The TV Talk’s Shows I Just Can’t Quit

No matter how hard I try every year, there are some shows I help myself from watching. Here are a few of them:

“Gossip Girl” – I know this show is still very popular, but I feel like the concept is getting very tired.  It began as somewhat of a copycat of “The O.C.,” which isn’t so surprising that they had the same creator.  Does this sound familiar? An outsider falls for a privileged, troubled blonde while a secondary brown-haired couple is far more interesting. Yet the show has essentially become a procedural, substituting a murder victim with a scheme (usually Blair’s) that resolves itself at a party. Every. Single. Week. The games of moral one-upsmanship are getting old, considering how none of the characters have a moral leg to stand on. Still, I return every week, and this fall it’ll be no different. Here’s hoping the exit of two peripheral characters (Vanessa and Jenny) and new blood (Serena’s not-cousin Ivy) will make for a better season 5. Now if they’d just get rid of Rufus and Lily…

“Desperate Housewives” – This show suffers from some of the same problems as “Gossip Girl,” both being soapy dramas that, perhaps to a fault, chose a storytelling device and stuck to it. In this case, the show revolves around weekly comedic shenanigans with an ongoing mystery, usually a secret a new Wisteria Lane resident is hiding.  However, the season-long mysteries of the past few seasons have lost any dramatic tension.  Last season got off to an intriguing start, returning to the first season by bringing back the über-creepy Paul Young and loony Felicia Tillman. Unfortunately, the story never really went to an interesting place, and even the comedic hijinks in every episode, usually revolving around Lynette or Tom doing something horrible and two of the women competing in some way. But this might be the final year, and with this season’s mystery seeming to circle back to the core cast, things could be looking up for the people of Fairview.

“The Office” – I wasn’t a fan from the beginning, and admittedly I only began to catch up a few seasons in when I was getting pressure from friends who were die-hard viewers. Steve Carell‘s brand of uncomfortable humor is not generally my speed, but the show itself was hilarious. These days, I’m lucky if I have one moment in an episode where I’m truly laughing. Jim and Pam are still great (PB and J forever!), but half the time they seem like they’re in their own show. Lots of people asked for the show to end after Carell’s departure, but he wasn’t the reason I watched. Shaking things up by bringing in James Spader and making the show more of an ensemble could help, especially for characters like Angela and Meredith who I feel haven’t really had a storyline in years. Only time will tell if “The Office” can truly reinvent itself.

“House” – To be fair, I’m not the biggest fan of procedurals to begin with. But that might say even more about this show, that was strictly medicine in the first few seasons, and I was still more than game to tune in. The show (and House himself) was funny enough for me to look past a lack of character development past the lead character and the fact that he always got the diagnosis wrong 3 or 4 times before getting it right in the nick of time. I was one of the few fans who seemed to like the season 4 storyline in which House picked a new team, although to be fair it might just be that I like Olivia Wilde. But the show was beginning to show more and more outside of the hospital, and by the time House and Cuddy got together, I was pretty happy.  Yet the show has lost some of its luster, and House has seemed more like a sadsack and less of a curmudgeon. “House” seems to be reaching the end, especially since Cuddy is gone, and that might not be such a bad thing.

“How I Met Your Mother” – I, just like most other HIMYM viewers, am very curious about who “The Mother” is. But it was never why I watched the show, and it has always been obvious that it isn’t really what the show is about. Mainly, it was about this group of friends who liked to hang out at the same bar (not a great idea if you’re trying to meet new women, Ted). This past season was better than the one before it, featuring the death of Marshall’s father and the introduction of Barney’s. Yet the episodes have still seemed a little too “sitcom-y,” including my least favorite sitcom trope of all: creating character traits that only last for one episode (i.e.Lily’s loud chewing.) Depending on how you see it, the show’s 2-season pickup could be a blessing or a curse for viewers. The show, which already has seen its best days, will go on for two more seasons, and not necessarily very good ones. But it also gives the showrunners a chance to map out the end and move the story forward.

See, despite my complaints, I clearly can’t help but think next season will be better for these shows. What TV shows can you not stop watching?


The Sunday Prime-Time Line-Up

With so many shows on TV, it’s hard to keep track. Here’s what’s on tonight:

8 Big Brother (CBS)

9 The Bachelorette: The Men Tell All (ABC) – The title of this special kind of says it all.
Drop Dead Diva (Lifetime)
Ice Road Truckers (History)
Leverage (TNT)
Season 25: Oprah Behind the Scenes (Finale Pt. 1, OWN) – One of OWN’s only programming successes so far nears its end.
True Blood (HBO)

10 Against the Wall (Series Premiere, Lifetime) – The new series features Rachael Carpani as a police officer who becomes an Internal Affairs officer, much to the chagrine of her father, played by “Everwood”‘s Treat Williams.
Breaking Bad (AMC)
Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO) – The show, which has had great ratings of late, continues its run, followed by more of “Entourage”‘s final season.
Falling Skies (TNT)
The Glades (A&E)
In Plain Sight (USA)
Keeping Up With the Kardashians (E!)

The TV Casting Scoop

With so many new and returning shows coming this fall, there have been a lot of new characters being added. Here are some of the big casting scoops:

“Chuck” casts Carrie Ann Moss (“The Matrix”) in multi-episode arc as a love interest for Casey. [Inside TV]

Billy Baldwin (“Gossip Girl”) lands recurring role on “Hawaii Five-0” as a former dirty cop who is now an outright criminal. [TVGuide]

See the recently cast Ted Danson for the first time on “CSI” after taking over for Lawrence Fishburne. [AOL TV]

Vinnie Jones (“X-Men: The Last Stand,” “The Cape”) has been cast in another role as a man with special powers in FX‘s superhero cop drama “Powers,” this time as a character with telekinesis. [Deadline]

“CSI: Miami” is bringing back Alana De La Garza (“Law & Order”) for its season premiere, which is odd considering her character is dead… [TVLine]

Tom Skerritt (“Picket Fences”) and Bailey Chase (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Saving Grace”) will guest star on this season of “White Collar.” Skerritt will play Elizabeth’s (Tiffani Thiessen) father, while Chase will be a suspect in a case. [TVGuide]

“Spartacus: Vengeance” Trailer

Here’s a trailer for the 2nd season of Starz’s “Spartacus.” Entitled “Spartacus: Vengeance,” it is set to premiere in January 2012, and boy does it look bloody good. Fair warning, the video is slightly NSFW:

The Weekend TV Round-Up

With so many developments in the TV business this weekend, catch up on the news in this edition of The TV Round-Up:

“Fringe” producer gives details on the status of Joshua Jackson’s character, Peter Bishop, after last season’s insane finale. [The Hollywood Reporter]

More info on “Beavis and Butthead”‘s return, along with news that a reboot of “Daria” is very much a possiblity! [Zap2It]

MTV renews “America’s Best Dance Crew” and “Rob Dyrdek’s “Fantasy Factory,” slate of upcoming scripted series. [TV by the Numbers]

See how much time will have passed when “Grey’s Anatomy” returns (hint: not much). [TVLine]

“American Idol”‘s Pia Toscano will perform on this Thursday’s “So You Think You Can Dance.” [The Hollywood Reporter]

“The Vampire Diaries” Season 3 Trailer

This trailer was unveiled at Comic Con this year, and previews some great stuff coming on the new season of “The Vampire Diaries,” which premieres Thursday, September 15 on The CW:

The TV Round-Up

With so many developments in the TV business today, catch up on the news in this edition of The TV Round-Up:

“Glee” boss Ryan Murphy clarifies casting rumors. Nobody was fired, possible spinoff on hold but could be revisited. [Deadline]

Penn Badgley hoping for less Chuck and Blair and more Dan and Blair on this season of “Gossip Girl.” [Zap2It]

HBO announces premiere dates for its “Boardwalk Empire,” “Hung,” “Bored to Death” and more. The network is likely to renew “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “True Blood.” [TVGuide, Deadline 1,2]

Rosie O’Donnell’s new talk show “The Rosie Show” to begin on OWN in October. [The Hollywood Reporter]

AMC boss owns up to some problems with “The Killing,” says the 2nd season will definitely explain “Who killed Rosie Larsen?” [The Hollywood Reporter]

The network also announced that its newest series, “Hell on Wheels,” will premiere in November. [The Futon Critic]
Here’s a trailer for the series: