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Sarah Michelle Gellar should thank her lucky stars for Buffy, because she will never have another hit like that. The pilot briefly held my interest, but by Episode 2, I was so bored by Gellar's dreadful attempt to play a Manhattan socialite that I tuned out. And yes, I know that her character is not supposed to be a Manhattan socialite, but she was no better at playing the real Siobhan Martin than she was at playing Bridget pretending to be Siobhan. And OMG her French is terrible. It's not all her fault, though. In spite of the Manhattan backdrops, the show looks cheap as shit -- neither the sets nor the costumes, not even the hairdos come close to looking like the real thing. The producers need to go rent A Perfect Murder to get an idea of what that lifestyle looks like. I laughed out loud when the Martins' new loft was being styled with "exposed brick," which was already bourgeois in the 1980s. However, fans of the terrifically fun British series Hustle may want to tune in to see that gorgeous brunette who played Stacy on TV again.

The Secret Circle
This is the kind of show that makes me long to be a teenager, but only if I could be an unwitting sorceress in a small seaside town that's full of occult intrigue, ridiculously fashionable high-schoolers and all kinds of out-of-the-way places for rituals. This is like Twin Peaks meets The Craft meets Pretty Little Liars. I LOVE IT.

Pan Am
All the glamour of "The Jet Age" presented with the plasticine gloss of Barbie's Malibu Dream House. Although the writers desperately (almost hilariously) try to inject some "serious" topics (The Cold War! The Bay of Pigs! Women's Lib!) into the show, it's really just a soap opera that happens to be set in some incredibly sparkly rendition of the early 1960s. I did like seeing the marvelous Pan Am terminal at JFK Airport brought back to life -- the real one fell into dereliction and was, sadly, demolished last summer. I still remember this terminal from the very first time I ever went to an airport, when I was about six years old, and they did an excellent job of recreating it (oh, those sweeping double staircases!). I also enjoyed seeing the words PAN AM back on what, to this day, I call "the Pan Am Building," as does every superannuated New Yorker such as myself. These bits of nostalgia aside, it was just silly. How silly? Two of the stewardesses are recruited by MI6 (or the CIA?) to spy on Russkies. It's that silly.

Terra Nova
Something about this show really reminded me of '70s and early '80s television -- in a good way. Remember how back then, before anyone had conceived of the horrors of "reality television," they used to make all those expensive miniseries that everyone would watch? Stuff like The Thorn Birds? That's what this felt like: a really expensive miniseries circa 1980. Even the SFX are just slightly on the cheesy side, which doesn't make them any less fun. The characters are all pure stock: the rebellious son, the brainiac daughter, the cute little kid, the sassy girlfriend, etc. I think it's trying to be Lost but it's more like Land of the Lost...or maybe Lost in Space. Which is not at all a bad thing. At any rate, it's been about 85 million years since there was anything to watch on Monday night, so I'll be back for more. And THANK GOD they explained that whole "time stream" business, because up until then I was sitting there yelling "But what about the butterfly effect!?" Seriously, if they hadn't explained that, I wouldn't have been able to enjoy the show as much as I did.

The Walking Dead
Does not premiere until October 16th, but it's never too early to get excited. The posters alone give me goosebumps!!
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January 2012

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