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WEEKLY ROUNDUP (October 2010, wk 2)

Every week, The Signal will be offering up a Weekly Roundup: a collection of mini-reviews, TV news, interesting links and varying television-related thoughts that weren’t big enough to merit a full post on their own. Enjoy!

Reviews, Thoughts and Other Ruminations

Mike & Molly 1.01: I found Mike & Molly to be pretty adorable. I read it very differently from those who criticised the pilot as a long series of fat jokes; in those scenes, it was very clear to me that we were meant to sympathise with the titular Mike (Billy Gardell) and Molly (Melissa McCarthy). Everyone has those annoying relatives and friends who are trying to help but aren’t, and I love that the show allowed the leads to become frustrated with how they were treated without imbalancing the comedy or making jokes out of them. Chuck Lorre‘s The Big Bang Theory spent a lot of time laughing at nerds before it started laughing with them; the balance is much more in favour of laughing (or sympathising) with Mike and Molly here. And the cast is excellent, much better than their pilot-level roles. That’s to be as expected, as few pilots have truly classic characters. Melissa McCarthy is wonderful, cute and lovable but also with a hidden snappy, sarcastic side much more pronounced than with Sookie of Gilmore Girls or Dena of Samantha Who?, which sets the character apart from them nicely. She’ll snap, she’ll roll her eyes, but she can also be cute and awkward. Billy Gardell is equally lovable. I come into this adoring Swoosie Kurtz from previous roles, and she does what she can with a pretty flat character, and Reno Wilson, Katy Mixon and Nyambi Nyambi offer a pretty good supporting cast. I doubt I’ll keep up with it week to week, but I’ll definitely be checking in on it every so often.

No Ordinary Family 1.01 and 1.02: Though the show’s cast far exceed its writing, there’s a gem of a show potentially here. The relationship between Michael Chiklis‘s invulnerable househusband and Julie Benz‘s superquick scientist is pretty well drawn and very enjoyable. The kids are cute, but their stories are pretty unengaging. The writing overall isn’t winning any awards, but few shows are mindblowingly good in their second week. Looking forward t6o seeing where this goes.

Grey’s Anatomy 7.01 and 7.02: The aftermath of last season’s violent finale has given each castmember something to do, nicely, with Cristina and Derek getting the strongest arcs here. Jackson and April are alright additions to the regular cast, giving the writers a couple of new-ish toys to play with. The best part of these two episodes are born from the relationships between the cast, whether its a frustrated Derek confronting Meredith about leaving him in jail overnight, or Owen’s very-charming first morning with new wife Christina. All this season needs now, in a pretty big way, is an engaging medical story to ground these many (many) trauma-based arcs.

Raising Hope 1.01, 1.02, 1.03: Three episodes in, the series has established a good format and a great rapport amongst its strong cast. Lucas Neff is utterly adorable as out-of-his-depth dad Jimmy, and longtime Alden favourites Garrett Dillahunt, Martha Plimpton and Shannon Marie Woodrward are all very strong. The weaker link is Chloris Leachman not because of any flaws in her performance, but merely because the character feels a bit too one-note. The third episode made great use of “Istanbul Not Constantinople”, and was very cute, as well as showing a good sense of theme. Just like Earl Hickey, these gang survive because they dream of something greater, even if they have no idea of how to get there.

Lost Girl 1.01: The show is a lot of fun, with a pretty strong cast elevating what over feels like mid-90’s dialogue and plotting. Feels very much in the vein of shows like Xena and Relic Hunter, in a good way. Will be watching for the rest of the season. Also: Canadian, score!

News

Renewal and Cancellation News: Another season for FX hit Sons of Anarchy (Deadline.com, 07/10/2010) and Syfy series Warehouse 13 (THR, 04/10/2010), and a full season order for Greg Garcia‘s promising new sitcom Raising Hope (E!, 06/10/2010). Meanwhile, Outlaw has stopped production (Variety, 06/10, 2010) and a personal favourite, Huge, won’t be seeing a second season (Deadline.com, 04/10/2010).

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