What fall TV?

Kates and I had settled into the fourth season of “Mad Men.” And we were excited to dive back into other longtime favorites. “The Office.” “30 Rock.” “Big Bang Theory.” “How I Met Your Mother.” “Grey’s Anatomy.” And “Modern Family” ... We were hooked on all of those shows from the moments we saw early spring promotions, stuck with them like glue from the pilots and introduced several of them to our friends. (Kates and I have long had a knack for sniffing out the quality shows before the bandwagon fills up, thank you very much. ...)

We had the DVR back. We were so looking forward to a new TV season.

Then our TV blew up

Our entire television-watching schedule was thrown out of whack. We lost track of shows. And now we’re so far out of the loop on TV, our grandmothers could put us to shame. ... We can only hope to catch up on them via Hulu or DVD.

Sure, we pulled an old TV out of storage. But we've yet to get the DVR working again. That's mostly a result of me being too busy too figure it out, not a lack of trying.

Then again, I guess it's not a total loss. Based on accounts of friends, the little TV we did watch -- and what I've read -- this season was a dud. ... I tried watching “Ordinary Family” and thought the pilot was horribly cheesy.

The only new show we really were getting into was "Better With You." But much of that stemmed from our admiration for the cast and especially seeing Josh Cooke and Jennifer Finnigan together again. (Oh "Committed," how little time we had with thee ... )

This month, we’re working our way back. Starting with “The Sing Off.” … Funny, “The Sing Off” seemed to be the show everybody was talking about last year around this time. But that also was around the time the chaos was just beginning in our lives. We caught the finale, but didn't have near the emotional investment of other viewers.

It’s no secret what I think of Ben Folds. As a long time Boyz II Men fan, I’ve always had an admiration for Shawn Stockman’s work, too. … Nicole Scherzinger -- she’s fun to look at.

Their critiques are refreshingly thoughtful, genuine, honest and credible. I love that they actually offer technical advice and speak the lingo. Can you imagine any of the judges on that Fox-show-we-won’t-be-watching-this-season discussing the merits of a performer's tones, reverb and syncopation?

The trio of judges on "Sing-Off" doesn't dumb it down for viewers. Their egos don't blur the performances. ... And they don't take themselves too seriously. When you have Ben Folds talking about "birth control music" and Shawn Stockman having musical orgasms (and I thought I was a crazy person for being prone to musical orgasms ... ) it makes the show far more entertaining for everyone.

As for the performers, Committed was top-notch from the beginning with their Boyz II Men-esque harmonies. “Apologize” was my favorite performances from them.

The Backbeats. I didn't get their debut performance of "If I Were A Boy" and thought they should have gone on the first episode, but they grew on me each week. I thought their performance of "Love Shack" rocked. And while I can't stand Lady Gaga, I even enjoyed the Backbeats' Lady Gaga medley.

Gone too soon: Groove For Thought. Their take on "Cool Like That" was arguably one of the best of the season, and I loved the jazzy Take 6 vibe they offered. I could listen to that stuff all day.

Other notables: The Whiffenpoofs: “Grace Kelly,” Street Corner Symphony: “Hey Soul Sister,” Men of Note: “For the Longest Time,” Eleventh Hour: “Just the Way You Are.”

Also worth watching: Season 1 winner Nota performing “I Got a Feelin’.”

The other groups, although sometimes charming and enjoyable, didn't make much of an impression on me. ... Don't get me started on Jerry Lawson & Talk of the Town. Yes, they've got a great story. That's nice. They didn't belong on the show.

The group performances can be breath-taking and they're devoid of the kooky choreography that the Fox-show-we-won’t-be-watching-this-season has become known for. Oh, and they actually sing. ... Check out "Use Somebody."

The buzz surrounding the show has been strong. The performances have been grand. Thus the news that we might see a third season next year comes as no surprise.

For more, check out EW's always amusing (and spot-on) reviews ...
Night one: Singing, swinging, and Lachey pun bringing!
Night two: Sing On!
Night three: Embrace the cheese, please!
Night four: 'Why does this have to be a competition?'
'The Sing-Off' finale recap: And the winner is...

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