Pretty Little Liars– This has definitely taken the spot of show of the summer. It’s one of those oddly addictive shows where you can’t help but keep watching. A part of me was really into it, wanting to know who A was (we never actually saw Allison’s body, so there’s every possibility A is her) and the other part was frustrated. For one thing, the show was suffering from the “awful main character” syndrome that seems to be an issue with a number of ABC Family show–Amy of Secret Life, Emily of MIOBI. I find Aria’s entire story utterly uninteresting. Her parents are going through a pretty awful divorce and all she can think about and be upset about is the teacher she’s obsessed with. The other big issue I had is the fact that the actresses are fairly awful. But I do like Hannah and to a slightly lesser extent Emily and the tension building from episode to episode was well done, even if not every individual plot line was.
Huge– I might only like this because I like Nikki Blonsky, but I’ve enjoyed this show (and I think Blonsky will be singing this week!!!). Not the best show of summer, but not bad either. I particularly like the most recent bit of information about Will’s past, though the one character I’d really like to see more about is Shay. We’ve only learned a little about her and she’s such a crazy character that I want to know more about where she’s coming from.
Melissa and Joey– Entertainment Weekly summed this show up perfectly. It’s like being in an episode of “I Love The Nineties.” The show is completely formulaic and not particularly surprising or funny. ABC Family doesn’t seem to do half hour comedies well and this show surprised me considering how well their one hour teen dramas are doing. It just didn’t seem to fit. My friend says they’re trying to capitalize on the people who liked the movie Melissa Joan Hart and Joey Lawrence starred in and also perhaps target the nostalgic twenty-somethings who watch the channel and then pretend not to. I get the strategy, but the show just doesn’t cut it.
Royal Pains– This show has sort of hit a plateau, which isn’t to say it’s bad, but only to say it hasn’t gotten any better. I’ll be honest and say that I like Dr. Emily Peck as well as Paige, though both characters interrupt the main character romances that were set up in season one (you know, the will they won’t they that was Ross and Rachel but is now Hank and Jill, Divya and Evan). I like how Evan’s growing up somewhat and I find Hank to be a little too perfect. I’d like to see more facets of his personality beyond “hi, I’m perfect.”
Covert Affairs– It’s like Alias without the mythology stuff (thankfully, because despite my like for Lost and its mythology, the Alias stuff just didn’t stick for me). I kind of like it, though I am hoping for the show to step back for the formulaic stuff and look more at the bigger story (specifically, Annie’s love interest). Other things I’d like to see: Auggie’s action days (the recent episode with the girl he liked was pretty great), a female for Perabo to play off of (maybe a rival spy), more about Annie’s family, and more depth into the characters.
Drop Dead Diva– This show continues to surprise me. How many different story lines can you come up with about a dead person who is living in someone else’s body? It turns out, a lot of them. It may not be the best quality show out there, but it continue to churn out interesting, albeit preposterous, episodes. (Maybe a bit more insight into characters like Kim and Fred would be nice.)
Project Runway– This is quite the season. I’m not sure if or how the extended format affects things or even helps things, but I’m not complaining either. This season is a pretty good one. I think there are a few really talented designers, though there are others that are just ridiculous (the diaper shorts?). The first episode was ridiculous with its “you’re not on the show yet” challenge. Why was everyone freaking out? Are you on camera? Are you competing in a challenge? Then by definition, you are on the show. The benefit is in theory, the girl who got kicked off in that first episode should be able to tryout for the show again. What I greatly enjoyed though did not necessarily agree with, was Tim’s dressing down of Gretchen this week. Sure, she’s arrogant and hot headed, but to say that she bullied them into listening to her was unfair and from what we saw, untrue. She didn’t force anyone to do anything. We didn’t even see much arguing. And now, the cast that already hates her is bound to turn mean. And yeah, she’s pretty full of herself but her record did (at the time) kind of give her a right to be.
Weeds– Well, this show just continues to take strange turns. I know the writers think it’s a great idea to ditch everything and start over, but I miss the dynamic of the original seasons and the rest of the cast beyond the Botwins. And the whole mallet murder…yeah, I don’t even know what to do with that. Still enjoyable but perhaps straying father than I would like?
Leverage– This past week’s episode really showed off just how excellent the writing talent on this show is. Basically, we see the tale of how a specific dagger was “stolen” through the eyes of each of the characters before they had met and worked together. The brilliance of this was showing how each person’s memory was the same, but different. Little details, accents, etc all highlighted the individual characters, their abilities, and the overall dynamics. Even though they’ve turned to good, they still take pride in their abilities and their pasts. I for one would love to keep learning more about them. Though I don’t think they can quite utilize this specific format again (what are the odds that they all foiled each other on another heist?), I hope they find a way to use a variation of it. At the same time, I love how we’ve seen a number of episodes that highlight particular characters. Always strongest for me are the ones about Parker (since they’re the only ones, besides Nathan, where we delve into the characters’ pasts as well as their psyches), which we’ve had a few of lately. I hope to learn more about all of the characters. I will say that I miss Jeri Ryan on the show, not that I want her to replace Sophie, but maybe as an occasional guest spot or addition.
So You Think You Can Dance– Did you see it coming? Lauren Froderman beating out Kent Boyd? There’s only one reason this did not surprise me. My friend has a theory that the contestant who is set up as the clear winner from the beginning (of any reality show, not just SYTYCD) is virtually never the actual winner of the show. Perhaps the audience doesn’t like being forced into a decision or the contestant gets to cocky or just doesn’t show growth because they are already so strong, but for whatever reason, it seems to be true. (I can’t think of examples off the top of my head right now, but I’ll come back with them.) I for one am glad because Kent couldn’t seem to manage the few things the judges asked of him in terms of improvements whereas Lauren seemed to get better by the week without ever really misstepping.
Psych– I’m noticing one particular thing missing for me this season. Specifically, that is the heart of the show. Where are the emotional aspects? What happened to the will they won’t they dynamic of Juliette and Shawn for example? Can we learn more about Spencer’s mom or maybe Juliette and Lassiter’s pasts? It’s still entertaining but it’s not quite as solid as it used to be.
Rachel Zoe Project– What is with the obsession over Taylor? Whether or not she actually stole some clothes (which really just doesn’t make sense for a number of reasons), get over her. It’s like not a moment can go by without them mentioning her and usually bashing her. Yeah, she was a whiner, but are you really pretending she didn’t ever do any work? I’m not even sure why I enjoy the show but I do and I’m looking forward to seeing more of Ashley. The truth is, even without Taylor, there is still chaos, but it does seem to be more outer office chaos rather than internal (but then again, Rachel is healthy, which is a change, and she is not putting an employee in the unfair and awkward position of choosing who gets to go on a trip).
Rookie Blue– Another actress I’m enjoying these days is Missy Peregrym. I like that her face is actually expressive. You don’t need the camera to zoom in as close as possible in order to get a sense of how her character is feeling. Not every plot is excellent, but a lot of them are. It would be nice to get to know more about Gail because right now she’s ridiculous and I would love to know more about each of their pasts. I like watching the rookies blunder, I like things about training and learning. If anything, I’d like some flashbacks of them actually training.
Burn Notice– Aside from not believing that Fiona and Michael are as attractive as they’re meant to be, I’m not enjoying this show as much as I did in previous seasons. I think the main reason is that it feels like the same arguments are rehashed every episode and the emotional element that I mentioned was missing in Psych is also lacking in this one. I hope it gets better, because this new story with Jessie finally knowing the truth could be interesting.
The Secret Life of the American Teenager– Do you think Adrian is going to have a miscarriage? That’s the only other storyline that I think could be really interesting since they’ve lost the opportunity to do the abortion plot (not that I’m surprised). All the other storylines, meh. I’m glad to see a little less whining from Amy though.