Because the pilot copied the Brit original so closely (slightly less so than Shameless did), I spent the hour basically comparing and contrasting. The new Tony and Michelle veer probably too close to the originals (he's got a shot to be as wrongly sexy as Nicolas Hoult, though), and the new Sid ("Stan") has potential. The one major change -- they went and took away the gay boy and made him a gay girl -- I'm actually okay with, as she seems interesting. It's all going to hinge on next week -- the episode about Cassie (now "Katie") was what hooked me on Brit Skins. The new version is really going to have to nail it. [UPDATE: Apparently the "Cassie" episode isn't the second in the American sequence (it's "Tea," aka Girl Maxxie), which sucks in that "Cassie" is the best episode ever, but good in that it maybe signals a quick departure from the Brit narrative.]
Ashleigh's return yielded predictably great returns, especially for her and Casey. She really sold that phone call at the end of the episode -- Amber Stevens is kind of the greatest, and I'm happy to see her breaking out some (see Grey's below). But while the Rusty/Dale storyline was also strong, I can't help but hyper-focus on the best news of the week: Katherine's back!
How I Met Your Mother (1/17)
Fantastic follow-up to the divisive "countdown" episode. Often, a HIMYM episode comes down, for me, to whether I liked the Robin storyline, and her stint as the pusher-man of Marshall's dad's wake was killer. And then that emotional finale, with Alyson Hannigan once again giving me Buffy flashbacks with the crying. And then Barney! Crying! As I said on Twitter, with my mind already on Buffy, Barney breaking was totally the "oh shit! Giles is crying!" moment where everybody loses it.
Bob's Burgers (1/16)
Not as many big laughs as the pilot -- though Tina's sexy zombie/grandparents dream was the exact kind of epic insanity I'm looking for in this show. And Kristen Schaal still totally cracks me up, and I really enjoyed the extended Shining parody. Also, Gene really stepped it up this week.
Big Love (1/16)
You guys, I so wanted this show to come back strong. And in some moments, it did. I'm still riveted to the sister-wives inter-relationships, even if it feels like we're paving over ground we've traveled before (Nicki v. Barb pettiness). And this "Barb might have a drinking problem" shit needs go. But I'm hanging in for moments like Margene desperately trying to hang on to her side business. But honestly -- much as I love Mary Kay Place and Anne Dudek, the UEB storyline has just gotten too operatic to function with the rest of the show. ...I really have to stop thinking about it, because it breaks my heart to think of how great this show was two seasons ago, and I have a hard time seeing a quick way for it to get back on track.
Grey's Anatomy (1/13)
Well, the good news is that Meredith's bangs did not herald a further turn for her down the road to whiny regression. The bad news is that she still has the bangs. Elsewhere, Callie Torres is a character I love, played by an actor I love, in the second of two gay relationship storylines (which you know I love), and yet I am almost never not dissatisfied by the finished product. All the conflict seems so trumped up, and the show can't resist holding onto the (admittedly strong) chemistry between her and Mark. And now she's having his baby? Oy. Bright side: Greek's Amber Stevens as Alex's hot intern!
Top Chef (1/12)
While I'm terribly sad to see my girl Tiffani go, she's been continually harped on by the judges all season, so it was not a shock. And the way the bottom half of the challenge shook out, it was not at all a surprise. Antonia was only there on a technicality, and ain't no way the show was getting rid of golden-boy Blais and the good-for-TV Fabio and Marcel. Speaking of Marcel...everybody's with me on this guy by now, right? At this point, it's kudos to anyone who DOESN'T hold him down and shave his head.