The Week In TV: Seriously. You Need to Watch Community

I know you think the only event of note last week in TV Land was the sad departure of Tom DeLay from Dancing With the Stars. But Dazzle Me Dreamy's punk out was only the beginning.

  • NBC canceled Southland, which is officially the first victim of uber-hack Jay Leno's primetime talk show. Granted, the cop show wasn't stellar, but it was consistently good; it was basically The Wire: Lite with prettier and whiter people. But it had solid stories, and more importantly, it was the kind of quasi-substantial police drama that's been absent from the air for years because your parents keep watching CSI. The network had even renewed the show months ago, and there are already six new eps in the can, but instead of bringing the series back on October 23, Dateline will hold the spot for now. The reasoning? NBC said the show was too dark and gritty for its time slot of 9 ET/8 CT. Which of course is bullshit, since that's when CSI airs on CBS Thursdays. The net just doesn't like a dark lead-in for Leno's schlockfest. (Honestly, how can one man have made a career out of finding newspaper typos?) Producer John Wells will presumably shop the show to cable networks, and good luck to him.
  • Modern Family is still pretty funny, but it veered this week into some broader set-em-up-knock-em-down joke structures, primarily with the young Manny giving life advice to the adult Claire. Having kids act wise beyond their years is always embarrassing and stupid, not to mention lazy, and it'd be nice if the show could stick to slightly more believable character relationships.
  • Speaking of Modern Family: Does the single-camera, interview style make any sense? A single-camera show doesn't have to be a faux documentary, and it's often a stronger choice to play it straight (30 Rock, Arrested Development). Who are these people being interviewed by, and why?
  • Hey look, ventriloquist and "comedian" Jeff Dunham is getting his own show on Comedy Central! Hey look, something sharp to stick in my eye!
  • Is anybody else's Fox feed a little hinky with Comcast? On my older CRT, the normal Fox station looks like it's broadcasting stuff with the sides cut off, like the HD version was blown up and trimmed. Am I crazy?
  • Seriously, you need to watch Community.
  • I know you don't watch Saturday Night Live on a regular basis, you just wait for a sketch to break out or make news and then catch it on Hulu. (e.g. The season opener in which new girl Jenny Slate dropped the F bomb.) And that's still a good idea, as this week's abysmal episode with Drew Barrymore proved. But we need to take a moment to talk about how awesome Bill Hader's impression of James Carville is. Guy first trotted it out on the Thursday Weekend Update earlier this fall, and his latest visit to Seth Meyer's news desk on Saturday was the highlight of the show. It's hilarious, scathing, and weird, and it's the best new character on SNL.

Looking ahead to the rest of this week, we've got the return of the blessed and wonderful 30 Rock on Thursday. There are also apparently some kind of high-stakes baseball games being broadcast for those of you so inclined.

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