Total Recap

With so many shows coming back this week and last (and one of my best friends coming in from Chicago to visit) I’m somewhat behind on my TV shows, so I’m writing a general recap of the shows I’ve seen:

Chuck- so glad this show is finally back. The will they won’t they dynamic of Sarah and Chuck isn’t as good as it used to be since they basically were together for a bit and Sarah sort of feels like a sulking baby. I would love for us to learn more about Sarah. Few people can completely cut ties with their past and I’d like to see her slip up with something that is less about Chuck and more about her.

How I Met Your Mother- Neil Patrick Harris singing and dancing, about suits! Need I say more? It’s like everything you could ask for and more. While the Consummate Consummator didn’t win a Golden Globe, he’s still pretty awesome in my book. The other characters were a little dull this episode but it’s hard to compete with Barney.

Better Off Ted- though not quite as good as other episodes, this show is still too good to be canceled. The Veronica-Rose dynamic is definitely the best thing the show has to offer and I hope we see more of it. How many ways can you corrupt a child?

Leverage- one of the more exciting returns in my mind, this episode was truly one of the greats because it managed to surprise you. Jeri Ryan’s character is much more interesting than Sophie and, while I miss the British accent, I prefer Ryan’s less prinicipled mentality. It’s nice to have one semi-honest thief within the group of honest thieves. Besides, seeing her develop into an honest person is interesting. The others have to rub off on her right? (Can we get more Parker-Hardison please!)

Ugly Betty- this week’s episode was the one I saw them filming! With rumors of Daniel and Betty getting together, a lot of people are upset. While I’m not a fan of the pairing, I am in no way surprised considering that Betty has so profoundly helped him change. At the same time, it’s nice to see a guy and girl be very close and not romantically involved for a change. I sort of kind of a little bit felt bad for Wilhemina. I was proud of Mark for his work with Daniel (promotion anyone?). I didn’t care all that much about Betty and Mark, largely because I’m not a Mark fan. He was mostly a jerk to Betty.

Dollhouse- great episode. These last few have really been some of the best yet and I can’t wait to see the finale next week, in a sad but excited way. Sort of the way I felt about the 7th Harry Potter coming out.

Ghost Whisperer- yet another generic episode. Really, it’s time for the larger storyline to come into play already. There was that one great episode with the child ghost and Aiden and that’s it.

Project Runway- Glad to be back in NY, glad to have the regular judges back (this reminds me, how awesome was it when Tim Gunn guest starred on HIMYM this week? “Sorry Barney, I can’t make it work.”). I think the talent this season looks pretty high though I have some serious disagreements with the decision of the first episode. That and I wonder why Nicole Ritchie was on the show. Who is she to be judging fashion?

Legend of the Seeker- I was wondering when the Sisters of the Light would show up. I’m a little disappointed in the way they made the split since it was so much more dramatic in the book but otherwise I think that part was mostly well done. I don’t really like the most recent Denna plots but she’s not super important so that’s ok. Anyone else notice Kahlen’s new clothing? Way cooler looking that before. And certainly more flattering though still not the most practical.

That’s it for now, more to come.

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Recap

The month of December, especially the end of December, sucks because most shows have his their mid-season hiatus and there’s almost nothing to watch. (Plus with all the free time because of holidays, I have nothing to watch!)

Monday nights this past week wasn’t too bad as far as new episodes go and How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory, and Lie to Me did not disappoint. At this point I kind of watch Chef Academy because there’s nothing else on so it’s just whatever. How Emmanuel hasn’t lost his entire hand is beyond me. He should get kicked off for safety reasons. I mean, he hurt himself while being taught about safety!

Tuesday had So You Think You Can Dance–only one house! come on!–which was pretty awesome and Better Off Ted. If you aren’t watching BOT (and “I already have one TV Ted” is NOT a good reason not to be) you’re really missing out. Tuesdays this year has not been good for TV anyway, so no surprise here. I’m missing my Gilmore Girl days.

Wednesday was both good and bad. First off, reunion shows suck! I’m sorry but they’re just not that interesting. I usually skip them because they don’t often show anything new or interesting enough to sit through the hour for. So naturally, Top Chef and the Ruins were both reunion episodes. Gary Unmarried and The New Adventures of Old Christine were pretty funny. Neither are really great shows but they’re more entertaining than the majority of this year’s new comedies. The final of So You Think You Can Dance was disappointing since the majority of guest stars were pretty lame (with the exception of the Groovaloos) and the winner, Russell, was somewhat predictable. For once I’d actually like to see the BEST dancer win, which according to the judges was unquestionably Jakob. But I think America prefers the dancer that grows the most. I keep missing the end of Launch My Line which is unfortunate but not super disappointing as there are so many people on the show that it’s hard to keep track. (Plus it would have been nice for the experts to be people we know. Then again, why would like Calvin Klein go on this show?) Lastly for Wednesday,there was Eastwick, which has really picked up some ante as shows tend to do right before cancellation (ie- Dollhouse!). The final scene was eerily reminiscent of Dexter this season, but you know it will turn out differently. (Husband comes in and saves her maybe?)

Thursday was the most disappointing night since it’s usually so jam packed with shows that I don’t know what to do. But alas, all we had was Survivor. Which obviously wins the night because it had no competition (smart CBS, run shows when no one else is competing thereby getting good press and possibly the better ads–which reminds me, why wouldn’t you want to try and attract advertisers right before Christmas with good shows? wouldn’t that be profitable?) Russel is still flabbergastingly successful and I can’t wait to see them blindside him right before the finale. Also, what were they thinking, moving the show to Sunday night for the finale. That’s so confusing!

Friday night was also missing a few shows, but with a double dose of Dollhouse it was hard to be upset. The show has really kicked into awesome right now. The question is will we ever see the end of Epitaph One? Merlin was pretty good too, shame it didn’t carry over well in the US, but at least it (and the Listener) is still happening in its native country (Britain and Canada). Surprise revival, The Beautiful Life is being put up on Youtube each week. Not a good show but I’ll watch it.

(Oh, and I tried out the British show Hex–lame–and the Secret Diary of a Call Girl–not enough substance–but neither worth sticking around. And the Amazing Race. I’ve been wondering about that show and since it’s been on for 15 seasons I figured it’s time for me to check it out. It’s not bad except that based on the order of arrival, your departure for the next leg is determined. Except that it doesn’t really matter since the team that leaves first always has to wait to leave for hours, by which time the other teams catch up. It just seems poorly planned. I also don’t like that it’s a couples game where the majority of tasks are done by only one person.)

And that’s the rundown… Any recommendations for me as far as shows to pass the time?

Better Off Ted 2

Last night two episodes of Better Off Ted aired after a brief hiatus. It’s no surprise that the ratings for the show were poor. Don’t get me wrong, the episodes themselves were excellent–perhaps some of the funniest yet–and in my opinion at least are not to blame for their poor showing. (The first revolved around Ted creating an imaginary project called Jabberwacky in order to cover using money to make linda happy. The second was about Veronica’s secret life as a magician’s assistant.) 

But how can you expect a show to have an audience when it isn’t aired regularly and it’s airings aren’t well publicized? The fact that there were two episodes on last night was a fact that I stumbled upon by accident while looking for what channels some other things were on. (A month ago I would have said my lack of knowledge was my own fault, as I rarely watched actual TV, using my computer because I usually wasn’t home around 8. But lately I’ve been watching regular tv and seeing commercials, so this is clearly not the case.) What surprises me most about this lack of proper advertising is that it is ABC that has failed. Of all networks, I normally find ABC to be one of the best at publicizing its shows, yet here they failed.

For those who do not know, Better Off Ted is an office comedy that premiered this year. It revolves around Ted (Jay Harrington), an honest guy working in a dishonest company, and his dealings with Veronica (his stoic but hilarious superior played by Portia de Rossi), Linda (who he has a crush on), Phil and Lem (two quirky scientists), and his daughter Rose (headstrong but cute). I didn’t expect much of this show but found myself pleasantly surprised. I highly recommend this half hour comedy and hope that ABC can step it up and advertise properly for it in the future.

If You Like…Friends

There are so many things to love about the show Friends from its great cast to its funny scenes to its heartwarming stories, the show managed to blend comedy and sentiment to make something almost anyone could love (and relate to just about any moment of life). I know that I am always on the lookout for shows, like this one, that make me laugh at and still love the characters.

The first, and most obvious, choice as a replacement show for Friends is How I Met Your Mother. Anyone who has not seen this show is missing out. Every episode is laugh out loud funny. The cast is huge! Neil Patrick Harris, Jason Segal, Allison Hannigan, even Bob Saget as narrator, to name a few. The characters (especially Neil Patrick Harris as Barney) are hilarious and you can’t help but cheer them on as they deal with lofe and love. They even have their own version of Central Perk, a bar below Ted’s apartment.

The Big Bang Theory is another friend-centered show, albeit with a twist: everyone is a genius except for the Penny (ok, her being a dumb blonde isn’t quite a twist, but the rest). Though not as funny as HIMYM, this show is also very clever and smart. Between Leonard being in love with Penny, Sheldon the neurotic but arrogant friend who seems uninterested in women, the girl-crazy Walowitz and the won’t talk to girls unless drunk Raj, there is no end of entertainment.

Now, Coupling, a British comedy, has been touted by some as the next Friends. I’ll be honest, I could not even get through the first episode.I didn’t find any of the jokes funny (maybe it’s the culture divide, but I don’t think so) and I was so uninterested in the characters. I have a friend who likes it though, so maybe it’s just not for me.

The truth is, Better Off Ted only fits into this group in so far as it’s a comedy, but I enjoy this show so much that I have to recommend it. It doesn’t have the same group of friends dynamics that Friends and HIMYM have, but it’s funny and refreshing and has been getting better and better as the season has continued.

30 Rock, also only fitting into this list because of it’s comedy status, is an obvious choice for a show to watch, as it swept the Emmy nominations with a total count of 22! Ridiculous. I like some of the other shows a little better, but this show is funny and full of quotable lines, which is oh-so-fun for viewers who love talking tv.

If you’re looking for something old school, 3rd Rock From The Sun or Newsradio are good choices. Both revolve around a tight cast (3rd Rock is about a group of aliens who are in human form to research the planet, Newsradio is about the running of a news station) filled with quirks and unusual relationships. Both are relatively easy to find online and have a number of episodes to fill your time with.

Dead Like Me, as I’ve mentioned in other posts, is a comedy worth looking into. It has the group dynamic for the cast, yet being that they are all undead reapers of different ages, backgrounds, and even decades, they have a strange relationship. This show isn’t as laugh out loud funny as the other shows on this list, but it’s certainly funny in it’s own way.

I’m sure there are plenty of other group-based comedies that I’ve missed. Add some if you think of them.

For more “If You Likes…” check out these lists: Star Trek, Full House, Heroes, 24, and Buffy.

Better Off Ted

Better Off Ted somehow slipped by me when the show first started, but once I saw it, I was hooked. The setting is Veridian Dynamics, a research a development company that embodies the idea of big corporation corruption–creating things like exploding pumpkins (a country had too many pumpkins and wanted some other uses) and weight loss toothpaste. The show’s standard format includes Ted directly addressing the audience and a commercial about the company relating to the show’s theme but often espousing contradictory or negative made to sound positive statements.

The characters are what make the show what it is, as big office corruption in itself isn’t particularly unique:

  • The star of the show is Ted Crisp, head of Research and Development, a character of generally good moral standing who tries to do the right thing while running a productive workplace and raising his too wise for her years, seven year old daughter Rose.
  • Linda Zwordling is also a morally strong character who works in the testing department. She and Ted having feelings for each other but Ted refuses to act on those feelings (except for the occasional slip) because he has a rule that a person can only have one office affair, which he has already had.
  • Phil and Lem are research partners who are the minds behind most of the disturbing creations we see (potatoes growing hair for example). They are both socially unadjusted and easily intimidated, often forcing them into undesirable situations such as Phil being cryonically frozen and Lem finding himself unrecognized my the light sensors.
  • Most notable of the cast is Veronica, played by Portia de Rossi, Ted’s matter of fact and domineering boss. She is typically emotionless and puts the company first (for example setting up Linda to be the scapegoat for a problematic invention). On occasion, her sensitive side comes out and she partners with Ted to solve some problems. Part of her charm is in the deadpan way she can say just about anything.

One thing I like about the show is that jokes get carried over from episode to episode. For example, a side effect of freezing Phil was that he occasionally let out random shrill screams. Though the freezing issue is dealt with, in the next episode the storyline spills over. Such attention to detail is always what stands out to me in a good show and Better Off Ted most certainly has that. Only seven episodes into the first season and the show was renewed for a second season, which tells you it’s good.