Friday, October 7, 2011

Selfless Service

I want you all to think of me as a giver. Someone who will go above and beyond the strict call of duty to make your lives better. To help you with this, I have sacrificed myself for the greater good.

I have TiVo'd a fair percentage of the new fall shows so that I may better suggest to you which you should TiVo.

Applications for sainthood on my behalf may be initiated at any time.

There was some pre-recording winnowing based on some highly scientific criteria: most comedies suck. Comedies with Tim Allen in them suck especially. Not worth trying.

I will not, repeat, will not watch supernatural shows. So the new show that's like Lost meets Jurassic part meets, dear god I'm already bored, didn't make the cut. Also I don't plan on watching any of the shows that deal with fairytales or vampires. Wouldn't do it when I was a tween myself, don't plan on doing it now.

So, with one exception, I made a study of the season's new hour-long dramas and here's what I found:

I like cop shows.

Ok, more specifically. Even though I can pinpoint nothing about the new show Unforgettable that is especially, well, unforgettable, I have now watched three episodes. Yes, I was initially drawn in by the less-hot guy from Nip/Tuck, and then immediately put off by the show's subplot - the lady detective with the fiery red (not real) hair is a cop because someone killed her sister and she needs to find out who he is. Yet, despite that incredibly lame device, the show is certainly not unwatchable. It's a formulaic cop shop and I have never seen a lady detective show that much cleavage, but formulaic cop shows work more often than not.

Things that don't work? The Playboy Club. I watched through the second commercial of the pilot episode before turning off and erasing. Apparently I was not alone as I think the show got canceled. If you missed it, you didn't really.

But back to cops. Maria Bello's show, Prime Suspect is better than Unforgettable but worse than your typical Law & Order, original recipe. I'm pleased that even though the promos made it seem like her wearing of a hat was going to be a major component of the show's plotlines, it isn't. Yes, she wears a stupid hat, but it's ok because they don't mention it much. She's a little one-dimensional, but I am willing to give it time - maybe she develops a character other than the wiseass lady cop. Some of her wiseassitude is amusing.

Another thing I discovered (a shock to you all, I know) is that my nostalgia addiction might have bad side effects. Naturally, I mean of course, I mean was there any ever question, I chose to watch the new Charlie's Angels.

I made it through 1.2 episodes. It's really really bad. I mean really bad. Not as bad as the Playboy Club (by approximately 5 commercial breaks), but bad. I'm not recording it any longer. Some reasons it's bad. The angels aren't ex-cops, they're ex-felons. And they're really unmemorable. I know these are attractive women, but they're kind of like cereal box attractive. They aren't interesting enough looking or acting to hold my attention. They're good right until the milk starts to go all chalky, and then they're not so good anymore. There's no charisma and, since I just checked, the guy who voices Charlie pretty much sums up the lack of charisma: he's the older guy from Alias. In other words: no one. His voice isn't interesting and neither is he. John "muthableeping" Forsythe was amazeballs as Charlie. This guy is just a voice on one of those speaker phone jobbies no one in your office can use properly. Also, and this is a truly personal pet peeve. If you are going to wear $1000/pair shoes, you should know how to pronounce them. For the record: Louboutin is pronounced loo-boo-tan - where "tan" is pronounced like tan - like the thing you get from lying under the sun (obviously if you are French, you don't quite pronounce it like that, but for a transliterative purpose, it's close enough). I don't know what a loo-boo-tawn is, but I assume it comes from the same place a moo-lawn rouge does.

Then there's Pan Am for my nostalgia of times that never existed. It's middle-of-the-road watchable while being simultaneously stupid. The subplot device used here is that one of the stewardesses is also working for the CIA. I don't know why the show needed that except, oh, wait, I do, the rest of it is merely an advertisement for vintage Pan Am handbags. The banter isn't cute, the vintage outfits aren't either. It's a really poor imitation of the Mad Men mystique, but I don't know if it would be as bad had Mad Men never existed. That being said, I don't hate the show, but if it went off the air, I wouldn't miss it.

Now the nostalgia takes a turn. I didn't start watching the OC until it was, I believe off the air. I don't even think I really liked it, but it grew on me, kind of like riding boots. And I like Rachel Bilson. So even though nothing about the promos for her new show Hart of Dixie said that I would enjoy it, I tuned in. And you know what? It's not bad. It has the basketball player from original 90210 who Brandon had to tutor for the teacher whose wife he was sleeping in, but then the basketball player becomes a good guy and a friend of Donna's. And I've always liked him. And I think Rachel Bilson is really cute. This is not a good show either, but it's bad in a good way.

I let one comedy slip in because, I don't remember why, except I like Christina Applegate. Up All Night with her and Will Arnett is awesomely poignant for me because it smacks of the kind of crap clueless parent I might inevitably become. Devoted partner likes it less. Probably for the reasons I like it a lot.

Oh, and The X Factor. Neither here nor there. I like Simon Cowell. I stopped watching American Idol when he left so I'll at least watch this season of his new show.

To sum up, on a scale of 1-10 where 1 is Baywatch Nights and 10 is The West Wing:

Unforgettable - 4; will watch at least one or two more episodes before making a final decision

The Playboy Club - 1; and now no longer anyone's problem

Prime Suspect - 5; if Law & Order: Special Victim's Unit is a 7

Charlie's Angels - 1.5; not quite as bad as The Playboy Club, but I'm no longer watching

Pan Am - 3; since my Sunday night schedule is pretty light, I'll let it have a couple more weeks

Hart of Dixie - 4; in some moods, maybe a 5

Up All Night - 7; it makes me smile and I really really like Christina Applegate

The X-Factor - NR; either you watch reality tv or you don't

Not yet rated - Person of Interest. We have several episodes on the machine waiting to be watched.

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