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Category Archives: Fall Preview

SERIES PREMIERE RECAP & REVIEW: Black-ish “Pilot” S1 E1

I’m going to try not to get too deep in this review.   After all, this is a sitcom.   But I watched Black-ish and I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it.  I loved the trailer and laughed out loud when Dre’s son Andre (Andy) came home and wanted to have a bar mitzvah and change his name to his hebrew one (either Shlomo or Shmoole…which I’m probably butchering the spelling.)   I loved the instant chemistry between Anderson and Ross.  In a 2 minute trailer, I totally bought them as husband and wife.   So I was very excited for this premiere.   But then I watched it all and for the most part I liked it but I do have a bit of “Mike and Molly” fear for this show.

Shows like this, where they push racial and cultural boundaries, are always interesting because it can insight passionate responses from viewers…both good and bad.  I’ve already seen lots of comments on this about how “white people won’t understand the humor” and “this show is racist and offensive” etc, etc.   I think everyone needs to take a deep breath.   In the simplest of terms, this show is about an African-American family living a hugely successful life (Dre is a SVP of his company and Rainbow is a surgeon) in the suburbs yet still trying to stay true to their roots…at least Dre is.   Now he has to remind the rest of his family how important that is as well.   The cast is led by Anthony Anderson, Tracey Ellis Ross, and Laurence Fishburne.  But my favorite so far is Marcus Scribner’s Andre Jr.   That kid had the best lines and best material in the pilot.  First with the bar mitzvah.  He also wants to be called Andy (because it shows he’s edgy yet approachable), play field hockey, and hold onto his first boob (vs. holding onto his roots.)  I loved that kid.   And like The Goldbergs last year, I instantly felt like this was a family.  The chemistry between all of them was evident right off the bat.

This could be a groundbreaking show.    The kind of show that families can watch and have a great discussion about afterwards.   There are many people who argue, that shows like that don’t work on network TV any more.   Well, maybe not.   Unless it’s a well written, well thought out show that has the abilities to push the boundaries with humor to bring real conversations to the forefront.  And Black-ish has the potential to be that show.  I already have tons of questions.   I can’t directly relate to the internal struggle of an African-American man who came from a tough background to raising his family in the type of environment that was better than his and how he balances raising his children in a color free world yet staying true to their cultural heritage.  There is no way I can ever completely understand that.   But I’d like to understand it better than I do now.   And I’m curious to watch it and learn more about it.   For example, the one part of the show where I raised my eye brow was when Dre was upset that his daughter didn’t want to hang out with the only other black girl in the school and that she didn’t even refer to her as the “only other black girl in the school.”  His daughter responded by saying “I don’t know.  When I hear Liza Jackson I think of meatballs and turkey burgers.”  Isn’t that a good thing, that she didn’t see the color of her skin?   Why was Dre so upset?  I don’t understand.   I feel like the way his kids were talking about Liza is exactly the way you want them to talk about her…as a little girl, not a little black girl.   I would think so.  Look at how upset Dre was with his promotion.  He was hoping to break down barriers at his company by becoming the first black SVP.   But not the first black SVP of the “Urban Division.”  It took something away from the promotion for Dre and I do understand that.   But if your goal is to break down barriers then why drive the “blackness” so hard at home with your family?   It’s that the exact opposite of what you’re trying to achieve?   It’s confusing.    So I hope the show explores that a bit more because while I’ll never fully be able to relate because I’m not African-American, I could certainly be more informed and have a better understand than before.    I want to know why someone who wants his family as far away from the way he was brought up as possible, also wants to make sure his roots are still very prevalent in their everyday lives.   What specific parts of your roots are you referring to?   I really want to know.

But my “Mike and Molly” fear is that I don’t want the show to be all about “black” jokes.   With M&M, I didn’t want the show to be all about “fat jokes.”  Initially it was and then it toned down and went to everyday comedy with the fat jokes coming every once in a while.   The pilot of Black-ish was very heavy-handed with the jokes about fried fried chicken being too black for Rainbow (who is mixed race) and “if I’m not black enough can someone tell my hair and my ass.”   That’s all well and good but I hope they tone it down and it’s more background humor than the front and center humor.  I know that’s kind of the premise of the show but I think that humor can still be part of the show maybe not just every joke….like M&M was with the fat jokes.  It gets old after a while.  And I think this cast deserves to be more than one trick ponies because they’re pretty fantastic.

I enjoyed Black-ish and will continue to watch.   Not only because I find the show incredibly interesting but it’s also really, really funny!

DVRs: 3+

 

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SERIES PREMIERE RECAP & REVIEW: Gotham “Pilot” S1 E1

We are a little superhero crazy right now.   Last year we had Arrow (in its second season) and Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD (first season.)    This year we have four more coming…The Flash, Constantine, iZombie, and now Gotham.  Is it too much?   I guess we’ll have to see.  Like anything, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.    We really didn’t need 3 different CSIs, 3 different NCISs, 2 Criminal Minds,10 different reality talent competitions, etc.   So will the comic/superhero genre be too much?    We’ll see.  In my opinion as long as they are good shows, it makes so difference to me.   And I would argue Gotham isn’t in the same realm as the other comic book shows.    Gotham is an origin story.  This is not a Batman story, in the present form as we know Batman.   In fact, Bruno Heller (the man behind The Mentalist and others) has already come out and said, we not see the Caped Crusader.   That makes me happy.  There are so many movies about Batman, I don’t need a TV show about him….unless it’s different.   Gotham is different.

As I said before, Gotham is an origin story.   What does that mean?   It means we get to see characters we are familiar with (and some we don’t) before we really knew them.   A prequel if you will.  But this isn’t the story of how Batman becomes Batman.  At least not directly.    This is the story of the man who helped define the future Bruce Wayne and the city that Batman fiercely protects.  In a way, Gotham is very much the central character of the show the way New York City was for Sex and the City.   But Gotham’s central protagonist is rookie Detective Jim Gordon (future Commissioner James Gordon) played by Ben Mackenzie who’s first real crime to solve is the murder of Tom and Martha Wayne, parents of Bruce Wayne (our future Batman.)  The Waynes are the wealthiest family in Gotham (so I’m not sure why they were walking down a dark alley at night but that’s another story.)   So when Gordon and his partner Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) are sent to the crime scene, Bullock wants no part of it.   Gordon goes over to talk to Bruce, who witnesses the crime, and connects with him instantly.  Scenes like this are why I love origin stories so much.   You know how this relationship eventually evolves and what their relationship is in the Batman world as we know it today.  But we’ve never seen how it all started.  We were told, but hearing it and seeing it are so different.   It’s a great look into the history of this friendship.   Gordon opens up to Bruce to let him know he knows what he’s going through because of the death of his father at a young age.   He promises him he’ll find out who did this and bring them to justice.   We are introduced to a plethora of characters throughout the pilot most of whom we already know…..Selina Kyle AKA Catwoman (Camren Bicondovra), Oswald Cobblepot AKA The Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor), Edward Nygma AKA The Riddler (Cory Michael Smith), Ivy Pepper AKA Poison Ivy (Clare Foley), Barbara Kean AKA Mrs Barbara Gordon (Erin Richards), and is it possible the stand up comedian at Mooney’s establishment is the man we will come to know as The Joker?   Maybe not.   But Mooney spent a little too much time (as did the camera) paying attention to the stand up.   If he was just background for her scene with Cobblepot, why bother giving him so much screen time?   Just something to think about.  While I love seeing all the people as their original selves vs. their pseudonyms did we really need to meet EVERYONE in the pilot.    Couldn’t we have saved some for later?   Just seemed as if the show runners were trying to pack 10 pounds of poop into a 5 pound bag.

With all the characters we met that we have some familiarity with, two of the most interesting to me was the one who I knew nothing about and who was brand new….Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith.)   Maybe it was the way Smith was playing her but I found her to be sinister, hard ass, a bit terrifying, and incredibly enjoyable.   Mooney is one of the big crime lords in Gotham and is fortunate enough to have some of the cops (like Gordon’s partner) in her pocket for protection.   But when Mooney thinks Gordon and Bullock didn’t fall in line with her way of doing business, she had them scheduled to be killed.   Not to mention, when she finds out the Cobblepot snitched on her, she comes down on him with a violent fury, just short of killing him.     Don’t pee in her Cheerios.  But someone even scarier with stronger, more powerful ties in Gotham saves their lives.    That man is Carmen Falcone, head of the Gotham City mob with a connection to Gordon’s father.   We learn that Falcone and Gordon’s father (the former DA of Gotham) were actually friends.   I wonder how much of that is actually true vs. Falcone’s interpretation of their arrangement.  But this scene (among others) is where we learn why Jim Gordon will have a rough go in Gotham and why the Caped Crusader is eventually needed.  Falcone has everyone in his payroll….cops, lawyers, politicians, you name it.   Falcone runs the city.  In his own twisted way, he loves the city and vows to protect it at all costs.   Protect it from whom?    I would say from naive, doe eyed cops who want to “clean up” the city from crime and corruption.   “You can’t have organized crime without law and order.  I love this city and I see it going to hell.   I won’t let it go without a fight” Falcone informs Gordon.  In Falcone’s mind, the cops are a necessary part of his business model.  However, he expects those cops to fall in line with HIS sense of order and justice.   Falcone being as smart as he is realizes that Gordon is a good man, like his dad.  He’s honorable, a straight shooter, and someone who will do the right thing.   So in order to keep him in line, he orders him (through Bullock) to kill Cobblepot.  It’s an incredible scene watching Gordon walk Cobblepot to the end of the pier while Cobblepot pleads for his life.   And just before Gordon pulls the trigger he tells him “don’t ever come back to Gotham.”  He shoots and dumps him in the water.  Now, Gordon doesn’t actually shoot him ( you can’t kill The Penguin in the pilot) but from Bullock’s vantage point, Gordon did what Falcone wanted.   In the end, Gordon goes to Wayne Manor to see Master Bruce (Alfred of course is with him) to let him know that the man arrested for his parents’ murder wasn’t the right man.   That person is still at large and Gordon intends to find him.   But the key is Bruce keeping quite about what he knows in order for him to do that.  Bruce agrees.   You can already begin to see a transformation in Bruce from the scared, crying child, to the methodical, vigilante he will become.

While a lot happened in this episode, the big thing that stood out to me was how well cast this show is.  Mackenie is perfectly cast as Gordon.   He has the rugged toughness you need to be a top cop in a tough town but he also has the righteous, superior aura that certainly divides the good guys from the bad and highlights the ones in the middle, like Bullock.   But how long can he hold onto these high ground morals while trying to clean up the city from the inside of a department wrought with corruption and fear?   Will it break him?   You have to think no because we know he does become the Commissioner.   But just because he rises through the ranks, doesn’t mean he hasn’t had to change who he is to some degree for the greater good.   So I’m looking forward to seeing that evolution over the course of the series.   Another standout from the show was Robin Lord Taylor as Cobblepot/The Penguin.  He was brilliant.   He was pathetic and creepy and sad and murderous.  You watched him transform from a weak, desperate to be accepted henchman for Fish Mooney to disgraced outcast with an ax to grind against all who wronged him.   When you have a show based on a hugely popular comic story and as well a massively successful movie collection over the course of many years, people can have preconceived notions of how characters should look, sound, and act.  I try very hard not to have those when I go into a show like this and for the most part it’s easy because everyone is so much younger in Gotham from when we come to know them in Batman.  But for characters like The Penguin, The Riddler, possibly The Joker who are old enough to still have early insights into the characters they will become, that we already know, I think it’s much harder for those actors vs. Selina Kyle who is really just a baby at this point.  Taylor pulls it off superbly.  Logue’s Bullock will be the one to watch for me in the sense that I’m not sure what to make of him.   He can easily come across as the prototypical disgruntled veteran cop who hates everyone and life in general.  I don’t think that’s the case here.   You see signs of him where he may have been very much like Gordon when he started out.  But because of certain situations and possibly life altering decisions he’s had to make, he’s become the shades of grey cop who has been sucked into the corruption way of life more so as a means of preservation rather than conscious choice.   It’s probably why Gordon angers and frustrates him because he sees himself in him.   Someone who once wanted the same things Gordon did but wasn’t strong enough to see it through.  He probably sees Gordon as some who has the stones to fight the good fight and I think that makes him proud yet thoroughly embittered at the same time.   Maybe none of that is true and I’m looking for a deeper meaning that isn’t there (wouldn’t be the first time.)

Having said all that, in the simplest of terms, Gotham is a cop procedural with a cast of characters we are well aware of.   I really don’t think of this as a superhero show the way I do Arrow or probably will when I watch The Flash.  This is a cop show…like Castle.  Except instead of a precinct and villains we don’t know, Gotham has a precinct and villains we mostly do know.  However, we don’t know them in these current forms.  We know what they become.  The fun part will be watching how they get there!

DVRs: 4

 

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2014 Fall Preview: FOX

RETURNING SHOWS:

Hell’s Kitchen (9/10)
New Girl (9/16)
The Mindy Project (9/16)
Sleepy Hollow (9/22)
Bones (9/25)
Brooklyn Nine-Nine (9/28)
The Simpsons (9/28)
Bob’s Burgers (10/5)
Family Guy (9/28)
Master Chef Junior (11/7)

NEW SHOWS:
Utopia (9/7)
Red Band Society (9/17)
Gotham (9/22)
Gracepoint (10/2)
Mulaney (10/5)

SHOWS I AM MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO:
Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Sleepy Hollow
Gotham

SHOWS I AM LOSING INTEREST IN BUT WILL GIVE ONE MORE SEASON TO:
New Girl (after a strong first season, the second season was bad)

SHOWS I COULDN’T CARE LESS ABOUT:
Glee
The Mindy Project
All the Animated Shows
Hell’s Kitchen
Utopia

WHAT TO WATCH FOR:
Glee’s Final Season:  This is it.   The dreck that has been Glee the last few seasons is finally coming to an end.    And it’s been a long time coming.   These characters have been destroyed (Rachel leaves what was ALWAYS her dream of being on Broadway and playing Fanny Brice to be on a shitty TV show) the stories are worse than ever, and I just don’t care what happens to them anymore.   FOX also realized no cares anymore and lowered the original 22 episode commitment down to 13.   I won’t be checking it out but I’m sure some people will.
Sleepy Hollow Sophomore Season: It’s been 8 months since Sleepy Hollow was last on air.   And that can be dangerous with a show with so much mythology behind it.   But I can’t wait for this to return!!!  Abbie is now in purgatory.   Jenny was in a car crash.  Ichabod was buried alive by the Sineater (who turned out to be his son.)   And Katrina is now running around Sleepy Hollow with no one who knows her.  And Sineater/Jeremy is working with the Headless Horseman (who is also one of the 4 Horseman of the Apocalypse) to open the gates of hell to release all the Horseman.   Nice!!!  I just hope we get more than 13 episodes this year and Sleepy Hollow is every bit as strong in its sophomore year as it was its freshman year!
Brooklyn Nine-Nine Moving to Sundays: This is how FOX treats it’s best new comedy of last year?   Which also happened to win the Golden Globe for Best Comedy by the way.   You move it to animated comedy Sunday?    With so much already on Sunday, I’m really disappointed to see this show move.   I hope it doesn’t hurt a show that was not a ratings juggernaut.   It picked up steam at the end of the season with the GG win and word of mouth.   But how will it fare if people have to DVR it for football or other big Sunday night shows.

EARLY THOUGHTS ON NEW SHOWS:
As if I don’t have enough superhero shows to watch on TV these days, but I am excited to check out Gotham.   Gotham is a different twist on the superhero genre focusing on a name we all know very well (that is those of us that follow DC Comics)…Commissioner Gordon.  We know Gordon from the Batman comics.   But before Batman was Batman as we know him, Gordon and Gotham City had their own stories to tell…full of villains and vigilantes.   This show is the compilation of those stories.   It is an origin story.   It stars Ben Mackenzie as Detective James Gordon.   Gordon is called to the scene of a crime involving the murder of one of the wealthiest families in Gotham City…the Waynes.   Thomas and Martha Wayne are murdered and the only survivor is their son…Bruce (who eventually becomes Batman.)  Gordon and Bruce connect instantly (a kinship that will continue for years to come) and Gordon promises to track down the killers.   As the series evolves we’ll meet all the people we come to know in their adult lives…Selina Kyle (Catwoman), Edward Nygma (The Riddler), and Oswald Cobblepot (The Penguin.)   Between Arrow, Agents of SHIELD, and other newcomer shows The Flash and Constantine, I don’t know how much comic book TV I can stomach.  I watch the Marvel movies so SHIELD isn’t going anywhere.    And I love Arrow (and Stephen Amell.)   But can I add The Flash, Constantine, AND Gotham all to my viewing landscape?   I will and we’ll see if they all stick.

Gracepoint is another show I will be checking out.  It reminds me a little of Twin Peaks and a better version of The Killing.   I’m a big fan of these 10 episode shows that have a brief period of time to tell their story.  It leaves little room for fluff and gets right into the meat of the show.   But since I’m a big character person, it’s hard for these shows to really get us in tune with the characters with such little time to get to all the show runners need to get to.  True Detective did a masterful job of it last year.    So can Gracepoint do the same?   For other people, it might not matter.   This is a murder mystery event.   It might not matter to some about characters.    It does to me though.    But with powerhouses Anna Gunn and David Tennant leading the way, I feel confident this show will be short but mighty.

As for Utopia, Red Band Society and Mulaney, these show may be the result of nothing more than I have no time to watch and their premises haven’t warranted me finding time to watch them.     First of all, Utopia is a reality show about people leaving their lives behind and moving to a remote location to create a whole new civilization.   Yeah, no.  Don’t care, won’t be watching.    Red Band Society stars Octavia Spencer and Dave Annable as part of the medical staff at Ocean Park Hospital.    It focus on a young group of “rule benders” (great more of those) who would never in a million years become friends except for the fact that they are all patients at this hospital.   The show explores relationships between the patients and the staff with both humor and drama.    It appears to have a ton of warmth and heart (with a touch of over the top lessons to be learned.)   Although I have to ask, was Diana Agron too busy to play another blonde, bitchy cheerleader?   Seems all teen shows have those these days and she’s played quite a few of them.    I love the cast (you had me a Octavia Spencer) but I just don’t know if I have time for this show.   It might be one I catch up on in the summer if it hangs around and gets renewed…which I doubt.  The ratings were really bad out of the gate (with no competition) so that doesn’t bode well for the show.   And I love Dave Annable but he is a jinx when it comes to new shows where he is the headliner.   Finally we have Mulaney, which is a Seinfeld rip off.   I’m serious.  Even the shows star and creator, John Mulaney, joked that it is.   “I just watched Seinfeld and I copied it.”    Wow.  That takes balls.   Even if you are just kidding, you are basically setting yourself up for failure if the show is even average because people will automatically compare the two shows.   Early reviews are really bad for the show.   I keep reading the same thing….John Mulaney is a talented writer and great stand up comic.   His show, is bad.  No laughs at all.  Not a glowing endorsement for a new comedy.

 

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2014 Fall Preview: NBC

RETURNING SHOWS

Football Night in America (9/7)
Sunday Night Football (9/7)
The Biggest Loser (9/11)
The Voice (9/22)
The Blacklist (9/22)
Chicago Fire (9/23)
Law & Order: SVU (9/24)
Chicago PD (9/24)
Parenthood (9/25)
Dateline (9/26)
Saturday Night Live (9/27)
About A Boy (10/14)
Grimm (10/24)

NEW SHOWS:
The Mysteries of Laura (9/17)
Bad Judge (10/2)
A to Z (10/2)
Marry Me (10/14)
Constantine (10/24)
State of Affairs (11/17)

SHOWS I AM MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO:
Parenthood (Final Season.   I wish I could watch the Bravermans forever but I’d rather them go out on their own terms.)
The Blacklist (Who is Berlin and what is his connection with Red and Keen?  Is Tom really dead…I don’t think so.   What is Red’s commotion to Keen?  I don’t think he’s her dad then who is he to her?)
About A Boy (Favorite new comedy of last season.   Will it be as good in S2?)
Grimm (Nick has lost his Grimm powers.  Now what?)
Marry Me (This preview looked fantastic and it’s Casey Wilson so I’m in.)
A to Z (While I’m liking the cast, how does the show maintain telling the story of these two dating when the premise is that they date for 8 months, 3 weeks, 5 days and 1 hour?   The assumption is they get married at that point but maybe it’s something else?)
State of Affairs (I like the premise but can Katherine Heigl pull off being a CIA analyst?)

SHOWS I AM LOSING INTEREST IN BUT WILL GIVE ONE MORE SEASON TO:
None

SHOWS I COULDN’T CARE LESS ABOUT:
Bad Judge
The Mysteries of Laura
The Voice
The Biggest Loser
Law & Order: SVU

WHAT TO WATCH FOR:
Parenthood’s Last Season. Parenthood has NEVER gotten the respect it deserves and anyone who reads my blog or listens to my podcast knows, I have been screaming about people shunning Parenthood for years. From the lack of Emmy love to the weak scheduling of the show, Parenthood was the best show nobody gave respect to. Last year, Parenthood did get some love with a 22 episode season.   It wasn’t great in the ratings but the fan base was very loyal.   It reminded me of Chuck in that regard.   Never was a ratings juggernaut but wow did their fans love that show.   Parenthood is one of the best dramas on TV.  And the one thing I will give NBC credit for is that they are very good at giving shows like this their chance to say a good-bye to their fans with a shortened final season.   They did it with Chuck, The Office, Parks and Rec, ER, Friday Night Lights.    Shows that never were huge ratings getters (except for ER but not at the end) but had very loyal fans and NBC made sure these were wrapped up in a way to give their fans a chance to say good-bye.   I’m a big fan of these shortened seasons because there isn’t a lot of room for fluff.  And Jason Katims has done very well with short seasons of Parenthood…making each episode count.   But form what I’m hearing, this will be the biggest tear jerker season of them all (and that’s saying something with this show) due to a death in the family.   Who will it be and how will it end?
The Blacklist Time Shuffle.  Last year I thought The Blacklist would be a hit for NBC.   Please, please, stop throwing money.  Ok that wasn’t a HUGE stretch but since my prognosticating is historically bad, I’m proud I got that one right.  It was my favorite new show of the season.   I was never a James Spader fan and I fell in love with him in this show.   People will argue this role is not a big stretch for the typically smug roles Spader plays.   I don’t care.   He’s perfectly cast here.   Megan Boone was the wild card.   Could she hold her own with a powerhouse like Spader?   At first, not even close.   But she came into her own later in the season.   I still think she’s a bit stiff.  I know part of it is the character but I think part of it was Boone getting more comfortable with the character.   The cast was great, the storyline was riveting, and I’m already anxious for next Monday to get here!   But I’m concerned over the change in air date.    NBC hasn’t had a bona fide drama hit (not including reality shows) since Heroes in 2006.   It’s hard to argue that Friday Night Lights, Medium, and Chuck were hits.  Even though they all lasted multiple seasons and some received rave reviews and had rabid fan bases, they scratched and clawed to get renewed each year.  And yes, Heroes did crash and burn quickly but out of the gate, it was a huge hit and the buzzy show everyone was talking about.   That’s The Blacklist.  Everyone was talking about this show.   Fans couldn’t wait for it to come back.  So what does NBC do to it’s most buzzed about show?   Decides to put it on Hiatus in November for Katherine Heigl’s State of Affairs and then return on a different night and time.   Why?   Why not Chicago Fire or Chicago PD?   Why pick your best show?   Just because people are tuning in Mondays at 10pm for The Blacklist, doesn’t mean they’ll tune in for State of Affairs…especially since so many people can’t stand Heigl and she hasn’t gotten the best reviews for this show.  So I’m curious to see how that impacts the show.   Viewers don’t like it when you move their shows around and history shows that it’s usually disastrous when you move new shows around.  If it’s established like Bones or Supernatural, those shows can typically survive it.   But if you’re new or relatively new (see what ABC did to Cougar Town) it can hurt your chances of renewal.  I don’t think that will happen here, but I will be keeping an eye on it.

EARLY THOUGHTS ON NEW SHOWS:
There are two pilots I’ve seen and the rest I haven’t.   Of the two I saw, one I think has potential to be good but it’s not there yet.  The other, dreadful.   But let’s start the positive shall we?

I enjoyed A to Z.   The pilot had some promise and I really liked the two leads Andrew (Ben Feldman) and Zelda (Cristin Milioti) who had some nice chemistry.   I think this show has room to grow and the cast gets a better feel for their characters.  It is a bit cliché in the sense that Zelda is the type A with no time for relationships and Andrew is a young man looking for the love of his life and is a total romantic.   In their relationship, he may be looking a little too hard for something that is or isn’t there while she is so closed off, she can’t see what’s right in front of her.   It’s a little reminiscent of “How I Met Your Mother” and not just because the titular Mother was played by the same actress playing Zelda.   But after fans being so disappointed with how HIMYM ended up, will they be willing to try another comedy following the love story of two people?   Marry Me is the one I’m most looking forward to.   It stars Casey Wilson and Ken Marino as Annie and Jake, a couple who have been dating for six years and are trying to figure out if they are ready to take that next step.   When they get back from a trip in which Annie thought Jake would propose (and didn’t) she calls him out and unloads years of frustrations about their relationship and the people in it.   Unfortunately for Annie, Jake was behind her on one knee and all the people Annie just destroyed emotionally were hiding in the background ready to yell surprise as Jake popped the question.   Oops.  It’s a show that seems very tight out of the gate and could be the best new comedy of the season.

As for the absolutely no, that would be The Mysteries of Laura and Bad Judge.   I watched the pilot of TMOL (please feel free to read the full recap on the main page) and it wasn’t pretty.   The show is completely disjointed, the writing isn’t good, and the dramedy has no part of either comedy or drama.    It’s a shame for the cast because Debra Messing, Josh Lucas, and Laz Alonzo are fantastic…just woefully miscast or trying to do the best they can with a bad script.  I don’t buy Messing as a top detective.   I can’t stand Lucas’ character.   The kids are so awful it’s hard to believe any child can be that disgusting.   Plus, I’m really tired of the stereotype show that lays out the premise of “buttoned up in my professional life and a hot mess in my personal life.”  Which is the perfect segway to Bad Judge.   Oh my word.  This show looks so bad I can’t even get through the 10-15 second promos.   Kate Walsh, what were you thinking?   This show isn’t funny, it’s embarrassing.   I’m also thinking this could be one of the first (if not the first) show of the season that is canceled.

In the “I’m not so sure” realm, we have Constantine and State of Affairs.   I have a feeling I’ll be watching Constantine because that is right up my husband’s alley.   A cross between Supernatural and Arrow..there’s no way we’re not watching.   Constantine follows John Constantine (Matt Ryan) who is about to give up the fight of protecting innocent people because his soul is already damned to hell.   But a series of events thrust him back into superhero mode and now Constantine is back protecting the innocent and sending the evil spirits back to where they came.    In November, State of Affairs takes over The Blacklist’s time slot.   SoA stars Katherine Heigl as a top CIA analyst (Charlie Tucker) who has close ties to President Connie Payton (Alfre Woodard.)    Tucker was engaged to her son and her son was killed as a result of a terrorist attack.   Now both women want the men/women responsible for killing him brought to justice and together they are working to make that happen…as well as deal with the every day dealings at the White House.   Normally this is the type of show that is right up my alley.   But I don’t know if I can buy Heigl in this role.   Early reviews are that she isn’t puling it off.   I’m willing to give this show, and Heigl, a chance.    But it does have a short leash.

 

2014 Fall Preview: ABC

RETURNING SHOWS:

Dancing with the Stars (9/15)
Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD (9/23)
The Goldbergs (9/24)
The Middle (9/24)
Modern Family (9/24)
Nashville (9/24)
Grey’s Anatomy (9/25)
20/20 (9/26)
Scandal (9/25)
Shark Tank (9/26)
Once Upon A Time (9/28)
Resurrection (9/28)
Revenge (9/28)
Castle (9/29)
Last Man Standing (10/3)
America’s Funniest Home Videos (10/5)

NEW SHOWS:
Forever Sneak Peak (9/22)
Forever (9/23)
black-ish (9/24)
How To Get Away With Murder (9/25)
Selfie (10/30)
Manhattan Love Story (10/30)
Cristela (10/10)

SHOWS I AM MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO:
Castle: Is Castle dead???  Of course not.   But I’m so curious as to what happened.   And when will we get that damn wedding!!!
Revenge: Revenge completely rebounded last year.   I’m back to being all in with this show.  Plus Aiden is dead (yeah) and David Clarke is alive (called it.)
Scandal: Where has Olivia gone with Jake and what does this mean for OPA and the rest of the gladiators?
SHIELD: Now that Hydra has destroyed SHIELD and Coulston has to re-build, what happens now?   Will Fitz be ok and remember that he told Simmons his feelings (finally?)    Then there’s Ward.  Can this character be redeemed after what he did to the team last year?   And can I please get some Thor on this show!!!
How to Get Away with Murder: talk about Must See TV Thursday night being back.   Grey’s (take it or leave it), Scandal and HTGAWM!!!   Can’t wait to see what Shonda has up her sleeves now.

SHOWS I AM LOSING INTEREST IN BUT WILL GIVE ONE MORE SEASON TO:
Once Upon A Time: I still love this show but now the Frozen girls are coming.   After a while, can we forego bringing every stinking Disney character or fairy tale character into the story and focus on our core people?   Or maybe bring some back that we already met…like Cinderella and Malificent.
Nashville: Another show I like but there’s only so much TV to watch and I’m not sure this makes the cut moving forward.
Grey’s Anatomy: I’m not sure I care enough about these characters anymore to keep going.

SHOWS I COULDN’T CARE LESS ABOUT:
Dancing with the Stars
The Middle
Modern Family
Last Man Standing
Shark Tank
Cristela
Resurrection

WHAT TO WATCH FOR:
#TGIT. When I was in college, Must See TV Thursday was Friends, Seinfeld, Will & Grace, Frasier, and ER.   This was before DVRs, TiVO, and even VCRing your shows.   You made plans around these shows.    You never missed an episode.   Not because they were procedural or even serial where you can’t wait to see what happens next.    They were just well written, well acted, entertaining shows.    Well Must See TV Thursday is back and it’s all Shonda Rhimes all the time.   I’ve had my issues with Shonda Rhimes in the past.   Truth be told I still do.   But when she gets something right, she nails it.   She did with Grey’s Anatomy 10+ years ago.  I think the reason Grey’s started to go down hill was because Rhimes spread herself too thin with Private Practice and Off the Map (as well as trying to get other shows to pilot.)   Private Practice was never a great show.  It had some good characters and stories over the course of its 6 season run but was never Grey’s in its heyday.   Off the Map was just awful.   Good cast, bad show, bad writing.  I really thought Rhimes was better suited doing one show at a time.   Then Scandal came along.   I loved the pace, the setting, the story telling, and the characters.   Every episode felt like a season finale where I was always on the edge of my seat.   And since Grey’s is really running on auto pilot these days….chugging along until it runs out of gas…Scandal seems Rhimes’ big focus.   Now comes How To Get Away With Murder with headliner and powerhouse Viola Davis.  I can’t wait.   I’m a sucker for a good courtroom drama (see The Practice and The Good Wife.)   And in typical Rhimes form, if this drama has twists and turns up its sleeve, Thursday nights will go back to my college days…every thing else will revolve around that night.  As long as Scandal doesn’t suffer and HTGAWM lives up to the hype, I will be there every Thursday night.    Hopefully Rhimes has learned her lesson from past shows and will still head the creative but spread the wealth on the writing.
Tuesday Night Line Up. I was interested to see how a completely new line up of shows would do on Tuesdays night.   About 50/50 since only SHIELD and The Goldbergs made it to seasons 2 and Trophy Wife and Lucky 7 were sent to the recycle bin.   Now you have SHIELD anchoring Tues night at 9pm with a very strange lead in of Selfie and Manhattan Love Story and the being followed up by Forever, which looks somewhat interesting.  I’ll talk more about the new shows below, but SHIELD just barely got renewed last year.   It was really strong out of the gate but many people thought the show was slow and didn’t like the characters.   If people did hang on, the show got much better and faster paced.   But I also know people were frustrated with too many movie tie ins.   I think it’s a show with a very specific audience base and if they don’t like the show, you’re in trouble.   But ABC’s schedule was so bad, it was able to hang on.  But can it still hang in with those shows flanking it and going against new CBS show NCIS: New Orleans?

EARLY THOUGHTS ON NEW SHOWS:
I haven’t seen any of the new ABC shows. I’ve seen many different clips and read many reports on the media site regarding the premises and directions of the new shows. So with that limited information, I would say I am most excited about How To Get Away With Murder and black-ish.   I’ve already touched on HTGAWM a little above but this show will center around Davis’ tough as nails criminal defense attorney/professor and her crew of law students fighting for an internship with her firm.   It sounds like a sexy, more sinister Legally Blonde, but not really.  It also stars names like Liza Weil, Billy Brown, and Tom Verica.   When I first heard of the premise of black-ish I thought, there is no way I’m giving this show a chance.   But then I read some reviews about the show and viewed some clips and long trailers on it.   I will absolutely be checking this show out.   It stars Anthony Anderson as a newly promoted EVP and very successful businessman raising his family in suburbia.  Sounds simple and it is.   Some may say they find the name and premise offensive.   I can’t say since I’m not African-American.  I’m just going to judge the show as strictly a comedy and it made me laugh.   Anderson is great.  Lawernce Fishburne has some fantastic one liners.    But the best has to be Anderson’s son Andre (or Andy) played by Marcus Scribner.  The most laugh out loud moments I had were watching his scenes.  He was fantastic.   Cristela, I won’t be watching.  Honestly by the time in premieres, I’ll already have my lineup set and I already watch too much.    As for Forever, Selfie, and Mahattan Love Story, I don’t know.  Forever seems the type of ABC show that will be canceled after 3 airings.  ABC has that track record lately and do I want to try to follow another show that I am just luke warm about?   I’m not sure.  I’ll probably DVR or On Demand the first 3 episodes and go from there.  Just on the name, I wasn’t going to watch Selfie.   But I love My Fair Lady and just out of sheer curiosity, I might check it out to see how this modern-day version plays out.   MLS, I like the lead actress’ character, played by Analeigh Tipton.    But the lead male, played by Jake McDorman, was just a jerk.  I know he’s supposed to be, but he’s not the kind of lovable jerk I could watch every week.   I found him repulsive.  So this is another one I’ll check out a few times to see if his assholeness softens as the show grows but if it doesn’t, good-bye.

 

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Main Tab Updates

I have already gotten the Renew/Cancel tracker cleared and ready for this season.   As soon as shows are renewed or canceled, I will update.   The 2014 Fall Preview will be updated as I add the individual networks to the main page.  For right now only CBS is up but this week should have the rest of the major networks (not cable.)

The 2014 Premiere Dates have not been updated yet and that will be the last thing updated.   All the individual networks reviews will have premiere dates next to the shows.  So until that tab is updated, you can find premiere dates there.

 

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2014 Fall Preview: CBS

RETURNING SHOWS:

Survivor: Blood vs. Water (9/24)
2 Broke Girls (10/27)
Mom (9/29)
The Millers (10/30)
Hawaii 5-0 (9/26)
NCIS (9/23)
NCIS: LA (9/29)
Criminal Minds (10/1)
CSI (9/28)
The Big Bang Theory (9/22)
Two and a Half Men (10/30)
Person of Interest (9/23)
Elementary (10/30)
Blue Bloods (9/26)
48 Hours Mystery (9/27)
60 Minutes (9/21)
The Amazing Race (9/26)
The Good Wife (9/21)

NEW SHOWS:

Madam Secretary (9/21)
Scorpion (9/22)
NCIS: New Orleans (9/23)
Stalker (10/1)
The McCarthy’s (10/30)

SHOWS I AM MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO:

The Good Wife: When have I not been looking forward to TGW?   Diane joins Florrick/Agos.  Eli wants Alicia to run for State’s Attorney.  Where is Lockhart Gardner now that both Lockhart and Gardner are gone?  (RIP Will.)
Stalker: I loved Maggie Q on Nikita and I’m always a Dylan McDermott fan.  This is the type of show CBS does well so I envision this show succeeding but you never know.   But I will be watching.
Mom: I loved this show.  I’m curious to see how it performs in its 2nd year and how the ratings are.  Last year ratings weren’t great but luckily other comedies fared worse than this show.   But with the buzz about the show and Allison Janney winning her Emmy for the role, I’m hoping people are checking it out.
Madam Secretary: I’ve never been the biggest Tea Leoni fan but she looks fantastic in this role.  It’s a very strong cast and I love the premise (I can never walk away from a political show.)   So as of right now, I’m all in on this show.
Person of Interest: Where do we go now with the team fractured and splinted apart?
The McCarthy’s: looks to be one of the best new comedies of the season.   Only bummer is that it’s premiering very late but I will be tuning in.
Blue Bloods: I just love this show.   I know the Reagans always do the right thing and it’s a little too cream cheesy for people but I can use more cream cheese in my life so it doesn’t bother me at all.

SHOWS I AM LOSING INTEREST IN BUT WILL GIVE ONE MORE SEASON TO:

Elementary: I have to be honest, I already started fading on this show last season so it isn’t looking good for me to keep up with it last year.

SHOWS I COULDN’T CARE LESS ABOUT:

All the NCIS
CSI
Hawaii 5-0
The Big Bang Theory
Two and a Half Men

WHAT TO WATCH FOR:

Is CBS getting too stale.   CBS has been the dominate network for a long time.  A great sign for CBS is that they were actually #1 in the coveted 18-49 demo for the first time since the 1991-1992 season.  And because of that dominance there wasn’t a lot of changes in the schedule.   But look at the length of time for some of these shows….60 Minutes (46 years), 48 Hours (26 years), CSI (14 years), Survivor (14 years), Big Brother (14 years), The Amazing Race (13 years), NCIS (11 years), Two and Half Men (11 years), Criminal Minds (9 years), The Big Bang Theory (7 years), The Mentalist (6 years), NCIS: LA (5 years), and The Good Wife (5 years.)   Plus you had CSI Miami and CSI NY that were on for about 7-8 years each before they were canceled last year.   What they are doing is working.   But when will they hit the wall?    At some point they have to.  And look at the new shows coming out…another NCIS, Stalker (which is another “how do I solve a crime” show, Madam Secretary which is a political family drama (like The Good Wife is a legal family drama and Blue Bloods is a law enforcement family drama.)  Scorpion is really the only “outside the CBS formula” show.    Does the CBS magic run out?  There’s something to be said for “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.”   But you do have to wonder if the magic formula that has carried them to so many season ending wins in viewership, will fizzle out if something doesn’t change or get freshened up.
Will Sundays be tough for Madam Secretary to find an audience.  I love football.  I LOVE football.  I especially love NFL football….Go Eagles!!!!   But you know what I don’t love…how my Sunday night shows (and DVR taping) get screwed up because when there is a 4pm game, it always runs long and it always pushes shows back and starting a wacky times.  It’s why I haven’t watched The Mentalist in 2 years (and after all these years still don’t know who Red John was…and don’t tell me.)   I think it’s really tough for a new show to get an audience on a Sunday night on CBS when the show could be delayed up to 40 minutes.  I know how much it frustrates viewers because I’ve had talks about it in regards to The Good Wife.  But since TGW is so amazing and already had an audience, it didn’t matter.  People will find ways to watch that show.  But a new show like Madam Secretary?   I think that’s going to be tough.

EARLY THOUGHTS ON NEW SHOWS:

CBS doesn’t have a ton of new shows because their schedule is already so strong. Only five shows! My top three are Madam Secretary, Stalker, and The McCarthy’s.   Madam Secretary follows Elizabeth McCord, a former CIA analyst turned history professor, who is asked by the President to become the new Secretary of State when the current Secretary dies in a plane accident.  Elizabeth learns to battle the politics of a high-ranking position in the White House while balancing a very busy home life.   The cast is amazing: Tea Leoni, Keith Carradine, Zeljko Ivanek, Tim Daly, Patina Miller, Geoffrey Arned, and Erich Bergen.  It appears well written, acted, and directed and I can always use another political drama to keep me going (since House of Cards isn’t back until February.)  Stalker stars Maggie Q and Dylan McDermott as lieutenants for the LAPD’s Threat Assessment Unit that investigate, you guessed it, stalking incidents.  It’s your typical CBS procedural crime drama looking at a different type of crime and who are the people who solve them.   And I will be watching.  Lastly, The McCarthy’s.   Another great cast headlined by Laurie Metcalf and Jack McGee.  It follows the McCarthy family, a tight-knit family from Boston who loves their sports and The Good Wife.   Ronny (Tyler Ritter…son of John Ritter) is looking to move away from his crazy family until is father (McGee) offers him the assistant coaching job at his high school.   Ronny is neither athletic nor likes basketball so it’s really curious to his two brothers and sister how Ronny was the man picked for the job.   I’m always impressed when an ensemble comedy gels right off the bat (like Brooklyn Nine-Nine did last year) and this is another comedy who has their act together right out of the gate.  CBS isn’t normally known for their comedies the way they are their dramas, but I think this one is a winner for them.

As for NCIS: New Orleans and Scorpion, I will definitely pass and probably pass. I don’t watch the other NCIS shows so I have no interest in this new one.   Scorpion looks to have an interesting premise but to be honest, I can’t stand Katharine McPhee’s acting.  She’s horrible.   It’s so bad, she takes away anything that’s good from the show when she’s on-screen.  And this one won’t have opportunities for her to sing to make up for the lack of acting.  But since she’s only one character in an ensemble show, I will check it out and see how much she ruins it.   If she’s relegated to the background and the rest of the show is good, I’ll power through.   If she’s front and center and the show is mediocre, I’m out.

 

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