Tuesday January 4th
Live to Dance (CBS)
Snapshot: A reality competition, in a loosey-goosey America’s Got Talent style — group, individuals, ballroom, hip hop, ballet, whatever. If you’ve got the skills, they want you.
E: Dance competition. Paula Adbul. I. Am. So. There.
M: Sorry, Paula’s nice enough, and it’s always fun to see her find nice things to say about even the worst performances, and hit on teenage boys, but I’m not feeling this.
E: I’m not guaranteeing I’ll stay. I don’t like the America’s Got Talent format at all. I’m just saying, I’m checking it out.
Sunday, January 9th:
The Cape (NBC)
Snapshot: Circus freaks teach a regular guy with a vendetta how to be a hero. Also, Summer Glau.
M: Don’t forget the bad (ish?) guy from Midnight Meat Train.
C: Because who could forget anyone involved in Midnight Meat Train?
M: Um, Bradley Cooper was the lead, and I know you didn’t forget him. Now, I know it looks super-cheesy, but I soooo want to check it out!
E: Our friend Z and I want to have a Cape (watching) Club. We will wear capes. Do you think that’s too much?
M: If you’re having a cape club you HAVE to wear capes. Duh.
C: I really hope this is as enjoyable as it has the potential to be.
M: They’re borrowing HIMYM‘s best catch phrase (Suit up!); how could it not be?
Downton Abbey (PBS)
Snapshot: Upstairsy-downstairsy British/American Victorian drama.
E: The latest PBS/BBC costume drama extravaganza. Ken Tucker called it practically perfect. Starring Hugh Bonneville and Maggie Smith. I’m in!
C: I’ve heard rave reviews from people I know who’ve seen it. Definitely looking forward to this.
Tuesday, January 11th
Lights Out (FX)
Snapshot: Washed up boxer might stage a successful comeback – or end up as someone’s muscle for hire.
C: Odd, that sounds like a movie plot, not a TV show.
M: Well, that’s because that has been a movie plot. Boxing is BY FAR the sport most often made into a movie, to the point where it’s almost overdone. Think about it, Mark Wahlberg had to shop for 5 years to get financing for The Fighter, which is in the running for best picture! I’m a little surprised that someone would go the TV show route with it, and get it financed.
E: It’s true there’s been very little successful fictional tv boxing. This is supposed to be well done:time will tell if it bucks the trend.
Wednesday, January 12th
Off the Map (ABC)
Snapshot: Hot doctors in the jungle from the team that brought you hot doctors in the rain (Grey’s Anatomy) and at the beach (Private Practice).
M: Or as I’ve been calling it… same smut, different doctors.
E: Well, I don’t know. It looks ridiculous. But on the other hand, it has Mamie Gummer. Shonda Rimes, please tell me you stole Ben away from Bailey for a really good reason…
C: Ugh. The doxploitation genre reaches a new low.
M: While we’re here, let me air another grievance. Have you guys noticed how all ABC promos are now referring to their shows as “ABC’s xxx”, and then quickly following it up with “Only on ABC!”? It’s like their ads are being made in the department of redundancy department.
Monday January 17th
Harry’s Law (NBC)
Snapshot: This is David E. Kelley’s most recent foray into the legal drama (or is it dramedy?) field. The Harry in question is Harriet, played by Kathy Bates.
M: Seriously, who doesn’t love Kathy Bates? This looks like it has potential to me.
E: I guess. Kelley’s been off the rails lately.
Being Human (SyFy)
Snapshot: As in the British series of the same name, a ghost, vampire and werewolf share an apartment.
E: I almost want to check this out, even though I wasn’t overwhelmed with love for the original. I’m just curious what they’re doing with the premise.
C: Hmm. I found the British show uneven, but if the unknown actors in the U.S. version are as talented as Brits Russell Tovey (of Little Dorrit fame), Aiden Turner (the soon-to-be Hobbit dwarf) and Lenora Crichlow, the show has a chance of getting my attention. SyFy original series are a chancy bunch, though…
M: I’ve never seen, nor even heard of the British series, and really, the premise just sounds like the start of a bad joke. A ghost, a vampire and a warewolf walk into a bar….
Thursday, January 20th
Fairly Legal (USA)
Snapshot: Lawyers, exes, and mysteries involving dead parents, but with a light tone.
E: We’re all fans of Michael Trucco and Sarah Shahi, but I’m highly dubious.
C: If only the series looked as good as its stars!
M: I am pleased that Sarah Shahi is getting a show after the far too early demise of Life, but even if it fails I’ll still be pleased that Trucco was taken away from Castle in favor of this.
E: Because his chemistry with Beckett was a little too impressive, you mean?
Monday February 7th
The Chicago Code (FOX)
Snapshot: Cops try to take down a corrupt Chicago politician.
E: The ads for this look pretty high quality, actually, and they get points for hiring the excellent Delroy Lindo as the Alderman, even if they’re spinning out the plot of a single episode of The Good Wife to make an entire show.
Wednesday February 9th
Mr. Sunshine (ABC)
Snapshot: Matt Perry turns forty and freaks out while managing a sports arena with the help of Allison Janey.
E: On the one hand, Allison Janey and Matthew Perry. On the other, dialog not written by Aaron Sorkin.
M: Matthew Perry was great without Sorkin on Friends, and Janney is just an excellent actress, as evidenced by her role as the original smoke monster on LOST. Even the “spring” (no longer mid-season) premiere isn’t throwing me off on this one, I think it has a chance to be a hit.
Sunday, February 13th
Any Human Heart (PBS)
Snapshot: Writer, lover, spy mixes with politicians and literary greats in the early 20th century.
E: Jim Broadbent. Gillian Anderson. Matthew McFayden in costume. Need I say more?
M: For those us us not up on our British period dramas, you could say who the heck Matthew McFayden is. Or you could talk about how amazingly out of the mainstream Gillian Anderson’s non-X Files career has been. That’s been strange to me. She was mainstream huge, and has been steadily working since but in things completely off the beaten path (and yes, Bleak House was off the beaten path). Most peculiar, though not necessarily bad.
C: Well, McFayden did star in MI-5, too. Not just costume dramas.
E: But we admit we like him best in a cravat.
Wednesday February 16th
Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior (CBS)
Snapshot: Companion procedural to current hit Criminal Minds. Presumably going to do the exactly same thing, only with different actors and cases.
E: Really? Seriously? Talk about suspect…
C: Because the criminals in the original series don’t do anything suspicious?
M: Yeah, definitely a poor choice of names, and perhaps concepts. But what do I know? I thought that NCIS:LA would flop. I used to love the original, then when it went up against LOST (before I had a DVR) I stopped watching, and have never picked it back up. Every time I try to a child is in danger or was killed, and I have trouble watching that when it’s done as intensely as Criminal Minds does it.
Tuesday March 29th
Body of Proof (ABC)
Snapshot: This is the much-delayed Dana Delaney series. She’s a medical examiner who solves crimes.
E: Well, we approve of Dana Delaney. Remains to be seen about the show. Do we need another procedural?
Sunday, April 10th
Upstairs Downstairs (PBS)
Snapshot: The original BBC sudser about the goings on at a great house, remade.
M: As I’ve only ever seen the Sesame Street version, I’ll turn it over to you ladies.
E: I’ve never actually seen the original. There’s no arguing with a cast that includes Eileen Atkins and Keeley Hawes, though.
C: Keeley Hawes is one of the most talented actresses out there, and Claire Foy is great as well, but from the previews I’ve seen it looks a bit lacking in a sense of humor. One never knows, though.
Sometime in 2011:
Snapshot: A show about horse racing, starring the likes of Dustin Hoffman, Dennis Farina and Michael Gambon.
M: A spectacular cast, and a subject near to the siblings hearts…
E: This has me wishing I still subscribed to HBO.
Game of Thrones (HBO)
Snapshot: You’d think we’d be more excited about an epic fantasy series coming to TV. You’d be wrong.
E: Even if I had HBO, I’d be nervous about this. On the one hand, there’s Sean Bean. And Mark Addy in a serious role. It’s probably a good thing that, not having HBO, I don’t have to decide whether to check it out or not. I might love fantasy lit, but child murder and incest? Not so much.
C: Lots of people love the book series this is based on, and there’s no doubt this has a top-notch cast and high quality production values. But it’s only for those who like their fantasy grim, dark, and morally bankrupt.
M: Which tends to be the opposite of how I like my fantasy. On a lighter note, when I took my kids to see The Lightening Thief in the theater and the opening credits were rolling, my 10 year old saw Sean Bean’s name and said “look daddy, his name’s ‘seen been'”. Oddly, because I know how to pronounce “Sean”, it had never occurred to me that his name *should* be that funny.
Mildred Pearce (HBO)
Snapshot: Kate Winslet, Evan Rachel Wood, Melissa Leo and Guy Pearce team up to remake the Joan Crawford classic.
E and C: We smell Emmy…
M: And as E and I discussed over the holidays, we have loved Guy Pearce ever since seeing him in the spectacular L.A. Confidential. Hollywood, we’re calling you out, we need more Guy Pearce.
E: Here here.