Save This Show!: Cougar Town (ABC)

In this third entry, I want to put focus on the best terribly-named TV show, Cougar Town. I’ll admit, at the beginning, I was one of the people who were turned off by the show because of the title (and that’s despite having Courtney Cox, who I love from Friends). But once the show got past its initial premise, CT became a wonderfully funny and heartwarming show about, well, friends.

I’m sure they don’t want the show to be considered as “Friends – 10 years later” but the conceit that these functionally dysfunctional people who are perfect friends, make for the inevitable comparison to Cox’s famous series.

Creator/producer/writer Bill Lawrence has done just about everything to get people to watch Cougar Town. As previously mentioned, after the show played out its original conceit, it became a truly funny and heartwarming comedy about family and friends. It wasn’t your typical family comedy, but at the same time, it wasn’t a comedy about twenty-somethings, which when you think about it, might be the root of the problem. I say root of the problem, but only in a marketing sense and getting the ratings/viewers it needs to stay on the air. Because their self-realized, broad comedy is wonderful as it is. Anyone who enjoyed Lawrence’s previous show, Scrubs, should enjoy watching the Cul-de-Sac crew of CT, just as much as the gang from Sacred Heart Hospital. When ABC benched the show to a to-be-determined mid-season air date this season, they didn’t just sit idly by waiting for the network to give them a premiere date. Obviously, they had to actually film the show, but they also did their own promotion and marketing to get people to watch the show and be prepared for when the show did come back. Ratings may not have been the best or enough to show that their hard campaigning paid off, but you can’t help but commend them for trying their damned hardest to get word out there.

I know this entry seems short compared to what I wrote about Nikita and Fringe, but that’s not because I love CT any less. CT is just plain and simple, a funny show that more people should watch. There’s no other words to describe it. A funny, well-written show, and in a world where hour-long procedurals/dramas rule the networks, comedies like these seem to fall through the cracks.

2011 Emmy Nomination Wish List

Emmy nominations are going to be announced tomorrow morning by Melissa McCarthy (Mike & Molly) and Joshua Jackson (Fringe). Now while most everybody is busy compiling their predictions for who they think will get nominated or creating their dream ballot, I would much rather just list the names of people and TV shows I hope get called out tomorrow morning. Keeping it nice and simple. But then again, mind you, half the shows that do actually get nominated every year, are shows that I don’t even watch (or haven’t gotten around to watching) so it’s easier for me to rant now about who I want to see nominated than rant tomorrow about all the snubs. So if any or all of these names get recognized this year, consider me a very happy camper. If none of these names appear on the official nomination list, let’s just say I won’t be the most pleasant person to be around tomorrow. And you’ll probably still see me rant about these snubs.

  • Cat Deeley for Best Reality Show Host – When will they realize her total awesomeness???!!
  • SYTYCD for Best Reality Show Competition – Because really, American Idol? Or heck, DWTS? All SYTYCD ever gets nominated for, and wins, is choreography.
  • Speaking of choreography, the one routine that HAS to be nominated from SYTYCD last season? Tabitha and Napoleon’s hip-hop routine to “Outta Your Mind”, danced by Alex Wong and Twitch. It would be so wrong if it didn’t get nominated.
  • Fringe for Best Drama, Anna Torv for Best Actress in a Drama, John Noble for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama – It was the most insane/incredible/awesome season of any show. It would be absolutely criminal if the show did not get any recognition for the amazing work they did.
  • Courtney Cox for Best Actress in a Comedy, Busy Phillips for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy – It’s way overdue for Cox to be nominated for her talents (how was she the ONLY cast member to not be nominated during Friends‘ 10 year run?) and Phillips just simply rocks as Laurie on Cougar Town.
  • Community for Best Comedy, Joel McHale for Best Actor in a Comedy, Danny Pudi for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy – Just one of the most creative shows on TV right now. Who does an episode in claymation? Fully recognized bottle episodes? Clip show featuring fake/new clips? Not to mention all those theme episodes? Only Community does.

So there, my Emmy nomination wish list – not asking for much. Cat Deeley and Fringe are my main hopes because it completely baffles me how they get overlooked year after year. Here’s hoping the Emmys took some pointers from the Critics Choice Television Awards.

Upfronts 2011: ABC Releases Its Schedule for Next Season

As Upfronts Week continues, today we get ABC’s planned schedule for the next TV season. In total, the network picked up 13 shows: 8 dramas and 5 comedies. Here’s a rundown of the new shows and where they’ll sit in the new schedule:

  • Last Man Standing [Comedy – Tuesdays @ 8]: Starring Tim Allen, the show revolves around a “man’s man” who finds his life being dominated by women and attempts to put men back into their  “rightful place in society.” I know Tim Allen coming back to television is kind of a big deal, but they couldn’t give him something better? A show about men trying to dominate society because they now feel threatened by women? Come on, what year is this? And I know it’s a comedy but still.
  • Man Up [Comedy – Tuesdays @ 8:30]: Three guys wonder about what it really means to be a man in today’s world. Really? I think the only thing I find hilarious in all of this is that the network is showing 2 comedies about being men, right before they air the DWTS results show.
  • Suburgatory [Comedy – Wednesdays @ 8:30]: A single father with a teenage daughter decides to move from NYC to the suburbs, much to her horror. If done right (meaning not playing on the stereotypes of city life + suburb life for too long) this could work very well with the current Wednesday night comedy lineup. Although I’m still a little pissed they cancelled Better With You.
  • Revenge [Drama – Wednesdays @ 10]: Supposedly a female and modern retelling of The Count of Monte Cristo, the show stars Emily Van Camp as a woman who moves to the Hamptons to get revenge on the people who ruined her family. Also stars Connor Paolo from Gossip Girl (guess we know where Eric won’t be next season…) The show sounds intriguing to say the least and I love a good mystery thriller, so we’ve got something here.
  • Charlie’s Angels [Drama – Thursdays @ 8]: Without a doubt one of the more high profile shows of the new season, we get a reboot/adaptation(?) of the original Charlie’s Angels series, produced by Drew Barrymore (who of course brought the Angels to the big screen.) For the brand name alone, I think it’s safe to say that a lot of people will tune in to the premiere at least and figure their interest from there. And anyways, I’m all for girls kicking ass on TV. But Thursdays? As if my Thursdays aren’t packed enough. Although, if CW does the right thing and renews Nikita for a second season and keeps it in its current timeslot, that would certainly make for a totally awesome 2 hour block of television.
  • Once Upon A Time [Drama – Sundays @ 8]: Similar to NBC’s new show Grimm, we’ve got another show where we are to believe that fairy tales and fairy tale characters exist in our world. Both similar in the fairy tale aspect, but obviously their takes on it will be different. Question is will viewers watch both shows despite similarities? Or will one prevail over the other, which I feel might be the case? I mean we’re not talking about the same issue as True Blood vs. The Vampire Diaries, which really isn’t an issue but just a matter of comparison’s sake. TVD is on CW, mainly for teens; TB is on HBO, for older audiences – there’s little overlap, unless you’re someone like me who does watch both. But both Once Upon A Time and Grimm are broadcast network shows, and they’re more than likely aiming for the same type of viewers. At this point, I think I’ll give both a shot, but ultimately, I’m sure I’ll be choosing one over the other.
  • Pan Am [Drama – Sundays @ 10]: A 1960s-set soap following the pilots and flight attendants of Pan Am Airlines. People are looking at this as broadcast network’s attempt at a Mad Men type of show. Doesn’t really interest me all that much, not sure why.
  • Good Christian Belles [Drama – Midseason]: Leslie Bibb stars as Amanda, once a “mean girl”, who moves back to her hometown after a scandalous divorce. Amanda’s a different person than she used to be, but will her former classmates accept her now? The idea of Leslie Bibb (who I still love from her days on Popular) and Kristin Chenoweth (who is just awesome, let’s be real) in one show is more than enough reason for me to watch.
  • Missing [Drama – Midseason]: Ashley Judd plays Becca Winstone, a mother who finds out her son has disappeared while studying abroad, and is now on a mission to find him. To me, this sounds like the movie Taken, but with gender reversal. It’s another one of those shows where I feel like how long could this possibly go? Once she finds her son, it’s end game. It’s like Prison Break – the broke out of prison after season 1, and yet somehow the show went on for an additional 3 seasons. But who knows? They could do like Lost and give this whole mythological background to it and her son was missing for a reason, and so on. Could be interesting, but I feel like I could lose interest real fast too.
  • The River [Drama – Midseason]: A wildlife expert/TV personality goes missing in the Amazon, and his family, friends, and camera crew go on a hunt to find him. Meh.
  • Scandal [Drama – Midseason]: Another show from Shonda Rhimes, this one revolves around the lives of a group of crisis management consultants. For one thing, at least its not another medical drama from Rhimes. Personally, I’m intrigued by the idea of crisis management, so the show might be worth giving a shot. I’m just afraid of the show getting too soapy.
  • Apartment 23 [Comedy – Midseason]: A show about a Midwestern girl moving to the big city, who is then forced to share an apartment with a party girl of a roommate. The whole odd couple thing is always fun, plus add to that James Van der Beek playing a caricature of himself? I think we’ve got ourselves a winner here.
  • Work It [Comedy – Midseason]: Two guys can’t seem to find a job, so they decide to dress in drag and get jobs as pharmaceutical reps. Again, really?! I’ve got a feeling that this won’t last long.

Other scheduling news:

  • Cougar Town has been pushed to midseason. Happy Endings will take its 9:30 slot on Wednesdays.
  • Extreme Makeover Home Edition moves from Sunday to Fridays @ 8.
  • Officially Cancelled Shows – Better With You, Brothers & Sisters, Detroit 187, Mr. Sunshine, No Ordinary Family, V, Off the Map

ABC’s new shows are definitely a mixed bag. Many of the dramas show a lot of promise, the comedies not so much. But of course, we’ll just have to wait and see. Tomorrow, we get CBS’ schedule for next season.

2010 Fall TV Season – Week 1 Roundup

Although some TV shows (namely CW shows and a few here and there) had premiered since early on in the month, this past week (beginning Sept. 20) was truly the official start of the fall TV season. In lieu of posting every day for the past week, this is going to be just one big megapost on the first full week of the new season. [Note: this may just end up being my thoughts on the shows than the particular episode that aired]

MONDAY

  • Dancing With The Stars: The 11th season started…and I don’t really care. I think it has a lot to do with the cast this season, which sure, got a lot of people talking but I’m not that excited to be watching it every week. If it wasn’t for the fact that we watch this sort of as a family over dinner, then I’d probably just watch it later and watch my other Monday shows in their actual time.
  • Chuck: It’s so nice to have Chuck back! So at the end of last season, Chuck promised Ellie that he was quitting the spy game for good, but that was before he was sent on a mission from his dad to search for his mom. With this first episode, it really set the story of the season. The Buy More has been rebuilt and is now CIA-operated. Chuck and Morgan are on the search for Chuck’s mom. Sarah and Casey are now on missions without Chuck, but of course, it didn’t take long for Team Bartowski to be reunited. While the quality of some shows suffer as they continue, Chuck just keeps getting better. Constant fear of cancellation assures that the writers are always on their A-game?
  • How I Met Your Mother: We’re back to actually looking for the mother! It’s an interesting dynamic to consider that the show’s about looking for the “mother” and logically speaking, when we meet the mother and Ted gets married for real, the show will be over. We want to know who the mother is, but we don’t want the show to end. With shows like this, I almost feel like they should set an end date (like Lost did), so we know it’s coming and the writers can work on getting to that end point.
  • The Event: I wanted to watch this new NBC show because of the overlying mystery surrounding it. I love watching mystery thrillers. That’s why I watched FlashForward last season…and then it got increasingly worse and eventually cancelled. It’s hard to explain the show, because the show is about finding out “What is the Event?” The style of the show is slightly different as well, in that they show what is happening in the present, and then they jump the story back to show something that led to what is happening now. With a lot of characters and individual stories, jumping back for all of them seemed like overkill. It could take some getting used to. Plus I don’t feel much for the characters. The only one that’s connected is Jason Ritter’s character, Sean. Everyone else is more like caricatures or just structures of characters; there’s no sense of character development. I’ll continue watching for a couple weeks to see if it hits its stride, but if it doesn’t pick it up and make us care, I’m gonna have to leave by the wayside.
  • Hawaii Five-O: There’s action and it’s a lot of fun to watch. I don’t watch a lot of the other CBS cop shows, so I can’t really judge them fairly. But the look and tone of the other shows seem so serious. With this show, maybe it’s the fact that it’s located in Hawaii so it gives it a more vibe-y, less serious feel, but there’s a natural humour/lightness with the chemistry of its stars, which makes the show fun to watch.
  • Gossip Girl/90210: It’s kinda hard to believe that already, in their 4th and 3rd seasons, these shows are now shows I watch out of habit. I think the thing that’s getting me to come back right now are the guest stars – Katie Cassidy on GG, Kyle Riabko on 90210.

TUESDAY

  • Glee: I’ll write more on Glee later when I discuss the Britney episode, but I’m happy it’s back. New music every week. Ryan Murphy did say that this season will go back to learning more about the characters and I really hope that’s true. But at least in the first episode back, they had a sense of humour and poked fun at themselves by addressing what others have critiqued them on (i.e. Mr. Schue’s rapping).
  • One Tree Hill: Only in the world of OTH do two people get shot, don’t get discovered for 2 days and still survive. It’s one of those things that fans of the show have come to love about it – the sometimes ridiculousness that comes with a lot of heart. Speaking of the heart of the show, the theme song’s back! I honestly forgot how much I missed hearing Gavin Degraw’s “I Don’t Want to Be” during the opening credits. And now as much as it pains me to say it, I kind of hope this season’s the last one. I love OTH, I really do, but I sort of feel like it’s time to move on. I’ll still watch if it continues obviously, but the thought of it getting a nice send-off lingers in the back of my brain.
  • Life Unexpected: The thing that gets me watching this show are the relationships. Said it before when it first premiered, but it’s like a throwback to the old WB days with shows like Felicity and Gilmore Girls. You don’t get those types of shows that often anymore. It also helps a little that Shaun Sipos is a recurring guest star this season. Melrose Place might have been predictable at times, writing decent at best, but it was a guilty pleasure.
  • Running Wilde: Will Arnett + Keri Russell + the creator of Arrested Development = comedy gold? It wasn’t as funny as I hoped it would be, but I’m willing to stick it out for a while and see if it gets better. Community was hit and miss for the first half of its freshman season, and then it hit its stride and was so consistently funny for the rest of the season. I’m holding out hope.
  • No Ordinary Family: So it didn’t premiere until last night but I look forward to watching more of it. The big thing with this show is how they find the right balance between family drama and superhero concept. And we’ve got more O.C. people back on TV; this time, Autumn Reeser aka Taylor Townsend!
  • Parenthood: Great writing, great acting, great to see it come back for a second season. Tuesday’s really become a night for some great family dramas.

WEDNESDAY

  • Survivor: It’s gonna be hard for this season to beat the Heroes vs. Villains season, but they’re trying. 2 weeks, and 2 people who got sent packing because they dug their own grave by not shutting up. Self-destruction, bad for the person, great for the game.
  • Undercovers: It’s like Mr. and Mrs. Smith but with more humour. Well, this is JJ Abrams, so let’s rephrase that. It’s like the next chapter of Sydney & Vaughn. The pilot was a little all over the place, but it’ll get better hopefully.
  • Better With You: New ABC comedy starring Joanna Garcia and Jennifer Finnigan. I want to like the show, honestly, because of the actors involved. And again, I hope it gets better because judging by the pilot alone, for one thing, they overdo the laugh track. It’s really noticeable. The writing is pretty standard relationship comedy; there’s nothing really new to it.
  • Modern Family: So full of laughter and heart, with amazing writing and acting. I mean seriously, the show completely deserved the Emmy for Outstanding Comedy. Gloria the protective Colombian mother. Mitchell, the not-so-handy man. Cameron reading celebrity gossip to Lily because he’s tired of reading “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.” Too funny.
  • Cougar Town: A show that has become something more than what it started out to be. One-two punch of Modern Family and Cougar Town is so perfect for Wednesday night. There’s just nothing else to really say about it.
  • Hellcats: I talked about the premiere and now I can honestly say, I’ve really enjoyed watching it so far. After seeing so many high school shows, it is sort of nice to have a show set in college, and to give it a different depth, set in the world of cheerleading. I think that’s what makes college-set shows stand out a little because there’s so many options as to what the back ground can be. Like Greek is settled in the world of frats and sororities, along with the usual relationships and what not. So yeah, Hellcats, will definitely keep watching.

THURSDAY

  • The Vampire Diaries: Definitely keeping things interesting with not only the return of Katherine but Caroline’s now a vampire too. Plus the werewolf storyline.
  • Nikita: I love the show for the fact that we’ve got Maggie Q kicking ass every week. My only concern is the style of the episodes. For 3 consecutive episodes, it seems like the episodes are very procedural-like. Alex finds out the mission for the week, feeds it to Nikita, Nikita attempts to beat Division to the punch, some sort of altercation between Nikita and Michael, and end. There’s bits here and there of development, but I’m hoping they get further along in the storytelling.
  • Fringe: Fringe is back and soooo good. The first episode back was set “Over There” with our Olivia trying get back to our world. Our Olivia has been dosed with the memories of Other Olivia, so now she’s not entirely sure who she is. The ending minutes showed our world with Peter kissing the Alt-Olivia, so obviously he has no idea that she’s not the right Olivia. Oh Fringe, and all you’re mind-twisting and alternate universes. Just awesome.
  • The Big Bang Theory: Continuing the nerdiness of Thursdays, Big Bang is back and still funny. The awkward “date” between Sheldon and Amy Farrah Fowler, with Penny ‘chaperoning.’ Wolowitz’s robot arm used for something that it shouldn’t be used for, which resulted in a slightly overdone but still funny sight gag. The one thing I enjoy most about BBT is the slight references to things that have been mentioned in the past (i.e. the Check Engine light in Penny’s car).
  • Community: I kind of hate that Community and Big Bang are on at the same time, but thinking positively, maybe that’ll make writers of both shows stay on their A-game to see who can be funnier. Which is really hard to determine because BBT is funny for all its nerdiness and Community is funny for all its snarkiness and constant pop culture references. The premiere featured Betty White as the anthropology professor (who by the way, would also make a fantastic memaw for Sheldon) and again the ending bit during the closing credits just is so funny on so many levels.
  • The Office: It’s Steve Carrell’s last season but you couldn’t tell by the premiere that that was happening. Same old Office shenanigans with new pranks by Jim and Pam. Like OTH, I kind of hope Office ends this season. Because again, as much as I love it, it has sort of run its course. And whoever ends up replacing Michael Scott, it just won’t be the same.

SUNDAY

  • The Amazing Race: Still entertaining because you never know what’s gonna happen to these racers. First of all, producers, you gave them SMART cars to race out of Boston?! Seriously?! LOL. SMART cars are not a very smart choice for RACING. Just no. Second of all, did you see that girl get hit by the watermelon? And then she picked right up and finished the task. Crazy awesome. If the rest of the season is as good as this leg of the race, we’re in for a very fun ride.
  • Brothers and Sisters: Back to the drama of the Walker clan. Still watch this show out of habit but it was a return to form with the first episode back. We jumped forward a year after last season’s car accident and everyone’s lives has changed. And you know it had been a rough year full of change when Nora’s house had not a single bottle of wine. Walkers with no alcohol? As Justin pointed out, they were not the same Walkers. I don’t know how this season will hold up, but it was kinda nice to see the whole Walker clan back on my TV.

Other notes:

  • I forgot to watch Blue Bloods on Friday. Seriously, new show, on a Friday? That’s hard man.
  • Didn’t watch Lonestar. Didn’t intend to. Reviews were good. Ratings were weak. First cancellation of the season.
  • On the other hand, $#*! My Dad Says got good ratings, which is a little hard to believe. I guess the return of Shatner does wonders for a show that doesn’t look all that good?
  • After passing on the majority of last season, Desperate Housewives might be able to pull me back in, what with Vanessa Williams moving onto Wisteria Lane, plus Brian Austin Green romancing Marcia Cross (original 90210/Melrose Place, what what? ahaha).