Return of Fall TV: Week One

Well, it’s September, which means it’s back to fall programming! There are two ways to look at this:

1) Goodbye America’s Got Talent and Keeping Up with the Kardashians; Hello Community and Happy Endings.

2) Goodbye Breaking Bad and So You Think You Can Dance; hello Two and a Half Men and Dancing with the Stars.

I prefer the more optimistic outlook, which, unless you and I share very different views on television, should always be option one. Though, rest assured, I still will miss Breaking Bad a whole lot.

With the end of the first week of Fall TV, let’s over-analyze how it turned out based on the new and returning shows that I watched selectively and with extreme bias!

Go On – Tuesdays, 9, NBC

Well, it’s a good thing that I watched the pilot of Go On, or I would have been really confused when I watched the episode that aired as the season premiere: the second episode. I know NBC did this because they aired the pilot during the Olympics and it’s been available just about everywhere online, but there are people who could still manage to miss it … and those people need to see the pilot, because it’s better than this episode and it explains relationships. Not that this one wasn’t good.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Go On is a new comedy starring Matthew Perry as a widow who is attending group therapy sessions to work through his wife’s untimely death. Yeah, really brings out those gut-busting laughs, doesn’t it? It’s actually quite funny and heartwarming. The therapy group is a diverse group of quirky characters: the loveable jerk; the hot buzzkill; the weirdo; the….well, let me use this diagram to show you.

Yes, the therapy group might as well be the study group. The tone of the show even parallels that of Community, even if Go On manages to be some how darker and more heartwarming…I’m guessing it’s all the loss the characters are dealing with. So, with the Community vibes and the warm and fuzzy feeling the first two episodes leave you with, I highly recommend watching Go On. I know it’s going to be a part of my TV routine.

The New Normal – Tuesdays, 9:30, NBC

NBC did the same thing with the pilot and second episode of The New Normal that they did with Go On. I can’t compare the pilot and the second episode, however, because I couldn’t make it through the second episode. I watched the pilot on demand … and I was bored. For a show that’s supposed to be breaking so many barriers and making so many statements that challenge the status quo and ruffle conservative feathers, it’s just dull. The characters are all broad stereotypes, the jokes were bland and most emotions seemed forced.

However, it wasn’t a horrible experience to watch, and because I’m a fan of Andrew Rannells (Book of Mormon, Girls), I was going to watch at least the second episode and see if it got better. I got six lines of dialogue in before I asked my boyfriend to change the channel (not because I’m extremely lazy or bossy or anything, he was holding the remote). I just couldn’t watch it … the exchange between Rannells’ character (a facsimile of creator Ryan Murphy) and his assistant played by NeNe Leakes (Glee, Real Housewives of Atlanta, yes, that show can apparently get one acting gigs), was flat and painful to watch.

So, unless you’re passionate about stereotypes, I would not recommend watching The New Normal.

Guys with Kids – Wednesdays, 8:30, NBC (*Note, it premiered this week, but it won’t be in its regular time slot until 9/26)

It’s loud. It’s family-friendly. It’s cheesy. Its first episode featured Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. It’s pretty traditional sitcom fare, and I think it would do pretty well on CBS. I’m not sure how well it will fare coming on after Animal Practice, which I believe could attract a very different audience.

Dad, you’ll like this one. I can’t speak for anyone else.

Glee – Thursdays, 9, FOX

This year, Glee makes the jump to a challenging Thursday slot. Considering how poorly things went for the show in terms of quality and viewers last season, this is a risk for FOX. Also, once Parks and Recreation is back, there’s no way I’ll be tuning in to see what Rachel Berry is up to. However, I did want to give this season of Glee a chance. I loved season one, I still enjoy the musical numbers, and I was interested to see how they’re going to tell stories now that the graduated Glee Club members are scattered across the country.

And, apparently, the story-telling strategy was to add a few new characters and start a Rachel/Kurt story in New York that’s much more interesting than what’s going on at McKinley. Rachel’s off learning how hard life is when you’re not the star of Glee Club while the remaining non-stars of the Glee Club learn how hard life is when they cast a new character with a penchant for newsboy hats to be the star instead of letting you step up to the plate (I know how you must suffer, Tina).

That said, the season premiere was actually pretty good. I was pleasantly surprised. The characters, especially the new ones, could all use a little more definition, but that’s just the curse of being on a Ryan Murphy comedy, I guess. I’ll at least stay tuned for a few more episodes…who knows, maybe it will be the Glee renaissance…like watching season one all over again. And if it’s not, at least I’ll always have Will Schuester walking in and literally shouting GLEE!

It took way too long to find this image on Tumblr. Glee fans are too sincere, posting Kurt and Rachel hugging over and over again … instead of this gif repeatedly.

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2 Comments on “Return of Fall TV: Week One”

  1. Chelsea (hi!) says:

    So, I decided I’d give the Glee premiere a shot, but I’ve only gotten halfway through because it froze up where I was watching. But I have to say… while I’m sure it ends with apologies and group hugs, it seems like a weird strategy to try to save a sinking show that’s lost half its cast by making most of the remaining cast extremely unlikable.

    But I think the thing most people were apprehensive about was Kate Hudson, and I have to say that so far she’s been my favorite part of the episode. I think she was perfectly cast.

    • Sarah says:

      Your predictions regarding the end of the episode are spot on! I like Kate Hudson… But I’m interested to see how she is long term. I just find Whoopi to be the more impressive of the NYADA profs. Thanks for commenting! I get all excited when I see one.


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