Fall TV Reviews – Wednesday

Broadway-belting highschoolers, life-swapping twins, and adorkable roomates. It’s hump day, and for TV, surprisingly not a lot of humping is happening. Let’s go!

Glee

In short: Rachel and Finn are still sharing their twu wuv, Rachel and Kurt are still besties, Sue’s politcal pursuit is vile as ever, Quinn is one of many Skanks, Blaine joins  McKinley and arouses the girl nation of viewers, Santana gets pwned and there are purple pianos. Phew.

Remember that show Glee? Yeah, the one that took High School Musical and added an actual element of highschool realism to it? It became a media darling. Then Ryan Murphy got really carried away with his self-indulgent storylines like Stephanie Meyer and performed all sorts of character assassinating crapola on it.

After last season, it’s hard to watch it for anything else other than catchy song numbers and Burt Hummel, but Glee has its great moments like the heart twinging “Dream On” and the fun Berry-lambasting “Blame It On the Alcohol”. Those moments are in “Purple Pianos” too. In fact, it felt a lot like it was trying to return to its “simple pains” type of character torture that hooked everyone to the series in the first place. There’s some irreversible damage that the writers have to deal with (like forcing the audience to throw away Sue’s sympathy card and Will’s continuing skeeviness), but it looks like it’s hobbling its way back to the goodness it was before.

One worry though – the ever expanding regular cast list. Did anyone even learn from Heroes? Let’s not jinx this.

Bottom line: Surprisingly alright premiere. Less conceited is good, but they really need to tie everything together with one focused story. Keep watching and hope you won’t get troutslapped.

New Girl

In short:  Zooey Deschanel dons her tortoiseshell wayfarers and takes her button cuteness with her as she applies to be a roomate in a huge, gorgeous apartment lived in by 3 other very individually kooky guys.

I have no idea why anyone would cheat on Jess (Deschanel). She sings to herself, visits you naked under a trenchcoat and gives solid, sound advice for self-improvement. At this very moment, I can feel my crush on this character evolving into something profound, like Liz Lemon profound. She’s got the insecurities that make her very human, and she’s not completely neurotic/nihilistic/cynical. Plus, her best friend is triple hot and they care about each other – no jealousy, no drama. Fresh.

There’s also the men. Above, from left to right are Winston, Nick and Schmidt. Winston isn’t in the picture yet, but what we have so far with the other 2 guys gives an interesting dynamic to the roomate rhombus. Nick the bartender is also wallowing in self-pity after a recent breakup and Schmidt has a douchebag jar of dollar evidence specifically for said douchebaggery. They’re key wingmen for Jess, and I’m interested in some good backstory concerning these very different gentlemen, especially now that they’ve grown to be protective of her quirky cute ways.

Bottom line: This feel-good pilot’s a real blessing and I’m addicted to the way Deschanel brings life to Jess. Way to represent the nerd/geek/dork demographic. If it’s going to be consistently like this, New Girl is something I’ll be religiously following for sure.

The Ringer

In short: Sarah Michelle Gellar plays twins Bridget (the bad egg) and Siobhan (say Shi-Vawn) in which the former’s an ex-addict wanted by the mob and the FBI, so she assumes the identity of her recently deceased sister – riches, husband, problems – to avoid certain death. Who are they kidding? The bad juju always finds a way to prevent the sailing from being smooth.

Here’s a disclaimer. Buffy is my favourite show in the entire world. I’m blind and deaf to all criticism associated with it. I have an in-built adoration for Sarah Michelle Gellar, so naturally, news of her return to TV made my heart sing. Her silver screen experience was so cringeworthy and littered with bad choices that it would’ve been better for her to quit showbiz altogether. But here she is, with two new roles and a single hope that she can convince everyone that it’s possible to play someone other than a small town slayer with the weight of the world on her shoulders. Successful?

It depends. I hate to say it, but Anna Torv is much better at drawing a divide between Olivia and Altlivia. Although SMG’s supposed to play 2 completely different people, it’s not believable enough. There’s a boat scene that’s painful to sit through, and I’m only willing to give her props when she’s playing a singular character, which is sad. Maybe she just needs time.

The show’s concept is much like the Lying Game, which crosses out originality points. Bridget barely adjusts to Siobhan’s life, and her sponsor is the only one who knows everything. She discovers that her affluent sister is really living a life of moral ick and has been embracing her inner bitch all these years of estrangement. Of course, in an attempt to make things interesting, trouble follows more than one sister, and nothing is as it seems. Both display real socipathic tendencies, so the show needs to explore that.

The minor surprises are relatively easy to predict (accidental bodies disappearing suddenly by episode’s end), but hopefully the overall mystery the writers are building isn’t as transparent. Pretty much your standard CW fare, brimming with potential love interests and sentimental mainstream music to play up the drama.

Bottom line: If you love SMG, you’ll love this. If you’re not a fan, it’s a not-bad mystery, and the rest of the ensemble have interesting characterizations. You might have to overlook a few plot holes. There’s a lot of shit being stirred in all areas and plenty to resolve, so the potential is there. Just don’t expect deep intricacies – it’s more Melrose Place humdrum than Dexter intrigue.

Talky talk

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