We're two weeks into new seasons for Showtime's fine Weeds and newcomer Secret Diary of a Call Girl. Weeds is entering its fourth season, and while I'm trying to avoid spoilers for those who watch on DVD and are a season behind, it's OK to say that things are a lot different now for Nancy Botwin. The shakeup at the end of last season was probably necessary, but this is a show that regularly walks the edge, and a shakeup is unlikely to change the fact that anything was already possible. Tim Goodman has essentially written the same column at the beginning of the last three seasons, and he's on target as usual: Weeds goes in some over-the-top directions, so much so that even people who like the show are never sure if any particular episode will mark the moment when it went so far out it never came back, but this ends up being one of the charms of the show, how eager it is to try oddball stuff. Meanwhile, suffice to say that Nancy Botwin still has a drink of some sort in her hands in almost every scene, that most of the cast is excellent (Justin Kirk's character was an early annoyance, but the character has outgrown a lot of those irritants, and Kirk is always a good actor, as was shown in Angels in America), and that Robin still thinks this is an overrated show about a terrible mom. She's right that Nancy is a terrible mom ... she's wrong about the quality of the show. But I am a sucker for Mary-Louise Parker, so what do I know? (Albert Brooks is a temporary regular right now, and he's used very well, just enough to make us want more.)
Robin and I disagree on Secret Diary of a Call Girl as well. This one isn't exactly new ... it's a British import that ran over there last fall, starring Billie Piper, once a pop star, later a regular on Doctor Who. She's fine as the titular call girl, but thus far I'm not impressed with the show. We had the first two episodes on the DVR, and after watching the first, I turned to Robin and asked if she was game for a second, expecting her to agree with me that we wouldn't bother with this show. Instead, she replied "well, it's better than Weeds!" So we watched the second episode, which wasn't any better IMO. Still, she IS James Fox's daughter-in-law, so how bad can it be?
Grade for first two episodes of Season Four of Weeds: B+
Grade for first two episodes of Call Girl: B-