Two of my favourite new shows of last year are both about halfway through their second year and continue to be my top choices for very different reasons.
The Good Wife sounds like it could be incredibly predictable and clichéd – disgraced politician’s wife goes back to work as a lawyer – however it is the best drama on tv because it just does everything right!
The legal cases are interesting and involving, but what really makes it work are the characters and the relationships. Pretty much everyone on the show has secrets of some sort, but they are well developed three dimensional characters that intrigue you. From the wonderfully scheming Eli Gold to super-secretive Kalinda, added to which are a roster of wonderful guest stars.
This season has seen the ramping up of Kalinda’s storyline, adding an equally sly rival at the firm who appears to know some of her secrets. We also met Donna, Kalinda’s ex- although she’s not exactly out and proud yet!
The relationship between Alicia and Will has been mainly on the back burner, until a recent episode where Alicia found out about Will’s voicemail wanting to have a real relationship. That situation has been complicated by his new girlfriend!
What I have been really impressed with about The Good Wife is that they have continued the very high standards from last year in terms of character and storytelling. A terrific cast including some wonderful guest stars means this high quality drama is at the top of my list for watching.
The only competitor for my number 1 show is Glee. The show is about halfway through its second season and in my opinion has been pretty damn good. Glee has had some criticism for its unevenness and I agree that the random actions of the characters annoys me at times. I am a big fan of Lea Michele as Rachel Berry. In my opinion, her amazing voice is one of the main reasons the show took off. However there have been some weaker episodes. The back 9 of last year was extremely up and down, from the brilliance of the Madonna episode and the superb Lady Gaga numbers to the extremely naff ‘Funk’ episode. Part of the problem Glee has is that your enjoyment of the episode of largely based on whether you like the songs.
Season 2 of Glee has been more consistent for me. I enjoyed the Britney Spears episode, although I am not a fan of her music. The main criticism is that the show has been pretty much the Kurt Hummel Hour for much of season 2. Poor Rachel has been little seen and frankly rather poorly written until recently. Rachel’s diva ways have always been a big part of the fun, but the character was written as so conniving and dislikeable in the first few episodes! Meanwhile, Saint Kurt has been suffering from homophobic bullying, his father had a heart attack and recently married Finn’s mother. Kurt is a fully rounded character who we have got to know better and better, but I am concerned that it has been to the detriment of most of the other characters. Rachel and Kurt struck up a kind of friendship, which has been one of the better moves in the last few episodes, but more Rachel please! When are we going to meet those dads?
New characters on Glee this year have generally been very successful. Darren Criss as Kurt’s new friend Blaine has been a big hit, partly because he is very cute, but also for the rather wonderful acapella musical arrangements. Their version of Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream is a deserved hit. New to McKinley High is Sam (Chord Overstreet – really? That’s a real name??) who is fine if a tad bland. Notable is you have two guys who really can sing there. New football coach Shannon Beist has turned out to be a really good addition to the show. An interesting character, Biest looks formidable but is actually a kind hearted character. I rather liked her dressing up as Santa to go see Brittany.
Emma’s new boyfriend, dentist Carl played by John Stamos is also a good addition. Much better for her than the increasingly annoying Will, he’s yet another decent singer as we saw in The Rocky Horror episode – a risky but ultimately pretty successful Glee outing.
Big name guest stars included Britney Spears, but more impressive was Gwyneth Paltrow who was surprisingly excellent in The Substitute, particularly her version of Cee Lo’s Forget You. She must have had a tough week on set as the episode also included a big dance number with Lea Michele and a ridiculously elaborate Umbrella/Singing in the Rain song complete with rain effects.
However, for all the guest stars and themed episodes, my favourite moment from the season so far is the ‘Marry You’ song from the episode Furt. Not a perfect episode as it was the peak of the Kurt Hummel Show, with Sue bending over backwards to help him and Kurt pretty much being the star at his dad’s wedding. The actual wedding itself had the Glee kids – and Burt and Carol – dancing down the aisle to the song Marry You. I’m not familar with Bruno Mars, but the pure joy, nay glee of this number just brought a huge smile to my face and even a tear to my eye, reminding me why I love this show.
In terms of relationships, it’s been all change! Tina has dumped Artie for Mike, Artie is going out with Brittney, although Brittana fans also got to see Brit and Santana snuggling! Rachel and Finn were a couple for most of the run, but a rather bad break up looks like it might be permanent. Quinn is sort of dating Sam, Kurt is into Blaine but they are just friends right now. Sue almost married herself (in the most ridiculous idea of the season, although her tracksuit wedding dress with hilarious) and Emma did get married – to dishy dentist Carl.
The balance of the show has been a little off at times this season, with the Kurt heavy storylines resulting in him now going to another school which I am not keen on. I want to see him as part of the gang so I hope this doesn’t last! We have barely seen Mercedes and even Sue’s snarkiness has been absent at times. I am a little worried that they seem to have run out of ideas about what to do with Rachel. Hopefully her friendship with Kurt can continue as that was nice to see for both characters.
I could go on longer about my two favourites! It’s quite a long wait for any new Glee episodes – sometimes in February I think. Not sure if it is quite as long for The Good Wife, but no other new show has the magic of these two for me.