TV shows, like students, get graded

Robert Taylor

OK, so most of the major network shows have premiered by now, and as we approach midterms, it’s only fitting that I give each series a grade.

“America’s Next Top Model”

The CW, Wednesdays at 8 p.m.

Grade: A-

This is the trashiest fun I’ve had with my guilty-pleasure reality show since Cycle 2. The nasty women are really bitchy this season. The competition actually has several excellent contenders, and Tyra seems to have reinserted herself as a presence to be reckoned with in the series once again. That, and some great photo shoots (the bulimia photo is one of the best the show has ever produced) make this a must see.

“Desperate Housewives”

ABC, Sundays at 9 p.m.

Grade: D

You know what? I’m done. The moment the series sunk low enough to rip off “Nip/Tuck” with the birth of Carlos and Gabby’s baby, the show officially died for me. Bree is an idiot. Susan isn’t funny stupid with her mishaps; she’s just stupid. Lynette is such a vocal woman but can’t find the courage to tell of her husband’s ex? And Gabby is just a caricature of what used to be a clich‚. These cutouts don’t even resemble the characters I fell in love with, so I’m done.

“Gilmore Girls”

The CW, Tuesdays at 8 p.m.

Grade: A-

This was the series I was most worried about as this season began. Series creator Amy Sherman-Palladino departed at the end of the last season, and I feared that the dialogue and characters would never be the same. I was completely wrong, and I’m man enough to admit it. The show is as emotional, witty and addictive as ever, but the seeming isolation of all the cast (Rory at Yale, Luke and Lorelai on the skids, Logan in London, Lane married) give the entire show a disconnected feeling that needs to be righted soon.

“Grey’s Anatomy”

ABC, Thursdays at 9 p.m.

Grade: D+

What the hell happened!? Nothing, that’s what. Meredith didn’t choose. Izzie hasn’t come back to the program yet. McDreamy is as McStupid as ever. George hasn’t told Callie he loves her yet. I just have no reason to care about these characters I loved so much when I saw the second season. Please give us something to latch onto because if this keeps up, I might have to crawl back to “The O.C.” begging forgiveness.


NBC, Mondays at 9 p.m.

Grade: B+

The series actually improved by a large margin between the pilot and the second episode. The mythology of the show certainly has the same vibe as “Lost” did before it became unwatchable because of its pacing, and that may hurt the show in the long term, but right now the joy of discovering the characters and guessing at the mysteries ensures that I’m here for at least a season. It’s a welcome addition to my weekly TV appetite.

“The Office”

NBC, Thursdays at 8:30 p.m.

Grade: C+

OK, the producers keeping Pam and Jim apart so early is by far the worst mistake the producers could have made. Keeping them completely separate (in different cities) for the foreseeable future has robbed the show of its soul. Yes, there are funny moments and Steve Carrell is funny as ever, but the loss of the power couple has reduced this once-great show to a half-baked soap opera. What a shame.

“One Tree Hill”

The CW, Wednesdays at 9 p.m.

Grade: A+

OK, so the writers must know that the show is so terrible that they are writing this teen drama as high comedy. It gives me more belly laughs per hour than any sitcom. I love how main characters are hospitalized, and we don’t know their conditions. But Skills decides to go to the hospital and ask Lucas if he can play with the Ravens. Great timing, dude. And I love how unrealistic the triangle between Lucas, Brooke and Peyton is, yet how I just can’t wait to see how it’s resolved. I’m addicted, and I’m not ashamed to admit it.

“Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip”

NBC, Mondays at 10 p.m.

Grade: A-

The cast here is phenomenal, and the subject matter is certainly addictive. Aaron Sorkin (the guy behind “The West Wing”) writes the best dialogue on television, making it witty and quotable without making it seem unreal or purposely outlandish, and that helps to elevate the sometimes uneven plotlines. Now if only the comedy sketches were funny.

“Veronica Mars”

The CW, Tuesdays at 9 p.m.

Grade: A

OK, here I go again: “Veronica Mars” is the best drama on network television, and none of you are watching it or even giving it a chance! Why!? This season seems primed to be the best yet with more mysteries, faster pacing and a tangible love triangle for Veronica. Also, Kristen Bell will be a superstar in, like, two years, so why not get on the bus early?