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    ‘2 Broke Girls’ still bad; ‘Happy Endings’ still good; and more

    Hugh Bonneville as Lord Grantham in PBS’s “Downton Abbey.”
    Nick Briggs/PBS
    Hugh Bonneville as Lord Grantham in PBS’s “Downton Abbey.”

    Globe TV critic Matthew Gilbert chatted with readers Thursday on Boston
    .com. Here are excerpts.

    Q. What is coming soon? Nothing to watch now!

    A. I hear you. One of my faves is returning next month: “Shameless.” Also: “Girls,” “Enlightened,” “Portlandia,” and “Downton Abbey,” all in January. Did I forget to mention “Justified”? It’s back on Jan. 9. There’s also a new FX series, “The Americans,” due on Jan. 30, about Russian spies in this country in the 1980s. That’s the one with Keri Russell. I have my doubts about her in a deeply dramatic role, but then, I had similar doubts about Claire Danes.

    Q. “Downton”? Have you watched?


    A. I’ve watched the first three episodes. And it’s still not what it was the first season. But it’s nonetheless so easy to watch and enjoy. “Downton” is a soap, whatever, get over it. It’s a claaaaassy soap. Shirley Maclaine is disappointing. There’s something off about her performance, and I don’t think it’s the writing. She’s trying too hard to be quintessentially American. She’s not in a lot of it, though, at least not so far.

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    Q. This week’s “Happy Endings” might have been the best episode this year.

    A. I was down on the show for a few episodes earlier in the season. But “Happy Endings” is definitely back on, and on a run. That ensemble is so tight. When the show is good, it is both charming and snarky. The writers strike a great balance between the two, and so do the actors.

    Q. “2 Broke Girls” is not in my age demo (I’m older). I think it is unfunny, but is it the writing or my inability to relate?

    A. It’s the writing. I love “Girls,” for instance, and yet I have nothing obviously in common with the characters. They are female, in New York, and younger than me. Still, the writing makes them human, and we can all relate to that. “2 Broke Girls” is the worst. It’s degrading to the characters and the viewers, it’s stupid, it always makes the easy joke, etc. The only good thing: It gives me an answer to the question “What’s your least favorite show,” now that “According to Jim” is gone.

    Matthew Gilbert can be reached at Follow him on
    Twitter @MatthewGilbert.