“The Friday TV Report” 30 for 11/3/17 UPDATED 11/17/17 from Sally Ember, Ed.D., and her mom
Mom and I, August, 2017
I (Sally) update this ever-changing post of ongoing mini-reviews and premiere/return dates of certain non-premium cable TV, Amazon Prime and Netflix shows with our opinions (begun in fall, 2015). Check on Fridays!
And, I am also maintaining a summary section (“Yays,” “Nays,” and “Still Considering”), and an additional, constantly updated “news” section, below, with rumors and truths about interesting projects/actors/shows. I also add to reviews of many previously reviewed shows with new info and opinions often, so check weekly if you’re interested in those updates.
This is Report 30 for 11/3/17, and each post is UPDATED frequently (11/17/17); next full post, 12/1/17.
Regarding late-night shows
(which are often repeated in the early morning hours):
—we both watch James Corden‘s “Carpool Karaoke” and “Broadway at the Crosswalk” when they’re on the regular channel (we don’t get iTunes shows), but not the rest of his show;
—we watch the first or both of the first parts of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and sometimes one or more of his guest spots;
—my mom watches The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, but I only watch a few bits, usually on YouTube, later (“Lip Sync Battles,” e.g.);
—Mom watches Seth Myers‘ show’s first parts, but I do not;
—I sometimes watch the first parts of The Daily Show with Trevor Noah (we miss you, Jon Stewart!), but Mom does not;
—Mom watches all of Saturday Night Live, but I don’t like it (never did);
—Mom also watches Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O’Donnell and a lot of other MSNBC news shows, but I do not;
—I catch some of John Oliver’s Episodes on YouTube a few times a year; Mom does not.
Our constantly updated summary (newly put into the form of sections for “Yays” and “Nays” and “Still Considering”) for the 2017-18 Season (as of 11/17/17).
(NOTE: If I put an “OH-OH” next to a listing, below, it means the MSN site AGREES with me/us, which is unusual…”NO WAY” means MSN disagrees with me/us)
image from Pixabay
Big Little Lies (RENEWED for SEASON 2)
Full Frontal with Samantha Bee
Good Girls Revolt (SEASON 2 in the works!)
*Kevin (Probably) Saves the World (adding more Episodes, but CANCELED)
NCIS New Orleans
*The Bold Type
The Good Doctor
This Is Us
Wisdom of the Crowd CANCELED
Check our opinions against the networks’ decisions with updated lists of Canceled and Renewed shows (updated 11/17/17):
9JKL (HORRIBLE and CANCELED)
Chesapeake Shores (WRETCHEDLY STUPID)
Con Man (NOT FUNNY)
*Ghosted (TRIES TOO HARD)
Great News (INSIPID)
Liar (TOO DARK)
Marvel’s Inhumans (HORRIBLE, and already CANCELED) OH-OH
Modern Family (BANAL; Final season this year, anyway)
Rosehaven (UNLIKABLE CHARACTERS AND PLOT)
Star Trek: Discovery (didn’t like it and won’t pay, anyway) NO WAY
The Mayor (RIDICULOUS and CANCELED)
*The Opposition with Jordan Keppler (STALE BEFORE IT BEGAN)
Will and Grace (THEY’RE TOO OLD FOR THOSE CHARACTERS) NO WAY
Still Considering/Not Great/BORING
(image from Pixabay)
Chicago PD (too many doing too many bad things ON THE force!)
Chicago Fire (not so many to root for, now)
How to Get Away with Murder (disgusting and appalling, usually)
Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Scorpion (sillier each week)
Supergirl (WORSE EACH YEAR, but somehow, we keep watching)
The Good Place (SEASON 2 rotted at first, but sometimes, better)
*Young Sheldon (I like it, somewhat)
—SUITS news: Patrick J. Adams (one of the leads!) and/or Meghan Markle (his character’s beloved, currently engaged IRL to Prince Harry; yes, THAT Prince Harry!) will not return IF this series has a SEASON 8 (which is not certain).
—PLEASE BRING BACK Good Girls Revolt for Season 2! The JERK at Amazon that canceled it (and was subsequently FIRED for BEING a sexual harasser, in one of life’s great ironic moments) never even watched it. It was GREAT! “Set in 1969 and based on Lynn Povich’s book of the same name, Good Girls Revolt was created by Dana Calvo and centers on young female researchers who work at News of the Week,” a barely disguised Newsweek setting. “The plot was inspired by true events and depicted a landmark sexual discrimination case.
Genevieve Angelson, Anna Camp, and Erin Darke star(red).
—Relief is a new medical drama (do we really need another one??) in development at NBC. Maria Bello (we’ve been loving her for years, especially in her current role as “Jack” on NCIS) and Jessica Goldberg (The Path) are the co-creators. The series centers on a “successful female doctor in L.A. who delivers supplies to her estranged brother on a remote island devastated by an earthquake. A series of dramatic events propels her decision to stay on and become part of a group of volunteers from around the world who are saving lives and healing themselves in the process.”
—Did you love the short-lived Hayley Atwell vehicle, Conviction? So did we! Its creator, Liz Friedlander, will write and direct a new series! This one is a “female-centric cop drama…[that is] the first female partnership in an elite division of the LAPD, where the two detectives use their particular set of skills to tackle the most high-profile cases as well as a system that doesn’t necessarily want them there” for ABC. No title, yet. Probably airing in the 2018-19 season.
—Lady Macbeth‘s Florence Pugh to star in John le Carré 6-Episode miniseries at AMC, The Little Drummer Girl, based on the 1983 bestselling spy novel (previously adapted into a 1984 film starring Diane Keaton). Probably airing in the 2018-19 season.
—Toni Collette will star in Wanderlust, a 6-Episode miniseries, family drama, on Netflix & BBC One, that “looks at how we build and maintain happy relationships and asks whether lifelong monogamy is possible — or even desirable….Collette plays Joy Richards, ‘a therapist trying to find a way to keep her spark alive with her husband after a cycling accident causes them to reassess their relationship. As we meet her family, friends, neighbors, and clients, remarkable yet relatable stories of love, lust, and forbidden desire emerge.’” Probably airing in the 2018-19 season.
— Sounds as if they are taking a good idea (a female-centered Silicon Valley) and will make it unwatchable, from my/our POV, but fans of Parks & Rec, Bridesmaids and other such nonsense (in our opinion) will probably like this a lot: “Paul Feig, New Girl’s Kim Rosenstock, and Freeform are…[developing] Girl Code, [which] is …created by Rosenstock and directed by Feig…[T]he half-hour comedy will be set in an all-female incubator….Joy Gorman Wettels (13 Reasons Why) originally brought the concept to Feig and Rosenstock. She will exec produce….
“‘The series will focus on ‘an antisocial tech CEO and an outspoken feminist non-profit warrior who must put aside their issues with each other in order to mastermind a groundbreaking, all-women tech incubator…’” Probably airing in the 2018-19 season.
— Missing Sophie Bush (Chicago P.D., One Tree Hill), already? No worries: She “has signed a talent holding and development deal with 20th Century Fox Television, The Hollywood Reporter confirms. The pact sees her starring in an upcoming comedy or drama pilot for the studio, plus executive producing other projects for the company.” Probably airing in the 2018-19 season or later.
— Gina Rodriguez, actor (Jane the Virgin), producer, author, is the executive producer of a new series in association with CBS, Femme, to air on the CW network. Femme is “a drama series from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend writers, Audrey Wauchope and Rachel Specter, [that] …follows four millennial women from different walks of life who become unlikely friends and fierce allies after meeting online in a secret feminist social media group. They form a sisterhood army in the real world to support each other through both serious and humorous crises and to help other women in need.” Probably airing in the 2018-19 season.
—NBC’s version of a new Nancy Drew series “’…follows the author of the most famous female teen detective book series who is thrust into a real-life murder mystery….In need of help, she turns to her two best friends from childhood, who were the inspiration for all those books, and the women who have a real axe to grind about the way their supposed best friend chose to portray them all those years ago.’” Confusingly, this new series is still being produced by CBS studios but won’t run on that channel and no longer stars Sarah Shahi (Person of Interest, Fairly Legal) who played Nancy in CBS’ pilot for this newly relocated and redesigned series. Probably airing in the 2018-19 season.
—“Ryan Murphy’s newest show will delve into New York City’s drag ball culture, with a stellar cast of five up-and-coming transgender actresses in series regular roles. POSE makes history for featuring the largest cast of transgender actors as series regulars on any scripted series. FX Networks, which produced other Murphy hits, Feud: Bette and Joan, American Crime Story, and American Horror Story,…cast MJ Rodriguez (Luke Cage), Indya Moore (Saturday Church), fashion model and ball scene fixture, Dominique Jackson, Hailie Sahar (Mr. Robot), and Angelica Ross (from the Emmy-nominated Her Story). All five are out, transgender women, and will be playing authentic transgender characters. Billy Porter, a Tony Award winner for Broadway’s Kinky Boots, rounds out the cast.” Set in the 1980s, POSE looks at the juxtaposition of several segments of life and society in New York: the rise of the luxury Trump-era universe, the downtown social and literary scene and the ball culture world. Murphy co-created the show with Brad Falchuk and Steven Canals. Probably airing in the 2018-19 season.
Cast photos and more info: http://www.indiewire.com/2017/10/ryan-murphy-pose-casting-announcement-trans-lgbt-fx-1201890868/
—Veronica Mars‘ fans will be tentatively glad to know that Kristen Bell has announced the newest incarnation of that character into a mini-series is “happening,” but “[n]o deal has been made and no timeline is in place for this happening.”
—VERY EXCITED about this (I am such a GEEK!): Roswell is coming back to the CW with a new series, updated stories and aged characters! https://www.fanbolt.com/88498/roswell-reboot-happening-cw-heres-know/ If you are a fan or if you are new, the link provides background and details. This show launched many careers: writing (Kevin Kelly Brown); producing (Jason Katims) and, acting (Shiri Appleby, Jason Behr, Katherine Heigl, Brendon Fehr, Majandra Delfino and Nick Wechsler). “The official logline for the rebooted series reads: ‘After reluctantly returning to her tourist-trap hometown of Roswell, New Mexico, the daughter of undocumented immigrants discovers a shocking truth about her teenage crush who is now a police officer: he’s an alien who has kept his unearthly abilities hidden his entire life. She protects his secret as the two reconnect and begin to investigate his origins, but when a violent attack and long-standing government cover-up point to a greater alien presence on Earth, the politics of fear and hatred threaten to expose him and destroy their deepening romance.’” No air date or season, yet.
—Diablo Cody (Juno) has a new project at Fox, executive producing Two Nights, a cop drama written by Finding Carter co-creator Emily Silver, who will also serve as an EP. The story “…centers on Sunday Night, ‘a former cop with memorable name and a smartass sense of humor who lives on a shrinking island with her pet squirrel and not much else….But when her foster father asks for help in the kidnapping case of a young girl, Sunday is pulled back into the world of law enforcement, forcing her to confront her own demons as she solves cases for the Criminal Investigative Division of the FBI.’” From VARIETY. Probably airing in the 2018-19 season.
—Natasha Lyonne (Orange Is the New Black), writer-director Leslye Headland (Sleeping with Other People) and Amy Poehler (of numerous films, SNL and Parks and Rec) are teaming up for an [untitled] eight-episode comedy series for Netflix. Lyonne will star and co-write with Headland. “[T]he series follows Nadia (Lyonne) on her journey as the guest of honor at a seemingly inescapable party one night in New York City.” Probably not our cup of tea, but Bridesmaids and Rough Night fans will probably love it. Probably airing in the 2018-19 season.
— Amy Poehler is mighty busy these days! She is also “exec producing an untitled family comedy that has received a put-pilot commitment from NBC.” New Girl producer, Kim Rosenstock, is writing the pilot and series, which doesn’t sound all that interesting (to me): it “centers on a newly single mom ‘who is forced to rely on the last people she wants help from: her family.'” Probably airing in the 2018-19 season.
—“Darker and grittier than the original Sabrina, the Teenage Witch,” The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (The CAS) is still featuring “a magically-inclined high school student with a talking cat.” But, they are going for edgy vs. cutesy, since The CAS purports to be “a dark coming-of-age story that traffics in horror, the occult and, of course, witchcraft.” Going more for Buffy than Bewitched, with a bit of The Exorcist thrown in, it seems: “Sabrina [will be]wrestling to reconcile her dual nature —– half-witch, half-mortal –— while standing against the evil forces that threaten her, her family, and the daylight world humans inhabit.”
The CAS is being framed “as a companion series to Riverdale [also from Archie Comics] for the 2018–19 season” for the CW channel. The pilot will be written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and directed by Lee Toland Krieger, the same team that created Riverdale‘s pilot. I doubt if we’ll watch, but some of you might! Probably airing in the 2018-19 season.
—Quality of Life, a new series about a family-run funeral business is fronted by the great Jamie Lee Curtis, who will star, co-write, and executive produce the comedy for CBS. Co-written by Janis Hirsch (Will & Grace, Murphy Brown), this will be one of the few comedies to feature a woman over 60. Sounds intriguing. Probably airing in the 2018-19 season.
—ABC is developing a pilot for Eligible, a drama based on Curtis Sittenfeld’s 2016 novel Eligible: A Modern Retelling of Pride and Prejudice. Sherri Cooper Landsman and Jennifer Levin, who developed The CW’s Beauty & the Beast, and I. Marlene King, creator of Freeform’s Pretty Little Liars, will serve as executive producers. Probably airing in the 2018-19 season.
—Laverne Cox (Orange is the New Black and Doubt) will star in Spirited, “a one-hour drama about a fake psychic who discovers she has genuine powers.” This will be executive produced by Elizabeth Banks, with the pilot to appear (perhaps) on ABC. Probably airing in the 2018-19 season.
—How much do we love Madam Secretary‘s creator, Barbara Hall? LOTS! Moonlighting, Northern Exposure, Joan of Arcadia, Judging Amy and Homeland are also among her fabulous writing credits, and now she has another series in development at CBS. A CIA drama, Family Business, centers on three adult siblings working in the intelligence community, just as their parents do/did. Probably airing in the 2018-19 season.
—Janet Tamaro‘s new series (Tamaro is the creator of one of our faves—now GONE…sob—Rizzoli & Isles), Smoke and Mirrors, “will follow a retired female detective who is pulled pack into the job from her now-quiet family life. In true Tamaro fashion, the detective teams up with another female cop — a young undercover detective — and crime and drama ensue from there. Tamaro will both write and exec produce the project.” Probably airing in the 2018-19 season.
—The Jetsons is being “revived”! ABC is preparing a “live-action series revival…based on the classic Hanna-Barbera cartoon…[as] a multi-cam sitcom set 100 years in the future that follows the exploits of the Jetson family.” Probably airing in the 2018-19 season.
—Another reason to spring for Netflix: Shonda Rhimes plans to put any new shows on that medium AND may move current ABC shows (How to Get Away with Murder, Grey’s Anatomy, Once Upon a Time and For the People [new this year] to it for 2018-19. Stay tuned!
—“Ava DuVernay, Charles D. King’s Macro & Victoria Mahoney To Adapt Octavia E. Butler’s Sci-Fi Novel Dawn For TV”
“…the first of the author’s Lilith’s Brood trilogy and a seminal work of the Afrofuturism movement. It is, shockingly, the first film or television take on the Genius Grant and Hugo Award-winning author’s work.” Probably airing in the 2018-19 season. http://flavorwire.com/609150/ava-duvernay-developing-tv-adaptation-of-octavia-butlers-dawn
—Now we hate CBS Access even more! They added wonderful star, Audra MacDonald, as a series regular for The Good Fight. THEY SUCK for charging extra to watch these shows!
—Amy Brenneman (fave of mine and my mom’s since Judging Amy and Private Practice; I loved her in Reign, and Mom loved her in NYPD Blue, too) is returning to TV in a pilot for TNT, Deadlier Than Male.
“The project follows a trio of characters with troubled and mysterious pasts, ‘including a woman who once looked into the eyes of a dangerous killer, a former serial predator desperate to find redemption, and a grieving mother obsessed with finding her missing daughter,’ THR hints. ‘As each of them is pushed to the edge, the truth about their pasts and their motives grows ever murkier, blurring the lines between victim and perpetrator.’
“Brenneman has been cast as the grieving mother, Mary. She’s spent years searching for her missing daughter, and ‘on one hand, her loss has made her a passionate advocate for vulnerable women, but on the other, the tragedy has given her new power and polish —– as well as a ruthless streak that makes her a threat to anyone who stands in her way.’”
Has some great writers behind it, but sounds very dismal and dark. We’ll give it a try, though. Probably airing in the 2018-19 season.
—Not on our list, but, perhaps, on YOURS, is Margaret Cho‘s autobiographical dramedy, Highland, coming soon on TNT. Directed by the woman who brought Transparent, Girls, and Better Things to television and previously collaborated on three specials: Margaret Cho: CHO Revolution, Margaret Cho: Beautiful, and Margaret Cho: Dependent, Nisha Ganatra.
The stories are “inspired by Cho’s own history of drug use and follows two extended, dysfunctional Korean-American families ‘who share the same patriarch [and] must come together after tragedy strikes. As it turns out, the most reliable person in both families is the one who just got out of rehab.'” Probably airing in the 2018-19 season.
—Missing the 20th-century Brits in Downton Abbey? Well, hang on until 2018! The ITV/PBS series is set to begin production of a sequel film to its 6-year series’ run in 2018!
—NBC will have a Broadway-filmed “live” (at filming time) showing of Jesus Christ Superstar on Easter Sunday, 4/8/18. If you’ve never seen it, very worth it. It’s brilliant. One of the first “rock operas” of the 1960s-1970s, it has almost no dialogue and many amazing songs. Much more serious and politicized/satirical than Godspell, and not the same angle at all on the story of Jesus’ rise and fall.
—Also inexplicably (to me), ABC is airing The Little Mermaid as a “sing-along,” mixing “real-life singing with animated songs” in October, 2017. I guess kids will like it.
—Everwood is being re-run and may be poised to be revived as well, on the CW. The show originally ran 2002-2006 with Gregory Smith and Vivien Cardone, along with Emily van Camp and Chris Pratt playing pairs of teen siblings (Greg, Emily and Vivien actually were teens for the first few years).
Starring Treat Williams and Tom Amandes as rival doctors/their respective fathers, it was fun, easy on the mind and eyes entertainment. My mom never saw it, so we’ll probably watch (I already saw most of the episodes). Premiere date not set, yet.
—Casey Wilson, Busy Philipps and Tina Fey are teaming up for The Sackett Sisters. Wilson and Phillipps play sisters, with Bradley Whitford as their father, in the Fey-produced NBC comedy pilot, which may or may not get picked up for 2017-18 or probably airing in the 2018-19 season..
—Premiere date is unclear, but Deception on ABC sounds intriguing. I don’t recognize the names or faces of any of the stars, though.
PR says: “When his career is ruined by scandal, superstar magician, Cameron Black, has only one place to turn to practice his art of deception, illusion, and influence — the FBI. He’ll become the world’s first consulting illusionist, helping the government solve crimes that defy explanation and trap criminals and spies by using deception.”
Sounds like a White Collar and The Mentalist mash-up. We liked both those shows, so we’ll probably give it a try. Probably airing in the 2018-19 season.
—Jacqueline Bisset to star in Journey to Miyakojima, which is scheduled to begin shooting October, 2017, in Japan. “The family drama centers on ‘a quietly ailing’ family matriarch [Bisset] and NBA team owner who hopes to ‘reunite her shattered family at a serene island off the coast of Okinawa, thousands of miles away from home.’…She convinces her granddaughter, who suffers from an eating disorder that’s getting increasingly serious, to stay at a guesthouse on the island, ‘where its beauty, a chance meeting with a treasure hunter, and a century-old shipwreck heal their wounds.’” Probably airing in the 2018-19 season.
—One of the most significant influences on my and many others’ lives was a science-fiction book published in the 1960s by Robert Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land, and this now “classic tale of a human raised by Martians is being adapted into a television series”! This is a “a co-production between Paramount Television and Universal Cable Productions” being developed for the SyFy network. Premiere date not set, yet. Probably airing in the 2018-19 season.
—We’ll be glad to see Alan Cumming (The Good Wife) back in Instinct on CBS , if they can figure out when to start showing it. No premiere date, yet. Probably airing in the 2018-19 season.
Cumming plays “a former CIA operative who has since built a ‘normal’ life as a gifted professor and writer [who] is pulled back into his old life when the NYPD needs his help to stop a serial killer on the loose. Based on the soon-to-be-published James Patterson book.”
—Lauren Graham is set to star in Linda from HR, a comedy for Fox.
“The show will center on the ‘one bad decision’ that throws ‘Linda from HR’s monotonous, unfulfilled life into an exciting but dangerous tailspin of balancing work life, home life, and a secret that could unravel everything.’” No premiere date set, yet. Probably airing in the 2018-19 season or later.
—FOX plans to air a LIVE production of the Tony-award-winning musical, RENT, some time in 2018. Well-worth watching, I’m sure.
This is the 30th post, for 5 weeks ending 11/3/17 (UPDATED 11/17/17)
CANCELED, TBD or RENEWED shows’ statuses can be found here: http://renewcanceltv.com/
For the shows we watch, I put each one’s status beneath its review or listing, when it is known.
Also, I have been steadily removing my reviews or expectations for/of all shows that have been discontinued/canceled since we started this series of posts in 2015, or that we gave up on watching.
My mom (85) and I (63) are probably not the “target demographic” for almost any show on television or any movie being produced currently. We live in the suburbs of St. Louis, Missouri, USA (Midwest, for those of you unfamiliar: think of that huge “Gateway Arch”? That’s here). I grew up here but then didn’t live here for 42 years; I’ve been back for over three years, now. We were both raised Jewish, but I have been a meditator since 1972 and a practicing Buddhist since 1996. We are both Caucasian women-born-women. We are considered “middle class” although we have almost zero dollars of “disposable income.” My mom is hetero; I am bisexual. We are both partly disabled. I am highly educated (doctoral degree plus other training); my mom has extensive work experience, with a high school diploma.
My mom, Carole, age 85, 2017
My mom has been a TV watcher for over 60 years. I watched a lot as a kid, but from about 1972 – 2002, I didn’t have a TV and hardly watched it elsewhere, either. I usually didn’t have a TV between 2005 – 2014 as well, but I watched some shows online (Hulu, usually) or Netflix.
We think we should be part of a group that at least some producers are aiming to please, because we (especially Mom) now watch a lot of television. We also get movies regularly from DVD borrowing through our local library. We even occasionally go to a theatre to see a movie. We eagerly await the “new season” of television every one of the four times it seems to occur every year: “Fall Sweeps” happen, but so do Mid-season Sweeps, Mid-year New Seasons, and channels with an entirely different set of “seasons.”
Also, VERY STRANGELY, starting in 2016, some scheduled shows don’t even air or only air for one or two episodes and then are summarily canceled. What is the point of that? Why put so much time, money, effort, acting and producing talent into shows and then not even air the episodes that were already recorded? At least they did air the rest of Doubt this past summer (8 months after canceling it after only airing 2 episodes), but we think it’s odd that TV producers and networks would leave shows “in the can.” What happens to those episodes? Plus, the premature renewals of unaired or newly aired shows will come back to haunt those decision-makers (mark our words with Will & Grace, for example: renewed before airing and HORRIBLE).
We also occasionally watch TV shows and movies on Netflix (since 2016) and Amazon Prime (since summer, 2017)
However, we are consistently disappointed that many shows we do like are canceled and some shows we despise seem to go on forever. Plus, we have several pet peeves:
—“Why is it always so dark in all these shows? I can’t see a thing. What is the point?”
—“Why is the music so loud but the dialogue is barely audible?”
—“Why do so many writers depict adult characters as adolescents with endless insecurities and incessant competition and/or bickering?”
—“Car chases, foot chases and fighting are NOT PLOT.”
Keep up with the changes! http://thefutoncritic.com/guide/
or here, for the schedule (as of 10/27/17, for future months): http://renewcanceltv.com/tv-show-premiere-dates-2017-complete-guide/11/
We don’t watch: most “sit-coms”; any zombie or most vampire shows; reality shows (except the baking shows on BBC/ABC); extremely violent shows; premium channels (HBO, Showtime, Starz); most YA/”teen” or any children’s/animated shows.
NOTE: Our viewing “schedule” includes a lot of recording-and-watching-later, due to simultaneous broadcasts and my early bedtime.
**usually only Mom watches
*usually only I watch
For 11/3/17 (UPDATED 11/17/17), I/we continue with this Friday TV Report: New and Returning PBS/BBC, Netflix, Amazon Prime, regular cable network (non-premium) RV Shows and some Specials (shows that are more recently viewed are higher up on this list)
SHOWS WE YAYed Previously (or TOLERATED) or haven’t watched, yet
GREAT PERFORMANCES, “Indecent” PBS (supposedly starts airing 11/17/17, but not here; will be online)
Set in the 1920s, “[t]he Tony Award-winning play…Written by Pulitzer Prize-winner, Paula Vogel, created by Vogel and Rebecca Taichman, and directed by Taichman, Indecent is about the love and passion to create theatre, even in the most difficult of circumstances. The play follows a troupe of actors, the cast of Sholem Asch’s God of Vengeance, who risked their lives and careers against enormous challenges to perform a work in which they deeply believed, at a time when art, freedom and truth were on trial. It is a story told with compassion and honesty, but also with great theatricality, and joyous songs and dances.”
Max Gordon Moore as Sholem Asch and Adina Verson as Madje Asch in INDECENT © Carol Rosegg
Features Katrina Lenk, Mimi Lieber, Max Gordon Moore, Tom Nelis, Steven Rattazzi, Richard Topol and Adina Verson, and musicians Matt Darriau, Lisa Gutkin and Aaron Halva. The production also features Ben Cherry, Andrea Goss, Eleanor Reissa, Zoë Aqua, Uri Sharlin and Doug Wieselman.
Music was composed by Lisa Gutkin and Aaron Halva, who play onstage along with cast members throughout the show.
Looking forward to this!
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Amazon Prime (premiered first Episode August, 2017; SEASON 1 available 11/29/17)
This is an unsurprisingly delightful (coming from Daniel and Amy Sherman-Palladino of The Gilmore Girls, among other shows of theirs that I like) period piece, circa 1962 (Lenny Bruce’s stand-up era) that features a kick-ass, funny, smart, young Jewish wife & mother who accidentally becomes a stand-up comic after her pathetic, cheating husband aspires to have his own stand-up career and fails miserably, then leaves her for another woman.
“Set in early 1960s Manhattan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is a 60-minute dramedy that centers on Miriam “Midge” Maisel, a sunny, energetic, sharp, Jewish girl who had her life mapped out for herself: go to college, find a husband, have kids, and throw the best Yom Kippur dinners in town. Soon enough, she finds herself exactly where she had hoped to be, living happily with her husband and two children in the Upper West Side. A woman of her time, Midge is a cheerleader wife to a man who dreams of a stand-up comedy career, but her perfect life is turned upside down when her husband suddenly leaves her for another woman. Completely unprepared, Midge is left with no choice but to reevaluate what to do with her life. When she accidentally stumbles onto the stage at a comedy club, she soon discovers her own comedic skills and decides to use this newfound talent to help her rebuild a different life for herself.”
Starring the fabulous Rachel Brosnahan in the title role as “Midge” (Miriam) and Michael Zegen as her awful husband. Also featuring Luke Kirby as the infamous Lenny Bruce, and the inimitable Tony Shalhoub as Midge’s unsupportive father and Marin Hinkle as her frosty mother. With Alex Borstein as her staunchest supporter/new agent,
Intelligent, funny and interesting.
Getting Mom to watch (we’ll watch Episode 1 together, first), and then we’ll continue together.
KEEPING and RENEWED for Season 2
Fearless Amazon (premieres/available 10/27/17)
We like British mysteries/crime dramas a lot. Here is another new one.
“The series follows human rights lawyer, Emma Banville (Helen McCrory) as she tries to overturn the conviction of killer, Kevin Russell (Sam Swainsbury). Russell was convicted of murdering a 15-year-old schoolgirl, but after serving 14 years of his sentence he still adamantly maintains his innocence. As Emma begins her investigations into the original case, led by DCS Olivia Greenwood, (Wunmi Mosaku), she is immediately met with a negative backlash from the public and press who wish to keep Russell behind bars. As she delves deeper into the case and stumbles upon a possible conspiracy, Emma finds her own personal life under the spotlight.”
Great Performances, “Present Laughter” PBS (airs 10/25/17 elsewhere; 11/5/17 here; and, online/later)
“[A] sparkling revival of Noel Coward’s Present Laughter, a comedy about a self-obsessed actor in the midst of a mid-life crisis. The cast features Kevin Kline, who won the Best Leading Actor Tony Award, as well as Kate Burton, Kristine Nielsen and Cobie Smulders.”
We LOVE Kevin Kline and Broadway brought to our home
*The Bold Type Freeform (premiered summer/fall 2017, and now On Demand; RENEWED for SEASON 2)
Mom and I watched most of Episode 1 when it first aired and didn’t like this show at all. Took it off our list and off this review site as well. BUT, with the dearth of shows to watch without Mom this month, I picked up with Episode 2 On Demand and was surprised by the good writing and acting (neither present in Episode 1 to any extent) and kept watching all the way to Episode 1 (end of SEASON 1).
Excellent and continuously improving acting and writing, covering complicated and interesting topics without overly simplifying or resolving facilely (rare on any TV show these days). In addition to great depiction of female mentoring and friendships, this show delved into inherited breast cancer (the BRCA gene), rape and sexual assault injustices, office relationships/romances, bisexuality and sexuality, gender inequality and identity, political topics, career moves, drinking, bed bugs, financial difficulties, immigration/deportation, religious and class differences, interpersonal competitions and more.
Starring Katie Stevens, Aisha Dee (liked her on Chasing Life) and Meghann Fahy as the three millennial leads, with mentoring roles played by Melora Hardin and Stephen Conrad Moore; romance/friendship roles played by Sam(uel) Page, Matt Ward, Nikohl Boosheri, Dan Jeannotte.
Any writers who correctly reference/quote the late, great Nora Ephron in TWO Episodes get my vote!
KEEPING and looking forward to SEASON 2
Longmire Netflix (available 11/17/17 for 6th and final SEASON)
Robert Taylor, Katee Sackoff, Lou Diamond Phillips
We LOVE this show and are so glad Netflix picked it up and continued it! Yea for SEASON 5 and 6 (sorry it’s the final, but the writers do seem to be running out of ideas…)! Season 6 is mostly rehashing the same villains and heroes from Seasons 5 and earlier, but since it is the final, can be forgiven.
Apparently, final season plans to kill of several main characters. Sigh.
Sorry its the 6th and final season on Netflix
Godless Netflix (available later this fall, 2017)
We probably won’t like this, much, but it’s worth one viewing because of the cast: Jeff Daniels, Michelle Dockery, and many more great actors. But, it’s a WESTERN…!?
We’ll try it
PSYCH USA (12/7/17 FILM premieres)
This fun show is returning to the network that created it, USA, and NOT just for one “Holiday movie,” 12/7/17, as previously announced: the producer is planning at least two, possibly a total of 6 full-length PSYCH movies, as a “series,” 2017-2019.
Oooh: I hope they sing, again! So fun. I miss this show!
“…[F]eaturing fake psychic detective, Shawn Spencer (James Roday) and his best friend, Burton “Gus” Guster (Dulé Hill), the team will reunite once again… when the two-hour special premieres this December. Psych creator, Steve Franks, who co-wrote the movie with Roday, is directing. Lassiter (Timothy Omundson), Juliet (Maggie Lawson), Henry (Corbin Bernsen), and Chief Vick (Kirsten Nelson) will also return for the movie, which picks up three years after the series finale.”
*The Crown Netflix (available 12/8/17 for SEASON 2)
SEASON 2 trailer, here: http://www.indiewire.com/2017/08/the-crown-season-2-trailer-photos-netflix-1201865332/
Deserves every award it got and then some. I watched the entire first season and it made me laugh, cry and get goosebumps. inspired me to watch THREE documentaries about the Royal Family since I finished it!
John Lithgow and Clara Foy are outstanding, as are all the rest of the cast and writing. Truly remarkable.
Mom isn’t interested, but I keep her posted on how great it is.
If you like this and don’t know much about Queen Elizabeth II’s reign or the concomitant history, watch In her Own Words: Queen Elizabeth, also on PBS and online. Aired in late May, 2017, so available any time. Another good doc was Princes of the Palace, about all of them since Prince Phillip, which aired in September, 2017, and is available online as well.
Watched and LOVED all of SEASON 1; SEASONS 2, 3 and 4 RENEWED!
The Librarians TNT (returns 12/13/17 for SEASON 4)
Fun and satisfying, sometimes, but getting much sillier and not so interesting, this year.
Excellent special effects and well-drawn characters, even the villains.
Don’t quite believe the romance between Noah Wylie‘s nerdy scholar and Elizabeth Romijin‘s former Secret Service ninja (Noah wishes…), but it’s all light and fun.
Miss Bob Newhart and Jane Curtain; John Larroquette just doesn’t have what they have. Now, no Noah Wylie for SEASON 4, too? How will that work?
John Harlan Kim, Lindy Booth, and Christian Kane round out the “regulars.”
image from http://www.tvline.com
Keeping and RENEWED for SEASON 4
On Mom’s list, only, and she’s keeping them:
**Law and Order—SVU NBC (returned 9/27/17)
Mom is keeping this on her list for sure; RENEWED.
**Criminal Minds NBC (returned 9/27/17)
Mom is keeping this on her list, but bored with it.
**Hawaii 5-0 CBS (returned 9/29/17)
Mom is keeping this on her list for sure.
**NCIS Los Angeles CBS (returned 10/1/17)
Mom is keeping this on her list for sure and RENEWED for SEASON 8
Shows We Like(d) and Have Watched (as of 11/3/17; UPDATED 11/17/17)
Falsettos on LIVE FROM LINCOLN CENTER PBS (aired 10/27/17, and online after that; go to http://www.pbs.org/show/lincoln-center/ for a preview trailer)
This is a “rock opera,” sort of: like Jesus Christ Superstar and Godspell, there is almost no dialogue; all is sung. Amazing talent in this production! The story is strange and sad, but so well-acted and sung.
We love getting LIVE (recorded live) Broadway in our own home (St. Louis, Missouri, USA) for free (for the price of cable TV, that is)! In case you don’t know, “Falsettos is a musical with a book by James Lapine and William Finn, and music and lyrics by Finn. The musical consists of March of the Falsettos and Falsettoland, the last two installments in one trio of one-act Off-Broadway musicals….which tell the story of a gay man named Marvin, his lover Whizzer, Marvin’s wife, Trina, and their extended family, from the early ‘80s through the early days of the AIDS crisis.” (from Wikipedia and the PBS show page, which is also the the source of the image, below)
Starring Christian Borle, Stephanie J. Block and Andrew Rannells, who each was amazing! Bring tissues for the ending.
Strange but excellent
Blindspot (returned 10/27/17; resumes 1/12/18)
The new season’s first Episode was very weird and we didn’t like it at all. We fast-forwarded through a lot of it because it was so boring. The writers seemed lost, using very contrived and not believable ways to separate, then bring the cast together, again, each with secrets that we’re supposed to care about uncovering, BUT WE DO NOT.
We like having Mary Stuart Masterson on, but what’s with the fake Southern accent? Terrible.
Sullivan Stapleton is Kurt Weller, now married to Jaime Alexander, “Jane.” Rob Brown, Audrey Esparza and Ashley Johnson round out the “regulars.’ Adding back in Luke Mitchell, Ennis Esmer, Jordan Johnson-Hinds and Chad Donella for this year.
MAYBE not KEEPING for SEASON 3
Major Crimes TNT (returned 10/31/17 for FINAL SEASON 6)
Excellent show. Strong return. Part I of a 4- (or more?) part opening, so sad ending that is not an ending for this Episode.
Captain Sharon Raydor (Mary McDonnell) and Lt. Andy Flynn (Tony Denison) have no chemistry at all, but they are going forward with their wedding, apparently.
Still co-starring Michael Paul Chan, G.W. Bailey, Raymond Cruz (but he was not in this first episode), Graham Patrick Martin, Phillip P. Keene, Kearran Giovanni, Leonard Roberts, Daniel Di Tomasso, and introducing a new character, Jessica Meraz as Detective Camila Paige.
This show should not have been canceled. It’s one of the better ones on TV these days.
Keeping for SEASON 6, its final season
Great Performances, “She Loves Me” PBS (airs 10/20/17 and other dates and online)
A multiple Tony Award-winning revival of Jerry Bock‘s and Sheldon Harnick‘s cute musical play whose book (by Joe Masteroff) is a mix of You’ve Got Mail, The Shop Around the Corner and a few others like it.
Excellent vocals and acting, adorable choreography (by Warren Carlyle), great sets and amazing costumes.
Laura Benanti and Zachary Levi in She Loves Me, image from Playbill
Starring Laura Benanti (who knew she had such an amazing voice as a high soprano after seeing her sing alto/low soprano in Nashville?) and Jane Krakowski (always wonderful), singing and dancing. (Mom and I thought Jane was about 10 years too old for this part, but she pulled it off) as the female leads, with the charming Zachary Levi and Gavin Creel as their co-workers and respective love interests. Including very strong and fun performances from each of the minor characters and the entire ensemble. Delightful!
We love having Broadway LIVE in our home!
Big Little Lies HBO and DVD (SEASON 1 premiered 2/19/17; SEASON 2 premieres winter, 2018)
“The apparently perfect lives of three [really, five] mothers of first-graders unravel to the point of murder.”
Starring the amazingly talented Shailene Woodley, Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Laura Dern, Zoe Kravitz, with husbands played by Alexander Skarsgard, James Tupper, Jeffrey Nordling, Adam Scott,. The kids are headlined by the ever-present Iain Armitage (Young Sheldon, now) as the much-maligned Ziggy, with Darby Camp and Ivy George as the other featured first-graders with Kathryn Newton and an older sibling of Camp.
Won lots of and was nominated for even more Emmys for 2017. We got SEASON 1 on DVD from our local library system and watched in all in three days (only 7 Episodes).
Excellent writing, acting, directing and overall production. BUT, very depressing/distressing stories, with a lot of graphic violence, frequent and oddly dysfunctional sex and destructive verbal and physical behaviors among the characters. Almost none is likable, and all are pathetic in some way.
David E. Kelley, Barbara Hall, Liane Moriarty are responsible: how could it be bad?
KEEPING and RENEWED for SEASON 2; we have to get it on DVD
*SEAL Team CBS (premiered 9/27/17)
I broke down and watched the first Episode On Demand. I didn’t like much of it, but I am a huge fan of David Boreanaz from his Buffy/Angel days all the way through Bones, so he and the characters and stories about the characters hooked me.
I managed my dislike by muting all the mission scenes; any scenes with gunfire or creeping around at night were also muted or I averted my eyes until those scenes ended.
I viewed (as described) the other 3 Episodes and decided to record the rest of the series so Mom can watch, too. We’ll see if it holds our attention. Fast-forward doesn’t work On Demand, so I’ll be glad to have that for recordings for those scenes we hate.
I like Jessica Parè. Max Thieriot has an odd role, but he plays it well. Toni Trucks and Neil Brown, Jr., are new to me, but I like them in this.
Note: Boreanaz has to be too old (mid-40s) for this kind of action-hero role, but somehow, it works. If there are any actual active SEALS still mucking about like that at his age, I’d be shocked. Are there?
*Kevin (Probably) Saves the World ABC (adding more Episodes, but CANCELED)
I started watching this on 10/19/17, On Demand, thinking it would be stupid, but it’s surprisingly engaging. It’s unfortunately similar to both Touched by an Angel and Anne Heche‘s doomed 2013 vehicle, Save Me; I liked the latter and couldn’t stand the former.
“Kevin Finn is struggling. Directionless and cluelessly self-serving, he seems to be drifting ever closer to total despair. With his life spiraling further and further out of control, he heads home to seek refuge with his widowed twin sister, Amy, and her young daughter. On his first night there, life takes an unexpected turn when he receives an unlikely celestial being named Yvette, who has a mission for him: to save the world. It’s going to take a lot of trial and error, but maybe a bigger purpose is exactly what he’s needed all along.”
Starring Jason Ritter as Kevin, Kimberly Hebert Gregory as the angelic force, and featuring India de Beaufort, JoAnna Garcia, Cristela Alonzo, J. August Richards, Dustin Ybarra. I like the cast a lot.
Even though the premise is sci-fi/fantasy/God/angels and such, so far, I like it. It’s a bit heavy-handed on the Christian theology and I bet it will be canceled, but I’m going to watch the rest of the Episodes.
adding more Episodes, but CANCELED>
*Good Behavior TNT (returned 10/15/17, SEASON 2; reruns of SEASON 1 aired in summer/early fall, 2017, hope you caught up!)
Michelle Dockery (Downton Abbey) is amazing in this series based on the Blake Crouch stories surrounding Letty Dobesh (an American ex-con con artist), “in a near future where corporations have unlimited power,” like, NOW…. I watched the first season by myself and wasn’t sure if I’d continue. There is a lot of violence, drug use and pathetic people, which are not what I usually want to watch. However, I am somewhat interested in con games and this has proven to be more interesting than violent.
Juan Diego Botto plays a complicated love interest for Letty: very interesting dynamic between them.
The other characters are drawn deliberately as pathetic and/or extremely depraved, for the most part, except for Letty’s son, played well by Nyles Julian Steele.
Lusia Strus plays Letty’s mother well, but the character is bizarre.
I like this show, but it’s DARK; KEEPING for SEASON 2
Madam Secretary CBS (returned 10/8/17)
GREAT SHOW! LOVE Tea Leoni and Tim Daly, and the “kids” are still great, as are the others. Strong start to Season 3. Still loving this.
KEEPING for SEASON 3
Supergirl CW (returned 10/9/17; resumes 1/15/18)
For SEASON 3, Supergirl seems depressed, angry and unwilling to play nicely as Kara Danvers so much. We’ll see.
Some new peeps: Adrian Pasdar (Heroes, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) as “a villainous real estate tycoon whose vision of National City’s future clashes with Supergirl’s ideology”; Carl Lumbly (Alias, Southland, The Cure for Wellness) as “Martian Manhunter’s father, M’yrnn J’onzz”; Emma Tremblay (Elysium, The Judge, The Giver) “as a young Supergirl super fan”; Yael Grobglas (Jane the Virgin, Reign) “as DC character, Psi, a psychic who cruelly manipulates people’s minds”; Laura Benanti can’t continue in her dual role as Supergirl’s mother (as a hologram)/aunt (killed off in SEASON 2), but Erica Durance (Saving Hope, Smallville) as the new holographic/dead mother replaces someone she does not closely resemble, which is odd.
Also, Calista Flockhart will return often and is in SEASON 3’s premiere.
Excited some of these talented actors were singing on The Flash; we watched both for the cross-over and musical episodes in SEASON 2. MORE, please?
MAY GIVE UP for SEASON 3
Scandal ABC (returned 10/5/17; resumes 1/18/18 for final episodes)
We have watched them all, so we have to finish with the sick characters, so well-acted, of this series. Changes in Olivia (Kerry Washington) are awful, though.
Gotta finish, but no one to root for!
The Gifted Fox (premiered 10/2/17)
We like this, although we mute or fast-forward through all the shooting and fighting and car chases (so BORING and LOUD). The premise (a father who switches “sides” to save his family) is a lot like that of Colony, which we also like.
One of my long-time faves, Amy Acker, is the mom, in yet another show from Marvel comics (but not with Joss Whedon at the helm), co-parenting [with Stephen Moyer (True Blood)] a pair of mutant (X-Men-universe) children.
Also stars some others I/we have liked: Coby Bell (Burn Notice), Sean Teale (Reign, Incorporated), Emma Dumont (Aquarius, Bunheads).
“A suburban couple whose ordinary lives are rocked by the sudden discovery that their children possess mutant powers [are] Forced to go on the run from a hostile government. [T]he family joins up with an underground network of mutants and must fight to survive.”
For several trailers, show art and more casting, producers and plot info: http://www.denofgeek.com/us/tv/the-gifted/256921/marvels-the-gifted-trailer-release-date-and-more-news
Too much violence and fighting, but we like the ideas and actors</strong
Wisdom of the Crowd CBS (premiered 10/1/17; CANCELED — no SEASON 2)
Some people gave this show a low rating, but we both really liked and plan to continue watching it. So there.
Starring Jeremy Piven (Entourage, Mr. Selfridge), Monica Potter (Parenthood), Richard T. Jones (we loved him in Judging Amy and my mom has seen him on Hawaii 5-0) and a bunch more, to run a crowd-funded/sourced version of American’s Most Wanted, mostly to find the real murderer of Piven’s daughter.
“Inspired by the notion that a million minds are better than one, a tech innovator creates a cutting-edge crowd-sourcing hub to solve his own daughter’s murder, as well as revolutionizing crime solving in San Francisco. Based on the Israeli format of the same name.”
CANCELED — no SEASON 2
The Blacklist NBC (returned 9/27/17; resumes 1/3/18)
Now that we know Reddington is Lizzie’s father, the show seems to have taken a bizarre turn. Also, the writers have made a couple out of two of the FBI agents and a murderer is being blackmailed about it for the other. What is up, Blacklist?
The new relationship between Lizzie and her dad is intriguing, though, and we like the new humor.
Keeping for SEASON 5
How to Get Away with Murder ABC (returned 9/28/17, SEASON 4; resumes 1/18/18)
Glad Viola Davis won the Emmy. She deserved it. Good acting by her and many on this show is not enough to save it, though. Cicely Tyson is also amazing, especially in Episode 1 of SEASON 4, as Annalise’s mother. Fabulous. Not sure what the writers intend for “the kids” or Bonnie, though, given how Episode 1 played out. We’ll see. Not liking any of the characters much, though, and not sure we’ll continue watching.
The writers of this show are a weird bunch, for sure.
The production values are so bad and the timeline jumping done so poorly that we have no idea what’s going on most of the time. Filming is too dark and cuts are too quick. Dialogue is not loud enough.
Keeping, but not liking SEASON 4
Blue Bloods CBS (returned 9/29/17 for SEASON 8)
My mom LOVES this show and watches re-runs for fun, mostly because she loves Tom Selleck as the family patriarch and Chief of Police. It’s grown on me.
Glad to see Lorraine Braco (Rizzoli’s mother on Rizzoli and Isles, most recently) has a role, now, as the new mayor of NYC (BTW: NYC has NEVER had a woman mayor, so good on them!). But, why did the writers/producers get rid of Linda (Danny’s wife)? Did they have a contract dispute or what? And, what are the purposes of almost killing Erin’s ex and almost firing Frank?
Definitely staying tuned, if only to see what these writers are up to this year.
KEEPING for SEASON 8
Chicago P.D. NBC (returned 9/27/17; resumes 1/3/18)
Okay start, with many familiar faces (including one or two overlapping characters from Chicago Med, another one from the canceled Chicago Justice, and one actor who is also in Suits), but very sad storyline. Trying too hard to be “current,” we think.
Disappointed that so many ON THE FORCE are doing so many bad things.
Probably keeping, but not “wowed”
Designated Survivor ABC (returned 9/27/17)
SEASON 1 was off to a strong start, with a very scary and realistically drawn scenario in which everyone at the State of the Union address is murdered by a bombing of the Capitol’s Congressional Assembly building (where it is always held) and only one Cabinet member (the “Designated Survivor”) remains and is now made the President.
Kiefer Sutherland and Natascha McElhone are excellent as the HUD Secretary-turned-President and his attorney wife, with creative and poignant scenes between them, their children, and others as everyone grapples with this tremendous tragedy and changes wrought by it.
Great to see Kal Penn (the only actor with actual White House experience IRL!), Maggie Q and Italia Ricci in supporting roles.
Glad they killed off that insipid and villainous VP and caught some of the other “bad” guys at the end of last season, but they also killed off more than one hero and/or wrote them off, so what is up for SEASON 2?
Great stuff, so far! We really like this show!
Plus, Zoe McLellan (JAG, NCIS New Orleans) has joined Designated Survivor for the 2017-18 season as an attorney. We loved her on NCIS New Orleans and were sorry that her personal life’s difficulties had impacted her career so horribly that she had to leave that show abruptly two years ago (she had been involved in a protracted and ugly custody dispute with her ex-husband). Looking forward to having her on this excellent show. She also appeared briefly on another show we watched this month (September, 2017); so glad she’s already working again! We like her new character, too: a kick-butt lawyer!
KEEPING for SEASON 2
Chicago Fire NBC (returned 9/28/17; resumes 1/4/18)
One of my CHANGES conversations between authors‘ guests, poet performer, James Gordon, has recurring minor roles on this and Chicago PD!)
Cheap tricks at the end of last season and the beginning of this one, trying to make us believe one or more characters had died. Come ON! The rest was mostly not all that interesting (to me, anyway), and, ironically, TOO MUCH FIRE!
KEEPING, but not liking much
*Grey’s Anatomy ABC (returned 9/28/17, SEASON 14; see top of this post for SPINOFF news; resumes 1/18/18)
I am a long-time fan of this show, especially, Ellen Pompeo
Love the anti-homophobia storylines and the actions/discussions the show inspires, especially for parents of LGBT kids and for everyone about bullying. Excellent PSAs built right into the show.
Very strong return for SEASON 12, and I’m looking forward to more of this show this year, even though some key characters keep leaving/being asked to leave (no spoilers, here).
Grey’s Anatomy‘s casting/recasting:
Kim Raver (most recently of the should-not-have-been-canceled APB) returned in her role as a doctor/military buddy to two existing cast members (Kevin McKidd‘s Owen and Martin Henderson‘s Nathan, which is interesting.
Bridget Regan could not return to reprise her role as the returned-from-the-dead sister (Owen’s) due to responsibilities for The Last Ship, so a look-alike, Abigail Spencer (still returning to the excellent Timeless as well) replaced her admirably and well for a multi-episode arc.
KEEPING for SEASON 14
*Speechless ABC (returned 9/27/17)
Another series, The ‘A’ Word, seemed to cover this same ground (raising a disabled or atypical child) and we didn’t like it at all, so we gave this one a pass last fall. However, Minnie Driver is always great and I really enjoy this show’s POV and cast.
SEASON 2 is off to a great start!
I appreciate the spot-on jokes at the expense of the do-gooders—white liberals and somewhat clueless—the Principal, played perfectly by Marin Hinkle , who is excellent in many other shows I’ve watched, and one of J.J. DeMeo’s teachers, played fabulously by the always-funny Rob Corddry.
(Micah Fowler, who was great in Labor Day, is amazing as the main character, J.J. DeMeo, who has something like cerebral palsy (but they don’t say exactly what in the early episodes) and a great sense of humor, who is a budding adolescent who needs to individuate, big time. He is helped admirably by Cedric Yarbrough as his African-American personal Aide, which allows the writers to poke at racism and biases.
The siblings (played well by Mason Cook—cast in many shows, including The Night Shift and Grey’s Anatomy—and Kyla Kenedy, also on The Night Shift) and the dad (also played strongly by John Ross Bowie, round out the cast and bring the plot into areas that aren’t always about having a disabled family member, which is great.
EXCELLENT and KEEPING; RENEWED for SEASON 2
This is Us NBC (returned 9/26/17; returns again 1/2/18)
Stars Mandy Moore (Red Band Society), Milo Ventimiglia (Heroes and Gilmore Girls), Justin Hartley (Revenge), Sterling K. Brown (The People v. O.J. Simpson), Chrissy Metz (American Horror Story), Susan Kelechi Watson (Louie), Chris Sullivan (The Knick), Ron Cephas Jones (Mr. Robot).
We were very surprised by the quality of the acting, story’s twists and turns and unexpected pathos in the first season and looked forward to more. But, with SEASON 2’s Episodes, we’re starting to wonder why anyone likes this show, now.
The opening for SEASON 2 was slightly “off,” in our opinions: the triplets are excessively juvenile and neurotic in “present” time; the flashbacks are deliberately incomplete and frustrating. We’ll keep watching, but we’re not as enamored as we were. Episode 2 was even worse. Sad.
Since we now know how the Dad dies, each Episode brings us closer to the actual death scene and that is an odd way to have a season anchored: not liking that “impending train wreck” feeling, much.
The introduction of a troubled foster daughter into the only household with kids also seems like a huge mistake and detour. Why?
I also professionally take strong issue with two writing decisions this season:
—1) the depiction of the difficulties in the relationship between Mom and daughter, blaming the daughter’s weight problem, self-esteem and immaturity on the Mom. That is trite, misogynistic and ridiculous. Plenty of people have talented, beautiful parents and do not become obese, emotional wrecks;
—2) Mandy Moore plays an odd version of this character, one who is much too agreeable, saintly, “nice” and tolerant, canonizing and taking inappropriate responsibility for “curing” her lying, alcoholic, weak husband to an extreme I find cloying and horrifying. Writers’ faults, I know, but, still…
One highlight: Justin Hartley plays a “bad actor” very well, which is not easy at all.
Milo Ventimiglia was amazing and so was Sterling K. Brown (from my home town, Olivette, in St. Louis County, Missouri, USA!), in very emotionally demanding roles. Always like Mandy Moore, and were pleased with two new actors for us, Chrissy Metz and Susan Kelechi Watson.
Terrible series’ finale for SEASON 1. Disappointing harbinger of things to come in SEASON 2, I’m afraid.
KEEPING but not liking for SEASON 2; RENEWED for 3
NCIS CBS (returned 9/26/17)
(SPOILER ALERT) Glad they didn’t drag out the missing McGee and Gibbs into more episodes. Sorry another cast member has departed . High turnover, there.
We are fans of this show, regardless.
Glad they’re giving Bishop more to do.
Sorry to hear that Pauly Perrette‘s Abby will be gone after this year (SEASON 15), but glad we already know so we can enjoy this year’s antics more. Also, seeing less of David McCallum‘s Ducky is sad, but he is in his 80s, after all!
KEEPING for SEASON 15
Bull CBS (returned 9/26/17)
Great second season opener and great cast: Michael Weatherly (NCIS), Freddy Rodriguez (The Night Shift), Geneva Carr (Law & Order: SVU), Christopher Jackson (Broadway’s Hamilton), Jaime Lee Kirchner (Mercy), Annabelle Attanasio
LOVE this show. Very good writing and acting all around, with the “good guys” usually prevailing, often in a Perry Mason “gotcha” moment during the trial. We like that.
Lie to Me did some of this much better, though. We liked the way they’re bringing in more from each of the main characters’ pasts by having them take cases of ex-lovers, siblings, etc.
KEEPING for SEASON 2
NCIS New Orleans CBS (returned 9/26/17)
Good start to the new season this year (2017-18). Still liking this, especially Scott Bakula‘s character. SEASON 4 picked up right where SEASON 3 left off, more or less, and kept going strongly.
KEEPING for SEASON 4
The Good Doctor ABC (premiered 9/25/17)
I had thought I was kind of bored with autistic savant characters (they’re EVERYWHERE, now, aren’t they?), but this series is excellent, despite the trite trope. Each Episode is somewhat Royal Pains-like (improvising in restaurants; chest tubes with ball-point pens types of “surgeries”), but we like it.
Starring Freddie Highmore in the title role, and including a couple of familiar faces [Richard Schiff (The West Wing) and Hill Harper (Covert Affairs, CSI: NY)].
We really like this one; KEEPING and RENEWED for SEASON 2
Endeavor BBC/PBS Masterpiece/Amazon Prime (available on Az Prime through SEASON 3; SEASON 4 just finished airing here in fall, 2017; RENEWED for SEASON 5)
A ’60’s era British detective/crime-solving series that my mom and I have been enjoying on Amazon Prime and plan to finish by watching recordings from PBS. We finished SEASONS 3 and 4, now (late October, 2017) and, except for the vocal music (‘way too much opera and classical /religious choral music for my taste, which wants NONE of that), believe this is one of the best series of its type around. Barrington Pheloung writes the other music, which is beautiful (and not vocal).
Apparently, a closely-guarded secret from his peers and friends is Detective Morse’s first name, which is “Endeavor.” This series is a prequel to the beloved (but one we haven’t watched, yet) Inspector Morse series; both are set primarily in Oxford, England.
Starring Shaun Evans as young Endeavour Morse, who is beginning his career as a Detective Constable with the Oxford City Police CID, the series has a great supporting and co-starring cast, including Roger Allam, Anton Lesser, Jack Lasky and Sean Rigby on the police force, with recurring roles/frequent appearances by Caroline O’Neill, Sara Vickers, Abigail Thaw and Shvorne Marks. Pilot episode aired in 2012. SEASON 5 will appear in 2018.
Enjoy this a lot; KEEPING and RENEWED for SEASON 5
Scorpion CBS (returned 9/25/17)
Could be that this show, like so many, is becoming a bit too formulaic, a caricature of itself. Last season’s Episodes had a few too many “Oh, one of the bizarre genius’ amazing ideas, number four, didn’t work, so we’re going to die” moments. Started putting a quarter in for every crisis. Topped out at $3.00 for one Episode!
We loved the musical sequence opener for SEASON 3, but the Episode itself was so boring and the adolescent emotional antics so tedious that we stopped halfway through and watched the rest later when we ran out of other new shows to watch.
Disappointing all around. Is it the writers or the characters who are behaving as if they are stuck in adolescence?
Predictable and often boring/tedious; bored already with SEASON 3
Orville FOX (premiered 9/10/17; RENEWED for SEASON 2)
We worried that Seth MacFarlane & Co. would be guilty of trying too hard and that the show would be awkward, unfunny, terrible. The first twenty minutes or so weren’t great, but they weren’t terrible, either. We liked Adrianne Palicki in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and were glad to see her in this show, albeit a similar role. Always glad to see Victor Garber, too, however briefly.
Besides these two, the show has quite a cast: Penny Johnson Jerald (Castle), Scott Grimes (ER), Peter Macon (Shameless), J Lee (Family Guy), Halston Sage (Crisis)
The premise: “Set 300 years in the future, the hour-long dramedy follows the adventures of the Orville, a not-so-top-of-the-line exploratory ship, in Earth’s interstellar Fleet. Facing cosmic challenges from without and within, this motley crew of space explorers will boldly go where no comedic drama has gone before.”
We are watching them all; they get better (the first one was pretty bad).
Series was RENEWED, but SEASON 1 was reduced by 1 Episode, which will be added to fall, 2018, SEASON 2’s run.
KEEPING; RENEWED for SEASON 2
*Black Mirror Netflix (SEASON 4 available fall, 2017)
This British version of an updated Twilight Zone-ish series is very unsettling (I’ve only watched two episodes, but those were so disturbing I may not return any time soon). However, they are well-written, well-acted and “realistic,” as far as they can be while venturing into odd and futuristic territory. Recommended if you like bizarre, weird, unnerving and challenging. I know my mom won’t like it, so I watch when she’s not around.
I recognize some of the actors from other BBC series (Downton Abbey, Mr. Selfridge, New Tricks and others), so that is fun.
VERY DARK. I have watched about 6 episodes, now. Many are truly awful, dystopian, nightmarish depictions of our future.
It’s now in its third season, so if you can stomach it, there are many episodes to watch!
Watching, but nauseated; RENEWED for SEASONS 4 and 5
Suits USA (returned 7/12/17; finished 9/13/17; returns 3/7/18 for rest of SEASON 7)
Michael (played well by Patrick J. Adams), is now allowed to practice law, through some nefarious and dirty dealings and extortion as well as some heartfelt pleas by friends and colleagues at the end of last season. But, why do the writers make Mike a complete idiot when he’s supposed to be a genius, though?
Rachel, played well by Meghan Markle (but often dressed inappropriately vampy), is still often too whiny, juvenile and ridiculous (and repetitive).
Sarah Rafferty as the impossibly perfect Donna and Gabriel Macht as the complicated and very psychologically messed-up Harvey still have the greatest scenes and lines (and their characters are decades-long friends, which shows).
Glad to see Dulè Hill showing up here after the doomed Doubt; again, as a lawyer.
Gina Torres is OFF the show but is scheduled to do a spin-off (see top of this post) as Jessica. She was briefly on the doomed The Catch and good there, too. Cameos last year and this year, anyway, on Suits, though.
Louis is still the most richly drawn and has the most fun/awful stuff to do, and all done very well by Rick Hoffman. Love his assistant, Gretchen, played marvelously by the veteran actor, Aloma Wright.
My mom and I complain that none of these lawyers seems to keep their tempers in check, can stop throwing testosterone at the walls (women included), or can behave as anything more than glorified adolescents, except for Jessica (Gina Torres, who makes cameo appearances in this season, only).
KEEPING; SEASON 8 RENEWED
The Good Place NBC (returned 9/20/17; resumes 1/4/18)
These writers have lost their way for Season 2. We watched the opening and three more Episodes: each one was worse than the one before. Probably won’t keep watching. VERY BORING and STUPID, now. Too bad: we do love Kristen Bell!
Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars), Ted Danson (CSI: Cyber), Manny Jacinto (The Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Story), William Jackson Harper, Jameela Jamil, D’Arcy Carden
Still Watching but not liking SEASON 2
*Full Frontal with Samantha Bee (ongoing in 2017)
I loved Samantha Bee on The Daily Show and awaited her new individual show with great anticipation. I was not disappointed.
Bee was funny, insightful, appropriately outraged and very bold, extremely feminist and “in-your-face,” but since I agree with her POV, this all worked great, for me. I laughed out loud and sighed with relief at many of her “bits.”
Finally: a feminist’s POV delivered with wit and humor about this horrible election season! Yeah! And, more coming, I’m sure.
Strong return for SEASON 2, but I AM SO SICK OF TRUMP!
Definitely keeping and glad it was RENEWED for SEASON 2
Shows we NAYed: OFF OUR LIST
Rosehaven Sundance (premiered week of 9/23/17)
An Australian sit-com that falls flat in every possible way. Do not waste your time. Even if you can understand what they are saying, they aren’t saying anything worthwhile. The story is silly, the characters are pathetic and none of them is likable.
Almost incomprehensible and boring: OFF OUR LIST
Will & Grace NBC (premiered 9/28/17; already renewed for SEASON 2!)
After all the hype and the adorable trailers this crew did for the election, we were psyched. Inevitable, I suppose, for us to be very disappointed, then? A few good jokes, but mostly insipid, and WE HATE LAUGH TRACKS! We may watch one or two more Episodes, but if this is the tone/style, we’re not into it.
We kept thinking: “They’re too old for these jokes and situations.”
The writers decided to freeze them as characters, so no one improved, no one matured (other than aging physically), and they’re all in bad shape, psychologically.
Kind of sad, really.
They also all tried too hard to make the show “the same, but current” instead of letting the characters AGE and allowing the new versions of these characters to be lucky to be alive and interacting in current contexts. This show is the worst kind of time warp.
It might be cute or funny, in one’s thirties or younger, to be rootless/homeless, almost friendless, without a primary relationship that is satisfying, and fixated on inappropriate/unavailable partners, with sarcastic/negative banter with the friends one does have. But, in one’s forties and fifties, it’s pathetic, in our opinion.
Jack as a gay “slut” is disturbing when you think that he has an adult son by now (where was his son, by the way?).
Karen as a drunk republican is not only not funny, but her sexually assaulting Grace in homage to Trump was offensive and hurtful to all women and definitely not at all humorous.
Will and Grace’s relationship as each other’s haven/fall-back is all right, I suppose, but I wish they’d respect each other more, if they intend to remain non-sexual life partners.
Sean Hayes, Debra Messing, Eric McCormack and Megan Mulally star.
Episode 2 was even worse. DON’T BOTHER.
OFF OUR LIST
LIAR Sundance (premiered 9/27/17; mini-series of 6 Episodes)
Recently became aware of this show and we gave it a try. Very depressing and odd. We do like the stars, so we’re willing to watch one more Episode, but some of the English accents are very difficult to understand, the plot/characters are confusing (deliberately, we’re sure), and the storylines are very big downers.
Starring Joanne Froggatt (Downton Abbey) and Ioan Gruffudd (Forever and Fantastic Four) as a teacher and the parent of a student who become involved and mayhem ensues, probably due to, oh, I don’t know: dishonesty? All with British accents, of course.
“Laura is a smart and dedicated teacher, not long out of a relationship and unsure about getting back on the dating scene. Andrew is a renowned surgeon whose son is a student at Laura’s school. An initial attraction leads to a date, but neither fully realizes the far-reaching consequences that their meeting will have on each other or their families. Truth and consequences go hand in hand in a tense and gripping thriller that examines both sides of a relationship and both sides of the truth. Are there really two sides to every story? LIAR explores the devastating cost of deceit on both the couple and their friends and family, as secrets and lies are laid bare…”
It only has 6 Episodes, but we could not make it through the second Episode.
OFF OUR LIST
*Ghosted Fox (premiered 10/1/17)
I wanted to like this show, but it tries way too hard to be likable and fails. A strange and unpleasant combination of The X Files, Psych (which I liked) and Brooklyn 999 (which I hate), the premise had promise but falls flat every time. I watched 4 Episodes On Demand since some friends recommended it and liked it, but I cannot stay with it. The jokes are silly, the plots are worse. Each role is done as a performance rather than an acting experience, for laughs and with schticks rather than the professional creation and demonstration of an actual character that I know at least some of these actors are capable of.
“Former missing persons detective, Leroy Wright, is a skeptic who doesn’t believe aliens exist, unlike true believer Max Jennifer, who is convinced his wife was abducted by such beings. Against all odds, the two find themselves forced to work with each other when, at low points in their lives, they are both recruited by Capt. Ava Lafrey, a take-no-prisoners former Air Force test pilot and head of the ‘Bureau Underground,’ a secret government organization investigating paranormal cases. Lafrey and her staff support Leroy and Max as they look into unexplained activity and keep Earth safe.”
Stars Adam Scott, Craig Robinson, Ally Walker and others I didn’t recognize.
I blame the writers and directors/creators (Tom Gormican, Kevin Etten and others) more than the actors: what can they do with such terrible scripts and direction?
A Failed Experiment: TOO BAD. OFF MY LIST
Star Trek: Discovery on CBS All Access for subscribers, only, but their first episodes are also on CBS (premiered 9/24/17; RENEWED for SEASON 2)
#payTVsucks, including CBS All Access, but here is some fun! You can watch this #StarTrekDiscovery trailer (and Episode 1, this fall, 9/24/17, for free), anyway.
We liked that the show cast so many females in top officer positions, but otherwise, we were very disappointed. And, we are Trekkies from the beginning. Neither of us wants to watch a show focused on a war with Klingons, so we aren’t sorry we aren’t paying to watch further.
“…the Star Trek: Discovery series will be set about 10 years before the original series. The first teaser promised ‘new crews,’ ‘new villains,’ ‘new heroes,’ and ‘new worlds’—– and we’ve since learned that we’ll see something that unfolds within the ‘Prime’ canon of the established Star Trek universe, but not tied to the events in the movies.
“Fuller told CNN the series’ placement between the four-season prequel series Star Trek: Enterprise and the original 1966 series ‘gives us an opportunity to bridge the gap between Enterprise and the original series.’”
Episodes run through November 5, then restart in January, 2018, for the rest of the first season.
Discovery‘s Captain Lorca will be the fabulous Jason Isaacs (we loved him in Awake, but didn’t like the story of Dig, even though he was good in it).
WE WON’T PAY EXTRA TO WATCH, and it’s not that good, anyway: OFF OUR LIST; RENEWED for SEASON 2
*The Opposition with Jordan Keppler Comedy Central (premiered 9/25/17)
Dear Comedy Central: Your shows’ writers need to divide and conquer. As it stands, every show we watch here and including Colbert’s and others on network channels cover the exact same stories as one another every damned day. STOP IT!
Also, this show is BORING, Repetitive. It’s so juvenile, I predict it will not last.
“The Daily Show meets The Colbert Report” is the way this is being promoted, with an alumnus of The Daily Show, Jordan Keppler, the one who is assuming a conspiracy theorist wing-nut character with his same name to lampoon fake and fear-mongering “journalists.”
BORING & Repetitive; OFF MY LIST
*Con Man Syfy (premiered [really, dropped all of SEASON 1 “On Demand”] 9/30/17)
Seems that this series is going to have both seasons showing/”On Demand” this year (2017-18). Here is a trailer for SEASON 2: http://conmantheseries.com/
It also has a video game and comic book merchandise, for those so inclined.
Starring Alan Tudyk, em>Con Man is “a somewhat fictionalized version of his experiences as a well-known sci-fi actor who attends a lot of fan conventions” as a result of his having been a star of the cult fave/ Joss Whedon series and film, Firefly and Serenity.
Con Man was first produced in 2015 and featured a great cast, including Firefly/Castle star, Nathan Fillion, and other Joss Whedon / sci-fi faves: Amy Acker, Felicia Day, Sean Astin, Tricia Helfer, Casper Van Dien, Nolan North, Mindy Sterling, Alison Haislip, Michael Trucco, Sky Haarsma, Seth Green and Wil Wheaton.
HOWEVER, i watched all of Episode 1 and could only continue through part of Episode 2: it is that bad. I continued just to see what Nathan Fillion had to do with this piece of junk (very little, it seemed). This series is beyond silly; Mom won’t watch, and I won’t watch past Episode 2.10, but some will love it.
Could have been great if it had had writers who had tried less to show off with obscure references, cameos by sci-fi and comedic actor friends of theirs, Tudyk’s and whoever else’s (Joss Whedon‘s, I presume) and more good writing that could delve into the nitty-gritty, lived experience of actors who are making money (not much, it seems) as objects of obsessed fans and not much else. I would have liked to know what challenges and responses are for an actor who is actually capable of so much more but for whom no new breaks come due to having been identified with one gig.
Unfortunately, not worth your time
Chesapeake Shores Hallmark (returned 8/6/17)
Meghan Ory, Jesse Metcalfe, Barbara Niven, Treat Williams
This has gotten more insipid and unwatchable as we go. We start an Episode, then find other things to watch before we reluctantly return to finish it, days later. The Hallmark movies’ and series’ writers make everything so predictable, yet illogical; the writing is so heavy-handed; worst of all, the characters are depicted as being emotionally adolescent regardless of their biological ages.
We like all the lead actors, but the age differences between “generations” defy reality.
Also, the grandmother and the mother look too much alike and are NOT supposed to be related, whereas the five siblings look NOTHING alike nor do they resemble either of their parents all that much. Terrible casting.
The storyline also gets less believable as they go along.
KEEPING, but not liking; SEASON 3, TBD.
9JKL CBS (premiered 10/2/17)
Although this has a very good cast, it is exactly as insipid and inane as we expected. With the terrible writing, posturing instead of acting, and laugh track, it is unwatchable. Sadly, it is based on some true-life experiences of its star, Mark Feuerstein (Royal Pains), with his parents (played by the great Linda Lavin and Elliott Gould, and his other relatives all in one apartment building for a while. Why?
Surely doomed and deserves to be
LATE FALL/WINTER PREMIERES/RETURNS
(not yet reviewed/watched as of 11/17/17)
LINK to Premiere dates for 2018: http://renewcanceltv.com/tv-show-premiere-dates-2018-guide/
Or, use this link for full schedule: http://www.thefutoncritic.com/guide/fall-2017-grid/, updated frequently: 11/17/17
PREMIERES/RETURN DATES UNCERTAIN for 2018, that I/we liked (UPDATED 11/17/17)
Try http://releasedatetv.com/ for release dates.
Terriers Netflix (only one, 13-episode season)
A “surfy SoCal Sherlock Holmes tone” to a comedic crime series about pair of friends who “solve crimes in a fictional-ish Southern California coastal town.”
Starring Donal Logue and Michael Raymond-James .
Could be good
Absentia Amazon Prime (was first on Sony AXN) (mid-season, 2018).
Katic plays an FBI agent (Emily Byrne) returned from being presumed dead. “’While hunting one of Boston’s most notorious serial killers, Agent Byrne disappears without a trace and is declared dead,’ Deadline summarizes. ‘Six years later, Emily is found in a cabin in the woods, barely alive, and with no memory of the years she was missing. Returning home to learn her husband (Patrick Heusinger, Casual) has remarried and her son is being raised by another woman, she soon finds herself implicated in a new series of murders.’”
*Roseanne ABC (8 episodes only; mid-season, 2018)
Another show is being revived! Even John Goodman‘s character (who died in their last season) will return (presumably in “new” flashbacks).
Roseanne Barr, of course, will return, as will former cast members, Sara Gilbert, Laurie Metcalf, Michael Fishman and Lecy Goranson, with Sarah Chalke also back, but in a different role. I never watched the original except in clips (in my no-TV years), but I might give this a watch. Mom says: “Yuck.”
I will watch one Episode, at least
No Title, yet ABC or Netflix? (mid-season, 2018)
Jaina Lee Ortiz (Rosewood) is set to star as a firefighter in another Grey’s Anatomy‘s spinoff, set in “a Seattle firehouse. The newest Shonda Rhimes series will center around the firefighters’ life-and-death situations at work and their personal lives.”
Chicago Fire, much?
Ortiz will be introduced to Grey’s Anatomy fans this fall, 2017, to tantalize fans for the spinoff’s mid-season debut. We’ll surely watch this! BUT, it may move to/premiere on Netflix! (see the RUMOR, above, about Shonda Rhimes)
We will try it!
9-1-1 FOX (January, 2018)
An Emergency Response drama created by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk.
Starring Angela Bassett and Connie Britton.
May be hackneyed, but we’ll try it.
A.P. Bio NBC (mid-season, 2018)
This sounds interesting: Patton Oswalt (Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) and others I have never heard of or seen (yet) are starring in a comedy about a “cynical Ivy League professor [who] loses out on his dream job and goes to work as a high school biology teacher where he imposes his unorthodox teaching style and uses the kids to plot out revenge on those who wronged him.”
For the People ABC (mid-season, 2018)
Another courtroom drama… We sometimes like these, but they can be SUPER boring if not done right.
Bull, yes. Chicago Justice, no.
We do recognize some of the stars, so we’ll try it.
Features Ben Rappaport (Mr. Robot, The Good Wife), Hope Davis (American Crime), Anna Deavere Smith (Nurse Jackie), Lyndon Smith (Parenthood), Ben Shenkman (Royal Pains), and some others.
Blurb: “Set in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, aka “The Mother Court,” the drama follows brand-new lawyers working for both the defense and the prosecution handling the most high-profile and high-stakes federal cases in the country — all as their lives intersect in and out of the courtroom.”
Worth a try
LA TO VEGAS FOX (mid-season, 2018)
Dylan McDermott is coming back with a workplace comedy. We miss him and his great show (recently aired and canceled after only one season, Pure Genius), but sometimes these comedies are awful, but we’ll probably give it a whirl.
Possibility, but low expectations
Reverie NBC (mid-season, 2018)
Another great cast for a new show with a shaky premise, IMO: brings Sarah Shahi (Person of Interest), Dennis Haysbert (24), Sendhil Ramamurthy (Heroes), Kathryn Morris (Cold Case) and Jessica Lu (Awkward) together.
Reverie purports to be a “grounded and dramatic thriller about a former detective specializing in human behavior who is brought in when the launch of an advanced virtual reality program has dangerous and unintended consequences.”
Rise NBC (premieres 3/13/18)
Seemingly a mash-up of Glee and Mr. Holland’s Opus, Rise brings in the drama classes for a new show we might like.
Starring some cool peeps: Josh Radnor (How I Met Your Mother), Auli’i Cravalho (Moana), Rosie Perez (Search Party, Lipstick Jungle), and many others pretending to be teens, I’m sure.
The show “centers on a high school drama teacher and family man whose passion for the program and his students galvanizes the entire working class town. Based on Michael Sokolove’s book, Drama High, which itself is based on real-life drama teacher, Lou Volpe.”
Could be all right
The Resident FOX (mid-season, 2018)
Emily van Camp (Revenge, Everwood) and Matt Czuchry (The Good Wife and Gilmore Girls) will star in yet another medical drama series. How could we need any more of these?
“This medical drama follows the relationship between a senior resident and a young doctor at a hospital.” Also stars Bruce Greenwood.
If not riddled with tropes we have seen a hundred times, could be good.
The X-Files FOX (mid-season, 2018)
Continues with its AWFUL reboot. Why? I, a faithful fan who watched every episode of the original series, thought last season’s efforts were TERRIBLE. But, it’s coming back for more. Who makes these decisions?
Not a chance we’ll watch
SUITS spin-off (no title, yet) USA (mid-season, 2018)
Gina Torres WILL star as Jessica Pearson, again, in this even though she left SUITS because she put it into her contract that it will film in LA (where she lives) instead of the usual Toronto-for-NYC.
Watch her on SUITS in the final winter, 2017, Episode (a brief return, only, for that season), then, watch for Torres to headline and produce the new series.
We’ll watch this
Las Reinas ABC (mid-season, 2018)
Sonia Braga to star in detective drama. As if we need another one of these, either. But… We do like them.
We’ll give it a try
The Land of Steady Habits Netflix (mid-season, 2018)
Connie Britton has risen from the dead (Rayna James, Nashville) to play a leading role in Nicole Holofcener’s ensemble dramedy based on Ted Thompson’s 2014 novel of the same name.
Starring Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie), Ben Mendelsohn (Bloodline), and Thomas Mann (Fargo).
We’ll try it
Trust Me BBC One (CANNOT FIND WHERE TO WATCH THIS!)
Need to watch SEASON 1, which ended late August, 2017, because this was already renewed for SEASON 2!
“Having lost her job for whistle-blowing, a skilled, hardworking nurse assumes her best friend’s identity as a senior doctor to start a new life in Edinburgh.”
Starring Jodie Whittaker (who is the newest Dr. Who for Dr. Who!, so everyone laughs when she says, repeatedly, “I’m not a real doctor” in this show) as Cath Hardacre; Emun Elliott as Dr. Andy Brenner Sharon Small as Dr. Brigitte Rayne; Blake Harrison as Karl, Cath’s ex-husband; Nathan Welsh as journalist, Sam Kelly; Cara Kelly as Mona McBride; Lois Chimimba as Nurse Kare; and, Michael Abubakar as Dr. Charlie McKee.
Looks interesting, but can’t find it (yet)
Marvel’s The Defenders Netflix (SEASON 1 available since August, 2017)
Picks up where Marvel’s Jessica Jones‘ SEASON 1 left off but she is only one of several oddball individuals with unusual “super” powers, many of whom have their own shows on other networks or Netflix, all from Marvel comics (Marvel’s Ironfist, Marvel’s Luke Cage, Marvel’s Daredevil and their own shows on Netflix (see Marvel’s Jessica Jones entry, here).
We’re wondering if Marvel’s Jessica Jones‘ SEASON 2 will pick up where this one leaves off, or where SEASON 1 of its own series left off, somehow?
Anyway, too much fighting, but interesting; we’re watching mainly to see Jessica.
Also, this show’s second season isn’t expected until “5 more seasons of other shows” whose main characters are in it/related to it, and that means 2019 or later: https://goo.gl/V71dX4
Unexpectedly compelling; long wait for SEASON 2, though
*Midnight, Texas TNT (premiered in July, 2017)
This is the second of Charlaine Harris’ series based on her novels that involve “supernaturals” with humans (first was True Blood) that I am watching solo (Mom’s not into those beings). I loved the Sookie Stackhouse (protagonist) novels that True Blood was based on, but it really went off the rails mid-series and into its own dark, weird plots and subplots with characters that I didn’t like so much. When I started the Midnight, Texas series, I was very disappointed. Couldn’t get into it and gave it back to the library. I didn’t even watch the first two Episodes of this when they aired.
But, summer is slow for new and good TV, and I watch while I color (check out my Facebook page for my 200+ coloring pages in my photos: http://www.facebook.com/sally.ember), so I started with those first two On Demand and now I’m hooked.
Stars some actors I’ve seen before (François Arnaud, Sarah Ramos, Jason Lewis) and many I haven’t (Dylan Bruce, Parisa Fitz-Henley, Arielle Kebbel and the rest) with some cool guest stars and plots/subplots, if you like this sort of thing (which I sometimes do).
*The African-Americans: Many Rivers to Cross PBS (started airing in October, 2013; re-aired July, 2017; gets repeated often and available online http://www.pbs.org)
The wonderful historian, himself African-American, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., is the narrator and principal investigator/researcher for this amazing series, which chunks the history of African-Americans into hundreds of years, at first, then dozens, then just a few decades by the end (4 Episodes, 75 minutes each; 6 hours, total).
The series “guides viewers on a journey across two continents to explore the transition of African-Americans. The series encompasses five centuries of events, visits key sites, and engages in debates with historians and eyewitnesses like school integration pioneers, Ruby Bridges and Charlayne Hunter-Gault, former Black Panther, Kathleen Neal Cleaver and former Secretary of State Colin Powell.”
I’m into documentaries like this
Shetland BBC One/Netflix (SEASON 4 airs late this fall/early winter, 2017-2018)
The accents of the actors on this show are often very difficult for us midwestern-USA listeners to understand, but the show is a great “who done it” format with very little gore/violence on screen and lots of excellent writing (best handling of female colleague’s sexual assault by a male colleague I’ve ever seen on TV or film), characterizations and situations (similar to DCI Banks, which we also loved). We watched SEASONS 1, 2 & 3 on Netflix now (summer programming isn’t so great on regular TV). We plan to watch it on BBC America, if it runs here, or resume when the rest comes onto Netflix in spring or summer, 2018.
“DI [Detective Inspector] Jimmy Perez (Douglas Henshall) and his team (mostly, Alison O’Donnell, Steven Robertson) investigate crimes within the close-knit island community of Shetland.”
Like DCI Banks, the series started with a double Episode pilot, then each season had/has 3 or 4 double Episodes.
The setting is supposedly on one or more of the Shetland archipelago of islands as part of northeastern Scotland, but is actually filmed mostly in Scotland itself. Still, beautiful scenery of many coastal lays.
Great murder mystery show, if you can understand what they’re saying
Beat Shazam Fox (returns for SEASON 2 summer, 2018)
The format is lousy, the hype is annoying (thank goodness for mute and fast-forward). Jamie Foxx is wearing jackets for every Episode (Why? it’s INDOORS, Jamie!) and being excessively Steve Harvey-ish (irritatingly “amusing,” and dancing with and teasing the contestants). The show’s producers/directors somehow think it’s a good idea to have “guest stars” briefly show up for each Episode, but they do almost nothing but appear, e.g., Mariah Carey (wearing OMG-knows-what), Snoop Dog, and some athletes (again, why?).
Silly, but somewhat fun.
Also, interesting fact: African-Americans comprise only about 12 – 20% of the USA population (depending upon how one “counts,” according to the official census of 2010), but they comprise about 70% of this show’s contestants and guest stars. Trying to right some imbalances, for sure, and nodding to the amazing contributions of African-Americans to the music industry. So, yea for the casting directors.
We like trying to guess the songs; RENEWED for SEASON 2
Hooten & The Lady The CW (premiered 7/13/17; Canceled by SKY [the originating station, in the UK], but may run SEASON 2 in USA, since already made)
“Two globetrotting treasure hunters who set out to recover priceless legendary artifacts.” American, Ulysses Hooten (Michael Landes) “is a smooth-talking yet foolhardy lone wolf, who often finds himself in sticky situations.” British Museum’s relic-finder, Lady Alex Lindo-Parker (Ophelia Lovibond, whom we loved in Elementary) “is an aristocrat and British Museum curator who, despite being straitlaced, is eager to follow in the footsteps of history’s great archaeologists and venture to uncharted lands. Meeting in the thick of the Amazon jungle, they form an unlikely partnership as they travel the globe in pursuit of hidden treasures.” They continue on to Egypt, Bhutan, Rome, Ethiopia, Moscow, Cambodia and The Caribbean in their adventures.
HOWEVER, since this “Lady” has no self-defense skills (except dumb luck and her wits), WHY do they not send her with a team of bodyguards, since she has been in life-threatening peril in EVERY Episode, dodging murderous thieves who want these “priceless” artifacts?
Apparently it got good reviews in the UK for SEASON 1 (WHY?), but the UK is still deliberating whether or not to commission a second season.
Also includes Jessica Hynes as Ella Bond, Shaun Parkes as Clive Stephenson, Jane Seymour as Lady Lindo Parker, and Jonathan Bailey as Edward.
Got good reviews in its fall, 2016, airing in the UK, but I cannot fathom why.
Co-Created by Sarah Phelps, this UK series has eight hour-long episodes that seemed to be promising to be very much like two shows we like, The Librarian and Warehouse 13, with some elements of the great Indiana Jones and Romancing the Stone films. HOWEVER, their idea of “humor” verges very far into disgusting and repetitite; the villains are unexpected (first episode), then predictable (every one after that) and horrifying; the goals are unclear, since the dialogue is terrible; the characters are not well-drawn and rely on tropes and short-cuts; the situations are completely unrealistic.
We have watched all the Episodes; we are increasingly fast-forwarding and bored.
Jane Seymour has barely appeared and was in silly scenes.
We gave it a try; UNDERWHELMED; CANCELED, but may run SEASON 2 in USA, since already made
Salvation CBS (RENEWED for SEASON 2; probably returns Summer, 2018)
Yet another sci-fi series in which the Earth is threatened by an asteroid strike. Really? Yet, superstar Executive Producer, Alan Kurtzman, is attached and the writers are popular, also.
“The series centers on tech superstar, Darius Tanz (Santiago Cabrera) and MIT grad student, Liam Cole (Charlie Rowe), who bring Pentagon official, Grace Barrows (Jennifer Finnigan) a staggering discovery – that an asteroid is just six months away from colliding with Earth….Stars Santiago Cabrera, Jennifer Finnigan, Charlie Rowe, Jacqueline Byers, Rachel Drance, Shazi Raja and Ian Anthony Dale.”
Not a strong start, and Episode 2 wasn’t much better, but we have plowed on, just to find out what happens, and it’s tolerable….Barely. Some things got better, some worse, but we stuck with the entire season.
Mediocre, at best, but compelling and RENEWED for SEASON 2
*Genius National Geographic (SEASON 2 returns Spring, 2018)
Bio-pic series based on the life and work of Albert Einstein. Only I watched these, but I really enjoyed each Episode.
Flips back and forth between college-aged (Johnny Flynn) and professorial-/World War II-aged Einstein (Geoffrey Rush). Also stars the great Emily Watson as his second wife for a while, then stays with the older versions for the last few Episodes. Spoiler: ends with Einstein’s death and its aftermath, which makes me puzzled that it was renewed for SEASON 2.
Directed by Ron Howard (yes, that one). http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/genius/ has trailers and more info.
Divided into 10 “Chapters,” with each episode’s airing more than once per week.
Excellently done, but the rise of Hitler was disturbing to watch, given current USA politics; SEASON 2, RENEWED
*The Americans TNT (final SEASON 6 returns Spring, 2018)
I like this show, but the content is quite disturbing, for sure. The morality, ethics, honesty and deception issues are quite seriously depicted, there is a lot of violence (which I don’t like), and people are very screwed up, on all sides. Multiple complexities and grey areas are not shied away from, and they include many key events/issues from the USA’s 1980s: bravo to the writers, actors, director, fact-checkers/researchers!
I hate to read subtitles, but having the Russians speak Russian adds verisimilitude, for sure.
Both Matt Rhys (Phillip) and Keri Russell (Elizabeth) give nuanced, fascinating performances, especially when interacting with their now-“read-in,” adolescent daughter, Paige (played admirably by Holly Taylor).
Remarkable performances also by the great Frank Langella, with key moments played by Callie Thorne, Noah Emmerich, Annet Mahendru, Lev Gorn make/made this a show well-worth watching. So do Keri Russell‘s and Matthew Rhys‘ real-life romance and child together!
Frank Langella gave such a moving speech when he won a Tony (June, 2016) for best actor, referencing Orlando and gay rights, support for diversity and for all, etc., that it gives me a new perspective on him for his role in this show.
Mom watched a few, but bailed.
Cringing, but KEEPING and RENEWED for final SEASON, 6
*Call the Midwife PBS (December, 2017, special 2-hour episode; returns April, 2018)
Resumed with a Christmas special set mostly in South Africa in the 1960s, which was fascinating and heartbreaking, both. Great photography, stories and chracters, as usual.
8-episode run for SEASON 6 in the USA started in early April, 2017; same pattern for 3 more years, SEASONS 7, 8, 9.
Very depressing season opener for 2017, with staffing/casting additions and changes I do not like. Probably going to keep watching, but the material has gotten very dark.
KEEPING and RENEWED for 3 MORE YEARS!
*When Calls the Heart Hallmark (returns Feb., 2018)
Erin Krakow is great as the lead character, Elizabeth Thatcher, a rich young woman who leaves her safe, city family life to become a Canadian prairie teacher in a one-room school house, with an adorable Daniel Lessing as her Canadian Mountie/ love interest. Yes; hers is one of my alternate reality jobs.
Lori Loughlin is cast as her typically maternal and saccharine character but she does play the best friend/ cafe owner/ widow/ adoptive mother/ landlady well. Other characters are also “stock” and mostly two-dimensional, but I blame the Hallmark Channel’s writers (Janette Oke and Derek Thompson, most recently, but there are 18!) more than I fault the actors. Also has Cat Montgomery, played well by Chelah Horsdal.
The show is very sappy, predictable, silly and overly sentimental, with many stereotypes and tropes, but I still watch.
Keeping; SEASON 5, RENEWED
*Famous in Love FreeForm (Renewed for SEASON 2; returns Spring, 2018)
Mom wouldn’t watch this, so I watched it alone, going through all 10 episodes “on demand,” since they were available. I was surprised by how great the acting was, and pleasantly interested in the plot and a few of the characters. There are some (expected and delivered) 2-D characters, stereotypes and trite, with accompanying plot points, but mostly, better-drawn than many shows’ are. I plan to continue, but I expect it to devolve into cliches very soon.
The series’ messages are quite disturbing, though. EVERY SINGLE CHARACTER is dishonest about something major with people they love/care about; many, more than one topic, more than one person. Favorite negativity tropes, so far: infidelity; betrayal; broken promises; secrets; paternity; fake student status; fake jobs; stealing; murder; other criminal activity; extortion; blackmail; planting evidence/framing someone; parental/family status; fake living situation; fake names; broken contracts; inappropriate/impossible expectations; terrible parenting; sexual orientation lies; relationship status lies; blaming others for one’s own problems. Very sad state these people are in, but this is supposedly depicting some kinds of “success.” Sigh.
“Life changes for ordinary college student, Paige (Bella Thorne), after she auditions for a movie and lands a role in the big-budget blockbuster. The newfound-fame turns Paige into Hollywood’s new ‘it’ girl, forcing her to navigate the highs and lows of celebrity life — all while trying to balance her college workload. While Paige’s new career offers her a chance to meet new people — including attractive co-star, Rainer (Carter Jenkins), with whom she develops strong chemistry — it strains her relationships with her current friends, especially Jake, who may want to be more than just friends. …[B]ased on a novel of the same name written by Rebecca Serle.
Does feature some more well-known actors, including supposed appearances upcoming by Mark Valley and Vanessa Williams (she really gets around; check her out on The Librarians!), but I did not see either of them.
Watched all 10 Episodes. Renewed for SEASON 2
Humans AMC (returns in 2018)
Great return. Strong characters back again and some new ones. We like how the director instructs the actors who play “Synths” to walk in a distinctive way and gives them all these green contacts so we can tell them from humans right off. A bit violent, but intriguing. Gemma Chan, Katherine Parkinson, Lucy Carless We really like this show and welcome it back. Very creative, raising important, thought-provoking social issues about who/what is “human” and what is not, and well-acted.
KEEPING; SEASON 3, RENEWED
Quantico (returns in 2018 for SEASON 3)
My mom and I liked Quantico for the first half or so. Then, it devolved, as so many do, into chases and violence and not much (else?) to commend it. We kept watching, but too many characters are getting killed off/disappearing each season. What is up with that?
The premise was supposed to be that this is a show about a new cohort of recruits at the FBI federal training academy (Quantico) in the USA. Why didn’t they stick with that? Why did they think they needed a terrorist bombing/ “moles”/ multiple deceptions-based plot?
We know it’s an FBI show and we did expect some of the above. But, really, when more than a few minutes of every show is devoted to pursuit chases and macho posturing/inappropriate blame and shaming, we look at each other and say: “Not enough plot, eh?”
UPDATE, in November, 2016: going back in forth in time from the cadets to the present is a good idea but not done well at all. Relying too much on different hairdos for the female characters and who’s having sex with whom to anchor the timeline (who cares?). Still watching, but not sure why. it’s worse and worse this fall.
Watched both years, but hated the poor visibility and convoluted storylines; BUT, not yet CANCELED for SEASON 3, fall, 2017
Timeless NBC (returns in 2018 for SEASON 2)
We really LOVE this show. The writing is strong, the characters are interesting, and the twists (due to time travel, of course, and junk science…) are fascinating. We also LOVE Abigail Spencer (Rectify, Suits). We are enjoying Matt Lanter (90210), Paterson Joseph (The Leftovers), and Malcolm Barrett (Better Off Ted), who are new to us. We also appreciate the returns of Goran Visnjic (ER) and Claudia Doumit (Scandal) from previous shows we like, and I’ve seen and liked Sakina Jaffrey (House of Cards).
KEEPING and RENEWED for SEASON 2
Marvel’s Jessica Jones Netflix (returns in 2018)
A bit too much fighting, but interesting and intriguing. We look forward to SEASON 2.
Disappointingly, the spin-off of Marvel’s Jessica Jones, Marvel’s Luke Cage, was awful, but it did get renewed for its second season on Netflix. We watched Episode 1, but it was so violent and not very interesting that we thought we wouldn’t continue. But, after finishing Marvel’s The Defenders, SEASON 1 (which was renewed for SEASON 2 but won’t run until after JJ‘s SEASON 2 runs, apparently), we will probably go back and watch the rest of Luke Cage.
Then, we will probably watch SEASON 1 of Marvel’s Iron Fist (renewed for SEASON 2) and Marvel’s Daredevil‘s first two seasons (because DD was renewed for SEASON 3) to get more of a sense of what is going on with this part of the franchise.
We mute all the fighting (wishing we could fast-forward!).
Continuing to watch
Chicago Med NBC (returns 11/21/17 for SEASON 3 and continues 1/2/18)
I got caught up ON DEMAND and now am hooked
Elementary CBS (RENEWED for SEASON 6; returns in 2018)
Very sad to hear (on July 8, 2017), about the sudden and very unexpected death (from alcoholic heart failure, at the too-young age of 39) of a recurring character actor on this show, Nelsan Ellis, whom I first admired as Lafayette on True Blood. We will miss you, Nelsan. You were a true talent.
We both like this show a lot even though it’s very difficult for us to understand some of the dialogue or to understand Sherlock because of the show’s poor audio quality and his rapid-fire speech in a British accent.
Great to see Lucy Liu, Johnny Lee Miller, John Michael Hill and Aidan Quinn back again.
KEEPING, and 6th SEASON RENEWED
*The Magicians SyFy (returns in 2018 for SEASON 3)
Don’t know how I missed this last year, but catching up, now, and liking it enough to keep going. Kind of trite, but interesting. Liking Anna Dudek in the headmistress role.
First episode of new season was boring and filled with predictability. Disappointing in every way. Nothing at all at the school, and too many Narnia tropes and Neverending Story steals.
KEEPING, but may quit; RENEWED for SEASON 3
*Younger TV LAND (returns for SEASON 5 in June, 2018)
I got hooked on this by watching all the previous episodes on-demand, and now eagerly await its return. I LOVE Sutton Foster, so even though the premise is ridiculous and Hilary Duff is predictably awful, I watch.
But, Season 4 is surprisingly much better, partly because some of the characters are now in on the secret (true age of Foster‘s character, Liza—early 40s vs. the purported mid-twenties) and some of their reactions are excellent. Not sure where this will go, but I did like Episode 1.
Most people won’t like this, but I somehow do; RENEWED through SEASON 5
Colony (returns in 2018 for SEASON 3)
I guess we weren’t the only ones who complained about being very confused and a bit impatient with the way this series’ pilot threw viewers into the middle of an alternate Earth near-future without sufficient explanations. For its return this winter, they “went back” and explained the beginning/back story for several elements, including the Arrival, sequestering, and more.
We like seeing Josh Holloway, since we liked him so much in the all-too-soon-canceled Intelligence, and Amanda Righetti, from The Mentalist, which we loved.
But, we never watched Lost, The Walking Dead or Hercules, so the others are new to us, except for Peter Jacobsen, from House and Madam Secretary, and Paul Guilfoyle, from CSI.
Luckily, I had taped the “Colony: Behind the Wall” show, which we watched after we saw the pilot. That was excellent, because it explained a LOT. We also got to see how and why they established some of the special effects and sets for this series. We are now looking forward to seeing the subsequent episodes.
Without giving away too much. we appreciated the parallels the producers/creators are deliberately creating between Nazi-occupied Paris and a hypothetically occupied Los Angeles, asking us all (and all the characters are also asking themselves and each other): what would you do? Would you be a collaborator or a resister? Are you a pragmatist/selfish/greedy “winner,” or are you trying to keep going with “normal” life while wresting control from the occupiers and collaborators as you do? What lengths would you go to and what risks would you be willing to take under these circumstances?
Excellent questions and cool concepts.
You can go to the series’ website and choose your side and see what you get into there! http://www.colonytv.com/
Keeping this one, but it’s now more horrifying, in the #45 Fascism-is-rising era in which we now shudder to live. RENEWED for SEASON 3
“The Great American Baking Show was BBC, now Netflix
The ORIGINAL: This is the only “reality” show (and its spin-offs) that we watch.
This is now only available on Netflix. It stars some of the nation’s best amateur bakers as they compete in a series of themed challenges and eliminations all hoping to be crowned Holiday Baking Champion. For four weeks, James Beard Award-Winning pastry chef and author, Johnny Iuzzini, joins England’s “Royal Queen of Baking,” author and television personality, Mary Berry, as they judge the decadent and delicious holiday fare these bakers create as they throw down their best culinary skills.”
Fascinating for my mom and me, who are NOT bakers, since a lot is explained both for how to create good and how the mistakes are made for bad “bakes.” Everything can go wrong, especially during the “Technical” bakes, whose recipes are extrapolated from very skimpy instructions (deliberately vague) from one of the two judges each week. Disasters occur from bakers’ forgetting to turn on or check the oven temperature, to mistakenly using salt instead of sugar, to neglecting to allow enough time to accomplish it all, to using ingredients/proportions of ingredients that are too weakly or strongly flavored or getting the dough too wet. “Crisp” and having a “good bake” are big on this show.
We like the artists’ renditions in sketch books of each participant’s planned creation for the final segment each week, the contestants’ “Show-Stoppers.” They obviously have weeks to concoct and practice prior to the contest date, and it shows.
What we also like are the camaraderie among the announcers and judges and how respectful the judges are to each contestant and they to one another. None of that “reality show” staged back-biting and fighting here (if there were, we’d turn it off). They give a bit of bio and film scenes at their homes and/or day jobs for each of the semi-finalists and finalists, which we look forward to seeing.
This and its American spin-off are only reality shows we watch because the baking concoctions and watching the bakers create them are fascinating, always unusual and new to us, informationally. Many funny moments, but not at any baker’s expense, usually, which we like.
Plus, none of the competitors is actually a professional baker: a student; one makes satellites; a retired teacher; one also paints. So interesting that these individuals chose to compete in this way.
Watch for its last Episodes on BBC with the original judges, Mary and Paul, and the original hosts, Mel and Sue (all but Paul are not continuing) for the last Christmas British Bake-Off at the end of 2016.
This final season we have the old crew of SEASON 4, still: Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry as the expert bakers and the two somewhat funny/mostly annoying hosts, Mel (Melanie) Giedroyc and Sue Perkins (except that Sue was strangely and not-mentioned absent from Season 4, Episode 2…???).
There are/were three British and one American spin-offs, The Great British Baking Show, Master Class and The Great British Baking Show, An Extra Slice, both RENEWED; The Great British Baking Show, Holiday Season(that was mostly with Mary and Paul, but with Mary gone after this season, not sure if that will return this fall; and The Great American Baking Show (not seen, yet).
KEEPING; RENEWED through SEASON 5, but SEASON 5 has new hosts and no Mary Berry
The Great British, now, The Great American Baking Show (was BBC, but moved to ABC on 12/1/16) The new show is hosted by Nia Vardalos (My Big Fat Greek Wedding) and husband, Ian Gomez (Felicity, Cougar Town, Supergirl).
RECOMMENDED HIGHLY. CHANGED to ABC and New HOSTS after SEASON 7
The Great American Baking Show ABC (RENEWED for SEASON 3, 2017-18, which starts in December, 2017)
Ayesha Curry and Anthony Anderson as hosts. Based on The Great British Baking Show (see below).
Want to know more about British TV and those who star(starred) in its shows for 2017? http://renewcanceltv.com/great-british-bake-off-mrs-browns-boys-bbc-christmas-special-renewals/
*American Masters on PBS: Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story, PBS
(At the Tribeca Film Festival 4/23/17, then aired on PBS; check local listings or watch online, http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/video/all-video/?type=episodes)
I have a particular connection to Ms. Lamarr because one of my former partner’s mothers and aunt were her friends—three young women who were beautiful, talented, Jewish Austrians and Holocaust survivors. After they all had escaped from Austria and made their way to Los Angeles during Hitler’s rise in the late 1930s, these three appeared in two movies together (my partner’s relatives had very minor roles). They were also friends with another fellow Jewish Austrian, Johnny Weismuller, known for his roles as Tarzan.
“Hedy Lamarr was the original wild child. Her scandalous nude appearance in the 1933 Czech film, Ecstasy, made her infamous at the age of 17. She married a prominent Austrian businessman who became a weapons dealer to the Nazis. Lamarr, who was born Jewish, fled her husband in the middle of the night, boarding a boat for America with nothing to her name except a single designer gown. On board, she dazzled MGM boss, Louis B. Mayer, and convinced him to offer her one of the best contracts in Hollywood. As a movie star, she was considered by many to be ‘the most beautiful woman in the world.’ Songs were written about her beauty. Snow White [Disney’s original animated version] was modeled on her iconic look. She married six times and had affairs with everyone from Howard Hughes to Spencer Tracy.”
I am especially looking forward to this one
*American Masters on PBS aired Patsy Cline – Up Close, Personal in March, but it was not available here in Missouri; check local listings or watch online: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/video/all-video/?type=episodes)
Rosanne Cash narrated this, with many stars interviewed or on clips.
What a talent! Cline‘s story is sad, but her voice! Mom may watch, but probably not.
I am looking forward to this
Already Shown/Ended for Now; Can Catch Again (On Demand or online)
RECOMMENDED but discontinued/Canceled:
Prime Suspect: Tennison
The Bletchley Circle
Still Watching/Available, But Not Great
*Nashville (now on CMT) (returns for FINAL SEASON 6 1/4/18- March, then June – August)
First episode of new season was disappointing, as they all were for the last 2 years, since there was almost not music and too much “soap opera,” again. Almost nothing from Deacon Clayborn (played by Charles Estes), musically, or anyone else. Also starring Hayden Panettiere, the only one doing much singing.
Way too much drama, none of it important or good, and not enough music.
Plan on a lot of fast-forwarding to get through these Episodes.
NOT ENOUGH MUSIC in ANY Episode, STILL. Off, now, until 2018. I hope they put in MORE MUSIC!
Was good, at first; then, not enough music; SEASON 6 = FINAL
Grace & Frankie Netflix (SEASON 4 returns 1/19/18)
The writing has deteriorated even worse for SEASON 3.
My mom and I enjoyed SEASON 1 enough to watch SEASON 2, but we were constantly disappointed.
We saw Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda on talk shows often and we do respect them as actors. However, each of their characters has become a caricature of its original concept, and the characters of all the gay men, including Martin Sheen ‘s and Sam Waterston‘s, were always pathetic stereotypes.
Robert (Sheen) and Sol (Waterson) are wooden and unbelievable as passionate lovers. Lily Tomlin is still performing a hippie character trope. Jane Fonda was the only one of the four who actually inhabits a realistic version of a character via acting, but she has been doomed to repeat rather than enact Grace’s growth and insights.
Brooklyn Decker and June Diane Raphael are given, as Sheen’s and Fonda’s adult daughters, mostly comedy bits and one-liners to enact, and they are not getting the sisterly relationship in any believable way. Baron Vaughn and Ethan Embry (Tomlin’s and Waterston’s adult sons) are not given even that much to do, and even that is more slapstick than acting.
Most of the supporting characters are written as stereotypes of whatever group they are purported to belong to by ethnicity, age, job or other status, which is sloppy and lazy writing and disappointing for the talents of these actors. Ernie Hudson returns as Lily’s friend, now lover, Jacob, isn’t given much to do, either. We hoped these great actors would get to do more than mug, crack jokes and be cardboard cutouts.
This show could be SO MUCH BETTER! But, the writing trivializes what few actual issues there are, going for silly and getting sillier even though the topics are significant. For example,
—What kind of gay are the characters of Sol and Robert? They apparently haven’t discussed this, much. Are they even the same kind as one another? Are they flamboyant “queens,” political/marchers in gay pride parades, attendees and singers at Broadway Bingo called by a Transvestite (or Transgender: the show didn’t even bother to make the distinction, or…?
— Why trivialize the muggings, burglaries, robberies and other crimes committed against senior citizens while parodying real concerns about home owners having loaded guns on site?
—How do women raising several children deal with husbands who won’t grow up?
—How do couples who based their entire relationship on infidelity deal with their infidelitous leanings, lifetimes of duplicity and dishonesty, and other problems that do not disappear once they are “out”? Sol has sex with Frankie on the eve of marrying Robert. Frankie has trouble not telling Robert, who is her life-long friend. She, however, didn’t seem to have any trouble cheating with Sol on Robert.
—Does none of these characters have a distinct moral compass? They all lie to each other.
—Good to raise the issues senior citizens deal with in relationships and sexuality (vaginal dryness, erectile dysfunction, shyness/awkwardness (newly dating after being married for decades), lack of interest, but why not show more respect, even in a comedy?
–How do/can addicts “make amends” when they’ve lied, stolen, destroyed property and relationships/trust for many years and still can’t be readily trusted?
—Do children ever “get over” sibling rivalry? Do in-laws ever get along? How do jealousy and competition and affect adult relationships?
—How could adults deal effectively and respectfully with children’s phobias and anxieties rather than patronizing or minimizing?
Wish the writers would tackle these and other issues head-on rather than with one-liners and sit-com scenarios. The actors would then actually have something to do and the viewers would probably be feeling that their time had been well-spent instead of wasted. They need to watch When We Rise. For real.
CONTINUING, but constantly disappointed; RENEWED for SEASON 4
Sherlock BBC (SEASON 6 return uncertain but discussed)
Yippee! Yahoo! Best BBC return-to-season EVER! Fabulous reunions and loved the SEASON 4 “premise” (No spoilers, here). How great is Benedict Cumberbatch? And, Martin Freeman!
Also, great mystery to be solved.
Not liking the addiction story line in this or Elementary‘s Sherlock (or any show, for that matter), but I guess it is part of the Sherlock character.
Keeping, but no new season any time soon, according to creator/writer, Stephen Moffat, as of October, 2017
For other PBS special productions (Great Performances of filmed live plays, concerts, more), stream them online: http://www.pbs.org
*Madiba BET (mini-series aired mid-February, 2017)
A FANTASTIC, original mini-series (from BET’s press release, April 2016) “BET partners with executive producers, Lance Samuels, Kweku Mandela and Daniel Iron for an original production that focuses on the story of Nelson Mandela, the globally beloved humanitarian, as well as the many other leaders of the African National Congress — Oliver Tambo (Orlando Jones) and Walter Sisulu (David Harewood) — who fought alongside Mandela in the multi-racial, multi-national movement that led to the end of South African apartheid. Academy Award(R) nominee Laurence Fishburne completely transforms in the lead role, under the direction of Kevin Hooks (Passenger 57, Prison Break), who also serves as Executive Producer.”
Very moving, informative, inspiring. Sad and important, both, that we’re still fighting these fights.
Learned a lot from this.
*When We Rise ABC (5-part miniseries, started airing 2/27, with the two-hour series premiere, then aired the rest, every night through 3/3/17, but it will also be available via ABC On Demand and probably online as well; May have another season!).
This is/was my era. I know people whose names are on the AIDS quilt: dead friends and loved ones, friends’ partners and relatives. I am bisexual and was a reproductive rights, pro-ERA, feminist activist for many of these interlocking movements. These are my people. I remember these arguments, coalitions’ building and falling apart, feminists divided by homophobia, race-baiting among the GLBT and feminist communities: searching for safety among women only to find myself rejected as a bisexual; searching for camaraderie among the gay men only to find the misogynistic, hateful attitudes to be unworkable; wishing for cis-gender and heteronormative people, especially those with money and power, to wake up and grow up (still waiting for most of them).
This series is excellent! Each episode is so moving, well-done, informative and true-to-life that it ought to be required viewing for all politicians, GLBT people and their families, friends, allies and detractors, and the rest of the USA population. A lot of this series’ scenes have moved me to tears.
“Written and created by Academy Award-winning screenwriter, Dustin Lance Black…chronicles the real-life personal and political struggles, set-backs and triumphs of a diverse family of LGBT men and women who helped pioneer one of the last legs of the U.S. Civil Rights movement from its turbulent infancy in the 20th century to the once unfathomable successes of today.”
Starring Guy Pearce, Mary-Louise Parker, Rachel Griffiths, Ivory Aquino, Carrie Preston, Michael K. Williams, Rosie O’Donnell, Whoopi Goldberg.
The extra hour within this series which aired before Night III, has interviews with some of the actual people this series is based upon, real footage of their meetings, speeches, marches, encounters, photographs of the original activists and their work. Extremely inspiring.
YOU MUST WATCH ALL OF THIS; TBD for SEASON 2
Dolly Parton’s Christmas of Many Colors (aired 11/30/16 on NBC; may return in December, 2017)
Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love is a sequel to the fun 2015 film based on her memoirs and recently released as a children’s book, Coat of Many Colors.
We were somewhat mystified and disappointed at the role the adult Dolly Parton gave herself in this sequel biopic, of one fall of her childhood at age 9: why would she have the local business owner (played by Parton’s real-life younger sister, Stella Parton), call her out as a prostitute? The child-aged Dolly says things like: “I want to look just like you when I grow up!” and the adult Dolly, known as “The Painted Lady” in the film, responds: “Maybe you will!” big smile. Very bizarre. The Painted Lady is a benefactor whose money is considered “dirty” and taken away by the store owner from child Dolly, but she keeps appearing throughout the film. Unclear as to why.
Which begs the question I’ve long had: why would anyone do to themselves what Dolly Parton has done (all the plastic surgery, wigs, false eyelashes, excessive dieting, garish make-up and clothes, for decades), and refuse to age gracefully? Dolly Parton is an inspiration and role model for many singers/songwriters and business owners, and she does consider herself an advocate for women. So, why does she refuse to look like a ordinary person?
Alyvia Alyn Lind, who plays young Dolly, reprised her role from the film last year and did a splendid job most of the time, but she could have been directed better. Some of the scene in which she has to speak more than a line or two are very stilted and artificial. The shorter interactions and her singing/playing guitar scenes are the best parts. Jennifer Nettles and Kelli Berglund, playing the eldest daughter, were excellent and well cast as Dolly’s mom and oldest sister. Mary Lane Haskell reprised her role as the school teacher, Miss Moody, who I hope is true-to-life and lived long enough to see how successful Dolly Parton became.
WARNING: This film has a very strong mystical, grandiose/romantic, heavy-handed Christian /Christmas messages which the adult Dolly definitely still believes in and wants everyone to know. There are appearances of visions, prayers, Baptisms, magic, God, blessings, angels and the like in her life and in this and the former film. If you believe in all that or like watching films like this, you’ll love it. We are not so fond (raised Jewish and practicing Buddhist, here).
may return in 2017
Top of the Lake Sundance (China Girl, SEASON 2, aired in fall, 2017; SEASON 3 discussed)
Stars Elizabeth Moss [2017 EMMY winner for The Handmaid’s Tale] as a New Zealand detective recovering from her own traumas while attempting to rebuild her life. Apparently, this premiered in 2013 with 7 Episodes, so this is its second season, but it is new to us. Good and bad reviews; excellent cast. Can’t find where to watch SEASON 1, so we’re starting here. (SEASON 1 is set in a remote mountain town in New Zealand.)
Mostly, having watched to the bitter end (which SUCKED, BTW), we have to say: there is not one functional and/or likable character in the entire bunch of misfits, criminals, tragic victims and struggling teens and adults. Most of the situations are awful. There are gratuitous nudity, active simulated sex, symptoms of mental illness, several incidents of violence and other horrific examples of humanity in almost every scene. Some of the scenes (especially those of the porn-watchers/prostitute-users in the cafe) are so terrible we couldn’t stand to listen to the dialog, however realistic.
Beautiful settings, though, since they shot on location and not near LA, as most shows do.
Also stars: Nicole Kidman, David Wenham, Peter Mullan, Thomas M. Wright, Gwendoline Christie, David Dencik and Ewen Leslie.
[SPOILER ALERTS, from now on]
SEASON 2 is set near Sydney, Australia, and centers on finding the murderers of “Cinnamon,” found dead and floating in the lake stuffed into a suitcase. The local police call the case “China Girl,” even though she is from Thailand.
Robin Griffin (Moss) leads the investigation with an unstable constable accompanying her and apparently spying on her for their boss, with whom she is having an extra-marital affair and pregnancy, which becomes part of the story in odd ways).
Episode 1 (SEASON 2) was unnecessarily confusing, presenting viewers with many unlikeable characters, awful situations, dysfunctional families and no discernable plot. Nicole Kidman appears in a couple of scenes and more in later Episodes. There is an adoptive child/parent reuniting as a subplot that involves several of the characters through until the end in sordid and strange ways.
Excellent acting and probably realistic, but WHY? Horrible plots, situations and characters don’t make for “good” TV, IMHO.
Didn’t love it. Not sure who would, but we did finish it
A sci-fi series starring Eric McCormack which, in our opinion, had a very rocky start (Episode 1 is confusing and extremely violent), but may improve.
Dubious foundations as well, but we’ll give it a few more Episodes, perhaps. Another episodic time travel show has the premise that the agents come from the future and have to take over the bodies of people in the past (our “present”) in order to stop the end of the world. At least they are supposed to “battle their own guilt at the harm they sometimes have to do for the greater good,” a conscience that is sorely lacking in several of Timeless‘ characters, for example.
Watching, but it’s DARK; RENEWED for SEASONs 2 & 3