Fall Things Reconsidered: Wednesday & Thursday TV - Featured

The return of the fall TV season is always full of promise, much like every New Year's Eve! And, also like New Year's, we have great hopes for what's ahead, but often find many great and disappointing surprises along the way.



So, now that we're fully into the fall season, here at SideReel we've found there are some new and returning shows we thought would be awesome but have turned into letdowns, and some shows we expected to be flops but have become surprising new favs!


Earlier this week, Kendra reconsidered The Good Wife, House, The Cleveland Show and Trauma. Now I'm taking a look at some shows from Wednesday and Thursday!


Better Than Expected:


Eastwick - In my ABC Fall Preview, I was convinced that Eastwick was a poor man's Charmed. The show received pretty much universally negative reviews from critics and was frequently identified as ABC's worst new Fall show. Here's the thing: Eastwick has turned out to be neither of those things. In a line, I'd call the show "Lipstick Jungle (hey, it even has LJ's Lindsay Price) meets Desperate Housewives meets just a wee bit of Charmed". I was afraid that the witches and magic stuff would all seem too hokey (and again, all done before), but the show has done a good job of incorporating its magic/mystery element in an entertaining, but not overwhelming way. What's more, the witchcraft has taken a backseat to the friendship of the 3 main female characters (hence the Lipstick Jungle vibe) and a general "this town has a mystery" plot (hence the Desperate Housewives vibe) - which I think was a smart way to go. I'm not going to say that Eastwick is necessarily great TV, but it has turned out to be surprisingly entertaining - and possesses just enough magic to make me want to keep coming back to it each week.


Parks & Recreation - I watched the abbreviated first season of P&R last Spring mainly out of allegiance to Amy Poehler (whom I love love love), despite the fact that I wasn't particularly enjoying it. Here was the problem: the show was initially pitched as an Office spinoff, and then that morphed into "not The Office, but Office-like". This ended up becoming the show's biggest problem, as opposed to its fool-proof launchpad to success, because P&R really did just seem like "bad The Office" - and nothing more. But, since its second season has started, P&R has managed to distance itself, its characters and its plotlines from The Office - and now that it has found its own voice - it's actually quite funny! The show is still not perfect; I kind of wish that it wasn't mockumentary-style - to completely cut the cord from further Office comparisons. Furthermore, it seems as though they are not quite sure what to do with Rashida Jones, which is a shame (Chris Pratt in the pit, however, has been comedic gold). But, if you gave up on P&R after last Spring, I highly recommend that you reconsider, because as far as I'm concerned, it has evolved into a delightful 30 minutes of comedy!


Worse Than Expected:


Cougar Town - Ah Cougar Town. I so hoped that you would funnier than you are. From the previews, I actually thought that they show looked pretty funny. Then I watched the pilot, and while I didn't think that Cougar Town was particularly good from the get-go, I thought that it showed some promise, if for no other reason than because it comes from the hilarious Bill Lawrence, who created Scrubs. But now I have given the show 4 solid episodes to grow and um...as far as I'm concerned...each episode has only gotten worse. I love Courteney Cox - but her character is just not believable, even by sitcom standards. A) She's too attractive to play this role and B) Her various neuroses are so overdone that they come off as not funny, but pathetic and painful to watch. In fact, I get a "trying too hard" vibe from her entire character - though I don't think that this is Cox's fault, so much as the way it is written (which is badly). Furthermore, as I mentioned in my pilot review, I dislike many of the show's supporting characters - particularly the ex-husband - and this has only grown from week to week. However, the show has already been picked up for a full season - so plenty of people are watching each week. But I will no longer be one of them...


Community - Before you jump all over me for putting Community into this column, please keep in mind that I still think the show is Fall's second best new comedy (after Modern Family, of course). For me, however, Community has been a victim of overhype. I thought that it looked so funny and so promising from all of the 3 minute preview clips that I watched (which btw, ruined all of the pilot's funniest moments), that perhaps I raised my expectations to a level that was unfairly high. Yes, some of the jokes are funny, but for me, just as many of them have fallen flat. I think that because the show appears in NBC's Thursday night lineup of offbeat/kooky comedy that I expected it to be more offbeat than it actually is. Community is more of a conventional sitcom - which is fine - but at the same time - the jokes that don't work for me are the ones that come off as too sitcom-y. I'm also not sure if I can deal with another developing long-term "will they/won't they" relationship - a la Jeff and Brita. Actually, I think Brita is a little bland as a whole. Again, don't get me wrong, there's a whole lot worse out there than Community, but as I tune in each week, I find myself watching a show that I don't believe is living up to its potential...yet.


How about you guys? What Wednesday and Thursday TV shows have you found yourselves reconsidering...and liking more - or less - than you expected you would?


Comments

25 comments

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Oct 21, 2009 5:10PM EDT

I definitely agree on the Eastwick front. I was tuning in to see a train wreck in action, but I can honestly say that it's one of my favorite shows to watch now. It's not brilliant, but it's good fun. I love the relationship between the 3 and the show can be witty as hell.That's good TV in my book.

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Oct 21, 2009 5:27PM EDT

I completely disagree with all of that, I think you have them all reversed. Cougar Town and Communtiy are way better than people expected, Both show are a lot funnier than I would of originally thought they would be.

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Oct 21, 2009 5:57PM EDT

I disagree as well -you choose the exact opposite of what I would have!

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Oct 21, 2009 6:13PM EDT

cougar town is exponentially better than expected, granted i had really poor expectations for cougar town. community has only gotten better with each episode, and i firmly believe will only go up

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Oct 21, 2009 7:44PM EDT

my fave new wednesday show by far has been mercy! I really like it :) I'm also a fan of community, and I agree that parks and rec has gotten a lot better... I'm sorta disappointed with eastwick at the moment but not enough to stop watching yet...

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Oct 21, 2009 7:46PM EDT

also sorta shocked glee isnt ont this list...

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RachelLEditor
Oct 21, 2009 7:59PM EDT

@SteffieD - SideReel loves Glee - but we were focusing here on shows that we have changed our minds about in some way since our initial look at them; we have loved - and still continue to love - Glee from the start, so that's why it wasn't mentioned.

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Oct 22, 2009 5:23AM EDT

hmm ok hers my list
the middle needs a lot of work on ithank funnier than i first thought as iam not a big lover of kelsey grammercougar town again needs some work on itmodern family really goodmercy love it keep it comingglee awesome am now a gleek
south park love it as alwayscommunity needs loads of work but i will keep watchingflashforward pretty good

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Oct 22, 2009 5:43AM EDT

Glee for me as been a roller coaster I loved the preview and first few eps were not as good I was not a fan of song choices but that has really turned around in the last 3 eps so I am not sure where to put it on the list lol

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Oct 22, 2009 8:40AM EDT

COUGAR TOWN IS AWESOMEi so disagree with like everything youve said :L

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Oct 22, 2009 11:05AM EDT

I enjoy watching eastwick. It has so much possitive energy for me.

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Oct 22, 2009 11:39AM EDT

I agree with you apart from one detail, Modern Family doesn’t do it for me. The brand of nonmainstream comedy insights no love in this case, the different angle of humour that The Office and Parks and Recreation are based on feel to have made an unwelcome evolution in to a, at best average show.

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Oct 22, 2009 12:50PM EDT

I was not looking forward to Modern Family, but I love Ed O'Neill, so I watched the pilot. I'm liking this show more and more every week. Not only is Ed O'Neill "crotchety" funny, but the rest of the cast is wonderful! The biggest break-out character for me: Eric Stonestreet as Cameron!
I'm also pleasantly surprised with FlashForward. I thought it was just going to be another one of those Lost ripoffs with a "what kind of overlord-type organization is trying to destroy humanity now" vibe, but it's actually got a story line and some good action. I am a little tired of the whining that goes along with certain characters about their flash forwards, but the show as a whole is good.
Other than that, I agree about Eastwick (like it a lot more every week) and Cougar Town (hate it a lot more every week - except Dan Byrd as Travis; he's the shining star of an otherwise dim evening).

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Oct 22, 2009 1:55PM EDT

totally agree with your cougar town comment.........high expectations and poor results

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Oct 22, 2009 10:24PM EDT

Having read your comment on the series a couple of hours before, Community totally cracked me up tonight when Abed addressed your issue with Jeff and Brita's will they/won't they-relationship. It may not be as strange as the other Thursday comedies on NBC but it's close enough and I enjoy their type of self-referential humor, by which I mean "I effin' love Abed!".

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Oct 22, 2009 10:47PM EDT

I have to strongly disagree I find Coughar Town hillarious!!! I love and I love courtney cox here shes hot.
I also like eastwick... i wish the misterious man were hotter tho

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Oct 23, 2009 11:27AM EDT

Like others, I have to disagree with the assessment of Cougar Town. I went into it thinking I wouldn't care for it, but have found it to be quite hilarious!
As for my personal list, I'm allowed to include Glee. I'm not a huge fan of musicals and it was really a split-second decision that I decided to watch the premiere. I didn't expect to like it at all, but was instantly proven wrong and now it is one of my favorite shows!
Also, I'm happy to see Vampire Diaries is one of CW's highest rated shows. Looks like it exceeded a lot of expectations (though I always knew it would be a decent show)!

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Oct 23, 2009 12:00PM EDT

totally disagree on Cougar Town, I like it very much. I agree her character is trying way too hard but that's what makes it funny, and I like the whole neighborhood thing, especially Josh Hopkins (who I've loved ever since Ally McBeal, arg, that was long ago), and Christa Lawrence (who is just as funny in her counter-role of Jordan from Scrubs). On and all, I think it's a good 20 minutes show and so easy to watch, it helps wait until Monday and the next HIMYM :)

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Oct 23, 2009 5:02PM EDT

Why do so many people like cougar town. It's crappy writing. It makes me wanna throw a books at my tv the show is soooooooo poorly written. Do us all a favor and get rid of it.

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Oct 23, 2009 7:13PM EDT

I didn't really expect much for the Wednesday night comedies. They are better than I expected. Cougar Town isn't near as fantastic as people make it out to be. I've tuned in each episode so far and quite frankly I don't even know if I like it yet. The only person I like in the show is the guy across the street and I do love her boyfriend but not in this role. Modern Family is by far without a doubt the best comedy on TV in a long while. I've seen many people say it is a copy of The Office, I fail to see that. One is actually funny while the other is not.

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Oct 23, 2009 9:37PM EDT

I agree. Cougar Town is great, so I would switch that with the Parks & Recreation

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Oct 24, 2009 2:12AM EDT

Think you got this article all wrong, but hey it is a free country..

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Oct 26, 2009 8:01AM EDT

Think ur right about cougar town i don rili get courtney cox's character its like she's sposd 2 b a 40 yr old but her character still has some etchings of monica n d supportin cast seem like they're tryin 2 hard 2 b funny esp busy phillips and d sonas 4 P&R i'm still making up ma mind cus d 1st season was a drag.

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Oct 29, 2009 4:40PM EDT

Cougar Town is cheap, with the music-key after a "funny" scene to help you remind that you were supposed to laugh. Modern Family is so good, it's hard to believe. Eastwick, I'm agreeing. I first thought it would be so boring. Then I thought it was okay. And now it's intriguing.

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Oct 29, 2009 5:14PM EDT

Well, I LOVE EASTWICK, LOVE LOVE LOVE IT.

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