New season report card 2013: the newbies
As we did last year, it's time to take a look back at all the new shows that have debuted so far in 2013 - or, at least, as many of them as I've seen. I'm sure there are a few I haven't gotten to.
We'll take a look at all the returning shows next week, but for now, here are my grades for the shows which are new this year. Post your thoughts, and tell me if you agree with my estimations, in the comments section below.
3rd Degree (TV3) | Grade: B+
The first three episodes of the show improved on each other (though the Teina Pora story in the middle episode was stunning), and last night's The Vote was new and interesting in prime time. I'd call 3rd Degree a success so far.
666 Park Avenue (TV2) | Grade: D-
A few nice pieces in place, but expectations - and the need to pander to a broader audience because it was made by ABC, not The CW - probably sank this one before it even made it to air.
The Americans (TV3) | Grade: A+
Who knew that Cold War-era espionage could make for some of the most thrilling television around?! Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell are stunning, supported by the under-rated Noah Emmerich, in the best new show of the season.
Beauty & The Beast (Prime) | Grade: C-
It's nice to see Jay Ryan in a major role, but this lifeless procedural - from The CW, the US-based network who brought us Nikita and The Vampire Diaries - is mostly style over substance. It's not bad, per se, but it isn't good either.
The Blue Rose (TV3) | Grade: B
The local crime drama has been a heart-breaking disappointment - but why? It's not perfect by any stretch, but it's nowhere near as bad as the ratings would indicate. An interesting ongoing story arc, great performances from Matt Minto and Antonia Prebble, and a slick musical and production style make this a show that people should be watching.
Bunheads (TV2) | Grade: B+
My biggest surprise of the season, Bunheads is great! Amy Sherman-Palladino's show about a Vegas showgirl who ends up in a town called Paradise (not the one from Top Of The Lake), living with a fiery ballet teacher, is entertaining, fun, and gave us two brilliant endings in the first two episodes. I'm hooked.
Citizen Khan (One) | Grade: F
Horrible. Just horrible. What was the logic behind making this show? "See, people will find it funny because they're all racist bigots"? Citizen Khan was an atrocity, and I hope it never returns to our screens.
Elementary (Prime) | Grade: B-
The Holmes-ian procedural isn't the best crime drama on television, and it isn't a must-watch show for me, but it entertains when I tune in, and the core cast - Jonny Lee Miller, Lucy Liu and Aidan Quinn - are really quite good together.
The Following (One) | Grade: B-
The Kevin Bacon serial killer show has gradually gotten less and less interesting as the series has gone on; last week's episode, with Hardy in the farmhouse with the Carrollites, was just ridiculous. I'm hanging in there, though.
Go On (TV3) | Grade: A
The best new comedy series of the season? I think so. Go On achieves that rare feat of being both side-splittingly hilarious and heart string-tuggingly emotional, and pulling off both. A fantastic cast, too.
House Husbands (One) | Grade: F
Doesn't it seem like all Australian comedy-dramas abandon their premise after an episode or two, and turn into a bland Packed To The Rafterswannabe? It happened to Winners & Losers, and it happened here. Also, why, oh WHY, is father-as-primary-caregiver a good excuse for a comedy series? Did I accidentally time travel back to 1953?!
Hunted (SoHo) | Grade: C+
TheMelissa George's pout-led spy drama on SoHo was drab at times, but had an interesting enough story to keep you coming back for more. It might have had a better grade if not for the pathetic closing moments of its season finale.
The Mindy Project (Four) | Grade: C
Mindy Kaling is funny. She was funny on The Office. The episodes she wrote for The Office were funny. But her own show isn't funny, not all the time. And why not give it an actual title? "The Mindy Project" sounds like some kind of talk show.
The New Normal (TV3) | Grade: B-
One episode is surely not enough to judge, but Ryan Murphy's latest comedy series seems like it could turn into something special (if it doesn't get cancelled by NBC after one season, that is). I'm intrigued enough to watch more.
Oh Sit! (TV2) | Grade: F
If you want to know what it's like to watch Oh Sit, just imagine a collection of all the worst parts from Wipeout while someone repeatedly punches you in the face and plays you a Nicki Minaj song on repeat.
The Radio (TV3) | Grade: F
The less said about The Radio, the better. Move on. Nothing (good) to see here.
Russell Howards's Good News (Comedy Central) | Grade: B
Russell Howard's Good News is no Charlie Brooker's Weekly Wipe ... but it's damn close! There's just something fundamentally entertaining about people taking the proverbial out of the news. Now, if only we could get Dan News his own show ...
Seven Sharp (One) | Grade: B
I was mean to Seven Sharp after it started - and I stand by those comments; that's how I felt at the time I wrote them. But the show has improved dramatically since those first few weeks. I'm now tuning in most nights, usually online. It's not great every night, but it is certainly getting good on a consistent basis.
The Syndicate (UKTV) | Grade: A-
Kay Mellor's drama about five co-workers sharing a first division win is a master-class on writing multiple characters, intertwining their storylines, and delivering a rewarding finish.
Top Of The Lake (UKTV) | Grade: A-
Again, one episode isn't enough to judge. But as I wrote on Tuesday, I was impressed by Top Of The Lake, and will definitely be tuning in for more. Great performances, confident visual style, and Peter Mullan get this an A-.
Up All Night (Four) | Grade: D-
I mostly feel sorry for Christina Applegate and Will Arnett. They deserve (deserved, now that it's been all but cancelled in the wake of Christina Applegate's resignation) better than this.
Vegas (Prime) | Grade: D
Check out my review of Vegas here. I've since abandoned it entirely. A complete missed opportunity, if you ask me. How can a show about the formation of Las Vegas and the influx of organized crime be so boring?! I don't understand.
What are your favourite new shows of 2013 so far? And do you agree with my grades?