A Detective, a Diplomat and a Doctor Walk Into a Bar…

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Debra Messing as Laura Diamond in The Mysteries of Laura.

The new season is upon us and I decided to check out some of the new stuff.

Debra Messing as Laura Diamond in The Mysteries of Laura.
Messing: solving The Mysteries of Laura.

In The Mysteries of Laura, we’re treated to a new kind of cop: a soccer mom; a bit disheveled, yet oddly fashionable, a woman who’s bright and out of her mind. She’s Debra Messing. And she’s Laura Diamond, a homicide detective with a not-quite-ex-husband (Josh Lucas) as her boss and two adorable twin boys whose favorite game is peeing on each other. I kid you not.

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For years I’ve said that Messing is one of the best comediennes on TV today: playing off Megan Mullally, Sean Hayes and Eric McCormack on Will and Grace (not to mention Debbie Reynolds as Grace’s mother) was not easy. But Messing took that tough job and not only played off all those actors, she bounced off all of them brilliantly. Then came Messing in Smash…‘nuf said. Now she gets to be in a sort-of police procedural, and use her comic chops to move things along. Not that murder is fun, but Laura Diamond is fun and that’s what makes for a good show. Let’s hope it lasts.

Tea Leoni and Zeljko Ivanek in "Madam Secretary"
Billary? No! Ivanek and Leoni in Madam Secretary

Madam Secretary has all the makings of a great drama, beginning with star power in Téa Leoni, Keith Carradine, Tim Daly, Zeljko Ivanek, Geoffrey Arend and the always intense Bebe Neuwirth. Loosely based on Hillary Clinton – yeah, loosely, sure – the show does not disappoint. Leoni is a sharp, focused Secretary of State who truly believes that she can effect change. With a cast like this, I don’t see how it can lose. It’s also the lead-in for The Good Wife, which certainly can’t hurt.

Produced by Anthony Anderson and Laurence Fishburne, black-ish is silly-ish, warm-ish and, most of all, funny-ish. This is the Huxtable family (and maybe The Cosby Show) of the 21st century, with Anderson as Andre “Dre” Johnson, an executive trying to reconcile his inner-city upbringing with his suburban lifestyle; his biracial wife, Rainbow (the hilarious Tracee Ellis Ross); a passel of kids who don’t seem to realize that Barack Obama is the first black (er, biracial) President of the U.S., and a father, called Pops, who is played to perfection by Fishburne. Anderson’s Dre is no overbearing father figure and that’s what makes the show fun – the lack of a fear factor. Ish.

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Ioan Gruffudd as Dr. Henry Morgan in "Forever"
Never say die: Gruffudd in Forever

Full disclosure: I’ve been fascinated by the concept of immortality since the Long Live Walter Jameson episode of The Twilight Zone forever ago — that is, back in 1960. Now, in Forever, Ioan Gruffudd plays Dr. Henry Morgan, a New York physician and medical examiner who seems to never die. Well, he does die, but then he comes back to life, literally resurfacing in water, and always naked. The good doctor finds himself paired up with Detective Jo Martinez (Alana De La Garza of Law & Order fame) to solve various murders. And, after 200 years, Henry is determined to find out why he is immortal — a secret he shares with Abe (Judd Hirsch), who may or may not be a child that Henry adopted after World War II. Then there’s the mystery man following Henry around who claims to know his secret and who shares his same fate. Yes, I am Forever intrigued.

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This Week on the Tube…
The return of The People’s Couch! Be sure to catch my pals Scott Nevins, Blake McIver and Emerson Collins, plus the rest of the crew, as they give us their candid reviews and reactions to some of the best – and worst – TV shows around. The fun returns on Tues., Oct. 7, 10pm on Bravo.

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Eleanor Roosevelt and her crew
Eleanor Roosevelt and her crew

Best TV Moment of the Week…
Ken Burns’ incredible documentary The Roosevelts: An Intimate History is spot-on in so many ways, but it does miss a few important facts on its journey through the history of this legendary family. The Teddy Roosevelt parts of the series, for example, were chock-full of things I didn’t know about our 26th President — things we didn’t learn when we visited Sagamore Hill as kids. (I just remember a lot of stuffed dead animals.) But the life of Franklin Delano Roosevelt is more of an open book. The series, one of Burns’ best since The Civil War, stops short of discussing Eleanor Roosevelt’s private life and her relationship with Lorena Hickok, like it never existed. Burns goes on and on about FDR’s dalliances, especially with Eleanor’s secretary Lucy Mercer, but clams up when discussing Eleanor and her “friends” who lived together in a house that FDR built for them. Mr. Burns, it’s 2014. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, chances are – well, do you notice the feathers?

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Don’t Get Me Started…
The news channels had the nerve to interrupt General Hospital with blathering by National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell – who should seriously step down – about all the scandals surrounding their players. Guys, they’re football players, not tennis players. (Ken Burns, take note.) The guys are taught to be brutal and rough and to play dirty and everyone is surprised when they carry that behavior into their private lives? Fire them, dock their pay, jail them — whatever. Just do it during Sunday Night Football, not during the only decent daytime show left on TV.

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The TV Junkie was preceded in her family by a large mahogany cabinet that housed a small screen with a large speaker below. Thus began her love affair with the older sibling in the living room. Theirs was a tenuous relationship, prone to mishaps (forgetting to use the special "screen" for Winky Dink), joyous events (Julie & Carol at Carnegie Hall), sad moments (Clarabelle saying goodbye to the Peanut Gallery) and a wide range of emotions (the funeral of John F. Kennedy and the Inauguration of Barack Obama). From Captain Video to Star Trek to Lost; from A Brighter Day to The Edge of Night to One Life to Live; from Peyton Place to Dynasty to Desperate Housewives; there has never been a greater love, than that of the TVJ and the best friend a girl could ever have. Like "The TV Junkie" on Facebook and follow her on Twitter: @thetvjunkiepml.