so even if it does get renewed, it likely won't be back until the fall. While I won't be happy if it gets cancelled, I won't be as heartbroken as I would if that fate struck some of the other shows I've come to love season. After a while I stopped noticing the fact that it's a period show, which is weird... I thought that would stand out forever. I think that the actors are doing a great job, but I wonder about some of the storylines and where they're going.

Terra Nova
: I'm struggling a little bit with this one, which seems to be the general consensus amongst critics. There are only three episodes left in the first season, which will wrap up on the 19th. Terra Nova has not yet been renewed, but given its very long shooting and post-production time, if it does get a second season, we won't see it until at least next fall, if not later. My big problem with this show is that they opened up SO MANY plot lines, then ignored them in favor of single-episode, non-arcing stories, and now everything is tying together pretty darn quickly. I imagine that I'll start a second season if it materializes, but I can't say if I'll finish it...

Suburgatory: This is a show that I came so close to dumping in its opening episodes... but by the time Halloween came around, I really started to look forward to it. I can't stand most of the characters on the program, but the writing brings me happiness. I think it's weird that the premise has been thrown away for the most part... George and Tessa have such a close and open relationship, it's difficult to believe that he'd be so shocked and abrupt when he found condoms in her room. It's been doing pretty well, and reruns in primetime are catching more and more viewers as well. I'm still not 100% sold on this show, but right now it looks like I'll be giving it at least another half-dozen episodes.

The Exes: This is the most difficult program on this list to judge, since the second episode just ran a few nights ago. I was rather disappointed in the pilot, and haven't been struck by Mark Reisman's normal writing brilliance yet, either. The premise is good, the casting seems spot-on, but there's still something missing from having this show be a heavy hitter. I'm hoping that the show gets better, but maybe I shouldn't get my hopes up too high...

Below the Bottom:
Boss: I dropped this episode half-way through its short first season. At first I had a difficult time letting go, but then my mind cleared up... I wanted to love this show because I like Kelsey Grammer. But even your favorite actor can seem totally boring when you're not enthralled with the subject. And, for me, politics is one of those areas that is just better left alone. All of the corruption is what really forced me to turn away from what some people are truly enjoying. My husband, who has run for political office, has enjoyed the show somewhat, though he felt that the bulk of the season was tied up before the finale. Regardless, it's got a second season coming, which I won't be watching.

Hell on Wheels: I couldn't even hang in there for five episodes. The pilot was interesting enough, but the focus on interesting things just kept waning. I wanted to be really into this western drama, but it didn't happen. I struggled with it, as did the few people I know who were really anticipating a great show here. It's doing well in the ratings, however, so for those who are happy with where the show is going, it may end up with a long and healthy run. 

24 Hours in the ER
: It was like I couldn't drop this one fast enough! Sadly, this was the most disappointing show for me. I like medical shows (with ER, House, and Miami Medical topping that list) quite a bit, and I also watch a fair amount of reality programs, so I thought that this would really be up my alley. But, it wasn't. It was so far from my alley, in fact, that I was almost miserable watching it. But, bad choices happen. No big deal. Hopefully I'll get into some other BBCAmerica show, as I'd like to give that channel more attention in some way.
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