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Fall TV Report Card: Grading 7 New and Returning Shows

November 21st, 2012 2:00pm EST

New Girl Around this time of year, it’s important to give thanks for everything we have—good food, good family, and a cornucopia of new and returning television shows to love, like or downright hate, so I’m grading seven new and returning television shows...

"New Girl"

What sophomore slump? If you thought the comedy about the most adorable of dorks living with three guys was ripe with cleverness, eccentric humor and GIF-able moments in its first season, you weren’t prepared for the second. Zooey Deschanel, Max Greenfield, Jake Johnson, and Lamorne Morris have bought the heat, the funny and the douchebaggery extra hard in "New Girl's" second season. From Jess’ firing from her teaching job to Nick’s laugh-until-you-cry journey through a haunted house, “New Girl’s” second season is an epic combination of zaniness, bromance and even romance. Which couple do you ship more, Jess and Nick or Schmidt and Cece? It’s impossible to choose. Either way, “New Girl” has just become the new standard for comedy.

Grade: A

"Castle"

So much power has been given to The Moonlighting Curse that some shows are designed around the catch and release between the main characters. ABC's guilty-pleasure crime drama "Castle" laughs in the face of such curses. The fifth season started with its leads, novelist Castle (Nathan Fillion) and police detective Beckett (Stana Katic) very much intertwined in amour and in bed and hasn't looked back. Their relationship, which proved to be the worst kept secret in history, has given the aging series new life, upped the stakes and provided plenty of contemporary, swoon-worthy romance. Case in point: watch Beckett defend her man from a would-be asassain in “Probable Cause.”

Grade: A-

"Guys With Kids"

With this Jimmy Fallon-produced sitcom starring Jesse Bradford, Tempestt Bledsoe and Anthony Anderson, feel free to judge it by the title. “Guys With Kids” is literally about… guys with kids. It also offers predictable writing, stilted performances, and jokes that were fresh back when Bledsoe played a Huxtable. Although the show doesn’t move far beyond “Daddy Daycare” conceit that television has been flogging in the past few years, the babies are cute, it does have its funny moments, and the babies are cute. It’s a shame that “Law & Order” alum and comedian Anderson is an unarmed weapon in a show that desperately needs to launch an offensive, albeit a child-friendly one.

Grade: C-

"The Mob Doctor"

It’s unfortunate that “The Mob Doctor,” a crime-medical drama which wickedly marries a brilliant surgeon (Jordana Spiro) who saves lives with the deceit and violence of organized crime, had such a disappointing and aimless pilot. Since its lackluster premiere, “The Mob Doctor” has rebounded into a riveting, entertaining and gasp-worthy show that’s very nearing Appointment Television status. With less-than-healthy ratings, I’m hoping Fox doesn’t pull the plug just when the war between Constantine and mob rival Paul Moretti is just heating up.

Grade: B+

"Person Of Interest"

Don’t let the sophisticated special effects and badass fight scenes fool you, “Person Of Interest,” CBS’ drama about a magic computer that predicts violent crimes and its billionaire inventor ("Lost’s" Michael Emerson) and ex-spook (Jim Caviezel) who helps prevent them is nothing more than a show about superheroes. The just wear suits instead of capes. Its second season is broadening the support base, bringing in a canine killer named Bear, and hopefully a weasely thief named Leon. “Person Of Interest” sometimes stalls in the same procedural traps that most CBS shows reside in, but it is always uplifted by its cast. Caviezel smolders as the even-keeled, nearly invincible enforcer, Reese. Emerson provides much-needed entertainment as Finche, a pathological and mysterious do-gooder, and Taraji P. Hensen’s Detective Carter is the street-smart voice of reason.

Grade: B

"Emily Owens M.D."

“Emily Owens M.D.," the television show and the main character of The CW’s newest medical drama, is aggravating as much as she is admirable. It and well, she is like the little sister or friend who never listens to your advice and blindly, haplessly stumbles from disaster to triumph to humiliation. Mami Gummer breathes a neurotic and ambitious fire into the main character, who despite becoming a doctor, is still stuck in high school from the horrendous nickname “Pits” to a hopeless crush on her fellow doctor played by “Smallville’s” Justin Hartley. If Gummer reminds you of a another slightly famous actress, namely three-time Oscar winner Meryl Streep, it’s because she’s her daughter. She did inherit those iconic chops, although I hope they won’t go to waste on the cotton candy-esque that makes “Grey’s Anatomy” feel as intense as “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.”

Grade: B-

“The Mindy Project”

Mindy Kaling traded in her Dunder Mifflin stock for a stethoscope and a shiny new comedy on Fox. “The Mindy Project” is shockingly funny and a little dark. Thanks to society, her horrible taste in men, love of alcohol, and being brainwashed by classic romantic comedies, Mindy is a boozy but fashionable mess. Part spontaneous freak show, part bleeding heart, she one of the more complicated and flawed heroines on broadcast television, especially when you consider Kaling’s Indian-American heritage and her refreshing, fuller figure. Her current boyfriend, Josh, is a loveable douchebag, but she also has a fiery hate-hate connection with her fellow doctor, Danny (Chris Messina), that’s so intense, you can’t help but root for them to be dysfunctional messes together.

Grade: B+

What's your favorite new and/or returning show of the season? Hit up the comments section below!

Related: Castle, Emily Owens M.D., Guys With Kids, New Girl, Person of Interest, The Mindy Project, The Mob Doctor, Starpulse Exclusives, Family, Comedy, Action & Adventure, Drama, Sexy Celebrities, Successful Celebrities, ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, The CW

Photo Credits: Fox Broadcasting Company; American Broadcasting Company; NBC Universal Inc.; CBS Broadcasting Company; The CW Network LLC

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