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A balanced diet is important … when watching TV

September 25th, 2010

This past week was the official start of the season for new shows, and with this week out of the way, I can focus a post on what I’m watching and why.  I’ll be mixing in new shows with old standbys, and also some must see shows that aren’t on the traditional schedule.  Just to be creative, which I’m not, I’m putting them into food groups, to help with people that might be watching TV unhealthily, relying on too much junk food to get you through the week.

Junk Food – guilty pleasures

Hellcats – Fun and light show, that, as Damon Lindelof tweeted, is surprisingly not about Hell or Cats.  This cheerleader drama should be right up my teenaged daughters alley, but alas, they’re not interested.  So I’ll keep up with the show to bring them up to speed on the haps of Sharpay (Ashlee Tisdale) and Aly.  In my house the TV spends a lot time on Nick and Disney, and it seems that TheCW is trying to pull those younger viewers in by grabbing the ex The Suite Life and Phil of the future stars.  It’s a teen soap, sure, but it’s on TheCW so won’t be early on the cancel list.

The Big Bang Theory – Used to be a Monday night standard, but shifting it to Thursday (probably a good move, since Monday is being onslaught with new shows) for me makes it a Friday night watch.  Love the characters and the geek humor.  One sad aside from the premiere episode is there seems to be a trend at putting really inappropriate sexual innuendos on at 7PM by CBS, which makes watching this show with my young sons very much awk.ward.  Or maybe I’m getting to be too old and cranky, but speaking of …

How I Met Your Mother – This show about some dude in 2030 telling his teenage kids a long-winded tale about how he met their mother, has always had a bit of the innuendo.  Barney Stinson being the main culprit, which is awesome, of course.  But this first episode was a bit over the top, 7PM Central is a bit early to get the ‘tent in the shorts’ jokes.  I might not have noticed it as much in the past as I time-shifted the show til after the kids went to bed.  I love this show, but it might have to go back to the time-shifted DVR slot for. the. sake. of the children.

Protein – Good meaty dramas

Rubicon – This AMC drama is about 9 episodes into it’s run, sharing Sunday night AMC slow with Mad Men, and it’s gaining strength as the show is connecting many of the crumbs that got dropped early.  The slow place makes it intriguing to watch, not much action, but lots of ‘where are they taking this’ questions get answered in unexpected ways.  I’d recommend going back and finding some good recaps before diving in, or finding the episodes to watch, since this is certainly not a procedural.  I love the mind twisting goodness, and the characters are getting fleshed out, as slowly as the plot.  A show that makes you think, I love that.

Mad Men – THE reason to turn on the TV on Sunday nights for me (not that it’s ever off very long) is to figure out how Don Draper is coping with his life.  The last few episodes either has Don bouncing off his whiskey soaked bottom, or a false bounce with the promise of a deeper crash coming.  Last week, Don lost his anchor, as Miss Blankenship passed on, and daughter Sally has a rebellious streak that we all know Betty won’t be able to handle.  So Don’s new sobriety is tenuously handing on the ledge of Cooper, Sterling, Draper & Pryce’s window ledge, lets see how he handles it.

Terriers – It’s set in Ocean City (small beach suburb of San Diego) and has nothing to do with a canine club full of pedigreed terriers.  Instead it’s following the gritty lives of an ex-cop Hank, played wonderfully by Donal Logue (Life), and his partner Britt, as they start a fledgling Private Investigation business.  They are both all sorts of messed up, but another slow-burn season long arc is unwinding as their partnership begins to jell. It’s on the FX, so some episodes (like this last one) can get the parental warning sign, so keep this one on your DVR and enjoy it after the kids hit the hay.

Castle – This is just a delightful show, I love love love Nathan Fillion and it’s great to see him get a good breakout show.  That said, it’s good because of the rest of the cast, a core family for Rick, and a caring group of cops that keeps Castle grounded as he researches his next novel.  Simmering relationship drama is still fresh and doesn’t feel teased and overdone yet (see Bones).  It’s a procedural, but so much fun that it’s on my must see list.

Grey’s Anatomy – This is weekly date night TV for me. If there is only one show I’ll actually watch on my very busy Thursday night, it’s Grey’s, with my wife, and enjoy it every week.  Characters are still fun and engaging, and the stories are consistently solid.  Good stuff to watch with my favorite person in the world.

The rest are below the fold.

Good Carbs – No extra sugar, just good regular nutritious fiber to keep you regular

Fringe – Fringe is like the soy bean in my list, is a veggie or a protein?  It’s both wonderfully meaty, and still mysteriously fun. The format this season is going towards a more season long arc, I think, than the mix of mythology shows and MOTW (monster of the week) and for that I’m thankful.  The shows is a visual masterpiece, and the cast has had a good while to jell and really begin to understand their characters.  Now toss in more characters that look alike, but have different pasts and backgrounds, thanks to the alternate universe collision of last season means it’s only going to get better.  Must see!

Bones – If Fringe is almost meaty, then Bones is like corn on the cob.  Just a food processing plant away from high-fructose junk food.  The ensemble is a wonderful mix of characters, the weekly procedural stories are easy to follow and figure out, the humor is nicely done. The main relationship, Bones and Booth, is being teased to the point of breaking, but show-runner, and twitterphile Hart Hanson is a trusty hand, who obviously has a firm hand on the rudder.  It’s a weekly favorite but because it’s procedural it’s okay if you skip a week here and there.

The Event – NBC – New this season, and unfortunately labeled as ‘the-next-LOST’ which I find abhorrent, it’s like calling some painting the next Mona Lisa, it’s just not gonna work.  But the pilot was a nice tease of the story, some good identification of the characters, and has me ready to tune in again next week.  It needs to keep the character generation going while stringing us along on the story.  I hope it’s careful about how it shows us answers, and mostly how those answers impressed the characters to make the wacky decisions they made in the pilot.  To paraphrase Han Solo, good pilot kid, now don’t get cocky.

Hawaii Five-0 – ABC – Another new premiere that keeps us on the island.  I was expecting meaty arc driven drama, and was surprised to see a more serial arc.  Which is good for the show, procedurals generally get better ratings as people don’t have to invest as much to enjoy the show.  It’s on the island, and has Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park so I’ll tune in.  It might be DVR time shift fodder if mythos shows get deep.

 Fats – you need fat in your diet, but be careful with portion and types

Chuck – I hesitate to put Chuck here, but I feel off the Chuck wagon last year because of a clogged Monday night.  The pilot this year looks good, and I trust the show will pay off with some good action, comedy and intriguing story arcs.  It’s well done, sort of like an avocado, good fat but it comes at a cost, in this case, some competition on airing night. DVR for sure, then it’s how tired I am, whether it gets watched Monday night or Tuesday.

Survivor – Canola Oil.  Used to give flavor and crispiness to fried foods, it’s essential in my diet.  I admit, I don’t like reality TV that much, but I have a soft spot for Survivor. The game play is obvious and they know it, it’s not disguised like Biggest Loser, you expect people to lie, and strategize.  Jeff Probst has kicked off this season with two of the best early Tribal Council’s in recent memory. Jeff is a twitterer and his weekly blog at EW is worth the review for behind the scene goodness without spoilers.

Lone Star – Didn’t record this on the DVR, Monday night is just toooo busy, which is unfortunate.  The pilot was good, nicely done, slow play con game. It’s story seems to be a mix of The Riches with a little bit of Big Love and Friday Night Lights thrown in.  The protagonist is wading deep into swamp land trying to keep a normal job, to make enough money to placate his hard core con-man dad, and keep a dried up con alive in west Texas.  Oh, did I mention that he’s married, twice?  Lone Star is a macadamia nut, yummy, has the right type of fat, but might be too decadent.  In this case that means, the horrible out of the gates ratings have it on the early chopping block. Fox might move the show to a new night, but the early read is this show, sadly, might not be around long.

The rest are getting archived to watch on lazy weekends, or other times:

  • Modern Family – I’m sad I haven’t watched this yet this week.  It’s Always excellent
  • Cougar Town – Funny but a bit like a Hostess Fruit Pie, I know I shouldn’t eat it, but it’s yummy good!
  • Haven – still catching up on the Stephen King SyFy drama, highly recommended by my twitter pals.
  • Nikita – Something has to fall off my Thursday night must see list, but this is good so far, so worth the watch on DVR or my hard disk.
  • The Middle – getting a bit tired, but still taking up hard disk space.

What shows did I miss? Tell me in the comments!

(Shows that are mid-season hiatus I skipped, but will watch when they’re back: Warehouse 13, Eureka, Leverage, Burn Notice)

  1. Tricia
    September 29th, 2010 at 17:56 | #1

    Love, love, love Haven!! Mostly love the cable TV shows these days. Always so afraid to watch a new network show because it may be canceled the minute I watch it.

  2. September 30th, 2010 at 13:28 | #2

    true day, read Lone Star… I was liking it, but it was more of a cable show than a network show. I wonder how many series Firefly would’ve had if it had started on SyFy (or SciFi) instead of FOX.

  3. Tricia
    October 1st, 2010 at 20:28 | #3

    I loved Firefly!! And was so sad when they canceled it. I bet it would have had a 5 year run on SciFi. Ridiculous!!

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