And now, my thoughts on this week's TV. The only show I wanted to watch and didn't get to was The Event, which I'm hoping to watch tomorrow after work, because as soon as I fall more than one episode behind the odds of me catching up fall dramatically.
How I Met Your Mother - I've never really watched this show caring about who the mother ends up being, which seems to be a serious issue any time I glance at various fandom spaces. I watch this show because I like the characters and the actors, and they continue to be funny and cute, and have good chemistry with each other, and elevate the material with the avalanches of awesome. What was my favorite part of the premiere? M-o-o-n, that spells Bill Fagerbakke.
Hawaii Five-0 - I like the entire regular cast, and the pilot had bonus appearances from Jean Smart and James Marsters. And it was a very slickly-produced, expensive pilot. But...it was just sort of blah. I don't know, I don't really feel McGarrett’s desire for vengeance for his father's death, and that's usually a pretty fail-proof motivation. It just all kind of seemed like the least interesting, easiest way to set everything up. I'll be interested to see how things progress, because right now I'm not sure what's setting it apart from other cop shows other than that it's set in Hawaii. But I do like the cast a lot, so I'm going to keep watching for the time being.
Glee - I'm pretty much only still watching for Sue, Kurt and Mercedes, the occasional really funny joke, and some of the songs. Tonight's songs were just...urg. I think this is the first episode where I didn't care about downloading a single song. Not a single song. Also, I have complained about how this is the worst-edited show I have seen on TV in years, and the premiere had the worst editing I've ever seen on Glee. They cut to reverse shots where I could still see the actor who was ostensibly speaking, yet they were clearly no longer speaking, even though I could hear their voice. Like, JFC, Glee, at least try.
That being said, I really like Dot-Marie Jones as the new football coach. I hope they keep her around and give her good material - and I really hope they have her interact more with Sue. "You're all coffee and no omelet!" That was a great line.
Raising Hope - Garret Dillahunt! Martha Plimpton! Garret Dillahunt! Martha Plimpton! Garret Dilllllllahuuuuunt! Martha Pliiiiimptooooon!
Also, I laughed so hard when they threw up on the baby. This was a very solid pilot, and I'm looking forward to it next week, so it will inevitably be cancelled.
Running Wilde - I decided to try this because of Will Arnett and Mitch Hurwitz. The first ten minutes did not inspire much confidence. Then once they started getting past the exposition and into the actual premise set-up, it picked up. The pacing was still kind of weird, and it wasn't as self-assured as I would have expected from Hurwitz, but I'll definitely keep watching it for the three or four weeks FOX keeps it on. Also? Peter Serafinowicz. Oh my God.
"...The child must not be moved!"
It you didn't watch, you may be saying, "That line is not funny at all." And it's not actually all that funny in context, even. But Serafinowicz's delivery. Lord.
Modern Family - Continues to be awesome and hilarious. I just really like the cast and characters (the only one I really don't care about is the oldest daughter, who is pretty flat and uninteresting - she's had a handful of tiny moments where they give her some depth, but for the most part she's just a very stereotypical teenage girl, and it's kind of boring). This show does a good job inflating regular moments to the limits of sitcom humor without ever making them too absurd or slapstick or over-the-top. My two favorite moments were Mitchell addressing Jay and Cam through every window in the princess castle, and then Cam's line: "If there's an accident, I hope I'm killed. Because I don't think I'd make a very inspiring disabled person."
30 Rock - Pretty funny! Tina Fey episodes are always good for a lot of dialogue-driven humor, but she had some nice visual jokes going here, too. I loooooved Jack's Fabian strategy - it was so Jack. The Tracy/Kenneth parts weren't that funny, but it didn't detract from the episode too much. Liz wanting Ina Garten's relationship absolutely cracked me up, because I do in fact watch The Barefoot Contessa and think all the time how cute Ina and Jeffrey are and how they've made their particular relationship work.
The Office - I actually liked The Office just fine last year, and thought the premiere was solid. The lip synched video at the beginning was great - I love seeing everyone goof off together. I thought they could have milked a little more humor out of Michael hiring his nephew, and Pam as a prankster didn't really work that well, but all in all I was pretty happy with the episode.
Outsourced - I pretty much only watched this because I was waiting for Fringe to finish recording. On the one hand, the entire premise is borderline offensive, considering that I doubt they're going to try to do anything other than "ha ha Indians sure are funny" jokes, unless something drastic happens between pilot and series. On the other hand, I liked a lot of the characters, and it is a network primetime cast that is predominantly non-white, which counts for something. Bottom line? The pilot wasn't funny at all. But most sitcom pilots aren't funny at all, so I might give it a few more weeks.
Fringe - Brilliant. One of the things that can be hard for shows to do is deliver a satisfying premiere after a great season-ending cliffhanger. Fans have had all summer to theorize and consider every possible way to resolve the previous season's finale. I had not anticipated Walternate trying to make Olivia believe she's actually Fauxlivia - and now I can't imagine the show doing anything else, which to me is the hallmark of a great storyline. Anna Torv did an absolutely fantastic job, especially since a lot of what was going on with Olivia was very internal, and we had to pick most of it up just from Olivia's face.
I loved seeing Charlie again, obviously - he's the one who is the most like himself on the Other Side, which I find interesting. I also like the ambiguity of the Other Side - at first it was easy to see them as just The Enemy, but seeing what Walter's initial crossing over has done to their world, it's hard to not feel some sympathy for them. (Even if Walternate's plan of destroying our universe with a Peter-bomb isn't really all that awesome.) I'm not really worried about Olivia eventually learning who she is again - I can't see the show just erasing that character entirely - so right now I'm just very excited to see what happens next.
I am not happy about Peter kissing Fauxlivia. I mean, it's a great story and character move, and it's going to create so much wonderful conflict. I have faith that the show isn't going to do some typical love triangle thing (which, how weird to have a love triangle where technically two of the people are the same person?), but that doesn't mean it still wasn't hard to see Peter obviously totally smitten with someone who isn't actually his Olivia. I'm looking forward to seeing his pain when he finally finds out in a kind of masochistic way, because trust me, it's going to be my pain, too.