Although autumn is rife with new series on television, not everything is guaranteed to be great. Television pilots can’t accurately determine the quality of a show, but these four series currently airing on television (the exception being “Manhattan Love Story,” which was recently cancelled) have continued to disappoint. Here are our suggestions of what you should watch on Netflix instead.
Skip “Bad Judge;” watch “Hot Rod.”
Some expected “Bad Judge” to be a successor to “House,” a television show about an amoral doctor. However, “Bad Judge” lacks a worthwhile plot and relies too heavily on crass jokes that, for the most part, aren’t funny. In contrast, “Hot Rod” is a film where the plot is less important because the script is heavily improvised, the humor is sometimes absurd and the film delivers jokes very rapidly. The comedy group The Lonely Island wrote, directed and starred in “Hot Rod.” So, like their songs, even if one joke in the film is a dud, there are more that are worth re-watching.
Skip “Selfie;” watch “Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23.”
This year, “Selfie” joins the ranks of adequate television shows cursed with a terrible title and destined to be overshadowed by it. “Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23” was another recent poorly-titled sitcom. However, it quickly changed gears from what you might expect given its salacious title by focusing on the unexpected friendship between the two female leads. There was still a “B” in the show, but the “B” began to have redeeming qualities like sympathy.
Skip “Gracepoint;” watch “Zodiac”
“Gracepoint” would be a strong crime drama for FOX…if it weren’t a remake of the U.K. series “Broadchurch.” Instead, if you’re craving a dark mystery, watch “Zodiac.” One of director David Fincher’s lesser known works, the film excellently captures the hysteria and mystery surrounding one of the most infamous serial killers, The Zodiac Killer, whose identity remains dubious to this day. It’s easily one of Jake Gyllenhaal’s best performances; he leads the film as the cartoonist who quickly becomes obsessed with the case.
Skip “Mulaney;” watch “New In Town.”
John Mulaney is a gifted stand-up comedian who tackles pop culture with self-deprecation. However, I don’t think his humor translates into the sitcom format. His show “Mulaney” has the potential to be like “Seinfeld,” but John Mulaney is still finding a balance between producing, writing and acting in his own show. In the meantime, watch his recent stand-up special “New In Town.” When relying solely on his stand-up comedy, Mulaney shines; don’t miss his excellent impression of Ice-T in “Law & Order: SVU.”
Skip “Manhattan Love Story;” watch “Silver Linings Playbook.”
“Manhattan Love Story” is a rom-com sitcom that doesn’t aim to be realistic; it disguises gender stereotypes as characters and easily falls back on romantic tropes for comedy. If you’re in the mood for a smarter romantic comedy, watch “Silver Linings Playbook,” one of the best romantic comedies in recent years. The characters feel real because they can’t be defined in one word; they’re vulnerable, quirky and a little crazy. They also live complicated lives, and some of us can relate to that. On screen, Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper have amazing chemistry together and the romance thrives as a result.
Contact Marty Semilla at msemilla ‘at’ stanford.edu.