fall is in the air
My Friday was a little hectic with a boatload of meetings and ridiculousness. I couldn’t wait to start my weekend and basically parked myself in bed with my TiVo. I was happy the new fall shows had been recorded. (Is it me or are they early this year?!). Many people are surprised to know I tend to watch all the new shows each year. Believe it or not, I enjoy TV as much as books and movies. Apparently, this is shocking behavior for someone with two Master degrees.
In any case, I wanted to share my thoughts on the shows I ended up watching. So far, it’s been about 50/50 with nothing that’s truly terrible and one really awesome addition.
Life in Pieces
I absolutely LOVE this show. I didn’t really know much about it before watching it. I just thought it would be another Modern Family knockoff. Life in Pieces is from Justin Adler (of Better Off Ted fame–only one of my all-time favorite comedies ever ever). It boasts an all-star cast of fantastic actors–who all pull their weight. It’s told in a series of short vignettes–a style that I use a lot in my own writing–that keeps the pacing quick. I love that it’s told from a generational standpoint, but not in a disjointed way. It was actually extremely funny (which doesn’t happen much lately), took big risks, and felt familiar in that way the best comedies do. It felt like this was a friend’s family, and I was joining them for the ride. It would be easy for this show to be a one-trick pony–a family comedy about a bunch of weirdos. They do that very well. But Life in Pieces features an authenticity that most of these shows lack. There are layers to these characters, and I found myself relating and loving all of them. I do have my favorites–I always do, of course. For me, Zoe Lister-Jones rocked it. I’ve loved her for a long time, and she is amazing in this role. Seriously, some of the funniest stuff I’ve seen in a long time. Can they adopt me? I seriously love them all.
I’ll admit I didn’t have high hopes for Blindspot. I feel like this sort of show has been done so many times, and it’s just so gimmicky. Jaimie Alexander is stunning. It has that going for it, I guess. The story was alright–though completely ridiculous–like most shows that embrace similar themes. If you like realism in your television, these things will probably piss you off. I don’t really care, as long as it’s good. Alias, for example, was one of my favorite shows…despite its ridiculousness. I didn’t hate it. I didn’t like it. I’ll probably watch next week. Oh, and I totally want her haircut.
When I first started watching this, I had forgotten there was a movie version of this until I saw my boy Bradley Cooper (YAY!). I have had a ridiculous crush on him since his days on Alias. Apparently, good ole Bradley is going to be making a few appearances. The good news is that the television version of the show totally stands on its own–though it’s a continuation of the movie. I actually really liked the movie, and the TV show seems to be a more nuanced, interesting version of it. It boasts some of my favorite actors (hey, hey Harper Hill), and the new scruffy lead is Jake McDorman (from Shameless). This show has a lot more heart than the movie version. Jake does a fantastic job delivering wit as well as depth. It’s just a fun show to watch and an interesting premise. Good stuff.
I’d heard a lot about this show and was actually looking forward to it. Fantastic cast and decently acted, overall, but it was boring–to put it mildly. Scream Queens is a mix between Gossip Girl and Scream. I’m not a fan of either. It doesn’t use Jamie Lee Curtis nearly enough. Lea Michelle is also just sort of an afterthought. Emma Roberts is decent, but insipid, and gets most of the screen time. There’s an underlying superficiality that undermines the true camp value of it. I feel like I’ve seen this DOZENS of times, in all kinds of ways–most of them better. MTV’s version of Scream was actually much better. The only thing this show has going for it is the fantastic fashion. I couldn’t even finish the premiere. I fell asleep.
Morris Chestnut is a total stud. But he outshines the writing on this show. His castmates (save the lady who plays his Mama) are so overshadowed by his charisma that the show basically hinges completely on his likeability (which is considerable). There is absolutely no chemistry between his character and the love interest. This show has been done so many times–in much more interesting ways. I don’t see this lasting. And if it does, it’s basically because Chestnut is awesome and believable in this role. He deserves better.