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TV Testimony: New Shows 2010 – Hits and Misses

October 7, 2010

It’s time again for networks to roll out the triumphs and travesties, the miracles and the massacres.  There are those who will face the minions and live to see another day, while others will be judged wanting and left to waste away in a desert known as the 7-8 pm Friday timeslot…

Yep – it’s time for FALL T.V. 2010.

So far, I’ve managed to tune in to several new shows and here are the hits and misses…

HIT:

Boardwalk Empire (HBO):

Let’s face it, once I heard that Mark Wahlberg and Martin Scorsese were producing a show about Prohibition-era Atlantic City, I was sold.  The good news is that the actual show is even more interesting than its initial premise.  Featuring a cavalcade of shady and mysterious characters connected loosely by Steve Buscemi’s rising gangster Nucky Thompson, it is a portrait of a turbulent and fascinating time in U.S. history.  The performances are top notch, most notably from Buscemi’s conflicted politico/gangster, Kelly MacDonald’s intriguing immigrant widow and Michael Shannon as the glowering Agent Van Alden, whose motives we have yet to uncover.  On a technical level, the show is even more astounding.  The cinematography, art direction and costume design are thrilling right down to every little nuance.  HBO has another hit on their hands.  Let’s hope they nuture it more than Deadwood or Rome, whose unnatural demises I still have yet to recover from…

Hawaii Five-0 (CBS):

CBS was wise to replace the aging CSI: Miami franchise with a hipper, faster version of itself.  Five-0 boasts an interesting group of actors and decent scripts so far in its limited run.  The main premise involves one officer’s fight to avenge his father and has something to do with terrorists and other such  blah, blah, blah nonsense, but that’s mostly an excuse for the main cast to break basic traffic laws and zip around the beautiful locales in a shiny silver car.  The main character,  Steve McGarrett, as played by Alec O’Loughlin, is about as charming and wooden as a deck chair, but his minions and partners, most notably scrappy Scott Caan’s Danno, are more than able to pick up the slack.  Five-0’s production values are pretty intense, loud and surface-level, but the show itself is so much harmless fun that it is easy to forgive the overload of cheese factor.  Here’s hoping Grace Park, who showed so much depth on Battlestar Galactica, eventually gets to do more than wander around in a bikini and get pummeled by Soviet thieves.

MISS:

Mike and Molly (CBS):

Ten minutes into this new show and I was already beginning to wish I’d never met either of these characters.  The two leads are hapless and bland enough, but the show’s writers somehow insisted on making Molly’s sister a constantly-stoned, goggle-eyed mess who can barely string two sentences together, and  the amazing Swoosie Kurtz is stuck playing Molly’s ridiculously white trash mother.   The two episodes I’ve managed to tune in to view so far have focused on trying to get Mike and Molly to hook up, and the jokes stem from the obvious (they are both overweight so they must be meant for each other) to groan-inducing (Molly is nervous about her date and overdoses on codeine).  Chuck Lorre, who also created the fantastic The Big Bang Theory, should be hanging his head in shame.

Outsourced (NBC):

I tried to watch about 15 minutes of this new show online and didn’t make it any farther.  Considering that I can watch an entire season of Real Housewives of N.J. and half of a marathon of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, I don’t think it is a matter of my standards being too high.  I’m no stickler as far as comedy is concerned, but if you are going to mock an entire culture/race of people, your jokes better be pretty darn funny.   Alas, Outsourced’s jokes are not.  Call me Ms. Politically Correct, but I won’t be watching this NBC stinker again for episode two.  NBC –  PLEASE bring Parks and Recreation back ASAP.  That show, on the other hand, was entering the realm of truly funny just as it was finishing out last season…

Keep tuning in, television zombies, and I’ll keep rolling out the praise or the punches as I get caught up on all the new shows…

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One Comment leave one →
  1. May 17, 2011 3:18 pm

    Friendly reminder: Internet trolls are not welcome. Comments are great. Please be respectful, specific, and willing to accept others’ views.

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