Welcome to The Groove Tube, a weekly recap of the highlights (and lowlights) of some of the scripted TV shows I'm watching (in order of preference):
Best Opening Scene of the Week Honorable Mention: Once again the series gave us a sneak peek at the future (Labor Day weekend) as a dead body was discovered on Jack's boat, which has sunk to the bottom of the sea.
Hottest Hunk of the Week: 34-year-old Nick Wechsler as Jack, who is one fine piece of beefcake.
Best Guest Star of the Week Runner-Up: I've always liked actress Jennifer Jason Leigh, who is now playing Amanda's mother, Kara.
Most Surprising Transformation of the Week: Nolan has become quite butch since we last saw him (I do like his new haircut), which I guess is a requirement for him to begin his new heterosexual romance (I do not like this upcoming plot twist).
Worst Couple of the Week: Daniel and Ashley (I wouldn't be surprised to learn that she's also sleeping with Conrad).
Grade: A (I've missed this fabulous soap opera, which is still as entertaining as ever)
Most Mysterious New Character: An unidentified man in New York City (played by a cute Michael Raymond-James) was introduced in the opening scene.
Hottest Hunk of the Week Honorable Mention #1: 29-year-old British actor Julian Morris as Prince Phillip.
Best Reunion of the Week: Mary Margaret and David's emotional reunion with their daughter Emma after 28 years.
Best Couple of the Week Runner-Up: Mr. Gold and Belle - I just like them together.
Most Disturbing Death of the Week: Poor Prince Phillip got his soul sucked out of him by the wraith.
Best Plot Twist of the Week: Emma and Mary Margaret were transported to the fairy-tale world via The Mad Hatter's hat portal.
Grade: A (it's nice to be back in Storybrooke)
Hottest Hunk of the Week Honorable Mention #2: 28-year-old Sterling Sulieman as Rocky's brother who asked Goldie out on a date (too bad he's a Republican).
Grade: B (It's refreshing to see a sitcom tackle the touchy topic of politics as All in the Family did back in the 1970s. I doubt that CBS's new "barely" gay sitcom, Partners, will ever venture into such territory. However, Ellen Barkin's Jane could be slightly toned down because her offensive words - although quite amusing at times - are far worse than anything Archie Bunker ever said)
First Impression: I was mildly intrigued by the premise of a cute but bland couple, Jane and Henry, becoming the new managers of a mysterious Manhattan apartment building. It's nice to see actor Dave Annable (Brothers & Sisters) again as Henry, and Terry O'Quinn (LOST) is great as the building's evil owner Gavin. However, the talents of the fabulous Vanessa Williams - who plays Gavin's wife Olivia - were pretty much wasted in the debut episode. I'll keep tuning in - but I would rather be watching a second season of GCB.
Best Opening Scene of the Week: It was an effectively creepy beginning as we learned that poor Mr. Hardwell made a deal with the Devil (aka Gavin) to become the best violinist ever. But after 10 years it was time to pay up with his life, which the building succeeded in taking.
Best Special Effects of the Week: I do enjoy seeing people getting sucked inside buildings and walls.
Best Storyline: I'm much more interested in married playwright Brian than leading duo Jane and Henry. His Rear Window spying on Alexis, the girl across the street who later became Louise's assistant, was good soapy fun. However, 31-year-old actor Robert Buckley needs to show us some skin like he did back in his Lipstick Jungle days in 2008.
Most Surprising Scene of the Week: Louise getting seriously injured in a freak elevator accident. I guess the building doesn't like her much.
Grade: B (more of Ms. Williams and a shirtless Mr. Buckley and this grade might improve)
First Impression: I wasn't that impressed with this new sitcom's promo last May, but since I've always liked actress Mindy Kaling as the self-absorbed Kelly Kapoor on The Office, I decided to watch the first episode. And I'm glad I did because although the show's humor is very hit-and-miss, Ms. Kaling shines as Mindy Lahiri, a single doctor with a messy personal and professional life (and the original title for the series was It's Messy). Her supporting cast is also pretty good, including the always amusing Stephen Tobolowsky as her boss, Amanda Setton and Zoe Jarman as the medical clinic's receptionists, and Ed Weeks as a fellow doctor and occasional sex partner. However, the gorgeous Chris Messina is the main attraction as Dr. Danny Castellano, whom Mindy enjoys sparring with at work. The only character I didn't care much for is Mindy's married best friend Gwen, who just doesn't fit in with everyone else. I'm not planning to review The Mindy Project every week, but I will keep watching - and if Mr. Messina ever removes his shirt, I will be sure to report this important news.
Hottest Hunk of the Week Honorable Mention #3: 38-year-old Chris Messina, who has appeared in such films as Vicky Cristina Barcelona and Julie & Julia as well as playing Claire's boyfriend Ted during the final season of HBO's Six Feet Under.
Best Opening Scene of the Week Runner-Up and Best Musical Performance: Blaine's performance of Tears for Fears' 1985 hit, "Everybody Wants to Rule the World", transported me back to my college days.
Best Guest Star of the Week: Sarah Jessica Parker as Kurt's new boss, Vogue senior editor/designer Isabelle Wright - but they should have just named her "Carrie Bradshaw" because she is a "more mature" version of that beloved Sex and the City character. However, Ms. Parker doesn't possess a strong singing voice - despite appearing on Broadway in Annie, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and Once Upon a Mattress.
Hottest Hunk of the Week Runner-Up: A shirtless Chord Overstreet as Sam Evans, who did a striptease during the student council debate.
Best Couple of the Week: Brody and Rachel
Most Impressive Back Flip of the Week: Brody's, which made me go "Wow!"
Best Line and Most Amusing Reference to a Character Actress: "In a few short years you’ll either be an alcoholic, morbidly obese or both. That's what I like to call the Full Charlotte Rae” - Sue to Will (Ms. Rae played Mrs. Garrett on TV's Diff'rent Strokes and The Facts of Life)
Best Non-Musical Scene: Brody and Rachel's romantic dinner in her loft as "Moon River" played in the background.
Least Favorite Return of the Week: Finn Hudson, who interrupted Brody and Rachel's date (and we could all see that coming from a mile away).
Grade: B- (some good dramatic and comedic scenes, but very few memorable musical moments)
Worst Storyline: Jay's boring fishing trip with Phil and his friends.
Best Groovy New Look of the Week: Phil's "dance with the devil" facial hair made him look kind of sexy.
Grade: B- (the season opener, which revolved around everyone learning about Gloria's pregnancy, was good but not great)
First and Last Impression: Created by Will & Grace creators Max Mutchnick and David Kohan, this new sitcom about two friends/business partners, gay Louis (Michael Urie) and straight Joe (David Krumholtz), desperately wants to be the next Will & Grace. Unfortunately, it just ain't funny because there is very little chemistry between the four main actors. On Will & Grace, secondary characters Jack and Karen were hilarious, and they often stole the show. On Partners, secondary characters Wyatt (played by the pretty but bland former Superman Brandon Routh) and Ali (Sophia Bush) are dull as dishwater. And the series' "Jack" - the flamboyant Louis - is one of the lead characters, and his humor is more forced and annoying than amusing. I loved Mr. Urie as Ugly Betty's Marc, so it's sad to see him now stuck in such a boring sitcom. And Louis and Joe's "bromance" just doesn't have the same spark as Will and Grace's relationship. Also, Louis and his boyfriend Wyatt might as well be platonic roommates since there wasn't anything romantic going on between them in the first episode. So obviously I don't like the show, and my gut instinct tells me that it isn't going to get much better in the future.