It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these TV Breakage columns, but with new Fall seasons in full swing it seems like the right time. I actually have a few shows I want to talk about, so why not get into the thick of it? If you have a television show or channel that you’d like to see brought to attention here, feel free to comment and let us know.
Even though I think Donald Trump is scum of the Earth, I am getting excited for NBC’s Celebrity Apprentice All-Stars, which debuts March 3. Trump himself adds little to the show aside from occasionally firing the wrong person on a whim, just because, but the rest of the dynamic is fun. Penn Jillette had an interesting piece on Trump a while back where he revealed that behind the scenes Trump would spend sometimes hours in the boardroom ranting and raving about bizarre radical right wing things. Of course, despite his critique, Jillette is back for this version of the show.
It’s a strong cast, probably stronger than any before it, but the female lineup is pretty weak. Unfortunately Trump seems to have only ever picked females on the Celebrity Apprentice based on their looks. NBC literally has nothing else going on and aside from some sort of pilot they’re working on about the life of Jessica Simpson in the style of Curb Your Enthusiasm, I can’t imagine I’ll be watching them much. Not that the Jessica show would make me watch anyway. I’m pretty sure her life is just getting pregnant all the time, right?
For the first time in a long time, I gave a show on FOX a shot and I’ve fallen in love with The Mindy Project. I honestly can’t recommend this show enough. If you gave it a shot and didn’t like it for some reason, I suggest trying it again. I caught just a couple minutes of an episode one night and decided to tape it. By the next day I was downloading all the episodes and my girlfriend and I were laughing regularly. It’s rare that a show has laugh out loud moments in it, but The Mindy Project does. The show is sort of a cross between Scrubs and 30 Rock, back when 30 Rock wasn’t just a ridiculous parody of itself, and although it might be a “girls” show, guys shouldn’t have any problem watching it.
Of course, since The Mindy Project is on FOX, it’s in jeopardy of being canceled. The show has done a bit better (but not gangbusters) in the ratings as of late, so I’m hoping it gets a second season. Elsewhere on FOX, it looks like lots of shows are going to be dumped and The Cleveland Show could get the axe too. I must confess I’ve never watched a single episode. The Following is getting a huge hype campaign from FOX and it will debut next Tuesday. I’m going to check it out, only because I like Kevin Bacon.
Fringe will air it’s final episode tonight in a two hour finale. I really liked Fringe, although I got on board a bit late. That said, what I’ve watched of the final season (I’ve only see a few as the rest are on my DVR) hasn’t been my favorite. I liked it when the show was much more of a supernatural police procedural, than whatever the heck this last season has become.
I’ve finally given up on ABC’s Last Man Standing and it’s a total shame too. I actually quite liked the show, even if it was sort of Home Improvement-lite in it’s first season. Season 2 is basically an entirely different show, with major cast changes, plot changes and the total arrangement of the program has shifted. Tim Allen is now Archie Bunker, but the show refuses to go full bore with it, both trying to have their cake and eat it too. Every other line out of Allen’s mouth is anti-Obama and it’s really annoying. I don’t tune into 30 minute sitcoms to hear political crap.
Add to that, the show doesn’t know if they’re for Allen’s character or against it. All in the Family recognized that Bunker was an idiot and a product of a bygone era. Baxter never learns anything and at worst, is proven to be right. The last episode I watched dealt with one of the kids bullying a homosexual. Instead of at least using this as a “teaching” moment, the show basically said it was okay and got out of it by pointing out that the kid being bullied wasn’t really gay. The show concluded with a friendly bumper about how “bullying is bad, mmkay” but it didn’t really work when the whole episode seemd to say anything but.
The new format doesn’t seem to be working for anyone, as liberals see the show as nothing more than a place for Allen to preach radical right wing rhetoric while conservatives seem to think that the show is Hollywood liberals poking fun at them. It seems that no matter which side you stand on, it’s not working. And the three funniest characters of the first season, Kyle, Ed and Mandy, barely appear at all in the new season. The best way to appeal to the right and the left, is to make it a point to not talk about either. This is a show that just went to complete crap when it got retooled.
I keep seeing promos for CW’s Arrow so I’m thinking of giving it a shot. I’d be amiss if I didn’t point out that a lot of it had to do with the fact that John Barrowman was in the promos and thus clued me in that he’s in the show. I opted against Arrow in the beginning because I really liked the Green Arrow on Smallville and this seemed to be trying to do the same thing, but without the cast, which annoyed me. Anyone like Arrow? Should I give this a shot?!
FX’s Justified is back for another season and already off to a very interesting start. The show seems to be going in a new direction for the 4th season, but not in a bad way. Raylan Givens is the smoothest character on television right now. Justified scored big in it’s return, up over 20% in the key demos. I bought a few DVDs of the show over the holidays for my Dad, who’s a notorious non-TV watcher, so I’m curious to see if he gets into it.
I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you that I quite liked TNT’s revived Dallas this past year. Unfortunately, with the passing of Larry Hagman, I have no idea what the show is going to be like. Dallas, both new and old, lived and died on the back of J.R. Ewing. I only started watching the show because Hagman was back as J.R. and although I am curious to see how they decide to deal with it all, I know I’ll be a little sad each time an episode airs because it will be the last time we’ll seem both the man and the character in action. He’ll appear in six episodes, but I have no idea how the show will work without him. Even though the modern Dallas has definitely tried to not make it about J.R., he made the show.
TBS’ much hyped return of Cougar Town didn’t do very well in the ratings. While I could care less about the Courtney Cox project, it is alarming that a network show that went to cable with a huge advertising campaign, built in audience and star power, didn’t do better. I’m more worried about the prospect that if Cougar Town fails, we may not see other, better shows, get saved by cable.
I started watching Spike’s The Joe Schmo Show project this week. Catching up on old episodes. I loved the first version of this show when it aired in 2003. This version seems to be pretty good, although I did notice that they aired some things out of order. For a show that’s so focused on “catching mistakes” it seemed a bit odd that they clearly showed some scenes filmed after “Joe Schmo” got injured, before he got injured. It didn’t mean the show was fake or anything, it just proves that they often air these shows out of sequence for dramatic effect. It just doesn’t work in this context. Continuity aside, the Joe Schmo Show is a fake reality show, where only one guy is real and everyone else is in on the gag bringing him along. Lorenzo Lamas was in this year’s show as himself and was easily a highlight. Although my GF and “Joe Schmo”, didn’t know who he was.
Vince McMahon deserves credit as WWE Raw celebrated 20 years on the air this past week. You know it was the 20th anniversary of RAW because they decided to celebrate by having a horrible edition of the show, just like they’ve been doing for the past 20 years. Seriously, I know that the WWE has had a lot of “celebration” shows in the past few years but this was particularly lackluster when you consider the milestone.
Spike TV’s TNA iMPACT had their much hyped Bully Ray/Brooke Hogan wedding this week. Wrestling weddings are usually interesting and this was no exception, but I’m not sure where they’re going with this one. The Aces & 8′s angle has been pretty good but I’m hoping that things ramp up and fast. I would probably put this at my 4th or 5th favorite wrestling wedding angle. Probably my all-time favorite modern one (setting aside the Macho Man/Elizabeth one), is probably still the Billy & Chuck wedding. Eric Bischoff being in that one made it awesome. Shame we didn’t get something that cool in this one.
Another week down. Don’t let the discussion stop here, feel free to leave me feedback and comments, as well as any programming notes you might want to extend to your fellow man. With that, the remote is yours.