1) I can be as cynical as the next guy, but I think the steam is finally building to make the “Arrested Development” comeback a reality. I think there’s something to be said for the out-and-out desire of all the principals to make it happen, and when you consider what a boon the show would be to some cable outlet (as opposed to meeting broadcast rating demands), there’s incentive there as well. Obviously there are financial hurdles, but count me as a believer. Someone’s going to want the cachet of bringing this project back to life.
For those who want to see the event that generated the latest “Development” developments, go to the New Yorker’s Facebook Exclusives page.
2) Not since the peak of “Lost” can I recall a show that delivered such consistent edge-of-your-seat excitement over a period of weeks as AMC’s “Breaking Bad” has in its second half of 2011. Every episode has my jaw dropping. And like my colleague Stu Levine, I’ve seen the Oct. 9 season finale of “Breaking Bad,” and it does not disappoint.
3) Nice to see I’m not alone in enjoying the first episode of “Homeland,” which I’d say might be my favorite pilot from Showtime ever.
4) On the flip side, I’ve begun cutting out the fall TV that, while not bad, didn’t exert enough of a pull to keep me watching. For example, ABC’s “Revenge,” CBS’ “A Gifted Man” and Fox’s “Terra Nova” all have their strong points, but I couldn’t find myself caring enough about the characters and situations to stick with them beyond their second hours.
5) Part of the reason these shows were dropped: I’ve been rewatching all of “Mad Men” via AMC, which has been showing three reruns a week. There’s only so much time …
6) Strangely, one show I was sure I’d have dropped by now but continue to stick with is the CW’s “Ringer.” After what I thought was a very shaky pilot, I feel that show has found its groove — such as it is — pretty quickly. There are still some preposterous elements to it, but in the past two episodes, I’ve never felt the urge to turn it off.
7) Had my first DVR mishap of the year: If the second hour of “Pan Am” was good or bad, I couldn’t tell you.
8) Fox’s “New Girl” was my favorite broadcast comedy in the round of pilots, but the second episode was uneven. I’m still optimistic about the show, but while Zooey Deschanel is still appealing in all her quirkiness and all the roomates are likable, they have to be careful not to have the characters just be plain too stupid at times.
9) Saw the pilot of FX’s “American Horror Story,” reviewed here by our Brian Lowry. Unlike some series that have everything but the kitchen sink, “Horror” has everything and the kitchen sink, plus the bathroom sink and the sink from, well, that bloody basement that you shouldn’t even be going into. I’m not a horror guy in general, so I’m not going to stick with it, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see the show find an audience for FX. And Connie Britton rocks, of course.
10) Two weeks into “Boardwalk Empire” season two, I’m not sure the whole is as good as its individual parts. I realize this doesn’t quite make sense, but while I care about Nucky, Chalky, Jimmy and Margarety (what, she doesn’t get a “y?”), at the end of each episode, I’m not sure how rewarding the entire experience has been. I imagine that will rev up as the season progresses, however.
11) The first two episodes of upcoming Starz series “Boss,” starring Kelsey Grammer, are promising — though I don’t find it completely unfair to sum up the show as “Boardwalk Empire 2011,” with its focus on the byzantine behind-the-scenes workings in a major city, only set in the present. In any case, the only thing stopping Grammer from a 2012 Emmy nomination will be getting voters to see the show.
12) “The Office” is off to a pretty good start in the post-Steve Carell era, with the ascension of Andy Bernard (Ed Helms) to Michael Scott’s position providing some good story fodder. There have been plenty of laugh-out-loud moments, as well as great endings to each of the first two episodes. It hasn’t been perfect, but for a comedy in its eighth season, I’ll take it.
13) That being said, NBC’s “Parks and Recreation” is the best scripted comedy on the air right now, just ahead of ABC’s “Modern Family.”
14) That being said, there isn’t much that’s funnier than Bernadette (Melissa Rauch) channeling the mother of Howard (Simon Helberg) on “The Big Bang Theory.”
15) I’m one of the few who has liked NBC’s “Free Agents” more than its lead-in “Up All Night,” but given the ratings of the former, I don’t imagine that choice will be around for much longer.
16) CBS needs to take Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs from “2 Broke Girls” and Rhys Darby, Dave Foley and Mary Lynn Rajskub from “How to Be a Gentleman” and give them entirely different shows.
17) Best show you probably didn’t see is BBC America’s six-episode presentation of “The Hour,” featuring knockout performances by Romola Garai and Ben Whishaw alongside the always reliable Dominic West. If you missed that, at least try to catch the quick second season of “Luther.”
18) “How To Make It in America” had its second-season premiere on HBO on Sunday, and the show continues to fascinate me. The first year, I couldn’t believe I was watching a show that centered around whether two guys could sell a pair of pants. The exciting year-two twist? They’ve moved on to hoodies! And yet, the show is crisp and well-executed, and I’m still on board.
19) You think you’re just about caught up on your TV watching, and then … oh yeah, “Prohibition.” It never ends …