TV Reviews: Up All Night, The Secret Circle, and The Vampire Diaries!

Having too much fun watching the premieres of all the new shows!  I promise that I am still reading as well.  Read The Piano Teacher this week for book club on Sunday.  I’m also about halfway through two other novels – Shirley by Charlotte Bronte and American Pastoral by Philip Roth which I hope to finish this week – so look for those reviews next week!!

Let’s get started with Up All Night.  I am tough when it comes to comedies – if the characters aren’t completely endearing and I don’t laugh out loud, I will totally pass on the show forever.  Christina Applegate is a favorite of mine – loved Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead when I was 9 – and always enjoy Will Arnett.  I thought their chemistry as first time parents was fantastic and really grounded in realism.  I managed to laugh out loud within the first five minutes – when Applegate discovers she’s pregnant and that there’s a baby “in there” which sounds to Applegate like there’s a baby in a closet ready to come at them with a knife.  Arnett being the stay at home dad to Applegates’s television show producing bread winner is also a refreshing spin.  Unfortunately, Maya Rudolph ruins the whole damn thing.  I loved her in both Away We Go and Bridesmaids – but her performance here as an over-the-top Oprah-like television personality leaves realism behind in favor of slapstick comedy better left to Saturday Night Live.  We’ll see if she calms down in the first three episodes – if not, I’m outta here!

Our next new show is The Secret Circle from the CW which is about witches.  Seeing as to how I love all things supernatural, I was more than a little excited – especially knowing how good The Vampire Diaries has turned out to be.  Let’s just say I was not disappointed!  This show promises a great battle between good and evil, a superb bad guy in Gale Harold (whom I love an inappropriate amount), and plot twist after plot twist to keep viewers on the edge of their seats.  Of course, the pilot wasn’t perfect.  Most of everything revealed had already been seen in previews and the bad girl, Faye, was not as good as the rest of the cast which is extremely disappointing.  Witches and the like have been overdone recently, so we’ll see if the show can keep the idea fresh or not – but I’ll be there for every moment!

And finally, on to The Vampire Diaries.  I love this show so much.  What most shows only manage to pull off once or twice in a season during hiatus and finale cliffhangers, TVD manages to do in almost every episode.  The pacing is superb, beloved characters are killed, unpredicatble twists are the norm, and the cast is both beautiful and talented.  Characters you used to hate you grow to love and vice versa.  For me, this show is pretty close to mindless fluff perfection – with moments of clarity and intelligence that are pleasantly surprising.  Ok…enough with the fangirl imitation.  The new season throws us back into the action with Elena growing ever closer to Damon while mourning the momentary (hopefully!) loss of Stefan.  But you won’t find our heroine jumping off of cliffs any time soon (this is a thinly veiled Twilight insult)!  Stefan has turned all big bad (fun stuff!) and has re-earnd his nickname “The Ripper”.  Caroline and Tyler are getting all hot and snuggly just in time for Tyler’s mom to shoot Caroline down with vervain as she tries to leave the Lockwood mansion – and you thought your significant other’s parents were tough to deal with!!  Oh show, how I love you!!

TV Review: The Ringer series premiere

If you know anything about me, you know I love scripted television about as much as I love books.  You also know that Buffy the Vampire Slayer is one of my favorite series of all time.  I can feel the judgement already!

After a long hiatus away from the small screen, Sarah Michelle Gellar has returned to television in The Ringer, the CW’s noir soap opera in which she plays twins!  Bridget is a recovering coked-up stripper (from Wyoming…really?) currently under witness protection and Siobhan is a Hamptons/NYC socialite.  In the pilot, Bridget escapes her protective custody, finds her way to Siobhan (they’ve been estranged for 6 six years due to some mystery involving some child named Sean), and assumes Siobhan’s identity when Siobhan seemingly commits suicide by bad green screen effects…or drowning…whatever floats your boat.  Sounds tremendously trashy, yes?

Le sigh – it was TERRIBLE.  Everyone was so stiff-faced and dull (SMG has never mastered drama).  This show takes itself way too seriously and the script is devoid of any life.  I felt like I was at a funeral the whole time, not a fun campy drama filled with twists and turns.  And I love fun campy shows!  The Vampire Diaries and True Blood are fantastic in this respect.

Poor SMG.  The special effects are terrible, the cliche plots leave little to the imagination, and now I’ve discovered that Jason Dohring is also set to start in later episodes – NO, JASON!  Don’t do it!!!  Now I have to continue watching.

With all that being said, pilots are often terrible.  I’ll be giving SMG and Mr. Dohring three episodes before I officially give up and reclaim my 9pm Tuesday nights.