Dispatches From the Couch: SURVIVOR, SLEEPY HOLLOW, THE GOOD WIFE & More!

It’s that time of year when we’re grateful for a DVR and On-Demand. Seriously, how in the world did people keep up with all their favorites in the primitive days before those existed? And heck, a lot of our favorites — THE WALKING DEAD, AMERICAN HORROR STORY, etc — haven’t even returned yet! But let’s flip around the dial, talk about some of what we’re watching at the moment…

When future TV academics look back at the reality genre in general and SURVIVOR in particular, it’s likely that Colton will go down as the most annoying player ever. Yes, there have been meaner, more manipulative castaways, but none were as maddeningly unlikeable as Colton. Even Jeff Probst seemed fed up with the whiner this week, calling Colton selfish and revealing that he had “feigned” his illness last time. “We brought a quitter back,” the peeved host said, “and we got a [quitter] again… You can keep your buff, I won’t give you the honor of throwing that in the urn. We’ll keep that reserved for people who compete.” Sometimes, big personalities are fun to watch on reality shows. Who can forget Phillip, with his Stealth ’R Us silliness and pink panties? Or villainous Russell? But while they were “love to hate” personas, it’s hard to imagine Colton inspire anything but the latter emotion in most viewers.

Given that there are an awful lot of fantastic shows airing around the dial these days, I don’t say the following sentence lightly, but here goes: THE GOOD WIFE might be the best show on television. From its timely cases to its deft blending of humor and drama, this is a series that delivers just about everything a viewer could possibly want. Thing about last Sunday’s premiere. In a single hour, stories touched on political redemption via Peter’s removing temptation from his office, Alicia’s torn loyalties, the lighter side of telecommuting, prison brokers (a term I’d never heard before) and how a parent’s fame can accidentally drag a child into the spotlight. The evolution of Cary and Alicia’s relationship over the years (“We are the new Will and Diane.”) has made for a study in wary workplace alliances. And to think the show started as a procedural tied loosely to the concept of a wronged wife standing by her man. You’ve come a long way, babies.

I’m coming a little late to the SLEEPY HOLLOW party, but man, am I glad that I RSVP’d! The pilot was interesting, but didn’t really hook me. Yesterday, however, I swung over to Hulu and watched the second and third offerings of what may be the scariest show to hit the networks since THE X-FILES. Better still, the special effects are top notch. Not to incur the ire of a million SUPERNATURAL fangirls, but HOLLOW’s various creeptures make the demons pursued by the Winchester boys look about as frightening as the smoke monster on LOST. The chemistry between the leads is fantastic, and the show strikes a great balance between mythology, creature-of-the-week and humor. As an extra added bonus for opening credit’s freaks, it has a wicked spooky one!

Week two of HOSTAGES did not disappoint, continuing to move at a great pace while giving Toni Collette the best role she’s had since her stunning performance as Queenie in Broadway’s The Wild Party. The plot manages the difficult trifecta of being compelling, rich and yet easy to follow. If I have one word of caution, it would be that the series needs to make sure that the bad guys — even as they become more embroiled in the lives of their captives — don’t lose their edge

I struggle with how any of the better-than-the-material actors attached to MOMS read the pilot script and said, “Yes, this is something I want to do.” Perhaps knowing it was from hitmaker Chuck Lorre was the draw. Maybe it was the other names who for whatever reason had already signed on. But man, what a dead-on-arrival pilot. Those who stuck past the painfully unfunny opening sequence did catch glimpses of what might, given time, turn into a fun if pedestrian sitcom. Allison Janney and French Stewart rise above the banal-at-best material, but Anna Faris — whom I have loved in moves like The House Bunny and What’s Your Number? gives a one-note performance here. A love of the talent will keep me coming back, but for how long may be the question…

Were you glad to see Colton remove himself from the competition? Which new shows are you checking out? Let us know in the comment section below!