Sunday, October 07, 2007

Tonight's TV: Early Season Report Card

The DVR was working on overtime this weekend as I caught up with some of this season's new episodes.

GREY'S ANATOMY shows signs of reviving from the slump that hit it near the end of Season 3. However, if Meredith doesn't get some therapy and start to get over her family issues, the audience is going to lose patience with her. We want to see characters grow and mature, not remain trapped in misery.

Speaking of growing and maturing, my favorite character remains Alex, who started out as a self-centered womanizer looking to make big bucks, but has evolved into the go-to guy for difficult pediatric and obstetrical cases. More of this kind of positive character development is exactly what the show needs.

On the other hand, I really wouldn't be sorry if George left to repeat his internship somewhere else...yawn.

The show is at its best when it mixes romance and humor with the trauma dramas -- hopefully we'll be seeing more romance and humor and fewer trauma dramas this year.

PRIVATE PRACTICE, the GREY'S spinoff starring Kate Walsh, continues to be pretty dreadful, IMHO. Although last season's pilot was bad, I set the series to record in the hope it would be an improvement, as I love Kate Walsh's Dr. Addison Montgomery. However, the new show seems to have turned the super-smart and competent Addison into a nitwit -- even if she were looking to leave Seattle in a hurry, are we supposed to believe she'd take a new job having absolutely no idea what she'd be doing?

I scanned through much of the first PRIVATE PRACTICE, and as the patients dropped like flies and Addison morphed from a world-class surgeon into a goofball, I decided this was a show that needed to be dropped from my DVR list. If I hear that it improves, I'll catch up with it later.

BACK TO YOU, starring sitcom veterans Kelsey Grammer and Patricia Heaton, has happily proven to be a very good comedy, something which is in short supply on TV these days. The series isn't all the way there yet, but it's got a lot going for it and I anticipate it should develop into an excellent workplace comedy. There is a good balance between the lead characters needling each other (which could get old) and acting like human beings, and the supporting cast is solid.

My main complaint is that the news director played by Josh Gad is too reminiscent of MURPHY BROWN's Miles, with a little of FRASIER's Kenny thrown in on the side. I wish they'd been a little more creative with that character. Ayda Stevens is amusing as Montana, but they need to make sure she doesn't become a one-joke character.

The second episode had some laugh-out-loud funny moments, and this is a series I'll definitely be leaving in the DVR lineup. It's great to have Kelsey Grammer back on TV.


Blogger Mrs. Happy Housewife said...

I haven't watched any episodes yet, but I've been recording "Back to You" because of your favorable comments. Hopefully, I'll get to it soon.

Also, I never got back to you on the Stargate finale. We didn't like it very much. We were expecting something like "The Lost City" or "Moebius". My daughter's still mad that Daniel and Vala had intimate relations without being married. She says Daniel should know better. I hated the ageing make-up. We all hated what happened with the Asgard.

Does your daughter watch Atlantis? H and I have since the beginning and now we're letting the kiddies watch too since Sam is there. H and I miss Carson, don't like what's happened with Weir, and love Jewel Staite but don't find her believable as a doctor. I'm uneasy about Sam at Atlantis. She works best with SG1. I don't think Tapping has much chemistry with the Atlantis cast, except David Hewlett. I'm hoping the chemistry improves. I'm hoping also that the Teyla pregnancy storyline turns out better than I imagine it will be.

I don't like Atlantis as much as Stargate but I watch it because it's the same "universe". Atlantis is to Stargate what Voyager was to Star Trek.

What I really want is a two-hour movie of Carter and O'Neill getting married and making smart and snarky babies.

5:33 AM  
Blogger jau said...

I've never been a Grey's Anatomy watcher but I'm glad for you that it's better.

And I agree entirely about about Back to You. The bimbo needs more to recommend her, though she's charming as far as she goes. The utterly goofy guy needs to sober up a little even though he's funny. I do like the Grammer and Heaton characters, and their daughter (although her name is a bit too obvious). And I thought I was going to lose my grip, laughing so hard when the reporter with the llloonnngg name tried to speak after being tasered. Nothing will ever quite be as good, but that moment reminded me of Donna Dixon getting the rose (with thorns) from Tom Hanks in Bosom Buddies, years ago.

7:12 AM  
Blogger Caitlin G. said...

I agree with most of what you said about Grey's though you left out that Lexi is obviously not that bright and needs to be quickly removed from the show. I disliked her the moment she stepped in front of Meredith--who was wheeling in a trauma victim in desperate need of ER treatment--to break it to her that she was her sister. Way to go on the timing.

As for mrs. Happy housewife, I too, was disappointed with the series finale of the show. I just thought it lacked a final zing to go out on. The last three season finales have been much more well done, especially when you consider that seven and eight each was done anticipating that it was the last season of the show.

I keep up with Atlantis, but sadly, it doesn't have as much appeal for me as SG-1. I've never been big on Weir, and McKay, while amusing at times, can be so annoying when he drones on the list of the 16 things that can go wrong THIS time. I feel like the show is relying too much on the tech to move plot and provide conflict, rather than action. I just watched "Lifeline" (invasion of Replicator city) and felt like most of the episode was McKay looking at his computer screen and going "we have a problem!" I'm also a little wary about Carter joining up, but we'll see how that works out.

9:30 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Mrs. HH, I hope you enjoy BACK TO YOU! You might want to be forewarned, some of the one-liners are definitely PG-13, despite the 8:00 air time (I guess "family hour " is a thing of the past...); it would be good if they toned that down a bit.

Anne, I agree about the tasering -- the guy was a very funny comedian physically, you could see in that episode why he'd been hired for the show! The goldfish built to a very funny conclusion, as well.

Mrs. HH and gategirl, thanks for your STARGATE comments!

Re GREY's: I agree, Lexie needs to grow up and develop some common sense. :) I'm not sure bringing this character in was wise; it seems very contrived. (I'm trying to remember, did we know there was a sister other than the one who had the baby at the hospital?)

Although Lexie was out of her *mind* introducing herself when she did, I also think Meredith needs to realize that her own "issues" are no excuse for being obnoxious -- Lexie is also a victim of circumstance as far as her parentage. It would have been good if somehow Meredith had found a way to politely make her "speech" about not wanting a relationship earlier instead of being mean to Lexie. However, taking her issues out on others is Meredith's major problem, anyway, so it was in character...grin.

This is one reason the show is so entertaining, even when the characters annoy, it really gets you analyzing characters and motivations, warts and all. :)

Best wishes,

11:32 AM  
Blogger Irene said...

I have to disagree regarding Back To You. I did see the episode with the gold fish and tasering. That taser thing was a riot. But over all the show did not work for me. I got tired of Kelsey's whole I'm a father thing. What really annoyed me about the show (besides the PG-13 stuff at times) is the obvious and annoying laugh track. Turned me off totally.

The show that is opposite Back To You is Pushing Daisies. Now that show is great! It is my new favorite show. Very quirky and unusual (and no laugh track :) )

12:49 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thanks for your thoughts, Irene! I agree, I'd be very happy to have the laugh track ditched.

Some of my family members watched PUSHING DAISIES and liked it very much. (I didn't care for the plot outline myself...) They wondered, though, how the concept could be sustained over a long series without being changed at some point. Be interesting to see if they can do it!

Best wishes,

2:04 PM  
Blogger Irene said...

That is one big concern about Pushing Daisies from its fans ... can this plot device work from week to week. I am very interested in seeing tonight's show. I had read somewhere that only six shows were made. I guess they were waiting to see how it would do. Hopefully they are now in full production mode because I would not like to see it turn into a start and stop show like Lost.

It certainly is different in subject matter but the way I look at it is a fairy tale. The look of the whole program is pure imagination from the set designs to the cinematography.

7:31 AM  
Blogger Missy said...

Laura, we were told at some point that Meredith had two step-sisters and that the other one (now we know as Lexie) was away at medical school. Did the sister having the baby ever know Meredith was her step-sister? Also, at the end of last season, wasn't Lexie with her father when he screamed at Meredith and told her to not come to the funeral? So Lexie saw Meredith...right? Or was that the step-sister with the baby? I don't have the DVDs to look.

I'm still debating about BACK TO YOU. Some of it's funny, but some of it really clunks.


10:11 PM  

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