May flowers are blooming and the new shows keep coming. Lots and lots of them, in spite of the fact that, during these ten days, we were in sweeps. As we say goodbye to some favorites that were not renewed, here are some that TPTB hope will fill the void. For clarity, I have listed the new shows in the order they originally aired. As a reminder, red means stop, blue (yellow being too difficult to read in my world) means proceed with caution, green means go.
Family Tools (ABC)
It doesn’t much matter what I thought about this show as, by the time I got around to watching it, ABC had cancelled it. Another harmless sitcom that might have turned into something (I’ve watched much worse), but now we’ll never know.
The Big Brain Theory (Discovery)
A game show in which contestants, all of whom have genius level IQs (for whatever that’s worth), work with and compete against each other in various scientific projects. In the pilot, they had to stop a box of explosives, rigged to explode at 25Gs, from exploding at 30. The prize is $50,000 and a year long contract at a design and engineering firm called W.E.T. who design fountains. Standard stuff, but with a scientific element. If you’re a science geek, give it a try. It’s fun.
A fascinating account of the people who gather intelligence for the CIA. Using the hunt for Osama Bin Laden as the premise, this documentary shows just how much work goes on behind the scenes. It may not be as exciting as a SEAL raid, but the raid would never have happened without them. Definitely one to add to your list.
Karma’s a Bitch (Investigation Discovery)
People who are upset with other people get their revenge. I watched three minutes in which a father, angry at his daughter for something she posted on Facebook (we don’t learn what it was), unloaded a clip from his .45 into her laptop. Bad parenting and even worse television. I decided I had seen enough.
The Show with Vinny (MTV)
Vinny Guadagnino (Jersey Shore) from Staten Island invites celebrities into his home to hang with his family. In the episode I watched, the celebrity was Victoria Justice whom I had to Google, but she was very sweet to his family. What ended up bothering about me about the show is that it became one long commercial for both Victoria and Vinnie’s other projects. I got bored after about ten minutes and turned it off.
Zack Stone is Gonna Be Famous (MTV)
A comedy that fails to deliver laughs. Bo Burnham plays Zach who, rather than go to college, spends his life savings to hire a camera crew to follow him around with the sole purpose of becoming famous. In the pilot, he needs to deliver a eulogy that crossed the line into bad taste. I gave up about half way through.
Another sitcom based on a successful podcast series. Many critics I respect really like this show; I didn’t. The language was bluer than necessary and the humor escaped me. If you like the podcasts or the comedian, give it a watch and then let me know what nuance in the humor is escaping me.
America’s Cutest Pets (Animal Planet)
A show that picks the best of the pet videos on the web and replays them for our amusement. The pilot episode was about cats and what they get up to. The videos are funny, but the commentators are absurd. Pointing out the obvious, their comments soon got old and I turned off the show.
Dear Mom, Love Cher (Lifetime)
Cher and her sister combine forces to make their mother’s dream of becoming a singing star a reality. Georgia Holt is an interesting woman who has lived quite the life. I enjoyed this documentary, but couldn’t quite get past the fact that she is not the only one benefiting from this exposure.
Rihanna 777 (Fox)
To kick off her seventh album, the singer did seven concerts in seven countries in seven days. She filled a 777 (of course) with journalists and off they went. After about five minutes of watching her behave like a diva and drink too much, I stopped watching but kept the show running while I did other things around the house so I could hear some of the new songs. The music I liked; she I did not.
Pizza Cuz (Cooking Channel)
Two cousins, who own a pizza restaurant in New York, travel around the country looking for the best pizzas. I love pizza as much as the next person and, all false modesty aside, make an amazing pizza. I was looking forward to learning some new secrets, but after ten minutes realized that this was not that kind of show. Instead, it was all about the cousins, who think they are wittier than they actually are, talking over the chefs from whom they were meant to be learning. Too bad.
Newlyweds: The First Year (Bravo)
A typical Bravo reality show. It never ceases to amaze me that they find these people who are willing to open their lives to such a degree to television cameras and this is exactly what you would expect. The pilot is the drama leading up to the wedding day. My favorite? One bride told all of her bridesmaids that they couldn’t be in her wedding because they had not lost enough weight. What really worried me was that I could not see a single one of these couples going the distance.
Couples therapy in which puppets (I kid you not) play the role of the couples. Truly awful.
I Hate My Yard (DIY Network)
I am not even slightly into DIY and I pay someone to mow my lawn, so this show has absolutely no appeal for me. If you are a someone who loves to work in your yard, you may enjoy this. It is not bad television, just not for me.
Constitution USA with Peter Sagal (PBS)
Sagal travels around the US (on a Harley!) exploring if and how the Constitution is still relevant today. I was really looking forward to this show as I am fascinated by the Constitution; being able to study it in depth is one of the reasons I went to law school. The first episode (of four) is about federalism which, in today’s world, is highly relevant. Unfortunately, this treatment is far too simplistic and becomes too much about Sagal and not enough about the document. I watched the first half hour, but got frustrated at the lack of depth and turned it off. If, however, you are looking for a basic understanding of the Constitution, this may be what you are looking for.
Model Employee (VH1)
Eight models, all of whom want to be the face of the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, have to work in the hotel to win the job. Expect the usual whiny, bitchy crap. When it comes to busing a table, “models don’t do this; people do this for models.” Get over yourselves.
Monumental Mysteries (Travel)
A fun show about strange, weird and odd happenings. The pilot includes the stories of the young girl who inspired Bram Stoker to write Dracula, George Parker, the guy who literally sold the Brooklyn Bridge to scores of people, escapes from Alcatraz and the first reports of “flying saucers.” Not life changing television, but I enjoyed it.
Bob Saget: That’s What I’m Talkin’ About (Showtime)
Mr. Clean takes to the stage and tells dirty joke after dirty joke. Some of them are funny, some are not. It felt odd to listen to the future Ted Mosby being so off color. Whether you will like this depends on your tolerance for that type of humor. It was all right, but I won’t watch it again.