Channel Surfing

Good Bones

It wouldn’t be unfair to credit Fixer Upper for reinventing the home renovation genre. The hit series, hosted by Chip and Joanna Gaines, has become an omnipresent force on the network and with good reason. Their hilarious chemistry has become their trademark. Hoping to capture lightning in a bottle twice, HGTV has given us Good Bones, hosted by mother-daughter team Karen E. Laine and Mina Starsiak. And while this series doesn’t quite match the quirky charm of Fixer Upper, it’s still worth a visit.

The formula is tried and true: mother and daughter size up Indianapolis properties in various stages of disrepair and collectively work to reimagine the space. So far, that’s pretty standard. But what sets Good Bones apart is the strong family angle. Joined by Karen’s son and Mina’s brother, Tad, this house-flipping show is a true family affair. And the repartee among them gives the show a lift.

Good Bones is also unique because it sets its sights on small towns, old homes, and close-knit neighborhoods. Karen and Mina understand how important these small communities are to our national tapestry, and it’s nice that Middle America gets a share of the spotlight. But the hidden message of the show is universal, regardless of your living arrangements: home is where the heart is.

Tuesdays, 10 p.m., HGTV

Beat Bobby Flay

One quality that unites nearly all Food Network personalities is their innate relatability. From Ree Drummond (The Pioneer Woman) to Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa) to Ted Allen (Chopped), there’s a warmth and amiability that make them safe and watchable.

And then there’s Bobby Flay. Not exactly likable, this brilliant yet brash New York chef has made a successful career out of elevating southwestern cuisine to new heights and his passion and recipes speak for themselves. This Food Network staple has hosted innumerable (read: too many) shows throughout the years, bringing his talents to the forefront in a playfully aggressive way. He moves quickly, talks brazenly, and assembles his dishes in a frenzied manner that proves he’s the chef to beat. And that is the heartbeat of his competition show Beat Bobby Flay.

The premise of the series is simple: a visiting chef takes Flay on, using ingredients chosen by the latter. Judges sample the dishes and decide the winner. Flay, to be fair, is no slouch. This Iron Chef has more than proven his muscle in the kitchen. And while the pace of the series can be thrilling to watch, too often Flay’s tough-guy bravado ruins the experience for this channel surfer. Still, hats off to the man who has devoted his life to turning food into art despite the ever-growing chip on his shoulder.

Thursdays, 10 p.m., Food Network

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