What We’re Watching: Monday & Tuesday

I find myself with a strange feeling this TV season: a lack of interest. Sure, I’ve got favorite shows I like tuning in to, but it feels like I’ve got a lot less of them to look forward to, possibly because Lost is gone. There wasn’t another show in the history of my television watching career that engrossed me as much as that one and got me so excited about an hour of TV. Maybe it’s because most of the new shows aren’t so good. Here’s the break down for the first section of the week as far as regular viewings go.

For all the years I’ve been in New York, I’ve been looking around for a good syndicated block of reruns between 6 and 8 that would stay consistent and, for the most part, I’ve been unsuccessful. That is until recently. VH1 scored Saturday Night Live reruns from the 90s which have been a lot of fun to watch, even when I’m reminded that that was an era when skits tended to run WAY too long. It’s still fun to see a lot of today’s big stars and musical acts on the show both in the cast and as hosts. It’s even more fun to see long forgotten folks like Finese Mitchel and Sysqo perform. That takes care of the 6 to 7 block and then we bounce over to a local station called My9 which runs How I Met Your Mother. The only problem I foresee is that, with only a few season under its belt, I’ll be rewatching these episodes over and over again.

MONDAY

8:00pm – HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER (CBS)
I’ve already gone on record with the potential problems I see with HIMYM, but I still enjoy this show better than most of the others I watch on a weekly basis. I’ve grown to really enjoy these characters, but I still think there needs to start being some resolution to the overhanging “mysteries” or else this one could start feeling a little tedious. Like I said though, great cast and still one of my favorite, most looked-forward-to shows.

8:30pm – RULES OF ENGAGEMENT (CBS)
Rules of Engagement is a show we only started watching because it was on right after HIMYM and nothing else was on, but I’ve actually come to enjoy it. Sure, it’s a jokier type of sitcom with lots of jokes being tossed around that aren’t hilarious, but funny enough to get a laugh. I like seeing Patrick Warburton and David Spade doing their things, plus I find the dumb neighbor/friend guy oddly charming. I’m in it with this series, though if something more interesting came on I think we’d jump ship in favor of that. 

9:00pm – THE EVENT (NBC)
AS regular readers might remember, I wasn’t really all that into The Event when it premiered. I’m even less so now and barely still pay attention while the missus watches. I think she’s getting pretty sick of it too. I spent way too many episodes wanting to slap Jason Ritter for saying “My girlfriend!” so much that I don’t think we can ever be okay again (at least not on this show). I appreciate that they’re trying to move things along at a faster clip, but I just do not care about any of these people or what’s going on. I have the vaguest interest in what’s happening with these supposed aliens (though my money’s on dimensional or time travelers), but I could really just look it up in Wiki at some future date and feel satisfied. Probably moreso because I wouldn’t be wasting my time watching a lackluster Lost wannabe. 

10:00pm – CASTLE (ABC)
I almost feel bad for not liking Castle more. I really like the cast and the dynamics of the characters, but it just feels so hacky lately. From the wacky set-ups for crimes this season (steampunk AND time travel in one episode?!) to the increasingly formulaic plot, I’m getting worn down. How many times can they run across a suspect who lies so well that they completely buy his story and move on only to come back to him or her later in the episode to realize he or she is really the killer? It’s boring and, personally, I expect more from a show with Nathan Fillion on it. Hopefully this one will pick up because the missus still LOVES it, while I just keep thinking about how much better Bones is and wishing Netflix would send the first disc of last season already so we can start the long road to catching up.

TUESDAY

8:00pm – GLEE (Fox)
This one’s completely because the missus likes the show. She’s a big fan of musicals and show tunes and whatnot, so this is right up her alley, which is unfortunate, because I find it to be one of the most wildly inconsistent, sloppy and increasingly gross shows around. Anyone else see the Rocky Horror episode tonight where the teacher actually considered and planned on dressing up in gold shorts and performing a sexually charged number with one of his students? Sure he practiced with the hot red head teacher, but he was actually planning on jumping in and doing that. He’s just one of the many headache-inducing characters on a show filled with them. I’ve heard the argument made that you’re not supposed to expect anything from Glee but high school drama and musical numbers, but I call bullshit on that. The very basis of ongoing fiction of any kind is based in consistent characterization and this show lacks it for the most part. However, I do love Brittany’s throwaway lines. Those are just solid and sound like they’re being written by someone from 30 Rock.

9:00pm – RAISING HOPE (Fox)
I can’t remember the last time I watched this much Fox programming on a single night, but I find myself really liking Raising Hope. It’s clear the show was created by the brains behind My Name Is Earl as both showcase small town folks without much money doing what they can to get by. Hope revolves around a guy discovering his one night stand turned out to not only be a serial killer on death row, but also pregnant with his child. Now he’s raising the kid with his parents who had him at a really young age (his dad looks about the same age as him at times) and his mom’s grandma played by Cloris Leachman. Hope can be a little too weird and a little too jokey at times, but I think it’s starting to hit its stride. Plus, the Halloween episode featured homemade Batman and Robin costumes, so bonus points for that.

9:3opm – RUNNING WILDE (Fox)
Running Wilde, on the other hand, is not a show I’m enjoying much and I’m starting to get the feeling I’m not the only one as Fox decided to run two episodes of Raising Hope tonight instead of one of each, like usual. I am a huge Arrested Development fan, so I should like this show with its use of Will Arnett, David Cross and that fact that it was co-created by Mitchell Hurwitz, but Wilde suffers from two afflictions. First off, it’s not very easy to jump into. We missed the first episode and had trouble figuring out what the relationship between Arnett and the still-hot Keri Russell was. That’s not a good thing for a new show and something that AD suffered from (I still have trouble describing it to friends who missed out the first time around). The other problem is that it just feels like a rehash of old material. Arnett’s playing GOB from AD, Russell feels like Felicity though I never watched that show, plus the premise is a more exaggerated version of Dharma & Greg without the love. I’ll be curious to see what Fox replaces this show with if it does get the axe.

10:00pm – PARENTHOOD (NBC)
Parenthood continues to be one of the best written, most solid shows on television. I’d honestly put it up there with Mad Men. There’s a lot more in Mad Men considering it’s a period piece, but like that show, the Parenthood creators do an amazing job of juggling a small army of fast talking characters, giving each their moments to shine and great lines. Great writing mixed with a great cast makes for great TV, but for some reason I don’t find myself looking forward to this show on a regular basis. I’m happy when it’s on, but never excited for it. I wonder if that’s because it’s a drama and not an action show. I’ll have to think about that. I’ll be back on Thursday with more shows I’m watching. What are you viewing on Monday and Tuesday?

Season Premiere: Parenthood Season 2

Parenthood was one of my surprise favorite new shows last season. I shouldn’t have been too surprised because I liked cast members Lauren Graham (Gilmore Girls), Peter Krause (Sports Night, Dirty Sexy Money), Dax Shepard (hey, he was good on Punk’d), Craig T. Nelson (Coach), Mae Whitman (Arrested Development) and Erika Christensen (she had a great turn on That 70s Show as a girl who had a crush on Red instead of Eric). I also really like the movie the show is based on (and much of the first episode and ongoing story is based on). And, of course, there’s the fact that Brian Grazer and Ron Howard had a hand in creating the show and as many of you know, they helped create the greatest American comedy series, Arrested Development. What surprised me isn’t so much that I liked the product, but what kind of show it is. Thanks to AD, I expected something a little whackier but I found myself really getting absorbed in the complicated dynamics of the Braverman family.

So, the second season just premiered, earlier than most other shows on NBC (Tuesday’s at 10PM). The major plot points included the terrible-at-being-a-handyman patriarch of the family Zeek (Nelson) working with Julia’s husband Joel who was a contractor before the economy tanked. After watching while Zeek practically destroys the garage that Sarah (Graham) and her two kids (one of whom is Whitman, are you getting all this?) live in, Joel finally blows up on him, telling him to back off and treat him like a man. That’s not all the problems facing Joel and Julia though as their daughter’s questions about where babies come from lead to Julia wanting to have another kid. More on that in the next episode.

While Sarah’s roof is getting fixed, she deals with the fact that she gave Adam (Krause) an idea for a tracker that locates missing shoes. She’s understandably pissed because Adam’s boss loves the idea he swiped from her. In the end, Adam feels bad and arranges for her to have an internship at his company. I’m not sure how a company that seems to be struggling has the money to bring on an intern, but whatever.

All the while Crosby (Shepard) misses his girlfriend/mother-of his-child Jasmine, who is supposed to be bringing Jabbar for a visit which will include a sleepover between Jabbar and Adam’s autistic son Max. Jasmine has to cancel the visit because of an audition (she’s a dancer), but only after a hilarious scene where Jasmine tries to have Skype sex with Crosby and the tech gets in the way. Crosby then has to break the news to Max, who doesn’t take it so well. Oh, Adam’s wife Kristina is also trying to teach their daughter Haddie how to drive, but Kristina’s being a little crazy and overbearing. I love my mom, but we had the same problem when I was learning to drive. In fact, my dad had to pull her aside and tell her she needed to relax in the car with me or I’d never relax myself. There’s a scene where Haddie goes to Adam’s office and explains what her mom is doing and I was laughing HARD because it all felt very familiar.

So there you have a fairly detailed recap of what went on in the episode. There’s no way I even remembered all the characters’ names, but IMDb helped me out big time. I like the show because of its family-like feel. My family back home isn’t quite this interrelated (at least not my section), but my wife’s is a little bit moreso, so I know that families can be like this. I also like the chaotic nature of things, which really do capture family gatherings. There’s a scene in the beginning of the show where Crosby comes over to a very busy kitchen in Adam’s house with his entire family running around, getting ready for the day and talking over each other. It’s fun to watch the show for the main plot points, but I would imagine it’s also fun to watch a few times on DVD with an ear towards the background lines. I caught one today that I can’t remember, but it made me chuckle with Haddie doing a crossword puzzle.

I dig this show a lot and probably won’t write about it every week, but I wanted to let you guys know it started early and what happened in case you missed it yourself. There’s a  pretty crowded TV season about to hit us. The missus checked several sites and made up a TV schedule that looks pretty solid. I’m excited for some new shows like Hawaii Five-O and also returning faves like Big Bang Theory (though it’s move to Thursday is problematic).

A Crummy TV Week

Blarg. After not having new episodes of How I Met Your Mother and Big Bang Theory on Monday, I was pretty bummed to find out that Lost was a rerun tonight. What’s the deal? Then the missus watched tonight’s Glee which I kind of sort of hated. It seems like the writers haven’t gotten over their flare for ridiculous storylines. I can’t be the only one who got completely freaked out by Kurt’s attempt to put his dad and Finn’s mom together on the off chance that they move in together which would put him in the same house and potentially room as Finn? I’m sure some folks will tell me that I’m reading into the show too much, which may be, but I like my fiction to make logical sense. Go figure.

It was a big night tonight for Mike O’Malley who appeared on Glee as Kurt’s dad and Parenthood. I haven’t talked much about Parenthood, but I’ve been really digging that show, even though it wasn’t nearly as much of a comedy as I figured it would be considering it was by the guys who put one of my all time favorite shows together Arrested Development. Tonight’s episode was another good one that once again gave me the willies when it comes to my potential future as a parent.

Anyway, I’m watching the 9 by Design episode that first ran at 10:00 tonight. I’ve been digging that show a lot so far. Plus, Fresh Meat II and the Thursday comedies look to be new this week, so that will help, but I’m still bummed out by the lack of new Big Bang Theory episodes over the past month. We’ve had, what, one maybe two new episodes on all of April? Unacceptable!