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Fall TV 2011: Your Sunday night survival guide!

Fall TV 2011: Your Sunday night survival guide!
September 25, 2011 DAVE Q
Fall TV 2011: Your Sunday night survival guide!

TelevisionBytes with NineDaves

We’re celebrating the Fall 2011 TV season by breaking down what you need to watch live, DVR, along with what you should save for online viewing this year. We’ll also give you a heads up on the shows you should be reading recaps for to stay in the know with your friends and relatives. We’ve already tackled Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday’s schedules. But here’s the hardest night of all: Sunday!

Fall TV 2011: Your Sunday night survival guide!

WHAT TO WATCH LIVE:

The Amazing Race I was a pretty dedicated viewer of The Amazing Race for its few first seasons, but I eventually dropped off. I just got tired of the ridiculous challenges, the annoying bickering, and Phil Keoghen’s still hosting. That being said, I’m tuning in again this season (its 19th!) to see Survivor alums Ethan Zohn (Survivor Africa) and Jenna Morasca (Survivor Amazon) compete. They both won their respective seasons of Survivor, which makes me think they have a chance to take it on the Race. And they’re a damn good couple! But most of all, I’m a sucker for Zohn’s story. Battling Hodgkin’s lymphoma while still staying totally positive, and doing tons of outreach/fundraising for cancer research? Yeah, that makes him a winner in my book. I’ll stick around until he and Jenna are kicked off.

The Good Wife I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: The Good Wife is the best drama on network television today. Superb acting. Excellent writing.  Compelling storylines. Twists and turns like you wouldn’t believe. A cast of total superstars. I mean, Juliana Margulies, Josh Charles, Chris Noth, Archie Panjabi, Christina Baranski, Alan Cumming, and Matt Czuchry get better and better each week. And can we talk about how MARY BETH PEIL IS IN THIS! GRAHAM FROM DAWSON’S CREEK Y’AL! I just… I can’t even say enough, really. If you haven’t seen it yet, then you MUST start now.

Pan Am In a post-Mad Men world, any show set in the 60s is going to feel like a total rip-off. The Playboy Club got the most comparisons (and therefore, the most criticisms – though I still really enjoyed it). Pan Am seems to have avoided the sting, though I’m sure it’ll take some time to get Don Draper and company out of your mind when watching. The show follows a group of Pan Am stewardesses  – played by Margot Robbie, Kelli Garner, Christina Ricci, and Karine Vanasse – each with their own drama. Garner’s character, for example, is heavily involved in government-assisted espionage. Bet you didn’t see that coming, huh? But the drama isn’t what to get hooked on, really. It’s the destinations! After I finished the pilot, I immediately started searching vacation destinations. If only Pan Am were still around to fly…

WHAT TO DVR:

Desperate Housewives I recognize that most of you stopped watching Desperate Housewives after season one. But for those of you who’ve stuck around, you’re probably going to tune into the eighth and final season. Sure, saying goodbye to Susan Mayer, Lynette Scavo, Bree Van de Kamp, and Gabrielle Solis probably won’t be too hard – even for us diehard fans who’ve grown tired of the “new neighbor, new mystery” formula. But really, even bad Desperate Housewives is good TV. Fore me, it’s campy, over-the-top, ridiculousness. Perfect, relaxing Sunday-night TV.

The Real Housewives of New Jersey I know I’m alone on this one, but holy shit have I enjoyed this season of RHONJ. After a stellar first season, the show took a turn for the worst last season – focusing on fabricated drama and mean-girl nonsense. Getting rid of Danielle Staub (the show’s biggest villain to date) and adding two new housewives could have been a major misstep. But Kathy Wakile and Melissa Gorga are two of the best housewives in the whole franchise. And the family drama between Teresa, Joe, Melissa, and Joe has been ah-mazing to watch. We’re probably 2-3 episodes away from a finale (and a two-part reunion, most likely). But whatever’s left of RHONJ is totally worth watching.

Watch What Happens Live To watch after The Real Housewives of New Jersey, obvi.

WHAT TO WATCH ONLINE:

The Walking Dead I’m not a fan of vampires. Zombies on the other hand? Hell yeah! Thank god The Walking Dead is here to fix my need for those brain-eating motherfuckers. Honestly, I have no idea what to expect from season two. But I’m sure we’ll get a lot of amazing actions and some super-duper gruesome deaths.

Dexter The devilishly fun series returns for another season. This time, Dexter’s heading down a spiritual search , as he goes up against Edward James Olmos’s Professor Gellar – a religious-studies professors who’s linked to a few murders. There’s no telling whether he’ll be as memorable a character as Julia Stiles and John Lithgow have played in the past. But damn if it won’t be fun to watch!

How to Make it in America It wasn’t the biggest hit for HBO. But I totally loved How to Make it in America. The show follows Ben Epstein (Bryan Greenberg) and Cam Calderon (Victor Rasuk), as they try and find their way through NY’s competitive fashion scene. The jokes aren’t that overt – and the drama not nearly as intense as other premium cable offerings. But there’s something charming about this show. I also kinda relate to the “I hope I get it” attitude – maybe because I too still see myself as a 20-something living in NYC trying to make it.  I wouldn’t carve out specific time to catch this over the other Sunday-night TV. But backlogging some episodes online (or even catching up on a whole season on Netflix), you’ll probably fall for HTMIIA.

WHAT TO READ ABOUT ONLINE THE NEXT DAY:

You may want to keep up with the score of the football game?

WHAT TO IGNORE:

I haven’t seen the pilot for Once Upon a Time yet, but from what I’ve seen of the previews, I’m not sure it’s my thing. The cast is pretty great though, so if I lose track of The Amazing Race, I may change my tune. I’ve never been a fan of Fox’s Sunday night “Animation Nation” block. I’ll ignore CSI: Miami just like I’ve ignored all the other CSI shows this season. And as much as people rave about Boardwalk Empire, I just couldn’t get into it. Steve Buscemi is kinda creepy, yo!