Good TV Shows

“Girls” (HBO) – Season 2

girls 2x09 colour montage.

I just finished Season 2 of Lena Dunham’s “Girls” (HBO).

I liked Season 1. I’m even happier about Season 2.


Best episode? “Bad Friend” (2×03)

Worst episode? “Video Games” (2×07)

Best scene? Marnie’s passive-aggressive, angry, scary Kanye West cover in 2×09:

Worst scene? The final scene of the finale, “Together” (2×10)


Overall, Season 2 was faster, less structured and tried out lots of different approaches and storytelling experiments. Many worked. Some did not (at all), and I understand friends who say that these 10 episodes of 2013 were a mess.

I did watch episodes 2×05 to 2×09 over two days – and got very, very sad. Nobody died, and there was no HUGE melodrama. But most plots points, scenes and twists were so sombre, bitter and intense… it was the most affecting TV experience for me since “Six Feet Under”.


What worked? (Spoilers!) Marnie, Elijah and Hannah – three truly horrible, fascinating protagonists. The brownstone / Patrick Wilson episode. Charlie’s character arc. Shoshanna and Ray’s dynamics. All of Adam’s late-season storylines. Bit characters (most parent, bosses, neighbours, galerists etc.). The music. The bathtub / snot rocket scene. All of the acting (even though I understand if people make fun of Allison Williams).

Also: I liked most sets / colours / the overall late-summer atmosphere. Much improved atmosphere compared to the grey, dusty look of Season 1.


What did not work? The OCD (yet. Maybe this will gain complexity in Season 3). The Jessa episode, “Video Games”, and her CW-like, kitschy daddy issues. Donald Glover (mere window dressing / lip-service). Many underwhelming scenes with Hannah’s parents.

I wish there could have been more… Shoshanna. Ray. Charlie-without-Marnie. Booth Jonathan, Thomas-John (Jessa’s husband). Scenes of the characters actually working / making money. (Natalia is an underdeveloped character, too.)


If you haven’t started watching: Here is the trailer for Season 1.

DVDs, in German: Out in late April 2013, for a hefty EUR 33,99 (Link, Amazon).


Links / much more “Girls” texts, worth your time:


sets and costumes:

actors and behind-the-scenes:



debate / criticism / discourse / angry chatter:


bad sex? or rape? (Adam / Natalia)


end-of-the-season wrap-up stuff (heavy spoilers!)

I also love THIS photo of Lena directing:



New, good TV? 2012’s most promising shows!

Last year, when NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox and the CW announced their fall shows, I did two things:

This year, here are another 8, 9 shows that look solid and, potentially, interesting.

Scroll down to see my favorite, Fox’s The Goodwin Games!


1) Go on, NBC:

Despite their basic plots and high-concept scenarios, both “Cougar Town” (Link) and “Community” (Link) are energetic shows about…

…a quirky, diverse group of grown-ups who hangs out together and has fun.

‎Matthew Perry’s ensemble dramedy “Go on” uses a convoluted, Nick-Hornbyesque scenario (a rogue, sportcasting-inspired self-help grief counselling group?)…

…to create ANOTHER one of these shows: quirky, fast-paced, optimistic and snarky. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel. But it should work just fine:


2) Revolution, NBC:

“The Hunger Games” meets “Lost”: I don’t like Quests (Link) and adventures that feature a lot of walking / exploring in the wilderness… but this is the first big-budget, mainstream TV show by “Supernatural” creator Eric Kripke (Link)

…and with all the martial arts and snarky swashbuckling in the trailer’s second half, there’s a distinct Joss Whedon vibe, too. If “Revolution” doesn’t take itself too seriously… it could be fun, dramatic escapism:


3) Ben and Kate, Fox:

An overgrown man-child, a hapless single mom and lots of heartwarming family hijinks? This won’t be high-brow, dramatic TV. But while most comedies skew towards ONE gender… this looks like a show that can appeal to men and women. So… yay for non-segregation!:-)

(I hope the main characters don’t hook up, though. No incestuous shipping!)


4) The Following, FOX:

Before Kevin Williamson (Link) created “Dawson’s Creek” and “The Vampire Diaries”, he wrote “Scream”. It’s been too long since there was a genuinely scary crime drama on TV. Plus: Kevin Bacon! Let’s hope this finds an audience:


5) Arrow, CW:

“The Dark Knight”… on a CW budget? “Green Arrow” Oliver Queen is one of my favorite DC Comic super-heroes, and as a supporting player in “Smallville”, Justin Hartley has proven that the character works just fine in a weekly show.

Also: Black Canary! Deathstroke! A female big bad! Let’s see if this still looks as good, energetic and engaging after David Nutter (Link), director of the pilot, has moved on:


6) 666 Park Avenue, ABC:

Robert Buckley (“One Tree Hill”), Vanessa Williams (“Ugly Betty”), Terry O’Quinn (“Lost”)… some of my favorite TV faces, in a trashy, campy, overly dramatic genre drama about a posh apartment building… ruled by demonic forces? I’m sceptical. But I love these actors:

I’m still amazed that Ryan Murphy’s “American Horror Story” (Link) turned out to be a critically successfull, well-liked show. Contrast and compare:


7) Nashville, ABC:

I’m not INTERESTED in this dramedy about aging, female friendship, showbiz and country music… but it would be nice to have something (better-written) to show the writers at “Smash” (NBC) and say “Look: THIS is how it’s done!”

Still: I suspect this will be cancelled quickly. The trailer has no energy.


8a) and 8b) Next Caller, NBC & The Mindy Project, FOX:

Another two shows that seem to miss their mark and might need retooling / more work.

“Next Caller” is a modern-day screwball comedy… with a “30 Rock” look:

“The Mindy Project” is the lovechild of “Bridget Jones” and “Grey’s Anatomy”:


My favorite trailer? A quirky, Wes-Anderson-like family drama about siblings reuiniting after their father’s death, Fox’s “THE GOODWIN GAMES”.

It’s “Gilmore Girls”, “The Royal Tenenbaums”, “Arrested Development” and, most of all, “The Westing Game”, and looks surprisingly funny:


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