*The following grades refer ONLY to premiere episodes. In addition to a letter grades based on the quality of the single episodes, I will also suggest — based on what those episodes suggest of the season to come — that you “Subscribe” on Hulu, “Keep your eye on” for the odd episode here and there or “Kill and Bury,” which should be self-explanatory.
Well boys and girls, after a long and
painful summer hiatus season we are finally back in the land of the
living (televisions). NBC is still being goofy and rolling out their new
shows early so this first week is a little sparse. As an added note,
I'm focusing mostly on NEW television shows, with the occasional
returning series thrown in for sentimental value. For example, Glee
premiered this week but isn't on the list mostly because I couldn't
bother myself to watch it (Kill and Bury) but when HIMYM or Community
premieres later in the month they'll make the list becuase a) I'd move
mountains to watch those shows and 2) they are quantifiably,
categorically and incontestably better than most things on TV.
Guys With Kids (NBC)
nothing particularly bad about GWK, but there's nothing particularly
good about it either. It is a perfectly average, laugh-track and
multi-camera sitcom, and feels like it could nicely occupy an hour on
CBS paired with Rules of Engagement, racking up 10 million viewers every
week and running for 6 years even though no one actually watches it,
talks about it or is even aware of its existence. Unfortunately, it
landed at NBC where it feels woefully off-brand in the land of
too-good-for-their-own-good single camera masterpieces.
worries me is that after NBC found relative success with the comparably
abysmal Whitney, it's possible this type of white-bread innocuous
programming could be the new direction of the peacock. Bit I digress.
is about three friends, two of whom are happily married the other
recently divorced, who have kids. Jesse Bradford is the leading man
(because he's single, thus giving us a character to watch juggle the
competing priorities of parenting and socializing) and while he may have
grown up a little since having Cheer-sex with Kirsten Dunst in Bring It
On he still is far from leading man material. The shows best asset is
the underrated Anthony Anderson, who frankly deserves better.
I said before, the pilot is innocuous, and filled with
less-than-plausible moments that are supposed to make us laugh while we
watch these men play Mr. Mom. Obviously, no three bros in the world
would go to a bar with their kids strapped to their chests, but if they
went to Chile's and had high chairs by the table that wouldn't be funny.
This isn't funny either, and it's all too obvious their trying.
all the rubbish on television, GWK certainly isn't the worst thing out
there (Whitney is), but sadly it's mediocrity is not enough to wet my
appetite even slightly, especially given my distaste for mutli-cam.
Frankly, I'd rather watch Animal Practice and I completely hate monkeys.
Class: Kill and Bury
The New Normal (NBC)
You can read my full review of New Normal here,
but for the scorecard let me just say that NN isn't funny, but could
be. If you like Glee (still), you're bound to enjoy this show because it
occupies the same universe, borrows some of the same actors, includes
essentially the same characters and is similarly washed so every surface
bounces with bubble gum colors. While they may have different names,
the show is essentially about Glee's Kurt and Blaine growing up and
deciding to have a baby with the help of a surrogate who is Sue
A lot of critics have made that
connection, and some members in the LGBT community have called foul for
the way it minimizes the diversity of the gay community. I say don't
blame us, blame Ryan Murphy for only knowing how to write 2 characters.
has been said about how offensive the show is. To me, it's not as
offensive as it is derivative and contrived. BUT the lead actors are
charming and enjoyable and the premise certainly opens up the
possibility for genuine storytelling and a little humor. Hopefully NN
will take the New Girl route and weave straw into gold but as likeable
as Rannels and Bartha are, they ain't no Schmidt.
Class: Keep an Eye On
The Voice (NBC)
competition reality shows are, in my opinion, the lowest of the low of
modern entertainment. That said, if you're going to do it, then you
should do it like The Voice. The producers have wisely decided to give
us what we want: More Spinning Chairs! The initial blind auditions are
longer, beefing each team up to 16 and this year the coaches can steel
each other's talent, which sounds like fun.
If The Voice's only
claim to relevance were the fact that its better than Idol (which it is)
that would be enough, after all Idol continues to be the most watched
show on television (I have my doubts they'll retain that title this
season). But Voice is entertaining, they avoid the schadenfreude of most
reality by beginning with people who are actually talented and from
there the production and quality only go up. Here's to a new king of
Class: Keep an Eye On (if you like Idol, then subscribe).
The X Factor
on earth could make me watch this utterly pointless Idol rip off and
Simon Cowell ego massage. Also, I'm sorry Demi but Paula Abdul you are
Grade: Who knows, who cares
Class: Kill and Bury