Happily Divorced– The show based on Fran Drescher’s life is surprisingly entertaining. You can’t help but wonder why anyone likes watching someone whose voice is so grating, but somehow it works in this show about a woman who learns after nearly two decades with her husband that he is gay. They get divorced but don’t have the respective money to live in separate homes (their house is unrealistically big for this issue, maybe it is time to get two smaller houses). I don’t care for her best friend Judi, who seems there for obvious laughs and little more. The show isn’t going down in the history books as a fantastic comedy, but there’s something enjoyable about killing time with it.
Death Valley– MTV’s latest foray into scripted television is a supernatural comedy about how a police station (specifically, the Undead Task Force newly formed within the LAPD) deals with the revelation that zombies and vampires are real. At the same time, they are being filmed, Office-style, for a documentary. This show isn’t of the quality that Awkward is, but the network’s scripted TV has always been hit or miss and this is somewhere in between. A lot of its laughs are a bit cheap and zombies are a bit silly. It feels like the show is mostly missing true characters (rather than a group of caricatures), but I’m still watching to see where it goes.
Strike Back– this show isn’t exactly new at all, in that it is in its second season, but it only just came to the US this year (with a partnership with Cinemax that is much like the Torchwood deal with Starz). I watched the first season (which is, in typical British form, only a few episodes long) and found it to be all right. The main character’s internal drama did not come across as strongly as it might have and felt largely removed from the action of the story (perhaps because his family and the guy who is giving him a hard time are always on the other side of the world). The six episode first season is divided into two episode arcs and the strongest one was easily the first, focusing on the kidnapping of a journalist by someone from the main character John Porter’s past. Porter is a retired Sergeant, after a mission in Iraq led to the death of two soldiers from his unit. he has since grown estranged from his family and struggled to get his life on track when he is called in to help save the journalist. The show wasn’t strong enough to jump to the top of my to watch list, but it will remain on my “watch when all that is on is reruns” list.
The Lying Game– Yet another ABC Family show based on a book series. This show follows Emma and Sutton, twins who discover each other when they are teens. Sutton was adopted and has grown up in a life of privilege. Emma, on the other hand, has gone from one bad foster family experience to another. The girls’ personalities could not be more different–Sutton is the nasty queen-bee while Emma is sweet and desperate for love and acceptance. Sutton goes off to search for their birth parents while Emma pretends to be Sutton in order to cover for her. Things get complicated as the mystery of their birth grows and Sutton’s complicated life makes it difficult for Emma to maintain her cover. The mystery isn’t as engrossing and the series isn’t as addictive as Pretty Little Liars, but the show does have a charm of its own. (Perhaps the biggest problem is that while Emma is endearing, Sutton is not, whereas in Pretty Little Liars, all four girls are sympathetic. It may also be the lack of well-developed other characters.)