With more than 30 new shows and countless returning favorites, the fall 2011 TV season is more loaded than a baked potato. BuddyTV writer John Kubicek has looked through all of it and has chosen the three best things about the new season as well as the three worst things.
The Cast of How to Be a Gentleman
This new CBS sitcom airing Thursdays at 8:30pm may be rather ordinary, but the cast is anything but. There’s David Horsnby (Rickety Cricket on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) and Kevin Dillon (Johnny Drama on Entourage) as the two leads, the uptight, gentlemanly Andrew and the more macho and classless Bert. Andrew’s sister is played by Mary Lynn Rajskub (Chloe on 24) and her husband is Rhys Darby (Murray on Flight of the Conchords). Andrew’s boss is Dave Foley from NewsRadio and The Kids in the Hall, and his mother is played by Nancy Lenehan (who has many delightful recurring roles, including the principal on The New Adventures of Old Christine and Earl’s mom on My Name is Earl). Basically, How to Be a Gentleman took six actors who I absolutely adore from a wide variety of great TV shows and stuck them all on one cast, creating a super cool ensemble full of comedic relief. There’s not a single weak link in this chain.
Thursday Nights on The CW
For the past two seasons, The Vampire Diaries has been a fast-paced, exciting hour of TV. Now the network is pairing it with The Secret Circle, a perfect companion about witches executive producer Kevin Williamson (who also does TVD) and based on a series of books by L.J. Smith (who also wrote The Vampire Diaries). That’s two straight hours of Williamson-Smith created supernatural teen angst, which is sometimes exactly what you need.
As co-creator of the new CBS comedy 2 Broke Girls with Sex and the City‘s Michael Patrick King, Cummings establishes her brilliance by creating and producing a smart and funny show about smart and funny women. It’s edgy in all the right places without completely selling out to be another cheesey traditional laugh track sitcom.
Two-Hour Reality Episodes
For most of the fall, Dancing with the Stars and The Sing-Off each take up two hours on Mondays, The Biggest Loser does it on Tuesdays and The X Factor does it Wednesdays and Thursdays. That’s too much reality TV, especially since it takes up one-third of FOX’s schedule and more than one-fourth of NBC’s, if you don’t include Sunday night football. Thank goodness for CBS, which hasn’t done the same thing to The Amazing Race and Survivor. Maybe that’s why those shows keep winning Emmys while the others don’t.
Almost Every New ABC Show
Let’s go through them all. Man Up is a weaker version of FOX’s failed Traffic Light, Last Man Standing is a completely harmless and toothless broad Tim Allen sitcom and Suburgatory tries way too hard to be edgy, and in the process, isn’t as funny as it could or should be. As for dramas, Revenge and Once Upon a Time are overly complicated serialized stories that aren’t quite exciting enough to get viewers to devote themselves to them. Pan Am is one big snoozefest and Charlie’s Angels isn’t as fun, light or sexy as the Cameron Diaz films. Basically, the network is 0 for 7 with the fall. What makes it even worse is that ABC has genuinely good shows (G.C.B. is easily the best show I’ve seen for all of the 2011-2012 season), but it’s being held until mid-season.
Yes, her work as a co-creator of 2 Broke Girls makes her one of the best things about the fall 2011 season, but her self-titled NBC sitcom also makes her one of the worst. The show is painfully unfunny and pathetically uninspired, a cheap rip-off of every lame relationship sitcom of the past two decades. It’s amazing that the same woman can work on both shows, yet have one go so right and the other go so horribly wrong.
(Images courtesy of CBS/NBC)