Path Dangers: Rigidity and Frigidity

Much-needed and well-written critiques of problems with #meditators/#meditation along the path.

The Unusual Buddha

So here we are with our sweet meditation practice and we come to a funky sticking point. There’s nothing wrong really. Just another temporary phase to move through. You reach a pretty common issue, I know because it happened to me. You reach a stage where the risk of rigidity and frigidity become a matter of real concern. What do I mean by rigidity?

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Rigidity is a firm handed inflexibility, an inability to change and adapt. This shows it’s ugly face when we meet differing points of view that challenge our own. You some how reach a point where you “know” things. Trust me when I say, if you think you’re close to an attainment you’ve never been further away. As my teacher told me, “One must always come to the Dharma with their cup empty, so that it can be filled”. I’m…

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“The Friday TV Report” 38 for 6/15/18, from Sally Ember, Ed.D., and her mom

“The Friday TV Report” 38 for 6/15/18, from Sally Ember, Ed.D., and her mom
Mom and I, August, 2017

I (Sally) update this ever-changing post of TV viewing news, 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! Yellows

Whenever a one-season show is canceled, I erase my review and its listing from this page (because, otherwise, it gets too long). Likewise, whenever I/we dislike a show, I list it at the end of this post for only its active year, then I erase it. ALSO, every time another sexual harasser/abuser/rapist/bully is revealed to be associated with a series or show, WE STOP WATCHING. Period. #Metoo #TimesUp Adding to that, if anyone excuss, defends, supports or enables these criminals, WE STOP WATCHING THAT PERSON’s shows, also. Bye-bye, Jason Bateman (wrong side on Jeffrey Tambor). Bye-bye, Whoopi Goldberg (wrong side on Bill Cosby). We never watched Louis C.K., but ‘bye ‘bye Edie Falco. We can hardly keep up with the growing list of the abusers and their apologists, but here is a recent list: https://www.glamour.com/gallery/post-weinstein-these-are-the-powerful-men-facing-sexual-harassment-allegations

I am also maintaining a summary section ("Yays," "Nays," and "Still Considering") for the current year's shows (until canceled; see above) and for any series that are continuing or still available to view. I add to reviews of many previously reviewed shows with new info and opinions often, so check weekly if you’re interested in those updates.

An additional, constantly updated "news" section, below, with rumors and truths about interesting projects/actors/shows, changes weekly. Once confirmed that they will air, “rumors” and “news” series and TV events get moved to the “upcoming” shows section; I add the premiere dates as soon as I know them. L

Like preview trailers?
Watch 7 trailers of ABC‘s 2018-19 shows here: http://deadline.com/2018/05/abc-new-series-trailers-the-rookie-the-fix-the-kids-are-alright-single-parents-1202391089/

After watching the 7 ABC new series’ trailers, though, I was disappointed and bored with the comedies. Saw the dramas and had these thoughts: why do middle-aged and older men (Ben Affleck, Scott Foley–45; Nathan Fillion, Matt Damon, Cress Williams, Daniel Craig–47; Shemar Moore–48; David Boreanaz–49; Vin Diesel–51; Robert Downey, Jr., Adrian Pascar–53; Tom Cavanagh–54; Tom Cruise–55; Clark Gregg–56;Mel Gibson–60) get to be cast as “action heroes,” while women aged 40 – 70 are almost NEVER offered comparable roles (Helen Mirren (73) and Ming-Na Wen (54) are exceptions).

Middle-aged women are hardly ever even cast as these aging actors’ lovers, much less the actual superheroine or action-based roles. Worse, as the male actors age (still cast as the heroes in the sequels based on their first roles, or in new roles, running and kick-boxing, the females they are paired with stay in their 20s and 30s, always. I am not the only one to notice this: https://www.forbes.com/sites/scottmendelson/2016/07/28/as-action-heroes-get-older-and-older-female-leads-stay-the-same-age/#6d269e163543

Sigh

Meanwhile, we trudge along.

Some more trailers, from The CW, for Charmed (which we plan to watch) and All-American (not on our list): http://deadline.com/2018/05/the-cw-new-series-trailers-charmed-all-american-1202392856/.

Three more trailers, from NBC, for shows we DO plan to try: https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/81876829/posts/3888

This is the 38th post, for 6/15/18; each post is UPDATED frequently;

next full post, 7/6/18.


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 6/15/18).


image from Pixabay

Yay
9-1-1 (Good, but not great) (RENEWED for SEASON 2)
American Woman (KEEPING, for now)
A Place to Call Home (EXCELLENT series from Australia; 5 SEASONS & RENEWED)
Anne with an ‘E’ (RENEWED for SEASON 2)
Big Little Lies (RENEWED for SEASON 2 and won several Golden Globes!; waiting for DVD)
*Blackish (surprisingly good, sometimes; RENEWED)
Blindspot (RENEWED for SEASON 4)
Blue Bloods (RENEWED for SEASON 9)
Bull (RENEWED for SEASON 3)
*Cable Girls (Las Chicas Del Cable) (2 SEASONS, so far)
*Call the Midwife (EXCELLENT show; RENEWED for SEASON 8)
Chicago Med (connected to the other two, so we watch; RENEWED for SEASON 4)
Chicago PD (too many doing too many bad things of those ON the force!; RENEWED for SEASON 6)
Chicago Fire (not so many to root for; RENEWED)
Designated Survivor (CANCELED, but Netflix may continue it; stay tuned!)
Elementary (RENEWED & midseason premiere for SEASON 8)
Endeavor (RENEWED through SEASON 6)
For the People (RENEWED for SEASON 2 (midseason premiere)
*Full Frontal with Samantha Bee (RENEWED for SEASONS 3 & 4)
*Genius (Einstein, 2017; Picasso, 2018; Mary Shelley, 2019)
Good Behavior (RENEWAL in jeopardy for SEASON 2)
*Good Girls (Strangely compelling; RENEWED for SEASON 2)
*Grey’s Anatomy (RENEWED for SEASONS 15 & 16)
In Contempt (Interesting, but characters aren’t great)
Instinct (Very fun; RENEWED & midseason premiere for SEASON 2)
*Little Women (Well-done and great for newbies)
Madam Secretary (RENEWED for SEASON 5)
Marvel’s The Defenders (unexpectedly CANCELED after having been renewed for SEASON 2)
Marvel’s Jessica Jones (Darkly funny; RENEWED for SEASON 3)
*#MeToo, Now What? (5-Episode miniseries; very topical, but painful)
*Miss Fischer’s Murder Mysteries (Another great, feminist, Australian series; 3 SEASONS and 3 films [planned])
*Mozart in the Jungle (VERY FUN & CANCELED after SEASON 4 but all 4 SEASONS are worth watching)
NCIS (RENEWED)
NCIS New Orleans (RENEWED for SEASON 5)
Orville (RENEWED for SEASON 2)
Ozark (FUN to see my lake! RENEWED for SEASON 2)
Private Eyes (trite, but somewhat cute)
River (Odd but compelling; excellent acting; llmited series)
*Shrink (Strangely funny; status unknown for SEASON 2, as of 6/15/18)
*Speechless (RENEWED for SEASON 3)
*Splitting Up Together (Growing on me; RENEWED for SEASON 2)
Station 19 (Trite, but watchable; RENEWED for SEASON 2)
The Blacklist (RENEWED for SEASON 6)
The Bletchley Circle (RENEWED and relocating to San Francisco!)
*The Bold Type (RENEWED for SEASONS 2 & 3)
The Gifted (RENEWED for SEASON 2)
The Good Doctor (RENEWED for SEASON 2)
The Great British Baking Show (THE BEST);
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (RENEWED for SEASONS 2 & 3 and won two major Golden Globe Awards!)
The Heart Guy (AKA Doctor, Doctor) (RENEWED; waiting for DVD)
*The Pinkertons (Excellently done; wish for another SEASON!)
The Resident (Got better; RENEWED for SEASON 2)
Timeless (LOVE this; SEASON 3 Cancellation likely)
Unforgotten (Extremely well-written, acted and intriguing; limited series with 2 SEASONS, so far)
Younger (Surprisingly fun and poignant; RENEWED for SEASON 6)
*Young Sheldon (I like it, increasingly; RENEWED for SEASON 2)

Check our opinions against the networks’ decisions with updated lists of Canceled and Renewed shows (UPDATED 6/15/18):
Canceled: http://renewcanceltv.com/tv-shows-cancelled-2017-18/
Renewed: http://renewcanceltv.com/tv-shows-renewed-2018-19-season/

Nay
*Absentia (TOO DARK; RENEWED for SEASON 2)
A Child in Time (What was the point?)
*Black Lightning (TOO VIOLENT and DARK, OFF MY LIST after 2 Episodes; RENEWED for SEASON 2)
*Con Man (NOT FUNNY)
The Doctor Blake Mysteries (EXCELLENT series, but star is under investigation for sexual harassment and all future Episodes and films are on indefinite hold; plus, we’re OUT)
*Ghosted (TRIES TOO HARD)
Killing Eve (TOO DARK)
Liar (TOO DARK)
McMafia (TOO VIOLENT and NO GOOD GUYS, but RENEWED)
Rosehaven (UNLIKABLE CHARACTERS AND PLOT, but RENEWED)
SEAL Team (even David Boreanaz couldn’t make us keep watching all this violence and Middle Eastern warfare; RENEWED for SEASON 2)
Shoot the Messenger (WEIRD, BORING, not worth it, but RENEWED)
Star Trek: Discovery (didn’t like it and won’t pay, anyway; NO WAY; RENEWED, SEASON 2 but may be CANCELED for SEASON 3)
*The Magicians (RENEWED for SEASON 4, but I quit watching)
*The Opposition with Jordan Keppler (STALE BEFORE IT BEGAN; ends 6/28/18)

Still Considering/Not Great/BORING


(image from Pixabay)
*A.P. Bio (somewhat funny; RENEWED for SEASON 2)
Chesapeake Shores (WRETCHEDLY STUPID but RENEWED for SEASON 3 and we’ll probably watch/Fast-Forward)
Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger (Not sure, after Episode 1; slow start)
*Dietland (After Episode 1, still deciding; very odd)
*Famous in Love (SEASON 2 is worse than 1 by a lot)
*Greenhouse Academy (Trite, but watchable)
*Godless (good, but gory; ENDED)
*grown-ish (I am not the target demographic for this, for sure!)
How to Get Away with Murder (disgusting and appalling, usually; RENEWED for SEASON 5)
Humans (not sure about SEASON 3)
*Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Mom quit this one; RENEWED, but returning summer, 2019)
*Midnight, Texas (weird but compelling [I like Charlaine Harris‘ work); RENEWED for SEASON 2]
*Pose (Probably not a keeper, for me, but well-done)
Reverie (Episodes 1 & 2 were iffy, interest-wise; we’ll see one more)
Supergirl (WORSE EACH YEAR, but somehow, we keep watching; RENEWED for SEASON 4)
The Good Place (SEASON 2 rotted at first, but sometimes, better; RENEWED for SEASON 3)
This Is Us (got much worse, but RENEWED for SEASON 3)
Travelers (RENEWED for SEASON 3)
Vexed (Somewhat trite, but cute; ENDED)
*When Calls the Heart (RENEWED for SEASON 5 and HMN has full-length film out in April, 2018)
*Will and Grace (THEY’RE TOO OLD FOR THOSE CHARACTERS, but RENEWED; I watch, reluctantly)


TRUTH, RUMORS and PROBABILITIES:
(Thanks to and most quotes, below, from: Women & Hollywood, http://renewcanceltv.com and Deadline)

AND, hot off the presses (5/17/18, but still the latest, as of 6/15/18), the Fall, 2018, FIRST broadcast schedule announcements (all subject to change, of course, and no DATES, yet; only days/times): http://deadline.com/2018/05/tv-schedule-2018-broadcast-season-fall-lineup-grid-1202392365/

—Probably not for us, but some will love it because it’s Shonda Rhimes: Netflix is getting the first new series written by her since Scandal. Rhimes “will adapt Jessica Pressler’s New York Magazine feature on con artist/phony socialite, Anna Delvey, her crimes and misadventures. “Delvey, whose real name is Anna Sorokin, bluffed her way into becoming an NYC ‘it’ girl and, by lying and scamming money from friends, businesses, and banks, she almost succeeded in opening a club. Delvey is now being held at Rikers Island without bail. She has been charged with multiple counts of grand larceny and theft of services.” Look for it in 2019.

—Where does Apple TV content go after it airs there? We will want to find this one! Are You Sleeping stars Ron Cephas Jones (This is Us), Octavia Spencer, Mekhi Phifer, Elizabeth Perkins (yes, from Big, among other credits), Michael Beach, Tracie Thoms (UNreal), Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad), Haneefah Wood (Baskets), and many more great actors. Producers include Octavia Spencer’s and Reese Witherspoon‘s companies and a few more giants.
“[C]reated and written by Nichelle Tramble Spellman based on the true-crime novel by Kathleen Barber, [the series] provides a unique glimpse into America’s obsession with true-crime podcasts and challenges its viewers to consider the consequences when the pursuit of justice is placed on a public stage. Spencer stars as Poppy Parnell, a relentless investigative reporter who looks to uncover the truth behind a decades-old questionable murder verdict through her new podcast….Paul stars as convicted murderer, Warren Cave, whose guilt or innocence has remained a question in many people’s minds for the past 20 years….Phifer plays Markus Knox, a former detective and long-time friend of Poppy Parnell. Beach plays Ingram Rhoades, a successful attorney and Poppy’s husband….Thoms plays Desiree Scoville, Poppy’s older opinionated sister. Wood plays Cydie Scoville, Poppy’s fiercely loyal sister. Cephas Jones plays Leander “Shreve” Scoville, Poppy’s father….Perkins stars as Melanie Cave—mother of Warren Cave, the subject of Poppy’s podcast…. Lizzy Caplan (Masters of Sex) plays twin sisters Josie and Lanie. When we can find it, we’ll try it.

Freaky Friday: The Musical, is coming to TV 8/10/18 on The Disney Channel. Directed by Steve Carr, based on Mary Rodgers’ book, starring Heidi Blickenstaff (reprising her “mom” role from the stage version), and Cozi Zuehlsdorff (Dolphin Tale films) as the daughter, the musical depicts the pair “who both wish they could switch places with the other for a day” and, magically, they do. It’s “a journey of self-discovery and empathy neither one could have imagined.” Bridget Carpenter wrote the screenplay (based on her stage adaptation), and Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey wrote the music and lyrics, respectively. “Eight songs from the stage production and two new songs, including one co-written by Zuehlsdorff, are performed in a theatrical pop-rock style by the cast.” Sounds fun. We’ll try it. We like musicals and this story is cute.

The Opposition‘s last episode will air 6/28/18, but Jordan Keppler is getting another chance on Comedy Central, with a new show, a “weekly half-hour series. Tentatively titled Klepper, it will feature the comedian out in the field, traveling the country and speaking to people.” Hope it’s better than the previous attempt, which was awful, IMO.

Connie Britton has TOO MUCH WORK! Hire someone else, please? We like her, but COME ON! Jean Smart will play the mother of Connie Britton‘s character, also starring Eric Bana, in Dirty John, Bravo’s “true-crime anthology series.”
Written by Alexandra Cunningham (Chance), “Dirty John is based on the articles and breakout true-crime podcast from Los Angeles Times reporter, Christopher Goffard. It centers on John Meehan (Bana), a handsome and romantic charmer who sweeps Debra Newell (Britton) off her feet and pulls her into his web of lies. The series chronicles the true story of how a romance with Meehan spiraled into secrets, denial and manipulation.” Britton is also exec producing! Already approved for two SEASONS, it will probably air early in 2019.

—Some of you might watch this show on CBS this fall, The Neighbors, and, therefore, care, that it’s been recas…twice. This one: Beth Behrs 2 Broke Girls will now star (replacing Dreama Walker), along with Josh Lawson‘s replacement, Max Greenfield (New Girl), and Cedric the Entertainer. We wish them luck with this insipid-sounding plot.

—Absolutely watching this when it comes out elsewhere, but HBO will run it 7/16/18 and after that, first. A documentary on the life and work of one of our most precious geniuses, gone too soon, Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind. Trailer and more info here: https://movizark.com/2018/06/11/robin-williams-come-inside-my-mind-first-trailer-gives-us-a-look-inside-the-hbo-documentary-check-it-out/
BTW: one of my best friend’s mothers died of the same disease that caused Robin Williams to commit suicide, and he was not wrong. It’s a slow horrible, debilitating dementia and physical atrophying illness, Lewy Body Disease, that no one survives or recovers from. Her last years were bedridden, mostly unable to communicate with any logic or make sense of anything, not recognizing anyone or any place, barely able to eat or talk. That was what he was facing. So sad.

—Watch George Clooney get kudos, tributes and honors he deserves from the American Film Institute (AFI) Lifetime Achievement awards ceremony on TNT june 21, 2018. What a mensch! This is often repeated, if you miss the first airing. Read about it and watch excerpts here: https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/george-clooney-honored-afis-life-achievement-award-1118272

Away, an upcoming 10-episode series billed as “an epic love story and a thrilling tale of survival set against humanity’s greatest endeavor – the first human mission to Mars….centers on Emma Green, an American astronaut who must leave her husband and teenage daughter behind in order to command an international space crew embarking upon a treacherous, year-long mission. It is a series about hope, humanity and how ultimately, we need one another if we are to achieve impossible things,” is coming to Netflixsometime in 2019, probably. From playwright, Andrew Hinderaker, Jason Katims (Friday Night Lights, Parenthood) and Matt Reeves (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Felicity). No cast news or premiere date, yet. We like some sci-fi, so we may try this.

The Good Cop, another upcoming 10-episode series, was hyped with a trailer on this month’s (June, 2018) Tony Awards show. It will be premiering 9/21/18 on Netflix. Starring Tony Danza and Josh Groban. Danza plays “Tony Sr., a disgraced former NYPD officer who never followed the rules. He lives with his son, Tony Jr., (Groban, in his first starring role), an earnest, obsessively honest NYPD detective who makes a point of always following the rules. This ‘odd couple’ become unofficial partners as Tony Sr. offers his overly cautious son blunt, streetwise advice.” Monica Barbaro plays “Cara Vasquez, the street-smart and self-assured newest detective on the All-City Homicide Task Force. She believes in getting the job done, even if that means bending the rules.” Isiah Whitlock Jr., plays “veteran homicide detective Burl Loomis, who’s marking the days left until retirement. Slow on his feet but quick with a deadpan retort, he has little patience for the department’s younger, more energetic members.” Could be insipide; could be good: it has Andy Breckman (Monk, which we loved) as the showrunner and one of the exec producers.

The Bletchley Circle: San Francisco is based on the original show, The Bletchley Circle (which we LOVED), adding Episodes and relocating to San Francisco a few years after the other Episodes left off! Millie (Rachael Stirling) and Jean (Julie Graham) are “investigating a friend’s murder in the Bay Area three years after the events” of ending of the first series. It is BritBox’s first original series, with four two-hour episodes. “The original series centered on a group of female WWII code-breakers who reunite in the 1950s to track down a serial killer.” Set to air first later in the 2018 summer; no premiere date set, yet. We hope Netflix picks this one up!

—CMA (Country Music Awards) and concert fans will love this (Mom is one): there will be another (2nd year) TV special that features an “annual highlights package from the Nashville country-music concerts” airing 8/8/18, ABC. hosted by Kelsea Ballerini and Thomas Rhett. Performers include: Luke Bryan, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, Dierks Bentley, Luke Combs, Blake Shelton, Chris Stapleton, mostly from live concerts at Nissan Stadium.

800 Words, ran for 3 SEASONS. It premieres June 1 on Acorn TV but released originally in 2015-16.


Cast of 800 Words

Self-named a “sweet, refreshing family drama.” It “follows Australian widower, George Turner’s (Erik Thomson), impulsive decision to start afresh in the New Zealand coastal town of Weld, where he spent his summer vacations as a child. He quits his job as a popular 800-word columnist for a Sydney newspaper… [and]… buys a house online in a remote seaside town in New Zealand. He then has to break the news to his two teenage kids, Shay and Arlo (Melina Vidler, Benson Jack Anthony), who just lost their mom and now face an even more uncertain future….The Aussie invaders quickly become the center of attention in this small town populated by weird and wonderful locals.” Co-Created by Maxine Fleming and James Griffin ( We seem to like many of the shows produced/aired on ACORN (Australian), and this one looks good, also. We’ll have to wait for it to be picked up on Netflix or Amazon Prime, or get purchased by our library on DVD (we suggest these a lot). Maybe for 2019.

—Since we didn’t have any attachment to Fox‘s midseason 2019 comedy, Dan the Weatherman‘s, first cast, re-casting doesn’t affect us, but we do like Ashley Williams, who got the ax. I do like JoAnna Garcia Swisher (from the too-short-lived Kevin (almost) Saves the World), but am not familiar with the show’s star (still Thomas Lennon) or the new “child,” from The Mick, Jack Stanton. The series “centers on Dan (Lennon),” who, “after getting fired from his cushy job as a weatherman at the local TV station, finds it’s not enough to be a charming man in this world. He reluctantly ends up at the local cable station.” Natalie Ceballos, James Earl and Daniel Stern co-star. We probably won’t watch. Sounds insipid.

—More recasting at Fox: Kelsey Grammer is replacing Brian D’Arcy James as the lead in a new legal drama, Proven Innocent, scheduled for midseason 2019.

—Bad Robot will produce its first episodic TV documentary series on the life and work of Elizabeth Taylor. “The aim is to make the definitive look at the iconic Elizabeth Taylor as one of the originators of our contemporary concept of celebrity, as a trailblazer for women working in Hollywood, and for the way she used her elevated status to forge frontiers in her activism and charitable work. The film will also examine Taylor’s role in the lives of her family and friends, in addition to her roles onscreen.” Probably for 2019-20.

The Americans has recently ended and star, Matthew Rhys, already has another gig (short-term), with new co-star Jamie Dornan. The Fall creator, Allan Cubitt, has cast them in Death And Nightingales, “a three-part drama based on Eugene McCable’s modern Irish classic.” Ann Skelly (Kissing Candice, Red Rock) is also starring in this “story of love, betrayal, deception and revenge…set in the haunting countryside of Fermanagh in 1885. It’s a world of spies, confessions and double dealings where neighbors observe each other and inform. The tale takes place over a desperately tense 24-hour period. It’s Beth Winters’ (Skelly) 25th birthday and also the day she has decided to join the charming Liam Ward (Dornan) to escape from her limited life and complex relationship with her Protestant landowner stepfather, Billy (Rhys). As decades of pain and betrayal finally build to a devastating climax, Death And Nightingales sees a woman struggling to control her own destiny and will ultimately illuminate tensions that tear both families and nations apart.” Probably for 2019, and probably not in the USA until later that year or 2020, since it’s starting on BBC Two, a channel we don’t get here.

—We’ll check out most of these 6 options when they come to our stations or Netflix or Amazon Prime, for sure! The air dates listed, below, are for Canadian station CBC (which we can’t get), unless otherwise named.
FMI about these and other CBC productions, visit: https://renewcanceltv.com/cbc-renewals-2018-19-schedule-anne-heartland-frankie-drake-more/
New Canadian scripted series include:
—— comedy, Cavendish, from the creators of Picnicface, comedy troupe founders, Mark Little and Andrew Bush, along with Garry Campbell (Kim’s Convenience). “Bush and Little star as two bickering brothers who return to their PEI hometown to take care of their grumpy and ailing father, only to collide with the eccentric townsfolk and their even stranger superstitions.” Will air Winter, 2019;
—— female-driven procedural, Coroner, “created for television by Morwyn Brebner (Saving Hope [which I loved]), based on the best-selling book series by M.R. Hall. The series follows Jenny Cooper, a former ER doctor and newly appointed coroner investigating suspicious deaths. Suffering from anxiety and recently widowed with a teenage son, Jenny is a woman of action driven by an intense desire for the truth.” Will air Winter, 2019;
—— legal aid series, Diggstown, featuring the first female, black, lead character in an original Canadian drama, “created by Floyd Kane (Across the Line) and set in the gritty arena of legal aid, focusing on Marcie Diggs, a star corporate lawyer who reconsiders her priorities after her beloved aunt commits suicide following a malicious prosecution. Landing at a legal aid office in Dartmouth, Marcie is driven by one thing—to never again allow innocent lives to be destroyed by the justice system.” Will be on Netflix and CBC, 2019;
—— family adventure, Northern Rescue, is “a heartwarming family drama starring William Baldwin (Dirty Sexy Money, Too Old To Die Young) [as John West] and Kathleen Robertson (Murder in the First, Bates Motel) [as his sister-in-law, Charlotte]. After the death of his wife, Sarah, John (Baldwin), a Search & Rescue [SAR] officer, packs up his three children [Amalia Williamson, Spencer MacPherson (DeGrassi: Next Class) and Taylor Thorne (Odd Squad)] and moves from their hectic urban life to a small northern town, where they all struggle with their new surroundings, new friends, and accepting Sarah’s death.” Also featuring: Michelle Nolden (Saving Hope) as Sarah West, John’s wife (in flashbacks); Michael Xavier (Bitten) as Paul Simmons, a volunteer member of the SAR team; and Peter MacNeill (Call Me Fitz) as Harry, John’s retired SAR commander. Will air winter, 2019;
—— the return of Street Legal, means “the iconic character-driven legal drama returns with both familiar faces and new characters, and a focus on how the law is practised in Canada today, including contemporary themes and issues. Bringing Street Legal into the 21st century, we pick up 25 years later with Olivia Novak (Cynthia Dale), now a named partner at a major Bay Street law firm.” Will air Winter, 2019;
—— limited series, Unspeakable, is “a searing depiction of the tainted blood scandal that began in the early 1980s…told through the stories of two families severely affected by the worst public health disaster in Canadian history, with a strong cast, including Sarah Wayne Callies (The Walking Dead), Shawn Doyle (Bellevue), Michael Shanks (Saving Hope) and Camille Sullivan (The Disappearance).” Will air Winter, 2019.

—More live TV: “This fall [2018], CBC will…broadcast the Canadian premiere of the new adaptation of William Makepeace Thackeray’s literary classic, Vanity Fair…starring Olivia Cooke (Ready Player One) as Becky Sharp, an ambitious social climber desperately trying to escape poverty and scale the heights of English society.”

—The New York Times may be getting “woke,” or, just attempting “to redress some of its shady, sexist history.” The NYT is co-producing Overlooked, “a scripted anthology series about influential women who did not receive an obit in the Times [which] will consist of 10 episodes per season, each focusing on the story of notable woman. Women will write and direct every episode of Overlooked.” No premiere date, yet, or even a broadcast medium/station announced. Probably for 2018-19. #itsabouttime

—Mazel Tov to Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep, The New Adventures of Old Christine, Seinfeld) on being named the next recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, which happens annually. For 2018, the show is scheduled for October 21 at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall in Washington, D.C. “Given in recognition of ‘individuals who have had an impact on American society in ways similar to the distinguished 19th-century novelist and essayist, Samuel Clemens, best known as Mark Twain,’ the prize’s previous recipients include Tina Fey, Carol Burnett, Whoopi Goldberg and many men.” Look for it on PBS (usually rebroadcast multiple times), and also, online at http://www.pbs.org.

—Loving these live-musicals-on-TV? Here’s an upcoming one, and it’s a zinger: “‘Hair Live!’ Will Be NBC’s 2019 Spring Musical; Craig Zadan & Neil Meron Producing.” Quite timely, for a revival, though, as its current/recent Broadway run can attest to. Conceived by actors, James Rado and Gerome Ragni in the late 1960s, anti-Vietnam war era, Hair! is “the story of a group of politically active hippies living a bohemian life in New York while fighting against and resisting the Vietnam War. Claude, his good friends Berger and Sheila, and their ‘tribe’ are coming of age in the world of the sexual revolution while struggling with their rebellion against the war and their conservative parents and society. Claude must decide whether to resist the draft as his friends have done, or succumb to the pressures of conservative America to serve in Vietnam, compromising his principles and beliefs.” Great songs, now iconic due the covers done of some of them, including: Fifth Dimension’s medley of “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In,” the Cowsills’ “Hair,” Three Dog Night’s “Easy to Be Hard,” and Oliver’s “Good Morning Starshine.” Want to have some fun? Find the 1979 film and watch Treat Williams dance on posh tables and sing! Former Broadway cast members included Holly Near, Diane Keaton, Melba Moore, Ben Vereen, Keith Carradine, Barry McGuire, Ted Lange, Meat Loaf, La La Brooks, Jennifer Warnes and dozens of others; The London cast included the late, great Tim Curry (Rocky Horror Picture Show) in his first musical role!

—New Lifetime 10-episode series, American Princess, will star one of my lifetime faves, Lesley Anne Warren (the first and best Cinderella, right?), as Joanntha, a “snobby Upper East Side [NYC] mother from hell,” and Max Ehrich (Under the Dome), with Georgia Flood, created by Jamie Denbo and Jenji Kohan and Tara Herrmann (Orange is the New Black, GLOW). The show “follows Amanda (Flood), an Upper East Side socialite, who runs away from her own dream wedding when she realizes that the life she thought she wanted wasn’t actually right after all. When she stumbles upon a Renaissance Faire, she experiences an unexpected awakening, leading her to leave everything she thought she cared about behind. While at the Faire, Amanda quickly develops new friendships, rivalries and romance that opens her eyes to new beginnings….Joanntha has a narcissistic personality disorder, a massive pill problem and never fails to drunkenly bulldoze every social event she attends.” Ehrich is “Brett, Amanda’s Manhattan lawyer groom and a bit of an Upper East Side prince.” Also featuring: Lucas Neff, Seana Kofoed, Rory O’Malley, Mary Hollis Inboden. Might be good; probably not: it’s on Lifetime, the misogynistic “channel for women.”

—Any Vivien Leigh (Gone with the Wind, A Streetcar Named Desire) or Natalie Dormer (GoT, Hunger Games) fans out here? Then, you’ll love this new project, in which Dormer plays Leigh and each Episode focuses on one of Leigh‘s most-famous film projects, as a Genius-type fictionalized docuseries (number of Episodes TBD), for FremantleMedia and UK production company Mainstreet Pictures. “In that context of 1940s Hollywood and its shell of glamour and global scope, plus Tony Award winner Leigh’s 20-year marriage to Laurence Olivier, issues of mental health, career, female empowerment or the lack thereof, and love will be explored in the series.”

—Most of these are reviews of premium channels’ or subscription/streaming services’ shows, but, hey: maybe you pay to play more than we do and have summer time to spend watching, from Rolling Stone: “Summer TV Preview 2018: Spies, Sinners, ‘Sharp Objects’ and Sex Magick” at https://www.rollingstone.com/tv/lists/summer-tv-preview-2018-sharp-objects-sex-magick-w520330/tom-clancys-jack-ryan-august-31-w520588.

—Some heavy-hitters cast in this upcoming HBO series, Watchmen: Regina King, Don Johnson, Tim Blake Nelson, Louis Gossett Jr., Adelaide Clemens and Andrew Howard. Too bad they chose a sexist title, but the series is “based on Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ iconic limited comic series, Watchmen.” Described as “a dark satirical and dystopian take on the superhero genre…set in an alternate history where ‘superheroes’ are treated as outlaws, Watchmen embraces the nostalgia of the original groundbreaking graphic novel while attempting to break new ground of its own.” We will try to watch when it gets picked by Amazon or Netflix, as so many HBO series do, or perhaps on DVD at our library next year.

—I could never get into reading any of her novels, but Isabel Allende is an award-winning author who is turning to exec produce this series based on The House of the Spirits, one of her best-known books and her debut novel. The book and series tout as the main story: “the triumphs and tragedies of three generations of the Trueba family.” Unfortunately, it is happening first on Hulu, so another one we’ll have to hope comes out on DVD at our library, some day.

Richard Gere is coming to TV for his 1st major role, on BBC for 2 miniseries. First up is MotherFatherSon (8 Episodes), created and written by Tom Rob Smith (The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story). “[T]he drama follows Max (Gere), a charismatic, self-made American businessman with media outlets in London and around the world.” Co-starring will be: Helen McCrory (Peaky Blinders) as “Kathryn, a British heiress who has been estranged from Max following the breakdown of their marriage some years before”; Billy Howle (Dunkirk) as their 30-year-old son, Caden, “who runs Max’s U.K. newspaper and is primed to follow in his father’s footsteps as one of the most powerful men in the world.” The main premise revolves around “Caden’s self-destructive lifestyle.” When that “spirals out of control, the devastating consequences threaten the future of the family, its empire, and a country on the brink of change.” Sarah Lancashire (Happy Valley), Sinéad Cusack (Call the Midwife) and Paul Ready (The Terror) are also starring. James Kent will direct; producers are Sharon Bloom and Lisa Osborne, with executive producers, Tom Rob Smith, Alan Poul, Hilary Salmon and Elizabeth Kilgarriff. Could be good, but may not be our cup of tea. Wayward 30-somethings are tedious, for us, and even Richard Gere may not rescue this tired trope (very Rupert Murdoch-ish, eh?).

—Oh, no: Gillian Anderson (The X-Files, The Fall) stars in Netflix’s sex-therapy original series, Sex Education, as a sex therapist whose son, Otis (Asa Butterfield, Ender’s Game), “a socially awkward high school virgin who lives his sex therapist mother…teams up with ‘whip-smart bad-girl,’ Maeve, to set up a clinic to deal with their fellow students’ weird and wonderful problems.” Oy. Still in production; no availability date, yet.

—We don’t subscribe to Hulu or watch shows on Viceland, but for those of you who do: “Hulu and A+E Networks announced an affiliate agreement in March 2017 that brought Viceland, as well as all six original brands from A+E Networks, to Hulu’s live TV streaming service. Hulu’s new [May 2018)]deal with Viceland will make programming from the channel available to stream through Hulu’s SVOD service for the first time.”

—We never watched this show, but good riddance to bad rubbish (again!): “MTV has temporarily halted production on its popular series, Catfish, following sexual misconduct allegations against its host, Nev Schulman.” #Metoo #TimesUp!

Rent FOX (airs 1/27/19, 7:00-10:00 PM ET, live/PT, tape-delayed)
The live musical production of the Tony Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical, Rent, is ON early next year (January, 2019). Billed as: “a re-imagining of Puccini’s La Bohème, and set in New York City’s gritty East Village, Rent tells the unforgettable story of seven artists struggling to follow their dreams during a time of great social and political turmoil. Winner of four Tony Awards and the Pulitzer Prize, writer/composer Jonathan Larson’s tour de force continues to offer an inspiring message of hope and friendship.” Producer is Marc Platt (Grease: Live, La La Land, Wicked), and the estate of the late writer/composer Jonathan Larson, will executive-produce. No cast announced, yet (6/15/18).

—The Supremes are in session! “’The relationship between Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg is complex and rich; a rarity among women at this level of power,’ explained [Denise] Di Novi. ‘From opposite backgrounds and ideologies, they worked together and made an indelible mark on women’s history. We intend to explore how they rose from their early days as lawyers to their arrival at the Supreme Court, forging what would become one of the most powerful professional relationships in American history.’” Alyssa Milano’s Peace by Peace Productions and Denise Di Novi and Nina Tassler’s PatMa Productions, “a company that truly values and nurtures female empowerment,” are co-developing the series. Milano, Di Novi, and Tassler are exec producers as well.

—More about strong national female leaders: PatMa Productions is developing a limited series about Israel’s first female prime minister, Golda Meir, based on Francine Klagsbrun’s book, Lioness: Golda Meir and the Nation of Israel.

Harrow, an Australian drama series, premiered in Australia in March, 2018, starring one of our favorite actors, Ioan Gruffudd (his character on Forever was also a forensic pathologist!), as Dr. Daniel Harrow, who is “a forensic pathologist with a total disregard for authority. He has an unfailing empathy for the dead which helps him solve even the most bizarre of cases. Willing to bend every rule, he is determined to give victims a voice and reveal the truth behind what happened to them. Meanwhile, a terrible secret from his past threatens him, his family, and his career.” SEASON 1 has ten episodes. Maybe after the tenth Episode airs (5/11/18), we can look for it on a streaming service or channel available in the USA later in 2018? It’s from a new production branch of ABC, from ABC Studios International.

—Similarly, another favorite of ours, Poppy Montgomery (Without a Trace, Unforgettable), will star in and exec produce a second drama series from ABC Studios International; this one is for French broadcaster, M6. Currently untitled, it will be an English-language series that is touted as “a ‘sexy’ and ‘action-packed’ crime drama that sees Montgomery play Cat Chambers, a thief turned fixer for the Governor of a stunning and seductive Pacific Island archipelago. Impulsive, reckless, and irresistible, Cat’s less-than-perfect past gives her a gift for understanding crimes and criminals as she becomes enmeshed in fast-paced, high octane adventures and island intrigue. Cat must also deal with old friends, enemies, and lovers including an FBI agent ex-husband, the gang boss she put in jail, and a police detective lover who is in over his head in the ‘blue-sky’ drama.” I don’t know where/when we can view this, after it’s produced for France, either. Stay tuned!

National Geographic‘s excellent series, Genius, will focus on the life and works of author, Mary Shelley, for SEASON 3, “…best known for her Gothic novel Frankenstein; or the Modern Prometheus….A brilliant thinker, radical intellectual and proto-feminist, Mary Shelley (1797-1851) brought to life one of the most enduring stories of the modern age while still a teenager, Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus,…a cautionary tale of unchecked scientific ambition and a sophisticated meditation on social institutions, personal freedom and compassion that has captured imaginations and continues to be relevant since it was first published 200 years ago. Shelley masterfully invented the Science-Fiction/Horror genre with her tale of a creature brought to life, subsequently going on to create the Post-Apocalyptic genre with her later novel, The Last Man.”
FMI (but no casting news, yet): http://deadline.com/2018/04/genius-3-subject-revealed-nat-geo-anthology-series-renewed-1202367541/

—TV adaptations of Hidden Figures (National Geographic) and First Wives Club films’ themes and characters (Paramount Network) are being developed. Excited about the first; meh about the second. Series’ pilots probably ready for 2019-20.

Allison Pearson,’s new novel, How Hard Can It Be? (the sequel to I Don’t Know How She Does It), is becoming a TV-type series from Bruna Papandrea’s Made Up Stories production company (Big Little Lies). This sequel “picks up the story of Kate Reddy as she approaches her 50th birthday. Kate is now a Sandwich Woman dealing with all the challenges of midlife: teenagers sharing pictures of their intimate parts on social media, aging parents taking a second pass at childhood, a marriage gone flat, not to mention menopause and memory loss.” The book doesn’t even get released until early June, 2018, so pilot is probably not ready until late in 2018, and is probably for a 2019 summer or fall series opener, if it gets picked up (and by what network or streaming service?).

—Just what no one needs: another police show set in LA. Guess NBC agreed and PASSED on this, as of 6/15/18, as part of a package/political horse-trading that is still going on. May be resurrected, so I’ll explain it, here, anyway. This one is a spin-off of Bad Boys that was almost called Bad Girls, but, instead, is L.A.’s Finest, written by Brandon Margolis and Brandon Sonnier and directed by Anton Cropper. In this unnecessary derivative, “the free-spirited former DEA agent, Burnett—played by Gabrielle Union, (Being Mary Jane)in 2003’s Bad Boys II—has a fresh start in her new job as an LAPD detective. She’s partnered with Nancy McKenna (Jessica Alba), a working mom who can’t help but look at Syd’s freedom with some ‘grass-is-greener’ envy. These two have totally different lifestyles and approaches, but they both are at the top of their fields in this action-packed, character-driven procedural.”

A League of Their Own TV-type series is being developed by Abbi Jacobson (Broad City) and Will Graham (Mozart in the Jungle) for Amazon with Sony Pictures Television. Probably for 2019. If it’s not too stereotyped, could be good. We were mad when they canceled Pitch.

—A female-led African warrior TV-type series about the Dahomey Warriors is in development by Sony and EbonyLife, probably for 2019. There may be three series, total. haven’t see or wanted to see Black Panther (or the latest 3 Star Wars films: too many fights and not enough plot), but for fans of BP, I bet this will be a hit.

Katie Holmes WAS but now (6/8/18) is NOT going to star in No Apologies, as an FBI agent who has an affair with a military general (James Tupper) in a new Fox drama (untitled) for 2018-19. And, so, what? Is there an actual storyline?

—Coming to TV: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah, a “heartbreaking novel about love, race, a
—— nd identity,” with Danai Gurira as the writer and Lupita Nyong’o as its star (they co-starred in Black Panther and collaborated twice before that). Like the novel, the miniseries will follow its protagonist, “Ifemelu, as she grows up in Nigeria, travels to the United States to attend college, builds her writing career, and returns home as an adult. Throughout her journey, she grapples with questions of race and culture, and maintains an intense connection to her first love, Obinze.” No director or release date, yet. Could be good, if it’s not too slow-paced.

—“Jennifer Lawrence and former E! News host, Catt Sadler, and documentary filmmaker, Stephanie Soechtig, are working on a #MeToo-themed docuseries,” which plans to “take a deep dive into issues facing women today,” including the gender pay gap as well as sexual harassment/assaults. Probably very depressingly realistic.
PBS has already been airing a quickly developed docuseries entitled #MeToo: Now What? (see review, below), but interest in these topics must be high.
They’re shopping for a distributor and there is no release date, yet.

—Another producer/creator is moving some shows to Netflix: Ryan Murphy (9-1-1, Feud: Bette & Joan, Glee) has two new series going over to the streaming site: Ratched, starring Sarah Paulson as a young Nurse Ratched (from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest); and The Politician, a satirical musical comedy starring Ben Platt (Pitch Perfect, Dear Evan Hansen), and possibly guest-starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Barbra Streisand. WOW! With those singers, we’re bound to watch the second; not sure about the first. Probably 2018-19 releases.

Michelle Wolf (YES, THAT Correspondents’ Dinner comedienne!), a Daily Show with Trevor Noah contributor and writer, is getting her own half-hour weekly talk show on Netflix that “differs from most late-night fare in that it will neither ‘preach’ nor include ‘a political agenda—unless it’s funny.’” Premieres later in 2018. We won’t be watching, but some will, I’m sure.

—An adaptation of a newer novel by Twilight author, Stephenie Meyer, The Chemist, is in the works. I read this and it’s not half-bad, if you like thrillers with unbelievable plot twists that feature women protagonists who are very bad-ass and gruesome.
I read the book. WARNING: it is VERY violent. It “is about a woman working for ‘a U.S. government agency so clandestine it didn’t even have a name.’ When they decided she was a liability, they came for her without warning. When her former handler offers her a way out, she realizes it’s her only chance to erase the giant target on her back but it means taking one last job for her ex-employers.” May appear on Fox for 2018-19. Not for those with weak stomachs.

—Networks that have rebranded/changed their names and/or programming, some quite recently:
ABC Family became Freeform;
TNN (The Nashville Network) became TNN, but it meant “The National Network,” then it became Spike TV. Now, it is Paramount Network;
AMC, A&E, MTV and many others have radically changed from their original programming and formats;
Court TV became TruTV.

—Even more rebooting news: Mad About You is jumping ahead about 19 years and having Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt face their “empty nest” after their daughter’s departure for college. I was never a fan, but some loved this show. On NBC, confirmed for the 2018-19 season (as of 6/15/18).

Joss Whedon is in talks about rebooting Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, which would be AWESOME!

—BIG news about Big little Lies! As if it didn’t win enough awards for SEASON 1, Meryl Streep is joining the SEASON 2 cast (probably airing in 2019)! “Streep will play Mary Louise Wright, the mother of Perry Wright, the abusive creep played by Alexander Skarsgard in the first season.” And, Perry may not exactly be dead, according to other reports I’ve read! Stay tuned (if you get HBO): we eagerly await the DVD and will get in line to borrow it from our library in 2019’s fall or winter! FMI and some spoilers: https://soundbooks.org/2018/01/24/whoa-big-little-lies-season-2-will-star-meryl-streep/

—Also, if you can never get enough of Meryl Streep, she is “is still attached to star in the J.J. Abrams-produced show, The Nix, which is rumored to be set up over at Amazon.” More about the show: “Nathan Hill‘s multi-generational story…follows a woman who gets national media attention for throwing rocks at a conservative governor on the presidential campaign trail and her estranged son who uses her sudden controversial fame to advance his career by smearing her profile.”
FMI: http://www.slashfilm.com/the-nix-tv-series/ Probably 2018-19 season. Gotta have us some Meryl on TV!

FREEFORM has Cleopatra in development, its “first-ever period drama.” Heralded as “an epic, female-centric adventure series following the life of the most-beloved ruler in Egyptian history, Cleopatra, who after being exiled as a young woman decides to stand up against the patriarchy and fight back for her freedom and rightful place as heir.” The series plans to depict Cleo’s “rise and transition to becoming not only the first, last and only female Pharaoh, but also the world’s most powerful person all while engaging in a classic love triangle that changed the map of the world forever. Executive produced by Michael Sietzman (Quantico, Code Black), Christina Davis, Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Daniel McDermott and Mike Weiss. Probably NOT 2018-19 season. Probably awful and expensive to produce, too.

—On a roll with two OTHER new series (one starts in June, 2018, so see UPCOMING shows for that one), both sci-fi, FREEFORM is becoming a force to be reckoned with for those who like their fare. The latest in development is Augs: “created and directed by Scott Stewart (Blumhouse’s Dark Skies)… set in the all-to-near future when society is divided into two classes: Augs, the privileged who can afford the latest technological-biological enhancements that provide an always-connected augmented reality view of the world; and Norms, the disenfranchised rest who’ve become a nearly invisible underclass.” The series is another dystopian futuristic Romeo and Juliet or any of a hundred others that pit rich against poor via a romance. Probably NOT 2018-19 season.

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.” Probably 2018-19 season. We’ll try it.

—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 NOT airing in the 2018-19 season. If it’s not too trite, could be good.

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. Could be gripping (the novel was).

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. We love Collette, but this storyline will probably not be Mom’s fave. I’ll try it.

— 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 2019-20 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 NOT airing in the 2018-19 season.
We read/are reading a series of 30+ novels by Fern Michaels involving a group of women who form the secret Sisterhood that this series seems to have ripped off.
FMI: https://blog.womenandhollywood.com/gina-rodriguez-set-to-ep-women-centric-series-from-crazy-ex-girlfriend-writers-32a4a3f0a5ad

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. I grew up reading and loving these books, so this better be good [Nancy Drew is a fictional American character in a mystery fiction series created by publisher Edward Stratemeyer as the female counterpart to his Hardy Boys series. The character first appeared in 1930. The books are ghostwritten by a number of authors and published under the collective pseudonym Carolyn Keene.” from Wikipedia]

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.”
from: http://www.indiewire.com/2017/10/veronica-mars-new-miniseries-kristen-bell-ryan-hansen-1201890834/

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.” Set in New York City. Probably not our cup of tea, but Bridesmaids and Rough Night fans will likely love it. For the 2018-19 season.

Amy Poehler is mighty busy these days! She is also “exec producing an as-yet (6/15/18) 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 NOT airing in the 2018-19 season.
FMI: https://blog.womenandhollywood.com/amy-poehler-and-new-girl-producer-kim-rosenstock-join-forces-for-nbc-family-comedy-137e4ce087ea

–ONE MORE from Amy Poehler, Three Busy Debras, which will appear soon on Adult Swim channel: “The “absurdist” half-hour project centers on three disturbed housewives (Sandy Honig, Mitra Jouhari, and Alyssa Stonoha) who live in a yuppie Connecticut suburb — one that exists outside of our reality.”
Stars Honig, Jouhari, and Stonoha wrote and created the pilot. Anna Dokoza is directing and Poehler will produce via her company, Paper Kite Productions.

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 NOT 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 NOT 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 NOT 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 NOT 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 NOT 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 NOT airing in the 2018-19 season.

—Another reason to spring for Netflix: Shonda Rhimes plans to put any new shows on that medium. Stay tuned!

—“Ava DuVernay, Charles D. King’s Macro & Victoria Mahoney to adapt Octavia E. Butler’s sci-fi novel Dawn for TV”
https://scifitalk.com/2017/08/10/ava-duvernay-charles-d-kings-macro-victoria-mahoney-to-adapt-octavia-e-butlers-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 NOT 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!

—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 later in 2018! The ITV/PBS series is set to begin production of a sequel film to its 6-year series’ run in 2018!

—Also inexplicably (to me), ABC is airing The Little Mermaid as a “sing-along,” mixing “real-life singing with animated songs” in October, 2018. 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 vanCamp 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.

Jacqueline Bisset to star in Journey to Miyakojima, which began shooting October, 2017, in Japan, but no word (UPDATED 6/15/18) as to premiere date. “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 NOT 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 NOT airing in the 2018-19 season.


This is the 38th post, for 4 weeks, ending 6/15/18.

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.


BACKGROUND

My mom (86) 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 86, 2018

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 sometimes air the rest of discontinued shows at odd times, like Doubt, which they did (in the summer 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.”
—“There is no one to like on this show!”

Keep up with the changes! http://thefutoncritic.com/guide/
or here, for the schedule (UPDATED 6/15/18, for future months): https://renewcanceltv.com/tv-show-premiere-dates-2018-guide/

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, EPIX, Cinemax, Sundance NOW); 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 6/15/18.

I/we continue with this Friday TV Report: New and Returning PBS/BBC, Netflix, Amazon Prime, regular cable network (non-premium) TV Shows and some specials (shows that were more recently viewed are higher up on the review sections) and some on DVD from our local library (that were on premium or non-USA channels, originally).

Shows we recently have watched and reviewed (UPDATED 6/15/18)

*Nashville CMT (returned for FINAL SEASON 6 on 6/7/18)
ALL Episodes for the last several years (and SEASON 6 is no exception) have been disappointing since there was almost no music and too much “soap opera,” again. Almost nothing from Deacon Clayborn (played by Charles Estes), musically, or anyone else. Also starring Hayden Panettiere, but her storylines are so irritating and uninteresting, lately, I can barely watch. Mom quit a long time ago.
Plan on a lot of fast-forwarding to get through these final Episodes.
NOT ENOUGH MUSIC in ANY Episode, STILL.
Ronny Cox joins as Deacon’s dad and Mia Maestro joins as a doubtful follower of Darius in the final Episodes (June 7 – July 26, 2018).
Was good, at first; then, not enough music; SEASON 6 = FINAL

*The Bold Type Freeform (resumed for SEASON 2 on 6/12/18; RENEWED for SEASON 3)
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 last summer, 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, and Episodes 1 & 2 of SEASON 2 were great. The writers are capably 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; RENEWED for SEASON 3

Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger FREEFORM (2-hour premiere aired 6/7/18)
This latest from the Marvel universe has characters and story elements that are suspiciously like those of Fox‘s Gifted: Tandy Bowen (Olivia Holt) and Tyrone Johnson (Aubrey Joseph) are “two teenagers from very different backgrounds who find themselves burdened and awakened to newly acquired superpowers which are mysteriously linked to one another….They quickly learn they are better together than apart, but their feelings for each other make their already complicated world even more challenging.”
Except, they don’t “quickly” do anything in Episodes 1 or 2. We will continue, but this plot moves brutally slowly and is very confusing, to boot. Not our favorite combination.
Also, who else thinks Olivia Holt must be related to Julia Stiles, somehow?
Also starring Andrea Roth, Gloria Reuben, Miles Mussenden, Carl Lundstedt, Emma Lahana, Jaime Zevallos, and J.D. Evermore.
We like it all right, but we have found Marvel‘s TV series to be very uneven; some are unwatchable.
Not sure, after the first 2 Episodes, but continuing

American Woman Paramount Network (premiered 6/7/12)
Even though it’s in a half-hour format (usually not my mom’s cup of tea, but she does like The Good Place), we were excited to see what these writers are up to with this premise: “follows Bonnie (Alicia Silverstone), an unconventional mother struggling to raise her two daughters after leaving her husband amid the rise of second-wave feminism in the 1970s. With the help of her two best friends, Kathleen (Mena Suvari) and Diana (Jennifer Bartels), these three women each discover their own brand of independence in a glamorous and ever-changing world reluctant to give it.”
I think Alicia Silverstone has been very underrated as an actor, and I am glad to see her get her own TV series. Co-stars James Tupper, whom we usually like, Mena Suvari and Cheyenne Jackson.
We were not disappointed. The storyline, characters, music, costumes, attitudes and atmosphere are true to the era. that is a bit tough for my mom, because the “bad guy” in this is reminiscent of my dad and my mother went through something similar to what Silverstone and Tupper‘s characters are going through at about the same time, throwing my dad out and getting divorced for similar reasons, with two young daughters still at home, about the same ages as these two girls are. Kind of eerie, all that. But, we’ll keep watching.
Definitely KEEPING this one

*Little Women (PBS) (premiered 5/13/18; 3-part mini-series)
Great acting, and, of course, excellent stories and writing. Glad they did it, but it seems unnecessary. The one glaring “off” note was some of the music, which was very modern.
From writer, Heidi Thomas (Call the Midwife), and director, Vanessa Caswill (Thirteen), this adaptation of Louis May Alcott‘s classic looks interesting.
Starring: Angela Lansbury, Michael Gambon, Emily Watson, Maya Hawke, Willa Fitzgerald, Annes Elwy, Kathryn Newton and Jonah Hauer-King.
It was all right; good for newbies

*Pose FX (premiered 6/3/18)
There is a lot to like about this show, due to its talented actors, costumes, research and 1980s feel of it all. But, it’s very depressing/disturbing on so many levels, and deciding to include a young and obnoxious Donald Trump-type as a seemingly unimportant character (after Episode 1, only) seems gratuitous and gross.
The dancers are excellent and I appreciate the verisimilitude that propelled the designs of the mid-1980s sets, costumes, music and interactions and which also drove the writing and stories.
As a cis-gender (mostly) senior female, even though bisexual, I’m a Jewish, Buddhist, white woman, I’m not the target demographic for this show, but I’m glad it exists. I hope it makes its mark with those who need to know about this era. Very well done, but probably not a keeper, for me.
Ongoingly, and not solely due to performances from these cast members, directions from the director and stories from these writers, I sincerely am offended by the caricatures some “drag queens” make of the women they claim to depict—however famous—and dislike intensely the campy, exaggerated ways that many of them walk, talk, dress, accessorize and handle themselves in relationships. I don’t know any women-born-women like that, except stereotypical Hollywood types, so why do so many transsexuals and transvestites choose these tropes to imitate? Why is this “glamorous”?
I also do not “get” the passion for the Ball culture. It eludes me completely.
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.”
Very well done, but probably not a keeper

A Place to Call Home ACORN (then DVD and Amazon; already has 5 SEASONS on DVD; SEASON 6 starts airing on ACORN in fall, 2018; look for DVD early in 2019)
Medical, social class and religious persecution drama set in rural Australia, post-World War II, with strong female characters, especially in the lead roles. Sarah (Marta Dusseldorp) is “a nurse returning to 1950s Australia after 20 years in Europe. A convert to Judaism, Sarah emerged from the horrors of World War II strong, principled, and defiant—a thoroughly modern woman still bearing the weight of the past. On the ship home, Sarah meets the wealthy Bligh family. She quickly charms dashing widower, George (Brett Climo, Snowy River: The McGregor Saga) and his spirited daughter, Anna (Abby Earl, The Great Mint Swindle). Less pleased is his mother (award-winning actress Noni Hazlehurst, Little Fish), particularly after Sarah witnesses a desperate act by George’s son, James (David Berry, Home and Away). As Sarah settles into life in her new town, Mrs. Bligh does everything she can to maintain her iron grip on her family-and keep Sarah out of it. A thoroughly addictive drama brimming with secrets, passion, romance, and intrigue, A Place to Call Home explores the ties that hold families together and the betrayals that can tear them apart.”
Also starring Jack Irish.
We LOVE this and SEASON 5 was excellent!

*Dietland AMC (premiered 6/4/18)
We watched the first Episode together and I watched Episodes 2 & 3 on my own; Mom is out. I almost was, but I stayed with it and am glad I did. I
t’s VERY depressing/dark, but realistic, also. Kind of campy, too. I don’t know if I like it enough to keep going all the way, but I’ll watch one more Episode (3) and then decide.
Starring Joy Nash (Twin Peaks, The Mindy Project, Casual) as “a lonely woman who ghostwrites a column for a fashion magazine” and struggles with obesity decides to have weight-loss (bariatric) surgery after being inspired by her thin editor, played by Julianna Margulies (The Good Wife, ER). Based on Saral Walker‘s same-name novel, this series claims it is a “dark satire dramedy,” as Nash‘s character’s life takes unexpected, feminist turns partly due to her colleague, played by Tamara Tunie (Law & Order SVU).
It’s oddly written, with hallucinations, magical realism and other strangeness we haven’t figured out, yet. Marti Noxon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, UNreal, Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce) is the exec producer, and her shows are sometimes great, but not always to our taste.
I’m still deciding

Reverie NBC (premiered 5/30/18)
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.”
We didn’t like Episode 1, much; it was very creepy, at first, and we left it and returned days later. The rest of it was better and it had a “happy ending.” BUT, there are many aspects to this we don’t like, much, and if it’s an week-by-week journey into other people’s fantasies and her talking them “out” of staying in them, we’re probably not going to continue with it and we predict its cancellation.
Episode 2 was better (less creepy and more interesting), so we’ll continue.
Episodes 1 & 2 were iffy, interest-wise; we’ll see one more

*Famous in Love FreeForm (RENEWED for SEASON 2 and returned with 2-hour premiere 4/4/18)
SEASON 2 is worse than 1, by a lot. Too bad. Hard to continue with this one.
Mom wouldn’t watch this, so I watched it alone, going through all of SEASOn 1’s 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.
Sofia Carson joins the cast for SEASON 2.

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.
Good show, SEASON 1; SEASON 2, not so much

*Genius National Geographic (SEASON 2 returned 4/24/18, about PABLO PICASSO)
SEASON 2 stars Antonio Banderas as Picasso. Mary Shelley, the author of many novels and the person credited with creating science-fiction as a genre with her incredible Frankenstein, is the subject of SEASON 3.
Watched part of SEASON 2 (Episode 1) and wasn’t thrilled. Haven’t gone back (as of May 2).
SEASON 1 of this bio-pic series was 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.
Pablo Picasso is the subject 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; SEASONS 2 & 3, RENEWED

Elementary CBS (returned 4/30/18; midseason premiere for SEASON 8)
Strong start for SEASON 7, and as a Post-Concussion Syndrome (PCS) survivor, myself, I can relate quite well to the storyline about Sherlock’s difficulties.

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 him: he was a true talent. There was a one-line tribute to Nelsan at the end of Episode 1 of SEASON 6; glad to see it.

We both like this show a lot even though it’s sometimes 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 7th SEASON RENEWED; midseason premiere for SEASON 8

*Younger TV LAND (returned 6/5/18, SEASON 5; RENEWED for SEASON 6)
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 was 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.
OFF THE RAILS at the end of Episode 1 for SEASON 5, though: I have no idea how they’re going to walk this back or forward. NO SPOILERS, here. Still puzzled by where this can go after watching Episode 2. Hmmmmm.
Most people won’t like this, but I somehow do; RENEWED through SEASON 6

Colony (returned 5/2/18 for SEASON 3)
SEASON 3 started out well, right where SEASON 2 left off, almost (6 months later). We’ve watched about 4 of the new SEASON’s Episodes and are liking it, somewhat, but still distressed by how awful the situations are for the characters and how much killing there is. Oh, well.
If you’re starting from the beginning, I recommend patience, because you’ll start out very confused with the way this series’ pilot throws viewers into the middle of an alternate Earth near-future without sufficient explanations. For its midseason 1 Episodes, they “go 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 for SEASONS 1 & 2, but she’s not in SEASON 3, so far.

Colony

If you get to see the backstory “Colony: Behind the Wall” show, which we watched after we saw the pilot, excellent: it explains a LOT. You will then get to see how and why they established some of the special effects and sets for this series.
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

Beat Shazam Fox (returned 5/29/18, SEASON 2)
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, for SEASON 2’s opener, is inexplicably wearing a flannel shirt tied around his waist UNDERNEATH the unnecessary jacket!?! He has been directed to be 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 some Episodes, 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.
Nice that he gave his daughter, Corinne, October‘s job for SEASON 2, but sorry, October!
There is so much hype, repetition and junk that we fast-forward a LOT on this show.
We like trying to guess the songs; RENEWED for SEASON 2

Humans AMC (returned 6/5/18, SEASON 3)
Scary and depressing return. Strong characters who are back again and some new ones, but the storyline is now so conflictual and sad. 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. Much more violent, so, even though it’s intriguing, we didn’t even finish watching Episode 1 of SEASON 3.
Gemma Chan, Katherine Parkinson, Lucy Carless star. We really liked this show and thought we’d welcome it back, because it’s very creative, raising important, thought-provoking social issues about who/what is “human” and what is not, and well-acted. We didn’t sign up for a civil war, though.
Maybe not KEEPING; SEASON 3, RENEWED

*Good Girls NBC (premiered 2/2018; SEASON 1 On Demand; RENEWED for SEASON 2)
Since this got renewed, I decided to check it out and got hooked. Watched almost the entire first season On Demand (inexplicably, Episode 4 is missing) and was entertained, provoked and interested. Will watch next year, for sure. Mom isn’t interested, though.
Starring one of my faves since she was a teen actor, Mae Whitman, with two new to me: Christina Hendricks and Retta, with co-stars, Manny Montana, Izzy Stannard, Matthew Lillard, Reno Wilson, and features many other strong performances.
“When sisters, Beth and Annie, and their best friend, Ruby, become fed up with playing by the rules and not getting the respect they deserve, they band together to take control of their lives—by holding up a local grocery store. Beth’s the perfect wife and mother, but her used-car-dealing, cheating husband has sent her family into financial ruin; Ruby is happily married to a policeman but can’t afford the medical bills and experimental drugs to help her daughter; and Annie, a single mom, is caught in a nasty custody battle with her ex. In desperate need of money, the women plan the heist expecting to ease their financial burdens. But new to the game of crime, they get pulled in deeper than they ever imagined—and the only way out of this will be together.”
Strangely compelling; RENEWED for SEASON 2

*Shrink NBC (premiered January, 2018)
This oddball comedy started as an improvised pilot in 2012, when it won the Second City Touring Company alum and former Daily Show producer, Ted Tremper, Best Comedy and Critics Award at the New York Television Festival in 2012. It later got “picked up” for SEASON 1 (8 Episodes) in 2017 for 2018.
If you’ve ever been in therapy or been a therapist, you (as I have) may find this strangely funny and compelling. Also, occasionally stupid as well as touching. Mom won’t watch, but I’m catching it On Demand (it began airing in January, 2018).
David Tracey (Tim Baltz, also one of the show’s creators and co-writers), is “a medical student who has lost his residency and has over half a million dollars in school debt. He discovers that he can become a clinical therapist if he performs 1,920 hours of supervised therapy, and he begins seeing patients for free in his parents’ garage.”
Some of the characters are more shticks or a series of one-liners or tropes rather than characters, but Baltz is endearing and earnest as a therapist-in-training, unconventional as it is. I’m also enjoying the depiction of the strange dynamics in his relationship with his childhood therapist-now-supervisor, played by Sue Gillan.
Strangely funny; hoping for SEASON 2

Unforgotten PBS (premiered 4/8/18; 3 parts for each of 4 stories, 12 Episodes, total)
Unforgotten is yet another British-based detective series brought over to the USA years after being broadcast in its native land (2015, for this one) that my mom and I often enjoy. The main characters are DCI Cassie Stuart (Nicola Walker) and DI Sunny Khan (Sanjeev Bhaskar) who investigate historic cold cases with their team. Each case lasts 3 Episodes (one SEASON).
Walker appeared in a similar role but was mostly the object of her former partner’s hallucinations, since she was murdered at the beginning of that mini-series (River, which we also liked a lot), so it is good to see her alive and well in this one. We’ve watched so many of these BBC shows, now, that we recognize many of the other actors, even minor ones, and each one is very well-directed and performing, with a great script.

‎Also starring/featuring: Trevor Eve, Bernard Hill, Ruth Sheen, Tom Courtenay, Gemma Jones, Brian Bovell, Cheri Lunghi, Hannah Gordon, ‎Claire Goose, Tamzin Malleson, Peter Egan, and Frances Tomelty. Chris Langcreated/wrote it.
Extremely well-written, acted and intriguing

In Contempt BET (premiered 4/10/18)
We didn’t much like the characters in Episode 1, but some have grown on us and we continue to watch.
Legal drama depicting “the fast-paced world of a legal aid office in New York City and follows Gwen Sullivan, an opinionated attorney whose passion for her job and clients make her arguably the most talented public defender in her district,” on BET, which means strong casting of African-Americans; long-overdue on network TV, for sure. It is compelling, but it’s hard to know whom to root for: most are unlikable.
Starring: Erica Ash (Survivor’s Remorse), Mouna Traoré (Book of Negroes), Megan Hutchings (Reign), and featuring Tobias Truvillion (Empire, The Blacklist), Richard Lawson (Poltergeist, Grey’s Anatomy, Real Husbands of Hollywood) and Eugene Clark.
Produced/created in Canada and expected to “replace” Being Mary Jane [which I watched every Episode of; canceled in 2017] for BET viewers, it was conceived by Terri Kopp (Law & Order, Third Watch, BET‘s Rebel), who serves as showrunner.
Interesting, but characters aren’t very likable

*Splitting Up Together ABC (premiered 3/27/18; RENEWED for SEASON 2)
“The story of a couple whose marriage is reignited by their divorce.”
Starring: Jenna Fischer, Oliver Hudson, Olivia Keville.
Surprisingly sweet, but and increasingly endearing; RENEWED for SEASON 2

Station 19 ABC (premiered 3/22/18; RENEWED for SEASON 2)
We like this enough to keep watching, but it is very trite. 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.”
We like the cross-overs with Grey’s Anatomy, though.
Good enough, but not great; Episodes’ stories/quality are uneven; RENEWED for SEASON 2

*Greenhouse Academy Netflix (RENEWED for SEASON 3)
A teen-focused, sci-fi, somewhat soap-opera-y half-hour show that I somehow like enough to keep watching. Elite boarding schools have an odd appeal, don’t they?
Starts with a tragedy that is NOT what it seems, as we find out, slowly. Bad guys vs. good guys, but no heroes, yet. It’s always about money, too, which is trite.
Not a lot of info in SEASON 1, but SEASON 2 is more revealing.
Somewhat predictable, but fun

Instinct CBS (premiered 3/18/18; RENEWED & midseason premiere for SEASON 2)
Alan Cumming (The Good Wife) is back, and he seems to be having a lot of fun, and so are we. We enjoy this show a lot and look forward to more!

Mandatory Credit: Photo by MediaPunch/REX/Shutterstock (7450455h)
Alan Cumming
44th International Emmy Awards, New York, USA – 21 Nov 2016

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.”
Also starring: Naveen Andrews, Whoopi Goldberg, Bojana Novakovic, Sharon Leal, Daniel Ings.
and, this latest description, in an article in which Cumming claims there are “hidden anti-Trump messages” in this show: “Instinct stars Alan Cumming as a former CIA operative who is lured back to his old life when the NYPD needs his help to stop a serial killer. Dr. Dylan Reinhart is a gifted author (Goldberg plays his editor) and university professor living a quiet life teaching psychopathic behavior to packed classes of adoring students. But when tenacious top NYPD detective, Lizzie Needham (Novakovic), appeals to him to help her catch a serial murderer who is using Dylan’s first book as a tutorial, Dylan is compelled by the case and comes out of retirement. Helping them is Julian Cousins (Andrews), Dylan’s invaluable CIA comrade, who rivals Dylan in brilliance and wit, and can get top-secret dirt on anyone, anywhere, anytime. Lizzie’s boss, Lt. Jasmine Gooden (Leal), is glad to see her best detective finally agree to work with someone on a case, since Lizzie has refused any partner since a tragic event one year ago. But as Dylan feels reenergized tapping into his old skill set, his husband, Andy (Ings), is concerned that Dylan’s breaking their pact about putting away his cloak and dagger for good. Though Dylan and Lizzie initially clash, when it comes to catching killers, they realize they will make an ideal team if they both trust their instincts. Based on the [upcoming] James Patterson novel.”
Very fun! We LOVE this!; RENEWED & midseason premiere for SEASON 2

Marvel’s Jessica Jones Netflix (returned for SEASON 2 on 3/8/18; RENEWED for SEASON 3)
Season 2 of JJ was not as good as Season 1, but we do like some of the backstories it has included and the featuring of minor characters, despite the “looking backward” feel to it. And, the acting is STELLAR!
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 unexpectedly CANCELED after having been renewed for SEASON 2), we will probably go back and watch the rest of Luke Cage; SEASON 2 releases on Netflix 6/22/18.
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; RENEWED for SEASON 3

Timeless NBC (returned 3/11/18 for SEASON 2; Cancellation likely)
We still 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 LOVE Abigail Spencer (Rectify, Suits). We also 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 glad it’s back; Cancellation likely

For the People ABC (premiered 3/13/18; RENEWED for SEASON 2; midseason premiere)
Another courtroom drama… We sometimes like these, but they can be SUPER boring if not done right. Strong start, and we’re liking it. Glad it got RENEWED for SEASON 2.
Bull, yes. Chicago Justice, no.
We do recognize some of the stars and the newcomers are good, also.
Features Ben Rappaport (Mr. Robot, The Good Wife), Hope Davis (American Crime), Anna Deavere Smith (Nurse Jackie), in a small but recurring role, 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.”
Another (and probably last) Shonda RhimesABC production; then, she’s off to Netflix!)
Strong start; liking it; RENEWED for SEASON 2; midseason premiere

Private Eyes ION (premiered 2/11/18)
Canadian TV can make some great shows, so we tried two Episodes of this one (formerly entitled The Code). “Private Eyes is an investigative drama series featuring two strong and forever competing characters. Ex-pro hockey player, Matt Shade (Jason Priestley), irrevocably changes his life when he decides to team up with fierce P.I., Angie Everett (Cindy Sampson) to form an unlikely investigative powerhouse. Angie may find Shade naïve in the way that he sees the world, but his passion and heart brings something special to her one-woman business. Shade sees working with Angie as an opportunity to redeem himself, yet he’s partnering with a woman who fundamentally believes that people don’t change. If he’s the unstoppable force, she’s the immovable object. They’ll challenge each other on every level.”

Private Eyes: Already had 2 SEASONS that aired in Canada.

Also starring: Jordyn Negri, Barry Flatman, Cle Bennet, Kurtis Mazhari (of The Listener and Blindspot)
Predictably trite, but kind of worthwhile

*A.P. Bio NBC (premiered 2/1/18; RENEWED for SEASON 2)
This sounded 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.” Mom and I watched Episode 1, but she wanted to bail about 10 minutes into it. I have watched 2 Episodes while doing other things, for a few laughs (some are even intelligent), but I’m sure it’s doomed. Mostly tropes, cliches, stereotypes and schticks rather than characters.
Good for a few laughs, and, amazingly, RENEWED for SEASON 2

*Grey’s Anatomy: B-Team ABC.com only (available as of January, 2018)
Grey’s Anatomy‘s newest Interns are getting their own show (sort of) and you do NOT have to pay to watch it, but it’s only viewable online and only has 6 Episodes; each one is about 2 minutes long.
“[A]vailable to stream now” http://abc.go.com/shows/greys-anatomy-b-team/episode-guide/season-01/01-episode-one “with all six episodes focusing on Grey Sloan Memorial’s newbies docs as the navigate their way through their first day as surgeons. Starring in the digital series are Sophia Taylor Ali as Dahlia Qadri, Jake Borelli as Levi Schmitt, Alex Blue Davis as Casey Parker, Jaicy Elliot as Taryn Helm, Rushi Kota as Vik Roy and Jeanine Mason as Sam Bello.”
FMI: http://www.eonline.com/news/905683/grey-s-anatomy-s-new-interns-are-getting-their-own-show?cmpid=rss-000000-rssfeed-365-tvnews&utm_source=eonline&utm_medium=rssfeeds&utm_campaign=rss_tvnews
Kind of like previews or vignettes more than Episodes, but fun, if you’re ia fan of Grey’s.

*Cable Girls (Las Chicas del Cable) Netflix (2 Seasons, so far; SEASON 3 coming later in 2018)
An excellent 1928-29, Spain-based somewhat true account of the beginnings of the telephone company, trade unions and the precursors to the Spanish Civil War from the telephone operators’ and other women’s points of view. Excellent writing, acting, plots and subplots that include bisexuality, transgender identity and domestic violence, women’s rights’ issues as well as the usual infidelities, class wars, crimes, lies and substance abuse/drinking problems.
Warning: DUBBED (Spanish to English), very well, and also offers subtitles if you prefer or can’t turn them off.
Starring: Blanca Suárez, Yon González, Ana Fernández, Maggie Civantos, Nadia de Santiago, Martiño Rivas, Ana Polvorosa, Sergio Mur.
Ends with several cliff-hangers (one is almost literal) at the end of SEASON 2. SEASON 3 is coming later in 2018.
I like this, but Mom doesn’t.

The Resident FOX (premiered 1/21/18; RENEWED for SEASON 2)
Manish Dayal, Emily van Camp (Revenge, Everwood) and Matt Czuchry (The Good Wife and Gilmore Girls) 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 Veteran actors, Bruce Greenwood (as a creepy, no-longer-excellent surgeon who won’t quit), and, at some point, Melina Kanakaredes, will show up.
Bloodier, darker, with meaner characters and more tragic situations than we usually like. But, endearing characters, also, and interesting plots. We’re hooked.

Got better; RENEWED for SEASON 2, but many characters are unlikable

*Ozark Netflix (SEASON 1 available now; SEASON 2 renewed and probably available summer, 2018)
Odd, compelling, dark, violent, disturbing, strangely sweet and interesting. My favorite aspects are the stories, scenes and interactions with the Lake of the Ozarks in Nissouri, where I spent some of the happiest times of my childhood and adolescence, 1963 – 1970, at Camp Hawthorn (near Kaiser, Missouri) and Camp Sabra (which is what Camp Hawthorn became when it merged with Camp Wah-Kon-Dah), on the Staenberg Peninsula, which both share lakefront activities because of the Lake of the Ozarks. I canoed on, swam in, water skied on, sailed on, camped beside and enjoyed that lake so much that it was a delight to see it in this series, even when the storylines are tragic and the characters are horrendous and unlikable.
Starring Jason Bateman, Laura Linney and some I don’t know so well, the story is about criminals, mostly, and how this one family becomes them and deals with them, both.
Definitely rated “R.”
Not for everyone, but I liked it

9-1-1 FOX (premiered 1/3/18; RENEWED for SEASON 2)
An Emergency Response drama created by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk.
Starring Angela Bassett and Connie Britton.
The writers seem to be trying too hard to set up the most bizarre and objectionable characters and rescue situations as possible, but we were underwhelmed and not all that interested during Episode 1. We’ll try one more.
Good enough and not very bloody; RENEWED for SEASON 2)


2017-18 PREMIERES/RETURNS (not yet reviewed/watched as of 6/15/18)

Some PREMIERES/RETURNS are still unknown for 2018-19, but I think all have been announced for the 2017-18 schedule, so I give the first/return air dates. I/we plan to watch these shows (UPDATED 6/15/18).

LINK to premiere dates for 2018: https://renewcanceltv.com/tv-show-premiere-dates-2018-guide/

Or, use this link for full schedule: http://www.thefutoncritic.com/showatch.aspx?series=&network=&daycode=&statuscode=7&genre=&studio=, updated frequently: UPDATED 6/15/18.

Try http://releasedatetv.com/ for release dates.

*100 Code WGN (premiered 5/29/18)
“The Swedish-American thriller, created by Oscar winner, Bobby Moresco (Crash, Million Dollar Baby),…follows the hunt for a serial killer who targets young, blonde and blue-eyed women, found dead in fields of flowers. Through a special arrangement with the NYPD, Detective Tommy Conley is permitted to observe and advise the Stockholm PD, as he suspects a connection between a series of murders in New York and a death in Sweden. Upon arrival in Stockholm, he is paired with Mikael Eklund, a Swedish cop with an aversion to American culture. Both detectives despise each other, but the two are quickly forced to resolve their differences as the mysterious killings continue. With the vicious killer still at large, Conley and Eklund embark on a hunt that leads the duo down a path of no return.”
Starring the late Mikael Nyqvist and Dominic Monaghan in the lead roles.
I’ll try it, then tell Mom; probably too dark

The Last Defense ABC (premiered 6/12/18)
We respect Viola Davis (producer; actor) a lot and certainly agree with this show’s intentions and premises (see below), but this show is probably too dark and obviously, realistic, for us, but we’ll try 1 Episode.
“Flaws in the American justice system are explored and exposed through emotional, in-depth examinations of multiple death row cases. The series looks at cases from all angles, returning to the scene of the crime, re-interviewing witnesses, and delving beyond the details of the crime and court proceedings to take a deep look into the personal stories of the subjects, seeking to trace the path that led them to their place on death row. With incisive, compelling storytelling, The Last Defense gives voice to those who can no longer be heard. Season one investigates the cases of a Dallas housewife convicted of stabbing two of her sons to death, and a high school athlete convicted of shooting a father at point blank range in front of his daughters. Meanwhile, their attorneys race against the clock to get new trials before their execution dates are set. Both have been on death row for nearly two decades each. Both may be innocent.”
Starring/featuring: Julie Clark, J. Stephen Cooper, Kathy Cruz.
Probably won’t continue after Episode 1

*Love Is____ OWN (premieres 6/19/18)
“The love story of a modern-day power couple in the world of black Hollywood as they navigate a complex set of social codes….created and produced by Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil. Based on Akils’ real-life relationship….[The series will] tell the story of their rise to fame in Hollywood starting in the 1990’s. When they meet, Nuri [Weaver] is a comedy sitcom staff writer who longs to work in drama and Yasir (Catlett] is an aspiring, out-of-work writer/director.”
Starring: Michele Weaver and Will Catlett, and featuring Tammy Townsend, Loretta Devine, Wendy Davis, Clarke Peters, Idara Victor.
Probably trite, but I’ll try it because…

Yellowstone Paramount Network (premieres 6/20/18; 8 Episodes, only)
Kevin Costner comes to a TV series this summer! A Western, which is not our favorite genre, but, still KEVIN COSTNER! Taylor Sheridan, writer/director, was quoted as saying this series is “an R-rated Bonanza.” The series’ characters overlap with military SEAL-types, strangely, but I guess “cowboys” and “cowgirls” don’t have to ride horses. Unfortunately (for us), the writer chose to pit the Anglos against the Native Americans; not a theme we like, much. Co-stars Dave Annabelle, whom we always like.
Also starring/featuring: Barrett Swatek, Luke Grimes, Kelsey Asbille, Wes Bentley, Kelly Reilly, Brecken Merrill, Pete Sands, Cole Hauser.
We’l try it

Take Two ABC (premieres 6/21/18)
“Sam Swift (Rachel Bilson), the former star of a hit cop series, is fresh-out-of-rehab following a bender of epic proportions. Desperate to restart her career, she talks her way into shadowing rough-and-tumble private investigator, Eddie Valetik (Eddie Cibrian), as research for a potential comeback role. Though lone wolf Eddie resents the babysitting gig, high-spirited Sam proves herself to be surprisingly valuable, drawing on her acting skills and 200 episodes of playing a detective.”
We like Rachel Bilson (The OC, Hart of Dixie, and a brief stint on Designated Survivor were fun) and Eddie Cibrian (latest gig was Rosewood).
Also stars: Aliyah O’Brien, Xavier de Guzman, Alice Lee.
Could be silly, could be good; we’ll try it.

The Great British Baking Show PBS (SEASON 5 premieres 6/22/18)
This is the ONLY “reality” contest/show we watch, and were sad when the American version of the show was derailed and removed from broadcasting mid-season in 2017 by the bad behavior of one judge, Johnny Luzzini. So, we’re delighted to have it back with SEASON 5, which hadn’t been aired before, with its original presenters, Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc, and judges, Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood. Makes us hungry, but very informative, interesting, fun.
Definitely watching

*Anne with an ‘E’ Netflix (available 7/6/18 or 9/23/18[?] for SEASON 2)
Based a great series of middle-grade books by Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables series, “follows Anne (Amybeth McNulty), an outsider who, against all odds, fights for love, acceptance, and her place in the world. Season 2 adds new characters and continues to explore themes of identity, prejudice, feminism, bullying, gender parity and empowerment. Geraldine James, R.H. Thomson, Corrine Koslo, Dalila Bela, Aymeric Jett Montaz, Lucas Zumann and Kyla Matthews return for Season 2, along with newcomers, Dalmar Abuzeid (Sebastian Lacroix) and Cory Grüter-Andrew (Cole MacKenzie).
I loved these books as a kid and the series is great. Glad it got RENEWED.
Looking forward to SEASON 2

Trial & Error: Lady, Killer NBC (SEASON 2 returns 7/19/18)
I watched a few minutes of SEASON 1, and despite usually liking John Lithgow, I couldn’t tolerate its silliness. But, we may have to go back and try to watch it, because SEASON 2 caught my eye: it’s got KRISTIN CHENOWETH! “The true-crime spoof genre … [includes] NBC’s true-crime parody.” “New York lawyer, Josh Segal (Nicholas D’Agosto), is still adjusting to his practice in the small South Carolina town of East Peck, local socialite, Lavinia Peck-Foster (Kristin Chenoweth) is a larger-than-life presence in East Peck despite her small stature. She’s famous for her flamboyant attire, gigantic hats, and hairless cat. Unfortunately, she’s been accused of the bizarre murder of her husband, hence the subtitle, ‘Lady, Killer.'”
We’ll try it

Burden of Truth CW (10 Episodes only; premieres 7/25/18)
Yet another legal drama, but this one was produced in Canada and features “a big-city lawyer who returns to her hometown to take on what she thinks is a simple case, only to find herself in a fight for justice for a group of sick girls.”
Stars Kristin Kreuk (Smallville) Peter Mooney, Alex Carter and Benjamin Ayres.
We’ll try it; probably trite

Freaky Friday: The Musical The Disney Channel (premieres 8/10/18)
Directed by Steve Carr, based on Mary Rodgers’ book, starring Heidi Blickenstaff (reprising her “mom” role from the stage version), and Cozi Zuehlsdorff (Dolphin Tale films) as the daughter, the musical depicts the pair “who both wish they could switch places with the other for a day” and, magically, they do. It’s “a journey of self-discovery and empathy neither one could have imagined.” Bridget Carpenter wrote the screenplay (based on her stage adaptation), and Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey wrote the music and lyrics, respectively. “Eight songs from the stage production and two new songs, including one co-written by Zuehlsdorff, are performed in a theatrical pop-rock style by the cast.”
Sounds fun. We’ll try it. We like musicals and this story is cute.

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

*Seeing Allred Netflix (documentary; available 2/9/18)
About one of my all-time heroines, attorney, feminist, women’s rights advocate and all-around brilliant writer and leader, Gloria Allred.

“Women’s rights attorney, Gloria Allred, takes on two of the biggest adversaries of her career — Bill Cosby and Donald Trump — as sexual violence allegations grip the nation and keep her in the spotlight.”
I will watch this soon!

Collateral (Miniseries) Netflix (premiered 3/9/18)
Directed by S.J. Clarkson. “Investigating the murder of a pizza delivery man, a London detective (Carey Mulligan) uncovers a tangled conspiracy involving drug dealers, smugglers, and spies.”
We like a lot of the BBC & Australian TV detective shows, particularly the ones with strong female characters.
We’ll put it on our list

*Jane (Documentary) National Geographic (premiered 3/12/18)
This documentary of Jane Goodall goes well with the docuseries on Dian Fossey, right? “Using a trove of unseen footage, Jane tells the story of Jane Goodall’s early explorations, focusing on her groundbreaking field work, her relationship with cameraman and husband, Hugo van Lawick, and the chimpanzees that she studied.”
I’ll probably watch this

Requiem Netflix (6-part series available 3/23/18)
Another British detective series (which we usually like); this one is set in both 1994 and 2014 or so, focusing on an adult musician who is now in her twenties and may be the grown-up version of a missing toddler from a small Welsh town. The series “encompasses elements of both the supernatural and thriller genres.”
Stars Lydia Wilson as the cellist and Brendan Coyle (Downton Abbey) as the detective and Joel Fry as the cellist’s best friend, with James Frecheville, Sian Reese-Williams, Claire Rushbrook, Richard Harrington.
Requiem is…written and created by Kris Mrksa and directed by Mahalia Belo.”
Could be interesting

A Little Help with Carol Burnett Netflix (premiered 5/4/18)
Carol Burnett, at the age of 85 (one year my mom’s junior), has created and is starring in a new series, “joined by a group of the most honest and unfiltered people in the world—a gaggle of straight-talking, entertaining five- to nine-year-old kids. These very opinionated ‘experts’ weigh-in on a variety of relatable and humorous dilemmas brought in by everyday adults. Each episode will feature a celebrity contributor brave enough to bring in their own dilemma for the kids to comment on in front of a live audience.”
We love her and will try this


Fall, 2018 (and beyond), New Shows

The Cool Kids FOX (FALL premiere date not set, yet)
“Three guy friends in a retirement community are the top dogs until they’re blown out of the water by the newest member of the community, a female rebel whose ready to challenge their place—it’s high school with 70-somethings.”
This looks very inane and ageist, but some will probably like it; depends on how much is slapstick and how much is actual humor (not at the expense of being old, either).
Starring: Vicki Lawrence, Martin Mull, David Alan Grier, Leslie Jordan.
We’ll probably watch one Episode.

Murphy Brown CBS (13-episode revival; FALL premiere date not set, yet)
Rebooting the original ground-breaking, award-winning, feminist series, “which centers on Candice Bergen’s titular journalist, originally ran for 10 seasons from 1988–98 on CBS. The revival will air to coincide with the original’s 30th anniversary.” Diane English, its creator, is involved, as are many of the original writers and co-stars.
Also returning/starring: Faith Ford, Joe Regalbuto, Grant Shaud/Tyne Daly, Jake McDorman, Nik Dodani.
Sounds fun! Hope they don’t devolve into insipid (as so many do)

*Single Parents ABC (FALL premiere date not set, yet)
Liz Meriwether (New Girl is the creator/EP) of this new series, “…with J.J. Philbin…[hwhich]revolves around a group of dysfunctional single parents who lean on each other as they raise their kids, look for love, and ultimately realize survival is only possible with the help of each other.” Possibly the fourth-most overused trope (police procedurals, medical and legal dramas precede it) and probably not worthwhile, either.
starring: Jake Choi, Taran Killam, Leighton Meester, Brad Garrett, Kimrie Lewis, Sadie Hazelett, Grace Hazelett, Devin Trey Campbell.
I’ll vet this and find out if it’s watchable.

God Friended Me CBS (FALL premiere date not set, yet)
Great production and creative team; tired trope for an idea, so I am surprised, after the failure of two similar last year, it would be picked up; but, here it is. I mean, it’s by Greg Berlanti and it stars Joe Morton! How bad could it be?
“Questions of faith, existence and science are explored in this humorous, uplifting series about an outspoken atheist whose life is turned upside down when he is ‘friended’ by God on social media. Unwittingly, he becomes an agent of change in the lives and destinies of others around him.”
Also stars: Brandon Micheal Hall, Violett Beane, Suraj Sharma, Javicia Leslie
We’ll try it, cautiously

A Million Little Things ABC (FALL premiere date not set, yet)
It’s an “hour-long drama with comedy elements—about a group of eight friends, four men and four women, in which the one whose life looked most put together commits suicide—is loosely based on personal experience” of its creator, DJ Nash. “[F]eatures an all-star ensemble cast—many of whom had led their own series—David Giuntoli, Ron Livingston, Romany Malco, Allison Miller, Christina Moses, Christina Ochoa, James Roday, Stephanie Szostak and Lizzy Greene….[The] title stems from the popular adage,’Friendship isn’t a big thing – it’s a million little things,’ [and] is described as being in the tone of The Big Chill. It revolves around a group of friends from Boston who bonded under unexpected circumstances. Some have achieved success, others are struggling in their careers and relationships, but all of them feel stuck in life. After one of them dies unexpectedly, it’s just the wake-up call the others need to finally start living. Along the way they discover that friends may be the one thing to save them from themselves.”
Sounds interesting. We’ll try it.

Charmed THE CW (FALL premiere date not set, yet)
“After the tragic death of their mother, three sisters in a college town are stunned to discover they are witches. Soon this powerful threesome must stand together to fight the everyday and supernatural battles that all modern witches must face: from vanquishing powerful demons to toppling the patriarchy.”
My mom watched every Episode and loved the original. I guess we’ll try this.
Starring: Madeleine Mantock, Melonie Diaz, Sara Jeffrey, Rupert Evans, Ser’Darius Blain, Charlie Gillespie, Ellen Tamaki.
Cautiously optimistic

New Amsterdam NBC (FALL premiere date not set, yet)
“Inspired by Bellevue, the oldest public hospital in America, this unique medical drama follows the brilliant and charming Dr. Max Goodwin, the institution’s newest medical director [Ryan Eggold, recently killed off in The Blacklist and star of its shortlived spinoff] who sets out to tear up the bureaucracy and provide exceptional care. How can he help? Well, the doctors and staff have heard this before. Not taking ‘no’ for an answer, Dr. Goodwin must disrupt the status quo and prove he will stop at nothing to breathe new life into this understaffed, underfunded and underappreciated hospital—the only one in the world capable of treating Ebola patients, prisoners from Rikers and the President of the United States under one roof—and return it to the glory that put it on the map.”
Also starring: Freema Agyeman, Janet Montgomery, Jocko Sims, Anupam Kher, Tyler Labine.
If it’s more like Red Band Society and less like Bedlam, we might like it.
Worth a try

I Feel Bad NBC (FALL premiere date not set, yet)
Still more from Poehler, this sit-com stars Sarayu Blue, Aseem Batra (Scrubs) as the writer, and Julie Anne Robinson (The Good Place) as the director; based on Orli Auslander’s book, I Feel Bad: All Day. Every Day. About Everything. The series plans to depict “one woman’s hilarious unfiltered take on the side effects of trying to have it all.” Also starring/featuring: Paul Adelstein, Aisling Bea, Zach Cherry, Johnny Pemberton, James Buckley. Not sure if we’re try this. Probably insipid.

Manifest NBC (FALL premiere date not set, yet)
“When Montego Air Flight 828 landed safely after a turbulent but routine flight, the crew and passengers were relieved. Yet in the span of those few hours, the world had aged five years and their friends, families and colleagues, after mourning their loss, had given up hope and moved on. Now, faced with the impossible, they’re all given a second chance. But as their new realities become clear, a deeper mystery unfolds and some of the returned passengers soon realize they may be meant for something greater than they ever thought possible. From Robert Zemeckis and Jack Rapke comes an emotionally rich, unexpected journey into a world grounded in hope, heart and destiny.”
Starring: Melissa Roxburgh, Josh Dallas, Athena Karkanis, J.R. Ramirez, Luna Blaise, Jack Messina, Parveen Kaur.
Displaced in time and wondering how to adjust? I can relate.
We’ll try it

*The Kids are Alright [sic] ABC (FALL premiere date not set, yet)
Another comedy about a ’70s family. Oy.
“Set in the 1970s, this ensemble comedy follows a traditional Irish-Catholic family, the Clearys, as they navigate big and small changes during one of America’s most turbulent decades. In a working-class neighborhood outside Los Angeles, Mike and Peggy raise eight boisterous boys who live out their days with little supervision. The household is turned upside down when oldest son, Lawrence, returns home and announces he’s quitting the seminary to go off and ‘save the world.’ Times are changing and this family will never be the same. There are 10 people, three bedrooms, one bathroom and everyone in it for themselves. The series is inspired by the childhood of writer/executive producer Tim Doyle.”
Stars: Michael Cudlitz, Mary McCormack, Sam Straley, Caleb Martin Foote, Sawyer Barth, Christopher Paul Richards, Jack Gore, Andy Walken, Santino Barnard.
I’ll try it; Mom might not

The Rookie ABC (FALL premiere date not set, yet)
One of our favorite (but, of course, short-lived) shows, starring Hayley Atwell, was Conviction. Its co-creator is directing this new series! Liz Friedlander is also the Executive Producer of the ABC pilot of the crime dramedy, which stars one of all-time favorite dramedy actors, Nathan Fillion (Firefly, Castle, as John Nolan, “the oldest newbie on the LAPD … inspired by a true story. Nolan “cast[s] aside his comfortable, small town life and move[s] to LA to pursue his dream of being a cop….[S]urrounded by rookies 20 years his junior, Nolan must navigate the dangerous, humorous, and unpredictable world of a ‘young’ cop, determined to make his second shot at life count.” Probably 2018-19 season.
THIS we will watch.

F.B.I. CBS (FALL premiere date not set, yet)
Says it’s “a scripted drama about the inner workings of the New York office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”
Do we realllllly need another FBI show? I doubt it.
Stars: Connie Nielsen, Jeremy Sisto, Missy Peregrym, Ebonee Noel, Zeeko Zaki.
Not optimistic

Blood & Treasure CBS (midseason premiere date not set, yet)
“A brilliant antiquities expert and a cunning art thief [NOW known to be played by Sofia Pernas (The Brave)] team up to catch a ruthless terrorist who funds his attacks through stolen treasure. As they crisscross the globe hunting their target, they unexpectedly find themselves at the center of a 2,000-year-old battle for the cradle of civilization.”
Didn’t these just get canceled (The Librarians meets Hooten & the Lady)? We liked those, so I guess we’ll try this, but, SHEESH!
Also starring: Katia Winter, Michael James Shaw, James Callis.
Worth a try

The Fix ABC (midseason premiere date not set, yet)
A crime drama from writer-executive producers, Elizabeth Craft, Sarah Fain, and Marcia Clark (yes, THAT Marcia Clark…). It “focuses on a prosecutor drawn back into the biggest loss of her career. Maya Travis has left Los Angeles for a quiet life in rural Oregon. Eight years after her devastating defeat, the murderer strikes again, forcing Maya to return to Los Angeles to confront him one more time. Will she play by the rules, or will she do whatever it takes to get him behind bars?” This series “looks like it could parallel the O.J. Simpson case from the early ’90s, on which Clark served as prosecutor.” For 2018-19 season. Probably a rhetorical question, there, and not one that needs answering, nor is this a series that needed to be made.
YES, because Robin Tunney is starring. Also has: Adam Rayner, Merrin Dungey, Breckin Meyer, Marc Blucas, Mouzam Makkar, Alex Saxon, Scott Cohen, Adewale Akinnouye-Agbaje.
Probably try it,

The Code CBS (midseason premiere date not set, yet)
Not to be confused with the former title of Private Eyes, or 100 Code, or Code Black, had Mira Sorvino and David Annable in the lead roles only for the pilot, and then both left! Does not bode well. It’s billed as “a new legal military drama….The military’s brightest minds take on our country’s toughest challenges—inside the courtroom and out—where each attorney is trained as a prosecutor, a defense lawyer, an investigator—and a Marine.”
I’m torn because I like some of these actors a lot and usually like legal shows, but I never like military dramas, much.
Also stars: Anna Wood, Ato Essandoh, Phillipa Soo, Raffi Barsoumian.
We’ll try it

Whiskey Cavalier ABC (midseason premiere date not set, yet)
Billed as “a high-octane, hour-long action dramedy that follows the adventures of tough but tender FBI super-agent, Will Chase (codename: “Whiskey Cavalier”), (Scott Foley, barely having taken a break after Scandal ended, who also co-produces). Following an emotional break-up, Chase is assigned to work with badass CIA operative, Francesca “Frankie” Trowbridge (codename: “Fiery Tribune”) (Lauren Cohan). Together, they lead an inter-agency team of flawed, funny and heroic spies who periodically save the world (and each other) while navigating the rocky roads of friendship, romance and office politics.”
Also stars: Ana Ortiz, Tyler James Williams, Vir Das.
We’ll try it.

The Passage FOX (midseason premiere date not set, yet)
“Based on author, Justin Cronin’s, best‐selling trilogy of the same name, The Passage is an epic, character‐driven thriller about a secret government medical facility experimenting with a dangerous virus that could either cure all disease or cause the downfall of the human race. The series focuses on a 10‐year‐old girl named Amy Bellafonte, who is chosen to be a test subject for this experiment, and Brad Wolgast, the Federal agent who becomes her surrogate father as he tries to protect her.”
Starring: Mark‐Paul Gosselaar, Saniyya Sidney, Vincent Piazza, Brianne Howey, Jamie McShane, Caroline Chikezie, Emmanuelle Chriqui.
Seen this or something like it about 5 times already in the last few years, but we’ll try it.
Probably trite

*Red Line CBS (midseason premiere date not set, yet)
“[D]epicts the aftermath of a white cop mistakenly shooting a black doctor….Three different families that all have connections with the case [are featured] as the story is told from each perspective.” Also serving as executive producers are Ana DuVernay (Selma, A Wrinkle in Time), Supergirl’s Greg Berlanti and Sarah Schechter.
Starring: Noah Wyle, Emayatzy Corinealdi, Aliyah Royale, Noel Fisher, Michael Patrick Thornton, Vinny Chhibber, Howard Charles, Elizabeth Laidlaw.
I may watch one Episode, but Mom probably won’t

Proven Innocent FOX (midseason premiere date not set, yet)
“A legal drama set in an wrongful conviction firm. Led by a fierce and fearless female lawyer with a hunger for justice, the team reopens investigations, putting their own lives in danger to exonerate the innocent that were ‘proven’ guilty. Our lead’s motivation comes from her infamous past; as a young adult she was found guilty and later exonerated in a high-profile case in which she became a tabloid sensation, household name and national celebrity. While a hero and a victim to some, her bold and bullish tactics garner her some enemies—one of whom will do anything to see her go down for a crime we know she did not commit. We will watch her defend others as she fights to maintain her own innocence.”
Starring: Kelsey Grammer (as of June, 2018), Rachelle Lefevre, Russell Hornsby, Nikki M. James, Vincent Kartheiser, Riley Smith, Clare O’Connor.
How could this be better than Conviction, which got canceled after one great season?
We’ll try it, with low expectations.


On Mom’s list, only, and she’s keeping them (YAYs for her):

**Law and Order—SVU NBC (returned 9/27/17; RENEWED forever[longest-running drama on network TV!])
Mom is keeping this on her list for sure; RENEWED.

**Criminal Minds NBC (returned 9/27/17 for SEASON 13; RENEWED for SEASON 14)
Mom is keeping this on her list, but bored with it; RENEWED

**Hawaii 5-0 CBS (returned 9/29/17; RENEWED)
Mom is keeping this on her list for sure; RENEWED

**NCIS Los Angeles CBS (returned 10/1/17; RENEWED)
Mom is keeping this on her list for sure; RENEWED for SEASON 8


Shows I’ve come across but haven’t found premieres/air dates announced or listed, yet (UPDATED 6/15/18)

*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 for this

Howard’s End Starz (4-Episode series premiered April, 2018: hope it comes to another outlet or DVD in summer, 2018, since we don’t get Starz)
Want more Hayley Atwell? Check out this trailer for an updated TV version of E.M. Forster’s Howard’s End (yes; 1992 film with Emma Thompson in the lead) on Starz (which we do not subscribe to, but it ran on the BBC, so maybe it will become available elsewhere later this year): https://www.cinemablend.com/television/1738070/howards-end-trailer-check-out-hayley-atwells-return-to-tv.
“[S]he’s a 20th-century woman navigating the perilous borders of London social classes. Hayley Atwell stars as Margaret Schlegel, an intelligent and idealistic woman living an unorthodox life with her sister, Helen (Philippa Coulthard) in Edwardian London. Margaret soon forms an unlikely friendship with the wealthy Ruth Wilcox, but when Ruth passes, she leaves Margaret the family country home known as Howards End. Despite upsetting the Wilcox family, Margaret grows closer the widowed Henry Wilcox (Matthew Macfadyen), starting a clash of personalities between two very different families. And, of course, there will be plenty of secrets and sassy British putdowns.”
Want to see this, some day!

False Profits ABC (premiere date not set, yet)
This midseason 2019 “soap” dramedy pilot has been picked up and had its Episodes extended. Led by Bellamy Young (recently, POTUS on Scandal) and Vanessa Williams. Billed “as Desperate Housewives meets Glengarry Glen Ross, [i]t follows a team of down-and-out women in suburban Arizona as they fight their way to the top of the cutthroat world of a multi-level marketing cosmetics business.”
Probably awful, but we’ll probably try it.

The Enemy Within NBC (premiere date not set, yet)
In this fast-paced, spy-hunting thriller, Erica Shepherd (Jennifer Carpenter) is a brilliant former CIA operative, now known as the most notorious traitor in American history serving life in a Supermax prison. Against every fiber of his being but with nowhere else to turn, FBI Agent, Will Keaton (Morris Chestnut), enlists Shepherd to help track down a fiercely dangerous and elusive criminal she knows all too well. For Keaton, it’s not easy to trust the woman who cost him so much. While Shepherd and Keaton have different motivations for bringing the enemy to justice, they both know that to catch a spy… they must think like one.”
Also starring: Raza Jaffrey, Kelli Garner.
Sounds interesting, if it’s not too violent

The Inbetween NBC (premiere date not set, yet)
“Cassie Bishop was born with a gift, though she may call it a curse. She can see and communicate with the dead, helping them with their unresolved problems … whether she likes it or not. When her longtime friend Det. Tom Hackett and his new partner, former FBI Agent, Damien Asante, need help solving a darkly puzzling murder, Cassie agrees to use her abilities. Despite her reluctance, she may have found a way to keep her demons at bay, all while solving some of the city’s most challenging cases.”
Writer/executive producer is from two shows we have loved [Moira Kirland (Castle, Madam Secretary)],so we have high hopes for this one, even though there have already been at least a half-dozen shows with this premise.
Starring: Harriet Dyer, Anne-Marie Johnson, Cindy Luna, Chad James Buchanan, Paul Blackthorne.
Hoping it’s great,but could be very trope-ish

*Roswell, New Mexico THE CW (premiere date not set, yet)
VERY EXCITED about this (I am such a GEEK!): Roswell is coming back! Updated stories and aged characters! Jeanine Mason is in a lead role; lucky for her, I hope. The original series 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).
“Based on the Roswell High book series by Melinda Metz. 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.”
Probably not Mom’s cup of tea.
Can hardly wait!

The Gilded Age NBC (premiere date not set, yet)
Drama set in 1880s New York City, which “was a period of immense social upheaval, of huge fortunes made and lost, and of palaces that spanned the length of Fifth Avenue. In the series, Marian Brook is the wide-eyed young scion of a conservative family who will embark on infiltrating the wealthy neighboring family dominated by ruthless railroad tycoon, George Russell, his rakish and available son, Larry, and his ambitious wife, Bertha, whose ‘new money’ is a barrier to acceptance by the Astor and Vanderbilt set. Marian is about to experience a whole new world springing up right outside her front door.” No stars attached, yet, and no cast listed at all, but Julian Fellowes (of Downton Abbey) is in charge, so how bad could it be?
We’ll try it

Abby’s NBC (premiere date not set, yet)
Another comedy; this one “set in an unlicensed bar in San Diego.” Why unlicensed? Why a bar? “The show is shot outside in front of a live audience.” Shot “outside” but “in a bar”? Sounds awful.
Natalie Morales (Santa Clarita Diet, Parks and Rec, Battle of the Sexes, The Grinder, Girls) stars, with Mike Schur: Morales plays “a war vet-turned-bartender”…who is “warmly convivial but never openly sentimental”…and who has “found her calling, hosting friends and newcomers in her open-air backyard bar where locals find camaraderie and a kind of sanctuary.”
Sounds like Cheers meets Frasier, but starring a woman and less liiely to succeed.
Probably not going to watch

Man of the House ABC (premiere date not set, yet)
“Two recently divorced sisters decide to move in together to raise their kids under one roof. The oldest kid and only son is left to figure out what manhood means in a world where he’s now completely surrounded by females.”
With a production team that includes: Frank Pines (w, ep), Vijal Patel (w, ep), Gail Berman (ep), Joe Earley (ep), Kerry Washington (ep), Pilar Savone (ep), and Richie Keen (d), how bad could it be?
Starring: Alyson Hannigan, Leslie Bibb, Jake Short, Jenna Ortega, Reece Caddell, Jimmy Kimmel (voice-over narrator).
We’ll try it

Most Likely To ABC (premiere date not set, yet)
Busy woman, Diablo Cody! Yet another of her projects is going to be aired in 2018-19: “In high school, Liz Cooney had everything and Markie McQueen had nothing. Twenty years later, they’re reunited under the same roof as single moms and unlikely housemates.”
Very busy bees, Greg Berlanti and his often-collaborator, Sarah Schechter, are involved in this project, as is Pam Fryman.
Probably a rehash of several other shows we didn’t like much.
Starring: Yvette Nicole Brown, Lesli Margherita, Laya DeLeon, Ashton Arbab, Mia Allan, Ella Allan, Donald Faison, Laya DeLeon
We’ll watch one Episode

*Steps ABC (premiere date not set, yet)
From Kristin Newman, starring Ginnifer Goodwin, the series “is based on the Swedish series, Bonus Family, aka Bonusfamiljen. The blended family comedy centers on four adults who, following two divorces, are raising three kids in three different houses. Newman (The Mayor, The Muppets, Galavant, and The Real O’Neals) penned the pilot.”
We loved Galavant, but the rest were/are awful….
Also starring: Kyle Bornheimer, Barry Rothbart, Ryan Michelle Bathe, Julie Hagerty, Cameron Boyce.
Probably unwatchable, but I’ll try one Episode

For Love ABC (premiere date not set, yet)
“Five years ago, Hope Castille’s fiancé was killed. This morning she received a phone call from him. An epic love triangle set against a grounded, secret world of magic in present-day New Orleans.”
Supernatural, fraud, kidnapping, what? We’ll tune in once to find out, then we’ll see.
Starring: Lex Scott Davis, Ethan Peck, Jon Ecker, Luke Arnold, Rachel Skarsten, Isabella Russo.
Could be all right

Get Christie Love ABC (premiere date not set, yet)
We loved Pitch and were sad it was cancelled, but the star, Kylie Bunbury, will take the lead in this reboot. It’s described as “an action-packed and music-driven drama…[T]he new Get Christie Love follows ‘Christie Love (Bunbury), an African-American, female CIA agent who leads a highly trained elite ops unit,’ who is ‘[b]eautiful and charismatic… Christie transforms into whoever she needs to be in order to get the job done, especially when it’s down to the wire and the stakes are life and death.'”
Sounds fun!
Also starring: Julia Kelly, Camille Guaty, Thomas Cocquerel, Shea Buckner, Juan Javier Cardenas, Steven Weber, Lisseth Chavez, Dennis Oh.
We’ll try it

Salvage ABC (premiere date not set, yet)
“Ex-cop Jimmy Hill just wants to be left alone after moving back home in rural Florida. But when a local murder is linked to the sunken treasure of a lost Spanish galleon, he’s drawn into the investigation by an idealistic deputy and pitted against the powerful town patriarch, outside criminal agents and his own father.”
Starring: Toby Kebbell, Charity Wakefield, Jim Belushi, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Jim Kaplan, Will Patton, Larcetta, Joelle Carter, Evan Parke.
Some great cast members; trite premises.
We’ll try it

Staties ABC (premiere date not set, yet)
“Hard-charging NYPD detective, Eliza Cortez, is banished to the boonies after a high-profile mistake and is paired with a new partner, Oregon State Trooper, Sam King. Sam’s investigative techniques don’t exactly follow protocol, as evidenced by his talking to trees for clues and his obsession with flying kites. Eliza is a fish out of water in this police procedural set in an eccentric town of quirky characters in coastal Oregon.”
Starring: Annie Ilonzeh, Andy Karl, Justin Johnston Cortez, David Zayas, Jennifer Aspen, Alexander Sokovikov, Ava Capri, Justin Johnson.
We’ll give it 1 Episode to prove itself, with low expectations

[Ella] UNTITLED ABC (premiere date not set, yet)
Amirah Vann (Underground, How to Get Away with Murder, Major Crimes) is to star as Ella, who is described as “a stand-up cop who goes out of her way to prove that police officers can still be good guys who treat people fairly…in an untitled NYPD drama at ABC, exec produced by Robin Roberts and Regina King and written by Pam Veasey (CSI:NY), who is also one of the executive producers. The series will “follow five African-American sisters, all officers in the NYPD, as they face the challenges of their high-risk jobs while juggling the responsibilities of marriage, motherhood, and family.”
Against the Wall, which we liked, but African-American- and female-centered? Intriguing.
Starring: Frances Turner, Amirah Vanh, Tisha Campbell-Martin, Frances Turner, Aubin Wise, Michael Beach, Leigh-Ann Rose.
We’ll try it

Two Nights Fox (premiere date not set, yet)
Diablo Cody (Juno) has another new project, executive producing a cop drama written by frequent co-creator, Emily Silver (Finding Carter), who will also serve as an EP. The story “…centers on Sunday Night, ‘a former cop with a 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.’”
Do we really need yet another investigative drama that partners an odd couple of investigators and/or a “consultant” from left field with a detective? I doubt it.
But, we’ll probably try it

*Bless This Mess Fox (premiere date not set, yet)
“A newlywed couple gives up their drab and unfulfilling lives in NYC and moves to Nebraska to live a simpler life. It doesn’t work out like they planned.”
Sounds insipid, but I like the cast, so I’ll try it and let Mom know.
Starring: Lake Bell, Dax Shepard, Ed Begley, Jr.

[LeHane] Untitled Fox (premiere date not set, yet)
“Armed with their wits, street knowledge and an undeniable chemistry, private detectives, Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro, right wrongs that the law can’t in the working-class Boston borough of Dorchester. Based on the novel by Dennis Lehane.”
Could be good; great cast.
Starring: Joseph Morgan, Peyton List, Christine Lahti, April Bowlby.
We’ll try it

*Daddy Issues Fox (premiere date not set, yet)
Don Johnson badly parents Erin Foster in this purported comedy, which “follows single, thirty-something, Andi, who refuses to settle down, and her friendship with her ‘playboy’ dad. Andi’s world is turned upside down when she discovers her dad has fallen in love with her best friend. Loosely based on Erin Foster’s life.”
Gee. I wonder if Dakota Johnson is a consultant on this? Gross, sad, therapy-as-television. NOPE.
Also starring: Jane Leeves, Janina Gavankar, Christine Woods, Mike O’Gorman.
Probably horrible, but I’ll watch one Episode

*History of Them CBS (premiere date not set, yet)
Gloria Calderon Kellett is heading “a social media-inspired rom-com…[and] a multicultural ensemble about how two friends, Luna and Adam, meet and fall in love, using the couple’s social media as a guide.” Kellett (One Day at a Time) writes and serves as executive producer. Pamela Fryman, Kellett’s How I Met Your Mother collaborator, will direct and exec produce.
If it’s funny enough, could be good.
Starring: Ana Villafañe, Brett Dier, Lisa Vidal, Felix Solis, Amit Shah, Caitlin McGee, Christopher Powell, Miranda Cosgrove (narrator).
I’ll try it and let Mom know

*I Mom So Hard CBS (premiere date not set, yet)
Michelle Nader has “a comedy based on Kristin Hensley and Jen Smedley’s web series,” which “centers on two women who depend on each other’s friendship in order to get through the absurdities of marriage and motherhood.”
Not very original and probably not very funny, either.
Also starring: Freddie Prinze Jr, David Finn, Tymberlee Hill
I’ll try it and let Mom know

Cagney & Lacey CBS (premiere date not set, yet)
REBOOTED from the early 1980s series! “Two female police detectives and friends keep the streets of L.A. safe.”
Starring: Sarah Drew, Michelle Hurd, Ving Rhames.
Sounds fun!

Chiefs CBS (premiere date not set, yet)
“The professional and personal lives of three driven, successful but very different women who each is Chief of Police of their own precincts in L.A. County.”
Jorja Fox, Aunjanue Ellis and Alana de la Garza star as LAPD leaders.
Just what TV needs: more police dramas. NOT.
Also featuring: Demetrius Grosse, Michael Trucco.
If it’s written well, could be good.
We’ll try it

*Mixtape Fox (premiere date not set, yet)
Stars Madeline Stowe and Jenna Dewan Tatum in another LA music scene series. We haven’t liked any of these; probably won’t like this one, either. Too much rap, hip-hop, drugs, bad sex and bad people for my taste. Mom won’t even try these types of shows any longer.
Also starring: Callie Hernandez, Raul Castillo, Megan Ferguson.
I’ll try one Episode

**Murder CBS (premiere date not set, yet)
“Investigative drama explores crime through the unique and often conflicting perspectives of cops and killers, witnesses and victims, friends and family. Shot like a true-crime documentary, it follows the emotional journey of an investigation, allowing viewers to discern the truth and judge the suspects’ guilt or innocence for themselves.”
I think Mom’s on her own for this one. Sounds too realistic and violent, for me.
Starring: Michael Chiklis, Teyonah Parris, Luna Lauren Velez, Pallavi Sharda, Leonard Roberts, Andrea Demetriades, Jennifer Mudge.
Mom will try this

Main Justice (formerly, Unsolved) CBS (premiere date not set, yet)
With Jerry Bruckheimer and the main character’s inspiration, former Attorney General Eric Holder as producers, we’re curious.
Must be a trend: another legal drama, this one set in Washington, D.C., starring Peter Gallagher as the President, Timothy Hutton as the Deputy AG and Bokeem Woodbine as a new US attorney based on Eric Holder, may be to our liking, I’m sure, especially with these actors.
“In the tumultuous world of the 5th floor of the Department of Justice, the U.S. Attorney General takes on the biggest legal and investigative cases in the country — all while being the youngest person to ever hold such an esteemed position. Inspired by the life and work of former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.”
Also starring: Aubrey Dollar, Deborah Ayorinde.
Could be fascinating

Dead Inside The CW (premiere date not set, yet)
“After surviving an explosion that killed her hotshot detective big brother, an underachieving beat cop starts seeing his ghost, flipping their sibling dynamic on its head and allowing her to truly live her life for the first time. They work together to help crime victims both living and dead and figure out the unfinished business keeping his spirit on Earth.”
More talking to dead people? Really?
Starring: Lyndon Smith, Freddie Storma, Hayley Marie Norman, Christine Ko, Myles Bullock.
Worth 1 Episode, I suppose

Miracle Workers TBS (7 Episodes, only; premiere date not set, yet)
“Anthology whose first season is set in heaven and follows Craig, a low-level angel responsible for handling all of humanity’s prayers. His boss, God, pretty much has checked out to focus on his favorite hobbies. To prevent Earth’s destruction, Craig must achieve his most impossible miracle to date.”
What a cast!: Daniel Radcliffe, Steve Buscemi, Geraldine Viswanathan, Jon Bass, Karan Soni.
We’ll try it

Deadlier Than Male TNT (premiere date not set, yet)
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) stars in this odd premise for a series, which “follows a trio of characters, each with a mysterious and troubling past: a young woman who once looked into the eyes of a dangerous killer, a former serial predator desperate to find redemption and Mary, a grieving mother obsessed with finding her missing daughter. As each of them is pushed to the edge, the truth about their pasts and motives grows ever murkier, blurring the lines between victim and perpetrator.”
Also starring: Hamish Linklater, Enrique Murciano, Chiara Aurelia.
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

*Girls Code Freeform (premiere date not set, yet)
“Follows the odd-couple partnership between a brazen, self-centered tech CEO and a community-building social entrepreneur who must overcome their many issues with each other in order to co-run a groundbreaking, all-female tech incubator.”
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….”
Starring: Sophia Di Martino, Kirby Howell-Baptiste.
Freeform often surprises us, so we’ll try it (via me, first)

Second City SUITS spin-off USA (premiere date not set, yet, but pilot Episode aired as finale of of Suits‘ SEASON 7 in spring, 2018, already)
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.
Also starring Simon Kassianides, Rebecca Rittenhouse, Morgan Spector.
We’ll watch this

*Twenties TBS (premiere date not set, yet)
By the creator of The Chi (Showtime), Lena Waithe, something we probably won’t like. “The comedy follows a trio of women: Hatti, who is queer and black, and her two straight BFFs.”
Probably wretchedly stereotypical and trite (as if it’s enough to describe a character by giving sexual orientation and gender? NOT).
Starring: Lena Waithe.
I may watch one Episode. Mom won’t

Southern Hospitality (formerly known as Three Rivers) ABC (premiere date not set, yet)
A comedy from collaborators, Sherry Bilsing-Graham and Ellen Kreamer (Friends, New Adventures of Old Christine), about “Rebecca, who left her family’s Texas ranch years ago to work at an upscale hotel in New York…after being promised ownership of the ranch by her smooth-talking cowboy dad, Beau, [i]s back and ready to utilize her big-city tactics to turn their rustic ranch into a destination spot.”
Doubt if we’ll watch.
Starring: Annaleigh Ashford, John Larroquette, Stephanie Styles, Shakira Barrera, Andrew Keenan-Bolger.
Sounds plausible and unique…NOT

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (The CAS) Netflix (20 Episodes; availability not announced, yet)
Lucy Davis (Wonder Woman) to play Hilda Spellman, the aunt of Sabrina (Kiernan Shipka). “Darker and grittier than the original Sabrina, the Teenage Witch,” 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 coming-of-age story with horror elements, the occult and witchcraft. In this version, Sabrina is trying to reconcile her two halves — human and witch — while trying to protect herself, her family, and the world against the forces of evil.” 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 same team created Riverdale‘s pilot.
I doubt if we’ll watch, but some of you might!

Another Life Netflix (10 Episodes only; availability not announced, yet)
“Astronaut, Niko Breckinridge, is focused on searching for alien intelligence, leading a crew on a mission to explore the genesis of an alien artifact. As Niko and her young crew investigate, they face unimaginable danger on what might very well be a one-way mission.”
Starring one of our faves (we miss Longmire), Katee Sackhoff, as the starship captain. Yay!
We’ll probably catch this at some point

Las Reinas ABC (premiere date not set, yet)
Las Reinas revolves around Detective Sonya De La Reina, who is forced to confront her past when a case compels her to reconnect with her estranged family—the most powerful criminal outfit in Miami. Thrust back into the world she thought she had left behind, Sonya must walk the murky line between the law and her family, and question her true destiny as a De La Reina.”
Sonia Braga stars, and featuring Eliezer Castro and Daniella Alonso. 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 (availability not announced, yet)
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 (WHERE TO WATCH?)
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, as of 6/15/18)


Ongoing Shows or Specials We Like(d) and have watched (UPDATED 6/15/18).

Endeavor BBC/PBS Masterpiece/Amazon Prime (SEASON 4 premieres in USA on PBS week of 6/24/18; available on Az Prime through SEASON 3; SEASON 4 finished airing here in fall, 2017; RENEWED through SEASON 6)
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 through SEASON 6

Salvation CBS (RENEWED for SEASON 2, which premieres 6/25/18)
Adding Jonathan Silverman, bringing back Taylor Cole for SEASON 2.
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.”
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

Suits USA (ENDED for SEASON 7; RENEWED for SEASON 8, which premieres 7/18/18, but without 2 stars and adding one)
Odd send-off for the two lead characters, Patrick J. Adams and Meghan Markle (as of May, 2018, the Duchess of Sussex!), who departed the series at thee end of SEASON 7.
Eager to see what happens next SEASON with Katherine Heigl‘s arrival, and the Donna-Harvey drama.
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. Not much liking the romance parts, but his legal and personal dramas are all right.
Love Louis’ 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, is supposedly getting her own show, based in Chicago… no air dat eor title, yet; see above).
Katherine Heigl (whom I really like, ever since her Roswell days) will be coming on in SEASON 8 to play Specter-Litt’s newest partner, Samantha Wheeler, described as “being cunning enough to become the firm’s ‘greatest ally or most powerful enemy.'”
KEEPING; SEASON 8 RENEWED

*Good Behavior TNT (returned 10/15/17, SEASON 2; RENEWAL in jeopardy for SEASON 3)

Good Behavior TNT

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; RENEWAL in jeopardy SEASON 3

*Call the Midwife PBS (December 25, 2017, special 2-hour episode; then, returned 3/25/18; RENEWED through SEASON 8)
Strong return for SEASON 6, but not many new storylines.
This year’s “Christmas” opener involved the setting of the 1962-63 “Big Freeze” in Britain and its impact on their neighborhood and people. Scary, funny, sad, interesting.
8-episode run for SEASON 7 in the USA starts in early April, 2018; same pattern for 2 more years, SEASONS 8, 9.
Lost several favorite characters in SEASON 6 and, now, 7. Sorry to see them go.
KEEPING and RENEWED for SEASON 8
http://renewcanceltv.com/call-midwife-renewed-series-9-bbc-one/

*When Calls the Heart Hallmark (returned 2/18/18; RENEWED for SEASON 5)
Erin Krakow is good as the lead character, Elizabeth Thatcher, a rich young woman who left 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.

When calls the heart

Lori Loughlin plays her typically maternal and saccharine character, and also, the Mayor, the best friend/ cafe owner/ widow/ adoptive mother/ landlady. 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 Chelah Horsdal and many others from the Hallmark stock character stables.
The show is very sappy, predictable, silly and overly sentimental, with many stereotypes and tropes, but I still watch.
SPOILER ALERT: Jack (Daniel Lessing) is killed off right after they get married at the end of SEASON 4, leaving Elizabeth pregnant (of course, since the film of the same name stars the character who is Elizabeth and Jack’s granddaughter).
Keeping; SEASON 5, RENEWED

*The Crown Netflix (available 12/8/17 for SEASON 2; RENEWED for SEASONS 3 – 6)
For SEASON 3, it is to be set about 20+ years past SEASON 1 (1947 – 1955) and about 10+ years past SEASON 2 (up to about 1965), and gets an entirely new cast of main characters for SEASONS 3 & 4, and again for SEASONS 5 & 6!
“The Crown season 3 will pick up sometime in the 1970s, reportedly spanning Queen Elizabeth II’s reign from about 1971 to 1979. No release date has yet been announced.” But, look for it late in the fall, 2018, is my guess, on NETFLIX.
We will miss the young- to – early middle-aged Queen Elizabeth II as played so well by Claire Foy and the younger version of Princess Margaret, strutted so delightfully by Vanessa Kirby.
But, how excited are we to get Helena Bonham Carter as the older and even more scandalous Princess Margaret?
Curious to see how Olivia Colman takes over for Claire Foy as Elizabeth. When interviewed, she claimed to be intending to “copy” Foy’s performances.
They’ll probably keep and continue to age Eileen Atkins as she capably plays the Queen Mother, Mary, I suppose.
NEWS (3/30/18): Tobias Menzies (Outlander) will play the older Prince Phillip (replacing Matt Smith, whom I didn’t much like in that role, anyway).
Still no word on who will play the young adult versions of Prince Charles and his siblings, or others, yet.
from /Film, so FMI: http://www.slashfilm.com/netflix-the-crown-casts-helena-bonham-carter/
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. Have watched the first several Episodes of SEASON 2 already and LOVING it, all over again. I don’t know much about the relationship between Elizabeth and Philip, nor their friends and family, so it’s all news, to me.
This series is so well-written, acted, and produced I can’t say enough good things about it. The scenes make me laugh, cry and get goosebumps. After watching SEASON 1, I was inspired to watch THREE documentaries about the Royal Family!
John Lithgow was and Clara Foy c0ntinues to be 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 SEASON 2. SEASONS 3 – 6 RENEWED, and recast every 2 SEASONS

*Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (RENEWED for SEASON 6, but returning summer, 2019)
Mom quit last year, and I only half-watch (while coloring). It’s gotten increasingly implausible, more violent, and sillier (without humor) in the last three seasons, but, somehow, I still watch to see how it all goes.
I certainly like the child clairvoyant, the time travel aspects, the tech inventions and the romances more than the fighting and displays of temper and testosterone.
Probably not worth your time; RENEWED for SEASON 6

*Blackish ABC (RENEWED for SEASON 4)
Started watching this On Demand, and now record it. This show has great acting (sometimes), excellent storylines that are relevant and important (and very informative without being heavy-handed), especially for African-Americans (but not only), and funny bits that aren’t usually too silly.
The writers have tackled postpartum depression, incarceration, Type II (Adult Onset) diabetes, divorce, bullying, class issues/homelessness/charity/poverty, marital issues, sibling rivalry, workplace harassment, racism, sexism and so much more, fitting each or more than one topic into a 30-minute segment that features a family that has children from ages 20+ to an infant and one set of divorced grandparents who live in “the backyard.”
I understand why the actors and writers (Kenya Barris, Peter Saji) have won so many awards.
Starring Tracee Ellis Ross, Anthony Anderson, Jenifer Lewis, Lawrence Fishburne, , and the kids (Yara Shahidi, Marcus Scribner, Miles Brown, Marsai Martin and the infant).
Surprisingly good (for a sit-com), sometimes; RENEWED for SEASON 4

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Amazon Prime (SEASON 1 available 11/29/17; RENEWED for SEASONS 2 & 3)
Has won 2 Golden Globes and is up for other awards.
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, award-winning 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 (doing double-duty as the principle of Speechless‘ high school, too) as her frosty mother. With Alex Borstein as her staunchest supporter/new agent,
Intelligent, funny and interesting.

We watched all of SEASON 1 and eagerly await SEASON 2.
KEEPING and RENEWED for SeasonS 2 & 3

Chicago Med NBC (returned 1/2/18; RENEWED for SEASON 4)
We LOVE Oliver Platt, and the rest of the cast are good, with interesting (but largely implausible) stories. A bit too much soap opera-esque-ness in these nighttime medical shows: how do they have so much time on their hands?
Hooked; RENEWED for SEASON 4

Blindspot (resumed 1/12/18; (RENEWED for SEASON 4)
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 liked 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; RENEWED for SEASON 4

Madam Secretary CBS (RENEWED for SEASON 5)
GREAT SHOW! LOVE Tea Leoni and Tim Daly, and the “kids” are still great, as are the others. Great Seasons 3 & 4. Still loving this.
RENEWED for SEASON 5

MadamSecretary

Supergirl CW (resumed 1/15/18; RENEWED for SEASON 4)
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, and currently on 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.
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? Some singing in the “Earth X” 3-Episodes crossovers (with The Flash and Arrow) in late 2017, re-run in early 2018, but too much fighting, silly Nazi-themed story, and not enough SINGING!
Not liking SEASON 3; RENEWED for SEASON 4

The Gifted Fox (FINALE aired 1/15/18; RENEWED for SEASON 2)
Grace Byers (Empire) is joining for SEASON 2 as Reeva, “a smart, charming, authoritative, elegant, beautiful woman who is ruthless in her efforts to fight for her people.” If you remember, at the end of SEASON 1, the mutants and allies had a split. Those joining Emma Dumont’s Polaris, Percy Hynes White’s Andy Strucker and the Frost triplets (all played by played by Skyler Samuels) include this new character, Reeva.
We like thisseries, 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; RENEWED for SEASON 2

The Blacklist NBC (resumed 1/3/18; RENEWED for SEASON 6)
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.
BUT, killing off Tom was terrible, and the changes in Lizzie are quite questionable for SEASON 5.
Plus, another daughter for Reddington suddenly surfaces? Why?
Keeping for SEASON 5; in danger of being canceled

How to Get Away with Murder ABC (resumed 1/18/18; RENEWED for SEASON 5)
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.
LOVED the cross-over Episodes with Scandal in its final SEASON! Reminded us of the reasons we originally liked this show! The Supreme Court speeches were awesome! Cicely Tyson was even more amazing!
Keeping, but not liking SEASON 4; RENEWED for SEASON 5

Blue Bloods CBS (resumed 1/19/18 for SEASON 8; RENEWED for SEASON 9)
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. Love to see Bebe Neuwirth (miss her on Madam Secretary), any time.
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)?
Definitely staying tuned, if only to see what these writers are up to this year. Great to end with Jamie and his partner’s engagement; now, need more of Erin.

Blue Bloods

KEEPING for SEASON 8; ; RENEWED for SEASON 9

Chicago P.D. NBC (resumed 1/3/18; RENEWED for SEASON 6)
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”; RENEWED for SEASON 6

Chicago Fire NBC (resumed 1/4/18; RENEWED for SEASON 4)
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 (resumed 1/18/18; RENEWED for SEASONS 15 & 16; see top of this post for SPINOFFs news;)
I am a long-time fan of this show, especially, Ellen Pompeo. Now spawning its 3rd and 4th spin-offs for 2018!
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 each SEASON, and I always enjoy it, even though some key characters keep leaving/being asked to leave.
Grey’s Anatomy‘s casting/recasting:
Sorry to say good-bye to Jessica Capshaw (Arizona Robbins) and Sarah Drew (April Kepner), who chose to leave the show at the end of SEASON 14 (2018) and Sara Ramirez (Callie) at the end of SEASON 12 (2016), but she has been on Madam Secretary this year (2017-18).

KEEPING for SEASON 14; RENEWED for SEASONS 15 & 16

*Speechless ABC (returned 9/27/17; RENEWED for SEASON 3)
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 was mostly good, but not great.

speechless

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.
USUALLY GOOD and KEEPING; RENEWED for SEASON 3

This is Us NBC (resumed 1/2/18; RENEWED for SEASON 3)
Won Golden Globe and SAG awards, already.
Starring 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). Has won many awards, but does NOT deserve any for writing or character development, which SUCK.
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 kept watching, but we’re not as enamored as we were. Episode 2 and subsequent Episodes for SEASON 2 were even worse.
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 MANY writing decisions:
—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 misleading. Plenty of people have talented, beautiful parents and do not become obese, emotional wrecks. PLUS, how could this girl gain weight, lose weight, gain weight and blame it on OTHERS? Ridiculous.
—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…
—3) The parents came from dysfunctional families/bad parents and managed to become decent parents (mostly). So, why are their adult children so screwed up? The death of a parent, especially when they’re already seniors in high school, while tragic, is NOT a sufficient trauma to cause each of their many neuroses and such atrocious self-absorption/selfishness.
One highlight: Justin Hartley plays a “bad actor” very well, which is not easy at all.

this-is-us-2016

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’ finales for both SEASONS.
KEEPING but not liking for SEASON 2; RENEWED for 3

NCIS CBS (returned 9/26/17; RENEWED for SEASON 16)
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! Sorry to say good-bye to Duane Henry (MI-6 and NCIS Agent Clayton Reeves), but they really didn’t give him enough to do this year. Gary Glasberg, the man who had advocated for and hired him, had died right after Henry started; apparently, no one else seemed to have a good storyline for him.
We are fans of this show, regardless.
Glad they’re giving Bishop more to do.
KEEPING for SEASON 15; RENEWED for SEASON 16

Bull CBS (returned 9/26/17; RENEWED for SEASON 3)
We LOVE this show! 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.
BUT (SPOILER ALERT), glad they did NOT get rid of Cable! Terrible choice!
Glad we knew it was renewed, or the ending of SEASON 2’s finale would have been too upsetting!
RENEWED for SEASON 3

NCIS New Orleans CBS (returned 9/26/17; RENEWED for SEASON 5)
Sorry Shalita Grant decided to leave. Wonder who they’ll bring on?
Good start to SEASON 4. 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. But, then, it went off the rails repeatedly and seems intent on staying there: the “Let’s Ruin Pride” storylines are BORING.
Plus, no one has been tapped to replace Grant! They could have torn a page or two from the Bones‘ writers’ scripts: have rotating “auditions” for new agents, each with a speciality that fits the Episode’s crimes, instead of these tired tropes of conspiracies against Pride.
KEEPING, reluctantly; RENEWED for SEASON 5

The Good Doctor ABC (premiered 9/25/17; RENEWED for SEASON 2)
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)].
BUT, they bring/have on good characters, only to eliminate them. Why?
We really like this one; KEEPING and RENEWED for SEASON 2

The Good Place NBC (resumed 1/4/18; RENEWED for SEASON 3)
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; oddly, RENEWED for SEASON 3

*Full Frontal with Samantha Bee (ongoing in 2017-18; RENEWED for SEASONS 3 & 4)
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.

Full Frontal

Strong return for SEASON 2, but I AM SO SICK OF TRUMP!
Definitely keeping and glad it was RENEWED for SEASONS 3 & 4

*Midnight, Texas TNT (premiered in July, 2017; returns October, 2018; RENEWED for SEASON 2)
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).
Keeping, solo; RENEWED for SEASON 2

Shetland BBC One/Netflix (SEASON 4 aired in early 2018; should be on Netflix soon)
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

Grace & Frankie Netflix (SEASON 4 returned 1/19/18; RENEWED for SEASON 5)
The writing has deteriorated even worse for SEASONs 3 & 4. The acting is worse, also, for every actor except Jane Fonda, who manages to have a character and not a caricature more than the rest. Bad directing, bad writing, terrible hamming/performing rather than acting, especially by the men. Still ZERO chemistry between ANY of the couples on this show, hetero or homo. Poor casting?
My mom and I watch, but we are constantly disappointed and disgusted.
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 2-D version of its original concept, and the characters of all the gay men, including Martin Sheen ‘s and Sam Waterston‘s, are 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 is the only one of the four who actually inhabits a realistic version of a character via acting, and I think she gets the best storylines.
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 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. We hoped these actors would get to do more than mug, crack jokes and be cardboard cutouts.
Ernie Hudson returned as Lily’s lover, Jacob, but then is gone. Peter Gallagher is the best of the bunch, but his lines are so trite.
This show could be SO MUCH BETTER! But, the writing usually trivializes what few actual issues there are, going for silly and getting sillier, even though the topics are significant. For example,
—Why do Sol and Robert’s arguments make them sound as if they’re 14-year-old girls?
— Why trivialize/parody the dying, strokes, heart attacks, losses, dementia, knee problems, muggings, burglaries, robberies and other crimes committed against senior citizens while parodying real concerns about home owners having loaded guns on site or need to be put into assisted living?
—How could women raising several children deal with husbands who won’t grow up besides divorcing them?
—How do couples who based their entire relationship on lifetimes of duplicity, dishonesty, and other problems that do not disappear once they are discussed form positive relationships?
—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.
CONTINUING, but frequently disappointed; RENEWED for SEASON 5

Orville FOX (premiered 9/10/17; RENEWED for SEASON 2, return 12/30/18)
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

Marvel’s The Defenders Netflix (SEASON 1 available since August, 2017; unexpectedly CANCELED after having been renewed for SEASON 2)
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; CANCELED after having been renewed for SEASON 2

Big Little Lies HBO and DVD (SEASON 1 premiered 2/19/17; SEASON 2 premieres spring/summer, 2018)
Won many awards already (Golden Globes, SAG).
“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

The Heart Guy (AKA Doctor, Doctor) ACORN TV (SEASON 1 on DVD) (RENEWED for SEASON 2)
Surprisingly and increasingly engaging 10-Episode Australian-made dramedy starring some actors I’ve seen in other Australian series and BBC shows.
Story is plausible and interesting, even if some of the characters are very broadly drawn. “A rising heart surgeon’s life takes a turn he never expected and soon everything comes crashing down. He soon finds himself a former big city doctor turned small town doctor. It could be the worst year of his life or just what the doctor ordered.”
Diverse cast starring and featuring: Rodger Corser (McCleod’s Daughters, Home and Away) as Hugh Knight, Nicole da Silva (All Saints, Home and Away) as Charlie, Ryan Johnson (Fairly Legal, Home and Away, All Saints) as Matt Knight, Hayley McElhinney as Penny, Tina Bursill (All Saints, Home and Away) as Meryl Knight, Steve Bisley as Jim Knight, Shalom Brune-Franklin as Aoife, Belinda Bromilow as Betty, Matt Castley as Ajax, Winta McGrath as Floyd.
We don’t subscribe to ACORN, so we get the DVDs from our public library. I can’t find anywhere to watch this online without paying for ACORN, so far.
Enjoying this a lot; Looking forward to SEASON 2 on DVD

*Black Mirror Netflix (SEASONS 1 – 4 available after 1/5/18; RENEWED for SEASON 5)
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 12 episodes, now. Many are truly awful, dystopian, nightmarish depictions of our future.
It’s now in its 4th season, so if you can stomach it, there are many episodes to watch!
Watching, but nauseated; RENEWED for SEASON 5

Travelers Netflix (SEASONS 1 & 2 available in 2017-18; RENEWED for SEASON 3)
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


Already Shown/Ended for Now; Can Catch Again (On Demand or online)

RECOMMENDED but discontinued/canceled or already aired:
Alpha House
Bellevue
Miss Fischer’s Murder Mysteries
Deception
Designated Survivor
Mozart in the Jungle
Prime Suspect: Tennison
Scandal
The Americans
Vexed

The original of The Bletchley Circle ended, but a new spin-off (see “NEWS” section, above) is coming soon, set in San Francisco!

Some of these, above and below, we’re still watching. They could be available On Demand or online, but we’re not sure when/if they are returning

For PBS special productions (Great Performances of filmed live plays, concerts, more), stream them online: http://www.pbs.org

*The Pinkertons Netflix (one SEASON only, from 2016-17)
Martha MacIsaac (FABULOUS!), Jacob Blair and occasionally, Angus McFadyen, with a lot of others with marvelous acting chops guest star or appear repeatedly in this post-Civil War-era depiction of some of the actual cases and people involved with The Pinkerton Detective Agency in Kansas City, Missouri. Mom doesn’t like period pieces, much so I watched the first 22 Episodes (divided into 2 “SEASONS”). Hoping for another one or two SEASONS!
Great acting, verisimilitude, politics and humor along with serious early CSI work, filmed well.
Excellent series; wish for another SEASON!

*Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries Netflix (3 SEASONS and 3 planned films, for 2018 and beyond)
Another excellent, feminist, fun detective series from Australia with a female protagonist, Miss Fisher, played so well by Essie Davis, and a male counterpart (Nathan Page). Great supporting cast, especially her side-kicks, music and plots.

Set in the twenties, so Mom won’t watch it. I really like the series and look forward to the films.
Worth your time

*The Americans TNT (ENDED May, 2018)
Final SEASON seems to have jumped ahead a few years and finds Paige working for the Soviets, directed mostly by her mom and Margo Martindale’s character; son is away at school at mostly appears in phone calls. Phillip has left the spy game, but keeps getting drawn in; and is mostly working at the travel agency and arguing with his wife, who has gotten very dark and depressive/angry. It all seems so sad.
Many have been and are still weighing in on this series’ ending/finale, possibly due to the Russia-is-the-enemy resurgence these days. SPOILERS, here, but check out Rolling Stone‘s review, if you want: https://www.rollingstone.com/tv/features/the-americans-series-finale-interview-w520779
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.
ENDED

*#MeToo, Now What? PBS (premiered 2/2/18; weekly, for 5 weeks,and online)
Five-part series from “Women for Women International founder, Zainab Salbi, [who] will host, exec produce, and contribute to the project’s reporting…[and] will have women and men of all ages on as guests. Activists, journalists, celebrities, and professional leaders [who] will also be invited to appear. With Salbi, they’ll discuss pop culture’s influence on the workplace, pay inequality, discrimination, intersectionality, and other topics.”
I have watched the first 4 Episodes, which had very different formats and purposes. Interesting, infuriating, painful, educational. Worthwhile, if you can stand to watch/listen.
The series has “… women and men of all ages on as guests. Activists, journalists, celebrities, and professional leaders [who] will also be invited to appear… [to] discuss pop culture’s influence on the workplace, pay inequality, discrimination, intersectionality, and other topics.”
FMI: https://blog.womenandhollywood.com/pbs-to-air-five-part-series-about-metoo-ae05dacb3cf3
Very powerful

American Masters on PBS: Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story, PBS (out on DVD/VOD 4/24/18; premiered 5/18/18)
THIS WAS FASCINATING and very sad, as well. If you have an interest, it’s very well done, with amazing film and still photos from many decades of Lamarr‘s life, interviews with her children and granddaughter and many others as well as Lamarr herself.
Here are some clips: http://www.pbs.org/video/bombshell-hedy-lamarr-story-trailer-alebky/
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.”
We liked this a lot

The Late Late Late Show Carpool Karaoke– 3rd Primetime Special CBS (aired 4/23/18)
We LOVE these scenes and were glad to watch even the ones we’d already seen on James Corden‘s show. Then, we were rewarded by a funny opening scene that turned into a hip-hop number AND a brand-new “Broadway Crosswalk” musical excerpts set with great guests!
So fun!

*Lorraine Hansberry: Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart (Documentary) PBS (Premiered 1/19/18)
I’ve watched about half of this: it is FANTASTIC! Worthwhile, every moment!
“Award-winning filmmaker, Tracy Heather Strain, examines the activism and art of Lorraine Hansberry beyond her best-known play, “A Raisin in the Sun.” The film features interviews with Sidney Poitier, Ruby Dee, Harry Belafonte, and Louis Gossett Jr., narration by award-winning actress, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, and the voice of Tony Award-winning actress, Anika Noni Rose, as Hansberry. The result is a timely and revealing portrait of an activist and artist whose popular recognition has, until now, remained long overdue.” (Press materials)
FANTASTIC! Worthwhile, every moment!

*Mozart in the Jungle Amazon Prime (SEASONS 1 – 4 available; CANCELED after SEASON 4)
Magical realism meets drug-addled, drunk and driven musicians and other artists in this odd romp through classical and other orchestral experiences; I have been enjoying it a lot. Funny thing: I avoided watching it for a while because I thought it was set in South America or Africa and would be weird; then, I realized Bernadette Peters stars in it AND then found out there is no “jungle” except for New York City.
Starring some fabulous characters, even if most are not actually musicians (or not that good) IRL: Gael García Bernal, Lola Kirke, Saffron Burrows, Debra Monk and a host of others (many actually playing the musical instruments or dancing, some not); and featuring Bernadette Peters, Malcolm McDowell, Dermot Mulroney, Jason Schwartzman, Gretchen Mol, Wallace Shawn, the great Joshua Bell (violinist/Concert Master), and many others you may recognize.
“Love, money, ambition and music intertwine in Mozart in the Jungle, a half-hour comedic drama that looks at finding yourself and finding love while conquering New York City. A brash new maestro, Rodrigo (Gael Garcia Bernal), stirs up the New York Symphony as young oboist, Hailey (Lola Kirke) hopes for her big chance.”
Great fun and music, both; CANCELED after SEASON 4

Vexed Netflix (2 SEASONS)
This British detective series is trite, but cute and somewhat interesting. Can be funny enough to laugh out loud. Strong characters, good plots. Weird, though, that we never see or meet anyone else from their police station: no DCI (Detective Chief Inspector), no other colleagues (except occasionally, in the background).
Starring: Toby Stephens and Lucy Punch (SEASON 1) and Toby Stephens and Miranda Raison (SEASON 2)

Toby Stephens and Miranda Raison, stars of SEASON 2 of Vexed

Somewhat trite, but cute; 2 SEASONS

Fearless Amazon (premiered/available 10/27/17, but only has one SEASON)
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.”
We have watched all the Episodes, but just found out it won’t have a SEASON 2.
Is strange, but interesting; only has one SEASON)

*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)
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

*Dian Fossey: Secrets in the Mist National Geographic (3-part docuseries; Premiered 12/6/17)
“Culled from over 40 hours of rare archival footage, this three-part special allows the pioneer researcher to narrate her own tale, with excerpts from Dian Fossey‘s writings read by Sigourney Weaver (who previously portrayed Fossey [in the biopic film,] Gorillas in the Mist).”
I am watching this, but it is SO SAD! What a treasure Fossey was.

*PSYCH USA (12/7/17 first film premiered)
This silly but endearing show returned 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.
In this one (and probably more( they sing, again! So fun.
“…[F]eaturing fake psychic detective, Shawn Spencer (James Roday) and his best friend, Burton “Gus” Guster (Dulé Hill), the team reunited once again… when the two-hour special premiered 2017 (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) also returned for the movie, which picks up three years after the series finale.”

Silly, but fun

Great Performances, “She Loves Me” PBS (aired 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!

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

*Godless Netflix (available November, 2017; 7 Episodes)
Great cast: Jeff Daniels, Michelle Dockery, Sam Waterson, and many more great actors. But, it’s a WESTERN…!? Gruesome, violent, sad, but somehow, compelling.
I watched and mostly liked this

The Carol Burnett 50th Anniversary Special CBS (premiered 12/3/17)
The Carol Burnett Show turns 50 and to celebrate the momentous occasion, CBS will honor the groundbreaking comedy series with …[this] one-night event, which will film at the series’ original soundstage at CBS Television City in Los Angeles, will feature: Burnett, original cast members, Vicki Lawrence and Lyle Waggoner; costume designer, Bob Mackie; and a slew of special guests, including Kristin Chenoweth, Jane Lynch, Bernadette Peters, Maya Rudolph, Stephen Colbert, Harry Connick Jr., Bill Hader, Jay Leno, Jim Carrey and Martin Short.”
My mom is a big fan and a contemporary of Burnett. We LOVED this! Highly recommended, despite some very cheesy parts and unnecessary banter with “new” comedians.
Mom said she missed Harvey Korman and Tim Conway (Korman died in 2008; Conway is ill; both were regulars on the original show).
Definitely LOVED this

*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

Jesus Christ Superstar NBC (premiered LIVE on Easter Sunday, 4/1/18)
A Broadway-filmed “live” (at filming time) showing of Jesus Christ Superstar (JCS)! If you’ve never seen it, it’s very worth it, when done well. It’s brilliant. JCS was 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, this one is told from Judas’ POV.
Amazing sets and lighting design, especially for the closing scenes. Our highest praise is for the staging.
Some of Camille Moore‘s choreography was good, some silly and/or derivative of other (not this) shows, some moves and configurations were interesting; none was great.
Some of the singers are NOT Broadway experienced and were difficult to hear or understand, even with microphones. Some were not on key too much of the time. Maybe they’ve been too reliant on post-production recording software to tune them up?
David Leveaux‘s direction was not great, either. Many actors were poorly situated or coached for the camera angles and lyrics. Some seemed to miss the points of their characters at key moments in their songs. Some were not well-directed or couldn’t act as well as they sang (or couldn’t do either aspect well), so some were poorly cast and it seemed more for their celebrity than their talent or suitability for this venue and these roles.
I’ve seen the first JCS film multiple times and the play produced in a variety of theatres. My opinion is both as a fan and as a professional. My mom had never seen it, anywhere, and is not a professional, but we agreed on all of these points.
Brandon Victor Dixon was the best and most experienced (Hamilton, for one), but even his songs were not great, some of the time. Sara Bareilles was one of the better ones, singing and acting, but poorly cast (there was zero chemistry between her and Legend). John Legend as Jesus was mediocre (and we’re being generous) at best; not at all up to the part, its subtleties or vocals.
Alice Cooper as King Herod was a sensation for casting, but barely audible, uninteresting and mostly flash with no substance (great costume, though). Jin Ha and Norm Lewis were not vocally capable of their demanding parts. Ben Daniels was a better actor than singer, as Pilate.
Overall, though, well-produced and fun/interesting/sad to watch. Worth your time, especially if you’ve never seen the play or the film (Mom was a newbie).

Mostly great and worth watching


Shows we NAYed: OFF OUR LIST

Killing Eve BBC America (premiered 4/8/18; already RENEWED for SEASON 2)
We liked it enough to continue after Episode 1 and 2, and Sandra Oh is great, as usual, but there is an odd and not entirely likable assortment of other characters, and Episodes got increasingly darker.
The storyline—Oh’s character goes from MI-5 Analyst to Agent early in SEASON 1 to chase an assassin, and it’s already been gruesome—only gets weirder and worse.
“A security operative hunts for an assassin. Based on the Villanelle novellas by Luke Jennings.”
Starring: Fiona Shaw, Sandra Oh, Jodie Comer.

After after Episode 3, TOO DARK & not continuing); already RENEWED for SEASON 2

The Doctor Blake Mysteries Netflix (on PBS and other online outlets)
Star Craig McLachlan has been accused and is being investigated for sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior on set, so the films are on hold, the show may not continue, and we are NOT going to continue, either. Too bad; it was a good show.
The Doctor Blake Mysteries is an original, period murder mystery series, starring one of Australia’s favourite, most versatile actors, Craig McLachlan, as the maverick town doctor, Lucien Blake. A risk-taker, he is impulsive and not afraid to upset the status quo. Dr. Lucien Blake left Ballarat as a young man. But now, he finds himself returning, to take over his dead father’s medical practice. And one of the unwanted duties his father left him is the on-call role of police surgeon. Set in the old gothic gold rush town of Ballarat in 1959. The wealth that built its grand architecture long gone-but not the mysteries, murder and deceit that linger beneath the surface of its faded glory.”
Also starring Joel Tobeck, Nadine Garner, Rick Donald.
SEASON 1 aired in 2013. SEASON 2, with another 10 episodes, aired in 2014 and SEASON 3 aired in 2015.
We liked this, but now, NO

Shoot the Messenger WGN (premiered 2/26/18; 8-part miniseries)
They started too soon with a murder of someone the viewers don’t even know. What is the point of that? Also, we didn’t like any of the main characters, so it’s off our list.
“Daisy, a reporter trying to balance personal life with her career, follows a story about a murder….[and] becomes embroiled in a web of urban gangs, the political class, corporate power-brokers and the police.”
Starring: Elyse Levesque (Orphan Black), Lyriq Bent, Lucas Bryant and Alex Kingston.
Weird and not worth our time

McMafia AMC (premiered 2/26/18; RENEWED for SEASON 2)
Another crime drama that begins with an explosive crime before we have had a chance to know anyone, then introduces a string of many unlikable people. Why? Also, far too many minutes with only subtitles because the languages used aren’t English. Hate that. Off our list.
“Alex Godman, the English-raised son of Russian mafia exiles, has spent his life trying to escape the shadow of their past, building his own legitimate business and forging a life with his girlfriend, Rebecca. But when a murder unearths his family’s past, Alex is drawn into the criminal underworld where he must confront his values to protect those he loves.”
Starring: James Norton, David Strathairn, Juliet Rylance.
TOO VIOLENT and NO GOOD GUYS; RENEWED for SEASON 2

*Black Lightning CW (premiered 1/16/18; RENEWED for SEASON 2)
“A retired superhero becomes a vigilante for justice.” So, a middle-aged African-American man used to be and then resumes his superhero antics in a violent city. Based on the comic books. I like the actors, but…Mom won’t watch, and I probably won’t continue.
Starring Cress Williams, China Anne McClain, Nafessa Williams and a bunch of others I recognized.
TOO VIOLENT and DARK; OFF MY LIST after 2 Episodes; RENEWED for SEASON 2

Rosehaven Sundance (premiered week of 9/23/17; RENEWED for SEASONS 2 & 3)
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; RENEWED for SEASONS 2 & 3

SEAL Team CBS (premiered 9/27/17; RENEWED for SEASON 2)
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. Got Mom to watch one Episode and we watched another one together. I viewed (as described) the other 3 Episodes and decided to record the rest of the series. Fast-forward doesn’t work On Demand, so was glad to have that for recordings for those scenes we hate. 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.
Then, neither of us wanted to watch any more Episodes: too violent and depressing.

David Boreanaz

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?
even David Boreanaz couldn’t make us keep watching all this violence and Middle Eastern warfare; RENEWED for SEASON 2

Will & Grace NBC (premiered 9/28/17; RENEWED & expanded for SEASONS 10 & 11)
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; RENEWED & expanded for SEASONS 10 & 11

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; may be CANCELED)
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; may be CANCELED

Star Trek: Discovery on CBS All Access for subscribers, only, but their first episodes are also on CBS (premiered 9/24/17; RENEWED, SEASON 2 but may be CANCELED for SEASON 3)
#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.
https://www.digitaltrends.com/home-theater/star-trek-tv-series-info/
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, SEASON 2 but may be CANCELED for SEASON 3

*The Opposition with Jordan Keppler Comedy Central (premiered 9/25/17; ends 6/28/18)
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; Ends 6/28/18

*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 (returns 8/5/18; RENEWED for SEASON 3 and we’ll probably watch/Fast-Forward)
Meghan Ory, Jesse Metcalfe, Barbara Niven, Treat Williams

Chesapeake Shores

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; RENEWED for SEASON 3 and we’ll probably watch/Fast-Forward.

Great Performances, “Present Laughter” PBS (aired 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 watched about 40 minutes of this, up to and including Kate Burton‘s entrance, hoping it would improve, but NO. It really was unwatchable (for us).
I’m sure they were faithful to the original script and intent of the play and that these kinds of broad, sweeping and screeching performances (no one but Kline was acting, and he only some of the time; everyone was PERFORMING) are “the usual” for a Noel Coward production. We simply didn’t like any of it: not the characters, the performances, the lack of plot, the 1920s era. We found it insipid, boring and flat.
If this type of thing is to your liking, go for it.
We LOVE Kevin Kline and Broadway brought to our home, but NO

Great Performances, “Indecent” PBS (airs frequently and is online at pbs.org)
We couldn’t watch it after about 20 minutes. Weird, boring, oddly not interesting even though it should have been. Maybe trying too hard?
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.
FMI: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/gperf/indecent-about-indecent/7689/
We couldn’t watch it after about 20 minutes

*The Magicians SyFy (returned 1/10/18 for SEASON 3; RENEWED for SEASON 4)
Stopped watching, mid-SEASON 3. BORING.
First episode of SEASON 3 was better than SEASON 2’s, but the writers are still including too much campy “in” joke references to other fantasy/sci-fi shows.
STOPPED watching mid-SEASON 3, after Fast-Forwarding a lot; RENEWED for SEASON 4

Absentia Amazon Prime (was first on Sony AXN) (available 2/2/18; RENEWED for SEASONS 2 & 3).
This was very dark, depressing, scary and NOT FOR US. We lasted through 1 Episode, but that is IT for us.
Stana Katic (loved her in Castle) 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.’”
OFF OUR LIST; RENEWED for SEASONS 2 & 3

Child in Time PBS (started airing early April; online and repeated often on TV)
We like Benedict Cumberbatch, so we sat through this entire short film (90 minutes), hoping it would eventually hang together and be worthwhile. It never did and it wasn’t; not at all.
Why the occasional magical realism in an otherwise gritty tale? Why the mental breakdown of a minor character? Why the sinister Prime Minister and crony? Why the child care committee meetings? So much was unnecessary or never connected to the main story, which was such a downer, any way.
Don’t bother.
Dark, depressing, sad and disjointed.
What was the point?


Superslow Brain Waves May Play a Critical Role in Consciousness

This and many more reasons are MAJOR causes of concern when some ignorant medical person or even a neurologist tells a family that their relative/loved one is “brain dead,” or in a “persistent vegetative state,” because some of them “wake up” and are FINE.

We need to know more before we “pull the plug” on these comatose individuals, yes?

It's Interesting

Signals long thought to be “noise” appear to represent a distinct form of brain activity.

By Tanya Lewis

Every few seconds a wave of electrical activity travels through the brain, like a large swell moving through the ocean. Scientists first detected these ultraslow undulations decades ago in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans of people and other animals at rest—but the phenomenon was thought to be either electrical “noise” or the sum of much faster brain signals and was largely ignored.

Now a study that measured these “infraslow” (less than 0.1 hertz) brain waves in mice suggests they are a distinct type of brain activity that depends on an animal’s conscious state. But big questions remain about these waves’ origin and function.

An fMRI scan detects changes in blood flow that are assumed to be linked to neural activity. “When you put someone in a scanner, if you just look…

View original post 378 more words

Rape Victim Awarded $1 Billion To Be The Largest Jury Verdict.

Best message, ever: “‘Want to know what a victim of rape is worth? 1 billion. Record 12 person jury verdict. Juries are saying no to sexual assault and holding companies accountable!’ he wrote.”

When the laws against assault serve as a proper deterrent based on CONSEQUENCES, THEN we will have fewer assaults.

#stoprape

My Black Blog

A Georgia rape victim was awarded $1 billion in what’s believed to be the largest jury verdict ever handed down in an American assault case, according to reports Friday.

“It’s one of the biggest victories for women in the United States,” Chris Stewart, a lawyer for victim Hope Cheston, said at a press conference.

“They said a little black girl in Clayton County who was raped is worth $1 billion. That was a big win for us,” he said, according to the local station 11alive.com.

Cheston was 14 years old and visiting a friend in October 2012 when she was attacked by apartment security guard Brandon Lamar Zachary in an Atlanta suburb, according to court documents cited by the station.

A civil jury ruled Tuesday that the security company that hired the guard, Crime Prevention Agency, must fork over the massive payout because it failed to properly monitor their violent…

View original post 288 more words

“10 Newly Discovered Species for 2018”! #scienceforthewin

“10 Newly Discovered Species for 2018”! #scienceforthewin

How fun and fascinating?

These 10 (plus many more) newly discovered species are found in video form and with more textual details in the link, below. Here is the shortened list:

  1. Xenoturbella churro = a new marine worm that resembles…yes, a churro (Mexican, sugared, fried, oblong snack, kind of like a doughnut in cruller shape, usually dipped in sauces), that is kind of large, “between 4 and 10 inches,” and carnivorous: it “feeds off mollusks like clams.”


    Xenoturbella churro, image from https://scripps.ucsd.edu/news/churro-marine-worm-discovered-scripps-scientists-one-top-10-species-2017

  2. TO BE NAMED: a new, bright blue tarantula, discovered by some random guy (maybe it will be named after him, which would be “Andrew Snyder”?). It is the “first blue tarantula found in South America” because they’re usually in “Southeast Asia, and secondly, this one was living in a colony, which is very unusual for spiders.”
  3. Deadly Fruit is actually not new; been known for over 50 years. Named by Australian 7th-graders due to its characteristics. This “obscure relative of the tomato…when cut open, the flesh of the fruit changes from whitish green to blood red and then matures into a dry, white bony state.”
  4. The Devil Orchid aka Telipogon diabolicus, is said to resemble the “head of the Devil” (?), but what I found fascinating is its hermaphroditic status, because it is said to be “a fusion of male and female flower parts.” Found, but may soon be lost, in Columbia’s reconstruction zone.
  5. NOT YET NAMED, a new gecko, astonishing because it can elude predators by completely shedding its overlapping scales, then regrow them within a few weeks.
  6. Plenaster craigi is a newish species of abyssal sponge, actually discovered in 2013 but confirmed in 2017, in The Clarion-Clipperton Zone (CCZ), the East Pacific Ocean near Singapore. It survives in total darkness and eats “metal-rich nodules.”
  7. Arcella gandalfi is a kind of single-celled but large freshwater amoeba—“quite big, measuring 81 micrometers in diameter and 71 micrometers in height”—found in Brazil. Yes, it vaguely resembles the hat worn by the character, Gandalf, as seen in the trilogy of films based on the J.R.R. Tolkein books, The Lord of the Rings.
  8. Pink Floyd pistol shrimp is “a new species of snapping shrimp found in the waters off the Pacific coast of Panama.” Besides its neon pink claw, this predator is LOUD! It “can kill its prey with noise! The snap of that giant claw is loud and powerful that it creates cavitation bubbles, which then burst into the prey, either stunning them or killing them. The sound reaches levels of 210 decibels, which is louder than a gunshot!”
  9. UNNAMED SO FAR, an ancient giant sloth fossil (up to 500 lbs, estimated) was found “in an underwater cave in the jungle of the Yucatán in Mexico.” Notable both for its huge size and the location (most fossils decay rapidly in this area of high humidity). No live ones spotted, though.
  10. NOT YET NAMED a hermit crab with a sea anemone fastened onto its back is a new dual species found in South African, only about 2 – 3 inches long.

All quotes and info, above, are from this page, below, has the “top 10,” plus 11 more, plus even more and more links to other new-ishly discovered species:
https://dearkitty1.wordpress.com/2018/05/24/top-10-newly-discovered-species-for-2018/

Grateful for Musicians, Singers, Musical Leaders who “keep on keeping on” in “The Movement(s)”

Grateful for Musicians/Singers/Leaders
who “keep on keeping on” in “The Movement(s)”


from http://www.lovethispic.com/image/150339/keep-on-keeping-on

I spent a wonderful (but kind of sad; see below) evening last week (Friday, May 4), at Emerson Unitarian Universalist Chapel in St. Charles, Missouri, USA, listening to the fabulous Roy Zimmerman sing, talk, and cleverly satirize many social, political, cultural and legal developments and issues from the last several decades.


Roy Zimmerman, ReZist show, performing in St. Charles, MO, 5/4/18

Roy Zimmerman is the most recent addition to my life’s intentional collection of dozens of extremely talented and special musicians, writers, filmmakers, poets, playwrights, other artists and performers and, of course, political/social leaders who continue to inspire, encourage and demonstrate commitment to whatever movements they believe most in. These often outspoken heroes and heroines also collaborate with and support others day after day, week after week, year after year, decades on decades.

Is there a category—a title—for such a role in our culture? I wish I knew what it is or could invent one. IDEAS HERE, please: http://www.sallyember.com/blog

I wanted to take a moment, here, to name the ones I can remember best who have personally inspired, entertained, encouraged and led me, and without whom I would certainly have given up feeling optimistic and collectively working for positive change a long time ago.

“Big Mike” Lainoff

—My first and most treasured inspiration is the recently-deceased and much-missed former director of the four JCCA (Jewish Community Center Association [of St. Louis]) summer camps I attended as a child and teen: Camp Council (a day camp), and residential Lake of the Ozark area camps, Camp Hawthorn, Red Bud Camp and their successor, Camp Sabra, Harold “Big Mike” Lainoff (I wrote about him prior to this). In addition to being a recreation manager/leader, Big Mike was a gifted guitar player/singer/songleader and storyteller who could captivate, involve and educate a mess hall or a campfire of over a hundred rowdy kids, teens and staff for long periods of time despite pouring rain, high humidity, blazing heat and roaring wind. Amazing.


“Big Mike” Lainoff, circa 1965, Camp Hawthorn, Kaiser, MO (Lake of the Ozarks)

When I first heard Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie‘s songs and stories, I thought they had stolen them from Big Mike (I was 7 when I met Big Mike…). Later, I realized it was the other way around. But, who cares? Big Mike brought Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, Arlo Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Peter, Paul & Mary, Phil Ochs, John Lennon, Tom Paxton, Donovan, Jackson Browne, Tom Lehrer, Judy Collins, Odetta, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Joni Mitchell and many more USA civil rights’ and social activists’ songwriters’ lyrics and melodies directly to us—mostly Jewish kids, from the suburbs of St. Louis, in the 1960s—while we learned to swim, make campfires, pitch tents, hike, canoe, sail, waterski and so much more.

I grew to love these songs whose lyrics explained class differences, racial injustices, yearnings for peace and equality, deep and abiding love for each other and for a special person, recognitions of mistakes and ways to rectify them, inchoate longings for a better world and to be a better person. I learned the words and melodies and sang them to myself all year long, for decades. I still remember most of them: “Banks of Marble,” “Blowin’ in the Wind,” “Respect,” “The Song is Love,” “Both Sides Now,” “Fountain of Sorrow,” “Changes,” “Peaceful Easy Feeling,” “Reel, Oh Reel,” “Oleanna,” “Ain’t Gonna Study War No More,” “Summertime,” “Leavin’ on a Jet Plane,” “If I Had a Hammer,” “We Shall Overcome,” “There But For Fortune,” “The Draft Dodger’s Rag,” “Imagine,” “One Tin Soldier,” “The Sounds of Silence,” “This Land Is Your Land,” “Universal Soldier,” “Big Yellow Taxi,” “Black and White,” “What Have They Done to the Rain?” “Oh, Freedom,” “Hair,” “The Power and the Glory,” “I Ain’t Marchin’ Any More,” “Waist Deep in the Big Muddy,” “Outside Of A Small Circle Of Friends,” “The Circle Game,” “Fixin’ to Die Rag,” “Turn! Turn! Turn!” “We Shall Not Be Moved,” “Four Strong Winds,” “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” “I Can’t Help But Wonder (Where I’m Bound),” “The Last Thing on My Mind,” “Ramblin’ Boy,” “Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream,” “Eve of Destruction,” “How Can I Keep From Singing?” “Let There Be Peace on Earth.” I can’t ever list them all.

Big Mike helped create and then raised my social consciousness, informing without indoctrination so that we became subliminally aware of social/political music and key movements: 1963 was the height of the Civil Rights Movement in the USA, and the middle- to late 1960s were the Vietnam War’s protests’ heydays.

I hadn’t yet heard of the Freedom Riders (which was going on every summer I was first at camp!), I was too young to march in anti-war protests (14 in 1968) even if I had known about them. I was old enough to understand “Jim Crow” segregation and discrimination laws in St. Louis, Missouri, and HATED them. Big Mike and other camp songleaders chose songs whose lyrics’ sentiments felt right to me. I needed to sing, to protest, to be wishing and working for everyone’s equality and freedom. I was excited that more people felt that way I did than I had ever known existed.

At the above-mentioned camps, joining and adding to Big Mike‘s contributions, were several talented musical counselors and staff: special shout-outs to the Kean brothers, Ron and the late Mike (“Nix”); the cook, Maxine; “Fitz“; “Howdy” (Howard Schwartz) and “Twinkle” (Laura Resnick), for international and Israeli folk dancing fun; and, so many more, for adding to the songs and artistic experiences.

Big Mike‘s stories and songs my nascent ideas about social justice, fairness, anti-racism, anti-war, collaborating for peace and practicing nonviolence were developed and nurtured first. Blessings on Big Mike and his inspirations as well as his heirs and successors, forever.

Some places and people are pivotal in our lives, right? These people formed the foundations for mine, preparinhg me for the ones who came later.


Further creating a foundation and launching me into adulthood was a group of people I met in several places in the late 1970s in New England. Many of these key people lived at/founded or attended events at Boston’s mid-1970s spin off of Project Place, the Another Place Conference Center in Greenville, New Hampshire, and its spin-off, Spring Hill, Massachusetts, were then and later became great leaders of artistic social and political movements, personal growth and community-building for me and many others. Here are the “stars,” below.

Robert Gass

—It was through Another Place that I got to go to Spring Hill and meet Robert Gass and The Wings of Song band. Briefly, I performed with and sang in the band’s chorus (I am listed as “Sallie Fleishmann [neither name spelled correctly] on their first album, Many Blessings, pressed in 1980). Singing with this chorus was my first experience of spiritual uplifting through song. It had happened without my understanding it through some camp songs; Robbie‘s songs were intentionally written and selected to raise up the singers and the listeners, the audience and the dancers. We were inspired, connecting, infused with desires to serve and to love.

Robbie and his wife, Judith Ansara (Epstein) and a few others, created the formats for the popular personal growth Opening the Heart workshops (which I attended with my then-partner in 1979) which morphed into their current work, Sacred Union. Robert (as he became known, later) still sings, makes albums and leads people to inner and outer growth (now living in Colorado). Judith is also a dancer and a poet.


Robert Gass, circa 1989

I still hum and sing some of Wings of Song‘s tunes/songs to myself, but I can’t find my favorite anywhere online or for sale. Sad.

“Not My Will, but Thine” is the first line of the chorus, but I don’t know what title the song actually has. Perhaps “Teach Me to Love,” or “Kindle my Heart’s Flame” (all in the lyrics)?

If you know where to find a recording of this song, please email me at sallyember AT yahoo DOT com

Medicine Story

—I also met Medicine Story (Manitonquat, Francis Story Talbot) at Another Place in 1978. He is an author and storyteller as well as Native American activist who also lived at Another Place. Story, with his then-wife, Emmy (Emilia) “Rainwalker” Ianniello and their first son, formed the nucleus of the second of my many communal households in New England. Story and Emmy introduced me and dozens of others to Native American sweat lodges (building, experiencing ceremonies in, learning about) and to living in wiki-ups (outdoor structures more sturdy than tents), as well as to praying and connecting with the earth and animals and many other sacred rituals, origin songs and songs/chants.

Add these sweat lodge experiences to my Finnish saunas in Rhode Island (1977-78) and the Dutch-esque saunas at Stepping Stone Farm in the 1980s. When I went camping with some friends in the 1980s and 1990s (before hypertension took me out of the game) who were offering sweat lodges, they wondered how a Jewish girl from St. Louis knew so much about how to build them, use them, be in them? Why was I so comfortable with nudity in high heat and various ceremonial rituals that involved sweating and chanting? I mentally thanked Emmy and Medicine Story.

We would go into the sweat lodge to settle conflicts, build teams, get inspiration, celebrate a birth or birthday, prepare for a marriage, strengthen commitments, purify, cleanse, dream, remember, honor, be grateful, grieve, pray, sing and chant. Some participants used mind-altering substances in small amounts before or during; I did not. Many would fast beforehand; it’s recommended not to go into a sweat lodge on a full stomach.

This photo, below, is of a sweat lodge that looks a lot like the ones we built.


image from and FMI: https://adventure.howstuffworks.com/sweat-lodge.htm

If you’ve never built, prepared and then been in a sweat lodge, it’s probably impossible to imagine how close relative strangers can get and the kind of bonding that occurs during such experiences: unmatched.

Story and his second wife, Ellika Lindén, a playwright, actor, director, and collaborator, created Circle Way and currently travel around the globe to raise awareness of earth-related preservation and community-building.


Medicine Story and Ellika Linden

Bill Whyte and Katie Schwerin

—Several other songleaders, ritual organizers and community activists lived at and were my friends from that era, including those who shared our first New Hampshire collective household with Story, Emmy and their first son. Katie Schwerin and Bill Whyte and Katie’s daughter joined our group to live in Sharon, NH, in 1978-79.

In addition to learning many songs and chants from each of them, I also credit them with showing me how to live collectively, since we shared a household for two more years after that in several SW NH locations. We were pregnant at the same time and had our two home births (Katie‘s second; Bill‘s first and my only) in one of those homes in 1979-80 in Stoddard, NH. Katie and Emmy, with Cindy Dunleavy, all lay midwives, then (Cindy still delivers babies), attended the homebirth of our son.

Katie, along with director an co-creator, Pamela Faith Lerman (also someone I met in 1978 at Another Place), with about eight other women and I were in a show in Peterborough, NH, in 1980 that included poetry, songs and dramatic scenes from many feminist artists and sources, a fundraiser for a women’s health center we were trying to start for the Monadnock region.

Katie and Bill also founded and, with two of their adult daughters, operate the family-friendly Badger Balm, a “B” (Benefit” Corporation, that “makes certified organic and all-natural body & skin care products including healing balms, natural sunscreens, skin moisturizers, muscle rubs, aromatherapy and other personal care products,” Bill Whyte and Katie Schwerin, who run the business with their award-winning two daughters, Emily Schwerin-Whyte and Rebecca Hamilton.


Badger Balm‘s 2016 founders, family and staff

Katie and Bill taught me a lot about organic food (gardening and cooking), herbal and natural healing, nutrition, raising children respectfully and living collectively, starting me on a life-long path in those areas, beginning in 1978. Bill also introduced me to creative visualization and “green” building via his company, Whyte Light Builders.

Additionally, Katie brought Waldorf education (Rudolf Steiner’s schools) and the Unitarian Universalist (UU) community into our family’s life. Because of her influence and connections, I was hired to accompany the Eurythmy movement program classes for one year, in 1987, at the newly created Monadnock Waldorf School in Keene, NH, where we then lived. The following year, our son attended the Monadnock Waldorf School from 3rd – 8th grades (1988-1994). I took over the Director of Religious Education (DRE) position at the Keene UU Church in 1988 from her when Katie left on maternity leave and then to go back to school for her master’s in Waldorf education, where I stayed until 1990, when I decided to return school to get my master’s and doctorate in education myself.

FUN FACTS:
1) The Monadnock Waldorf School‘s Eurythmy teacher then is the mother of ER and The Good Wife star, actor, Julianna Margulies;
2) Before he became my Buddhist teacher, Wyn Fischel (Lama Drimed)’s first wife, Susan, was a Eurythmy teacher;
3) Before I met him, Wyn taught woodworking at the other nearest Waldorf school, Pine Hill, in Wilton, NH.
4) For several dramatic productions, both I and my then-partner, Christopher Briggs Ember, helped with music, blocking, directing, make-up and other aspects of the plays for Monadnock Waldorf School.

It is not an exaggeration to say that my entire adult life would have been different (and much smaller and less satisfying) had I not had the great good fortune to become involved with the Schwerin-Whyte family. I am so grateful to know them. We all had so much hope, optimism, energy, faith…

Mario Cossa

Katie is also a performer whose interest in drama brought me to my long-time collaboration with Mario Cossa, playwright, actor, performer, dancer, singer, lyricist, songwriter, director, choreographer, and nonprofit manager who became a counselor and then psychodramatist.

Mario Cossa is yet another person I met at Another Place in 1978 whose contact with me altered my life’s trajectory profoundly and for the better.

Because of and often with Mario, I was able to earn money through part-time and full-time work in areas I loved and have many amazing experiences, including:

  • working in several youth-serving nonprofits;
  • co-writing and -directing, performing in, narrating/facilitating audience-interactive performances for and touring with several plays and dozens of improvisational scenes (the play I wrote, Crystal Dreams, won a prize that featured a performance of it at a professional public theatre, the Portsmouth Theatre-By-The-Sea, in 1984);


    Cast of Crystal Dreams, 1984

  • learning to tap dance;
  • learning some A.S.L. (American Sign Language) and using it in a few plays;
  • learning to and performing as a clown;
  • becoming involved in Co-Counseling International (CCI);
  • meeting Caroline Myss, who became a close friend of mine for many years;
  • practicing and learning more about conflict resolution and mediation;
  • improving my storytelling and writing;
  • expanding my repertoire for improvisational acting;
  • learning about and leading prevention/mitigation and education groups on topics ranging from substance/alcohol abuse/use, pregnancy postponement, HIV/AIDs, suicide, teen homelessness/running away, Tourette’s Syndrome, learning and behavioral disorders to family systems conflicts;
  • co-leading groups for kids, youth & adults/families that utilized expressive arts;
  • participating in collaborations with other organizations and individuals;
  • becoming more familiar with and meeting/working with interns and faculty at Antioch/New England Graduate School who were part of the Dance Movement Therapy profession (which my daughter-in-law graduated from in 2016, over twenty-five years after my first exposure to it);
  • taking groups of students to see live musical theatre productions in Boston and New York City for several years (we saw Rent, Big, Miss Saigon, and a murder mystery audience-interactive play whose name I can’t remember);
  • conducting ethnographic research on gender and sexual orientation social identities that became the basis of my dissertation for my doctorate degree;
  • co-writing, editing and figuring out how to get our nonfiction book about improvisational scenework for educational groups published, in 1996 (my first traditional publishing credit): Acting Out: The Workbook–A Guide To The Development and Presentation of Issue-Oriented, Audience-Interactive, Improvisational Theatre
  • editing and assisting with other pieces and books Mario wrote which also were published in the 1990s and 2000s;


    Acting Out book cover

  • learning to write grants (to solicit funding from individual donations and family foundations for as low as $50 to multi-million/multi-agency federal proposals);
  • developing/designing and implementing program evaluations;
  • preparing and managing budgets; and,
  • working in outreach/marketing for nonprofits (something I did for many years for several other nonprofits).

Mario founded and runs Motivational Arts Unlimited, based in Bali, Indonesia, and travels around the globe doing psychodrama and sociodrama trainings, educational programs and certifications.


Mario Cossa, circa 2008

More in each about the impact, feelings, uses, singing spiritually

Holly Near

Ellen Fleischmann, my singer/songwriter, conductor/pianist middle sister, introduced me to Holly Near in 1978. THANK YOU, again!

I had told my sister that I was bored and needed music because I worked as a packer for a wholesaler/warehouse that packaged and shipped herbs, spices and essential oils to specialty and health food shops all around the USA, Attar, in New Ipswich, New Hampshire. I spent 30 hours each week NOT using my college degree in elementary education, having been burned by several jobs and needing a break. All day, I hefted huge barrels, bags and bottles and wrestled their contents into smaller containers/bags, boxed, labeled and prepared the boxes for shipping. I was usually there alone since it was a “mom-and-pop” shop and they had a young child. So, very under-stimulated, I craved music. Ellen sent me tapes from her dorm room at Brown University to play on my boom box.

—Oh, Holly! What a revelation it was to hear Holly Near‘s amazing voice, lyrics and energy pouring into my otherwise silent space. She also sent me tapes of James Taylor, Carole King and a few others, but it was Holly I kept coming back to and memorizing. “It Could Have Been Me,” from A Live Album, 1974, inspired by the government-sanctioned murders of college students at Kent State University in Ohio during an anti-Vietnam War demonstration in 1970, made me cry, rage and want to continue to/return to ACT UP.

Her songs included sentiments about being bisexual and discovering her love for women for the first time in “Imagine my Surprise,” moved me because it spoke directly of my experiences. After my male partner and I had a child, her song “Started Out Fine,” made me laugh and cry. So many songs, so many inspirations, such great lyrics.

Holly‘s songs have supported and propelled movements, such as the “zipper” song (we can insert other lyrics in key places and keep singing): “We are a gentle, angry people, and we are singing, singing for our lives,” which became the AIDS’ activists’ anthem and the LGBT-rights’ marching song. I also memorized and sang, often:

We will have peace;
we will because we must;
we must because we cherish life, and believe or not, as daring as it may seem, it is not an empty dream, to walk in a powerful path;
either the first nor the last, on the Great Peace March:
Life is a great and mighty march.
Forever, for love and tor life, on the Great Peace March.

from “The Great Peace March,” by Holly Near

I listened to Holly for several more albums/years, but never got to see her live. UNTIL I found out that my good friend, the dearly missed Jaye Alper (her death anniversary/Yahrzeit was this past Tuesday, 5/8/18; gone 6 years; I miss her all the time), had a connection. Her mother, Jackie Alper, had been an original member of the singing group, The Weavers, which had included Ronnie Gilbert, Lee Hays, Fred Hellerman , and Pete Seeger (Jackie had left the group to stop touring when she became pregnant with Jaye and to help fight the HUAC (McCarthy-era “witch hunts”).


Jackie Alper, Ronnie Gilbert, Pete Seeger,
the remaining Weavers, reunited, circa 1998.

Jackie had stayed active in the social justice/women’s music scene, having her own radio show (“Mostly Folk” on WRPI) for decades, helping start and run the Old Songs Festival (see below) in the Albany area, and staying friends with “Aunt” Ronnie, as Jaye knew her.

In the 1990s, Jaye contacted Ronnie, since Ronnie was performing, making albums and touring with Holly, and they were coming to the Boston area (where Jaye then lived). Jaye brought me backstage to meet them. I stood, starstruck, as Jaye and Ronnie hugged and talked. Holly was standing in the doorway, smiling at me and eating spaghetti, which she offered (I declined).

Holly Near, 1970


Holly Near, 2017

Holly started Redwood Records in 1972, “to produce and promote music by ‘politically conscious artists from around the world.'” She has included so many political activists/musicians on her albums, tours, and concert stages over the decades, many of which I was lucky enough to attend.

I learned a lot more about or heard for the first time the musicians affiliated with dozens of worthy causes around the world, their songs and political/social movements in the USA and elsewhere, that I never would have, otherwise, through Holly and her musical colleagues, including:
—the late Pete Seeger,
Arlo Guthrie,
—the late Mercedes Sosa,
Bernice Johnson Reagon (of Sweet Honey in the Rock),
Bonnie Raitt,
Jackson Browne
Holly Near, Arlo Guthrie, Ronnie Gilbert and Pete Seeger performed as HARP to raise money for various causes,
Meg (Shambhavi) Christian,
Cris Williamson,
Linda Tillery,
Joan Baez,
—the late Phil Ochs,
Harry Belafonte,
Emma’s Revolution (which includes Pat Humphries), and
Inti-Illimani.

Beyond being a renowned and beloved singer songwriter, Holly is a former TV/film/Broadway star and ongoing political activist, still going strong at age 68. Holly Near has mentored dozens of others (see below) and continues to fill my life with inspiration and songs. THANK YOU!

In addition to introducing me directly to Holly Near, Jaye and Jackie Alper had invited me and my family to the Albany-area’s annual Old Songs Festival (officially, the Old Songs Festival of Traditional Music and Dance in Altamont, NY) where we got in free to help Jaye (as “Crystal,” the name she had gone by in the 1970s) sell iced tea and her famous baklava, chocolava and maplelava each June. The musicians there played music which has often been featured or discussed in Sing Out! magazine walked amongst and camped with us. We encountered, met, had lunches with and heard the late Utah Phillips, Sally Rogers, The Amidon Family, Arlo Guthrie, Pat Humphries, Cheryl Wheeler, John McCutcheon, Tom Chapin, and many more. Quite a scene, for a folk music lover like me!

Olivia Records

Beyond and including Holly Near, I met fans of “women’s music” through friends, lovers, colleagues and family members throughout the 1980s and 1990s, attending many concerts/performances and enjoying festivals outdoors when possible, which expanded my repertoire to include Margie Adam. “The Unicorn Song,” “We Shall Go Forth,” “We Are The Women We’ve Been Waiting For,” “Sweet Friend of Mine,’ and many excellent piano-accompanied songs became favorites I learned to sing and play on the piano (and lead in sing-alongs, sometimes).

After I moved to California in 2002, I went to many concerts and performances that featured Holly 9she lived about an hour from where I lived) and felt lucky to be able to see her perform and hear her speak so often. She was always on top of knowing what cause needed championing, available for fundraisers, awareness-raising shows and gatherings of all kinds. Holly always remembered me; in the smaller venues, she would smile and come over to say “hello” after her last encore. Before the spring of 2012 (when Jaye passed away), she had always asked about Jaye.

Both Jaye and Jackie had passed on before Pete Seeger (who left us in the winter of 2014), so I went to the Freight & Salvage in Berkeley to attend the tribute concert for Pete, which Ronnie, ill and using a cane, also performed in and which Holly was the emcee and main performer for; Holly and Ronnie had organized most of it. During intermission, Holly came over to me and we shared a few tears and a hug. What treasures these people are/were!

Cris Williamson, solo and with Meg Christian, Teresa Trull, Tret Fure, Barbara Higbie, Linda Tillery, Lucie Blue Tremblay, and many more great women musicians, brought me and my family the inspiring and beautiful, fun-to-sing songs from Cris‘ albums, The Changer and the Changed and the musical play, Lumiere, and other amazing songs, like “Waterfall,” “The Changer and The Changed,’ “The Rock Will Wear Away,” “Lullaby” (“Like a Ship in the Harbor”), and “Lean On Me (I Am Your Sister).”


Meg & Cris at Carnegie Hall, 1982, album cover

I learned so much about feminism, bisexuality, intersectionality, positive parenting, social activism, many types of love, community and collective efforts from these wonderful musicians.

—The talented brothers, the late Happy Traum and the late Artie Traum were some of the musicians I met when I worked at Camp Med-O-Lark in Washington, Maine, in the early 1980s, because of my enduring friendship with yet again a contact from Another Place from 1978, Zea Moore. In addition to getting me and my then-partner two wonderful summers with jobs at this camp (because her then-partner, Neal Goldberg, owned and directed it), Zea introduced me to Wiccan & Goddess Chants, Libana, and so much more of the newly emerging women’s spirituality music and rituals.

Civil Rights, Environmental/Social Activist Musicians & Storytellers

Thanks to these live music venues, without whom I would not have heard most of these singers live: The Folkway (Peterborough, NH), The Iron Horse (Northampton, MA), The Colonial Theatre and the Keene State College’s 1990s Coffeehouse (Keene, NH), The Common Ground (Brattleboro, VT), Temple Mountain Ski Area (Temple, NH, outdoor concerts in the not-snowy weather), Passim Coffeehouse (Cambridge, MA), Brighton Music Hall (Brighton, MA), The Freight & Salvage (Berkeley, CA), ACTING OUT’s 1990s coffeehouse series (Keene, NH), and many more.

PLUS, radio stations that play and support “Americana,” “Women’s Music,” “Folk Music,” and many other overlapping genres that play music to inspire and activate us all. Here are some: KPFA (“Across the Great Divide” and “American’s Back 40” are my favorites, there); KRCB (used to have many shows; now, not so many); other NPR affiliates, everywhere; KDHX; WRSI; college/university radio stations also often have shows/D.J.s that feature great music like this. Check our your local or online options.

SUPPORT LIVE MUSIC!
—If you haven’t heard Christine Lavin‘s story songs, parodies and other political music, please give her a listen!
Please also go find and listen to the songs of any of the amazing individual singer/songwriters/activitists who also sometimes play as the group that includes Lavin, 4 Bitchin’ Babes:


4 Bitchin’ Babes (Christine Lavin, Sally Fingerett, Megon McDonough, Julie Gold), 1993

Patty Larkin (“Not Bad for a Broad,” “Metal Drums”)
Megon McDonough (“Amazing Things,” “Wake Up And Dream”)
Sally Fingerett (“Home is Where the Heart Is,” “Here’s to the Women”)
Julie Gold (“From a Distance,” “America,” “The New World,” “Love is Love is Love,” “Goodnight, New York/Ellis Island”)
and others have comprised this fun, talented quartet.

Also, these musicians/singers/songwriters are great to find/remember:
Nanci Griffith (“Cold Hearts/Closed Minds,” “If These Old Walls Could Speak”),
Fred Small (who began his career as a lawyer and later became a Unitarian Universalist minister and climate change activist/leader; “Peace Is,” “Only Love,” “No More Vietnams,” “The Peace Dragon”),
Judy Small (unrelated to Fred, and a judge of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia who was previously an Australian entertainer, folk singer, songwriter, and guitarist. Known for her feminist, often patriotic, and political songs, usually following a traditional theme, she produced twelve albums) (“You Don’t Speak for Me,” “How Many Times?” “Montreal, December ’89 (What is it about men?”),
—the late Rosalie Sorrels (“I am a Union Woman,” “Always a Lady,” “The Baby Rocking Medley”),
—the late Stan Rogers (“The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald,” “The Mary Ellen Carter”),
RosenShontz, Bill Shontz and the late Gary Rosen (“Hugga Hugga,” “Share It!”)
Betsy Rose (“I Can’t Imagine Life Without … (Popcorn),” “For the Mothers,” “Welcome to the Circle,” and who shares others’ songs, such as, “Return Again,” “Sending You the Light”),
—the late Malvina Reynolds (“Little Boxes,” “It Isn’t Nice,” “Turn Around,” “What Have They Done to the Rain?” “Magic Penny”),
—the late Peggy Seeger (half-sister to Pete, full sister to Mike) (“I Want to be an Engineer”),
—the late Dave van Ronk,”The Mayor of MacDougal Street,” who re-arranged and covered many “traditional” and others’ songs so well,
Gould and Stearns (Stephen Stearns and Peter Gould),
Ani DiFranco, founder/owner of Righteous Babe record label, a la Redwood Records and Oliva Records,
Ruth Pelham, founder of “The Music Mobile,” which “brought singalongs, simple musical instrument construction, merriment and a message of hope to generations of youths at inner-city parks” in the Albany area for 39 years (“Look to the People,” “The Turning of the World,” “Under One Sky”),
Bill Staines (“The Roseville Fair,” “A Place in the Choir,” “Child of Mine,” “River”),
David Mallett (“The Garden Song,” “Open Doors and Windows,” Parallel Lives”),
The Roches–Maggie, Terre, and Suzzy Roche (“Dear Mr. Sellack,” “Another World”),
Eric Bogle (“The Band Played ‘Waltzing Matilda,'” “No Man’s Land/The Green Fields of France”),
Cosy Sheridan (“Quietly Led,” “The Losing Game,” “Sharp Objects”)
Catie Curtis (“People Look Around,” “Truth from Lies”),
Dar Williams (“When I Was A Boy,” “The Christians and the Pagans”),
Lucy Kaplansky (“This Morning I am Born Again,” “Reunion”),
Susan Werner (“Sunday Morning,” “Help Somebody,” “Heaven So Small,” “Did Trouble Me”),
Cry Cry Cry, = Dar Williams, Lucy Kaplansky and Richard Shindell, with many others accompanying/doing back-up vocals (“Arrowhead,” “Ascent” — Shindell; “I Know What Kind of Love This Is,” “Fall on Me”—Cry Cry Cry),
Molly Scott—not the politician! (“Centering Home,” “We Are All One Planet”),
Si Kahn (“Gone, Gonna Rise Again,” “Aragon Mill”),
Sarah Pirtle (“Earth, My Body” and more, here: http://sarahpirtle.com/hope-sings/index.htm)
Susan Osborne, Paul Winter, David Darling and the rest of the Paul Winter Consort,


image of Paul Winter Consort band, circa 1978, from http://www.paulwinter.com/the-consort/

and many others previously mentioned in this post or which you find while wandering around YouTube and the internet listening to these. These singers/musicians share songs that are inspiring, moving, intelligent, funny, thought-provoking and insightful as well as musically very fine.

—There are many ministers, singers and song leaders I met through the Unitarian Universalist (UU/UUA) Association’s events and fellowships/churches, starting with Rev. Rick Paine (co-founder of Spring Hill and co-creator of the Opening the Heart workshops, with Robert Gass, Judith Epstein and others) and Rev. Sydney Amara Morris (co-founder of Another Place, with Bill Whyte and Mark Sarkady). Later, I met and sang with Nick Page (who doesn’t love to sing “More Love”?), and so many others. In 2011, the UUA published a great compilation of their music, 50 YEARS OF UU MUSIC, available here: https://www.uua.org/ga/past/2011/worship/185029.shtml , which features “Let It Be a Dance”). Also, check here: https://www.uua.org/worship/music and here: http://www.recessionals.org/ and here: https://www.uua.org/worship/music/hymnals

—Have to mention the great storyteller, singer, performer, Jay O’Callahan, since his stories and songs kept us happy on long car trips across the country in the 1980s, and we got to see him perform live in Boston during that time.

A Cappella Women’s and Other Choruses Respecting Socially Conscious Diversity

—I sang with and joined several choirs that are part of the Threshold Choirs as founded and formatted by Kate Munger,who led two groups I was part of in California in the mid 2000s. If you know someone ill, dying, or giving birth, that is the time these singers will come when asked (if there is a choir near you): A Capella singing at its best.

—The A Cappella singing of the singers of Sweet Honey in the Rock inspired many women to start community women’s choruses, and I was lucky enough to belong to two: the /Brattleboro Women’s Chorus, founded and conducted by Becky Graber, and Keene, NH’s Animaterra Women’s Chorus, founded and conducted by Allison Aldrich Smith (but now also conducted by Becky since 2016, after Allison moved to Maine), in the 1990s.

I miss those groups a lot and have never found any like them since then that met close enough to other places I have lived. If you are looking for a women’s chorus like these, check out this site and see if you get fortunate enough to live near one!

The Sister Singers Network is an international, “cooperative web of feminist choruses and ensembles, composers, arrangers, and individual singers working together to support and enrich the women’s choral movement.”
http://www.sistersingers.net/index.shtml#.WvNEeKQvypo

The Threshold Choirs (see above) are a part of this network, but have a specific mission.

[NOTE: I found and temporarily joined Charis: The St. Louis Women’s Chorus here in St. Louis, MO, and it is all females (except for the conductor, which I found odd), but the style, the music, the format, the ambiance weren’t at all like the A Cappella choirs in New England that I’d loved, so I dropped out after a few months. Not for me. Many love it, though, so if you’re local, you should try it out!]


As I said at the beginning of this post, this is what I meant when I said that attending and listening to Roy Zimmerman‘s lyrics and being at that performance was somewhat sad, bittersweet, in this horribly disappointing, discouraging, horrifying period in our lives.

Our generation, and specifically, some of the people I knew and admired enough to mention in this and other posts, HAVE accomplished a lot. However, so much of what we fought for and won is threatened, unraveling, already destroyed beyond repair: it’s happening RIGHT NOW.

What else can do besides sing, listen to and make music? VOTE! ORGANIZE! MARCH! OBJECT! RESIST! Please?

I end with this, one of my favorites, written by Sally Rogers, who also gives us “What Can One Little Person Do?” “In the Name of All of Our Children,” and so many more great songs,

“Love Will Guide Us”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8xWMnf9SYjo or

“The Spanners Series” and author, Sally Ember, Ed.D., now on Indie Book Discovery!

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