Ah, Thursday. The land of too much TV joy.
You know what the problem with DVRs is? They make you think you can watch everything. But unless you are the sort of TV critic who gets paid for it, and has the networks sending you preview copies on DVD, you cannot wait it all, my friends. You cannot watch it all. Why isn’t some of this stuff on Wednesdays? Dag nab it!
So you know what things mean:
The Big Bang Theory** (CBS, September 23rd)
E: I’ll let the two of you take this one.
M: I’ll lead it off, since my elder sister is an idiot for not watching, since this show is completely up her alley.
E: Except the whole, you know, sitcom thing.
M: Last season of this wonderfully geeky hilarity started with a bang (pun intended), with Leonard and Penny finally getting together. The season ended **spoiler alert if you live in a cave** with Wil Wheaton subtly influencing them into breaking up. Soooo not a cool way to end a season. Despite that, I can’t wait for this show to return!
C: Evil Wil Wheaton amuses me to no end, as does this show. Can’t wait for it to be back – now in a timeslot that doesn’t conflict with my other shows!
Community* (NBC, September 23rd)
E: Will you watch for the Betty White guest spot? Cause I love Betty White – enough to think about catching her scenes later on youtube.
M: Mrs M and I DVR’d this last year, because you can watch it in about 20 minutes on DVR, which is perfect if you need to wait for an hour long show to get sufficiently in to skip the commercials, and because Joel McHale is hilarious. You know what, it’s pretty entertaining. The cast and characters are quirky in a good way, and the writing was pretty good. I’m not sure how long it will continue being funny, but for now it’s enjoyable.
Bones *(FOX, September 23rd)
E: How did the beloved characters on Bones fair in their year apart? I like this plot twist, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it works itself out. I’m not so sure I love the idea of Booth with a serious love interest, but on the other hand, how reasonable is it that a guy who looks like that – a guy that romantic and loyal – would be partnerless for so long? Other than him being in love with Brennan, of course, and having a super-demanding job, and a kid.
M: It’s TV, so no one ever gets into serious relationships (that would mess up romantic tension), and no one ever gets promoted or moves to another town (thus breaking apart the cast). Duh.
C: Well, except on Battlestar Galactica, a show that used the “let’s skip a year” device to shocking effect. Those were the days!
E: You guys are missing the point. Bones has just skipped forward 9 months, during which the major characters left for Afghanistan, France and some made up Pacific Islands, and now Booth has a serious girlfriend. I can’t wait to see how that all plays out.
The Vampire Diaries (CW, September 8th)
E: Even though it’s overly soapy, I probably would watch this show if I didn’t have so much going on. Now this would be perfect summer TV. I wish the CW had aired it then. The Gates (ABC’s attempt to cash in on the supernatural craze) was a blight on the summer schedule. This would have been perfect.
M: We’ve watched this a couple times; it really would be perfect summer fare. In the regular season? Meh.
C: Soapy show, fab soundtrack. I just listen to the music and let my vampire-obsessed friends drool over the pyscho murder with the dreamy eyes.
30 Rock (NBC, September 23rd)
E: Here’s another show I wish I liked.
M: Here’s another show I don’t care that I don’t like.
$#*! My Dad Says* (CBS, September 23)
E: This sounds deeply funny to me. I can’t wait to see it.
E: No, I’m totally lying. I think this looks like a nightmare.
M: Well, with my deep affinity for Bill Shatner, and for the general concept of a dad saying things that make his kids shake their heads and give each other knowing looks (which I think we can all agree is right up our alley!), I’m going to check it out.
E: Our dad does come out with some doozies, and Shatner is certainly great casting, but the clips I’ve seen have been cringe-inducing. And not in a good way. Also, they recast the son and had to reshoot everything, so I’m guessing it’s a bit rushed.
C: I won’t be tuning in, but I’ll reiterate that I have no idea how this title is supposed to be spoken aloud while passing the censors!
Fringe** (FOX, September 23rd)
M: With Lost now gone (*sniff sniff*), Fringe is replacing it as my favorite show, and the one show I will dedicate time to breaking down each week. I cannot even begin to describe how much I love this show so far.
C: I’ve only seen Season One – gotta catch up on DVD before I can tune in!
E: I’m so so so interested in seeing the Fauxlivia and the Walternate work their agenda in our universe! Fringe has risen to the top of my list, baby. The end of last season was just amazing and it looks like it’s going to get even better.
M: Agreed. I love that not only is the show cool and scifi-y, but that it’s well acted, well written, intelligent, has great dialog and really pays attention to the little details, which goes a long way. I could go on, but since I’ll be going on about it all year, I’ll leave it be for now.
Nikita* (CW, September 9th)
E: On the other hand, it’s sort of unfortunate that Fringe is at the top of my list, because Nikita started off pretty darn great (see our review here). Why is it always the way? Why are the best shows always on opposite each other? This is an irritating thing. I was a fan of the French film La Femme Nikita, and the America version starring Bridget Fonda, and this version has started out with a bang.
M: Ratings. Thursday night is the biggest TV night because everyone goes out on Friday and Saturday, and are getting into their week for the first three nights, but on thursday the week is almost over, but not over enough, so people want home entertainment. That’s where advertisers put their money, so that’s where the best shows go. 9:00 is THE hour, and always has been. Look back through the last few decades at the shows that have been on Thusrdays at 9:00… it’s a greatest hits: Miami Vice, Cheers, Seinfeld, CSI and so many more. And every net is trying to find the next Thursday 9:00 show, and to knock off the one that’s currently king.
E: The thing is, the audience is only so big, so good shows are going to get squeezed out. People would watch TV on Wednesday if there was something to see. Magnum P.I. and The X-Files (at least to start) both aired on Fridays. If you built it, they will come!
Grey’s Anatomy* (ABC, September 23rd)
E: Now, maybe Grey’s Anatomy will suck and make things easy for me. But I don’t know.
M: Ummm, it already does!
C: Yeah, how have you missed that?
E: Whatever, haters. I’ve been invested in this show for so long. And the season finale was pretty damn devastating (in a good way) and I’m chomping at the bit to see the emotional fallout.
CSI (CBS, September 23rd)
E: Good show, but no longer must see for me.
M: Like NCIS, I pop in and out, and usually enjoy it when I see it.
The Office (NBC, September 23rd)
E: Eh. What are the chances that when Steve Carrell leaves at the end of this season, they replace him with someone less excruciating?
C: Carrell’s not the problem, the problem is that this show should have ended after Season 4 (or even 3). It was great, it’s simply not a sustainable concept, and they haven’t sustained the comedy. At all.
Outsourced (NBC, September 23rd)
E: Take the likable lead from youtube sensation/Harry Potter spoof musical, Ben Rappaport, and send him to India to run the call center for a novelty company. Fake dog doo and wackiness allegedly ensue. I’m all for the multicultural, but the writing looks as fresh as novelty rubber vomit.
C: I love the idea of a show set in India, though. That’s pretty daring for American TV, where almost every series takes place in California. Too bad the show itself doesn’t look more exciting, but I might give it a chance if opportunity arises.
The Mentalist* (CBS, September 23rd)
E: Simon Baker. Three piece suits. Need I say more? I hate that the show broke Van Pelt and Rigsby up, but even so, it’s still a light and fluffy pleasure. How is it possible that a show about homicides, with a lead character tormented by his past as a charlatan and obsessed with the serial killer who murdered his wife and daughter, be light and fluffy? I dunno. That’s the enigma that is Simon Baker. I can’t think of this show without wishing our beloved grandmother was around to see it; she loved mysteries and handsome blond men.
M: Absolutely, she would have loved him, and the show. I enjoy it so much that I don’t even care in the least that it’s a complete rip-off of Psych. Usually I mind things like that, and the worst title ever.
E: On the not so light and fluffy side, last season ended with an emotional cliffhanger. I’ll be intrigued to see where this Red John twist goes.
M: Honestly, I don’t think we’ll get much if any of that right away. They do a good job of mostly going with stand alone episodes, and only very occasionally mixing in the overarching plot.
The Apprentice (NBC, September 16th)
E: Ew. Why do people like watching Donald Trump do anything? He makes me want to put my eyes out. How does a man that wealthy have a comb over? Does he not know that he is the only man left in America with a comb over? Not that this is remotely his most offensive trait.
M: I really think it’s just bad hair that looks like a comb over. It has to be. That said, I do find the show entertaining, and he’s way more palatable than Gordon Ramsey.
E: Which is like arsenic being more palatable than cyanide.
Private Practice (ABC, September 23rd)
E: I suppose I should be grateful that I’m not driven to watch yet another Thursday drama. I’ll never know how a show runner/writer I love (Shonda Rimes) can put together a cast I love (Kate Walsh, Tay Diggs, Amy Brennan, Paul Adelstein, Tim Daley) and produce a show I totally hate.
M: Because it’s from the Grey’s tree and is total drivel, like its predecessor?
E: I’m not questioning why you hate it. I pretty much agree that it’s total drivel, though.
And don’t forget that Project Runway‘s most contentious and stressful season is still going on Lifetime!