“The Friday TV Report” 34 for 2/23/18, from Sally Ember, Ed.D., and her mom

“The Friday TV Report” 34 for 2/23/18, from Sally Ember, Ed.D., and her mom
Mom and I, August, 2017

I (Sally) update this ever-changing post of ongoing mini-reviews and premiere/return dates of certain non-premium cable TV, Amazon Prime and Netflix shows with our opinions (begun in fall, 2015). Check on Fridays!

And, I am also maintaining a summary section (“Yays,” “Nays,” and “Still Considering”), and an additional, constantly updated “news” section, below, with rumors and truths about interesting projects/actors/shows. I also add to reviews of many previously reviewed shows with new info and opinions often, so check weekly if you’re interested in those updates.

This is Report 34 for 2/23/18, and each post is UPDATED frequently; next full post, 3/23/18.

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 2/23/18).
(NOTE: If I put an “OH-OH” next to a listing, below, it means the MSN site AGREES with me/us, which is unusual…”NO WAY” means MSN disagrees with me/us)

image from Pixabay

Big Little Lies (RENEWED for SEASON 2 and won several Golden Globes!)
*Blackish (surprisingly good, sometimes)
Blindspot (RENEWED for SEASON 4; in danger of being canceled)
Blue Bloods (RENEWED)
Designated Survivor (RENEWED)
Elementary (pushed to premiere in April, 2018, and in danger of being canceled)
Endeavor (RENEWED)
Full Frontal with Samantha Bee (RENEWED for SEASONS 3 & 4)
Good Behavior
Grey’s Anatomy (RENEWED for SEASONS 15 & 16)
Madam Secretary (RENEWED for SEASON 3, but in danger of being canceled)
#MeToo, Now What? (5-Episode miniseries; very topical, but painful)
NCIS New Orleans (RENEWED)
Orville (RENEWED for SEASON 2, but won’t air until 2019)
*Speechless (RENEWED for SEASON 3)
The Blacklist (in danger of being canceled)
*The Bold Type (RENEWED for 2 SEASONS more)
The Defenders (RENEWED)
The Gifted (RENEWED)
The Good Doctor (RENEWED)
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (RENEWED for SEASON 2 and won two major Golden Globe Awards!)
The Heart Guy (AKA Doctor, Doctor) (RENEWED)
This Is Us (RENEWED)

Check our opinions against the networks’ decisions with updated lists of Canceled and Renewed shows (updated 2/23/18):
Canceled: http://renewcanceltv.com/tv-shows-cancelled-2017-18/
Renewed: http://renewcanceltv.com/tv-shows-renewed-2018-19-season/

Black Lightning (TOO VIOLENT and DARK, OFF MY LIST after 2 Episodes)
Chesapeake Shores (WRETCHEDLY STUPID but RENEWED for SEASON 3 and we’ll probably watch/Fast-Forward)
*Con Man (NOT FUNNY)
Great News (INSIPID)
*L.A. to Vegas (NOT FUNNY)
SEAL Team (even David Boreanaz couldn’t make us keep watching all this violence and Middle Eastern warfare)
Star Trek: Discovery (didn’t like it and won’t pay, anyway; NO WAY; was RENEWED, though)
*The Opposition with Jordan Keppler (STALE BEFORE IT BEGAN)

Still Considering/Not Great/BORING

(image from Pixabay)
9-1-1 (Tolerable, but not great) (RENEWED for SEASON 2)
*A.P. Bio (Probably doomed, but somewhat funny)
*Bellevue (too much horror-esque; Mom is out; I’m reluctantly in)
Chicago PD (too many doing too many bad things of those ON the force!)
Chicago Fire (not so many to root for, now)
*Godless (good, but gory)
How to Get Away with Murder (disgusting and appalling, usually)
*Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Mom quit this one; probably CANCELED)
*Midnight, Texas (weird but compelling [I like Charlaine Harris‘ work); RENEWED for SEASON 2]
Private Eyes (trite but somewhat cute)
Scorpion (sillier each week)
Supergirl (WORSE EACH YEAR, but somehow, we keep watching)
The Good Place (SEASON 2 rotted at first, but sometimes, better; RENEWED for SEASON 3)
The Resident (another mediocre but tolerable offering)
*Young Sheldon (I like it, somewhat; RENEWED for SEASON 2)

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

—Director/executive producer, Rob Hardy (The Quad) will direct the CW‘s still-untitled drama pilot “inspired by the life of football player, Spencer Paysinger.” April Blair (Spencer) will write and executive produce the series, which is about “a rising high school football player from South Central L.A. recruited to play for Beverly Hills High.” Greg Berlanti and Sarah Schechter also are executive producers. Probably for 2018-19.

Twenties is a new series in development for TBS by the creator of The Chi (Showtime), Lena Waithe. “The comedy follows a trio of women: Hatti, who is queer and black, and her two straight BFFs.” Probably for 2018-19.

Michelle Wolf, 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.

ABC has ordered a comedy from collaborators, Sherry Bilsing-Graham and Ellen Kreamer (Friends, New Adventures of Old Christine), entitled Three Rivers. “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, she’s back and ready to utilize her big city tactics to turn their rustic ranch into a destination spot.” Sounds plausible…NOT. Probably 2018-19 season.

—From writers and executive producers, Caitlin Parrish and Erica Weiss, Red Line “depicts the aftermath of a white cop mistakenly shooting a black doctor.” Plans to premiere on CBS for 2018-19. “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) and Supergirl’s Greg Berlanti and Sarah Schechter.

Diablo Cody (Juno) has a new project at Fox, executive producing Two Nights, a cop drama written by Finding Carter co-creator Emily Silver, who will also serve as an EP. The story “…centers on Sunday Night, ‘a former cop with memorable name and a smartass sense of humor who lives on a shrinking island with her pet squirrel and not much else….But when her foster father asks for help in the kidnapping case of a young girl, Sunday is pulled back into the world of law enforcement, forcing her to confront her own demons as she solves cases for the Criminal Investigative Division of the FBI.’” From VARIETY. Probably airing in the 2018-19 season.

—Busy woman, Diablo Cody! She also has a comedy pilot ABC has ordered, Most Likely To: “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.” Probably for the 2018-19 Season.

—Also from ABC is a crime drama, The Fix, 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.” Probably 2018-19 season.

—Two other ABC-ordered dramas for 2018-19 are: 1)an untitled pilot, from writer-EP, Pam Veasey; and, 2) Staties. These are “both about women in law enforcement.”
1) “follows five African-American sisters who all serve on the NYPD as they face the challenges of their high-risk jobs while juggling the responsibilities of marriage, motherhood and family.”
2) Staties is about “hard-charging NYPD detective, Eliza Cortez, [who] is banished to the boonies after a high-profile mistake and is paired with a new partner, Oregon State Trooper, Sam King.”
Both probably 2018-19 season.

—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-as. 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.

Fox has ordered two more pilots: 1) “an untitled FBI drama pilot from Ilene Chaiken (The “L” Word) and Melissa Scrivner-Love (Person of Interest). “Originally known as Mrs. Otis Regrets, the pilot is about ‘FBI Special Agent, Clementine Otis, whose reputation is ruined in the midst of investigating a domestic terrorism threat when it comes to light that she had an affair with a prominent general’”; and, 2) Daddy Issues, “a daughter-father comedy produced by Liz Meriwether, Oly Obst, and Josh Lieberman, written by and starring Erin Foster (Barely Famous). “The project is a semi-biographical take on Foster’s relationship with her actual father, record producer, David Foster…. [and] revolves around Andy, whose relationship with her playboy dad is complicated by the fact that he’s fallen in love with her best friend.”
Both probably 2018-19 season.

–Also very busy = Liz Meriwether (New Girl creator/EP), who “has yet another comedy pilot on the way…Single Parents,”…with J.J. Philbin, for ABC. For the 2018–19 season, the series “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.”

ABC also ordered Steps from Kristin Newman. 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… Probably 2018-19 season.

—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, probably 2018-19 season.

—More reboot news: Charmed is returning! It boasts having “a more feminist storyline” and will air on the CW (formerly WB, where it reigned for 8 seasons, from 1998 to 2006). Mom LOVED this show and watched every Episode. I only watched a couple here and there.
Setting the pilot for and IN 2018-19, the show centers on three adult sisters who discover they are witches. Based on a story by Jennie Urman (Jane the Virgin creator) will executive produce, with Jane the Virgin writers, Jessica O’Toole and Amy Rardin. “Between vanquishing supernatural demons, tearing down the patriarchy, and maintaining familial bonds, a witch’s work is never done.”

—Other reboots with fewer details (so far) or already mentioned but no more progress, yet: Nancy Drew, Cagney & Lacey, First Wives’ Club, The Greatest American Hero, Roswell. Probably 2018-19 or 2019-20 season

Murphy Brown is rebooting on CBS. A 13-episode revival of the original ground-breaking, 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, “will write and exec produce the revival. Bergen will topline and many of [the] original writers and co-stars are also expected to return.” The original series won 18 Emmys; Bergen won 5 and English received one and it won the best comedy series prize twice. Probably 2018-19 season.

CBS has revealed its first three 2018–19 pilot orders, all created by women:
1) Gloria Calderon Kellett’s History of Them, “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.
2) Michelle Nader’s I Mom So Hard, is “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.”
3) Amanda Green’s drama, Murder, is “a multi-perspective take on true crime… that will delve into crime through the eyes of cops and killers, witnesses and victims, friends and family—perspectives that are often at odds with one another.”
All probably 2018-19 season.

—One of our favorite (but, of course, short-lived) shows, starring Hayley Atwell, was Conviction. Its co-creator is directing a new series! Liz Friedlander is also the Executive Producer of the ABC pilot of the crime dramedy, The Rookie, 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.

—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.

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 2018-19 season.

—On a roll with two OTHER new series, both sci-fi, FREEFORM is becoming a force to be reckoned with for those who like their fare. The latest in development (one ready to air, soon) are: 1) 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 kind of Romeo and Juliet or any of a hundred others that pit rich against poor via a romance.
2) MARVEL’S CLOAK & DAGGER which will have its 2-hour premiere on 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.” Also starring Andrea Roth, Gloria Reuben, Miles Mussenden, Carl Lundstedt, Emma Lahana, Jaime Zevallos, and J.D. Evermore.
Both probably 2018-19 season.

The Crown for SEASON 3, set about 20+ years past SEASON 1 (1947 – 1955) and about 10+ years past SEASON 2 (up to about 1965), 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.
And, no word, yet, as to who will play the older Prince Phillip (replacing Matt Smith, whom I didn’t much like in that role, anyway) or the young adult versions of Prince Charles and his siblings, or others, yet. They’ll probably keep and continue to age Eileen Atkins as she capably plays the Queen Mother, Mary, I suppose.
from /Film, so FMI: http://www.slashfilm.com/netflix-the-crown-casts-helena-bonham-carter/

—We loved Pitch and were sad it was cancelled, but the star, Kylie Bunbury, will take the lead in a reboot of Get Christie Love, an hour-long drama in pilot stages for ABC. 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!
FMI: https://blog.womenandhollywood.com/pitchs-kylie-bunbury-to-topline-courtney-kemp-s-reboot-of-get-christie-love-for-abc-24cece1fd265 Probably 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.

—Did you love the short-lived Hayley Atwell vehicle, Conviction? So did we! Its creator, Liz Friedlander, will write and direct a new series! This one is a “female-centric cop drama…[that is] the first female partnership in an elite division of the LAPD, where the two detectives use their particular set of skills to tackle the most high-profile cases as well as a system that doesn’t necessarily want them there” for ABC. No title, yet. Probably airing in the 2018-19 season.

Lady Macbeth‘s Florence Pugh to star in John le Carré 6-Episode miniseries at AMC, The Little Drummer Girl, based on the 1983 bestselling spy novel (previously adapted into a 1984 film starring Diane Keaton). Probably airing in the 2018-19 season.

Toni Collette will star in Wanderlust, a 6-Episode miniseries, family drama, on Netflix & BBC One, that “looks at how we build and maintain happy relationships and asks whether lifelong monogamy is possible — or even desirable….Collette plays Joy Richards, ‘a therapist trying to find a way to keep her spark alive with her husband after a cycling accident causes them to reassess their relationship. As we meet her family, friends, neighbors, and clients, remarkable yet relatable stories of love, lust, and forbidden desire emerge.’” Probably airing in the 2018-19 season.

— Sounds as if they are taking a good idea (a female-centered Silicon Valley) and will make it unwatchable, from my/our POV, but fans of Parks & Rec, Bridesmaids and other such nonsense (in our opinion) will probably like this a lot: “Paul Feig, New Girl’s Kim Rosenstock, and Freeform are…[developing] Girl Code, [which] is …created by Rosenstock and directed by Feig…[T]he half-hour comedy will be set in an all-female incubator….Joy Gorman Wettels (13 Reasons Why) originally brought the concept to Feig and Rosenstock. She will exec produce….
“‘The series will focus on ‘an antisocial tech CEO and an outspoken feminist non-profit warrior who must put aside their issues with each other in order to mastermind a groundbreaking, all-women tech incubator…’” Probably airing in the 2018-19 season.

— Missing Sophie Bush (Chicago P.D., One Tree Hill), already? No worries: She “has signed a talent holding and development deal with 20th Century Fox Television, The Hollywood Reporter confirms. The pact sees her starring in an upcoming comedy or drama pilot for the studio, plus executive producing other projects for the company.” Probably airing in the 2018-19 season or later.

Gina Rodriguez, actor (Jane the Virgin), producer, author, is the executive producer of a new series in association with CBS, Femme, to air on the CW network. Femme is “a drama series from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend writers, Audrey Wauchope and Rachel Specter, [that] …follows four millennial women from different walks of life who become unlikely friends and fierce allies after meeting online in a secret feminist social media group. They form a sisterhood army in the real world to support each other through both serious and humorous crises and to help other women in need.” Probably airing in the 2018-19 season.
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.

POSE: “Ryan Murphy’s newest show will delve into New York City’s drag ball culture, with a stellar cast of five up-and-coming transgender actresses in series regular roles. POSE makes history for featuring the largest cast of transgender actors as series regulars on any scripted series. FX Networks, which produced other Murphy hits, Feud: Bette and Joan, American Crime Story, and American Horror Story,…cast MJ Rodriguez (Luke Cage), Indya Moore (Saturday Church), fashion model and ball scene fixture, Dominique Jackson, Hailie Sahar (Mr. Robot), and Angelica Ross (from the Emmy-nominated Her Story). All five are out, transgender women, and will be playing authentic transgender characters. Billy Porter, a Tony Award winner for Broadway’s Kinky Boots, rounds out the cast.” Set in the 1980s, POSE looks at the juxtaposition of several segments of life and society in New York: the rise of the luxury Trump-era universe, the downtown social and literary scene and the ball culture world. Murphy co-created the show with Brad Falchuk and Steven Canals. Probably airing in the 2018-19 season.
Cast photos and more info: http://www.indiewire.com/2017/10/ryan-murphy-pose-casting-announcement-trans-lgbt-fx-1201890868/

Veronica Mars‘ fans will be tentatively glad to know that Kristen Bell has announced the newest incarnation of that character into a mini-series is “happening,” but “[n]o deal has been made and no timeline is in place for this happening.”
from: http://www.indiewire.com/2017/10/veronica-mars-new-miniseries-kristen-bell-ryan-hansen-1201890834/

—VERY EXCITED about this (I am such a GEEK!): Roswell is coming back to the CW with a new series, updated stories and aged characters! https://www.fanbolt.com/88498/roswell-reboot-happening-cw-heres-know/ If you are a fan or if you are new, the link provides background and details, as does this one, which announces Jeanine Mason‘s casting in a lead role: https://soundbooks.org/2018/02/17/roswell-greys-anatomys-jeanine-mason-to-lead-cw-reboot-pilot/. 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). “The official logline for the rebooted series reads: ‘After reluctantly returning to her tourist-trap hometown of Roswell, New Mexico, the daughter of undocumented immigrants discovers a shocking truth about her teenage crush who is now a police officer: he’s an alien who has kept his unearthly abilities hidden his entire life. She protects his secret as the two reconnect and begin to investigate his origins, but when a violent attack and long-standing government cover-up point to a greater alien presence on Earth, the politics of fear and hatred threaten to expose him and destroy their deepening romance.’” No air date but probably 2018-19 pilot premiere.

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 untitled family comedy that has received a put-pilot commitment from NBC.” New Girl producer, Kim Rosenstock, is writing the pilot and series, which doesn’t sound all that interesting (to me): it “centers on a newly single mom ‘who is forced to rely on the last people she wants help from: her family.'” Probably airing in the 2018-19 season.
FMI: https://blog.womenandhollywood.com/amy-poehler-and-new-girl-producer-kim-rosenstock-join-forces-for-nbc-family-comedy-137e4ce087ea

—Still more from Poehler! An untitled half-hour comedy is coming for 2018-2019 from Amy Poehler, Aseem Batra (Scrubs) as the writer, and Julie Anne Robinson (The Good Place) as the director for NBC, 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.”

—Casting news! The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (The CAS) has cast 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 pilot will be written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and directed by Lee Toland Krieger, the same team that created Riverdale‘s pilot. I doubt if we’ll watch, but some of you might! Probably airing in the 2018-19 season.

Quality of Life, a new series about a family-run funeral business is fronted by the great Jamie Lee Curtis, who will star, co-write, and executive produce the comedy for CBS. Co-written by Janis Hirsch (Will & Grace, Murphy Brown), this will be one of the few comedies to feature a woman over 60. Sounds intriguing. Probably airing in the 2018-19 season.

ABC is developing a pilot for Eligible, a drama based on Curtis Sittenfeld’s 2016 novel Eligible: A Modern Retelling of Pride and Prejudice. Sherri Cooper Landsman and Jennifer Levin, who developed The CW’s Beauty & the Beast, and I. Marlene King, creator of Freeform’s Pretty Little Liars, will serve as executive producers. Probably airing in the 2018-19 season.

Laverne Cox (Orange is the New Black and Doubt) will star in Spirited, “a one-hour drama about a fake psychic who discovers she has genuine powers.” This will be executive produced by Elizabeth Banks, with the pilot to appear (perhaps) on ABC. Probably airing in the 2018-19 season.

—How much do we love Madam Secretary‘s creator, Barbara Hall? LOTS! Moonlighting, Northern Exposure, Joan of Arcadia, Judging Amy and Homeland are also among her fabulous writing credits, and now she has another series in development at CBS. A CIA drama, Family Business, centers on three adult siblings working in the intelligence community, just as their parents do/did. Probably airing in the 2018-19 season.

Janet Tamaro‘s new series (Tamaro is the creator of one of our faves—now GONE…sob—Rizzoli & Isles), Smoke and Mirrors, “will follow a retired female detective who is pulled pack into the job from her now-quiet family life. In true Tamaro fashion, the detective teams up with another female cop — a young undercover detective — and crime and drama ensue from there. Tamaro will both write and exec produce the project.” Probably airing in the 2018-19 season.

The Jetsons is being “revived”! ABC is preparing a “live-action series revival…based on the classic Hanna-Barbera cartoon…[as] a multi-cam sitcom set 100 years in the future that follows the exploits of the Jetson family.” Probably airing in the 2018-19 season.

—Another reason to spring for Netflix: Shonda Rhimes plans to put any new shows on that medium AND may move current ABC shows (How to Get Away with Murder, Grey’s Anatomy, Once Upon a Time and For the People [new this year] to it for 2018-19. Stay tuned!

—“Ava DuVernay, Charles D. King’s Macro & Victoria Mahoney to adapt Octavia E. Butler’s sci-fi novel Dawn for TV”
“…the first of the author’s Lilith’s Brood trilogy and a seminal work of the Afrofuturism movement. It is, shockingly, the first film or television take on the Genius Grant and Hugo Award-winning author’s work.” Probably airing in the 2018-19 season. http://flavorwire.com/609150/ava-duvernay-developing-tv-adaptation-of-octavia-butlers-dawn

—Now we hate CBS Access even more! They added wonderful star, Audra MacDonald, as a series regular for The Good Fight. THEY SUCK for charging extra to watch these shows!

Amy Brenneman (fave of mine and my mom’s since Judging Amy and Private Practice; I loved her in Reign, and Mom loved her in NYPD Blue, too) is returning to TV in a pilot for TNT, Deadlier Than Male.
“The project follows a trio of characters with troubled and mysterious pasts, ‘including a woman who once looked into the eyes of a dangerous killer, a former serial predator desperate to find redemption, and a grieving mother obsessed with finding her missing daughter,’ THR hints. ‘As each of them is pushed to the edge, the truth about their pasts and their motives grows ever murkier, blurring the lines between victim and perpetrator.’
Brenneman has been cast as the grieving mother, Mary. She’s spent years searching for her missing daughter, and ‘on one hand, her loss has made her a passionate advocate for vulnerable women, but on the other, the tragedy has given her new power and polish —– as well as a ruthless streak that makes her a threat to anyone who stands in her way.’”
Has some great writers behind it, but sounds very dismal and dark. We’ll give it a try, though. Probably airing in the 2018-19 season.

—Not on our list, but, perhaps, on YOURS, is Margaret Cho‘s autobiographical dramedy, Highland, coming soon on TNT. Directed by the woman who brought Transparent, Girls, and Better Things to television and previously collaborated on three specials: Margaret Cho: CHO Revolution, Margaret Cho: Beautiful, and Margaret Cho: Dependent, Nisha Ganatra.
The stories are “inspired by Cho’s own history of drug use and follows two extended, dysfunctional Korean-American families ‘who share the same patriarch [and] must come together after tragedy strikes. As it turns out, the most reliable person in both families is the one who just got out of rehab.'” Probably airing in the 2018-19 season.

—Missing the 20th-century Brits in Downton Abbey? Well, hang on until 2018! The ITV/PBS series is set to begin production of a sequel film to its 6-year series’ run in 2018!

—Also inexplicably (to me), ABC is airing The Little Mermaid as a “sing-along,” mixing “real-life singing with animated songs” in October, 2017. I guess kids will like it.

Everwood is being re-run and may be poised to be revived as well, on the CW. The show originally ran 2002-2006 with Gregory Smith and Vivien Cardone, along with Emily van Camp and Chris Pratt playing pairs of teen siblings (Greg, Emily and Vivien actually were teens for the first few years).
Starring Treat Williams and Tom Amandes as rival doctors/their respective fathers, it was fun, easy on the mind and eyes entertainment. My mom never saw it, so we’ll probably watch (I already saw most of the episodes). Premiere date not set, yet.

Casey Wilson, Busy Philipps and Tina Fey are teaming up for The Sackett Sisters. Wilson and Phillipps play sisters, with Bradley Whitford as their father, in the Fey-produced NBC comedy pilot, which may or may not get picked up for 2017-18 or probably airing in the 2018-19 season..

Jacqueline Bisset to star in Journey to Miyakojima, which is scheduled to begin shooting October, 2017, in Japan. “The family drama centers on ‘a quietly ailing’ family matriarch [Bisset] and NBA team owner who hopes to ‘reunite her shattered family at a serene island off the coast of Okinawa, thousands of miles away from home.’…She convinces her granddaughter, who suffers from an eating disorder that’s getting increasingly serious, to stay at a guesthouse on the island, ‘where its beauty, a chance meeting with a treasure hunter, and a century-old shipwreck heal their wounds.’” Probably airing in the 2018-19 season.

—One of the most significant influences on my and many others’ lives was a science-fiction book published in the 1960s by Robert Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land, and this now “classic tale of a human raised by Martians is being adapted into a television series”! This is a “a co-production between Paramount Television and Universal Cable Productions” being developed for the SyFy network. Premiere date not set, yet. Probably airing in the 2018-19 season.

Lauren Graham is set to star in Linda from HR, a comedy for Fox.
“The show will center on the ‘one bad decision’ that throws ‘Linda from HR’s monotonous, unfulfilled life into an exciting but dangerous tailspin of balancing work life, home life, and a secret that could unravel everything.’” No premiere date set, yet. Probably airing in the 2018-19 season or later.

FOX plans to air a LIVE production of the Tony-award-winning musical, RENT, some time in 2018. Well-worth watching, I’m sure.

This is the 34th post, for 5 weeks ending 2/23/18.

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.


My mom (85) and I (63) are probably not the “target demographic” for almost any show on television or any movie being produced currently. We live in the suburbs of St. Louis, Missouri, USA (Midwest, for those of you unfamiliar: think of that huge “Gateway Arch”? That’s here). I grew up here but then didn’t live here for 42 years; I’ve been back for over three years, now. We were both raised Jewish, but I have been a meditator since 1972 and a practicing Buddhist since 1996. We are both Caucasian women-born-women. We are considered “middle class” although we have almost zero dollars of “disposable income.” My mom is hetero; I am bisexual. We are both partly disabled. I am highly educated (doctoral degree plus other training); my mom has extensive work experience, with a high school diploma.

My mom, Carole, age 85, 2017

My mom has been a TV watcher for over 60 years. I watched a lot as a kid, but from about 1972 – 2002, I didn’t have a TV and hardly watched it elsewhere, either. I usually didn’t have a TV between 2005 – 2014 as well, but I watched some shows online (Hulu, usually) or Netflix.

We think we should be part of a group that at least some producers are aiming to please, because we (especially Mom) now watch a lot of television. We also get movies regularly from DVD borrowing through our local library. We even occasionally go to a theatre to see a movie. We eagerly await the “new season” of television every one of the four times it seems to occur every year: “Fall Sweeps” happen, but so do Mid-season Sweeps, Mid-year New Seasons, and channels with an entirely different set of “seasons.”

Also, VERY STRANGELY, starting in 2016, some scheduled shows don’t even air or only air for one or two episodes and then are summarily canceled. What is the point of that? Why put so much time, money, effort, acting and producing talent into shows and then not even air the episodes that were already recorded? At least they did air the rest of Doubt this past summer (8 months after canceling it after only airing 2 episodes), but we think it’s odd that TV producers and networks would leave shows “in the can.” What happens to those episodes? Plus, the premature renewals of unaired or newly aired shows will come back to haunt those decision-makers (mark our words with Will & Grace, for example: renewed before airing and HORRIBLE).

We also occasionally watch TV shows and movies on Netflix (since 2016) and Amazon Prime (since summer, 2017)

However, we are consistently disappointed that many shows we do like are canceled and some shows we despise seem to go on forever. Plus, we have several pet peeves:

—“Why is it always so dark in all these shows? I can’t see a thing. What is the point?”
—“Why is the music so loud but the dialogue is barely audible?”
—“Why do so many writers depict adult characters as adolescents with endless insecurities and incessant competition and/or bickering?”
—“Car chases, foot chases and fighting are NOT PLOT.”

Keep up with the changes! http://thefutoncritic.com/guide/
or here, for the schedule (as of 2/23/18, 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 2/23/18. 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 are more recently viewed are higher up on this list) and some on DVD from our local library (that were on premium channels, originally).

Shows We recently have watched and reviewed (as of 2/23/18)

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

*#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 watched the first 2 Episodes, which had very different formats and purposes. Interesting, infuriating, painful, educational. Worthwhile, if you can stand to watch/listen.
The series plans to have “… 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, but only I am watching

*A.P. Bio NBC (premiered 2/1/18)
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 will probably watch while doing other things, for a few laughs (some are even intelligent), but I’m sure it’s doomed.
Good for a few laughs, but certainly doomed

*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.

The Resident FOX (premiered 1/21/18)
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.
So far (Episode 1, only), we’re not liking it, much. Bloodier, darker, with meaner characters and tragic situations than we usually like. So, we’ll try one more.

Reluctantly continuing, after Episode 2

*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!

*Bellevue WGN (premiered 1/23/18; 8 Episodes, only)
I loved Anna Paquin as Sookie Stackhouse in True Blood, but this may not be our cup of tea….It’s kind of dark; we watched half of one Episode and then had to go watch something more uplifting. Still deciding about this
“Thrilling and eerie, Bellevue is a mystery set in a small blue-collar town with a lot of ‘good people’ who ‘live right’ and take it upon themselves to make sure the neighbours do too. Driving the series is Detective Annie Ryder (Paquin), a cop whose intense and brazen personality has always been at odds with her hometown. When a transgender teen goes missing, Annie dives in to unravel the disappearance that suggests foul play, despite finding herself in a difficult position as she must cast suspicion on people she has known all her life. As the case pulls her further away from her family, she is also confronted by a mysterious person from her past with disturbing answers and a terrifying need to get inside her head.”
Also starring Shawn Doyle, Billy MacLellan and Sharon Taylor.
Mom is out, but I’m reluctantly continuing after Episode 2

*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

*Black Lightning CW (premiered 1/16/18)
“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

*LA TO VEGAS FOX (premiered 1/2/18)
Dylan McDermott came back with a workplace comedy. We miss him and his great show (recently aired and canceled after only one season, Pure Genius), but sometimes, as in this case, these comedies are awful. Not worth your time. Sure to be canceled.

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.
First Episode disappointing; 2nd not much better; but, RENEWED for SEASON 2)

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)

WINTER PREMIERES/RETURNS (not yet reviewed/watched as of 2/23/18)

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: as of 2/23/18

Some PREMIERES/RETURNS are still unknown for 2018, but I/we plan to watch these shows (UPDATED 2/23/18)
Try http://releasedatetv.com/ for release dates.

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!

*American Masters on PBS: Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story, PBS
(For upcoming/current IRL cinema locations/showings: https://zeitgeistfilms.com/film/bombshellthehedylamarrstory; it was at the Tribeca Film Festival 4/23/17 and opened in NYC 11/24/17;
also, supposedly aired on PBS; check local listings or watch online, http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/video/all-video/?type=episodes; I couldn’t find it as of 2/23/18, except at live theatres)
I have a particular connection to Ms. Lamarr because one of my former partner’s mothers and aunt were her friends—three young women who were beautiful, talented, Jewish Austrians and Holocaust survivors. After they all had escaped from Austria and made their way to Los Angeles during Hitler’s rise in the late 1930s, these three appeared in two movies together (my partner’s relatives had very minor roles). They were also friends with another fellow Jewish Austrian, Johnny Weismuller, known for his roles as Tarzan.
Hedy Lamarr was the original wild child. Her scandalous nude appearance in the 1933 Czech film, Ecstasy, made her infamous at the age of 17. She married a prominent Austrian businessman who became a weapons dealer to the Nazis. Lamarr, who was born Jewish, fled her husband in the middle of the night, boarding a boat for America with nothing to her name except a single designer gown. On board, she dazzled MGM boss, Louis B. Mayer, and convinced him to offer her one of the best contracts in Hollywood. As a movie star, she was considered by many to be ‘the most beautiful woman in the world.’ Songs were written about her beauty. Snow White [Disney’s original animated version] was modeled on her iconic look. She married six times and had affairs with everyone from Howard Hughes to Spencer Tracy.”
I am especially looking forward to this one

*American Masters on PBS aired Patsy Cline – Up Close, Personal in March, but it was not available here in Missouri; check local listings or watch online: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/video/all-video/?type=episodes)
Rosanne Cash narrated this, with many stars interviewed or on clips.
What a talent! Cline‘s story is sad, but her voice! Mom may watch, but probably not.
I am looking forward to this

Absentia Amazon Prime (was first on Sony AXN) (available 2/2/18).
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.’”

Shoot the Messenger WGN (premieres 2/26/18; 8-part miniseries)
“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.
We’ll try it

McMafia AMC (premieres 2/26/18)
“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.
May be too dark, but we’ll try it

Life Sentence CW (premieres 3/7/18)
“When Stella finds out her terminal cancer is cured, she must learn to live with all the choices she made when deciding to live like she was dying.”
Kind of like Freeform‘s 2013-15 series, Chasing Life (which we liked, but…), isn’t this?
Starring: Lucy Hale, Elliot Knight, Brooke Lyons.
Could be interesting

Deception ABC (premieres 3/11/18; only 6 Episodes listed, so far)
“Cameron Black is the world’s greatest illusionist. At least, that’s what people used to call him—before his greatest secret was exposed and his career destroyed. Even worse, Cameron has good reason to believe this was no accident….After his career as a magician is ruined by a scandal, Las Vegas illusionist, Cameron Black, becomes the world’s first ‘consulting illusionist’ as he works with the FBI to solve odd crimes.”
Starring Jack Cutmore-Scott, Ilfenesh Hadera, Laila Robins, Ruben Navarro, Amaury Nolasco.

White Collar, The Mentalist, To Catch a Thief: How many times will Hollywood use the same storyline?
We’ll try one Episode; probably TRITE

Rise NBC (premieres 3/13/18)
Seemingly a mash-up of Glee and Mr. Holland’s Opus, Rise brings in the drama classes for a new show we might like.
Starring some cool peeps: Josh Radnor (How I Met Your Mother), Auli’i Cravalho (Moana), Rosie Perez (Search Party, Lipstick Jungle), and many others pretending to be teens, I’m sure.
The show “centers on a high school drama teacher and family man whose passion for the program and his students galvanizes the entire working class town. Based on Michael Sokolove’s book, Drama High, which itself is based on real-life drama teacher, Lou Volpe.”
Could be all right

For the People ABC (premieres 3/13/18)
Another courtroom drama… We sometimes like these, but they can be SUPER boring if not done right.
Bull, yes. Chicago Justice, no.
We do recognize some of the stars, so we’ll try it.
Features Ben Rappaport (Mr. Robot, The Good Wife), Hope Davis (American Crime), Anna Deavere Smith (Nurse Jackie), Lyndon Smith (Parenthood), Ben Shenkman (Royal Pains), and some others.
Blurb: “Set in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, aka “The Mother Court,” the drama follows brand-new lawyers working for both the defense and the prosecution handling the most high-profile and high-stakes federal cases in the country — all as their lives intersect in and out of the courtroom.”
Another (and probably last) Shonda RhimesABC production; then, she’s off to Netflix!)
Worth a try

Instinct CBS (premieres 3/18/18)
Alan Cumming (The Good Wife) back.

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 James Patterson novel.”
Probably good, but may be too dark for me.

Station 19 ABC (premieres 3/22/18)
Jaina Lee Ortiz (Rosewood) is set to star as a firefighter in another Grey’s Anatomy‘s spinoff, set in “a Seattle firehouse. The newest Shonda Rhimes series will center around the firefighters’ life-and-death situations at work and their personal lives.”
Chicago Fire, much?
Ortiz will be introduced to Grey’s Anatomy fans this fall, 2017, to tantalize fans for the spinoff’s mid-season debut. We’ll surely watch this! BUT, it may move to/premiere on Netflix! (see the RUMOR, above, about Shonda Rhimes)
We will try it!

*Splitting Up Together ABC (premieres 3/27/18)
“The story of a couple whose marriage is reignited by their divorce.”
Starring: Jenna Fischer, Oliver Hudson, Olivia Keville.
I’ll try it and let Mom know if it’s worthwhile; probably not

*Roseanne ABC (8 episodes only; premieres 3/27/18)
Another show is being revived! Even John Goodman‘s character (who died in their last season) will return (presumably in “new” flashbacks).

Roseanne Barr, of course, will return, as will former cast members, Sara Gilbert, Laurie Metcalf, Michael Fishman and Lecy Goranson, with Sarah Chalke also back, but in a different role. I never watched the original except in clips (in my no-TV years), but I might give this a watch. Mom says: “Yuck.”
I will watch one Episode, at least

Howard’s End Starz (4-Episode series premieres 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.”

*The Crossing ABC (premieres 4/2/18)
“Refugees from a war-torn country 250 years in the future start showing up to seek asylum in an American town.”
Starring: Rick Gomez, Grant Harvey, Simone Kessell, Steve Zahn. Where are the women???
Could be interesting; I’ll try it, first

*Jesus Christ Superstar NBC (on Easter Sunday, 4/8/18)
A Broadway-filmed “live” (at filming time) showing of Jesus Christ Superstar! If you’ve never seen it, very worth it. It’s brilliant. One of the first “rock operas” of the 1960s-1970s, it has almost no dialogue and many amazing songs. Much more serious and politicized/satirical than Godspell, and not the same angle at all on the story of Jesus’ rise and fall.

I will watch, for nostalgia’s sake.

Killing Eve BBC America (premieres 4/8/18)
“A security operative hunts for an assassin. Based on the Villanelle novellas by Luke Jennings.”
Starring: Fiona Shaw, Sandra Oh, Jodie Comer.
We like Sandra Oh and will try it.

May be too violent for me

Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger FREEFORM (2-hour premiere 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.” Also starring Andrea Roth, Gloria Reuben, Miles Mussenden, Carl Lundstedt, Emma Lahana, Jaime Zevallos, and J.D. Evermore.
May watch the first Episode

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

Reverie NBC (late spring, 2018)
Another great cast for a new show with a shaky premise, IMO: brings Sarah Shahi (Person of Interest), Dennis Haysbert (24), Sendhil Ramamurthy (Heroes), Kathryn Morris (Cold Case) and Jessica Lu (Awkward) together.
Reverie purports to be a “grounded and dramatic thriller about a former detective specializing in human behavior who is brought in when the launch of an advanced virtual reality program has dangerous and unintended consequences.”
Good chances

Las Reinas ABC (late spring, 2018)
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 (spring, 2018)
Connie Britton has risen from the dead (Rayna James, Nashville) to play a leading role in Nicole Holofcener’s ensemble dramedy based on Ted Thompson’s 2014 novel of the same name.
Starring Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie), Ben Mendelsohn (Bloodline), and Thomas Mann (Fargo).
We’ll try it

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)

SUITS spin-off (untitled, so far) USA (late spring, 2018)
Gina Torres WILL star as Jessica Pearson, again, in this even though she left SUITS because she put it into her contract that it will film in LA (where she lives) instead of the usual Toronto-for-NYC.
Watch her on SUITS in the final winter, 2017, Episode (a brief return, only, for that season), then, watch for Torres to headline and produce the new series.
Also starring Simon Kassianides, Rebecca Rittenhouse, Morgan Spector.
We’ll watch this

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

**Law and Order—SVU NBC (returned 9/27/17)
Mom is keeping this on her list for sure; RENEWED.

**Criminal Minds NBC (returned 9/27/17)
Mom is keeping this on her list, but bored with it.

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

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

Ongoing or Special Shows We Like(d) and Have Watched (as of 2/23/18)

*The Magicians SyFy (returned 1/10/18 for SEASON 3)
Still kind of trite, but interesting.
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.
KEEPING, but Fast-Forwarding a lot

*Call the Midwife PBS (December 25, 2017, special 2-hour episode; then, returns 4/2/18)
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.

*When Calls the Heart Hallmark (returned December 25, 2017, and then returns 2/18/18)
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.

The Librarians TNT (returned 12/13/17 for SEASON 4)
Fun and satisfying, sometimes, but getting much sillier and not so interesting, sometimes. SEASON 4 is playing 2 Episodes per week in December, most weeks, so put that in your plans.
Excellent special effects and well-drawn characters, even the villains.
Don’t quite believe the romance between Noah Wylie‘s nerdy scholar and Elizabeth Romijin‘s former Secret Service ninja (Noah wishes…), but it’s all light and fun.
Miss Bob Newhart and Jane Curtain; John Larroquette just doesn’t have what they have. Now, no Noah Wylie for SEASON 4, too? How will that work?
John Harlan Kim, Lindy Booth, and Christian Kane round out the “regulars.”

image from http://www.tvline.com


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

A Place to Call Home ACORN (then DVD and Amazon; already has 4 SEASONS on DVD and SEASON 5 started airing on ACORN in fall, 2017; look for DVD later in 2018)
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 can’t wait for SEASON 5

The Doctor Blake Mysteries Netflix (on PBS and other online outlets)
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’re liking this one, also

*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 will reunite once again… when the two-hour special premieres this December. Psych creator, Steve Franks, who co-wrote the movie with Roday, is directing. Lassiter (Timothy Omundson), Juliet (Maggie Lawson), Henry (Corbin Bernsen), and Chief Vick (Kirsten Nelson) will also return for the movie, which picks up three years after the series finale.”

Silly, but fun

*The Crown Netflix (available 12/8/17 for SEASON 2; RENEWED for SEASONS 3 – 6)
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. (returned in November, 2017; probably CANCELED)
Mom quit one 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.
Not worth your time; probably CANCELED

*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.
So far (I’ve only watched this year’s Episodes), the writers have tackled postpartum depression, incarceration, Type II (Adult Onset) diabetes, divorce, bullying, class issues/homelessness/charity/poverty, marital issues and so much more, fitting it all into a 30-minute segment that features a family that has children from ages 20+ to a late-in-life 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, sometimes; RENEWED for SEASON 4

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Amazon Prime (SEASON 1 available 11/29/17; RENEWED for SEASON 2)
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 Rachel Brosnahan in the title role as “Midge” (Miriam) and Michael Zegen as her awful husband. Also featuring Luke Kirby as the infamous Lenny Bruce, and the inimitable Tony Shalhoub as Midge’s unsupportive father and Marin Hinkle as her frosty mother. With Alex Borstein as her staunchest supporter/new agent,
Intelligent, funny and interesting.

We watched all of SEASON 1 and eagerly await SEASON 2.
KEEPING and RENEWED for Season 2

Chicago Med NBC (returned 11/21/17 for SEASON 3 and continued 1/2/18)
We LOVE Oliver Platt, and the rest of the cast are good, with interesting stories.
I got caught up ON DEMAND and now am hooked

*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 almost likedthis

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 Bold Type Freeform (resumes 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 this month, I picked up with Episode 2 On Demand and was surprised by the good writing and acting (neither present in Episode 1 to any extent) and kept watching all the way to Episode 1 (end of SEASON 1).
Excellent and continuously improving acting and writing, covering complicated and interesting topics without overly simplifying or resolving facilely (rare on any TV show these days). In addition to great depiction of female mentoring and friendships, this show delved into inherited breast cancer (the BRCA gene), rape and sexual assault injustices, office relationships/romances, bisexuality and sexuality, gender inequality and identity, political topics, career moves, drinking, bed bugs, financial difficulties, immigration/deportation, religious and class differences, interpersonal competitions and more.
Starring Katie Stevens, Aisha Dee (liked her on Chasing Life) and Meghann Fahy as the three millennial leads, with mentoring roles played by Melora Hardin and Stephen Conrad Moore; romance/friendship roles played by Sam(uel) Page, Matt Ward, Nikohl Boosheri, Dan Jeannotte.
Any writers who correctly reference/quote the late, great Nora Ephron in TWO Episodes get my vote!

Falsettos on LIVE FROM LINCOLN CENTER PBS (aired 10/27/17, and online after that; go to http://www.pbs.org/show/lincoln-center/ for a preview trailer)
This is a “rock opera,” sort of: like Jesus Christ Superstar and Godspell, there is almost no dialogue; all is sung. Amazing talent in this production! The story is strange and sad, but so well-acted and sung.
We love getting LIVE (recorded live) Broadway in our own home (St. Louis, Missouri, USA) for free (for the price of cable TV, that is)! In case you don’t know, “Falsettos is a musical with a book by James Lapine and William Finn, and music and lyrics by Finn. The musical consists of March of the Falsettos and Falsettoland, the last two installments in one trio of one-act Off-Broadway musicals….which tell the story of a gay man named Marvin, his lover Whizzer, Marvin’s wife, Trina, and their extended family, from the early ‘80s through the early days of the AIDS crisis.” (from Wikipedia and the PBS show page, which is also the the source of the image, below)

Starring Christian Borle, Stephanie J. Block and Andrew Rannells, who each was amazing! Bring tissues for the ending.
Strange but excellent

Blindspot (resumed 1/12/18; (RENEWED for SEASON 4; in danger of being canceled)
The new season’s first Episode was very weird and we didn’t like it at all. We fast-forwarded through a lot of it because it was so boring. The writers seemed lost, using very contrived and not believable ways to separate, then bring the cast together, again, each with secrets that we’re supposed to care about uncovering, BUT WE DO NOT.
We like having Mary Stuart Masterson on, but what’s with the fake Southern accent? Terrible.
Sullivan Stapleton is Kurt Weller, now married to Jaime Alexander, “Jane.” Rob Brown, Audrey Esparza and Ashley Johnson round out the “regulars.’ Adding back in Luke Mitchell, Ennis Esmer, Jordan Johnson-Hinds and Chad Donella for this year.
MAYBE not KEEPING for SEASON 3; RENEWED for SEASON 4; in danger of being canceled

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!

Big Little Lies HBO and DVD (SEASON 1 premiered 2/19/17; SEASON 2 premieres spring, 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

*Good Behavior TNT (returned 10/15/17, SEASON 2)

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; KEEPING for SEASON 3

Madam Secretary CBS (returned 10/8/17; in danger of being canceled)
GREAT SHOW! LOVE Tea Leoni and Tim Daly, and the “kids” are still great, as are the others. Strong start to Season 3. Still loving this.
KEEPING for SEASON 3; ; in danger of being canceled


Supergirl CW (resumed 1/15/18)
For SEASON 3, Supergirl seems depressed, angry and unwilling to play nicely as Kara Danvers so much. We’ll see.
Some new peeps: Adrian Pasdar (Heroes, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) as “a villainous real estate tycoon whose vision of National City’s future clashes with Supergirl’s ideology”; Carl Lumbly (Alias, Southland, The Cure for Wellness) as “Martian Manhunter’s father, M’yrnn J’onzz”; Emma Tremblay (Elysium, The Judge, The Giver) “as a young Supergirl super fan”; Yael Grobglas (Jane the Virgin, Reign) “as DC character, Psi, a psychic who cruelly manipulates people’s minds”; Laura Benanti can’t continue in her dual role as Supergirl’s mother (as a hologram)/aunt (killed off in SEASON 2), but Erica Durance (Saving Hope, Smallville) as the new holographic/dead mother replaces someone she does not closely resemble, which is odd.
Also, Calista Flockhart will return often and is in SEASON 3’s premiere.
Excited some of these talented actors were singing on The Flash; we watched both for the cross-over and musical episodes in SEASON 2. MORE, please? 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

Scandal ABC (resumed 1/18/18 for final episodes)
We have watched them all, so we have to finish with the sick characters, so well-acted, of this series. Changes in Olivia (Kerry Washington) are awful, though.
Gotta finish, but no one to root for!

The Gifted Fox (FINALE aired 1/15/18; RENEWED for SEASON 2)
We like this, although we mute or fast-forward through all the shooting and fighting and car chases (so BORING and LOUD). The premise (a father who switches “sides” to save his family) is a lot like that of Colony, which we also like.
One of my long-time faves, Amy Acker, is the mom, in yet another show from Marvel comics (but not with Joss Whedon at the helm), co-parenting [with Stephen Moyer (True Blood)] a pair of mutant (X-Men-universe) children.
Also stars some others I/we have liked: Coby Bell (Burn Notice), Sean Teale (Reign, Incorporated), Emma Dumont (Aquarius, Bunheads).
“A suburban couple whose ordinary lives are rocked by the sudden discovery that their children possess mutant powers [are] Forced to go on the run from a hostile government. [T]he family joins up with an underground network of mutants and must fight to survive.”
For several trailers, show art and more casting, producers and plot info: http://www.denofgeek.com/us/tv/the-gifted/256921/marvels-the-gifted-trailer-release-date-and-more-news
Too much violence and fighting, but we like the ideas and actors; RENEWED for SEASON 2

The Blacklist NBC (resumed 1/3/18; in danger of being canceled)
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.
Keeping for SEASON 5; in danger of being canceled

How to Get Away with Murder ABC (resumed 1/18/18)
Glad Viola Davis won the Emmy. She deserved it. Good acting by her and many on this show is not enough to save it, though. Cicely Tyson is also amazing, especially in Episode 1 of SEASON 4, as Annalise’s mother. Fabulous. Not sure what the writers intend for “the kids” or Bonnie, though, given how Episode 1 played out. We’ll see. Not liking any of the characters much, though, and not sure we’ll continue watching.
The writers of this show are a weird bunch, for sure.
The production values are so bad and the timeline jumping done so poorly that we have no idea what’s going on most of the time. Filming is too dark and cuts are too quick. Dialogue is not loud enough.
Keeping, but not liking SEASON 4

Blue Bloods CBS (resumed 1/19/18 for SEASON 8)
My mom LOVES this show and watches re-runs for fun, mostly because she loves Tom Selleck as the family patriarch and Chief of Police. It’s grown on me.
Glad to see Lorraine Braco (Rizzoli’s mother on Rizzoli and Isles, most recently) has a role, now, as the new mayor of NYC (BTW: NYC has NEVER had a woman mayor, so good on them!). But, why did the writers/producers get rid of Linda (Danny’s wife)? Did they have a contract dispute or what? And, what are the purposes of almost killing Erin’s ex and almost firing Frank?
Definitely staying tuned, if only to see what these writers are up to this year.

Blue Bloods


Chicago P.D. NBC (resumed 1/3/18)
Okay start, with many familiar faces (including one or two overlapping characters from Chicago Med, another one from the canceled Chicago Justice, and one actor who is also in Suits), but very sad storyline. Trying too hard to be “current,” we think.
Disappointed that so many ON THE FORCE are doing so many bad things.
Probably keeping, but not “wowed”

Designated Survivor ABC (resumes 2/28/18)
We really like this show, but hate their choice for the end of the fall Episodes, Season 2, 2017-18. Not sure where it’s going after that, but we’re sad.


Zoe McLellan (JAG, NCIS New Orleans) joined Designated Survivor for the 2017-18 season as a kick-butt lawyer hired by the Prez.

Chicago Fire NBC (resumed 1/4/18)
One of my CHANGES conversations between authors‘ guests, poet performer, James Gordon, has recurring minor roles on this and Chicago PD!)
Cheap tricks at the end of last season and the beginning of this one, trying to make us believe one or more characters had died. Come ON! The rest was mostly not all that interesting (to me, anyway), and, ironically, TOO MUCH FIRE!
KEEPING, but not liking much

*Grey’s Anatomy ABC (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 SEASON 12, and I’m looking forward to more of this show this year, even though some key characters keep leaving/being asked to leave (no spoilers, here).
Grey’s Anatomy‘s casting/recasting:
Kim Raver (most recently of the should-not-have-been-canceled APB) returned in her role as a doctor/military buddy to two existing cast members (Kevin McKidd‘s Owen and Martin Henderson‘s Nathan, which is interesting.
Bridget Regan could not return to reprise her role as the returned-from-the-dead sister (Owen’s) due to responsibilities for The Last Ship, so a look-alike, Abigail Spencer (still returning to the excellent Timeless as well) replaced her admirably and well for a multi-episode arc.


*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 is off to a great start!


I appreciate the spot-on jokes at the expense of the do-gooders—white liberals and somewhat clueless—the Principal, played perfectly by Marin Hinkle , who is excellent in many other shows I’ve watched, and one of J.J. DeMeo’s teachers, played fabulously by the always-funny Rob Corddry.
(Micah Fowler, who was great in Labor Day, is amazing as the main character, J.J. DeMeo, who has something like cerebral palsy (but they don’t say exactly what in the early episodes) and a great sense of humor, who is a budding adolescent who needs to individuate, big time. He is helped admirably by Cedric Yarbrough as his African-American personal Aide, which allows the writers to poke at racism and biases.
The siblings (played well by Mason Cook—cast in many shows, including The Night Shift and Grey’s Anatomy—and Kyla Kenedy, also on The Night Shift) and the dad (also played strongly by John Ross Bowie, round out the cast and bring the plot into areas that aren’t always about having a disabled family member, which is great.

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.


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)
(SPOILER ALERT) Glad they didn’t drag out the missing McGee and Gibbs into more episodes. Sorry another cast member has departed . High turnover, there.
We are fans of this show, regardless.
Glad they’re giving Bishop more to do.
Sorry to hear that Pauly Perrette‘s Abby will be gone after this year (SEASON 15), but glad we already know so we can enjoy this year’s antics more. Also, seeing less of David McCallum‘s Ducky is sad, but he is in his 80s, after all!

Bull CBS (returned 9/26/17; RENEWED for SEASON 3)
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), are they really getting rid of Cable? Terrible choice!

NCIS New Orleans CBS (returned 9/26/17; RENEWED for SEASON 5)
Good start to the new season this year (2017-18). Still liking this, especially Scott Bakula‘s character. SEASON 4 picked up right where SEASON 3 left off, more or less, and kept going strongly.

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)].
We really like this one; KEEPING and RENEWED for SEASON 2

Scorpion CBS (resumed 1/15/18)
Could be that this show, like so many, is becoming a bit too formulaic, a caricature of itself. Last season’s Episodes had a few too many “Oh, one of the bizarre genius’ amazing ideas, number four, didn’t work, so we’re going to die” moments. Started putting a quarter in for every crisis. Topped out at $3.00 for one Episode!
We loved the musical sequence opener for SEASON 3, but the Episode itself was so boring and the adolescent emotional antics so tedious that we stopped halfway through and watched the rest later when we ran out of other new shows to watch.
Disappointing all around. Is it the writers or the characters who are behaving as if they are stuck in adolescence?
Predictable and often boring/tedious; bored already with SEASON 3

*Black Mirror Netflix (SEASON 4 available fall, 2017; SEASON 5 available January, 2018)
This British version of an updated Twilight Zone-ish series is very unsettling (I’ve only watched two episodes, but those were so disturbing I may not return any time soon). However, they are well-written, well-acted and “realistic,” as far as they can be while venturing into odd and futuristic territory. Recommended if you like bizarre, weird, unnerving and challenging. I know my mom won’t like it, so I watch when she’s not around.
I recognize some of the actors from other BBC series (Downton Abbey, Mr. Selfridge, New Tricks and others), so that is fun.
VERY DARK. I have watched about 6 episodes, now. Many are truly awful, dystopian, nightmarish depictions of our future.
It’s now in its third season, so if you can stomach it, there are many episodes to watch!
Watching, but nauseated; RENEWED for SEASONS 4 and 5

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

*Nashville (now on CMT) (returned for FINAL SEASON 6 on 1/4/18 and runs through March, then June – August for final Episodes)
ALL Episodes for the last several years 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.
Was good, at first; then, not enough music; SEASON 6 = FINAL

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

Suits USA (returns 3/7/18 for rest of SEASON 7; RENEWED for SEASON 8, but without 2 stars and adding one)
Michael (played well by Patrick J. Adams), now in his last season on this show, is now allowed to practice law, through some nefarious and dirty dealings and extortion as well as some heartfelt pleas by friends and colleagues at the end of last season. But, why do the writers make Mike a complete idiot when he’s supposed to be a genius, though?
Rachel, played well by Meghan Markle (but often dressed inappropriately vampy), is still often too whiny, juvenile and ridiculous (and repetitive); this is also her last SEASON (7), since she is becoming a British Princess very soon.
Sarah Rafferty as the impossibly perfect Donna and Gabriel Macht as the complicated and very psychologically messed-up Harvey still have the greatest scenes and lines (and their characters are decades-long friends, which shows).
Glad to see Dulè Hill showing up here after the doomed Doubt; again, as a lawyer.
Gina Torres is OFF the show but is scheduled to do a spin-off (see top of this post) as Jessica. She was briefly on the doomed The Catch and good there, too. Cameos last year and this year, anyway, on Suits, though.
Louis is still the most richly drawn and has the most fun/awful stuff to do, and all done very well by Rick Hoffman. Love his assistant, Gretchen, played marvelously by the veteran actor, Aloma Wright.
My mom and I complain that none of these lawyers seems to keep their tempers in check, can stop throwing testosterone at the walls (women included), or can behave as anything more than glorified adolescents, except for Jessica (Gina Torres, who makes cameo appearances in this season, only).
Katherine Heigl (whom I really like, ever since her Roswell days) will be coming on in SEASON 8 to play Pearson Specter Litt’s newest partner, Samantha Wheeler, described as “being cunning enough to become the firm’s ‘greatest ally or most powerful enemy.'”

Marvel’s Jessica Jones Netflix (returns for SEASON 2 on 3/8/18)
A bit too much fighting, but interesting and intriguing. We look forward to SEASON 2.
Disappointingly, the spin-off of Marvel’s Jessica Jones, Marvel’s Luke Cage, was awful, but it did get renewed for its second season on Netflix. We watched Episode 1, but it was so violent and not very interesting that we thought we wouldn’t continue. But, after finishing Marvel’s The Defenders, SEASON 1 (which was renewed for SEASON 2 but won’t run until after JJ‘s SEASON 2 runs, apparently), we will probably go back and watch the rest of Luke Cage.

Then, we will probably watch SEASON 1 of Marvel’s Iron Fist (renewed for SEASON 2) and Marvel’s Daredevil‘s first two seasons (because DD was renewed for SEASON 3) to get more of a sense of what is going on with this part of the franchise.
We mute all the fighting (wishing we could fast-forward!).
Continuing to watch

Timeless NBC (returns 3/11/18 for SEASON 2)
We really LOVE this show. The writing is strong, the characters are interesting, and the twists (due to time travel, of course, and junk science…) are fascinating. We also LOVE Abigail Spencer (Rectify, Suits). We are enjoying Matt Lanter (90210), Paterson Joseph (The Leftovers), and Malcolm Barrett (Better Off Ted), who are new to us. We also appreciate the returns of Goran Visnjic (ER) and Claudia Doumit (Scandal) from previous shows we like, and I’ve seen and liked Sakina Jaffrey (House of Cards).

*The Americans TNT (final SEASON 6 returns 3/28/18)
I like this show, but the content is quite disturbing, for sure. The morality, ethics, honesty and deception issues are quite seriously depicted, there is a lot of violence (which I don’t like), and people are very screwed up, on all sides. Multiple complexities and grey areas are not shied away from, and they include many key events/issues from the USA’s 1980s: bravo to the writers, actors, director, fact-checkers/researchers!
I hate to read subtitles, but having the Russians speak Russian adds verisimilitude, for sure.
Both Matt Rhys (Phillip) and Keri Russell (Elizabeth) give nuanced, fascinating performances, especially when interacting with their now-“read-in,” adolescent daughter, Paige (played admirably by Holly Taylor).
Remarkable performances also by the great Frank Langella, with key moments played by Callie Thorne, Noah Emmerich, Annet Mahendru, Lev Gorn make/made this a show well-worth watching. So do Keri Russell‘s and Matthew Rhys‘ real-life romance and child together!
Frank Langella gave such a moving speech when he won a Tony (June, 2016) for best actor, referencing Orlando and gay rights, support for diversity and for all, etc., that it gives me a new perspective on him for his role in this show.
Mom watched a few, but bailed.
Cringing, but KEEPING and RENEWED for final SEASON, 6

*Famous in Love FreeForm (RENEWED for SEASON 2 and returns with 2-hour premiere 4/4/18)
Mom wouldn’t watch this, so I watched it alone, going through all 10 episodes “on demand,” since they were available. I was surprised by how great the acting was, and pleasantly interested in the plot and a few of the characters. There are some (expected and delivered) 2-D characters, stereotypes and trite, with accompanying plot points, but mostly, better-drawn than many shows’ are. I plan to continue, but I expect it to devolve into cliches very soon.
The series’ messages are quite disturbing, though. EVERY SINGLE CHARACTER is dishonest about something major with people they love/care about; many, more than one topic, more than one person. Favorite negativity tropes, so far: infidelity; betrayal; broken promises; secrets; paternity; fake student status; fake jobs; stealing; murder; other criminal activity; extortion; blackmail; planting evidence/framing someone; parental/family status; fake living situation; fake names; broken contracts; inappropriate/impossible expectations; terrible parenting; sexual orientation lies; relationship status lies; blaming others for one’s own problems. Very sad state these people are in, but this is supposedly depicting some kinds of “success.” Sigh.
“Life changes for ordinary college student, Paige (Bella Thorne), after she auditions for a movie and lands a role in the big-budget blockbuster. The newfound-fame turns Paige into Hollywood’s new ‘it’ girl, forcing her to navigate the highs and lows of celebrity life — all while trying to balance her college workload. While Paige’s new career offers her a chance to meet new people — including attractive co-star, Rainer (Carter Jenkins), with whom she develops strong chemistry — it strains her relationships with her current friends, especially Jake, who may want to be more than just friends. …[B]ased on a novel of the same name written by Rebecca Serle.
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, surprisingly. Renewed for SEASON 2

*Genius National Geographic (SEASON 2 returns 4/24/18, about PABLO PICASSO)
Bio-pic series based on the life and work of Albert Einstein. Only I watched these, but I really enjoyed each Episode.
Flips back and forth between college-aged (Johnny Flynn) and professorial-/World War II-aged Einstein (Geoffrey Rush). Also stars the great Emily Watson as his second wife for a while, then stays with the older versions for the last few Episodes. Spoiler: ends with Einstein’s death and its aftermath.
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

Quantico (returns 4/26/18 for SEASON 3)
My mom and I liked Quantico for the first half or so. Then, it devolved, as so many do, into chases and violence and not much (else?) to commend it. We kept watching, but too many characters are getting killed off/disappearing each season. What is up with that?
The premise was supposed to be that this is a show about a new cohort of recruits at the FBI federal training academy (Quantico) in the USA. Why didn’t they stick with that? Why did they think they needed a terrorist bombing/ “moles”/ multiple deceptions-based plot?
We know it’s an FBI show and we did expect some of the above. But, really, when more than a few minutes of every show is devoted to pursuit chases and macho posturing/inappropriate blame and shaming, we look at each other and say: “Not enough plot, eh?”
UPDATE, in November, 2016: going back in forth in time from the cadets to the present is a good idea but not done well at all. Relying too much on different hairdos for the female characters and who’s having sex with whom to anchor the timeline (who cares?). Still watching, but not sure why. it’s worse and worse this fall.
Watched both years, but hated the poor visibility and convoluted storylines; BUT, not yet CANCELED for SEASON 3, fall, 2017


Elementary CBS (RENEWED for SEASON 6; returns 4/30/18, but in danger of being canceled)
CBS has ordered eight more episodes of Elementary, but here is no premiere date or a time slot for the series, yet.

Very sad to hear (on July 8, 2017), about the sudden and very unexpected death (from alcoholic heart failure, at the too-young age of 39) of a recurring character actor on this show, Nelsan Ellis, whom I first admired as Lafayette on True Blood. We will miss you, Nelsan. You were a true talent.

We both like this show a lot even though it’s very difficult for us to understand some of the dialogue or to understand Sherlock because of the show’s poor audio quality and his rapid-fire speech in a British accent.
Great to see Lucy Liu, Johnny Lee Miller, John Michael Hill and Aidan Quinn back again.
KEEPING, and 6th SEASON RENEWED & Expanded, but in danger of being canceled

Marvel’s The Defenders Netflix (SEASON 1 available since August, 2017; 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; RENEWED, but long wait for SEASON 2, though

Endeavor BBC/PBS Masterpiece/Amazon Prime (available on Az Prime through SEASON 3; SEASON 4 finished airing here in fall, 2017; RENEWED for SEASON 5)
A ’60’s era British detective/crime-solving series that my mom and I have been enjoying on Amazon Prime and plan to finish by watching recordings from PBS. We finished SEASONS 3 and 4, now (late October, 2017) and, except for the vocal music (‘way too much opera and classical /religious choral music for my taste, which wants NONE of that), believe this is one of the best series of its type around. Barrington Pheloung writes the other music, which is beautiful (and not vocal).
Apparently, a closely-guarded secret from his peers and friends is Detective Morse’s first name, which is “Endeavor.” This series is a prequel to the beloved (but one we haven’t watched, yet) Inspector Morse series; both are set primarily in Oxford, England.
Starring Shaun Evans as young Endeavour Morse, who is beginning his career as a Detective Constable with the Oxford City Police CID, the series has a great supporting and co-starring cast, including Roger Allam, Anton Lesser, Jack Lasky and Sean Rigby on the police force, with recurring roles/frequent appearances by Caroline O’Neill, Sara Vickers, Abigail Thaw and Shvorne Marks. Pilot episode aired in 2012. SEASON 5 will appear in 2018.
Enjoy this a lot; KEEPING and RENEWED for SEASON 5

Orville FOX (premiered 9/10/17; RENEWED for SEASON 2, but won’t air until 2019)
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.

*Midnight, Texas TNT (premiered in July, 2017; returns summer, 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

*The African-Americans: Many Rivers to Cross PBS (started airing in October, 2013; re-aired July, 2017; gets repeated often and available online http://www.pbs.org)
The wonderful historian, himself African-American, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., is the narrator and principal investigator/researcher for this amazing series, which chunks the history of African-Americans into hundreds of years, at first, then dozens, then just a few decades by the end (4 Episodes, 75 minutes each; 6 hours, total).
The series “guides viewers on a journey across two continents to explore the transition of African-Americans. The series encompasses five centuries of events, visits key sites, and engages in debates with historians and eyewitnesses like school integration pioneers, Ruby Bridges and Charlayne Hunter-Gault, former Black Panther, Kathleen Neal Cleaver and former Secretary of State Colin Powell.”
I’m into documentaries like this

Shetland BBC One/Netflix (SEASON 4 airs in early 2018)
The accents of the actors on this show are often very difficult for us midwestern-USA listeners to understand, but the show is a great “who done it” format with very little gore/violence on screen and lots of excellent writing (best handling of female colleague’s sexual assault by a male colleague I’ve ever seen on TV or film), characterizations and situations (similar to DCI Banks, which we also loved). We watched SEASONS 1, 2 & 3 on Netflix now (summer programming isn’t so great on regular TV). We plan to watch it on BBC America, if it runs here, or resume when the rest comes onto Netflix in spring or summer, 2018.
“DI [Detective Inspector] Jimmy Perez (Douglas Henshall) and his team (mostly, Alison O’Donnell, Steven Robertson) investigate crimes within the close-knit island community of Shetland.”
Like DCI Banks, the series started with a double Episode pilot, then each season had/has 3 or 4 double Episodes.
The setting is supposedly on one or more of the Shetland archipelago of islands as part of northeastern Scotland, but is actually filmed mostly in Scotland itself. Still, beautiful scenery of many coastal lays.

Great murder mystery show, if you can understand what they’re saying

Beat Shazam Fox (returns for SEASON 2 summer, 2018)
The format is lousy, the hype is annoying (thank goodness for mute and fast-forward). Jamie Foxx is wearing jackets for every Episode (Why? it’s INDOORS, Jamie!) and being excessively Steve Harvey-ish (irritatingly “amusing,” and dancing with and teasing the contestants). The show’s producers/directors somehow think it’s a good idea to have “guest stars” briefly show up for each Episode, but they do almost nothing but appear, e.g., Mariah Carey (wearing OMG-knows-what), Snoop Dog, and some athletes (again, why?).
Silly, but somewhat fun.
Also, interesting fact: African-Americans comprise only about 12 – 20% of the USA population (depending upon how one “counts,” according to the official census of 2010), but they comprise about 70% of this show’s contestants and guest stars. Trying to right some imbalances, for sure, and nodding to the amazing contributions of African-Americans to the music industry. So, yea for the casting directors.
We like trying to guess the songs; RENEWED for SEASON 2

Hooten & The Lady The CW (premiered 7/13/17; Canceled by SKY [the originating station, in the UK], but may run SEASON 2 in USA, since already made)
“Two globetrotting treasure hunters who set out to recover priceless legendary artifacts.” American, Ulysses Hooten (Michael Landes) “is a smooth-talking yet foolhardy lone wolf, who often finds himself in sticky situations.” British Museum’s relic-finder, Lady Alex Lindo-Parker (Ophelia Lovibond, whom we loved in Elementary) “is an aristocrat and British Museum curator who, despite being straitlaced, is eager to follow in the footsteps of history’s great archaeologists and venture to uncharted lands. Meeting in the thick of the Amazon jungle, they form an unlikely partnership as they travel the globe in pursuit of hidden treasures.” They continue on to Egypt, Bhutan, Rome, Ethiopia, Moscow, Cambodia and The Caribbean in their adventures.
HOWEVER, since this “Lady” has no self-defense skills (except dumb luck and her wits), WHY do they not send her with a team of bodyguards, since she has been in life-threatening peril in EVERY Episode, dodging murderous thieves who want these “priceless” artifacts?
Apparently it got good reviews in the UK for SEASON 1 (WHY?), but the UK is still deliberating whether or not to commission a second season.
Also includes Jessica Hynes as Ella Bond, Shaun Parkes as Clive Stephenson, Jane Seymour as Lady Lindo Parker, and Jonathan Bailey as Edward.
Got good reviews in its fall, 2016, airing in the UK, but I cannot fathom why.
Co-Created by Sarah Phelps, this UK series has eight hour-long episodes that seemed to be promising to be very much like two shows we like, The Librarian and Warehouse 13, with some elements of the great Indiana Jones and Romancing the Stone films. HOWEVER, their idea of “humor” verges very far into disgusting and repetitite; the villains are unexpected (first episode), then predictable (every one after that) and horrifying; the goals are unclear, since the dialogue is terrible; the characters are not well-drawn and rely on tropes and short-cuts; the situations are completely unrealistic.
We have watched all the Episodes; we are increasingly fast-forwarding and bored.
Jane Seymour has barely appeared and was in silly scenes.
We gave it a try; UNDERWHELMED; CANCELED, but may run SEASON 2 in USA, since already made

Salvation CBS (RENEWED for SEASON 2; probably returns Summer, 2018)
Yet another sci-fi series in which the Earth is threatened by an asteroid strike. Really? Yet, superstar Executive Producer, Alan Kurtzman, is attached and the writers are popular, also.
“The series centers on tech superstar, Darius Tanz (Santiago Cabrera) and MIT grad student, Liam Cole (Charlie Rowe), who bring Pentagon official, Grace Barrows (Jennifer Finnigan) a staggering discovery – that an asteroid is just six months away from colliding with Earth….Stars Santiago Cabrera, Jennifer Finnigan, Charlie Rowe, Jacqueline Byers, Rachel Drance, Shazi Raja and Ian Anthony Dale.”
Not a strong start, and Episode 2 wasn’t much better, but we have plowed on, just to find out what happens, and it’s tolerable….Barely. Some things got better, some worse, but we stuck with the entire season.
Mediocre, at best, but compelling and RENEWED for SEASON 2

Humans AMC (returns in spring/summer, 2018)
Great return. Strong characters back again and some new ones. We like how the director instructs the actors who play “Synths” to walk in a distinctive way and gives them all these green contacts so we can tell them from humans right off. A bit violent, but intriguing. Gemma Chan, Katherine Parkinson, Lucy Carless We really like this show and welcome it back. Very creative, raising important, thought-provoking social issues about who/what is “human” and what is not, and well-acted.

*Younger TV LAND (returns for SEASON 5 in June, 2018)
I got hooked on this by watching all the previous episodes on-demand, and now eagerly await its return. I LOVE Sutton Foster, so even though the premise is ridiculous and Hilary Duff is predictably awful, I watch.
But, Season 4 is surprisingly much better, partly because some of the characters are now in on the secret (true age of Foster‘s character, Liza—early 40s vs. the purported mid-twenties) and some of their reactions are excellent. Not sure where this will go, but I did like Episode 1.
Most people won’t like this, but I somehow do; RENEWED through SEASON 5

Colony (returns in spring/summer, 2018 for SEASON 3)
I guess we weren’t the only ones who complained about being very confused and a bit impatient with the way this series’ pilot threw viewers into the middle of an alternate Earth near-future without sufficient explanations. For its return this winter, they “went back” and explained the beginning/back story for several elements, including the Arrival, sequestering, and more.
We like seeing Josh Holloway, since we liked him so much in the all-too-soon-canceled Intelligence, and Amanda Righetti, from The Mentalist, which we loved.


But, we never watched Lost, The Walking Dead or Hercules, so the others are new to us, except for Peter Jacobsen, from House and Madam Secretary, and Paul Guilfoyle, from CSI.
Luckily, I had taped the “Colony: Behind the Wall” show, which we watched after we saw the pilot. That was excellent, because it explained a LOT. We also got to see how and why they established some of the special effects and sets for this series. We are now looking forward to seeing the subsequent episodes.
Without giving away too much. we appreciated the parallels the producers/creators are deliberately creating between Nazi-occupied Paris and a hypothetically occupied Los Angeles, asking us all (and all the characters are also asking themselves and each other): what would you do? Would you be a collaborator or a resister? Are you a pragmatist/selfish/greedy “winner,” or are you trying to keep going with “normal” life while wresting control from the occupiers and collaborators as you do? What lengths would you go to and what risks would you be willing to take under these circumstances?
Excellent questions and cool concepts.
You can go to the series’ website and choose your side and see what you get into there! http://www.colonytv.com/
Keeping this one, but it’s now more horrifying, in the #45 Fascism-is-rising era in which we now shudder to live. RENEWED for SEASON 3

Travelers Netflix (SEASONS 1 & 2 available in 2017-18)
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:
Alpha House
Prime Suspect: Tennison
The Bletchley Circle

Still Watching/Available, But Not Sure When Returning

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

*Madiba BET (mini-series aired mid-February, 2017)
A FANTASTIC, original mini-series (from BET’s press release, April 2016) “BET partners with executive producers, Lance Samuels, Kweku Mandela and Daniel Iron for an original production that focuses on the story of Nelson Mandela, the globally beloved humanitarian, as well as the many other leaders of the African National Congress — Oliver Tambo (Orlando Jones) and Walter Sisulu (David Harewood) — who fought alongside Mandela in the multi-racial, multi-national movement that led to the end of South African apartheid. Academy Award(R) nominee Laurence Fishburne completely transforms in the lead role, under the direction of Kevin Hooks (Passenger 57, Prison Break), who also serves as Executive Producer.”
Very moving, informative, inspiring. Sad and important, both, that we’re still fighting these fights.
Learned a lot from this.

*When We Rise ABC (5-part miniseries, started airing 2/27, with the two-hour series premiere, then aired the rest, every night through 3/3/17, but it will also be available via ABC On Demand and probably online as well; May have another season!).
This is/was my era. I know people whose names are on the AIDS quilt: dead friends and loved ones, friends’ partners and relatives. I am bisexual and was a reproductive rights, pro-ERA, feminist activist for many of these interlocking movements. These are my people. I remember these arguments, coalitions’ building and falling apart, feminists divided by homophobia, race-baiting among the GLBT and feminist communities: searching for safety among women only to find myself rejected as a bisexual; searching for camaraderie among the gay men only to find the misogynistic, hateful attitudes to be unworkable; wishing for cis-gender and heteronormative people, especially those with money and power, to wake up and grow up (still waiting for most of them).
This series is excellent! Each episode is so moving, well-done, informative and true-to-life that it ought to be required viewing for all politicians, GLBT people and their families, friends, allies and detractors, and the rest of the USA population. A lot of this series’ scenes have moved me to tears.
“Written and created by Academy Award-winning screenwriter, Dustin Lance Black…chronicles the real-life personal and political struggles, set-backs and triumphs of a diverse family of LGBT men and women who helped pioneer one of the last legs of the U.S. Civil Rights movement from its turbulent infancy in the 20th century to the once unfathomable successes of today.”
Starring Guy Pearce, Mary-Louise Parker, Rachel Griffiths, Ivory Aquino, Carrie Preston, Michael K. Williams, Rosie O’Donnell, Whoopi Goldberg.
The extra hour within this series which aired before Night III, has interviews with some of the actual people this series is based upon, real footage of their meetings, speeches, marches, encounters, photographs of the original activists and their work. Extremely inspiring.

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

Shows we NAYed: OFF OUR LIST

Rosehaven Sundance (premiered week of 9/23/17)
An Australian sit-com that falls flat in every possible way. Do not waste your time. Even if you can understand what they are saying, they aren’t saying anything worthwhile. The story is silly, the characters are pathetic and none of them is likable.
Almost incomprehensible and boring: OFF OUR LIST

SEAL Team CBS (premiered 9/27/17)
I broke down and watched the first Episode On Demand. I didn’t like much of it, but I am a huge fan of David Boreanaz from his Buffy/Angel days all the way through Bones, so he and the characters and stories about the characters hooked me. 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

Will & Grace NBC (premiered 9/28/17; already renewed for SEASON 2!)
After all the hype and the adorable trailers this crew did for the election, we were psyched. Inevitable, I suppose, for us to be very disappointed, then? A few good jokes, but mostly insipid, and WE HATE LAUGH TRACKS! We may watch one or two more Episodes, but if this is the tone/style, we’re not into it.
We kept thinking: “They’re too old for these jokes and situations.”
The writers decided to freeze them as characters, so no one improved, no one matured (other than aging physically), and they’re all in bad shape, psychologically.
Kind of sad, really.
They also all tried too hard to make the show “the same, but current” instead of letting the characters AGE and allowing the new versions of these characters to be lucky to be alive and interacting in current contexts. This show is the worst kind of time warp.
It might be cute or funny, in one’s thirties or younger, to be rootless/homeless, almost friendless, without a primary relationship that is satisfying, and fixated on inappropriate/unavailable partners, with sarcastic/negative banter with the friends one does have. But, in one’s forties and fifties, it’s pathetic, in our opinion.
Jack as a gay “slut” is disturbing when you think that he has an adult son by now (where was his son, by the way?).
Karen as a drunk republican is not only not funny, but her sexually assaulting Grace in homage to Trump was offensive and hurtful to all women and definitely not at all humorous.
Will and Grace’s relationship as each other’s haven/fall-back is all right, I suppose, but I wish they’d respect each other more, if they intend to remain non-sexual life partners.
Sean Hayes, Debra Messing, Eric McCormack and Megan Mulally star.

Episode 2 was even worse. DON’T BOTHER.

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.

*Ghosted Fox (premiered 10/1/17)
I wanted to like this show, but it tries way too hard to be likable and fails. A strange and unpleasant combination of The X Files, Psych (which I liked) and Brooklyn 999 (which I hate), the premise had promise but falls flat every time. I watched 4 Episodes On Demand since some friends recommended it and liked it, but I cannot stay with it. The jokes are silly, the plots are worse. Each role is done as a performance rather than an acting experience, for laughs and with schticks rather than the professional creation and demonstration of an actual character that I know at least some of these actors are capable of.
“Former missing persons detective, Leroy Wright, is a skeptic who doesn’t believe aliens exist, unlike true believer Max Jennifer, who is convinced his wife was abducted by such beings. Against all odds, the two find themselves forced to work with each other when, at low points in their lives, they are both recruited by Capt. Ava Lafrey, a take-no-prisoners former Air Force test pilot and head of the ‘Bureau Underground,’ a secret government organization investigating paranormal cases. Lafrey and her staff support Leroy and Max as they look into unexplained activity and keep Earth safe.”
Stars Adam Scott, Craig Robinson, Ally Walker and others I didn’t recognize.
I blame the writers and directors/creators (Tom Gormican, Kevin Etten and others) more than the actors: what can they do with such terrible scripts and direction?
A Failed Experiment: TOO BAD. OFF MY LIST

Star Trek: Discovery on CBS All Access for subscribers, only, but their first episodes are also on CBS (premiered 9/24/17; RENEWED for SEASON 2)
#payTVsucks, including CBS All Access, but here is some fun! You can watch this #StarTrekDiscovery trailer (and Episode 1, this fall, 9/24/17, for free), anyway.
We liked that the show cast so many females in top officer positions, but otherwise, we were very disappointed. And, we are Trekkies from the beginning. Neither of us wants to watch a show focused on a war with Klingons, so we aren’t sorry we aren’t paying to watch further.
“…the Star Trek: Discovery series will be set about 10 years before the original series. The first teaser promised ‘new crews,’ ‘new villains,’ ‘new heroes,’ and ‘new worlds’—– and we’ve since learned that we’ll see something that unfolds within the ‘Prime’ canon of the established Star Trek universe, but not tied to the events in the movies.
“Fuller told CNN the series’ placement between the four-season prequel series Star Trek: Enterprise and the original 1966 series ‘gives us an opportunity to bridge the gap between Enterprise and the original series.’”
Episodes run through November 5, then restart in January, 2018, for the rest of the first season.
Discovery‘s Captain Lorca will be the fabulous Jason Isaacs (we loved him in Awake, but didn’t like the story of Dig, even though he was good in it).

WE WON’T PAY EXTRA TO WATCH, and it’s not that good, anyway: OFF OUR LIST; RENEWED for SEASON 2

*The Opposition with Jordan Keppler Comedy Central (premiered 9/25/17)
Dear Comedy Central: Your shows’ writers need to divide and conquer. As it stands, every show we watch here and including Colbert’s and others on network channels cover the exact same stories as one another every damned day. STOP IT!
Also, this show is BORING, Repetitive. It’s so juvenile, I predict it will not last.
The Daily Show meets The Colbert Report” is the way this is being promoted, with an alumnus of The Daily Show, Jordan Keppler, the one who is assuming a conspiracy theorist wing-nut character with his same name to lampoon fake and fear-mongering “journalists.”
BORING & Repetitive; OFF MY LIST

*Con Man Syfy (premiered [really, dropped all of SEASON 1 “On Demand”] 9/30/17)
Seems that this series is going to have both seasons showing/”On Demand” this year (2017-18). Here is a trailer for SEASON 2: http://conmantheseries.com/
It also has a video game and comic book merchandise, for those so inclined.
Starring Alan Tudyk, em>Con Man is “a somewhat fictionalized version of his experiences as a well-known sci-fi actor who attends a lot of fan conventions” as a result of his having been a star of the cult fave/ Joss Whedon series and film, Firefly and Serenity.
Con Man was first produced in 2015 and featured a great cast, including Firefly/Castle star, Nathan Fillion, and other Joss Whedon / sci-fi faves: Amy Acker, Felicia Day, Sean Astin, Tricia Helfer, Casper Van Dien, Nolan North, Mindy Sterling, Alison Haislip, Michael Trucco, Sky Haarsma, Seth Green and Wil Wheaton.
HOWEVER, i watched all of Episode 1 and could only continue through part of Episode 2: it is that bad. I continued just to see what Nathan Fillion had to do with this piece of junk (very little, it seemed). This series is beyond silly; Mom won’t watch, and I won’t watch past Episode 2.10, but some will love it.
Could have been great if it had had writers who had tried less to show off with obscure references, cameos by sci-fi and comedic actor friends of theirs, Tudyk’s and whoever else’s (Joss Whedon‘s, I presume) and more good writing that could delve into the nitty-gritty, lived experience of actors who are making money (not much, it seems) as objects of obsessed fans and not much else. I would have liked to know what challenges and responses are for an actor who is actually capable of so much more but for whom no new breaks come due to having been identified with one gig.
Unfortunately, not worth your time

Chesapeake Shores Hallmark (returns summer, 2018; 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

The X-Files FOX (winter/spring 2018)
Continues with its AWFUL reboot. Why? I, a faithful fan who watched every episode of the original series, thought last season’s efforts were TERRIBLE. But, it’s coming back for more. Who makes these decisions?
Not a chance we’ll watch

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


Google Changes Images Policy

Very important for bloggers, like me, who use Google Images. Probably switching to Pixabay or always choosing “VISIT” and attributing Google Images to their sources from now on.

Thanks for posting, Sweet Nicholas! Sharing!


Nicholas C. Rossis

As Shannon Connellan explains on Mashable, Google recently made a subtle change to its image search — but one that may have big repercussions for copyright. The company has now removed the “view image” button from image search, which will make it trickier to save copyrighted images directly. Once a direct link to a high-resolution version of your chosen image, the “view image” button was a concern for photographers, publishers and stock image sites alike, as it allowed people to access a high-res version of the image without visiting the source site.

With Google’s elimination of the tool, you’ll still be able to visit the source of the image with the remaining “visit” button, but it’s this additional step that’s hopefully meant to make people less likely to steal copyrighted material — seeing images in their original context could be a red flag for users.

Google Images Tweet | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's book Click to view tweet

The Getty…

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Nominees Announced for Some of #Scifi ‘s Highest Honors, the 52nd Annual #NebulaAwards, 2017

Competition for some of #scifi ‘s highest honors, the 52nd Annual #NebulaAwards, has moved forward!

“The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) has released its nominees for the 2017 Nebula Awards, and it’s an impressive reading list that is once again dominated by women writers.

SFWA Nebula Awards logo

“The Nebula Awards are issued annually by #SFWA to the best works in genre novels, novellas, novelettes, and short stories published in the last year, alongside the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy and the Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation. The Nebulas are a sort of industry award, determined by professional authors….The winners will be announced on May 19th at this year’s Nebula conference, which will be held from May 17th–20th in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.”

Mazel Tov to all the nominees, some who were nominated in more than one category! Go to link for full list, or keep reading, below.

Original list and more info about awards process, schedule of announcements, prizes, etc.: https://nebulas.sfwa.org/2017-nebula-award-finalists-announced/

Amberlough, Lara Elena Donnelly (Tor)
The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter, Theodora Goss (Saga)
Spoonbenders, Daryl Gregory (Knopf; riverrun)
The Stone Sky, NK Jemisin (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
Six Wakes, Mur Lafferty (Orbit US)
Jade City, Fonda Lee (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
Autonomous, Annalee Newitz (Tor; Orbit UK 2018)

“River of Teeth,” Sarah Lee Gailey (Tor.com Publishing)
“Passing Strange,” Ellen Klages (Tor.com Publishing)
“And Then There Were (N-One),” Sarah Pinsker (Uncanny 3-4/17)
“Barry’s Deal,” Lawrence M. Schoen (NobleFusion Press)
“All Systems Red,” Martha Wells (Tor.com Publishing)
“The Black Tides of Heaven,” JY Yang (Tor.com Publishing)

“Dirty Old Town,” Richard Bowes (Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction 5-6/17)
“Weaponized Math,” Jonathan P. Brazee (The Expanding Universe, Vol. 3)
“Wind Will Rove,” Sarah Pinsker (double nominee!) (Asimov’s 9-10/17)
“A Series of Steaks,” Vina Jie-Min Prasad (Clarkesworld; 1/17)
“A Human Stain,” Kelly Robson (Tor.com 1/4/17)
“Small Changes Over Long Periods of Time,” K.M. Szpara (Uncanny 5-6/17)

“Fandom for Robots,” Vina Jie-Min Prasad (Author) (double nominee!) (Uncanny 9-10/17)
“Welcome to Your Authentic Indian Experience TM,” Rebecca Roanhorse (Author) (Apex 8/17)
“Utopia, LOL?,” Jamie Wahl (Author) (Strange Horizons 6/5/17)
“Clearly Lettered in a Mostly Steady Hand,” Fran Wilde (author) (Uncanny 9-10/17)
“The Last Novelist (or A Dead Lizard in the Yard),” Matthew Kressel (Author) (Tor.com 3/15/17)
“Carnival Nine,” Caroline M. Yoachim (Author) (Beneath Ceaseless Skies 5/11/17)

Get Out (Written by Jordan Peele)
The Good Place: “Michael’s Gambit” (Written by Michael Schur)
Logan (screenplay by Scott Frank, James Mangold, and Michael Green)
The Shape of Water (Screenplay by Guillermo del Toro and Vanessa Taylor) [already won film awards from Hollywood]
Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Written by Rian Johnson)
Wonder Woman (Screenplay by Allan Heinberg)

Exo, Fonda Lee (double nominee!) (Scholastic Press)
Weave a Circle Round, Kari Maaren (Tor)
The Art of Starving, Sam J. Miller (HarperTeen)
Want, Cindy Pon (Simon Pulse)

The Nebula Awards will be presented during the annual SFWA Nebula Conference, which will run from May 17th-20th and feature seminars and panel discussions on the craft and business of writing, SFWA’s annual business meeting, and receptions. On May 20th, a mass autograph session will take place at the Pittsburgh Marriott City Center and is open to the public.

The Nebula Awards recognize the best works of science fiction and fantasy published in the United States as selected by members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. The first Nebula Awards were presented in 1966.

In addition to the Nebula Awards, SFWA will present the Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation, the Andre Norton Award for Outstanding Young Adult Science Fiction or Fantasy Book, the Kate Wilhelm Solstice Award, the Kevin O’Donnell, Jr. Service to SFWA Award, and the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award.

Sexual Predators or Impatient Young Adults?: What to do with Adults who Date Teens?

Sexual Predators or Impatient Young Adults?: What to do with Adults who Date Teens?

And, what to do with “violators” when mores, laws, policies, attitudes and values change but behaviors are slower to “catch up”? How do we judge others when the context changes before the people do? What we have here is a conflict between Absolute and Relative Values, right?

from http://slideplayer.com/slide/1647742/

I ask for myself (see below), many men and some women caught up in the #MeToo explosion of accusations and reports, and a former student of mine (see below).

I welcome your considered opinions, but PLEASE don’t waste my time (and I will delete your comments) with diatribes or accusations of your own. I also am NOT inviting your stories of being victimized or being a perpetrator/violator. I am ONLY accepting and asking for actual suggestions on ways to handle these difficult categories of behavior during tough transitions in cultural norms.

Sexism/double-standards, ageism, and changing standards of what is legal and what is proper all enter into these stories.

Trying to decriminalize teen sexual activity is one thing; protecting teens from “adults” who prey upon teens who are only a few years older than they are is another. How much of an age difference is “too much,” and when does that change? Can one partner be 20 and the other 30? What about 23 and 53? What about 14 and 34? 60 and 30?

Does the gender of either partner matter? Why or why not?

Isn’t the policing of teens’ sexual activity mostly about prevention of teen pregnancy, which is really about policing teen GIRLS?

What about international age of consent differences? Regional USA age of consent differences?

Are people that different in maturity or their ability to give consent or “deserve” to be prosecuted merely by living in another location?

You see some of these thorny issues?

When I was teaching adults in the Brattleboro, Vermont, Corrections education program for parolees and probationers during the 1990s, I encountered a student whose crimes were difficult to understand. At first, I was disgusted, having only heard that he had been convicted and was now on parole for “L & L with a minor,” which means he had been caught having some kind of sex (Lewd and Lascivious behavior) but not intercourse (so not “statutory rape”), with an underage (at that time, under 16) girl in his rural area. When I met “Jack,” he was almost 40. I learned that he had committed this “crime” at age 34, when his girlfriend/fiance was 14. Sounds shocking, right?

So, I asked him, in the third or fourth class, once we had established a kind of rapport, what had happened? This is his story (paraphrased).

Jack lived in an area of Vermont that his family and neighbors had inhabited for many decades, perhaps over 150 years. According to tradition, males in that area dated and married “late,” which meant that boys and girls hung out in groups and went to dances or parties until well over 25-30 years old, with teens and peers in their 20s and 30s all mixing together at these events. Eventually, each male was expected to find a girl (yes, GIRL) of about 13 – 16 to get engaged to and marry, usually by the age of 35.

Generation after generation, this “May-December” arrangement had been their way. All were fine with it, supposedly, until the laws changed around them and no one had told Jack. Doing what everyone around him and before him had “always done” now landed him in jail for “L & L with a minor.”

What had he actually done? He said they had “made-out in my pick-up truck after every party and dance,” since they were engaged and that was what everyone did. No one who respected their ways and their partners went “all the way” until after the wedding. Jack and his teen sweetie had been adhering to that restriction with great discipline and pride, but a jealous girl who wanted Jack for her own AND who had paid attention to the changing laws had called the police and gotten him caught, arrested, jailed. Jack’s parents, his girlfriend’s parents and community members were outraged and spoke on his behalf, but “the law was the law” and that was that. He spent five years (!?!) in jail/prison, and had just gotten out when I first met him.

Jack’s story appalled and saddened me, and made me rethink my own prejudices and biases a lot. This all also had reminded me of one of my own stories, which was not all that different, in many ways, but had taken a very different turn, decades later.

When I was almost 24, I met an almost-16-year-old boy who was the son of a neighbor. Said neighbor, about 38 herself, was a long-time friend of the man I was newly dating/living with, who was then almost 34.

If you do the math, here, you’ll see that there was more of an age difference between me and MY partner (10 years) than there was between me and this teen boy (8 years), whom I’ll call “Alan.” If we had waited to be sexual 2 more years, no one would have looked twice at us, particularly if I had been the male and Alan had been the female.

My primary partner and I had agreed to have an “open” relationship (it was 1978) with regular communication and many opportunities to be with others that we optioned (temporarily, usually) while together as “primaries.” This agreement predated my meeting Alan by many months, but meant my considering having other sexual partners was not unusual at that time.

I lived near Alan for about 6 months; for the last three months or so, he periodically came on to me, begging me to have sex with him. At first, I had laughed; I told him “no” many times. As a middle-school teacher in the years prior to that, I told him, I had students his age. It felt too weird, I told him, and I just couldn’t manage to feel good about our age gap. He kept point to me and my primary and calling me a hypocrite, and I couldn’t totally disagree with that assessment.

As we continued to spend time together: we hung out, smoked pot (his), attended neighborhood birthday parties and other events with others and became friends, of a sort: we talked, sharing books we had read; I let him use my 1967 VW Bug to learn to drive a stick shift for his driver’s license; we took beach walks.

In early August, after Alan’s repeated requests for sex for weeks and our having gotten to know each other better, I relented. I told him that we could make out a little but nothing further. Plus, we could only do that after he turned 16 and I turned 24 (later that month).

I reminded him that my partner and I were moving out of state in September or October. He told me that was fine with him, since he was going to go to an elite boarding school that fall for his junior and senior years, also out of state. It all felt very casual and short-term to us both, I thought.

With a sense of “summer romance” cast over our time together and an impending separation, after both of our birthdays we had a few “make-out” sessions, but never intercourse, as agreed. Our sexual encounters were brief, seemingly fun, and mostly involved smoking pot (again, his) and talking.

That fall, we parted ways for our northerly moves.

Turned out that his boarding school was only a thirty minutes’ drive from where we moved, so we got in touch later that fall. I visited him once at his new campus. I saw his dorm room, took him off campus for dinner (a rare treat for a boarder and much-appreciated), brought him back. No sex nor a hint of it, just friendship.

My partner and I moved further north soon after that. Alan and I drifted apart, as people at different stages in their lives do. My partner and I intentionally became parents about a year later and moved in with several others to live in community for many years. I assumed Alan had graduated high school, had gone on to college and had had his own life. I was correct: my partner had kept in touch with Alan’s mother over the years and would update me.

A few years ago, when we were both in our 50s, I received a PR notice about a film and a book she thought I’d like, by another friend who didn’t know I had known Alan. Alan had become somewhat famous: he had written/published one book, and a documentary of his book and life had been produced. The film was available online, so I then watched it. After viewing it and reading some reviews of his book, I visited his website. I got his email address from that and wrote to congratulate him.

To my shock, I received an angry email from Alan. He claimed in his message that I had “sexually abused” him when he had been 14. He said that it had taken him “years to get over it.” He was indignant that I would “get back in touch as if everything were fine between us.” He said that I “should have been arrested.” He demanded that I never contact him again.

I was flabbergasted.

I reviewed my memories and considered how to respond. Then, I emailed Alan back. I told him that I was very sorry that he felt that way and that he was so upset with me, but that he had gotten the facts wrong.

I then informed him/reminded him of these facts:
—First, I hadn’t even known Alan when he had been 14. I had met him in the winter of 1978, when he had been 15 1/2. I had only lived near him for those 6 months, until just after his 16th birthday.
—Second, while I realized that many laws and attitudes had changed since 1978, at that time it had not been all that unusual and had certainly not been illegal or abusive for us to have had sexual contact.
—Third, we had been a part of a larger community that had multigenerational skinny dipping, nude-optional Finnish-style saunas and pot lucks afterwards, and many other events that put teens and young adults together socially.
—Next, he had pursued me.
—Finally, even though he had not been “the adult,” I had not been that much older than he had been at that time and I certainly did not prey upon him (or anyone else).

I also admitted that perhaps I had not used the best judgment in agreeing to be sexual with him a few times, but he had been persistent and I, too, was a survivor of sexual abuse and didn’t have a lot of clarity at that age. I apologized, again, for any pain I may have caused him.

I sympathized, I told him, because of my own history, and I had no doubt that something abusive and inappropriate must have happened to him when had been 14 or even younger, but that the perpetrator was not I. Somehow, he had conflated the two situations and people.

I ended by honoring his wishes: I agreed not to contact him further and I wished him well.

He wrote back that I was forbidden ever to contact him again, but he did not respond directly to my corrections or apologies.

I have not contacted him since then (this was about five years ago).

Having remembered and had extensive therapy for all the sexual attacks, harassment, assaults and other problems I have actually endured/suffered in my life, I now wonder: What should I have done differently when Alan emailed me those accusations? Should I have merely apologized and slunk away? Was it wrong or irrelevant for me to have corrected his “facts”?

Can someone retroactively be considered a sexual predator or to have broken a law that did not yet exist when the actions occurred?

What about intentionality? Mutuality?

Some say an older teen (15-17 years old) cannot “give consent” because only adults (18+ years old) can give informed consent. BUT many states allow older teens to have adult privileges: teens ages 14 – 17 can (or could, until recently) get married (some without parental/guardian permission), leave high school, attend college, become legally emancipated and otherwise function as adults.

As someone who knows how sexual abuse and memories can become distorted in one’s mind over time, I do believe that Alan had been abused by someone when he was around 14 (or, perhaps, even younger). I am sad for him, but I do not feel guilty about what we did nor did I cause him that trauma.

I feel some regret. I especially felt remorse once I knew (decades later) that he probably had pursued having sex with me because of his having been abused two years or more prior to having known me; confusion and sexual acting out occur a lot in abuse survivors.

But, I did not feel at the time nor do I feel now that I was a “sexual predator” who “abused” Alan at age 16 when I was 24. I also do not think Jack should have been jailed for having sex with his fiance when he was 34 and she was 14, but that age difference is a harder one to accept, still.

What do we do, how do we talk to and treat, these men and women accused in #MeToo? Some of these “perpetrators” are of a different generation, familial or corporate culture, one in which those behaviors, attitudes, values and choices used to fit but do not now find acceptance into current cultural norms. Some of them are even guilty now of breaking laws, but some of those behaviors were “de rigueur” for dozens of years prior to that.

I am NOT excusing rape, child sexual exploitation and/or sexual assault, drugging or forcing a sexual partner (especially one who can’t fight back, is unconscious, is intoxicated). I reject anyone’s engaging in coercing, threatening or exhibitionism that constitutes uninvited and unwelcomed sexual activity, regardless of anyone’s cultural norms. I also do not accept cat-calls, lewd gestures or other sexual “claims” or threats, especially when perpetrated on strangers or one’s students, step-children or employees.

But, what about the “grey areas” of confusion, getting caught in between major changes, meaning no harm but now being found guilty of harm?

What do you think?

Comments appreciated. https://wp.me/p2bP0n-24E or http://www.sallyember.com/blog

Let’s #Swear & #Curse without Demeaning Females, Gays/Lesbians/Transgenders, Sexual Body Parts or Acts, Bodily Functions

Let’s #Swear & #Curse without Demeaning Females, Gays/Lesbians/Transgenders, Sexual Body Parts or Acts, Bodily Functions

from RealLife English

I am very tired of hearing/reading the same old curses and swears which demean, degrade, insult and brutalize females, GLBTs and human body parts, functions or sex acts.

Can’t we please be more creative AND less hurtful to particular groups of people?

I have loosely grouped these by the intentions or origins of their degradation. Any I forgot? Please feel free to add to this list, in the comments (https://wp.me/p2bP0n-24n).

I hereby declare a moratorium on the following words and phrases (when used expletives or insults), and their abbreviations, translations or close cousins.


motherfucker, mofo, MF, mother
fuck (in all its forms)
pussy, puss
wuss, wussie
whore, ho

asshole, A-hole
bugger, buggered



girly, girl, girls
bitch (as a noun), bitchy, bitch-face
gelding (not referring to a horse)
washboard (when referring to small-breasted females)

And, I want us to stop using insults such as these, which demean based on physical limitations:
dummy, dumbo

I hereby am setting up a challenge:
Let’s come up with NEW ways to curse and swear that actually utilize disgusting traits, behaviors, and values/attitudes of those truly despicable. I’ll start.

Add “damn,” “damned,” “stinking,” “disgusting,” “awful,” “selfish,” etc., to any or all of the following, and combine them any way that feels appropriate:

fake, faker

from CollegeHumor

What do you think about the insults that focus on low intelligence or limited functionality? I have negative feelings about these terms, when used to degrade,and mostly do not use these, either:

dope (as an insult, not drugs)

Also, feel free to use religion-based swears, if you’re all right with those and no one around you is offended. Do check.

I may also be able to tolerate insults that revolve around bowel movements and their consequences, although I do object to vilifying bodily functions. However, what about:

shit, shitty
shit-face (but, with a “d,” it usually means very drunk)
crap, crappy, crapper

from https://www.slideshare.net/ilmseekers/bad-words

Please feel free to comment here: https://wp.me/p2bP0n-24n or visit: http://www.sallyember.com/blog

#Sexual Coercion/Force vs. Sexual/Peer Pressure: #Assault or Regret?

#Sexual Coercion/Force vs. Sexual/Peer Pressure: #Assault or Regret?

With all the reports pinging us daily—almost hourly—from women and men who report having been sexually assaulted, intimidated, forced/coerced, raped, tormented and otherwise abused by those in power, and with my own personal and professional experiences to add to #metoo, I am a great proponent of #timesup and have posted about my excitement about this cultural change before this.

LINKS HERE to previous posts:
#metoo AND #justyournumber and #wherewhatwhowhen from October, 2017
REPOSTING: TEN Ways to Encourage #Victims of Any Age to #Report #Sexual and Other #Abuse, from December, 2017, and 2014 (original post)

HOWEVER, there are some cases in which an adult was NOT forced, not raped, not assaulted, but somehow felt pressured during or regret/remorse after a sexual encounter. Unfortunately, this person had apparently not verbally or physically clearly communicated to said partner their desire for the sexual activity to stop.

Those types of experiences are unpleasant for the person who felt less-than-good after the sexual encounter. However, these occurrences are NOT criminal or ethical violations of any kind and MUST NOT BE REPORTED as such.

I can’t emphasize enough how sympathetic and compassionate I am and hope others are for those who feel regret after having a sexual encounter. I certainly have had experiences like that, myself. BUT, it is unfair, illegal and inappropriate to blame, accuse or report to legal authorities that an incident was a sexual assault when it was not.

—Yes, we can, as adults (especially when younger, less powerful, beholden to the partner), feel intimidated and enter into sexual activity against our own preferences or better judgment.
—Yes, we, as adults, can and do feel or have been silenced by our own conditioning, wishes, emotions, family or trauma histories, into “going along” with someone else’s sexual lead.
—Yes, we, as adults, may frequently feel helpless, overwhelmed, unable to say “no” to sexual activity, particularly when we have been ambivalent about being sexual at that time with that person.
—We may repeatedly have gotten ourselves into sexual situations that we then regret but we were unwilling to leave or say “stop.”

BUT, the above situations (and their aftermaths) ARE NOT OUR PARTNERS’ FAULTS.

Who is responsible for the way we feel after being sexual with someone?

Ask yourself:

  • Was I clear?
  • Was I audible?
  • Was I putting into action what I said after I said “NO”? That is, did I leave, call for help, fight, yell? Unless we are being threatened with harm, these follow-ups are always options that should be utilized to enforce a “no” statement.
  • Was any force involved?
  • Was I threatened in any way?
  • Does this person have power over me, my job, my grade, my status, and therefore, made me feel forced to comply?

We can see which of these puts the responsibility onto us and which onto the other person. It should be obvious which are actually assault and which are not.

Here are some ways NOT to say “NO”: behaviors and statements that do not communicate “NO” clearly: and should not, by themselves, be expected to get our partners to stop or to know that we want to stop sexual contact or activity.

  1. Saying: “I’m pretty tired…” or “I’ve got to go…” and nothing else, then NOT LEAVING.
  2. Pushing our partners away but not getting up to leave when we physically can.
  3. Saying: “I don’t really want to…” but not getting up to leave when we physically can and not saying “NO, I don’t want to do that!” forcefully and clearly.
  4. Laughing when we say “Stop!” or “No!” or “Come on!” and only half-heartedly protesting (spaghetti-arms pushing instead of iron-arms pushing and punching, when necessary)—THESE are what make people think “NO” doesn’t mean “NO.”
  5. Crying but not saying anything, even when asked “Why are you crying?” Some people cry during orgasm, cry when in love and/or happy, cry when frustrated or otherwise upset but not objecting to sex. Clarify verbally and clearly WHY we are upset.
  6. Moving things along: Helping our partners take off our own or taking off our partner’s clothes, putting our partner’s hands on our body, kissing our partners and acting as if we like having sexual contact. These do NOT communicate “NO,” regardless of how little we actually enjoy(ed) the sexual contact.
  7. Telling our partners “I’m scared,” but not saying “I want to STOP… [sexual activity] RIGHT NOW!”
  8. Pretending we’re (or actually)
    —a) having our periods
    —b) saying that we are not feeling well
    —c) indicating that we have to leave early
    —d) showing that we have to take this call, etc.

    Any of these COULD stop sex, but may not, especially when we are NOT LEAVING when we physically can and have not said “NO” or “STOP!”

When we have not been clear with our partners, we cannot blame our partners for our dissatisfaction, unhappiness, regret or anger afterwards.

from http://whisper.sh/whisper/0519fe273aee4c114380778ad9cb73d2849864/Sexual-regret-is-not-rape-Anyone-that-makes-that-claim-should-be-prose

We HAVE TO communicate clearly and verbally when we do not want to be sexual at a particular time. Even once sex starts or even if we have had sex with this person before, we have every right to stop sexual activity, any time, anywhere. BUT, there is no way for our partner to be certain that they should stop if we do not SAY “STOP.”

I am very disturbed by this dilemma. I have heard reports from people I love, admire, respect and trust (and I do not trust many people, believe me!) who have told me that they have been falsely accused of sexual misconduct. I BELIEVE THEM (even though my first instinct is to believe those who claim to have been mistreated) because they tell me there was no communication that let them know that their partner was unhappy or wanted to stop the sexual encounter at the time.

We are complicated beings. We often have “buyer’s remorse” or we feel “morning after” regret after we have been sexual with someone. However, FEELINGS are not FACTS. Just because you felt pressured does not mean that you were forced.

Once we have our clearer-sighted review of our actions and the accompanying feelings, we could feel terribly sad or bad about having been sexual with that person. BUT, these feelings do not become actual reasons for us to accuse our sexual partners—quite unfairly and illegally—of having assaulted us. WE HAVE TO STOP DOING THAT.

Everyone who abdicates our own responsibility and falsely accuses someone of sexual assault puts all legitimate reports of sexual assault at risk of being disbelieved.

from http://whisper.sh/whisper/04f9efff45ae1599221816c2357ed4ad95bef/Were-you-forced-into-sexsexual-acts–Then-yesDo-you-regret-sleeping

If we decide to be sexual with someone and later regret it, or, even in the moment, feel ambivalent but continue, anyway, we have no one to blame but yourselves. We need to get some therapy, some personal support, not an attorney.


GET CONSENT! If the person you are wanting to be sexual with is a minor (not a legal adult), or is not in their right mind, or is passed out or asleep or otherwise unable to give consent, DO NOT HAVE SEX. Simple.

Stop being sexual if you are drunk, on drugs, too tired or somehow unable to advocate for yourself.

Be celibate until you can be responsible. THAT is a decision you will not regret.

My response to an extremely disturbing and misleading post about #meditation and #yoga

My response to an extremely disturbing and misleading post about #meditation and #yoga: “Meditation and Yoga: A deeper Look into Practices that are Deceiving Christians Today.” Link to full post, below.

#Meditators, #Buddhists, #Hindus, and anyone who practices either #Christianity or yoga will be particularly interested in this “discussion.”

Warning one: if you are a #Christian who meditates or does yoga, this entire situation will REALLY bother you in ways I can’t even begin to predict. I do apologize, even though none of this is on me except for my response, below (which the blog posters probably will delete, so that is the reason I post it all here).

Warning two: the full article is extremely lengthy. If you don’t want to read it all, I certainly understand.

If you’d like to know more and TRUE information about meditation or yoga, please find a reputable source, such as a qualified and experienced yoga or meditation teacher near you, and/or read accurate books, such as Gates to Buddhist Practice or Being Peace, or pick up a magazine that focuses on either topic which has been around for many years, such as Yoga Journal or Lion’s Roar, and/or talk to actual people who have spent many years practicing/teaching meditation or yoga.

Please leave comments HERE, since these posters will probably delete yours as well: http://www.sallyember.com/blog or here: https://wp.me/p2bP0n-23k


Apparently, you and Carolyn consider yourselves to be the only types of legitimate “Christians” who are allowed to exist and be safe from “satan” and wrong thinking; somehow, you have deemed yourselves entitled to tell everyone else how wrong their practices, beliefs, churches, leaders and family members are. The sin of PRIDE mean much to you?

Also, there are so many false and misleading statements in this article, particularly those things listed under the headings “Truth” and your so-called “definitions” of words you know nothing about, that I can’t even go point by point: it would take weeks.

Since you both believe in hell, you will undoubtedly burn in hell for all eternity for spreading this kind of deceptive, hateful, untrue, ridiculous and disgustingly ignorant message disguised as “helpful information about ‘meditation’ and ‘yoga.'” You are horribly wrong IN EVERY WAY and you are hurting people (many of whom ARE actually Christians) who are tremendously benefiting from having these practices in their lives.

The best I can hope for you two is that, after you die, you both reincarnate as BUDDHISTS to find out how wrong you are.

If you have any integrity at all, you will NOT delete this comment. I expect, however, that it will disappear. SO I am copying it and pasting it onto my blog, with your link, and that will cross-post to dozens of places and reach thousands of people.