Hi, folks! I’ve been on the road for a while, visiting family and drinking lots of sweet tea in the South. What with all the Fall TV premieres, I figured I’d write short blurbs on all the stuff I’ve watched over the last several weeks.
The Mindy Project: You’d think that, as a nerdy Indian-American woman with a soft spot for romantic comedies, I’d love Mindy Kaling’s show about a nerdy Indian-American woman with, shall we way, an obsession with romantic comedies. But I’m not really feeling it; while I appreciate being able to personally identify with the lead character’s viewpoint at times, the rest of the show feels generic.
Last Resort: It’s difficult for me to watch anything set on a submarine and not think that it doesn’t measure up to The Hunt for Red October. Having said that, I wish the show hadn’t moved so quickly off the sub onto the island. I was hoping for more of a contained-on-the-ship BSG vibe rather than a Lost vibe. And I have some problems with the captain’s desire to turn the island into the crew’s new home, when it’s obviously already home to a whole other group of people.
30 Rock: I didn’t laugh out loud once during the entire first episode of the season. That’s actually how it was for most of last season, too; the show’s gone flat in its non-stop attempts to reach wacky heights. I don’t think I’m going to stick around to say good-bye for the final season.
Up All Night: I initially resisted this show last year because I have a hard time accepting Will Arnett as a regular guy – he’s just too wired and kookily intense, better suited to characters like 30 Rock’s Devon Banks. But he was actually warm and believable as husband and stay-at-home dad Chris, and Christina Applegate and Maya Rudolph are delightful. But I don’t like this season’s plot change of Maya’s talk show being cancelled; the addition of Christina’s brother doesn’t feel organic; and Will Arnett, suddenly too skinny and too tan, is back to seeming too wired and weird for the character. Or maybe I’m just projecting my feelings about the actor’s divorce from Amy Poehler. Speaking of which . . .
Parks and Recreation: As you know, Parks & Rec is one of my favorites. But I feel like the current season, with Leslie in a different office and April and Ben in DC, is missing a certain zaniness that grew organically from all the characters bouncing off each other in a contained environment – their Parks & Rec office and, by extension, the town of Pawnee. I love Leslie enough to keep watching, though.
Homeland: I wasn’t sure how the new season would follow up on last season’s nerve-wracking finale, but the new episodes ratchet the tension right back up. Damian Lewis is brilliant at telegraphing how Brody is being pulled apart at the seams by conflicting loyalties and commitments. Claire Danes is so raw and vulnerable, like an exposed nerve, that she’s sometimes difficult to watch. My favorite moment of this season’s first episode is Carrie’s small smile of triumph when she turns the tables on her pursuer in a crowded Beirut marketplace, as though she’s surprised by her own strength and also, damn that felt good!
Coming soon: The Good Wife, Nashville, Fringe, New Girl, Modern Family, and whatever else I watch over the next few days. Till then, leave a comment to let me know what you think about these shows and any others that have caught your attention.