Thursday, August 11, 2011

Best & Worst Summer TV Shows

Best & Worst Summer TV Shows
Best & Worst Summer TV Shows. Dear Studio: It has been an absolute pleasure having your television series this past summer. I will treasure this experience, and I must say it was a delight watching them grow, sometimes struggle, sometimes shine, and ultimately turn out the way they did, ready for that next step, whatever it may be!Sure, there were some rough patches. I'm not gonna lie. There were times, with some anyway, that I wanted to throw in the towel, but cooler heads prevailed, and I trudged along, doing my best, and allowing them to show me theirs. Some did. From those who were returning ("Entourage," "Big Brother") to those enduring first-year jitters ("Happily Divorced" -- a transfer student of sorts who has a long way to go, actually), it's been one hell of a ride!

Yet here we are, at the end of the road, what was once shiny, new and exuberantly on sea legs is now standing that much taller, or at the very least used to those sea legs. I wave goodbye as they teeter away on them, off to hiatus, cancellation, syndication, oblivion; whatever it is, I will always remember our time together, and like to think I played a part -- albeit small -- in shaping them. Except for any wherein a cast member winds up on "Celebrity Rehab"

Golden Girls. Plays well with others (see "Retired at 35" and "Happily Divorced," along with myriad celebrity cameos, including Bonnie Franklin, Mary Tyler Moore and ... um ... Jack Wagner). Admittedly, I didn't get the immediate adoration, nor was I enthusiastically riding the sudden Betty White wave. Sure, it was great to see these four gals back on a sitcom (especially Valerie Bertinelli), but the promos were awful and the punch lines were the reason the laugh track was invented. Jane Leeves' legs were the only reliable source of entertainment. But what a stride "Hot" hit this season. From laugh-out-loud zingers to characters leaping from one-dimensional to fully fleshed-out feminine dynamos, they may not huddle around the kitchen with the same cheesecake and hilarity as our "Golden Girls," but they're getting awfully close. B+

Mark-Paul Gosselaar engaged. This freshman had one strike against it: both stars' "big man on campus" reputations and good standing in their last school to live up to. Mark-Paul Gosselaar, in particular, had the dubious task of further shedding his Zack Morris skin and also showing that "NYPD Blue" was no fluke. He's doing it. Equal parts tongue-in-cheek lawyer show and dead-serious courtroom drama, there is a chemistry between the two stars (Mark-Paul and Breckin Meyer) that elevates the frat-boy moments to tolerable, thus making the courtroom antics that much more compelling. A promising first year, and I see a lot of potential. B

celebrity big brother tara reid. While complacency can often be the best parking spot on the lot, especially with so many years under one's belt, "Big Brother" is still happy to park wherever it can grab a spot, and is always up for the daunting task(s) ahead, even if they include a long walk to the top of the Nielsen's. "Celebrity Big Brother" this month promises a reprieve from the traditional version, and rumor has it Charlie Sheen -- fresh from detention -- may make an appearance. Worth a C+ on all that alone.

ashley hebert betrayed. While we are on the subject of "reality" and complacency, let me first say that the strongest mark "The Bachelorette" (and its predecessor "The Bachelor") get is the reunion episode wherein jilted contestants spill the beans and occasionally their drinks in the faces of their competition. However, no matter how masterful the editing -- this season in particular -- you just cannot create a palpable tension where there genuinely isn't any; as such, the bloom is off the "final rose."

Dave Salmoni after the attack. This has been in my classroom before. And I've come to expect great things from the Burnett family. Unfortunately, this "high adventure" series for ABC, hosted by the admittedly affable Dave Salmoni, didn't necessarily deliver, be it thrills, real ratings or critical raves. Furthermore, the teams were decidedly off-kilter: Grandpa's Warriors going up against California Girls? Don't you know that Shirts vs. Skins is no longer politically correct? C-

So You Think You Can Dance. Takes direction well. But, then, one would have to, right? After all, this is an aggressive dance competition, with rapid-fire routines and subsequent dismissals. Judge Nigel Lythgoe regarded the Season 8 format as "the best of both worlds," and it boasted a new stage and guests judges like Christina Applegate (a hell of a dancer in her own right) and Lil' C. Unfortunately, thanks to the mailed-in performances and similarly delivered judgments, that's exactly what this season gets: a lil' C

real housewives of new jersey christmas season 3. Does not -- I repeat, does not -- play well with others. But that's the beauty of "Real Housewives"! We don't want them to play nice. The hit Bravo series' third season saw two new members added to the cast, replacing exiting housewives. The premiere episode was promoted as "Butt cheeks and a Baptism." This is classy fare, and if Snooki ever gets married that's gonna be one hell of a season. Probably Season 23. Bravo indeed. B+

Elijah Wood  frodo. Interestingly, FX's "Wilfred" is the type of show networks used to bury during the summer, much like the titular character (a man in a dog costume) would a bone in Ryan's (Elijah Wood) backyard. FOX would've shot this with Bobcat Goldthwait, watched the pilot and wondered what they were thinking. Drop the O from FOX, and FX snaps up a bona fide movie star from the "Lord of the Rings" series, and this Australian transfer student gets a straight A. Well, maybe not straight, but some viewing is better a bit blurry ... 

love in the wild. I guess you could call this "The Bachelor" meets "The Bachelorette" on "Survivor"! A recent episode had the 10 remaining contestants collect stone masks in a test of their endurance, but the real test of endurance has oft-been us the viewing audience getting from commercial block to commercial block. This is clearly the PE of the lot, and a note from a doctor to get us out of it could've come in handy more often than not. D

Larry David. Larry David Mother Mengele. Easily the senior of the bunch, but one who just won't let up. Larry David manages to keep it fresh, and perhaps even funnier than ever. From overly vocal bedmates to dissing Super Dave Osborne out of a Jewish delicatessen, David downright refuses to mail it in, even while he's already been accepted to the college of his choice (syndication). This here's your valedictorian. A

Entourage season 8 trailer. Jeremy Piven spy kids scratch n sniff. Adrian Grenier drive me crazy. The departing senior I just don't want to see go. Vince (Adrian Grenier, always just OK in the role) landing in rehab smacked of predictability at the end of last season, and his checking out in this season's debut episode did the same, but I cannot help wondering just where the powers that be are going to leave our hero when the series ends. Ari Gold's dilemma -- an abrupt separation -- didn't make all that much sense to this fan, but Jeremy Piven simply never stopped giving 100 percent, turning in one of the finest performances in TV history. A+ 

McLeod's Daughters. Pure summer school. You can practically feel the heat coming off of this A&E hit, now in its second season. The ads for it alone can make ya want to crank up the AC. This is a part of the country where disposing of a body can be done real easy, thanks to voracious crocodiles spilling out of the Everglades. That being the case, a homicide detective has to move quick and keep his eyes open, which Chicago expatriate Jim Longworth (a solid Matt Passmore) definitely does. A sophomore destined for varsity. B+

True Blood. Far too many extracurriculars. It's interfering with the performance. Vampires were one thing, shape-shifters another, and mind readers (Anna Paquin, as lovely and likable as ever) on top of that made for a full class load. But fairies and were-panthers (as opposed to wolves)? When does a mermaid wash ashore? C

Source: msn