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9.27.10 My Top Ten RIGHT NOW

On the excellence of TV… from seasons past

There’s no doubt that the end of September is an exciting time when we can return to our caves, veg out and watch new TV programming. But that excitement is often vanquished by the realization that so much new TV is so not worth following. Even more horrifying is getting invested in some truly great new drama only to find yourself two years down the line, loving every minute of a show along with a measly 7 million other people, a number that makes TV execs kill the show. And now that we have so many old shows at our fingertips through DVDs, Netflix, Roku, Hulu, etc, it becomes even harder to want to live in the present when the past has so much better to offer. So I embark on this September with a bit of hope and a greater bit of trepidation…

I don’t know what I was thinking watching Hawaii Five-0. I have no love for the original and was bored within the first ten minutes of the new one. The bright spot of this reboot is Scott Caan whose mix of brash comedy and heartwarming back-story actually makes him an interesting and real character. For bit of intrigue, I’m heading to Fox’s Lone Star, which had a thrilling pilot that was actually intelligent, mixed with a great soundtrack and a story that I’m dying to see develop. And if you really need cops/robbers/spies, turn your attention to this summer’s surprise delight, Covert Affairs, in which Piper Perabo demonstrates she’s always been more than that girl grinding up on the bar. It’s Alias with a bit less kick-ass and a bit more heart.

For Comedy, I thought there was promise in Running Wilde, possibly picking up where the hilarious and too short-lived Arrested Development left off. Alas, that pilot had only the odd humor without the intelligence. I run very hot and cold with Will Arnett, who was well balanced with a large cast in AD, but acting as the lead against the charismatic, gorgeous, and possibly not funny Keri Russell, there’s nothing to really enjoy. Hopefully they’ll find the comedy in the episodes to come. I was more pleasantly surprised by Raising Hope, which also needs to find the humor, but at least offers up the interesting Martha Plimpton and a zany trailer park vibe that has great potential.

And if you thought life would be better if we could return to three camera sitcoms, well, there’s $&#@! My Father Says potentially proving that it will still be awhile before someone remembers how to write good comedy, or that basing a show on a twitter feed is about the best idea anyone had since basing a show on a Geico commercial. If you need funny, go back to returning greats like Modern Family and the still funny and still titled Cougar Town. Neither of their premieres was particularly fantastic, but there was certainly a great deal more to enjoy.

And at the end of the day, what do I really feel like watching? The things I miss from years past. I’ve been having a hugely enjoyable time making my way through the whimsy and creative genius of Pushing Daisies, the shock, thrill and horror of The X-Files, and the great British humor of The Vicar of Dibley. It does make it hard to invest in new shows when there are some fantastic previous seasons to enjoy and new-old things to discover. Seriously, take a look at Greg Berlanti’s Jack & Bobby and try to figure out how that didn’t survive but Berlanti’s Brothers & Sisters is still going strong, a show that has failed to create a worthy storyline since the first half of the first season and unfortunately has promoted beautiful but useless Gilles Marini to a series regular.

MOVIE Devil – I thank you M. Night for only coming up with the story and producing this excellent B-movie, allowing a wiser director to tell a fairly gripping surreal and claustrophobic story… B+

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