With the exception of some shows that are premiering in October, most new shows have been on for three or four weeks by now, so let’s take a minute to evaluate which shows are worth sticking with, and which shows you can probably drop from your no-doubt-jam-packed TV schedule.
New Girl – For once, my favorite new show of the season is actually killing it in the ratings. It even beat out Glee in its first week. (Awkward.) And it was the first new show to get a full season pick-up. So unless you really can’t stand the “adorkable” Zooey Deschanel (though it’s hard to believe that anyone could not like her), you should definitely be watching this new Fox comedy. What it has going for it, aside from strong ratings and a Veronica Mars alum (Max Greenfield), is that it seems to already have a good sense of what it wants to be and the tone of the show. Most comedies take a while to find their groove, but this one seems pretty sure of itself right out of the gate. New Girl airs on Tuesdays at 9 on Fox.
Up All Night – I bowed out after three episodes, but it might just be your cup of tea. It’s a legitimately funny show, which is more than I can say for some of the other “comedies” on TV. Christina Applegate, Will Arnett, and Maya Rudolph are great, but I’m just not a big fan of any show whose premise involves a baby. (Except for Raising Hope. They somehow make it work. You should watch that show instead.) I guess in the end, Up All Night had a lot of small laughs, but not enough big laughs to keep me interested. I’ll just watch my Arrested Development DVDs instead and wait for the AD movie to come out. Up All Night airs on Wednesdays at 8 on NBC, and it just got a full season order.
Ringer – I don’t really know what to say about this show. It’s like the weird love child of a soap opera and a Humphrey Bogart movie. It’s kind of like a car wreck you just can’t look away from. But “car wreck” sounds meaner than I intended. It’s really not that bad (in my opinion). It’s certainly improved from the pilot, which featured the world’s worst green screen. The show is genuinely entertaining, and I give them props for trying to do something totally different from any other show in prime time. But if you’re not a huge SMG supporter, or a big fan of over-the-top melodrama, it might be too much for you. Ringer airs on Tuesdays at 9 on the CW.
2 Broke Girls – I would call this show consistently mostly funny. Or mostly consistently funny. It makes me laugh, I’ll say that much. And Kat Dennings can do no wrong in my eyes. She plays Max, the cynical New York waitress like she was born to do it, and that includes her delivery of some (usually) very funny jokes. The premise (jaded city girl teaches a naive former heiress how to make a living in the city) sounds cliché, but it doesn’t seem that way when Max is explaining the rules of Goodwill shopping, or walking Caroline’s horse around New York City. Broke Girls has already earned a full season pick-up from CBS, so at least you know if you get into it, there’s more to come. 2 Broke Girls airs on Mondays at 8:30 on CBS.
Suburgatory – Okay, ignore the ridiculous name. The first two episodes of this new comedy about a single father and his teenage daughter moving from Manhattan to the suburbs were surprisingly funny. The number one thing this show has going for it is its cast. Alan Tudyk (Firefly) is hilarious as always; Cheryl Hines is fabulous as the sickeningly sweet mom of a robotic mean girl; and Jeremy Sisto and Jane Levy have great father-daughter comedic chemistry. Young star Jane Levy has been compared to Emma Stone, not just because she’s a sassy redhead, but because her mastery of sarcasm is something to be admired. Suburgatory has only aired two episodes, but it’s already become my second favorite new comedy (after New Girl). I love the Mean Girls-style mockery of the suburban way of life, where mothers dress their daughters like Preppy Whore Barbie, and (supposedly) straight men get fake tans. Plus, it’ll make you appreciate your own crazy neighbors. Suburgatory airs on Wednesdays at 8:30 on ABC.
Hart of Dixie – My love for Rachel Bilson and Scott Porter wasn’t enough to get me through the pilot episode. But maybe I’ll give it another shot. I just don’t think I can take another fish-out-of-water show this TV season. Hart of Dixie airs Mondays at 8 on The CW.
The Secret Circle – I don’t really know what it is about this show that keeps me coming back… I blame The Vampire Diaries, which I mocked from the beginning, but then once I started watching became completely enamored of. (I’m not proud of this.) Since the first seven or eight episodes of TVD were not what you might call “good,” I still have a hope that Secret Circle will be the same way. (To be honest, I think the pilot of Secret Circle was stronger than the TVD pilot, so that makes me wonder if it’s capable of reaching Vampire Diaries‘ level of awesomeness.) Another reason I keep tuning in is that the main romantic love interest (played by Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles‘ Thomas Dekker) looks like a younger, more heavily eye-lashed version of Seth Gabel, who plays the wonderful Lincoln Lee on Fringe. Anyway, I’m not going to tell you whether or not you should watch Secret Circle because it’s the kind of show that is exactly what it looks like, so you can judge for yourself if it’s up your alley. The Secret Circle airs on Thursdays at 9 on The CW.
Fall’s First Casualties: R.I.P. The Playboy Club and Free Agents. Poor NBC. They aren’t having the best luck this season, although they have no one to blame but themselves for picking up such awful shows in the first place. (Full disclosure: I never watched any of The Playboy Club, but I seriously doubt it was good.) Playboy Club was the first show of the season to get the ax, with the Hank Azaria comedy Free Agents following close behind. I hope the wonderful actors in these shows (I’m referring mostly to Sean Maher and David Krumholtz of Playboy Club, and Hank Azaria and Anthony Head from Free Agents, all of whom I adore) find something much better to do now that their shows have been cancelled.
What about you? What shows have captured (and held) your interest? What should I be watching that I’m not? Leave a comment, or tweet us @PopCultureNexus!
Blogger John Dellaporta ambitiously reviews last week’s premieres on television. Read his post here.
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