November sweeps comes to an end this Wednesday and I thought now would be the perfect time to check in on some of my favorite new shows this season and see how they’re doing. And, in honor of Thanksgiving, I’ll start by saying what I’m thankful for.
“V:” What I’m thankful for: Ah, there’s so much ABC has asked me not tell you about tomorrow night’s episode of “V.” I’m barely certain that I can confirm that the last new episode until March will air Tuesday night at 8 p.m. on ABC. But I will say that the show ends on multiple cliffhangers which is always a good thing. I’m pleased with how the show has used these four episodes to really strengthen the characters and the plot lines. And I’m loving the juxtaposition of how Anna appears to people with how she really is. Plus the show continues to give more depth to its characters. Scott Wolf’s Chad Decker is conflicted about getting too friendly with the Vs but still is intent on advancing his career. And I’m all for a priest as part of the resistance. It’s a character we really don’t see too much on television. What I’m worried about: I just hope the show doesn’t lose momentum by being off the air for four months after such a brief introduction. I don’t think I’ll ever quite understand why ABC didn’t wait until March to premiere the series.
“Cougar Town:” What I’m thankful for: Honestly this show gets more funny with every episode. What’s really worked for the show is taking the focus off Jules dating life and focusing more on her friends and her family. I say the more they can use the hilarious Dan Byrd, the better (does anyone else think that Byrd and Michael Cera would be perfect in a movie together?). I defended this show weeks ago and I’ll still defend it now. It’s funny. What I’m worried about: That being said, the show needs to keep the shrill side of Jules’s personality in check. I think it’s part of what makes Jules hilarious but it’s also something that could completely destroy her character. This week (Wednesday, ABC, 9:30 p.m.), Travis brings his girlfriend home for Thanksgiving dinner. I don’t see that going well, do you?
“FlashForward:” What I’m thankful for: The show is moving at the right pace. Plot lines aren’t lingering too long or whizzing by us at a rapid fire pace. I’m glad Aaron has been reunited with his daughter and we have some insight to why she was presumed dead. I’m glad we learned why Bryce was about to commit suicide and why he didn’t. And I’m also thankful for Dominic Monaghan’s Simon. There’s not a trace of sweet Charlie in his performance and I have no idea what he’s up to which I kind of like. What I’m worried about: The show sometimes asks too much willing suspension of disbelief. Really no one in the whole world would realize the future could be changed until one man tragically committed suicide?
“The Good Wife:” What I’m thankful for: What I love most about this show is that it doesn’t feel the need to explicitly spell everything out for the viewer. So much of the interaction between Alicia and her husband and how Alicia feels about Peter is conveyed in broken looks and unsaid words. For instance last week, we all knew that Alicia was suspicious that the image consultant Peter had hired was also someone he might have had an affair with. Alicia never confronted her husband or the image consultant, but we all knew what she was thinking. And can you blame her? It makes total sense to me that she would be suspicious of every woman who had crossed her husband’s path. Julianna Margulies plays the part beautifully. I believe her when she’s vulnerable and I believe her when she’s dissecting someone with her words. I’m also thankful that the legal cases don’t always play out in the predictable way – there’s not always some dramatic closing argument or surprising jury verdict. Sometimes we don’t even see the conclusion of the case. So “The Good Wife” continues to work on two levels – it’s both a compelling legal drama and engaging personal one. And I don’t know exactly where the show is going. Will Alicia take Peter back? Should she? Does she even want to? Does she still love him? All questions I’m still pondering. What I’m worried about: I’m not sure how I feel about her son playing junior detective. Right now it seems like a story line the show doesn’t need. Also, more Josh Charles please. This week (Tuesday, CBS, 10 p.m.) Chelsea Handler guest stars as herself when she interviews Peter’s other woman.
How are your favorite new shows doing so far this season? Talk about it below.
Highlights of the Week Ahead
All times listed are Eastern Standard Time for November 23-November 29
So many of you have asked me what I think of the whole Barney and Robin break up on “How I Met Your Mother” (Monday, CBS, 8 p.m.). In many ways, I still don’t quite understand why their relationship didn’t work comically. Maybe it’s because the show dropped many of the characteristics that made Barney and Robin, Barney and Robin while playing up their least attractive qualities. I thought it could have worked to have Barney shedding his ladies’ man persona because he was in love with Robin (much like what happened to Joey when he fell for Rachel). But it didn’t. At all. And it’s really worked for the show to break them up. I thought last week’s episode that had Barney returning to form was the best of the season. I know I always talk about how we want to see our TV characters evolve and grow up but maybe Barney is one of those characters we want to remain exactly the same. This week, Chris Elliot plays Lily’s dad but the big news is that Marshall gives out his slap bet slaps to Robin and Ted and the episode is aptly titled “Slapsgiving 2: Revenge of the Slap.”
Katee Sackhoff guest stars on a very funny episode of “The Big Bang Theory” (Monday, CBS, 9:30). One of the best things the show has done this season is not make Penny and Leonard’s romance the focus of every episode while really building up the supporting characters. Simon Helberg has truly perfected making Wolowitz sweet, insecure and, at times, totally offensive. He takes center stage tonight when he’s not sure he wants to pursue a relationship with Bernadette because she’s not his ideal woman. Sackhoff appears (briefly) to him in his fantasy to offer him some much needed advice.
I still can’t quite believe that the cast of “Glee” (Wednesday, FOX, 9 p.m.) isn’t going to be part of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade because NBC didn’t want to promote the competition (one more reason to say “Boooo NBC. Boooo!”). But at least we get a new episode this week with special guest star Eve. She’ll play the teacher of a rival Glee Club. Will suspects that Sue is giving away secret information to the competition and my suspicion is that Will is right.
I really liked last week’s episode of “The Mentalist” (Thursday, CBS, 10 p.m.). One of the things that sometimes bothers me about Patrick Jane, as I said a few weeks ago, is that he’s too glib and too overly pleased with himself. That attitude, even if it is a cover, too often belies the inner pain that Jane must be feeling. In last week’s episode, he was devastated – the absolutely appropriate reaction. My only problem with the series is that too often you can tell the bad guy at the beginning of the episode. The minute the secretary (who I don’t remember seeing before) walked in and dropped the coffee, I was thought, “She did it.” But the over all mystery of the nefarious Red John is working for me although I’m not sure how long the show can drag it out. I kind of think the mystery of Red John shouldn’t play out over the entire series. What do you guys think? This week, CBS repeats the second season premiere that introduced Terry Kinney as the now dear, departed Sam Bosco.
Justin and Rebecca get one step closer to getting married on this Sunday’s episode of “Brothers & Sisters” (Sunday, ABC, 10 p.m.). As so many of you have pointed out, she needs to tell him she’s pregnant. It’s a little ridiculous to think she wouldn’t have by this point. Meanwhile Sarah is very suspicious of her mom’s new boyfriend. Sarah, honey, you should worry less about Dr. Simon Craig and more about Ryan.
That’s all for today. Because of the Thanksgiving holiday, I won’t have a column on Friday. But I’ll be back next Monday to talk about the season premiere of “Scrubs” (which I’m committed to keeping an open mind to), the series finale of “Monk,” the return of “Dollhouse” (I’m not going to lie to you, I’m a little worried Fox will decide not to air the remaining episodes at the last minute) and check in on how “Bones” is doing. Have a question? Seen a familiar face? Want to nominate a quote of the week or a topic for discussion? Write me at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org follow me on Twitter. Have a great week and a wonderful Thanksgiving. Talk to you next Monday.
Amy Amatangelo, TV Gal