Hits and Misses

By Brett Battles


I admit it. I’m a TV junky. In my life I’ve watched FAR too much, and I’m sure I’ll continue to watch FAR too much moving forward, too.

It’s the stories that draw me in. Even the simplest ones can make me watch if there’s something that gives me hope the story might be good. I’m often disappointed, but, no matter what, I watch.

I talked earlier about how much I love the beginning of the fall television season. It’s full of promise and hope. My DVR just overflows with things to watch. But, inevitably, I start removing shows from my record list. Some flat out are bad. Some are good ideas that just don’t reach their full potential. And worst, I think, some are just mediocre. Occasionally, I’ll have to remove a show not because I don’t like it, but because they network has cancelled it.

Let’s look at some shows I had hopes for:

HAWAII FIVE-O – I had a lot of hope for this one, but after just a couple of episodes I all but gave up. The situations were ridiculous, and the characters were way too one-note for me. Too bad, too, because a couple of the actors are favorites of mine. I did try a more recent episode, the one with Kevin Sorbo. It was so obvious he was the killer from the beginning that I was yawning by the final reveal. STATUS: Show deleted from my record list.

UNDERCOVERS – This one I was excited about because of J.J. Abrams involvement. I loved LOST, and I loved ALIAS, so I was hoping to love this. I didn’t. But I didn’t hate it either. I liked the characters, and I thought that at some point the show might hit it’s stride. But that’s not to be. ABC has cancelled it. For me, this was an example of a show that was a good idea but just didn’t reach full potential. STATUS: Still on my record list only because I haven’t removed it yet.

RUBICON – WOW. Now this is a show. Unfortunately AMC has decided not to renew it for a second season. (THAT SUCKS AMC!!) If you can catch this, do. It’s very smart. STATUS: Still on my record list because I refuse to remove

THE WALKING DEAD – Also on AMC, but this one they’ve already re-upped for a second season. Funny how good ratings will do that. I’m enjoying this one. Good characters, interesting world, exciting situations. My only issues at this point are that we’ve seen some of the same type of situations in other shows and movies. Granted, this is based on a graphic novel I have not read, so it’s possible the novel came out before some of the other movies did, and they’re the ones that are derivative. STATUS: On my record list, and staying there.

That’s just a sampling, of course. Some of the other shows I record that have made the cut from the previous years.

COMMUNITY – Love this show! Hilarious.

30 ROCKS – Still a ton of fun.

GLEE – Loved this last year. This season not as good, so it’s on the verge of getting into my iffy list.

FRINGE – My guilty pleasure. This show rocks. My fellow geeks know what I mean.

And just for fun…one of our local stations airs PERRY MASON every morning at 5 a.m. I record that, too. Love, love, love it. (In fact I’m watching a episode as I’m writing this.)


So, here are my questions…what’s on your favorite’s list? What show’s have you given up on? Any gems out there we should all be watching?

34 thoughts on “Hits and Misses

  1. Laura Jane Thompson

    I'm almost embarrassed to admit how many TV shows I watch. My favorite show still on the air is probably BURN NOTICE, but I hate that they always split each season into two parts.

    I definitely agree about HAWAII 5-O. I quit watching it a couple weeks ago. I've finally given up on HOUSE, as well, because I can't abide wasting time on a show where the "hero" doesn't have a redeemable bone in his body, and I had high hopes for CHASE because it's set in Texas, but I got tired of hearing all the fake hick accents and the lead marshal saying, "Let's ride!" before heading out to catch a bad guy. Way over the top.

    I like LIE TO ME, THE MENTALIST, and NCIS. But I've started buying previously canceled shows on DVD. I'm making my way through all eight seasons of CHARMED, and I love watching MURDER SHE WROTE.

  2. JD Rhoades

    We love COMMUNITY and 30 ROCK as well, so much so that they're still "appointment" shows: we watch them when broadcast. Truth is, we really haven't gotten the hang of the DVR. Oh, we know how to use it, but we just end up with the shows piling up unwatched and eventually deleted becuase we know we won't have time to watch the "Daily Show" from a month and a half ago, and it'll probably be re-run soon anyway.

    There are a couple of exceptions, however: Austin City Limits and The Big Bang Theory (which moved to Thursday nights, so it's opposite 30 Rock.

    Like Laura Jane, I watch a lot of shows on DVD, or more often, on the streaming thing that Netflix does. I'm devouring BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, MI5, ANGEL, and the last few seasons of DOCTOR WHO from Netflix, and MAD MEN's usually on our DVD queue.

    Shows I've given up on: The Office, Two and a Half Men, South Park.

  3. PK the Bookeemonster

    I've been watching less and less tv and even fewer are scripted shows. I loved Rubicon and that they would cancel it absolutely sucks. Of course they would kill an intelligent show and give a second season to the zombie one. I used to watch Lie to Me religiously because I love me some Tim Roth and his scenery chewing but even with that now it takes too much effort to view. TV comedies have never appealed to me. (sigh) So I think I've morphed into an occasional DVD tv watcher. I watch shows in DVD format which means they aren't really shows on now, or at least I need to see season one when they're on their 7th season in the present. Like Bones, NCIS, Eureka, Fringe… But it still requires one to sit for, what, 44 minutes? I do like non-scripted television: 48 hours, Psychic Kids… I'm not even really getting a lot of reading done either. What the heck am I doing in the evenings? I guess I only really have an hour to 90 minutes to myself at night so I guess not much time to accomplish much. I used to love tv but either I had low tolerance or the shows just got worse. I think it's the latter.

  4. Zoë Sharp

    Hi Brett

    We don't have TV. Or, at least, we have a TV set, but it's only connected to a DVD player, so it's more of a monitor than a TV. We tend to wait until a few people recommend a series, then buy the set. We've just finished season one of SONS OF ANARCHY, starring Ron Perlman and a great cast, even if they do UTTERLY perpetuate the myth that all motorcyclists and their associates are meth-brewing gunrunning outlaws.

    Apart from that, just the usual suspects – SUPERNATURAL, NCIS, BONES, WITHOUT A TRACE, LIE TO ME.

    It would really help if you said a little more on what the shows you mention were about, though, just so I can get a bit more of an inkling about them ;-] Remember, not all of us live stateside and have unlimited access to the new shows!

  5. Mark Terry

    BONES continues. I discovered CASTLE and tend to watch it on Hulu a couple days later and am working my way through the first two seasons on iTunes.

    I watched the season premier of Hawaii 5-O and thought it was promising, then tried to watch a couple other episodes and got bored. I still like BURN NOTICE, although I'm not deeply into it, and LEVERAGE if I can sit down and watch an episode front to back, otherwise I can't figure out what's going on.

  6. Debbie

    Zoë, this is the bible for actors, movies, TV. Everything from what's it about and who's in it, to awards, quotes, reviews, and parental warnings. It's bloody brilliant!

    (I spent less than one minute looking for a movie title this morning knowing only that Hugh Grant played a despicable character and found it…An Awfully Big Adventure. Found out in that same minute that Alan Rickman is in it so guess what I'm going to watch? I'm so giddy with excitement!(

  7. Alafair Burke

    I'm also a junkie. Community and Modern Family were my new adds last season, and I think they've gotten even better this year. I haven't stuck with anything new this year, including Hawaii 5-0 or Boardwalk Empire, though I haven't yet watched The Walking Dead. Sadly, my usual fave, Dexter, has taken a serious downturn this season, as has Glee.

    Another favorite is Breaking Bad, but the new season won't start until next year.

  8. Cornelia Read


    Favorite of all right now is BOARDWALK EMPIRE. How cool to have Steve Buscemi as the star… it's gorgeous.

  9. Gayle Carline

    Love LEVERAGE – it's got that "Mission: Impossible with questionable characters" vibe. Also like the CLOSER, PSYCH, NCIS (original and LA), CRIMINAL MINDS, the MENTALIST, and cooking reality shows (TOP CHEF, IRON CHEF, CHOPPED), which is ironic since I'd give myself perhaps a C+ as a cook. I also like CASTLE – mostly because I love to read Lee Lofland's breakdown of each eposide on Tuesday morning (The Graveyard Shift blog). Burned out on the L&O series, except for Criminal Intent, which I'll watch this season to see Goren and Eames sail off into the sunset. Also waning are the CSI franchises. I watch GLEE every once in awhile – love the music, love Sue, hate most of the story lines.

    Holy crap – when am I finding time to write?

  10. Anonymous

    Hmmmnn. Nobody mentioned SHERLOCK. There were only three episodes and the last one left us hanging until BBC releases the next three episodes to America in 2011. It aired on PBS MYSTERY!.
    If there are replays of it, WATCH IT! The idea of a modern day Sherlock Holmes turned me off, at first, but I watched it because my daughter had seen it in London earlier this year and RAVED about it. You'll be surprised and pleased by this exciting adaptation. The "new" Watson is FABULOUS.

  11. StephenD

    Lots of good shows mentioned. I dig Community, Lie to Me, Burn Notice, and Castle. One show I was hoping would be mentioned is F/X's TERRIERS. Best show on TV right now. The writing is great and, oh my goodness…the acting! Donal Logue and Michael Raymond-James knock it out of the park week after week.

  12. judy wirzberger

    I like CASTLE mostly because I love going to Lee Lofflan's sight Graveyard Shift and reading his critique of the Police Procedures. Try it, you'll ….

  13. Dao

    I also watch a lot of TV and I use the word "watch" very loosely. More of turning it on so I can have some background noise. However, these are the shows I seriously watch and love: THE BIG BANG THEORY (gotta love Sheldon!), NCIS AND NCIS: LOS ANGELES, THE GOOD WIFE (really good writing there), MODERN FAMILY, and that's about it.

    Shows that I don't watch anymore: Grey's Anatomy (the writing is going waaay down after Burke left, the many new characters confuse me), and CSI: Miami (it's getting formulaic, also it's on Sunday and I need to sleep.)

    I don't have cables and I want to remain that way so I won't watch shows like Jersey Shore or The Real Housewives of whatever. I don't get the appeal of people getting drunk and cat fighting.

  14. Fran

    Nothing new to add, I'm afraid. NCIS and NCIS:LA, Leverage, Closer (thank yew!), Criminal Minds even if it does sometimes squick me out, Rizzoli and Isles (of course!), and yeah, Castle. I watched all the Law and Orders, although I haven't seen the new LA one, and I'm even watching L&O: UK right now. The plot's from one of the original episodes, but it's definitely a different take on the whole thing. Besides, prosecutors in wigs! Cool!

    But then I also watch Rachel Maddow with fanatic devotion, so there's no telling about me.

  15. Fran

    Nothing new to add, I'm afraid. NCIS and NCIS:LA, Leverage, Closer (thank yew!), Criminal Minds even if it does sometimes squick me out, Rizzoli and Isles (of course!), and yeah, Castle. I watched all the Law and Orders, although I haven't seen the new LA one, and I'm even watching L&O: UK right now. The plot's from one of the original episodes, but it's definitely a different take on the whole thing. Besides, prosecutors in wigs! Cool!

    But then I also watch Rachel Maddow with fanatic devotion, so there's no telling about me.

  16. Nancy Laughlin

    My favorite is White Collar. It's on USA and is a mystery take off on It Takes a Thief. The dialogue and subtext are masterful! The characters are very appealing.

    I also enjoy NCIS Los Angeles, Castle, and Doctor Who.
    I agree with the person who mentioned Sherlock. I enjoyed the updated version more than I expected to as well. Wallender with Kenneth Branaugh was another excellent PBS series.

  17. Pop Culture Nerd

    I was done with FIVE-0 after the premiere. Thought it was cheesy and O'Loughlin couldn't act. Felt the exact same way about UNDERCOVERS. Not terrible but something was missing and keeping it from being as good as ALIAS. Maybe it's that the leads were happily married. I liked the tension between Vaughn & Sydney.

    JD—I'm a HUGE MI-5 fan! How many seasons have you seen? I'm caught up through end of season 8 and frustrated I can't watch season 9 yet.

    A show you should watch: COUGAR TOWN. It's hilarious and inappropriate (which I like) but sweet, too.

    I've been a TV junkie for as long as I can remember. I can still recite the network lineup of shows I used to watch in the '70s and '80s. I loved Thursday nights when SWAT was on at 9 and BARNABY JONES followed at 10.

    Speaking of '70s TV, did you hear THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN & BIONIC WOMAN finally became available on DVD recently? I squealed, I was so excited.

  18. Reine

    Favorites: The Good Wife; Lie to Me; Parenthood; The Big C.
    Absolute favorite: BOARDWALK EMPIRE!!!!!
    Can't wait for return of: Big Love; United States of Tara.
    DVD: The Vicar of Dibley.

  19. Jake Nantz

    I was watching CHASE for a while. Still recording it, enjoy it when I can watch it, but this is from the same guy that hasn't had time to watch JUSTIFIED on his DVR yet, so take that with a grain of salt.

  20. chris2

    I try to limit the amount of tv I watch simply because there are so many books I would love to read too so I fifure, when I'm in fromnt of the tube, it's at the expense of something I wanted to read—and I love the fall-up line up too! I get all excited about the new programming and then pffft — I end up with maybe one new show that I stick with —-I gave up on both Undercovers and Hawaii Five-0 after only 2 episodes — and the Good Wife I kinda lost track of, I'm going to pick up the DVD on that one

    weekly, I always catch Burn Notice, NCIS and NCIS Los Angeles & then my new addition to those is Chase,which I think has great potential

  21. JD Rhoades

    I may have to give Burn Notice another try. First time I saw it left me cold, Bruce Campbell notwithstanding.

  22. Dudley Forster

    Hawaii Five-0 was a big disappointment. None of the new shows have really grabbed me. My wife and I like to watch Castle, NCIS, CSI and CSI NY, and Bones. I am a Sci-Fi nut so there’s SG-U and Sanctuary and of course Dr Who. I am going to have to watch the first season of Caprica on Netflix to catch up. I’m also a fan of Dirty Jobs and Top Gear (British version).

    I heard great things about Justified but only after the first season. I can get the episodes on iTunes for 3 bucks each, but I am waiting for the DVDs to come out and get them on Netflix or just wait until they have a marathon to kick off next season.

    There are some great BBCA shows, but the seasons are so short. I liked Murder in Suburbia, Red Caps (the new one), Hex, Primeval, Torchwood, and Wire in the Blood etc. I am hoping we’ll be getting Mark Billingham’s Thorne series. And Dusty – Loved MI-5

    I think I have seen all the Perry Masons at least three times. My wife still records them.

  23. PK the Bookeemonster

    Seasons 1-3 of MI5 got me through some low periods of unemployment (love Matthew Macfadyen) as did Veronica Mars.

  24. Pop Culture Nerd

    JD & PK—Amazing. So glad to hear you're fans. I'm always going on about this show but no one I know (besides my husband) watches it. I hope you keep watching because it only gets more intense.

  25. KDJames

    I don't watch much TV. Evening is my writing time. I watch CASTLE, BURN NOTICE and JUSTIFIED. I refuse to get sucked into DETROIT 187, even though the acting is very good (IMO).

    Does no one else watch HUMAN TARGET? Completely over the top action stuff (and really stupid name), but I LOVE LOVE LOVE the characters. Sort of like MacGyver on steroids, with better toys. It started up again last night. On channel 13. Is that FOX? I think so.

    Hmmm. It seems I like shows with "ruggedly handsome" manly men. And sarcasm. Go figure.

  26. Dudley Forster

    KD – My wife and I watched Human Target the first season, it was okay and I actually have the last episode on my DVR, but there is just so much time and it seems to one of the last to get watched. It is not as good as say White Collar or The Glades, which has a great load of sarcasm. I think my wife would watch it if she had the time. She chooses to watch Lie to Me, I can't stand Cal Lightman. I think I'd break his nose the first time he invaded my space. It makes me twitchy just watching him.

  27. Dudley Forster

    Zoë – Since we are talking TV what do you think of Top Gear? It is one of my favorite shows on BBCA. I love the cars and the humor. The races are super. There was that one episode where Jeremy Clarkson drove that Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren in a race, I think it was to Sweden or Norway. Loved that car – don't know what I'd do with a car that can go 208mph in the US and wouldn't want to pay the insurance. My favorite episode was the caravan one – too funny.

  28. KDJames

    Urgh. WHITE COLLAR. I've tried to watch it but that pretty actor seems to have a perpetual smirk of smug superiority and it's so smarmy it makes me want to break HIS nose. It would improve his looks. Tried again tonight and just couldn't do it. I don't like the guy on LIE TO ME either.

    And actually, "MacGyver on steroids" is a really bad description of HUMAN TARGET. Though it's a pretty good description of BURN NOTICE. Not sure what would be a good description. Maybe if you took the canny wry intellect of Jim Rockford and added the physicality of an action hero capable of blowing stuff up (on purpose) and using his hands and feet as weapons and jumping out of 12th-story windows. And that irresistible slash of a dimple in his lean unshaven cheek every time he flashes a self-deprecating grin. 😉 Honestly, the interaction with the unlikely supporting characters really make it, for me. Even so, the show requires the ability to suspend a great deal of disbelief. I'm good at that.

  29. Allison Brennan

    Like Brett, I'm a TV junkie. I watch usually late, late, late at night after writing in order to unwind.

    JUSTIFIED. Hands down the best television series out there today. Love it love it love it! I watched season one twice because it's so damn good.

    SUPERNATURAL — jury is still out on season 6 (the creator had a five season story arc and it could have ended at season five on a bittersweet but pitch perfect note . . . but I'm still enjoying it.)

    IN PLAIN SIGHT — just discovered this series and I love the characters. I little too *perfect* sometimes; meaning very little surprises me, but it really has some fantastic characters both recurring and one-episode.

    FRINGE — I loved season one; hated season two except for the last few episodes which resurrected my affection — still haven't started season three, but I bought it on iTunes.

    KD, WHITE COLLAR has grown on me. I agree about Neal, but I like the dynamic between the characters and Neal's sidekick (name escapes me)

    L&O: SVU is still one of my favorite shows.

    CASTLE: Guilty pleasure.

    THE GLADES: Jury still out, but I like the main character.

    MEMPHIS BEAT: Totally unimpressed. Blech.

    SHERLOCK: Surprised I liked; waiting for season two.

    CRIMINAL MINDS: Hit or miss. Don't really watch it anymore. Too predictable and the characters are never wrong. I just . . . haven't really connected. Maybe because I've studied the subject too much.

    LIFE: Television series I miss the most.

    MI-5 . . . never heard of it! What is it? Not that I want 9 seasons of anything to watch . . .

  30. Pop Culture Nerd

    Allison, MI-5 is a British spy series available on DVDs through season 7. It's probably the best drama I've ever seen. I maintain that American shows don't measure up because NO ONE is safe on MI-5. There's none of that oh-he's-Jack-Bauer-so-he'll-get-out-of-this complacency. I'm always on the edge of my seat because anyone can get killed anytime, even leads and series regulars. There's no bait & switch, either. When someone dies, they're really dead. They don't come back to life in an alternate universe or "oh, it's all a dream!" This makes the show a consistent nail-biter and awesome!

  31. anon

    TERRIERS – most underrated, under watched show on TV right now. so damn good.


    Simply great… LUTHER

    Can't believe I'm going to admit this, but I actually watch Hawaii Five-O. I know its crap, but its like a train wreck – I can't tear myself away.

  32. pari noskin taichert

    Thanks to cable television and the new "improved" box, we have half the stations we had before. It's resulted in one good thing; we're spending less time in front of the tube.

    I still love THE GOOD WIFE. Have an embarrassing fondness for BROTHERS AND SISTERS. That's about it for now.

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