Well folks, we have made it through the first 5 weeks of the TV season and are officially into November Sweeps. You know what that means! Guest Stars! Cliff Hangers!! Epic Relationship Moments that will make fangirls like me swoon. (CAN ONE OF THOSE MOMENTS BE NEW GIRL’S NICK AND JESS PLEASE?)
I thought now would be a good time to check in on the Freshman TV Class of the 2012-13 TV season. We’ve actually lost shockingly few of the new shows (RIP Made in Jersey and Animal Practice…does this mean that Annie’s Boobs can go back to Community now?) and a good number have received full season pick-ups. Like any good TV addict, I did check out most of the new TV shows. Some didn’t make it past my three episode test (The New Normal…even though I heard ep 4 was great. I just CAN’T with Ryan Murphy anymore), some I am still watching and am MILDLY interested in despite their ridiculousness (Revolution. I blame Billy Burke) and some I was going to season pass straight out of the gate anyway (Nashville). Today I thought I would take a look at 4 shows that have gotten the full season order and examine my feelings about them. You will find that one of these shows is not like the other…
Ben and Kate is far and away my favorite new show of the season. WHY AREN’T MORE PEOPLE WATCHING?? (The answer to that is the fact that it is up against ratings behemoths like The Voice, NCIS and Dancing with the Stars, that’s why.) Ben and Kate feels like more of an old-fashioned classic sitcom in this era of snark and fast talking sitcoms. Not that Ben and Kate isn’t quippy, it just feels a little more open with the fact that it has got a LOT of heart and sentiment. And the perfect ensemble keeps the sentiment from crossing into the saccharine. This cast’s instant chemistry reminds me of the chemistry of the How I Met Your Mother cast in that, even in the pilot, it feels like they have been working together for years. The characters and relationships are strongly defined and they get better every week. And BJ may be my favorite new character of the TV season. Her scene with little Maddie about Princess Costumes in this week’s Halloween episode was both heartwarming and hilarious.
As a side note, I was initially interested in this show because Community’s Neil Goldman and Garrett Donovan were attached as EP’s, but they left the show not long after production started, as they decided it wasn’t the right fit. And I agree with that…I think the show is too overtly sentimental for them. Not that the show’s sentiment is a bad thing, it’s just not their creative bag.
I initially had a LOT of resistance to Go On because of the fact that NBC Chairman Bob Greenblatt essentially called it Community “with heart”. (Um, a big FUCK YOU to you sir…have you even WATCHED Community?) The pilot also did not help ease my fears that this was going to be Community-lite with all it (overly forced) quirky supporting characters and snarky leading man. I thought that when the show rested in some of the more dramatic moments it showed potential, but they were trying so hard with the quirk that the emotional payoff was unearned. But…my loyalty to Chandler Bing and the fact that NBC premiered it several weeks before the clusterfuck that is Tuesday nights at 9 happened kept me watching. And lo and behold…Go On started becoming a good show. I knew I was starting to fall for it when I began to ship Ryan and his assistant Carrie (shippers will always find a ship y’all). Then I watched the most recent episode (the one with the scavenger hunt for Ryan’s birthday) and it was the first episode that worked top to bottom for me. A good bit of quirk that felt organic, therefore EARNING the emotional payoff at the end. Sometimes it is easy to forget that it can take a show several episodes before it figures itself out (like Parks and Rec and Cougar Town for example). I’m glad I have stuck with Go On. It’s still pushed to hulu or on demand viewing thanks to the fact that I watch New Girl and Happy Endings, but it is one that I will always watch on my TV catch-up Saturdays.
I was DEAD SET against Elementary when it was announced. I have always been a big Sherlock Holmes fan in general, and with the flawlessness of BBC’s Sherlock, I really felt that anything the US would do would be completely inferior. And a FEMALE Watson? Are you kidding me? NO. And then the early reviews came out, and they were positive. I mean…clearly I was going to check it out ANYWAY, but this made me more curious. So I watched the pilot and found myself loving it. Shallowly, I was completely won over by Jonny Lee Miller’s natural accent (What can I say? I’m a sucker for Brits.) but as the episode progressed I found myself enjoying his performance and the fact that it was completely different from that of his one time costar Benedict Cumberbatch (JLM is more…twitchy? More Human? I can’t quite put my finger on it). The show has progressively gotten better with every episode. I enjoy the chemistry JLM has with Lucy Liu’s Joan Watson, and very much appreciate that it has yet to crossover into overt sexual tension, which was my biggest fear with them making Watson a woman. The third episode, “Child Predator”, is what sealed the deal for me. If you are at all curious about the show, that episode is the one you should check out.
And now for my biggest disappointment of the season. On paper, The Mindy Project should have been an instant hit with me. Kelly from The Office playing a 30 something who longs for her life to be a romantic comedy but is a personal disaster? Check. The adorable Chris Messina? Check. A writing staff that features several former writers of my beloved Community including the brilliant Chris McKenna (“Remedial Chaos Theory”)? CHECK. It was the show I was most looking forward to this season.
And yet I pretty much hate it.
My biggest beef with The Mindy Project is Mindy herself. She is just NOT a likeable character. At ALL. I mean, I want my life to be a RomCom too, but I don’t treat people the way she does when things don’t go my way. And jokes about domestic abuse? Not cool. Just because you are a woman making them doesn’t make it okay. If a dude were writing those jokes, don’t you think the media would be up in arms about it? Also, the show has really yet to give any other motivation as to why Mindy is a wreck other than the fact that she is obsessed with movies and doesn’t understand why life doesn’t work out that way. There is zero depth and zero heart in the show, and I don’t root for her at ALL. I’m sorry…no man…even one as flawless as Seth Meyers would tolerate a woman throwing away the fro-yo he just bought her multiple times. And the scene in this week’s Halloween episode where she berated her coworkers who were trying to help her find a last-minute costume? Painful.
In short, I am pretty sure I am done. Sorry, Mindy. It’s not me, it’s you.
Chris Messina deserves better.
What about you, dear readers? What are your feels on our freshman shows this TV season?