This week in television was ripe with new faces (Darren Criss on Glee), old faces in new roles (Amber Tamblyn on House), old faces in old roles (Taylor Momsen back on Gossip Girl...barf), and rotting faces (the zombies on The Walking Dead). All in all it was a quality week of November sweeps, with some shows faring better than others. Let's dive in...
Another exciting week of television has come and gone, and it seems that the new shows are starting to distinguish themselves as either "keepers" or "soon-to-be-canceled." The first new show to get a full season pickup, I'm happy to say, was Fox's comedy Raising Hope. The outlook isn't as good for some other new shows (Chase, The Whole Truth, and Running Wilde, for instance), but more on that later. Let's start from the beginning...
First of all, let's have a moment of silence for a fallen TV gem: Lone Star, Fox's critical darling slash ratings vacuum, was canceled this week after airing only two episodes. Meanwhile, Outsourced and three Chuck Lorre sitcoms are still at large. Is there no justice? Let's not dwell on the negative, though. There were plenty of entertaining moments in television this week...
Fall is here! Which means there's a slew of new and exciting TV shows for us to watch while we sit in our dorm rooms not doing our Spanish reading. And let's not forget the returning shows that can't be missed. However do I manage to watch 24 shows without a DVR? It's not easy, I'll tell you that much. So let's review what shows are required viewing for this television season:
My Generation - Thursdays at 8 on ABC (Premieres Sept. 23rd)
Let's be honest, this show will most likely be canceled before Christmas. Why? Because I will watch it. Sadly, I am the Angel of Death of television shows, so please, for my sake, watch this show. It's a mockumentary dramedy following a group of friends ten years after graduating from high school. I'll give you candy if you watch it.
Hawaii Five-0 - Mondays at 10 on CBS (Premieres Sept. 20th)
What's that you say? They already made a show called Hawaii Five-0 in the 70s? Wow, you're sharp. Like many people, I rolled my eyes when I heard CBS was remaking the hit series (can't anyone come up with an original idea these days?), but I was won over by the compelling promos and the positive buzz that has been surrounding this show. Although the theme song is faithful to the original, there are some changes in the cast: Kono is now a woman (played by Grace Park), and Danny is now Scott Caan (TWIST!). And did I mention Daniel Dae Kim (Lost) is maintaining his Hawaii residency to take up the part of Chin Ho Kelly? The other main cast member, Alex O'Loughlin, is probably the one person with a worse track record than me in shows getting canceled. The star of one-season wonders Moonlight and Three Rivers is playing Detective Steve McGarrett, so here's hoping the third time's the charm for this charming Aussie and that he can finally get a second season out of a show.
Terriers - Wednesdays at 10 on FX (Premiered Sept. 8th)
This quirky buddy cop noir dramedy has a special place in my heart because the premise and setting is similar to that of the late great Veronica Mars: Unlicensed private investigators uncover the seedy underbelly of Southern California while exchanging witty dialogue and toting along a lovable canine. Ring any bells? Stars Donald Logue (Grounded For Life) and Michael Raymond-James (True Blood) have a beautiful bromance blooming, so tune in if you like funny, well-written shows with cool people and dogs.
Running Wilde - Tuesdays at 9:30 on Fox (Premieres Sept. 21st)
I shouldn't have to say anything more than "From the creator of Arrested Development," and "starring Will Arnett" to make you squeal with joy (ARE YOU SQUEALING YET?) about this new Fox comedy. Keri Russell costars as the yin to Arnett's yang, the straight (wo)man to his clown. Oh, and Arnett's former Arrested Development costar David Cross will be showing up, too. Hilarity is sure to ensue.
Other new shows of interest: Lone Star, The Event, Raising Hope, Better With You, Outsourced, Nikita
Cougar Town - Wednesdays at 9:30 on ABC (Premieres Sept. 22nd)
For the last time, this is not a show about a forty-something Courteney Cox dating younger men. The unfortunate name has given this show a bad reputation, but I assure you it has blossomed into a sharp, funny, well-oiled ensemble comedy about a group of friends/family/neighbors and their respective idiosyncrasies (for a rundown of these quirks, watch my favorite scene from the first season here). Former Friend Jennifer Aniston will be guest starring as Jules' (Courteney Cox) therapist, so that should be fun. I mean, come on, we all know you're watching Modern Family anyway, so how hard is it to not change the channel for thirty more minutes? Find out and you won't regret it.
The Good Wife - Tuesdays at 10 on CBS (Premieres Sept. 28th)
I'm going to be honest with you, I'm still on a Good Wife high after watching the entire first season in one week, so I'm a little overly excited for the premiere of this perfectly-executed legal drama. Here's all you need to know about The Good Wife: (1) It was the only network show other than Lost to earn a nomination for Outstanding Drama Series at the Emmys this year, alongside cable powerhouses like Mad Men and True Blood, (2) Michael Ealy (FlashForward) and Scott Porter (Friday Night Lights) will have recurring roles in the upcoming second season, and (3) it's awesome.
Chuck - Mondays at 8 on NBC (Premieres Sept. 20th)
This show is the Little Engine That Could (Get Another Season), and by some miracle it's still on the air, despite its (undeserved) lack of stellar ratings. Season four promises more excitement, Chuck and Sarah going strong as a spy couple, a baby on the way for Mr. and Mrs. Awesome, and a visit from Chuck's estranged mother, played by Linda Hamilton. How can you say no?
Community - Thursdays at 8 on NBC (Premieres Sept. 23rd)
Another one of my favorite underrated comedies returning for its second season, Community follows a group of misfits at a community college who form a study group led by Joel McHale, who plays a former lawyer walking the line between sleaze and sincerity like a pro. The cast of this show is pure brilliance (Troy and Abed could easily have their own spin-off), and the pop culture references alone are enough to keep you laughing throughout the whole half-hour. And everyone should be positively giddy to hear that Señor Chang (Ken Jeong, who you may know from Knocked Up and The Hangover) is coming back as a series regular. Can you say "fiesta"?
Other returning shows you should watch: 30 Rock, The Office, House, Castle, Parenthood, Survivor, Bones, The League, Modern Family, Life Unexpected, How I Met Your Mother, Gossip Girl, Glee
Let me start off this week's Top 5 with my favorite quote of the week: "You're paying too much for worms, man. Who's your worm guy?" - Creed, 'The Office'
1.) 'Castle' references 'Firefly' and 'Buffy' in this week's Halloween episode: Nathan Fillion donned his Captain Malcolm Reynolds duds once again (six years after the cancellation of the fabulous Whedon-helmed 'Firefly' from whence it came) when his 'Castle' character dressed up as a "space cowboy" for Halloween. Pure genius! I was laughing hysterically. And then I was crying because I still haven't recovered from the loss of such a brilliant show. (But we did get a movie out of it so suck it, Fox.) Just when you thought the Whedon references were done, Fillion gave a shout-out to our favorite vampire slayer. I always love a good Whedon reference in my television shows. It makes me feel like I'm part of an elite club and a sly Whedon allusion is like our secret handshake. Or the bat signal. So there you have it, my obligatory Joss Whedon mention of the week.
2.) Ellen DeGeneres attempts to scare the cuteness out of Taylor Swift: If you haven't seen this video I highly suggest you watch as Ellen pops out at Taylor from behind a bathroom wall. Swift's reaction is outrageously funny. I'd like to take this opportunity to mention the "Awww" Moment of the Week: Taylor Swift and Taylor Lautner make a darn cute couple. But let's be honest, the coolest thing about them dating is that they have the same name.
3.) 'The League' on FX: This new man-comedy about a group of thirty-something guys who take their fantasy football very seriously is raunchy at best and offensive at worst, but somehow I found myself laughing way more than I should have. The show isn't just inappropriate, it's so inappropriate that they have to show the "MA: Mature audiences only" warning every time it returns from a commercial break (rightfully so). Sure, I felt like I needed to go to confession after I watched it, but as a former fantasy football champion myself (and currently undefeated) I was amused by how intense these guys are about their league and all the NFL jokes they make. Watch an entertaining promo here. (Yes, I know- I'm having way too much fun with this hyperlink business. Sue me.)
4.) Esteman: My friend Sara sent me this video of Esteman's "No Te Metas a Mi Facebook" which, from what I understand, translates to "Don't Mess With My Facebook," or "Stay Out Of My Facebook," or something along those lines. If you don't speak Spanish, just appreciate the skinny little Colombian man in very tight red pants and shiny jackets doing what appears to be some kind of variation of the Chicken Dance.
5.) The Halloween episode of 'Community': I have five words for you: Chevy Chase as the BeastMaster. (Yes, BeastMaster is one word. I looked it up.) This show is my second favorite new comedy this season, and it pulled out all the stops for this week's Halloween ep. The best part by far was the perpetually awkward Abed dressed as Batman, complete with a SPOT-ON Christian Bale impression. Amazing. This show is consistently funny, especially when Ken Jeong (from 'Knocked Up' and 'The Hangover') is onscreen as the very angry but hilarious Señor Chang.