Tweets of the Week: In with the new

Tweets of the WeekJanuary is a fun time of year for TV viewers as it brings both the debut of brand new series and the return of old favourites to help while away the long winter nights. And there’s no better way of taking the pulse of how successful these new episodes are than via Twitter. This week I’m doing an overview of what Twitter thought of some of the week’s season premieres for the week ending 20th January 2013.

Let’s hear it for the Girls

The season two premiere of Girls aired just a day after the US, where it went out on the night of the Golden Globes, where the series won two awards. I liked rather than raved about season one and was unconvinced whether it will ever achieve the kind of status that, say, Friends or Sex and the City did. But I was pleasantly surprised by the opener, which continued the upheaval of last season’s finale. Lena Dunham’s script moved the various storylines on nicely while peppering the viewer with some classic one-liners.

Obviously the readers of Company are slap bang in the middle of Girls‘ target demographic, but the magazine’s Twitter feed did alight on the best line of the episode, courtesy of Shoshanna:

Although this was a close second:

But it wasn’t just the female leads who got to deliver some classic soundbites. How about Hannah’s boyfriend Adam’s observation on relationships?

Or the bisexual Elijah’s take on sexual politics:

On the basis of the opening episode, Girls is definitely heading in the right direction.

No, Prime Minister

Regular readers will know how much I have been looking forward to Yes, Prime Minister: The Next Generation. (No, it’s not really called that.) But I was bitterly disappointed by the opening episode of the new series, which proved to be (a) a rehash of the recent theatrical play and (b) a shadow of the original.

New illustrations by Gerald Scarfe

Illustrations by Gerald Scarfe

It wasn’t just me. The overwhelming reaction on Twitter was negative, with only a handful of people providing positive feedback. Most found the episode to be distinctly lacking in laughs, or at the very least noted the recycling of jokes familiar to fans of the original.

It wasn’t just the writing, though. The cast also came in for criticism from some viewers.

While others noted that it’s not easy to catch lightning in a bottle twice and questioned whether they will continue watching.

You can read my full episode review here, but my overall summary would be: new cast, new problems, same old jokes. What a shame.

Idol chatter

It’s the grand-daddy of contemporary TV talent shows, having brought us Kelly Clarkson, Dreamgirls Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson and Smash‘s Katharine McPhee, and this week saw the return of American Idol for a new season (its 12th), with new judges (country star Keith Urban and the reportedly feuding divas Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey) and, at least as far as the UK is concerned, a new channel (5*, replacing ITV2).

I’m a huge fan of Idol, which shows up UK equivalents X Factor and The Voice for the karaoke contests that they are. Personally, I’m also happy about the shake-up on the judges’ panel, where Jennifer Lopez and Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler spent the last two years making increasingly anodyne comments as they sought to reboot their careers. Urban represents the massive country music constituency, Minaj is as loud as her frequently day-glo hair and Carey is, well, bonkers.

Season 12 kicked off with auditions in New York and Chicago. Some fans say the auditions are the best part of the show, featuring as these things always do a combination of the ultra-talented and the ultra-deluded, with a sprinkling of heart string-tugging stories thrown in. Personally, I find them a bit tedious. After 11 years, I’ve pretty much seen every variation on the audition theme and I much prefer the live stages. However, the one story that did catch my attention – and, it seems, that of everyone else – was that of Lazaro Arbos, who has suffered from an extreme stammer since he was six, and yet sings rather well without a trace of it.

It’s the sort of schmaltzy but hopeful story that Idol delivers beautifully, and Twitter agreed it was the stand-out moment of the opening week’s episodes. These two tweets were typical of many:

And you know you’ve made it when a former Idol – season six winner Jordin Sparks – name-checks you:

It was a great story and a great audition, and Lazaro has a genuine shot at making the live competition. But, even so, UK viewers have seen this before. Anyone remember Pop Idol‘s Gareth Gates?

Simon Cowell must be kicking himself for missing out on Gareth Gates Mark II for X Factor USA. And if that doesn’t make you smile, nothing will.

That’s it for now. I’ll be back with another round-up next week.

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