There hasn't been a new episode of any TV show I watch run for more than a week now, which means we're now living in the darkest timeline. It's alsl probably time to get to my midseason grades for the 2011-12 TV season. Let's take this day-by-day.
How I Met Your Mother - C-
This show still has the ability to make me laugh, but the writers seem more determined to make the viewers cry and feel sad for the characters. What was once an enjoyable weekly watch is turning into a slog, as we wait for Ted to finally meet the mother.
2 Broke Girls - B
This is the kind of show I hate myself for liking. Most of the humor is based on broad racial or cultural stereotypes, and is often cringe-worthy, but it finds a way to make me laugh (whether I want to or not) every week.
Gossip Girl - C
I've written about this earlier this season, but this show badly needs a shake-up, and I don't think this Blair/Chuck accident is going to provide it. Maybe the writers will prove me wrong come January.
Hawaii Five-0 - B
I want to go higher with this grade, but this whole "Shelburne" plot is getting more convoluted than necessary.
Castle - B
The episodes themselves have been A-quality, but the "will they or won't they" is getting old, which drags the grade down. Also, I'm still not on board with the new captain.
The Playboy Club - F
This show was canceled after three episodes and deservedly show. For all the controversy over the women in bunny suits and the whitewashing of the actual working conditions at the real Playboy Club in the '60s, the reasons for the show's cancellation were much more straightforward. It was just bad. The musical numbers were the only redeeming quality of the show, and they were incongruous with the rest of the tone of the show, and not enough to keep the viewer tuned in.
Glee - C-
This series appears to be getting worse every year. It was very good in Season 1, up and down in Season 2, and it's just been all over the place in Season 3. At this point, it's like the writers know most of the audience is just tuning in for the musical numbers, so they spend most of their time of those and almost no time on the things that make for a quality TV series (character development, interesting stories, plot progression that doesn't disappear for weeks at a time only to come back when least expected).
Ringer - B
The obsessed fan in me wants to give this new Shara Michelle Gellar show an A, but realistically it's not quite there yet. The show hasn't been scared of taking risks (killing a main character, then revealing she wasn't dead, only to kill her off for real a couple weeks later) but I'd like to see less reliance on shocking twists in the second half of the season, and more building of character relationships, even duplicitous ones.
New Girl - D
OK, I know I'm in the minority here, but I cannot stand this show, and I'm taking it off my personal schedule. I get that everyone thinks Zooey Deschanel (and her character, Jess) is so "adorkable", but when I watch her, I can't help but think "wow, this girl is a complete idiot, and the idiots around her need to realize that and move on with their lives as quickly as possible." Her behavior isn't cute, it's annoying. And yet somehow, she's only the second least likeable character on the show, behind Schimdt, who I constantly want to punch in the face.
Modern Family - B+
This show's still good, really good in fact, but I'm starting to get the feeling that it's resting on its laurels, and becoming comfortable with its formula. I'd thought giving Lily the ability to speak would have been used more often, but it really only affected one episode.
Community - A+
I'm so glad I finally decided to make the leap into this show, even if it came just before NBC put it on hiatus. This is pretty much weekly comedy brilliance, and it's the rare sitcom that gets better with multiple viewings. #SaveCommunity #sixseasonsandamovie
Parks & Recreation - A+
Thursday nights on NBC were once must-see TV, then went through a long period where they were "what else is on" TV. Now the network has two of the best comedies on TV and for some reason no one is watching. Parks & Rec
The Vampire Diaries - B-
I feel like this show hasn't aired in forever. As it turns out, it's been six weeks now. The early winter break is probably negatively impacting my impression of the show, since I'm honestly having trouble remembering what happened in the early part of this season.
The Big Bang Theory - C-
As this show has gone on, the humor has broadened, to appeal to a wider audience than originally targeted, and I feel like the show has suffered for it. Also, the jokes seem a lot more mean-spirited toward the nerd characters, and that makes the show less enjoyable to me.
Chuck - B-
The whole "Morgan is the Intersect" experiment seemed doomed to fail from the beginning, and I'm glad it wrapped up quickly. Still, it seems ambitious to build a multi-layered conspiracy when you've only got a 13-episode final season to wrap things up, and I'm not sure the show is quite pulling it off.
Fringe - B-
Speaking off not quite pulling things off, Fringe's removal of Peter from the group dynamic, then re-insertion of him in a mysterious way, has really slowed things down. I'm not sure this show can spend too much more time futzing around with universe questions, when it's (again) on the brink of cancellation.
Grimm - B
I still don't think this show is as good as its potential and premise would suggest, but it's been pretty damn enjoyable so far.
Once Upon a Time - A
This is the other "fractured fairy tale" show that debut this season, and I'm enjoying it much more than Grimm (again, though, not to say I'm NOT enjoying Grimm). Really it's all about Lana Parilla, who is just killing it every week.
Desperate Housewives - C
In all honesty, I should have stopped watching this show about three years ago. I keep watching just to see it through to the end. This season has been weird, as they've gone really dark, and I wouldn't be shocked if not all the main characters made it to the end.
Pan Am - D
Hey, look, it's another "let's capitalize on the popularity of 'Mad Men' with a '60s motif" show that's already been canned. Pan Am was definitely better than The Playboy Club (reflected in the fact it got three times as many episodes to air), but it seemed directionless. Was it a show about the culture of Pan Am and the '60s? Was it about the stewardesses and their journey through life? Was it an epionage show set against the backdrop of a changing world? At times, it tried to be all of these things (and sometimes none of them) and it never really worked. Still, I am going to miss those uniforms.
Looking ahead to 2012, with two of my shows already axed, a third (the Canadian import "Being Erica") having completed its run, and "Community" going on hiatus, I've got some openings in my schedule. I really want to get on board with "Homeland", and I've heard very good things about "Happy Endings". I'll obviously be making room for "30 Rock" when it returns in a few weeks, and I've been anticipating "Alcatraz" for awhile now.