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Being stuck is exciting.

  • Battlestar Galactica: A few thousand people stuck on a fleet of starships after robots take over the worlds.
  • Ender’s Game: Hundreds of children stuck in a battle school, preparing for an alien invasion.
  • Star Trek: Stuck on a ship.
  • Star Trek Voyager: Really stuck on a ship.
  • Survivor: stuck on an island with other attention-seeking Americans.
  • The Office: stuck in a dead-end job with nut jobs.
  • The Hunt for Red October: stuck in a submarine.
  • Crimson Tide: stuck in a submarine.
  • K-19: The Widowmaker: stuck in a submarine.
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest: stuck in an asylum.
  • The Poseidon Adventure: stuck in a sinking ship.
  • Moon: stuck in space.
  • Inner Space: stuck in a person.

So, do you have any suggestions for my list?  This is pretty important stuff.

 

Pilot Season continues at the Meisenheimer household. In case you are setting your DVR according to our feedback, here is the next round of pilot analysis:

Prime Suspect

A woman detective struggles against sexism in a frat house police force in New York City. This is an excellent drama—the dialogue is quick, the characters have heft and the crimes aren’t over-the-top. In one episode there was the classic “is-the-free-pedophile-guilty-of-the-abduction?” plot, but it had a surprising twist: empathy for and suspicion of all parties involved. I look forward to watching this show deal with complex crimes, without simplifying the work into a battle between good and evil.

Unforgettable

An ex-cop can remember everything except a crime that changed her own life forever. This show is the opposite of Prime Suspect. The crime solving is as contrived as a Law and Order episode. The premise is fascinating, but the execution of the memory idea is utter fantasy. It’s Psych without the comedy, ingenuity, or fresh appeal. Also, her fake lips distract me.

Once Upon A Time

Classic story book characters are bewitched by an evil queen who traps them in present-day Maine. Judging on the first episode, this show is watchable. Incredibly watchable. The visuals are beautiful in both the land far away and present-day Maine. Although the show appeals to childhood stories, this is deceptive. There are some themes, such as a tragic adoption scenario, which could be harmful for children. The most intriguing parts of the story so far happen in the present day town of Storybrooke. If it weren’t for this portion of the show, I would not be interested in the second episode.

The Office

A bunch of people work at a paper supply company. This show has changed drastically this year, losing Steve Carell and bringing in James Spader. I think we were all holding our breaths, waiting to see if The Office had jumped the shark, once and for all. The Office has been struggling to find its footing ever since Pam left reception, but I think they are off to a good start this season. They have rescued new boss Andy twice so far (the tattoo, the picnic) and I don’t think the old “feel-sorry-for-Andy” routine will get old soon. It’s heart-warming and I like it. What I don’t understand is why they made Robert California CEO instead of regional manager. Why would a CEO work out of a conference room at a branch office? That makes no sense. Apart from that, I <3 Robert California. The character is hysterical. I want more Robert California! His speech at the garden party killed me.

Modern Family

An extended family laughs and loves through highs and lows. The best comedy on television. Sometimes the kid actors drive me crazy, but the adults are artists. I love them, especially Cam and Mitchell…and Phil…and Gloria…okay, all of them. Modern Family is the only show I know that can combine physical comedy with sitcom simplicity and real characters and create such moments of humanity on screen.

Raising Hope

A young single dad raises his daughter, Hope, with the help of his family. This show is still going strong. If you liked My Name is Earl, you will love Raising Hope. Cloris Leachman is a legend. Garrett Dillahunt is the highlight of every episode. And the ridiculous plots show more creativity than the rest of the new, canned sitcoms combined.

The Good Wife

The best for last. An attorney  leaves her powerful, political (cheating) husband to pursue her law career and chaos ensues.  Ahhh, The Good Wife. Pitch-perfect dialogue, fresh plot lines, believable characters, and a whiff of Aaron Sorkinesque humor. LOVE.

So, how about you? What are you watching? Have I missed anything so far?

Here are the Meisenheimer reviews for the first round of pilots this year:

Terra Nova

Shallow characters and flimsy dialogue battle with epic plots and rich settings to define this show. I love the idea, but the execution is sad. And the biggest disappointment? They blew their best mystery in the first episode. What are they thinking? This show is moving way too fast. Slow down and unveil your plot with skill!

Up All Night

We love the chemistry between the husband and wife. Some moments are LOL funny. The Maya Rudolph scenes cheapen the experience. The laughs are too obvious and over the top.

Person of Interest

What a cast. The show is worth watching just to see “Benjamin Linus” again. Like Terra Nova, this is a brilliant concept for a show. It is full of potential. But it may end up being too episodic for the Meisenheimers. We like our dramas to have rich back stories and long-range arcs. This show seems to be a one-off.

Two Broke Girls

Waste of time.

The New Girl

This show is my tv girlfriend. What a great character! We watched the commercials for this show all summer and it does not disappoint.

The Playboy Club

So far, just a cheap version of Mad Men. The setting and characterization are cliché. But we’ll give it a few more episodes to see what happens. *Update. This one is cancelled.  Good idea.

Pan Am

So this 60’s thing is getting to be an archetypal tv genre. Interesting. The 60’s are some of the most fascinating years of American history. Anyway, Pan Am promises some espionage, some 60’s culture, and some stereotypical flight attendants. This show and the Playboy Club have the potential to become the new nighttime soap operas. If that happens: No, gracias.

The X Factor

I love tv talent shows. But SYTYCD has ruined me forever because it is a real competition. After Nigel Lithgow, no talent judge seems sincere, relevant, unproduced, or unscripted. Sorry Simon, but your show is pre-canned.

A Gifted Man

This is a good show. Yes, it has a ghost that haunts a guy, but somehow they make it work. The casting directors are hiring actors, not beauty queens, so the cast is real, diverse, and spell-binding. The script is quick and smart, most of the time. This is the fresh upstart that surprised us.

Suburgatory

Great chemistry between the two stars is ruined by OTT dialogue and cardboard cut-outs of suburban families. Too bad.

What are you enjoying on TV this fall?