TV

My Top 10 New Shows of Fall 2011

Just because I love making these end-of-the-year lists that summarize my thoughts and opinions of an entire year’s worth of content, I am making a list of my favourite ‘new’ TV shows of 2011 (from September onwards). All of the new shows that I have watched are here and only the new ones i.e. no returning shows, such as Castle or Fringe.

10 – UNFORGETTABLE (CBS)

I managed to watch three episodes of this show before I threw in the towel and I feel like I deserve a medal just for doing that. Unforgettable is, well, forgettable. Flame-haired vixen Poppy Montgomery plays a cop who has an incredible memory, whereby she can remember everything and anything no matter how insignificant or long gone. She can even, by some miracle, recall a crime scene and rewind time, or look at herself as if she was standing right there in front of her. In other words, this show is complete rubbish.

It is another CBS procedural with the added exception in that it has absolutely nothing good going for it. The stories in the three episodes I watched were boring, the characters that run behind Ms Montgomery are, quite frankly, as interesting as cardboard and as a measure of how lifeless this show really is, I fell asleep during the third episode. I don’t mind police procedurals with a twist if they add something significant to the show to distance it from other, similar, set-ups, but Unforgettable just fails to do that in so many ways.

9 – GRIMM (NBC)

Grimm is a show that takes the stories of ‘The Brothers Grimm’, makes them real and sticks them inside a procedural-ish set-up. It’s not a complete disaster, but it’s not that much of a success either, at least in my opinion. The mythology is interesting, the story arc is also intriguing, but there is still ‘something’ missing, which is why I only stayed for two episodes (I did intend on watching more but I kept forgetting until I forgot about it entirely). I think that part of the problem for me was the lack of a set of interesting characters. The lead did nothing for me except serve as eye candy and one character who did seem interesting was the cancer suffering woman, who was killed off within the first two episodes (unless she has been resurrected since then).

In some ways, I think that Grimm suffers from being rather similar to another new show, Once Upon a Time. They both take fairy stories, so to speak, and make them real but unlike OuaT, Grimm just doesn’t have the same appeal. Perhaps I will return in future to see if anything has changed, but Grimm is a big disappointment for me, this season.

8 – TERRA NOVA (FOX)

Terra Nova is a victim of its own hype; The special effects aren’t that spectacular at all, even with the money pumped into them, the characters are cardboard cut-outs and the stories are so cliched and dull that, in all, you have a very poor show. I stayed for five episodes, but after the awful episode with the virus, I knew that I would not be staying around for much longer.

My biggest fear regarding Terra Nova was that they would spend so much time and effort in making the show look nice, that they would leave very little time in actually crafting a good story with believable, and interesting, characters. It is unfortunate that I left the show with my opinion being that they had done exactly that. None, and I mean none, of the characters are anything above standard cardboard cut-outs, the ‘story of the week’ format was not being helped by the terrible writing that was occurring (where do they get these writers?) and the entire show felt like a colossal disappointment.

There are some good elements, such as the main story arc (the one away from all the viruses and rubbish plots of the week) but they are dwarfed by the negatives. Terra Nova had a lot of potential and you have no idea how much I was willing it to succeed, but the finished product is just what I was fearing it would become.

7 – RINGER (CW)

If a show has Sarah Michelle Gellar in it, you had better believe that I would watch it regardless of what it was about or who was in it. As much as I do like Ringer and its cliffhangers, plot twists and surprises (sometimes), I would likely not watch it if it had somebody else playing the two twins.

The core concept of Ringer does sound a little ridiculous – there are two twins and one fakes her death whilst the other assumes her identity and then has her problems to deal with. Having such a plot would require the actor. or actress. playing the two twins to have enough skill to act the two characters differently, so that you would be able to tell them apart, even though they look the same. It is of my opinion that SMG does this well. However, it is unfortunate that the rest of the cast aren’t of the same calibre. I do love Nestor Carbonell but I don’t feel that he is best suited to this role. All I see when his character is on screen is Richard Alpert, and the rest of the cast do sometimes have the tendency to stray into the ‘bad acting’ stage. It doesn’t happen often, but it happens nonetheless.

Ringer does feature a quick moving plot that leaves you with cliffhangers and plot twists during every episode which help to keep things moving at an acceptable pace, but the nature of the plot doesn’t feel like it gives room to multiple seasons. In some ways, Ringer feels like the staging area for Sarah Michelle Gellar to return to TV, which is always welcomed, but can Ringer run for multiple seasons? I wouldn’t count on it.

6 – PERSON OF INTEREST (CBS)

Similar to Ringer, Person of Interest has an actor in the front seat that I would watch in anything –  Michael Emerson. Regardless, PoI is yet another CBS procedural but there is enough here to differentiate it from others in the genre. The cases of the week are handed out by a super-computer that tracks everything and anyone and calculates when a crime is about to be committed, before churning out the relevant social security number to our two sleuths, Finch and Reese, so that they can stop it before it happens. It almost feels sci-fi in nature, but make no mistake, this is a procedural at heart.

For the last few episodes before the break for Christmas, Person of Interest has really upped its game, in my opinion. Before that, you could be forgiven for accusing the show of being completely dull at times. Some of the early episodes have been un-inspiring at best, but it seems that PoI may be turning a corner. Jim Caviezel and Michael Emerson work great together, although Caviezel has the unfortunate habit of slipping into ‘monotone man’ at several points. Also, and I know it’s part of the story, Finch’s constant walking stiffly is really distracting to me. I understand that it’s a part of the backstory of the character and that is great, but it is a personal dislike of mine but I know it isn’t going anywhere.

Anyway, Person of Interest is another procedural with a twist but the twist in question is quite different to anything we usually get. Emerson and Caviezel are a good pairing for the most part, and the format is decent enough for what the show is, but it really needs to continue to pick up its game and follow the trend of the last few episodes, instead of slipping back into the tedium of the first few. With some work, this could be a great show.

 

I will post the second part of this list in a few days time. Also, I have posts planned on Saints Row: The Third, Super Mario 3D Land and something else that I want to talk about. This is my second post of 2012 and I hope it’s going alright for you so far 🙂

 

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