As a younger TV viewer I learned not to let myself become too attached to new shows. Because most of them don’t last.
The way the axe swings on TV can seem arbitrary & callous and the kinds of shows that I liked: Science Fiction, Action Adventure, Mystery, were hard to maintain because they either had expensive special effects or high-priced actors & writers. And consequently I found that characters with whom I developed a fondness could be gone in one meeting. Or just cancelled on a whim.
Here are ten shows that are coming back for second seasons that I enjoyed watching & hope they come back just as strong.
I noticed after compiling this list that each one of these shows has a female lead. Except for, arguably, Newsroom. And I don’t know what that means but it shows that my tastes have evolved somewhat as has the face of prime-time TV. This is the post Sex and the City television landscape.
Don’t Trust The B in Apt 23 (ABC)
2 Broke Girls (CBS)
These are three kind of silly, kind of girly, colorful shows that are fish out of water tales where the fish is in a skirt.
Don’t Trust the B***** in Apt 23 is a delightful mix of sweet & raunchy. Kristen Ritter’s Bitch, a manipulative socio- & possibly psycho-pathic party girl, is the centerpiece of the sitcom and she shines brightly. Her timing, her delivery, her looks, she’s a fantastic comic actor.
But I think the other characters: their wacky stalker next door neighbor, her best friend; James Van der Biek (played by James himself) and her sweet & innocent roommate (that she tries every week to corrupt), are the true gems that make this a sitcom worth watching. If the producers try too hard to humanize Krysten’s Bitch (I fear that some focus group or some executive somewhere might make them try to give the character a heart) that would kill the show in my opinion.
2 Broke Girls is all about the relationship between… two broke girls. Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs are both likable & beautiful and very funny comic actors. The writing is good. My only problem is sometimes they kill a joke or over-sell a joke with that wacky transition music. But I still love the show and the cast of characters.
Especially their upstairs neighbor played by Jennifer Coolidge and the sexually inappropriate fry cook played by Jonathan Kite. This is old school sitcom goodness like Cheers and Taxi and just as funny.
After two episodes of Suburgatory it seemed to me like a show that was too hip for the room, but it grew on me. The cartoonish upscale community of wacky residents and the high school not just run by the popular kids but where the pretty and the popular are worshiped as gods is such a great setting for the two main characters; a father & daughter from New York City who find themselves in a completely foreign environment and situation.
Every single character and actor portraying their neighbors and friends is spectacular. The best thing about this show is the cast. The show is amazing because of the great performances. It not only grew on me. I became addicted.
Two HBO half hour comedies that are smartly written.
Girls is a show where the comedy goes over my head… I guess. I don’t even find it that funny. In the first season of this extremely well-written show, I think I laughed out loud maybe three times total. When one of the girls accidentally smokes crack at a massive Brooklyn neighborhood warehouse party, a party that brings all the stories together in one gigantic clusterfuck of funny, I had to pause it to catch my breath it was so funny, but for the most part the comedy is just too smart for one viewing (I’m making that over-the-head hand movement that people make at these times only you can’t see me). I had to watch the shows again and will probably watch them a third time to catch the lines I missed.
Lena Dunham‘s writing and directing is sensational and reminds me a lot of Woody Allen without Woody himself and his trademark delivery, selling the jokes. So it’s not Woody Allen good but it is really really good. However I lived, for a long time, in Brooklyn and… um… there are more people of color… just saying. It’s okay to wanna be Woody Allen, Lena, just leave some of his more annoying tendencies back in the 70’s.
The joy of HBO’s Veep is watching Julia Louis Dreyfus. She’s carried sitcoms in the past. She totally carried Seinfeld and we didn’t even know. She is so funny and so good. Like a cross between Lucille Ball & Mary Tyler Moore. If she doesn’t win the Emmy for comedy, something has gone wrong with the academy.
She plays the nations first female VP & plays the shit out of the part. Another well-written comedy but this one benefits from a lead actor who can carry a show, has impeccable timing & delivery and looks fantastic in a suit. So good.
Once Upon a Time (ABC)
Three shows about female adversaries and the depths to which they will sink in order to destroy their rivals.
Once Upon a Time is the story of a town where story book characters have been banished to live in the real world. One of the best and most original ideas of last year. (the copy cat & in my opinion, not as good, Grimm not withstanding) It is fantastic and… I guess the word would be… magical.
Adventurous, romantic, dramatic with very familiar characters in an average setting, if not average circumstances. A healthy helping of Disney heroes & villains populate the town of Storybrooke with a few classic fairy tale folks thrown into the mix. I love this show so much. Great writing. Great cast. And the premise is so interesting, with so many possibilities for stories and characters. It is the best new show of last year.
The thing I loved about NBC’s Smash, the first year of Smash, was witnessing the creation of a new musical. The writing and the creative process were the best parts.
There was some drama with the personal lives of the characters that was hit or miss for me but the musical itself, the development of a musical from start to finish, was a joy to watch.
All of the singers and dancers are amazing. The two lead actresses competing to play Marilyn Monroe are both gorgeous. I love Broadway. I love musicals. I loved Smash. I just don’t know what they can do next.
Revenge is so good. (I’m half way through season one) It can be a little cartoony but it is so much fun. I love that the main character played by Emily Van Camp, on this mission of revenge for the death & framing of her father, is basically a more feminine, more subtle and less violent Batman. She’s fucking Batman and I love her.
The show can easily be describe as a guilty pleasure. But I love watching these pretty flawed, pretty evil, pretty fucked-up, pretty people scheming and backstabbing and jumping in and out of bed with each other. Add to that the fact the main character is basically Batman and I’m in. And I know this show will be around for a while and it will probably go down hill after 1 or 2 good seasons but right now, it’s awesome.
The Newsroom (HBO)
Both are hour-long political dramas on pay cable, both are political and extremely well-written.
Newsroom is Aaron Sorkin at his best. It’s a cross between Sports Night and The West Wing. A cable news show whose studio offices are populated by people who speak Sorkin. Incredibly smart, witty, self-effacing, and delightfully biting verbal duelists. I want to work in an office where everyone speaks Sorkin.
The verbal duels are exhilarating. I love Aaron Sorkin’s writing. And I love this show. It can get a little preachy but since I agree with every freaking word. I’m totally fine with it. With a wonderful cast of characters and actors including the beautiful Olivia Munn & Dev Patel, I really hope the show’s politics doesn’t bring about its premature demise.
I guess my only problem with the show is how flawed the characters are and how bad they are with inter-personal relationships. At first I thought it was just the female characters but then came to realize it was all of them, each one of them. They are so smart but so bad with relationships. Still love it though, if for nothing other than the fact that our news media (or what passes for news these days) needs a serious wake up call.
Homeland is an intricate, psychological spy thriller with Clare Danes as a CIA analyst suffering with a mental disability. A disability that also makes her really good at her job of finding patterns in the data to prevent or predict a terrorist attack.
Homeland is another show that I’m completely blank on where they can go. –Mild Spoiler– I found the end of the first season to be tragic and disturbing having seen first hand what “that” can do to someone’s brain. — End Spoiler–
The acting in the show is top of the line. Clare Danes deserves all of the accolades she’s received & all the awards while Mandy Patinkin can do no wrong. The rest of the cast is good as well including the painfully beautiful Morena Baccarin and Damian Lewis. Can’t wait to see where they go with this.
This concludes my list of new shows. I hope you enjoyed it.
Thank you Maggie.
More to come,