Running late with the reviews, and I still didn't get a chance to watch everything thanks to spending most of Saturday watching college football with PigPen and going to the movies with Li'l Brother this evening.
MONDAY, SEPT 20
How I Met Your Mother (CBS, 7:00): An okay enough episode -- I enjoyed the imagined consequences of Ted ignoring the importance of Barney's dibs -- but I'm leery of the new wedding flashback/flashforward framing sequence, which felt a little forced.
Chuck (NBC, 7:00): As glad as I am to have the show back, I felt that the season premiere was really uneven; while I appreciate some of the show's goofier moments, the whole "globetrotting Chuck and Morgan" plotline was a bit much for me. I did like the idea of the BuyMore being an actual CIA base of operations if for no other reason than it will remove the need for Chuck to keep coming up with excuses for why he's gone all the time -- although I suppose that aspect will still survive in the relationship with Ellie . . .which is a shame, because I'm burned out on the constant deception angle.
The Event (NBC, 8:00): Man, there was a lot going on in the pilot, wasn't there? Some might be tempted to say there was too much going on. I can see how the rapid-fire introduction of characters and constant time-jumps could be off-putting -- to be honest, I can't say I felt very connected to the majority of the characters by the end -- but the twists and turns of the plot did keep me intrigued enough to tune in again.
Lone Star (Fox, 8:00): The premiere episode of this "con-man yearning for redemption" drama was very well done, but sadly not very well watched -- its abysmal ratings mean that it might not be too long for this earth. I hope that Fox will give it a chance to grow, but if the past is any indicator, that hope is a slim one.
Castle (ABC, 9:00): I have to admit, as predictable as Castle's appearance at the second crime scene was, it still cracked me up -- not sure if that speaks more to the quality of the gag or the ease by which I am amused. I also enjoyed the cold shoulder Castle got from Ryan and Esposito.
TUESDAY, SEPT 21
Glee (Fox, 7:00): Once again Shue shows himself to be just a stellar role model to the kids by immediately being swayed by Sue's insane troll logic. I don't know why I'm still surprised by such logical lapses on this show -- character consistency is far from its strong suit. On a more positive note, Sue's rants were as entertaining as ever, and Finn's tryout for the Cheerios was one of the funniest things I've seen this week.
Raising Hope (Fox, 8:00): Far and away my favorite new show of the season; had me laughing out loud more than most of the returning sitcoms combined.
Running Wilde (Fox, 8:30): I was a bit apprehensive going into this new sitcom from Mitch Hurwitz, the creator of Arrested Development. As much as I loved Will Arnett's role as Gob on AD, I don't think it was the sort of character that could have carried an entire show by itself, and from the initial previews Arnett's role on Running Wilde seemed to be too close to Gob for comfort. However, I found the series premiere to be, if not excellent, then at least enjoyable and entertaining, which is more than I can say about a couple of other series I tried out. Still not sure if there's enough here to sustain a weekly series, but I'm willing to give it a whirl.
Parenthood (NBC, 9:00): I want to like this show, I really do, but they make it so hard sometimes; honestly, often the drama of each episode feels like drama for the sake of drama, and not something that's grown organically from the characters.
Sons of Anarchy (FX, 9:00): Things I liked about this week's episode: the Stephen King cameo. Things I wasn't too happy about: most everything else. Not a bad episode, per se, but between Opie losing his cool and ruing the deal and the unfortunate series of events surrounding the hostage situation, I just felt like there were too many dumb decisions being made.
WEDNESDAY, SEPT 22
Undercovers (NBC, 7:00): The first episode of the new spy series from J.J. Abrams didn't wow me like many of his other series premieres have, but I did find it to be some nice, light escapist fare, and believe it or not, that's actually a compliment. Whether the show can maintain this light-hearted spirit and still hold my interest is the big question.
The Middle (ABC, 7:00): While I usually enjoy The Middle, I wasn't a huge fan of this particular episode, largely due to the assumptions made by Brick's teacher about Frankie's motivations -- "people making erroneous assumptions and then refusing to let go of them" is one of those plot points I have a low tolerance for.
Survivor (CBS, 7:00): If the best tribal councils are the ones where someone loses their mind and stops filtering their comments, then this episode's tribal council had to be one of the best of all time. In post-show interviews, crazy-man has claimed that the apparent non sequiter questioning of Sash's sexuality actually had some context to it that was left on the editing floor, namely that he was trying to prove that everyone lies because obviously Sash's claims to be straight were false . . . and while that context might have made the sequence less bizarre, it wouldn't have made him seem less off-putting. Glad to see him go, and looking forward to the next time the young'uns get sent to tribal, because you know that none of those yahoos have learned their lesson about biting their tongues.
Modern Family (ABC, 8:00): The "Mitchell is a danger to himself and others" plot was a little too slapsticky for me, but other than that, a good episode.
Cougar Town (ABC, 8:30): While it's unfortunate that they decided to stick with this show's horrible original title, that's really the only disappointing thing I can say about the season premiere.
Top Chef: Just Desserts (Bravo, 9:00): As someone who can be a tad over-emotional when he's stressed out, I was feeling bad for Seth for a large part of the episode -- especially as the other chefs got on their high horses. But by the end I was just wanting him to learn how to shut his mouth.
Terriers (FX, 9:00): I liked the unconventional twist on the marital infidelity case overall, although I'm not sure I liked how it ended. Still, a very well-written and well-acted episode that has firmly cemented this as one of my "must-watch" shows.
Ultimate Fighter: GSP-Koscheck (Spike, 9:00): Surprisingly, Koscheck didn't annoy me at all this episode; I'm not expecting that to last for long. Best part of the episode was of course GSP managing to psych Koscheck out in the picks -- can't believe he fell for such a transparent ploy.
THURSDAY, SEPT 23
Community (NBC, 7:00): A strong return for one of my favorite sitcoms of last season; I appreciate the way they've managed to subvert the "will they/won't they" relationship of Jeff and Britta.
The Big Bang Theory (CBS, 7:00): One of the more disappointing season premieres for me; while I loved every moment devoted to the Shamy coupling, I was less than thrilled with the predictable and forced robot arm subplot.
30 Rock (NBC, 7:30): One of the things I enjoy about this show is how it manages to bring in actors known primarily for their dramatic roles and let them show their comedy chops; Matt Damon's return as Liz's love interest continues that enjoyable trend.
$#*! My Dad Says (CBS, 7:30): Such a dreadfully unfunny show: predictable, bland, and forced. I barely made it all the way through. Not even going to bother giving it a second try.
Fringe (Fox, 8:00): So glad to have Fringe back; last season the show really found its footing, and the season premiere definitely lived up to my high expectations. Looking forward to seeing how the parallel universe storyline is going to play out.
Grey's Anatomy (ABC, 8:00): Not a fan of the adrenaline-junkie-Derek storyline so far, and I hate that they've yet again regressed Alex to the thoughtless jerk mode, but all of that is almost swept away by the power of the scenes depicting Bailey's breakdown.
The Apprentice (NBC, 9:00): Two episodes in and I'm starting to remember why I'd given up on this a few seasons back: The Donald is a crazy, inconsistent mess who gets on to people one minute for fighting for their lives even before they know for sure they've lost, but then gripes someone else out for holding their tongue until the "appropriate" time. We'll have to see how much longer the investment I have in the contestants outweighs my annoyance at The Donald -- right now I'm not holding out much hope for the contestants' chances.
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (FX, 9:00): For an episode featuring the gang's lawyer nemesis, this installment was surprisingly weak; I blame Charlie's uncle, who was more off-putting than amusing.
The League (FX, 9:30): I really, really, really want El Cuñado to disappear from the show muy rapido. I would have much rather they let Jenny have her own team and explore that dynamic than bring in this horribly annoying character.
FRIDAY, SEPT 24
Blue Bloods (CBS, 9:00): Can you say "heavy-handed manipulative melodrama" boys and girls? I knew you could. Only made it half-way through
SUNDAY, SEPT 26
Family Guy (Fox, 8:00): I was a bit let down by the season premiere's homage to the old "dark house" films; a bit too much homage and not enough comedy, especially at the end.
Rubicon (AMC, 8:00): I'm glad to see things finally heating up, although I was sad to see the Will/Katherine connection cut short so abruptly. I don't know what the odds of this getting picked up for another season are, so I'm hoping that we get to find out the motive behind the suicides before everything is said and done.
Mad Men (AMC, 9:00): The title of this episode really should have been something about excrement hitting fans . . . between background checks, dead rabbits, panic attacks, lost accounts, and Lane's father's version of "tough love" they really piled the drama on. I'm amazed that Betty didn't blow Don's secret to the feds, although I suspect it was more a matter of self-preservation than actual compassion.
Venture Bros. (Cartoon Network, 10:30): I love the fact that the boys and their bodyguard's idea of taking pity on Rusty was to kidnap and torture him; I mean, just when you think the Venture family dynamics couldn't be any more twisted . . .have I mentioned that I love this show?