Each fall, I try a bit of insanity. By insanity, I mean watching the new network shows that run amuck in September and October, begging me for their attention. As I always forget what half of them were by December, I thought, “Self, why not write a column about it?”
Consider this a bit of an experiment here at All My Writers. While I have good intentions toward these shows, I also know I don’t have time to dedicate full columns to any of them beyond the two I already write (Hi, Glee and General Hospital!). So I will give each show I watch a short reaction, compiling them all together in one column for easy reading—mainly my easy reading, of course. And don’t forget to read through guest writer Tamara’s guilty pleasures watchlist, either.
To understand my verdicts for these new shows, it’d probably be helpful to know what kind of show I watch. Fiction is my main love, so no reality shows will make this list…with the occasional exception for an episode of a dance or singing show. Procedurals, whether cop- or lawyer-based, put me right to sleep unless that dead body that appears in the first shot of the episode is reanimated by the end of the episode. In that case, I’m all in (oh how I miss you, Buffy, Pushing Daisies, and Reaper). Sitcoms are also a hard sell. I enjoy Parks and Recreation, Community, Modern Family, and Suburgatory among the shows currently on air, but if there’s a laugh track, that new series is not going to last past the first commercial break.
So here are my quick thoughts on the shows I tried out last week:
Sleepy Hollow (Mon, Fox, 9): Pretty imagery for what’s essentially a horror show, but I’m not sure the Headless Horseman is cute enough to keep me coming back. His battle axe is sexy, though, if you know what I mean. And what I mean is that I find weaponry sexy. Also, I just learned John Noble joined the cast, so my interest has skyrocketed. Proceed to second episode.
Hello Ladies (Sun, 10:30, HBO): I saw a sneak peak of the first two episodes of this new HBO comedy and neither I nor my friend was feeling it. It wants to apply the dynamics of awkward British humor to the Hollywood scene, and it does…but the main character, Stuart, is simply unlikeable. His tiny hints of compassion all disappear by the time the next humor beat is hit. I thrive on investing in telegraphed love pairings on television (Ross & Rachel 4EVA!!), but I’ll just feel sad when Stuart’s screenwriter-tenant, Jessica, feels the inevitable pull toward this jackass. GAME OVER. Though it would have got a third episode if I actually had HBO.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Tues, Fox, 8:30): This show can’t decide if it’s ridiculous or realistic quite yet, with Andy Samberg’s immature cop being the primary maker and target of the jokes. Yet I dig that they avoided the pitfall of making his character hapless. In fact, he’s incredibly competent, and that, along with a strong supporting cast, is the most appealing part of the show. Proceed to second episode.
A Chef’s Life (PBS, Check your local listings or watch online): Hey, look, a reality show crept onto my list! This series is based on the experiences of a North Carolinian farm-to-fork chef whom I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and of eating some of her delicious cooking. First episode was charming, painting a great picture of the challenges of cooking upscale fare for folks who consider steak and potatoes the only reason to spend good money at a restaurant. And I didn’t expect that twist of an ending! Proceed to second episode.
The 65th Primetime Emmy Awards (Last Sunday, CBS): Just had to get my two cents in on this broadcast! Neil Patrick Harris continues to be a great host, but the use of pre-taped sketches in awards shows needs to end. It needed to end before it ever started. And the music was horrible, although the dancing was fantastic. By the way, a lot of people died in Hollywood this year. This show didn’t let you forget it.
Mom (Mon, 9:30, CBS): I love Anna Faris and her legacy that is the Scary Movie series. Allison Janney is always a force to be reckoned with. But there was a laugh track, people. And the opening sequence was closer to Abbot and Costello than what I look for in today’s sitcoms. When the jokes were quieter and plot at the fore, I almost liked it. But then the laugh track kicked in again. Game Over.
Here are the rest of the shows I’m giving a chance in the two months of premieres to come:
- The Blacklist (Mon, 10, NBC)
- Hostages (Mon, 10, CBS)
- Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Tues, 8, ABC)
- The Goldbergs (Tues, 9, ABC)
- Trophy Wife (Tues, 9, ABC)
- The Crazy Ones (Thurs, 9, CBS)
- The Michael J. Fox Show (Thurs, 9, NBC)
- We Are Men (Mon, 8:30, CBS)
- Super Fun Night (Weds, 9:30, ABC)
- Sean Saves the World (Thurs, 9, NBC)
- The Tomorrow People (Weds, 9, CW)
- Reign (Thurs, 9, CW)
- Dracula (F, 10, NBC)
- Almost Human (Mon, 8, Fox)
If half of those make it to a second episode for me, it’ll be a miracle. I’m especially interested in the procedural that bamboozled me into adding it because of how hard its press is trying to pretend it isn’t a procedural at all. I’m looking at you, the Blacklist.
I’ll also be throwing in my quick reactions to shows I already watch in this column, especially when an episode really impresses me. For example, I’m amazed I’m still watching Nashville.
I never expected to like a country music show. But its soapy goodness has reeled me in, and last year’s car crash cliffhanger was intense, even if it was completely obvious. I’m prepared to groan at how fast Rayna and Deacon recover, but their romance sure won’t for a while.
Here are the rest of my regular shows, none of which have premiered for the season yet:
- The Following
- Modern Family
- Downton Abbey
You’ll notice there are few cable shows on these lists. That’s because I don’t have cable. I do watch several cable and streaming shows but not until they make the Hulu, Netflix, or Amazon collections. So I have no real-time reactions for those, but I will say that House of Cards, Orphan Black, and Wilfred are all well worth watching, even if the gap between new seasons is a long one.
Not as long as it’s been since David Tennant was on my screen. Sigh.
Whew. I’m tired just listing all that upcoming TV viewing. What on earth am I getting myself into?! It’s the same question I ask every September.
What’ll you be watching? Any thoughts on the new shows yet?
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