Fall TV Check-In
Waaay back in September I gave you a list of shows I thought were going to be amazing this fall. You may have forgotten them, since for a while the only respectable thing to watch on TV was the World Series, but it's November now, we are world champions, I am 30 and much wiser, and the Fall TV season is pretty seriously under way. It's time to check back in with the world of television and see which shows you should catch up on and which shows you should try really hard to forget ever happened. What follows is a sampling of shows to avoid, shows to keep watching (with caution), and the one you need to throw yourself into, Battle Star Galactica-style, immediately:
I'm sorry to say season two of Revenge has barely kept my interest. Sometimes it's a curse when a show gets renewed, especially if it's a show with such a specific and constrained conceit, like a girl who wants to systematically destroy her neighbors' lives. What happens when that's done? One of my favorite shows from last year, Awake, about a police officer who was either living in two dimensions or insane, is the perfect example of this: it's a show that would have fallen apart if it got renewed but will always exist as one awesome season. You gotta know when to say "when." Dear Revenge: It's time to say "when."
Revenge airs Sundays at 9pm on ABC.
I really really hoped this was going to be a totally subversive network TV hit. Instead, I'm just bored with the obvious bad guys, the chemistry-less romances between beautifully boned mannequins and the borderline-racist caricature of an island warlord. That said: I love you Andre Braugher. This is in no way your fault.Last Resort airs Thursdays at 8pm on ABC.
Up All Night
I used to kind of like Up All Night, especially in theory. We all want Will Arnett to do something good on TV again after Arrested Development. And Maya Rudolph? Christina Applegate? These are all people I personally want to see succeed because they are funny, substantially older than me but still attractive and known pushers of envelopes. But sadly, Up All Night, has gotten a little too insider-parent-y for me and the funny stuff isn't funny enough to get me past Will Arnett's post-Amy Poehler fake tan situation. And now that the show is going from single-camera to multi-camera in front of a live studio audience (gag), you can expect any depth or nuance it once had to be replaced by pratfalls. Sorry. Turn it off now before you risk further heartache.
Up All Night airs Thursdays at 8:30pm on NBC.
Jury's Still Out
The Mindy Project
I think I really like The Mindy Project. I mean, I want to. The only problem is the season is so spotty. With only four episodes so far, it's hard to find a rhythm with it. But Mindy is charming in a train-wreck-but-not-too-adorable-train-wreck type way and her Springsteen-loving coworker played by Chris Messina is also charming in an I'm-Chris-Messina-and-always-charming type way, so I am going to keep watching, at least until they make out. Note to The Mindy Project writers: Please please let these guys make out.
The Mindy Project airs Tuesdays at 9:30pm on Fox.
It took me a while to get into this show, but then I couldn't stop watching. The problem is -- mild spoiler alert for those of you who are late adopters -- Boardwalk Empire builds and builds to such an epic showdown at the end of season two, season three has a long way to go to meet the expectation set by that moment. This late in the season, I am still trying to decide if I want to watch this show after the death of one of my favorite characters. What's keeping me hopeful? Jack Huston, who plays the war-traumatized Richard Harrow. With his face half masked due to a deforming injury and his debilitating PTSD, he is one of the most endearing murders I have ever seen on a TV show.
Boardwalk Empire airs Sundays at 9pm on HBO.
I never thought I would say this, especially since I spent a good part of last year deriding Zooey Deschanel at pretty much every opportunity but: ugh, New Girl is growing on me! You know what it is? It's the boys and their absolutely un-ironic love for each other. Where on TV can you see straight men really working on their relationships with other straight men? I know, I know, strike me down for even writing these words but: I'm finding this show very appealing, even if I still want Zooey to be permanently replaced by someone realer and less manic pixie dream girl. Maybe me? I'm free.
New Girl airs Tuesdays at 9pm on Fox.
Watch This Show Now!
Really I want to write an entire post on Homeland. I want to go back to graduate school, pursue Homeland-studies, and write my dissertation on Homeland. I want to live in Homeland. After I finished the first season, which I respectably bought on iTunes, I was tempted, for the first time in my life, to run to the nearest electronics store and buy a TV and invest in whatever cable package got me the newest episodes of Homeland quickest. Luckily, I have friends who helped me get up to date on this show so I didn't have to spend all my money on a lot of new equipment. But I still might.
Why? Well first there's Claire Danes, who has been winning the TV game since she was Angela on My So-Called Life. In this show she plays a character who manages to be brilliant, totally unstable, manipulative, endearing, and dangerous all at the same time. There is also Mandy Patinkin, who I've loved since he was Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride, as Claire Danes' boss in the CIA, and Damian Lewis, a disarming red-headed POW returning home after eight years of captivity in Iraq who may or may not be a terrorist. This show strikes the perfect balance between drama and character development. It moves more quickly than a lot of the fancy premium cable shows like Mad Men or The Wire , but it compromises nothing in quality for the thrills. It looks beautiful, is superbly acted, and most importantly, it is about something: the damage war does to all of us and the damage we all do to each other. Stop reading this article! Start watching Homeland right now!
Homeland airs Sundays at 10pm on Showtime.
More on Pop Culture
Theater Review | Apr 15, 2014
Martin Luther, Hamlet and Doctor Faustus prove an irresistible combination for a college comedy. By Sam Hurwitt
Multimedia | Apr 14, 2014
Sometimes it's OK to wait for the bugs to get worked out before jumping into new tech. By Emily Eifler
Music | Apr 14, 2014
If I could use only one word to describe the 2014 edition of the Napa Valley wine, food and rock festival's eclectic rundown of artists (based on the opinions I've heard voiced and, to a lesser extent, my own) it would be: huh? By T.J. Mimbs
Literature | Apr 13, 2014
Author and illustrator Maira Kalman latest book, Thomas Jefferson: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Everything, is a whimsical and hypnotic look into one Founding Father's life and accomplishments. By Ingrid Rojas Contreras
Performance | Apr 12, 2014
Last month, Sean Keane, one of San Francisco's top standup comedians, announced that he is moving to Los Angeles in May. Before letting him board that 'Greyhound of the Skies' flight to Bob Hope Airport, it seemed only fitting to subject him to that most ignominious of employment traditions: the exit interview. By Anthony Bedard
Tax credits have long been used to attract film and TV productions. But with the loss of revenue, critics of the practice say those investments are not worth it.
Monday marks the 25th anniversary of Cameron Crowe's Say Anything. A look back at the seminal teen flick reveals a surprisingly deep and romantic story.
Gathered in Washington for a comic book convention, these costumed enthusiasts shared how their favorite characters would run the country.
Eric Deggans previews the return of a science fiction show that's also a police procedural and a thriller.
Also on KQED.org this week ...
KQED Celebrates the Earth
April 22 is Earth Day, but KQED is celebrating our planet all month long. Tune in for special programs, attend special events, and find more resources online.
Where's the Rain?
KQED covers news about California's drought, offers water-saving tips, and more.