Here's my Opinion Five-Spot for the week ending January 30, 2011:
Harry's Law - I loved previous David E. Kelley effort Boston Legal, and my thought after the Harry's Law pilot was "watered-down Boston Legal." Kathy Bates' Harriet Korn still seems like a sort of mash-up of the three leads on that show. But I think in the two post-pilot eps to date, some of the "wackiness" has been dialed back just a bit, maybe for the better. Not sure where on the "Boston Legal vs. actual drama" spectrum this should fall, but I'm sticking around for now. Could use some cast expansion if renewed.
Royal Pains - When Royal Pains premiered, my thought was that it was pleasant but I mostly liked the guest stars better than the main cast. I guess "pleasant" is still an apt word, but maybe that's OK. And now I like the main cast, or at least Feuerstein and Constanzo, better than I used to. (Always liked Reshma Shetty's Divya.) I assume they've got a way to keep Divya around, but I still find myself caring what happens with her upcoming wedding. Oh yeah, and the guest stars: still good. Especially Campbell Scott.
Parks & Recreation - I loved season 2 of Parks & Rec, but I thought it was still weighed down from becoming a truly elite comedy by the fact that Ann & Mark were such bores, especially together. It's amazing that the show has so handily corrected that issue by losing Mark altogether and hugely upgrading with Adam Scott and Rob Lowe. I'd say the four eps that have aired since the arrival of those two are among the best the show's had, and while I don't know how good it'll be years down the line, right now it's as good as anything.
Fairly Legal - I loved Sarah Shahi on NBC's Life and have enjoyed her on Fairly Legal so far, but I'm still sort of iffy on the show. It's definitely a show in the USA tradition, but I'm just not sure the USA tradition is well-suited to the legal genre. It's a much more talky, much less action-oriented genre than the typical USA fare, so the breezy USA writing's really gotta be good here. I'm not so sure that it is. I did like the second episode (which had a premise eerily similar to that of Life) better than the pilot.
Working Class - I totally forgot about the existence of CMT's Melissa Peterman/Ed Asner sitcom until the ratings press release came out on Monday afternoon, then I decided to record a couple reruns. No laughs or chuckles in two episodes is typically a sign on a multicam comedy that I am not gonna continue watching. Very generic stuff. I mostly just watched the second ep (of the rerun block, but apparently the first overall) to see if Asner would show up. He was oddly a no-show in the first one I saw.