Boardwalk Empire – Highly anticipated 1920s HBO drama created by former writer of The Sopranos, Terrance Winter. There were many who thought this could be the spiritual follow-up to The Sopranos and I personally think it has lived up the hype.
The story has been extremely solid and I love the fact that the story began before Nucky Thompson (Steve Buschemi) had really become a “mobster”1. The characters are great, the tie-ins to history are great, and watching the story I can totally see the longevity of this show and how amazing it will be to watch it unfold. The end of the season perfectly laid the groundwork for the excitement around season 2.
Terriers – Let me preface this section by stating how disappointed I am that this show was cancelled. The ratings were terrible, but it was so great and I am very sad it won’t be back, but I digress.
Donal Logue2 shows how talented he really is by playing this role to perfection. He appears born to play this role. He and real-life friend Michael Raymond-James have a great chemistry as low-class private investigators.
The show does a great job of bouncing back and forth between episodes focusing on character development and episodes focusing on bigger story arcs. The creativeness of Dolworth and Raymond-James was great, but at times there were some plot holes. I have not gotten into many other F/X shows (although I hear Sons of Anarchy is amazing and supposedly Justified is worth a look), but it appears they know how to pick them.
The Defenders – One of several new legal dramas in what appears to be an attempt to revive the once trendy genre. I actually had the lowest hopes for this show which stars Jim Belushi (who somehow made According to Jim last for 8 seasons) and Jerry O’Connell3.
The mix of drama and comedy gives it a unique feel. The way it’s produced and written makes it hard to see where the comedy and seriousness end and begin and that’s not a bad thing. In the vein of comedy, the character development has been virtually non-existent, as we see Nick Morelli (Belushi) as a divorced father who is trying to get his wife back and be a good father to his dad, but this is only brought up occasionally and doesn’t seem to be as important as the cases.
Meanwhile Pete Kaczmarek (O’Connell) seems to be the rich, good-looking lawyer who is always looking for a hot piece of tail. He breaks up with his District Attorney girlfriend and then later attempts to sleep with another opposing lawyer. O’Connell and Belushi as just slick enough though to pull out the lovable character types that make it easy to ignore that this show isn’t very deep. But it’s fun enough to make me care. And it’s Vegas.
Blue Bloods – Definitely a unique family cop drama where things just seem a little too “TV” and not enough real-life. Tom Selleck plays current New York City Police Commissioner Frank Reagan. His father is the retired police commissioner. Selleck’s Reagan has four children. Two living sons, Danny and Jamie (played by Donnie Wahlberg and Will Estes) and one who died. Also one daughter, Erin (Bridget Moynahan) who is divorced.
The reason the show is way to “TV” is because Danny seems to be involved weekly in the highest-profile cases that his dad is then involved in, despite the fact that there are probably thousands of other police officers in NYC.
Wahlberg and Selleck get most of the screen time4 and of course everything always works out. Add to it that they have these awkward family dinners with four generations together where cultural and ethical arguments break out and always get resolved with a smile.
The conspiracy related to the death of the middle brother is the hook that is keeping a lot of people watching. But it was brought up in the first episode and then mentioned in passing maybe two other times. It has lately started to pick up some steam but the pace at which it’s moving is causing me to lose interest in it. Overall, the show is entertaining though.
Better with You – A unique family drama about three couples. A mother and father, played brilliantly Kurt Fuller and Debra Jo Rupp5, their two adult daughters, and those daughters significant others6. The older daughter Maddie (Jennifer Finnigan) and her long-time boyfriend Ben (Josh Cooke7 live together and seem to have successful careers. It’s clear that the fact that they have never gotten married is somewhat of an issue. The younger daughter Mia (Joanna Garcia8 ) gets pregnant with her boyfriend Casey (Jake Lacy) who she then decides to marry.
The show likes to play up the differences between the three couples behavior based on the longevity of their relationship. This predictably involves showing the newest couple being very civil and affectionate and the parents being the opposite with Maddie and Ben somewhere in between. The plots typically center around situations where the three couples will spend time together and the fact that one of the couples is planning a wedding and pregnant makes that a little more believable. The personalities of the characters make the show very diverse, and although the plot lines aren’t necessarily funny, there are a lot of solid one-liners. These seem to work well because there seems to be excellent chemistry amongst the actors.
The show reminds me a lot of Rules of Engagement, another one of our favorite shows that has lots of funny one-liners and that no one ever talks about.
I should also note that we still watch Mike and Molly and Detroit 187, neither of which made the top 5. Mike and Molly is funny and I appreciate fat jokes, but how long can they stay funny? Other than that the show is just weird. One of the main characters lives at home with her mother and adult sister despite having a job that would allow her to live on her own. One of the supporting characters lives with his grandmother9. And for a show about fat people, they rarely seem to be eating.
Detroit 187 had potential with Michael Imperoli as a Detroit cop. But the concept is somewhat stale and as much as I enjoy watching the investigations come together, the show just isn’t anything special.
- he starts as just a crooked politician [↩]
- Who is one of the all-time great “that guys” [↩]
- Who has been a pretty big bust on TV shows [↩]
- I don’t think we have even seen Moynahan’s character in a courtroom scene yet despite the fact that she is a District Attorney [↩]
- Fuller is a “that guy” from a lot of movies and Rupp is best known for playing the mother on That 70′s Show [↩]
- One couple has been together for a long time but aren’t married, the other couple is engaged [↩]
- Who despite looking incredibly familiar doesn’t appear to have been in anything else I would know him from [↩]
- Who also looks familiar and has apparently been on lots of different things [↩]
- Which would be defensible if she somehow needed his care, but clearly she doesn’t [↩]