We’re currently in the doldrums of March reruns, guys, and it’s looking pretty bleak. After a blistering February sweeps period that was filled to the brim with guest stars, premieres, and Very Special Episodes, we’re now in that awkward period with a little reruns and a few (mostly cable) originals. Things should be back to normal soon enough, but while we’re waiting, I thought I would share a few shows that I didn’t expect to like as much as I do. I mean, it’s never too late to catch up on a show, right?
Premise: A guy gets sent to India to run a call center. Hilarity ensues?
Expectations: Honestly? I thought it would be pretty decent. The trailers were a bit iffy, but I liked what I saw of the supporting cast and I’m a sucker for a fish out of water story, horrific reviews be darned.
Reality: Honestly? I like it. There, I said it. It’s certainly not a perfect show, but in watching it from the beginning, the growth that its undergone has been nice to witness and the supporting cast is just ridiculously charming. Even the characters who are mostly periphery and get very few lines are so likable and fun that it’s hard not to enjoy watching them interact (I mean, in a recent episode, the cold open was them sliding around the freshly waxed office). It’s never come across as having contempt for India or talking down to another culture; if anything, the American characters look much worse, but even the most ignorant of them (Charlie) has the occasional moment of clarity that shows that nobody here is mean spirited. Plus the music is so catchy and the colors equally vibrant.
Premise: A former cop and a former criminal join forces to solve crimes in southern California. Hilarity ensues?
Expectations: I know, the show comes from Shawn Ryan whose television track record is pretty impeccable (I’m one of those rare unicorns who hasn’t seen The Shield, but I’m working on getting the DVDs) and it aired on FX, which has a reputation for airing gritty, intelligent dramas. I just wasn’t on board 100% with the concept before I started watching, only because I’ve tried to watch P.I. shows and I could never get fully into them. I figured I would like it, but little did I know…
Reality: By now, you’ve likely had at least one person rave to you about how good Terriers is/was, so I’ll try my best to keep this short. Crackling chemistry between the two perfectly cast leads. Nice mix between case of the weeks and an interesting overall arc. Slightly ambiguous ending that acts as a metaphor for the entire series. If/when Terriers gets released on DVD, please get it. It’s too good not to see at least once.
Premise: In a remake of La Femme Nikita, a sexy rogue agent tries to bring down a covert government organization. Hilarity ensues?
Expectations: I was a little iffy about Nikita. I mean, Maggie Q is obviously fantastic in every way and the show is a bit of a departure for the CW, but I’ve never taken to spy shows and I didn’t know if such a dark premise could sustain itself on the CW. While seemingly everyone else is overloaded on Thursday nights at 9:00, I didn’t watch anything, so I figured why not?
Reality: This. show. is. awesome. I mean…awesome. You may initially look at it and think it’s just a flashy, simple show, but there are so many layers to the drama and so much complexity that it’s a fascinating watch. Maggie Q is a scintillating onscreen presence and her relationship with Lydnsy Fonseca’s Alex is the heart and soul of the show. Combine that with scary enough villains (Melinda Clarke is terrifying and I kind of wish they’d unleash her a little more to do some damage) and a revenge story arc and you have a pretty nifty secret agent show.
Premise: Three couples at different stages of their relationships interact. Hilarity ensues?
Expectations: This was yet another case of interesting enough trailer, awful reviews. Though the premise is getting quite tired (part of my reservation about the show), I thought the promos were funny and I already watched Raising Hope, so why not? Plus it’s much easier to try out half hour shows, so if I wasn’t feeling it after 3-4 episodes, it’s not a lot of time wasted.
Reality: The show hasn’t blown me away, but I can safely say that I’ve been entertained by Traffic Light much more than I thought. The humor is a little…conventional, for lack of a better word, but the way they approach it is relatively fresh and the actors are likable enough to overlook the occasional lag in quality. I don’t mind a show reusing a certain topic or situation if they bring a fresh voice to it and like it or not, Traffic Light has a particular voice that works. Ratings have been pretty bad, so we may never know how good of a show it could grow into, but it’s worth the time to catch up on it and see the rest of the season for the gang.
Premise: A guy runs a burger restaurant with his family. Hilarity ensues?
Expectations: I’m not an animation snob, but the way that Bob’s Burgers is drawn reminds me of those cartoons that air at 4 in the morning that I can safely say that I don’t “get”. I thought it would be a bizarre little show and that it wouldn’t be able to last in Fox’s Animation Domination line-up because of how weird it was.
Reality: After an underwhelming pilot that almost got me to quit watching, Bob’s Burgers has been far and away the best show in the animation line-up on a weekly basis. How bizarre it is really helps it, especially in terms of differentiating itself from the crowd, but what makes me love it is how it balances the bizarre with the heartfelt (as well as the genius voice cast, which includes H. Jon Benjamin aka Sterling Archer). I mean, Bob wanting to make extra money for his daughter’s birthday party could be a decent enough storyline, but the decision to make him a cabbie/pimp for transvestite prostitutes was so out of left field that you couldn’t help but love it. With underwhelming ratings and several new animation shows on deck, I don’t know if Bob’s Burgers will last, but I would love it if the show landed on Adult Swim.
We’re probably a couple of weeks from being at “full strength” in terms of shows being back, so there’s more than enough time to catch up on any of these shows if they tickle your fancy. I mean, you can never have too many good shows at your disposal, right?
What shows this season have surprised you? Any recommendations to make?