The TV Gal Character Relocation Program

Photo by: Timothy White/NBC

By Amy Amatangelo, TV Gal®

We are a few weeks into the new television season and I believe it is time to activate the TV Gal Character Relocation Program (CRP). In the CRP, I sweep in and pluck good characters from bad shows and relocate them to a new series where their talents will be put to the best use. Really, it’s a public service.

Here are the current candidates:

Shania (Bebe Wood) on The New Normal to Glee:  The New Normal makes an Aaron Sorkin show look subtle. But aside from all the pontificating,  my main problem with the show is that it’s not funny. And, you know, I like my comedies to be funny. Sometimes I wonder if maybe I missed something and the The New Normal is actually supposed to be a half-hour drama.  But Wood is fabulous. Her impersonation of Little Edie from Grey Gardens was one of the best things I have seen on TV this year.  Let’s send Shania to Glee, another Ryan Murphy show which sure is uneven in quality but at least when it’s good, it’s very, very good. Shania could be a child prodigy who becomes the newest member of New Directions. Sure that’s a bit of an outlandish plot but is it anymore outlandish than Kurt landing a job with I don’t think so.

Louis (Michael Urie) on Partners to New Girl:  Urie is trying his best with material he’s given. But honestly if you close your eyes and just listen to the show, it’s as if you’re watching a really bad version of Will & Grace. Same set-up (My analogy: Ali is to the jewelry design business as Grace was to the interior design business). Same jokes. Same elevator, even. Just a lot less charm. Louis could move into the apartment on The New Girl. He could talk fashion and, more specifically belts, with Schmidt while Nick and Winston could convince him to take his shtick down a notch or two. Now I would love to save Wyatt (Brandon Routh) too but, unfortunately, the CRP only allows me to save one character per show.

Miles (Billy Burke) on Revolution to Homeland: I’m exhausted by the fact that Revolution has been picked up for a full season.  I was really hoping the show would just go quietly to that great TV season pass manager in the sky. But no, now I’m going to have to keep up with its gaping plot inconsistencies and bad acting. Bill Burke is a great actor who has done a number of wonderful guest arcs (most recently as the nefarious Phillip Stroh on The Closer). The man deserves to be on an Emmy winning drama. On Homeland he could play a CIA agent who believes Carrie and helps bring Brody down. And then he could win an Emmy for his performance. See how well this could work out?

Dr. Brett Robinson (Zach Gilford) on The Mob Doctor to Grey’s Anatomy:  Seattle Grace needs a few new doctors and, given The Mob Doctor’s ratings, Dr. Robinson could be available very soon. Here at TV Gal, we leave no one from Friday Night Lights behind.

Marny (Tempestt Bledsoe) on Guys with Kids to The MiddleI’m delighted to have Vanessa Huxtable back on TV again. Now let’s get her on a show that’s actually funny. Marny could be one of the Heck’s new neighbors. She and Frankie could become friends. Maybe she could even help Frankie find a new job.

Which characters would you enter into the CRP and where would you relocate him or her? Talk about it below.

Grey’s Anatomy and Revenge

Last week, two shows totally tried to fake out viewers. On Revenge, the nighttime soap tried to convince viewers that Victoria Grayson was dead. While I believed there was no way that the series would kill off a character as great as Victoria, it was a very nice touch to not list Madeleine Stowe in the opening credits. It didn’t fool me, but I appreciated the effort and attention to detail.

I’m kind of disappointed that the alliance between Victoria and Emily was so short-lived. I loved the idea of the two former frenemies being in cahoots together. I do want everyone to know that Revenge is currently in my “Could So Easily Go Off the Rails” file. Revenge is great because of its over-the-top line delivery and plot twists. The show is so much fun. But I’m concerned it could start racing through plot twists and character reveals. (We’ve seen this happen before on many shows including Heroes). If Daniel is going to be evil, let him be evil. And please find some way to make Ashley useful to the plot. The show hasn’t seemed to know what to do with her since the beginning.

On Grey’s Anatomy, the show spent the entire hour trying to convince us that Arizona was dead but we’ve all watched TV long enough to know that unless there’s a funeral, he/she is probably not dead. (Unless, of course, you’re a show like Revenge when they can say you’re dead,hold a memorial services and you’re still not dead).  I knew we were going to see Arizona in the closing seconds of the episode. I holding out judgement of the Arizona as an amputee story line until I see tonight’s episode. The premiere didn’t really work for me for three main reasons:

  1. I simply can’t get too worked up about Mark Sloane dying. I never really bought Mark and Lexie as some great star-crossed couple and I’m really not that sad that McSteamy is gone.
  2. It’s annoying that now Meredith is the one terrorizing the interns. Medusa? Really? Another sign that it’s time for a show to end is when they pull an old plot line out of the bin and try to recycle it.
  3. I’m saddened by what’s become of Miranda Bailey. I’m glad she now knows that her nickname is Booty Call Bailey but the Miranda I knew would never have let it get to this point.

That’s all for today. Make sure to follow my blog so you know every time I have a new post.  And if you see a familiar face or hear a great quote of the week, definitely email me about it through my contact page.

Worst New Shows of the Season

CR: Nathaniel Bell/FOX

By Amy Amatangelo, TV Gal®

Into every season, a bad TV show must fall. And a slew of bad shows are about to come raining down on your TV.

I have spread the dislike around and have picked the worst new show on each network. My usual caveat applies – sometimes bad or average pilots can become great shows (for instance, I wasn’t necessarily wowed by the Revenge pilot last season). But these five shows have the most to overcome.

Mob Doctor (premiering September 17 at 9 p.m. on FOX): Giving this show a bad review makes me sad. I simply don’t like it when two of my favorite actors end up in a clunker. Jordana Spiro stars as Dr. Grace Devlin. She’s a brilliant surgeon when she’s not being called upon by the Chicago mob to do their medical bidding. (Mob Doctor also wins this season’s award for most literal title). Zach Gilford co-stars as her boyfriend and fellow resident Dr. Brett Robinson.  Pause for a moment, won’t you, and reflect on the possibility of a series starring P.J. Franklin (My Boys) and Matt Saracen (Friday Night Lights). Savor this image. Now completely obliterate it from your head because Mob Doctor is so not that series.

Beauty and the Beast (premiering October 11 at 9 p.m. on the CW): Beauty and the Beast, starring Kristin Kreuk and Jay Ryan as the title characters Cat and Vincent, is not only the CW’s worst new show but it’s also the worst new show of the season (you’re breathing a sigh of relief right about now aren’t you, Malibu Country?) Honestly if I didn’t know this was an actual real show I would swear it was a Saturday Night Live skit. (And even as I write this, I’m not completely convinced that this whole thing isn’t for an episode of Punk’d).  I mean it is kind of hilarious that the producers think that taking the very, very attractive Ryan and giving him a strategically placed scar makes him a beast.  But even taking away the CW propensity for prettying everything up, the show is seriously flawed. It’s melodramatic, poorly acted (Kreuk remains not the sharpest tool in the acting shed and it doesn’t help that the show has made Catherine a HOMICIDE detective) and completely uninteresting. At the end of the pilot, I didn’t care if Cat and Vincent ever got together and that’s not good.

Malibu Country (premiering November 2 at 8:30 p.m. on ABC): There are some shows that set expectations from the moment the cast is announced. And when you have Lily Tomlin in your cast, I watch the show with one solid expectation – that the show will be funny. And Malibu Country simply isn’t.  Reba (I seemed to have missed the announcement when she dropped her last name, but she just goes by Reba now) stars as a country singer who raised a family in lieu of pursuing her career. She divorces her no good, cheating husband Bobby and heads to Malibu with her mother (Tomlin) and two teenage children.  Sara Rue pops up doing her best Real Housewives spoof as Reba’s new neighbor Kim. The one semi-bright spot is Jai Rodriguez of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy who plays an assistant who could help Reba’s career. I always liked him and it is kind of fun to see him on TV again.  Reba’s WB show Reba had a certain amount of charm and except for a few minor changes Malibu Country is basically the same premise. Perhaps it will develop some charm as time goes on. But I’ve got to think ABC knows they have a stinker on their hands or they wouldn’t be waiting until November 2 to premiere it.

Guys with Kids (premiering September 26 at 8:30 p.m. on NBC): If you caught last week’s sneak peek, you probably already know what I’m going to say about this show. Guys with Kids is cut from the comedy cloth that wives are nagging presences who husbands must endure, deceive or ignore in order to have any fun.  These three guys – Gary (Anthony Anderson), Chris (Jesse Bradford) and Nick (Zach Cregger) – are also raising children. So that means that not only can the show touch upon every cliché about being married but it can also run through every cliché about having children. Good times. The show does have moments of inspiration. I thought , for instance, it was pretty funny that Chris’s ex-wife Sheila (Erinn Hayes) actually did have a date with Kareem Abdul Jabbar. But rare moments of inspiration don’t make a show.

Partners (premiering September 24 at 8:30 p.m. on CBS):  To be clear, Partners is the worst new show on CBS but it’s nowhere close to being the worst new show of the season. My major issue with the comedy is that it’s basically Will & Grace: The Saga Continues. Except this time instead of a gay man being best friends with a straight woman, a gay man (Michael Urie) is best friends with a straight man (David Krumholtz). Brandon Routh (Superman) and Sophia Bush (One Tree Hill) are their significant others. Urie is positively charming as the needy but well-meaning Louis and the rest of the cast is equally strong.  But everything about the show – the sexually suggestive double entendres, the slapstick humor, the over-the-top characters – is very, very familiar.

So those are my picks for the worst new offering of each network. Don’t worry, we’ll have more bad shows to talk about as the new season launches (I’m talking to you Emily Owens, M.D.).  I’ll be back tomorrow with my picks for the best new shows of the season. Talk about which show you are least looking forward to below. And don’t forget to follow my blog so you’ll know every time I have a new post.