New TV For Your Consideration
Friday, October 29, 2010 | Author: Mad Typist
So, there's been much wailing and gnashing of teeth out in the blogosphere about the state of network television. Yes, I'm as horrified as the next person about the fact that mediocre shows like Outsourced, The Event and Chase have been given full orders, while awesome shows like Parks & Recreation remain in limbo.

However.... there are several shows out there that I'd like to submit for your approval.

The Walking Dead. DVR ALERT: This show premieres this Sunday at 10pm on AMC. You must record and watch it. Why? One, because zombies are awesome. Two, because the graphic novel it's based on is excellent, which means there's a high probability that the show will also be excellent. Three, because it's on AMC, which is 2-for-2 so far in terms of making interesting quality shows (Breaking Bad and Mad Men). Four, because I'm flirting with recapping it, and my recaps are much more fun if you actually watch the show.

Quick summary, for those of you who haven't heard about the show: zombie apocalypse goes down, rag-tag group of survivors must make their way through the world. If the show follows the plot of the book closely, expect a lot more examination of the relationships between the various characters than zombie action. The zombies are certainly a concern for the characters, but the first two volumes of the graphic novel were more about the group coming together, experiencing conflict with one another, and dealing with logistics such as lodging and food. I'm not sure how much violence the show will actually put out there, but rest assured - people will be chased and eaten by zombies too.

The Walking Dead airs on Sundays at pm on AMC.

Terriers. This is hands down the best new show of the season so far. It's one of those shows that suffers from both incredibly poor advertising decisions by the network (FX) and the fact that it's a very difficult show to "pitch" to friends. On a surface level, the show is about a pair of private investigators, Hank and Britt, played by the excellent Donal Logue and Michael Raymond-James (Rene from True Blood) respectively. Both men have pasts that make them good at what they do - Hank is a former cop and Britt is a former thief. Each week they investigate different cases.

Move past your initial impression of the show, however, and you find that the show has a richly realized universe that it exists in. The recurring characters are excellent - particularly Hank's sister (played by Donal Logue's real life sister) and Britt's girlfriend. While sometimes the focus might be on a one-off plot, there are really interesting and complex subplots weaving across multiple episodes. There's a dark undercurrent of drama, balanced nicely by the lighter moments (Donal Logue is a funny dude when he wants to be). In many ways, it reminds me a lot of how FX's Justified evolved over time. Like Terriers, that show felt like it was going to be a mystery-of-the-week show before the larger world and story arcs emerged to make it worthy of a Season Pass in my DVR. In fact, this show makes a natural pairing with the sensibilities of Justified, and might have had a better audience if FX had waited till Justified returned, in order to pair the shows up as timeslot buddies.

In any case, I love this show, it's on the bubble, and I really urge you to check it out while you still have a chance.

Terriers airs on Wednesdays at 10pm on FX.

Raising Hope. My final suggestion is a show that I almost skipped because I saw a couple of poor reviews before it premiered. However, I went with my gut, and my gut says that anything starring Martha Plimpton and Garret Dillahunt can't be all bad, so I tuned in anyway. I loved the pilot episode, and subsequent episodes have made this one of those shows that I make a point to watch the same night it airs.

The show centers around Jimmy (Lucas Neff) and his family of low class, but lovable, misfits who unexpectedly find themselves raising Jimmy's infant daughter after her serial killer mother is executed. Yes, you read that right. It sounds like it should be a horrible concept, but the show manages to make the image of Jimmy holding Hope (nee Princess Beyonce, as her mother originally named her) on his lap while the mother gets zapped in the electric chair the most hilarious thing I've seen all year.

Now, to temper your expectations, let me say that I'm not selling this show as the greatest comedy of all time (or even of the year). But it's a solid source of laughs each week - on par with another favorite of mine that I've urged you to check out: The Middle. If you liked My Name is Earl (Greg Garcia created both that, and this show) and/or Malcolm in the Middle, I think you'll really enjoy this show. It's funny, and it can go to some dark sounding places, but it's never mean spirited. Martha Plimpton is excellent as Jimmy's mother (the math works out, since the show explains she had him when she was 16 years old). The baby they've cast is absolutely adorable. And much like My Name is Earl, the show seems to be building a larger world than just the home that the main characters reside in.

Raising Hope airs on Tuesdays at 9pm on FOX.
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