We already receive our most important life lessons from television, but we're hoping producers, studios and networks themselves learn from the successes and failures of this fall. Here are our big takeaways from the first half of the 2011-12 season:
10. There Are Only So Many Times You Can Remake Charlie's Angels
You can put all the hot girls you want into tight outfits, but unless you find a way to reboot that concept Hawaii Five-0-style, no one is going to watch. Especially when we can just watch the movies or the classic TV show. They should have gone full-on camp, especially given the lack of acting "talent" in the reboot.
9. Will Arnett Should Stick to Playing Nice Guys
Running Wilde was awful and obnoxious, but on Up All Night, Arnett might finally have a show that will last. Why? Because he's playing a nice, normal dude. It's refreshing.
8. A Little Whitney Cummings Goes a Long Way
She's got not just one, but two shows on TV -- Whitney and Two Broke Girls. While 2 Broke Girls is better, there's still a lot that's wrong there. Perhaps if she'd focused her energies a little more, she could have created one really great show.
7. If You're Going to Make a Family Drama, Some of the Characters Have to be Likeable
Is it wrong that we hope for most of the Shannon clan on Terra Nova to get lost in the jungle and die? They are the show's least interesting characters; we still don't know why they had that whiny little girl and we don't actually care all that much about finding out more about them, which hasn't exactly made this generally disappointing show any easier to watch.
6. You Shouldn't Cut the Budget of Your Most Popular Show
The Walking Dead is AMC's biggest hit... so they cut the budget in order to pay for more Mad Men and the show suffered. There weren't nearly enough walkers this season, and far too much time was spent at that boring farm.
5. Colin Hanks Is Not a Convincing Villain
In the past, Dexter has had good luck with taking unlikely people and casting them as season-long killers (Julia Stiles, anyone?). But Colin Hanks was not one of them. This season with the Doomsday Killer has been almost unwatchable and the big twist involving Edward James Olmos left us entirely underwhelmed.
4. Ryan Murphy Should Stick to Weird and Scary
Glee is almost entirely terrible now and that Christmas episode nearly made us lose faith in television altogether. Still, American Horror Story is the freaky little show that could. It's weird and wild and reminds us of when Murphy did Nip/Tuck. And there's not an ill-covered pop tune in sight.
3. Some Actresses Deserve Another Chance to Make a First Impression
We were almost ready to write of Revenge because Emily VanCamp isn't exactly known for her acting skills -- she was passable on Everwood and utterly irritating on Brothers & Sisters. But on ABC's freshman drama, she's deliciously evil. Glad she grew up and sunk her teeth into something disturbingly meaty. Same goes for Claire Danes, who has been floating around in whiny and largely forgettable roles since My So-Called Life (Temple Grandin, is the exception). On Homeland, she's absolutely terrific as a bipolar CIA officer... even when she ugly cries.
2. There Is Only One Mad Men and It Cannot Be Copied
Pan Am and The Playboy Club both tried to capture a little bit of the period drama that Mad Men has so masterfully achieved. But neither one could successfully bring the swinging '60s to life, ending their runs prematurely (or so we presume in Pan Am's case).
1. Nicole Scherzinger Should Not Be Allowed to Judge Things
The Sing-Off was about 100 times better without her, as Scherzinger leaving paved the way for Sara Barielles, who was competent and utterly adorable. Meanwhile, Scherzinger joined the unwatchable X Factor and really did nothing but drag the show further down with her inability to market to older people and make any kind of important decision whatsoever.
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