Don't ask me how, or why. Blame it on boredom, or the fact I was cleaning and needed a bit of distraction. But somehow, I ended up watching the entire prime time line-up on ABC yesterday... I'm not proud. On the upside, I can give you a run-down of ABC's Wednesday night!8pm - The Middle
What I love: The uncomfortably honest portrayal of a middle-class, Midwestern American family. They struggle financially, their kids are average (no one's a genius, a world-class athlete or secret rock star), and they're basically good people... most of the time. It's Rosanne without the despair. It's Malcolm in the Middle without the slapstick. Also, I heart Neil Flynn.
What I hate: Because it resembles other well-known shows, The Middle tends to be somewhat... forgettable.
Overall feeling: I'd watch it again.
Love: There was a nice moment where one of the protagonists, up until then a shiftless loser idiot, displays remarkable artistic vision.
Hate: That scene was the single point of interest during an interminable half-hour of television. Better With You chronicles the lives of three couples that form a single family - retirement-age parents have two adult daughters, both of whom are married. It uses every tired TV trope, creates caricatures rather than characters, and goes for the cheap laugh. A few diamond-in-the-rough moments of entertainment are not enough to make up for all of that.
Overall: There's a tiny glimmer of hope for this show - it's got strong (though not A-list) acting talent. Throw away some of those cliches and we'll talk.
9pm - Modern Family
Overall: Appointment television - I sat my ass down and promptly laughed it off. I didn't love this show at first, but I now recognize and acknowledge its sheer awesomeness.
9:30 - Cougar Town
Love: DAN BYRD. It is one of the greatest tragedies of our times that Aliens in America got cancelled. I previously blogged about this show as well - and I must say, without the weight of expectation, it was much more enjoyable on the second go-around. Possibly I also liked it because it was a Travis-centric episode.
Hate: I still think this show could be something more... a satire on our youth-obsessed culture, perhaps. That's probably just me.
Overall: Sure, why not.
10pm - The Whole Truth
Love: The cinematography is interesting - characters are presented as parts of their environment, rather than in a strict foreground/background approach. As a result each shot is crowded, but not cluttered. Something about it is more... organic? Immediate? I don't know, but it's good. Also, seeing the same story take on different meanings from the protagonists' individual viewpoints is a great representation of the adversarial legal system.
Hate: So far the characters seem pretty two-dimensional. Jimmy Brogan is a defense attorney, born of humble beginnings but with a heart of gold. Kathryn Peale is a tough female prosecutor just trying to get by in this man's world. Shared history, sexual tension, courtroom drama, blah blah blah.
Overall: I like the idea of it, and the way it's put together cinematically. Other than that... meh.