What have you been watching this week (w/e September 24)

Cripes, there’s a lot of new TV to watch – and let’s not forget the old TV, which is returning en masse – and I’ve reviewed quite a lot of it. But there’s so much TV, in fact, that I’ve already decided to drop Nikita, Terriers and Lost Girl (which is now so just for kids). I’ve got last night’s new stuff to wade through now (Community, Shit My Dad Says – no euphemisms on this blog, Outsourced, 30 Rock, My Generation, Better with You) as well as Detroit 1-8-7, Modern Family (watching it with the mum in law on Sunday), Lone Star (which is going to be cancelled any minute, so I probably won’t bother, even though I hear it’s good), Hellcats (I might have to face up to fact that I’m never going to watch this, given we’re three episodes in now) and Boardwalk Empire (Martin Scorsese, Steve Buscemi, 1920s gangsters: it’s good so far, but I’m not gripped). But here’s what I have watched this week:

  • Being Erica: It’s back! It feels like it’s back-pedalled a bit since last season in terms of where Erica was in her life, but the new innovations, expanded cast, etc, are innovative and making this a must-watch again. Woo hoo!
  • Chuck: Woo hoo! Linda Hamilton! Dolph Lundgren! Olivia Mann! The Buy More! Oh. Scratch the last one. Not bad, some fun moments, but nothing exceptional – just like every other Chuck premiere episode in living memory. Dolph could have been used a whole lot better – a Dolph/Adam Baldwin face-off would have been awesome. Talking of which, where was Captain Awesome? I miss him.
  • Cougar Town: Mildly entertaining fun. But one thing’s for sure: Jennifer Aniston’s movies may suck, but she’s a great TV actress. Really, she needs to be on tele instead of cinemas.
  • The Gates: Turned out to be really quite a good series. Nothing totally outstanding, but a regular weekly bit of dark, supernatural fun. It ended well, too, with most of the story arcs dovetailing together quite nicely, but then leading naturally to a series of new plot threads that serve as a good cliffhanger – for a second season that’s probably never going to come, given the ratings. But you never know.
  • House: All change here, with Olivia Wilde off filming movies left, right and centre and of course Huddy. Good to see enough of a change in the format that the medical mystery wasn’t the centre of the episode and wasn’t exactly life threatening. Not sure about Cuddy’s new assistant but he could prove fun. And I’m definitely not sure about Huddy either – but that was well enough handled that I’m prepared to give it some time. Oh, more Wilson, please.
  • Life Unexpected: So much forced change here, too! Redundancies, new characters, explosions, slightly icky storylines lifted from Pretty Little Liars. Abby’s MIA and Erin Karpluk is, too, which means the show is going to have to work harder to grab my attention. Oh, hello, here’s Emma Caufield from Buffy and a new blonde barmaid – that’ll help ease the pain, anyway. Not remotely plausible in any aspect, but fun.
  • Mike and Molly: Switched it off after two minutes of terrifyingly bad jokes, most of them about fat people. Just don’t watch it.
  • Parenthood: Seems to be settling down – I’m not sure in an especially good way. Dax Shepherd’s storyline is just going all over the place (let’s move to New York. No, let’s stay in California. No, let’s tour the country. No, let’s stay in California). Erika Christensen’s storyline has yet to materialise. Monica Potter’s storyline is all about her being a bit mental. The kids aren’t really up to much. Only Lauren Graham and Peter Krause are really getting anything to do, and I’m not sure I actually like their characters. The resemblance (physically and in terms of voices) of William and Adam Baldwin is actually quite spooky, too.
  • Rubicon: Ooh. Sex. Still not sure what’s happening though. And I use the word “happening” loosely.

But what have you been watching?

As always, no spoilers unless you’re going to use the <spoiler> </spoiler> tags, please. If you’ve reviewed something on your blog, you can put a link to it here rather than repeat yourself (although too many links and you might get killed by the spam filter).

  • Mark Carroll

    Mike and Molly was fat jokes all the way through.

  • TemplarJ

    I thought Boardwalk Empire was punch the air good. One of the programmes that instantly becomes essential. I would pay half my license fee to HBO if they let me.

  • bob

    I must admit that the premise for pretty much every show Rob has reviewed recently has sounded bad to me so I haven’t bothered reading on. But I do expect to see things mentioned here if they are actually worth watching! I tend to like these mini reviews (so thanks, Rob).
    So… what I have been watching…
    Being Erica for me was a massive disappointment. I just don’t buy that she’s a screw up in need of therapy any more. And the new characters felt incredibly bland and lifeless. The interesting part is just Doctor Tom now.
    Chuck was fantastic fun though. Really enjoyed the episode. I am so glad Morgan is being properly used at long last. The Chuck-Morgan partnership was highly enjoyable.
    Community returned! Yay. The episode was at the character end of things and not the crazy hijinks end. It dealt with the fallout of the finale very well and reminded us just how far things had come since this time last year. Great stuff.
    Cougar Town surprised me by being full of in-jokes and not explaining a thing. This show seems to hate newcomers. But that’s great- the appeal is to spend time with these crazy folk and the in-jokes of friendship are a part of that. Not a hilarious episode but it warms the heart somewhat to spend time in it company.
    Fringe was awesome. It’s a worthy episode in this “parallel universe” arc that began at the end of season 2 (best finale of 2010 without a doubt). Olivia kicks arse and reminds me constantly why she is my top hero on tv at the moment.
    Lone Star was okay. It had some great ideas (guy wondering who he really is, trying to make a real life for himself and also coping with an awful father) but combined them with bad ones (he’s got a wife and a girlfriend and this double life is so cliched). And all the supporting cast- particularly the women- are paper-thin.
    Mad Men went a bit too farcical for me but hey, it’s still head and shoulders above the rest and Sally was amazing in this episode.
    Merlin in the week in question was superb. A fantastic conclusion to the story with some really brilliant character moments as well as excellent action scenes. The episode on the 25th however was terrible. Ugh.
    Supernatural‘s sixth season has started with a really dull episode. The Dean focus meant that it was with emotional depth but no real surprises at all. And the monster of the week was apparently something we have seen before but I don’t actually remember it so it felt like their revenge must have been very cold indeed. I enjoyed being back with the show but regret that it couldn’t have begun with some fireworks.

  • MediumRob

    @Mark: Glad I dropped it then!
    @TemplarJ: I’ll stick with it then.
    Being Erica: I agree that she seems to have regressed, which is a pity, but I’m liking where everything’s going and the new characters just need some fleshing out time.
    Cougar Town: is now about the friends (they were contemplating renaming it since the show is now so far from its original premise that the name is meaningless – but they couldn’t think of anything better, hence “(Still) Cougar Town” in the titles, a nice touch I forgot to mention. It’s enjoyable, throwaway stuff.
    Everything else will be discussed further on Friday, but I’m thinking I might drop Supernatural now, since it was so filled with coincidence and bereft of interest for me, that now seems like a good opportunity to make a break with it before I get sucked in again.

  • David

    I can’t say that I have seen any of the above shows, but I have been watching (for all of 1 episode) that new show on ITV1 (wasn’t there a poll recently about what is worth watching on ITV1?) called, “Downton Abbey”. Has an “Upstairs, Downstairs” or “Gosford Park” feel to it (especially since it’s set before the Great War). Some excellent actors in it (Hugh Bonneville, Brendan Coyle, Dame Maggie Smith), and (being an American) I’ve always been fascinated by the class structure. For the first episode, it’s been intriguing thus far. Am certainly looking forward to future episodes.

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