Oct 13 2012 11:00am

Should I Watch?: The Fall 2012 Episode 2 Test, Part 2 (Revolution, The Mindy Project, and More!)

Partners posterThe Episode 2 test continues! For the full scoop, don't miss The Fall 2012 Episode 2 Test, Part 1. And now, on to Part 2...

Mondays, 8:30 pm, CBS

It’s about: Two architect best-friends who begin to drift apart after they both find love.
Why I tuned in: Brandon Routh has long been the bane of my existence and, much like Superman always likes to know what Lex Luthor is up to, I feel I need to keep abreast of whatever project his sinister, if handsome, presence is ruining now.
Where’s the love?: One architect, Joe (David Krumholtz), is newly engaged while the other (Michael Urie) is—dear God, man, don’t do it!—dating Brandon Routh.
Episode 2 Test: FAIL
Grade: D
Comment: Look, they made gay men boring!

Revolution posterRevolution
Mondays, 10 pm, NBC

It’s about: The Matheson family and their assorted friends and enemies, living in a post-apocalyptic dystopia in which all technology has mysteriously stopped working. Or has it?
Why I tuned in: Series creator Eric Kripke, of Supernatural fame, and producer J. J. Abrams, of, well, everything fame? Plus, watching anything post-apocalyptic and/or dystopian is kind of in my job description.
Where’s the love?: Hey, Charlie Matheson! When you’re going on a secret mission to find your long lost uncle who has been hiding from the bad guys who killed your dad and kidnapped your brother… don’t take along some random dude just because he’s good with a bow and arrow. On the other hand… that is kind of hot.
Episode 2 Test: PASS
Grade: B+
Comment: Years ago there was an animated series I loved called Afterworld, in which a sinister device had knocked out all of the world’s technology, leaving our hero to traverse America on horse and on foot, in search of his family. (The technology-disruption thing was also the basic plot of Dark Angel, though there, it mostly got better.) Revolution reminds me a lot of that, except it’s gorgeously filmed, full of photogenic (strangely well-coiffed, for dystopia) people and offers up a panoply of interesting mysteries from the outset. Not just “What happened to all the electricity?”, but also “What the hell happened to the laws of physics?” and “Wow, everyone can use swords now?” and “Hey, when did Billy Burke become an action hero?”. A little more Kripke-esque knowing humor might be appreciated, but withal, Revolution is a pretty decent sci-fi romp—even if Tracy Spiridakos’s Charlie Matheson is one of the least convincing heroines lately seen on TV.

The Mindy Project posterThe Mindy Project
Tuesdays, 9:30 pm, FOX

It’s about: Dr. Mindy Lahiri (Mindy Kaling), a 31-year old Ob/Gyn obsessed with romantic comedies and recently dumped, who is on a mission of self-improvement, all the while on the hunt for The One.
Why I tuned in: I, too, enjoy romantic comedies.
Where’s the love?: Mindy’s got a friends-with-benefits situation happening with handsome, ladies man colleague (Ed Weeks), but it is clear that her adversarial backbiting with yet another colleague (Chris Messina) has possibilities—though he’s currently kind of a douche and may need some serious character redemption before we like them together. And it’s possible I only think he’s a douche because Messina always plays those kinds of characters, and most particularly because he was really mean to Will McAvoy on The Newsroom. (He wasn’t terrible in Ruby Sparks, though.)
Episode 2 Test: PASS
Grade: B+
Comment: There was a moment when I decided I was going to really like this show. Mindy was complaining of her love woes to her best friend (Anna Camp), whose young daughter whined “This is boring”… to which Mindy replied with a kind of cheerful snappishness: “You’re boring; contribute something!” Kaling is stunning and sweet-voiced and yet has an indefinable edginess that is completely hilarious and utterly compelling, all of which would make me want to watch her show even if it wasn’t very good—though as it happens, it is. Basically, she’s this year’s Zooey Deschanel.

The Mob Doctor posterThe Mob Doctor
Mondays, 9 pm, FOX

It’s about: Dr. Grace Devlin (Jordana Spiro), a Boston surgeon who must juggle her work at the hospital with her obligations to a crime boss, she having offered up her services to save her brother from a nap with the fishes.
Why I tuned in: Medical drama meets The Sopranos… why not?
Where’s the love?: Grace has a boyfriend (Zach Gilford), who also happens to be her colleague, because according to TV tradition, doctors are only allowed to date each other.
Episode 2 Test: FAIL
Grade: B-
Comment: It was all quite well done, but in the end I just felt like I didn’t like anyone in this show, and more than that, didn’t care about any of them. I just didn’t care what new ethical lines Grace was going to have to cross to keep her scapegrace brother safe, or if the scapegrace brother was going to relapse despite his sister’s sacrifice, or even what might transpire between Grace and her boyfriend. And, dude, he was Matt in Friday Night Lights! It takes a lot for me to not care about him.

The NeighborsThe Neighbors
Wednesdays, 8:30 pm, ABC

It’s about: A community of aliens from the planet Zabron who take human form to live in a secluded New Jersey residential development… ten years later, a human family moves in!
Why I tuned in: Aliens. It’s what I do.
Where’s the love?: The lead couples in the series are humans Marty (Lenny Venito) and Debbie (Jami Gertz—how good is it to see Jami Gertz in stuff again?) and aliens Larry Bird (Simon Templeman) and Jackie Joyner-Kersee (Toks Olagundoye). The aliens have, you see, all taken the names of famous athletes; their kids are Reggie Jackson and Dick Butkus. (Zabronians, by the way, have thought-sex. In public. It’s worth mentioning.)
Episode 2 Test: PASS
Grade: B+
Comment: I didn’t have high hopes for this show, so was delighted to be surprised into bouts of uncontrollable chuckling as the first episode played itself out. The alien Zabronians’ token familiarity with Earth traditions leads to such mirth-filled moments as the entire community turning up en masse at their new neighbors’ house each bearing an identical pie, and while the aliens-among-us gags may get old fast—and let us not forget, we’ve seen it all before, from Mork and Mindy to Alien Nation—for now, this one has my attention.

The New Normal posterThe New Normal
Tuesdays, 9:30 pm, ABC
It’s about: A gay couple (Andrew Rannells and Justin Bartha) who enlist the aid of a single mother surrogate (Georgia King) to have a child, despite the possible damage said child might do to their couture.
Why I tuned in: Creator Ryan Murphy’s Glee pedigree will always get me to assay his shows, because, hey, I (yes, still) like Glee
Where’s the love?: Rannells and Bartha as Bryan and Justin are simply adorable to behold, and King’s Goldie is newly single, so there is much potential to be found there.
Episode 2 Test: PASS
Grade: B+
Comment: The main cast are all eminently engaging, especially Rannells as the utterly fabulous Bryan— though I could very much do without the shouty-shout-shout stylings of NeNe Leakes as Bryan’s assistant (it wasn’t enough that you inflicted her on us in the last season of Glee, Murphy?). Ellen Barkin, as Goldie’s grandmother, is a hate crime waiting to happen, but there is also something very taking about her naked contempt and unrepentant outspokenness. And Goldie’s kid, Shania (BeBe Wood)? Any child who goes about the place acting out scenes from Grey Gardens instantly gains my devotion.

Vegas posterVegas
Tuesdays, 10 pm, CBS

It’s about: A crime-solving rancher (Dennis Quaid) in the early days of Las Vegas; also, casinos, corruption and the mob.
Why I tuned in: What a cast! Quaid, Carrie Anne Moss, Michael Chiklis, Jason O’Mara, Jacob’s father from The Twilight Saga, the guy who was head of the Secret Service on The West Wing… all very awesome.
Where’s the love?: Quaid’s Ralph and Moss’s Deputy DA Catherine are clearly flirts from way back, which is cute. Meanwhile, Ralph’s teenage son Dixon (Jason Handley) is quite the heartbreaker.
Episode 2 Test: PASS
Grade: A
Comment: I have never been much of one for period pieces set in the recent past; last year’s Pan Am, for example, filled me with ennui, and I have never gotten into Mad Men. But this one—yes. Whether it’s the presence of Jason O’Mara, for whom I managed to stick out an entire season of dinosaur insanity, the presence of the ever-appealing Dennis Quaid (Undercover Blues, Innerspace and Frequency are three of my favorite movies) or the presence of Trinity her very self, I cannot say. Largely, though, I think it’s just the excellence of the writing and immediate sense of time and of place and of wanting to know more that led to my taking this show emphatically on board.

—Well, what an extraordinarily successful premiere season you’re having here, networks! Add to all of these the Matthew Perry renaissance that is NBC’s Go On, carried over from the summer season, and with possible additions to this list of Arrow, Beauty and the Beast, Chicago Fire, Emily Owens, M. D., Switch, Hunted and Primeval: New Order (not to mention all the mid-season replacements), it seems I may not be getting off my couch much throughout 2012/13 after all.

Damn you, quality television! And praises be upon you, as well.


Rachel Hyland is Editor in Chief of Geek Speak Magazine.

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2. wsl0612
Am I alone in disliking The Mindy Project? It's not Mindy Kaling that's the issue I just really loathe series where the heroine says and does completely cringeworthy things too often. I mean she says something like I'm a vegatarian, I don't eat steak but I do eat hamburgers - UGH!
And having to go through a drunken rant at the wedding, just loathe that trope too!
Heather Waters
3. HeatherWaters
@wsl0612 -- There are definitely some jokes that just haven't worked for me either, but that happened early on in New Girl too (and maybe still does, I'd have to think about it) and overall I'm really enjoying the show. That said, I asked a friend after last week's episode what she thought, and she said she hated the new episode and thought the pilot much better, whereas I had the exact opposite opinion (I'm already a fan of Mindy/Danny, for instance, and I think she'd like to see less of them together). I wonder if it'll always be so polarizing.
4. SassyT
Just a correction on Mob Doctor: They are in Chicago not Boston. I actually like the show although I just don't understand why Grace doesn't just let her brother get himself killed since he's hell bent on doing so. As a super older sister to a crazy younger brother, I get it "look after your little brother" sticks with you well into adulthood. But come on. I'd have told my little brother that he was on his own if he wanted to be stupid. Also, I don't see how she skips out during her shifts at the hospital so much and no one says anything and she hasn't gotten in trouble for it yet. Other than's decent.
5. wsl0612
I checked out The New Normal last night on Hulu and devoured all the eps, it's so fantastic! I agree that the actors playing Bryan and Justin are a wonderful couple (not hysterical stereotype gays, thank goodness) and Goldie and her daughter are so sweet. Ellen Barkin is fantastic and interesting as the overbearing Nana too. This is a must-see :-)
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