TV to Get Excited About in 2013!

It’s 2013. There is some seriously awesome TV coming our way people. Somehow I have to find time to fit these shows back on to my schedule. I love that we get new fresh stuff in the winter!

Downton Abbey  (Sun Jan 6th) –  Yay! Lots of drama will unfold, I am sure, and Shirley MacLaine is an added bonus!

The Bachelor (Mon Jan 7th) – I know this does not qualify as seriously awesome TV, but I have to see how things turn out for this Sean dude.

Girls (Sun Jan 13th) – This show grew on me and has clearly become a cultural phenomenon/voice of the hipster generation. Should not be missed.

Shameless (Sun Jan 13th) – I can not resist this crazy crew.

House of Lies (Sun Jan 13th) – Makes me reminiscent of my consulting days that vaguely resembled what happens on this show…like, really vaguely.

Smash (Tue Feb 5th) – Jennifer Hudson is in, Dev (Karen’s boyfriend), evil Ellis, Frank (Julia’s boring husband), and Michael (Juila’s extra marital love) are out.

Game of Thrones (Sun March 31st) – can…not…wait!!!!!!!!!

New shows I am a little bit curious about..

The Following(Fox – Mon Jan 21st – 9pm est) – supposedly scary thriller about an FBI agent who comes out of retirement to hunt an escaped killer who has built a following of copycat killers while he was locked up. Apparently, the first 7 minutes are amazing and the pilot leaves you wanting more. Nice.

The Americans (FX – Wed Jan 30th – 10pm est) – Kerri Russel (Felicity) and the oldest brother from Brothers & Sisters are Russian spies in an arranged marriage and posted in Washington DC. Interesting. The fact that it is on FX (home of American Horror Story) is a big appeal and reviews say it is “fast paced and beautifully acted“. Is FX the next AMC?

House of Cards (Netflix – Fri Feb 1st) – Yup. The first Netflix original series starring Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright as an ambitious and ruthless political couple. Adapted from a BBC show and directed by David Fincher (I don’t pretend to know who this is, but I googled him…Fight Club.) Seems Boss like. (RIP Boss) What’s cool is that all episodes will be available immediately. A whole new way to unveil TV. (Check out a trailer here)

Good thing I finished The Twelve so I can be fully focused on Winter TV…

Initial Thoughts: Elementary

Elementary has an interesting premise. Sherlock Holmes (Johnny Lee Miller) has just escaped from rehab (on the day of his release because he was bored). Lucy Liu (Joan Watson) is hired by Sherlock’s father to be his “sober companion” for six weeks.  His father has made this companion thing a condition to letting his son live rent free in the Brooklyn apartment he owns.

Sherlock enjoys solving crimes as a “consultant” to the police (so he answers to no one but himself) and has teamed up with a New York cop that he crossed paths with in Scotland Yard before rehab. Watson gets sucked in to helping him with it since she has to stay by his side, but she kind of likes it.

Sherlock is keenly observant, pretty much exactly like The Mentalist.  The difference is that he has a British accent and tattoos. Now that I think about it, this show is The Mentalist, but slightly darker. Holmes and Watson have a similar relationship to Jane and Lisbon.  So net net, I guess the premise is not all that unique.  Same show set in NYC. I don’t know if Holmes will have a nemesis like Red John, though. That might make it more interesting.  The Red John story is what I like best about The Mentalist. (Oh and Patrick Jane is kind of hot.)

How many crime solving shows can there be? Are people really not bored with smart crime solvers uncovering tricky clues that lead to an unexpected outcome? Are there really that many unexpected outcomes? If you are looking for another procedural to add to your life, this one might not be so bad. I might pop in on it once in a while, but smart crime solvers don’t generally do it for me, unless the crimes are of the supernatural nature, of course (aka. Haven or Fringe.)

Initial Thoughts: Ben & Kate

Ben & Kate is funny. I laughed out loud. At first, I thought, “Who is this guy with weird teeth, he can’t be the start of this show?” And the first few minutes were not super hilarious. Then the adorable girl from We Bought A Zoo appeared.  She is so cute and I LOVED We Bought A Zoo, so I kept watching.

When Ben went to stalk his ex-girlfriend with “the cute one from We Bought A Zoo”, it started to make me laugh. In the next scene Ben and his friend are brainstorming how to crash her wedding in hilarious masks, just because, it’s funny.

The humor is quirky. The characters are funny, especially Ben. Kate (Dakota Johnson – daughter of Don and Melanie) is a little odd.  She mostly has a deadpan face with little expression, but she is a good straight man to Ben. She grew on me by the end of the episode.

The only time when I was not chuckling, was when Kate said, “What a woman is most afraid of is that she will never find that one person who accepts her for who she is and that if she does and finally starts to let him in that he is going to leave”. I got a little vaklempt at that point.  I was not quite sure how it fit in to the episode, but it is kind of the story of my life recently, so I kept watching through eye mist.  The most hilarious scene followed involving lipstick, the super funny British lady, and the “cute one from We Bought A Zoo.” Then I was laughing again.

This one gets a thumbs up.  I think it fits right in with New Girl, another quirky show that I find hilarious.  If you still don’t like New Girl, then (a) you are crazy and (b) you might not like Ben & Kate.

The 2010-2011 Midseason

This post is long overdue.  I intended to write a blurb about what was coming up in the midseason and what I would be checking out, but now the midseason has begun so I can also include my thoughts on what I have seen so far.

Shows that premiere in the midseason are historically not very good and nothing really struck my interest, which is why I was not inspired to post.

The Cape seemed mildly interesting (in an early Heroes-ish kind of way.)  I wasn’t planning to watch but recorded it and decided to check it out.  The first 10 minutes sucked me in more than I expected it too so I actually watched about 45 minutes of the 2 hour premiere, but then there was a lot of chasing and fighting and I lost interest and started multitasking and not paying attention.  This show is out.

I watched the new Showtime series’ Shameless and EpisodesShameless (A comedy with William H Macey as an alcoholic father of 9 kids.  Yes, a comedy) got a not so great reviews from Entertainment Weekly, but I kind of liked it.   

Episodes is a comedy about the making of a comedy show and it was also kind of funny.  I am not a huge fan of  British humor (the show they are making, on the show,  is an American version of a British show) but I might stick with it.  This one got good reviews.

Oh, yeah.  I accidentally turned on Off The Map the new Shonda Rhimes show (Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice) about doctors working in a clinic in the tropical forest.  I thought I might be able to get a sticker on Get Glue if I checked in so I watched it for a little bit.  The old me would watch it.  The new me, has better things to do.

Very excited for the return (and final season) of Big Love.  Curious to see what happens with American Idol and the new judges and return of producer Nigel Lythgoe (who I love from So You Think You can Dance.)

I will definitely be checking out Mr. Sunshine, Matthew Perry’s new show although I have not heard much about it so it is probably not great. (premiere’s Feb 9th on ABC).

I just read that Being Human (premiering on SyFy tonight 1/17 at 9pm) might be good.  A vampire, a ghost and a werewolf are roommates who join forces to live a normal life.  My kind of show, embarrassingly.

I really don’t have time to add much to the schedule so I do have to be careful here.

Click here to see the full 2010-2011 midseason premiere schedule posted by TV By The Numbers.

I Will Not Live To Dance

After less than 30 minutes, here is why I will not be watching Paula Abdul’s Live to Dance:

  • Within the first minute, I noticed that the host was wearing a suit that did not fit him properly and he looked like he could not raise his arms.  It was weird and a bad sign.
  • The set they are using for auditions is horrendous and tacky.  I could hardly stand to look at the large silver stars behind the performers and the weird bubble lights behind the judges.

  • One of the judges (the founder of the Pussy Cat Dolls, apparently a world-renowned dancer..I think not) has the worst hair I have ever seen.  I do not think the asymmetrical half head look is in these days.  Or maybe I am WAY out of it.
  • It seemed like the worst of every dancing/singing/talent show out there all mixed together.

Unbearable.  I did only give it 25  minutes, but I do not think I will be eating my words.  Middle America may end up loving it, but this TVaholic gives it a huge thumbs down.

Breaking Bad Gets a Second Chance

I don’t know exactly what my problem was the first time I tried Breaking Bad.  I don’t think I watched more than one episode. Maybe I just could not get past seeing Walter in his tighty whiteys? (which is how he spends about 1/4 of the pilot and is illustrated on the right)

Since the show has been touted as one of the best shows on TV for the past three years, and they are reshowing it from the beginning on AMC, this TVAholic decided it was worth another shot.

I am now four episodes in.  It’s awesome.  The main character, Walter, a high school chemistry teacher, finds out he has lung cancer and decides to start cooking crystal meth so he can leave money for his family. He is a really good, geeky, guy who has been delt a bad hand and fights back against the world’s injustices.   It is kind of “Dexterish” in that he is doing bad stuff but you are totally rooting him on.

The acting and character development is superb.  Every choice he makes is believable.  For example, he made a pro con list and shed many tears while deciding whether or not to kill a drug dealer he has locked up in a basement and is feeding sandwiches to.

The supporting cast also rocks.  His former student side kick/meth partner (see left), is a hilarious, endearing f*&$-up.  His pregnant wife is kind of annoying.  Not enough so that you can’t believe he really loves her, but you are psyched when he uncharacteristically tells her to crawl out from up his a&^.  His brother in law is a racist, obnoxious DEA agent (but also kind of a good guy), which adds some additional plot complexity, and is also how Walter learned about this new line of work.

I don’t want to give away too much (because you should all really watch), but the scene where Walter and his partner are cleaning up a dissolved human being off the floor, truly rivals The Walking Dead guts scene.

There are shows that people LOVE that I just don’t get in to (i.e. Entourage and Dancing with the Stars) but this one I clearly misjudged.  Now I have to figure out what will come off the list as I add catching up on Breaking Bad to my repertoire (which I realize is a totally inappropriate use of that word, but if Sarah Palin can make up her own words, I can use words in new ways, right?)

Top 10 Reasons To Turn Off Your TV: A Review

Day 2 of my one week with no television.  It’s quiet.  Seems like a good time to talk about this great list I found on

Top 10 Reasons to Turn Off your TV (by Mark Stibich, Ph.D) …. let’s discuss!

1. Television Eats Your Time – duh!
2. Television Makes You Stressed – people are stressed about not getting stuff done so then they watch TV because they are stressed and then even less gets done.  Sometimes, I just feel too tired to actually DO anything else.  A wise friend once said, if you are really that tired, go to bed.  Makes sense.
3. Television Makes You Overweight – apparently people eat between 31 and 74 percent more calories while watching TV.
4. Television Makes You Uninteresting –   I feel more interesting when I think about and write about stuff other than TV but some TV is pretty cool and fun.  (zombies, multiple universes, and vampires for example)  And I sometimes learn some wise things from my imaginary friends (usually the human ones).
5. Television Ruins Your Relationships – or possibly prevents you from having any.  But I do bond with some peeps around TV (hey BFF!) so I could lose friends if I stop watching TV completely.
6. Television is Not Relaxation – apparently the stimuli you are receiving from TV keeps your brain working which does not count as relaxing.  And by relaxing, they mean meditation!  Ah ha!
7. Television Loses Opportunities – “Watching TV isolates you. Nothing is going to change in your world if you are watching TV.”  This is my favorite one.  I might post it on my fridge.
8. Television is Addictive – “If the idea of giving up TV for a week is horrifying, you may be addicted to television.”  Hmmmm…..
9. Television Makes You Buy Things – personally, the internet makes me want to buy things.
10. Television Costs Money – which is why we love Hulu!!!  Spoken like a true addict.  Not that I would get rid of my cable or my TiVo in a million years.  This is just one week people!

There really are some good points in this article.  Thanks Mark, for giving me the strength to get through Day 2 and carry on to Day 3.

Pulling the Plug

What I did not mention yesterday (in my post about getting out and doing scary stuff) was that while I was writing that post, I was supposed to be headed to the airport for a business trip to Istanbul.  Here is why that did not happen.

I woke up yesterday with what felt like, the beginning of a cold.  I had been feeling run down for days and has a very busy week. I am a wimp about being sick, I am a wimp about travel, and there was almost no business reason for me to take this trip.  (It was a boondoggle with a full day of sightseeing planned and only two scheduled meetings. And did I mention it is a 10 hour flight and you have to wear suits to the office there)  I made the mistake of Googling “flying with a cold” and found lots of evidence that supported my desire not make the trip.

I was well aware that my anxiety about going to a new country could have been feeding my symptoms, but the thought of my ear drums exploding on the plane, developing a sinus infection in an emerging country, and potentially spending 5 days holed up at the Istanbul Marriott trying to order chicken soup and orange juice from room service, consumed my brain.  I also thought about all of the things I could do with the two full travel days and jet lag adjustment time I would get back!  (I am the master of excuses) I decided to cancel the trip and stay grounded in NYC.  Then I wrote the hypocritical Fraidy Cat blog post and hoped that I would get really sick to validate my decision.

Imagine my disappointment when I woke up this morning with only mildly annoying sinus symptoms and not a full blown cold.  Of course, things might have been worse if I had hauled myself to the airport and gotten on the plane instead of blogging, and catching up on In Treatment (which was awesome by the way!)  But overall, I felt like I screwed up and failed my first Fraidy Cat test.  I should have just rallied and gone to Istanbul to see the Blue Mosque.

I had a very productive day today, but I am still feeling like I have to turn this lemon in to lemonade.  I had an idea a couple of weeks ago that if I could refrain from watching TV for a WHOLE WEEK, I could get a lot accomplished.  The sheer boredom could drive me to break right out of my shell and do stuff I would not normally do  (or drive me to drink.)

I think the only way to recover from this wimpy decision is to take on the one week television ban THIS WEEK.   This is a particularly bad week since I have nothing on my social calendar (because I was supposed to be in Turkey) and there are some big TV finales this week (The Walking Dead, In Treatment, Boardwalk Empire) but the punishment fits the crime.  I am feeling slightly panicked at the thought of it, but as soon as I hit “Publish,” it is set in stone and I am committed to it.  Sunday – Saturday.  No TV OR MOVIES.  Reading, thinking, exercising,  listening to music or NPR, interacting with other human beings.  (Going out the movies would be OK)

Wish me luck and I will keep you posted!

The Walking Dead and In Treatment

The only thing these two shows have in common is that they have both been added to my TV watching repertoire.  I have actually lost interest in a lot of shows and I fell way behind on vacation.  This is all good news for my TVaholic recovery.  But, now I have two new shows that I like, so lets discuss.

Paul (The Therapist)

In Treatment is an old favorite, now in season three.  I have been in therapy myself forever and I am super interested in how people feel and what they think, so this show is right up my alley.  It is not realistic of course. (My therapist hates it.)  In reality it takes years and years to get to the stuff they get to in 30 minutes but that would be REALLY boring to watch.  I find Paul, the therapist, annoying, but that is realistic. It’s impossible not to find your therapist annoying because all they want to talk about is the stuff you don’t want to deal with.  This season I am hanging out with Paul (even though his is annoying), Sunil (a sad man who had to leave India after his wife died and move in with his son and American/bitch daughter-in-law), Frances (Debra Winger playing an actress who’s dying sister who used to be Paul’s patient), Jesse (a gay adopted promiscuous teenager with a variety of issues), and Paul’s new awesome super smart therapist Adele.  They are quite a messed up bunch and by week two I was fully committed to sticking around to see how they all end up.

So after a couple of hours being inside a bunch of sad people’s brains, I am ready for The Walking Dead.  This show is fun.  It is creepy and suspenseful and requires pretty much no thought.  There are a lot of unanswered questions though. Like how did most of the world turn in to zombies while the lead character (“Officer Friendly”) was in a coma.  And what the heck is a zombie?  They are dead but constantly walking around and desperately want to eat people and animals.  If I were dead, I am pretty sure would want to just chill.   I like my Sci Fi, but I need SOME explanation.  Fringe always has some made up scientific mumbo jumbo that I can buy in to.  No Ordinary Family fell in some magical water in Brazil, good enough for me!  The people on The Event came from outer space, so of course they have special powers.  Just give me some explanation, I will buy it.  Clearly, leaving us hanging is part of the plan and they are keeping us well entertained while we wait.  This week we got to see Officer Friendly and his new little side kick cover themselves in zombie guts to walk among the zombies undetected to find transportation.  Now, how is Officer Friendly smart enough to think of that disgusting plan but NOT be aware that his wife was (and still is) sleeping with his partner?  He is going to need a couple of sessions with Paul when he finds out about those two!

Will Rubicon be Saved?

Will we ever find out if and how Truxton Spangler takes his own life as the four-leaf clover bodes?  We are pretty sure Katherine Rhumer won’t be back unless the supposedly lethal  injection was more like what the airplane passengers got on The Event (FYI – they came back to life.)  Is Tanya really going to quit and write another book?  Will Miles have a  nervous breakdown and then live happily ever after with the new chick who speaks Urdu?

I was not surprised at all that Will’s new artsy lover (with the fabulous shower curtain) was really undercover protecting him, but who hired her?  Arliss?  So many unknowns..but what would happen next season?  Will Will (ha ha “will will”) keep trying to take down Atlas McDowell?  Will he find happiness so he can have more than just that one perplexed expression on his face?

I was not as impressed with the Rubicon finale as I was with the Mad Men finale, but I am definitely up for another season.   I am too tired from fighting with PowerPoint all day to elaborate more or make a great case for James Badge Dale and his crew but my friend Maureen Ryan at TV Squad (she is not really my friend) wrote this great article called “Six Reasons to Save Rubicon”…read it and support the cause.  (This article has been archived from the interwebs but you can find Maureen Ryan, former TV critic here)