E: Tuesdays in 2013 are bursting with new television shows. Vampires? Secret agents? Comic cops? Seth Green? You got it. Will you like it? Will we? Now those are the questions.
M: You had me at Seth Green.
Here’s a quick key to help you as you read:
- Titles in blue are new this season
- Each * means one Quibbling Sibling will be tuning in
- Monday’s schedule is up
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D (ABC, September 24th)***
E: This might just be the network series I’m most excited about for 2013. It’s certainly top 3, clunky name not withstanding.
C: People will just call it “S.H.I.E.L.D.,” I imagine?
M: I, for one, will always include “Marvel” as part of whatever name or nickname I use. Because really, that’s what’s important.
E: Ha ha. Clark Gregg stars as a mysteriously resurrected Agent Coulson from the Avenger film universe, setting up an agency staffed by, among others, ER‘s Ming-Na Wen. It looks like much of the energy of the pilot goes toward recruiting Nashville‘s Chloe Bennett.
C: I don’t know them, but I think this is a great direction to take the extended Marvel franchise. At least, in theory. We’ll see how good they are at writing superhero-wrangling antics on a week-by-week basis.
M: It seems like Avengers-meets-Heroes to me, which could be fantastic, or could fail miserably. I’m hoping for the former, but unlike just about all my geek friends, I have my doubts.
E: Cynic! No, of course you have doubts. It’s foolish to assume every cool concept will work, even if the advanced word — snark and adventure in the style of Joss Whedon — promises very very good things. I have doubts and hopes in equal measure.
C: I’m pretty hopeful. Even if it does take some (heavy-handed) poignancy out of Avengers if Coulson was actually fine all along… but who cares. Superheroes, yay!
NCIS (CBS, September 24th)
M: HUGE issues in the off-season for NCIS, as the lone female main cast member, Cote de Pablo, is leaving the show over a contract dispute. There’s a lot of rumors, and not a lot of fact, but it appears that the show was unwilling to pay her on par with co-star Michael Weatherly.
C: Well that’s despicable.
M: The fact that Ziva and Dinozzo would be paid differently is patently ridiculous, unless it was a minor amount and based on negotiating at different times or in different years. The fact that other CBS female leads, like those on Criminal Minds, allegedly had similar contract issues and are similarly being paid less than their male co-stars is just baffling to me. Maybe it’s because I have always worked at a company that starts everyone at the same level, and gives raises ENTIRELY based on performance, maybe it’s naivete, but I can’t understand how this could be an issue in 2013.
E: Or maybe it’s because you were raised to be fair and grew up with two smart sisters?
C: Maybe, but it’s still a reality in many industries, and some say Hollywood hasn’t even improved as the decades go on.
M: As for the new season, the producers have promised an emotional, satisfying but heart-wrenching end to Ziva’s time with the hit show.
E: I had heard she was leaving, and I know fans of that pairing are pretty livid, but I had no idea that the network screwed it all up for everyone. Badly done, CBS. Badly done.
The Originals (CW, premiers Thursday October 3rd for some reason, starts its regular time slot on October 8th)
E: For fans of The Vampire Diaries, it’s a dream come true: a spin off, set in New Orleans. Which is obviously where vampires belong in America: just listen to Sting. Or ask Anne Rice.
M: That is one of my all time favorite Sting songs.
C: Is that what TVD fans dream about? I thought they just dreamed about Ian Somerhalder’s blue eyes.
M: I think they dream about more than just his eyes… just sayin’. As for the show, it appears to center on the battle for control of New Orleans between a vampire-werewolf hybrid (let’s see a Toyota Prius try to top THAT!) and his former protege. If that’s not enough, the vampire-werewolf hybrid dude has apparently “miraculously” impregnated a non-hybrid werewolf. I think they stole their plot from the original miniseries of V, a miniseries which included the immortal line “Yeah, I’m hip,” delivered with all seriousness by the legendary Marc Singer. I’m thinking that’s the bar for The Originals, coming up with something so bad that it’s remembered fondly decades later.
E: The good: Seth Green, in the flesh! The bad: sitcom. And what a sitcommy-looking sitcom. Live audience, big fake laughs over jokes that are either obvious or not funny.
C: So wait. There’s a new sitcom called Dads, and another called Mom? Really, neither creative team had a better idea?
M: Yeah, seriously. At least with Dads there’s no confusion over the title. With Mom, Anna Farris and Allison Janney are both “mom.”
E: See, I would call that a mild attempt at layers of meaning rather than confusion, but whatever.
M: I’m sure you would.
C: Um, my problem with the title wasn’t confusion on who the “mom” or “dads” in question were.
E: Thank you.
M: Okay, back on topic, this has a fantastic cast — not just Green, but Giovanni Ribisi…
C: Lightning boy! Love him.
M: …Martin Mull and Peter Reigert — and is produced by Green’s Family Guy boss, Seth MacFarlane, who is trying to harken back to the days of comedies like All In The Family, supposedly. In this, Green and Ribisi are roommates whose dads unexpectedly move in with them. Hilarity ensues, or so we hope. I’m interested enough to check it out.
E: I’m all for the return of great television comedy, but I don’t know what it is with this year and amazing casts in terrible-looking sitcoms. All four of those actors are eminently watchable, but yeesh.
The Biggest Loser (NBC, October 8th)
M: I haven’t watched the last few seasons of this extremely DVR-friendly show, but have always found it inspiring when I do watch.
E: It’s true, both about the show being moving (I always cry when I watch) and being DVR-friendly, but I haven’t tuned in in a few years. For those who do: the show’s slimmed down to an hour instead of the very unnecessary two. And there’s a contestant you might have heard of — American Idol season 2 champion Ruben Studdard. Not enough? The trainers will have the ability to “save” contestants this season. Hmmm. This might be the rare occasion where I’m in favor of such a step.
M: That actually sounds really good to me. I’ve always been in favor of more control from the people in the know (trainers, judges, etc) on reality competition shows, at least up to the very end. As we’ve seen on TBL before, weigh ins can sometimes be manipulated, votes can be totally biased, and quite often audience voting is just dead wrong.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine (FOX, September 17th)*
E: Okay, so it’s a sitcom. I don’t know, though; I keep getting flashbacks to Barney Miller, and those are some warm and gooey childhood nostalgia flashbacks. And it’s probably not an accident, because the creators are going for a M*A*S*H vibe; Andy Samberg excels at his job but is also a joker. What sort of tension does that create in the workplace, especially when his boss is a type A hardliner played by Andre Braugher? Also, it just looks funny.
C: I don’t know what Barney Miller is, but this looks very unremarkable to me. Andy Samberg plays a goofy manboy cop with an uptight, by-the-book female partner. Sounds like a cliche-fest.
M: But it is Samberg, which means it has a chance. As for Barney Miller, I hate to say it but E… we’re old.
E: Hush. C is just uneducated. Maybe we’ll have to fix that with her Christmas present…
M: Who could possible be upset with a box of Abe Vigoda for Christmas!
The Goldbergs (ABC, September 24th)
E: I love the 80s as much as the next person, but there’s not a lot that looks funny in this family sitcom throwback to the days of the great family sitcom. George Seagal is a plus as the free-minded, sports car driving grandpa, and Wendy McClendon-Covey was a hoot in Bridesmaids, but eh.
M: Yeah, like you said above on Dads, not thinking this is the one.
NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS, September 24th)
M: All that stuff I wrote about NCIS? Yeah, that’s not going on with the west coast version of the show. What is? Despite my liking of LL Cool J, I have no clue. Sorry.
E: Well, as best I can tell (or as best as Entertainment Weekly can tell me), the premiere sees two of the main characters (including your boy LL) rescued from the clutches of Russian arms dealers. I’m sure that will be very exciting, but like Grey’s Anatomy a few seasons ago, NCIS: LA will spend a good chunk of the season dealing with the agents’ post-traumatic stress disorder. I’m usually down for the realism, but at least with Grey’s Anatomy it was not very enjoyable to watch.
M: Well, at least it won’t be usually Hollywood fare, where people are tortured with no short or long term damage (see 24).
E: Fair enough. Wait, does that mean you kind of said something good about Grey’s Anatomy?
Supernatural (CW, October 8th)
C: I know some people who are very, very glad this is back. Apparently, despite fluctuations in quality in the past, the show’s diehard fan base has been quite happy lately.
M: Seriously, how the hell (reference intended) is this show still on the air? C, didn’t it debut when you were in Jr High?
C: No, but close. There are plenty of older shows around though — American Idol, for instance.
New Girl (FOX, September 17th)*
E: Jess and Nick navigate the perils of dating as roommates.
C: Which, gosh, sounds incredibly hard. Seriously. Not to mention very awkward for their other roommates.
E: Oh yeah. Very very awkward.
M: But this show is built on awkwardness, so that works.
C: New Girl is very hit or miss, but I do enjoy it more often than not, I’d say. It can be extremely charming. And Jess and Nick’s first kiss was seriously good — I’d rate it second, I think, on my all-time list of great TV kisses. Or third. But maybe second. Let’s hope they can keep up their great chemistry!
E: Ooooh! Now that’s a blog post we need to write. Best kisses on television! (I’ll confess – I only occasionally watch snippets of this show, but after hearing about the kiss I watched it on youtube. Definitely swoon-worthy. Too bad it no longer seems to exist there outside of fan videos, or I would link you to it so you could see for yourselves. It’s not the same with soppy background music. Or in slow motion.)
M: I think it’s far more hit than miss personally, but now that you have teased everyone, you have to let us know what #’s 1 and 2-maybe-3 are on your list. Kirk and Uhura on the Star Trek:TOS?
C: Well, no. That was more historic than intrinsically amazing. Veronica Mars episode “Weapons of Class Destruction” (1×18) for the win–
C: And The Office episode “Casino Night” (2×22) for runner up.
Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition (Lifetime, September 3rd)
E: How can people stand to watch the way this woman and all these stage mothers speak to their kids? I don’t get it.
M: I didn’t know it existed, so I won’t be of much help there.
E: The dance teacher from Dance Moms runs a competition show. I’m all about the dancing, but not the “excellence through verbal abuse.” Yeesh.
C: It’s too bad this is a reality show, that would be a great title for a silly, offbeat work of fiction.
The Voice (Results Show) (NBC, September 24th)
C: A results show! E’s favorite thing!
M: Mine too!
E: Ha ha.
Trophy Wife (ABC, September 24th)
E: Strike one: the name.
C: Strike two: the concept.
M: Strike three: …crap. I was trying to come up with something witty, but I got nothing. Then I was hoping the time slot was packed, but it kind of sucks. Help me out here.
E: Malin Ackerman stars as Bradley Whitford’s most recent wife; an elegant, smart and bitter Marcia Gay Harden co-stars as an earlier model.
C: Well doesn’t that sound pleasant.
M: So pleasant that I’d actually be open to watching The Mindy Project by comparison. Speaking of which…
The Mindy Project (FOX, September 17th)*
E: I wanted to like this show so much. I really tried.
C: Really? I like it. I’d kind of forgotten about it, but now that I’ve been reminded, I’m looking forward to watching it again! The show’s freshman season started out poor, but made a drastic improvement and, from about January onward, turned out consistently funny and charming episodes.
M: Um, no it didn’t. We gave it a shot at the start, and you’re right, it started out poor. We tried it again late season, and it finished poor. Could there be much worse than the whole “amoral girl dates a youth pastor, who decides that he’s just too much of a stickler about that whole live-for-Christ-and-for-others-and-have-morals thing because of her” plot line? Ugh.
C: That was a weird subplot, but he was a very nontraditional pastor to begin with, and didn’t really change for her. I think the show’s funny, and I stand by it. For the moment, anyway!
E: I didn’t get as far as M, but my issue is similar: likable woman with no self esteem throws herself at every possible lame guy and is clearly destined to end up with her allegedly wonderful caveman competitor/coworker.
M: I will disagree with only one thing there, most of the time she has no self esteem, but at times she has too much. Regardless, as we’re rehashing this, I’m now rethinking my interest in The Trophy Wife.
C: Boooo. Y’all are haters.
Lucky 7 (ABC, September 24th)
C: Isn’t that a movie with Kimberly Williams?
E: Yep. And for at least part of September and maybe even October, it’s also a TV show. Five poor and desperate friends win tens of millions playing their lucky number; also included in the ensemble is the guy who didn’t put in that particular day. See how it ruins their lives! Watch the tackiness of the nouveau riche!
M: Wasn’t there was a short-lived show maybe 7 or 8 years ago with this EXACT premise?
M: I mean exact, to the detail of the guy that didn’t join in, and to it ruining everyone’s lives? Okay, looked it up. 2006’s Windfall. It stunk then…
C: And probably will now.
Person of Interest (CBS, September 24th)*
C: This seems to be the most popular show with the parental units these days.
M: Not just them! This is vying with Castle for my current favorite network show. It’ll be interesting to see where it goes now, especially after the NSA spying scandal that makes the premise of this show look non-intrusive by comparison. Also, on the plus side for season three, Amy Acker’s sort-of-evil hacker Root has been upgraded to full cast. For my money (and since this is a network show, that’s none, but still), if they can bump Sarah Shahi into the same category that’d be great.
E: Really? I had no idea either of them were involved in the show.
M: Acker’s character was introduced (without being seen) in the middle of season 1, then appeared in that season’s finale, and became a pivotal character in the second season. Shahi was only in maybe three epsiodes from last season, but was fantastic as basically a female version of Caviezel’s character (both in personality and skill set).
E: What’s going on with Enrico Colantoni — is he still on?
M: He is occasionally. They’re not overusing him, which makes it both excellent and poignant when they do. I’ve said it before, I really like this show’s level of patience. Their willingness to let things sit, and to build plot lines over weeks and months before there’s a payoff is so rare.
Sons of Anarchy (FX, September 10th)
E: Fans of Fifty Shades of Gray looking to see if Charlie Hunnam was a good pick as Christian or not? I have no idea if this show will help or not, what with him walking around with greasy hair and loose t-shirts.
C: Wait, they’re making a movie of that? How? Isn’t it porn? (Let’s not even start on the idea of having Nicholas Nickleby star in it…)
M: That’s what I’ve been saying.
E: Oh, it’s totally porn, which makes the adaptation a great question which we could address at length in its own post if we wanted. Which we probably don’t. In terms of this actual show, however, the acclaimed drama will be focusing on the fallout from the premiere; a school shooting occurs in the biker gang’s town, with a gun that was illegally traded to the shooter’s family by Hunnam’s character Jax. The aim seems to be to show the big picture, the muck of one man’s thoughtless but benevolent intentions meeting mental illness, gun laws, public outcry, and an avenging D.A. played by the excellent C.C.H. Pounder. In other words, chaos theory.
C: Thanks, Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park.
Chicago Fire (NBC, September 24th)
E: Is anyone else shocked that this show got renewed?
C: That would require me to have remembered that it existed.
M: What C said.