TGIT

Jack Donaghy, Vice President of East Coast Television and Microwave Oven Programming for General Electric.

                          Thank God it’s Thursday. All week long, I keep busy by going to the gym, watching re-runs of NCIS on USA Network, and catching up with Burn Notice on DVD through Netflix. It’s a pretty sweet existence, to be sure, but I’m always waiting. For what, you ask?

Waiting for Thursday at 8 p.m., when The Vampire Diaries starts and a full night of great TV begins. In addition to finding out what’s going on in Mystic Falls, tonight I’ll be tuning in for The Office, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Jersey Shore (no judging).

Fringe, another great Thursday night show, is taking a break for the World Series and won’t be back until next week. If the previews are any indication, the real Olivia might finally escape the alternate reality and face her doppelganger. Wow – just re-reading that sentence makes me feel like I have finally reached the pinnacle of Mount Nerd. Nevertheless, it’s an amazingly good show.

30 Rock is also taking a break tonight, presumably to make time for something NBC calls “Scared Shrekless.” Sounds like a most unworthy replacement to me. Speaking of 30 Rock, could it get any funnier? A week later, and I’m still laughing about Jack’s line, “I have to go tell Rachel Maddow that only one of us can have this haircut.” And the live episode from two weeks ago was pure genius.

I’m not lovin’ it

After a long wait, the second season premiere of Eastbound and Down fell flat.

                                                                             There’s a lot to love about TV this fall (see Monday’s post if you want specifics). On Thursday’s alone, I am watching or recording six shows. Sundays are also good, with Dexter and Boardwalk Empire competing for best show in the 9 o’clock hour. With all of these positive reviews, you might be wondering, “Is there any TV show she doesn’t like?” The answer is yes.

In general, I’m not a fan of procedural cop dramas (aside from my recently professed, out-of-the-closet devotion to Mark Harmon and NCIS). However, there are times when I might try one of these out of respect for and actor, writer or director. Case in point, Detroit 1-8-7 (ABC, Tuesday, 10 p.m.). You might remember that I recently watched and thoroughly enjoyed The Sopranos (see my full review). One of my favorite actors on this show was Michael Imperioli, who played Christopher. So, I tuned in for Detroit 1-8-7. For about 10 minutes. The show evoked this one word review: generic.

The other big disappointment this year is Eastbound and Down, which had a hilarious first season. Although it could progress and become funnier, the premiere was downright dull. Taking Kenny away from all the regular cast members is a mistake. Danny McBride is very funny, but the show only works when his shenanigans are accented by John Hawkes (who plays his brother, Dustin), Steve Little (who plays Stevie), and Katy Mixon (who plays April). The change of scenery to Mexico leaves much to be desired, with most of the jokes in the premiere revolving around his misadventures in cock fighting with two rapscallions. It just didn’t work for me. Let’s hope things get better, or I’ll be cutting this out of my Sunday line-up pretty quickly.

What new shows have you tried and disliked? What returning shows have disappointed you?

My guilty pleasure

Mark Harmon plays Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs on NCIS.

Everyone says Jersey Shore should be my guilty TV pleasure, but truth be told, I don’t feel that guilty about loving Snookie, The Situation and the rest of the gang. My guilty pleasure, in the truest sense of the phrase, is NCIS. I didn’t want to like it, I swear. I’m pretty sure the target demographic is over 50 neoconservative men, but what can I say? I really like the show. Confession time.

I started watching NCIS reruns on USA Network at the gym one day when my iPod wasn’t charged.

I didn’t want to like it. But then it sort of grew on me. I started laughing whilst running about Abby’s quirkiness, DiNozzo’s pranks and Zeva’s mixed metaphors. And like some bizarre fungus, it gradually took over and now I look forward to watching it during my workout. I even like to run a little faster during the theme song, which is terrible techno from The Crystal Method. Wow, that’s embarrassing.

My husband likes to make fun of the show after he gets off the treadmill, and sometimes I sort of give a disingenuous half-laugh, all the while thinking “I don’t want to admit I sort of like this, a lot.”

Full disclosure on this guilty pleasure – it reached a new low last night when I realized that I think Mark Harmon is hot (insert awkward silence from stunned friends and coworkers).

So, now that’s off my chest…do you have a guilty TV pleasure?

New shows and a returning favorite

Warehouse 13’s daring duo, Pete and Myka, is the driving force behind the show, but the addition of guest star Jaime Murray as the season two villain is really going to shake things up.

There have been several series premieres and some notable returning favorites in the last couple weeks. I don’t have time to watch them all, but I am digging a few of them – namely Haven and Warehouse 13 on SyFy and Rizzoli and Isles on TNT. I DVR’d Covert Affairs on USA last night, but didn’t have a chance to watch it yet. The reviews of the new spy thriller starring Piper Parabo have been good, so I’m looking forward to checking that out tonight.

Warehouse 13 came back with a bang last week with an episode that featured Jaime Murray (aka Lila Tournay from Dexter) as none other than H.G. Wells. I can’t say enough about how great Murray was in Dexter – sexy, mean, and devious in all her brunette, British glory. She seems to be the overarching villain for this season, and I am very excited to watch the story play out. Last night’s episode was also excellent, and fully displayed the chemistry between agents Myka (Joanne Kelly) and Pete (Eddie McClintock). The wit and general appeal of these two kept me coming back for more even as the first season became a bit tedious, and I think we can expect more funny banter and light sexual tension from them this summer. All in all, I’m really excited to see how this show plays out, and it already seems to be much-improved from last year.

The other SyFy vehicle that I picked up on DVR this week was Haven, which premiered last Friday. Of course, it can be difficult to say how good a show is going to be based on the pilot alone, but I’m thinking this one has a lot of promise, for a few reasons. First, it’s based on a Stephen King novel called The Colorado Kid. Say what you will about the sometimes cheesy nature of the movies that are based on King’s books, but I love his writing and many of his movies are classics. So there’s good base material. Second, the lead actress Emily Rose, who plays FBI agent Audrey Parker, had a cool, commanding presence reminiscent of Olivia from Fringe. And third, the show seems to have a decent budget – it has a slick, high quality feel that I must admit is sometimes lacking in other SyFy productions (Warehouse 13, with its ridiculous CG imagery is guilty of this). I’ll keep watching this one for sure.

As for Rizzoli and Isles, I had my doubts. Although I enjoy cop dramas, I don’t religiously watch them. I’m more of a casual viewer of shows like Law and Order, NCIS, and CSI – watching at the gym or pausing for a few moments when I’m channel surfing. The first episode hooked me, not necessarily with Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander (who pay Rizzoli and Isles, respectively), but with co-stars Lorraine Bracco (aka Dr. Jennifer Melfi from The Sopranos), who plays Rizzoli’s mom, and Billy Burke (aka Chief Swan from Twilight), who plays hottie FBI agent Gabriel Dean. These two really round out the cast and are going to make me tune in for at least one more episode. While the case they investigated may have been lacking (typical, fast-moving serial killer plot), the dynamic between Rizzoli and the various people in her life (including her mother, Agent Dean, her old and new partners, and medical examiner Isles) was engaging and witty.

So that’s it. I’ll let you know about Covert Affairs after I have had a chance to watch it. Unfortunately, it’s going to have to compete for screen time with three, count ‘em, three Sopranos discs that are arriving via Netflix today. And you thought I was only watching True Blood…