Bunch of new TV tonight, including the second night of Season 10 of "American Idol," the NBC sitcom "Perfect Couples," USA's "Fairly Legal" and the return of "Parks and Recreation" and "Royal Pains." Comments follow the jump.
Very happy to see "Parks and Recreation" again; it's a show that balances absurdity and good characters in a consistently entertaining way. Make note of Ron Swanson's Pyramid of Greatness. Moderately happy about "Royal Pains." It's an amiable show, and I watch regularly, but it has felt a bit flat lately -- especially when it gets into the whole serialized business with Hank's father. Not that I dislike Henry Winkler. It just adds a sprawl to a show that was fine when it looked closely at fewer characters.
Of the new stuff, "Perfect Couples" was a surprise. It's a comedy about three couples, a mingling of friends and relatives, all in their thirties, each dealing with their relationships in different ways. In other words, it's plowing a field TV has worked a lot. But this show is funny -- a little bit off the charts at times, but it made me laugh more than once in the two episodes I've previewed. Took a few minutes to get accustomed to the tone, but after that I was amused. But amused enough to DVR it every week? Tough call. NBC thinks it will work as part of its three prime-time hours of comedies, along with "Community," "Parks and Rec," "The Office," "30 Rock" and "Outsourced," and I am already on board for "Community," "30 Rock" and "The Office," at least for now. (I have a couple of discs full of "Parks and Rec," so I won't have to save recording space for it just now.) And, over at CBS, "Big Bang Theory." And "Modern Family" and "HIMYM" (which had one of its best episodes ever this week) and, yes, "Two and a Half Men." I will give "Perfect Couples" at least one more shot, but it's got to elbow into a lot of TV. (I haven't even mentioned the dramas I watch.)
"Fairly Legal," enh. No danger of it making my viewing list. Sarah Shahi plays a mediator in a show that is on the slicker side of USA's charming-rebel genre. (See also "Royal Pains.") But the pilot was bland, not only in terms of story but Shahi's character. I saw it once. No reason for more.