By Tom Gliatto Charlotte Triggs Aili Nahas Carlos Greer
December 05, 2011 12:00 PM

Five deserving series-both proven and struggling-that need to change course

1. PAN AM

The launch episode of ABC’s new retro-’60 series was enjoyably airheaded, but the attempt to work in issues of the era-such as Haiti under Papa Doc-has been dull and heavy-handed. Fix More emphasis on the flirtatious old “Coffee, tea or me?” theme.

2. GLEE

This season the FOX groundbreaker is more like Glum. The music has lost its pop, and the ups and downs of the choir kids are getting repetitive.

Fix

Break a leg-a lot of legs-and replace the cast of students.

3. A GIFTED MAN

The CBS drama about a surgeon haunted and inspired by his dead ex-wife had a brilliant pilot-clinched by Jennifer Ehle’s beautiful performance as the ghost. Now she’s a spectral afterthought, with lines like, “I was as scared of death as anyone, but hey, look at me now.”

Fix

Is there such a thing as a reverse exorcism? If so, perform one.

4. RINGER

The CW drama that brought back Sarah Michelle Gellar as twins hasn’t been exploiting its central gimmick: Sarah 1 (mean) dawdles in Paris as Sarah 2 (nice) scrambles around Manhattan. They’re more like matching bookends.

Fix

Increase the effects budget and reunite the Sarahs. Or add a triplet.

5. DEXTER

Showtime’s hit about serial killer Michael C. Hall has grown weirdly, sincerely sentimental, with Dex a sweet, doting dad to his little son Harrison. I’m expecting A Very Dexter Christmas.

Fix

Social Services should place the boy with a better family. Maybe a ring of car thieves.

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