“The Friday TV Report” 61, for 5/1/20, Updated 5/22/20, from Sally Ember, .D., and her mom, Carole Harris

“The Friday TV Report” 61, for 5/1/20, Updated 5/22/20,
from Sally Ember, Ed.D., and her mom, Carole Harris

Carole at 88
Mom at 88, April, 2020

#Coronavirus and #COVID19 are still deviling us, with self-quarantines, school/colleges/businesses/other closings, states of emergencies, closure zones, gathering numbers’ limitations, and ERs/ICUs overwhelmed. That is all  still happening, in places where people aren’t too stupid or self-destructive to follow scientific advice.
#stayhome and #stayapart are the requirements if we are not all going to DIE, so if you have TV and/or devices that can do online streaming, here are some updates and reviews to guide your viewing, below.
Also, check often online for unexpected “at-home” specials, especially for music, late-night talk shows, and other “live” and/or taped shows, new versions of shows, and one-time-only events.
Great entertainment, educational, home schooling and often funny and bizarre options are offered hourly on Facebook Live, YouTube, TikTok, Vimeo, TV’s regular and cable stations: EVERYWHERE, these days! However, PeacockTV (NBC‘s new streaming service, both paid and free components) has postponed its launch from April to July, 2020 (so far…).
The CW has moved its entire new shows’ slate to January or later, 2021.
[I can’t possibly list all changes and online options.]
Stay safe, keep washing your hands if you touch ANYTHING others have touched, and take this seriously to #flattenthecurve and keep more from getting ill or dying. Please.

Best-ever Zoom production award, in our opinions, goes to: “Take Me To The World” A Celebration of Stephen Sondheim’s 90th Birthday, with Broadway and screen stars in abundance, each singing from their own quarantine’s location into a single camera. Amazing, moving, sweet, stellar talent in each frame. Read this New York Times review, (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/27/theater/take-me-to-the-world-sondheim-review.html) and try to see it: http://www.broadway.com or http://www.youtube.com/broadwaycom  may still have it available. It’s about 2 hours, and you must stay through and past the closing credits for the perfect encore!

Here is a partial list of shows that have changed their schedules or shut down entirely (constantly being added to, starting 3/17/20) for network (dozens) & cable (e.g., The Bold Type, Freeform; Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, TBS; Younger, TV Land; Genius: Aretha, National Geographic Channel) TV series, streaming shows (e.g., Grace and Frankie, Netflix; The Handmaid’s Tale, Hulu; The Good Fight, CBS All Access, new SEASONS) and films. Many have “suspended production due to the coronavirus mandates,” or selected an Episode to end their SEASONS that was not intended to be the Finale, but now, is. Some withdrew an Episode that eerily had foretold this pandemic (e.g., New Amsterdam), or apologized for references to the coronavirus that were unintentionally placed in Episodes airing during this pandemic but shot months before it began (e.g., The Good Doctor).
Almost every show we watch or would be about to watch is on this list. Some spring/summer and even fall, 2020, premiere or return dates have also been pushed back. Some are “on hiatus<‘ but returning with some more Episodes later in April or May; some (All Rise, e.g.), are filming virtually.
I update as I get new dates or “date unknown” announcements (see listings, below).
Many did not get to finish (or even start, for the summer/fall SEASONS) filming, so some series currently running will not have their series’ finales, some will delay premiering and/or going to DVD with prior/current SEASONS, until…???
Your guess is as good as anyone’s.

I (Sally) update this ever-changing post of TV viewing news plus our ongoing mini-reviews and premiere/return dates, renewal/cancellation status, and other tidbits for SOME of the hundreds of specials, series and live performances aired on non-premium cable TV, PBSAmazon Prime and Netflix, with a few shows from other networks, premium cable (HBO, Showtime, Epix, etc.), and Canadian, Australian and UK TV (CBC, Acorn, BBC, SKY), that become available later on DVDs via our local library. Begun in fall, 2015) and updated often between “full” posts (check on Fridays), there is always something new here for TV watchers.

Next full post = May 29, 2020

Officially postponed from early June and new date not announced, yet, is our favorite awards show, the 74th Annual Tony Awards. This is usually broadcast live on CBS from Radio City Music Hall in New York City, 8 – 11 PM ET, and online, but, who knows?! Nominations are usually announced 4/30/20, but that, too, has been postponed. James Corden will host (again), likely. Announcement of postponement date will be here. Mark your calendars!

Our other favorite awards show is the relatively recently created AARP Movies for Grown-Ups Awards (films only): this is fantastic! You can watch it online, any time, on http://www.pbs.org/wnet/gperf/movies-for-grownups-awards-with-aarp-the-magazine-2020-full-episode/10448/.  [NOTE: This link is for my St. Louis, MO, local PBS station; you may have to watch on your own local affiliate’s website.] DO IT! Great clips, explanations, speeches, performances, and heart. Truly well-done and quite moving.

Some great DVDs (documentaries) we/I recently enjoyed and highly recommend  (borrowed from our local library (but, with the quarantines in place, skip the library, for now –5/22/20).


Miracle of Miracles: The Making of Fiddler on the Roof
Raise Hell: The Life & Times Of Molly Ivins
Mike Wallace is Here

Newest plans for viewing network and cable TV channels in the USA (and a few new shows on Netflix) for 2020 (most are recorded to watch at our leisure
because CARDINALS BASEBALL!!!), and a bit beyond. Full descriptions appear later in this post. Once we have weighed in, they appear below this section in “Yay,” “Nay,” or “Maybe.”

I watch some by myself (while coloring; these are marked with one asterisk *; when Mom watches alone, usually after I go to bed, these are marked with 2 asterisks, **.
Returning shows are in regular italics; new shows are in bold italics:

5/25/20—Uncut Gems, Ben Platt LIVE at Radio City Music Hall, and Sweet Magnolias release on Netflix
5/27/20—Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. final SEASON returns to ABC
Space Force releases on Netflix
6/3/20—CMT Celebrates Heroes with country music stars on CMT
6/11/20—*The Bold Type returns to Freeform for the rest of SEASON 4

DELAYED until at least mid-June/20—*Genius: Aretha Franklin, Queen of Soul, National Geographic channel, limited SEASON 3 series premieres

after 7/5/20—*Psych 2: Lassie Come Home, on Peacock (NBC streaming only)

Summer, 2020—Soulmates, AMC, premieres/airs 6 Episodes

8/9/20—Endeavor returns to PBS

Near Halloween, 2020: ABC’s next live musical, Young Frankenstein Live!

late fall, 2020—Y: The Last Man, FX, premieres

Whenever a show/series is canceled, I erase the review and its listing from this page and the opinion section (because, otherwise, this compilation gets too long). Likewise, whenever I/we dislike a show, I list it at the end of this post for only its active year, then I erase it.

The NEWS section is now defunct, because there are far too many upcoming, pilot, put pilot, commissioned, planned and soon-to-be-scheduled series and specials for me to describe or list them all. Be surprised. I do add shows to this post when they are definitely going to air.

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

While we can understand the urge to be timely, the heavy-handedness and pervasiveness of stories that feature “us” vs. “them,” whether “they” are mutants, aliens, Earthlings from the future with special powers, immigrants to the USA (Middle-Easterners or former USSR folks, usually with questionable immigration status or criminal tendencies), sex traffickers and greedy/criminal politicians, we do NOT want our “entertainment” to be filled with “news of the day” so much that we can never relax or feel entertained.

We vote. We watch Rachel Maddow/Joy Reid/Ari Melber. I listen to NPR and Mom watches many other news shows (Chris Hayes, Lawrence O’Donnell, others on MSNBC). That’ is plenty of “reality” for us.

We are not eager to continue watching shows whose plots and characters are disturbing in the same ways “real life” is. We start, then we stop watching. Therefore, some series we had originally put on the “Yay” side are now in “Maybe/Still Considering,” or all the way to “Nay” at this time. Same goes for shows whose casting or writing team seemed promising but turned out to disappoint.

We think the first one or two airings of any SEASON’s shows on TV are similar to serving dishes at a pot luck table that look popular, due to being mostly empty early on: many pot luck goers may take more of those first-up casseroles or even clean out the pie pans near the start of the line (watch one or 2 Episodes of a series or spend an viewing entire evening on one station), but no one knows whether or not the choosers actually LIKED what they selected! The food could end up mostly uneaten, tossed or traded away. Likewise, the “high ratings” for these first weeks could dramatically diminish once people have sampled enough to know what they like and don’t like, see what else is on, plan their viewing schedules. The REAL test occurs week 3: what do viewers return to watch? So, stay tuned, ratings-wise. It’s after week 2 that some shows are “summarily” canceled, even when they have the rest of the SEASON in the “can.”

If you want to keep up with Netflix and other streaming and DVD sites’ offerings, this weekly update from https://movierewind.com/everything-netflix/ is unmatched. [BTW: I get no kickback, but I do subscribe and suggest you do the same (it’s free!).]

Here’s what the Movie Rewind team provides, weekly:
Netflix Instant Streaming and DVD release dates as they become available …
Red Subheadings tell you if the titles are DVD or Instant Streaming, U.S. or Canada.
Green Subheadings are for Amazon Prime Instant Streaming titles.
You’ll find some TV series Hulu, Acorn TV, Networks, and other platforms information in Pink. I can only include selected Canadian Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu titles – TV series and hot new movies.”

Also, Collider.com offers great genre lists of Netflix‘s library (“Best TV Shows on Netflix” is one of them), and its own reviews, news, and opinions of many TV series,  characters, writers, directors.

This is the 61st Post, for 5/1/20, Updated 5/22/20
(each post is UPDATED on most interim Fridays).

Next full post, 5/29/20

Regarding late-night shows
(which are often repeated in the early morning hours):

—we both watch James Corden‘s musical skits, “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 shows’ segments;
—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, I watch Rachel, also;
—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 sections for “Yays” and “Nays” and “Maybe/Still Considering”), with CANCELED or RENEWAL notices, for the current TV year (UPDATED 5/22/20). If a show is on a “regular” station (ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox), I don’t list the station.

image from Pixabay

9-1-1 (Okay for SEASON 3; RENEWED for SEASON 4)
9-1-1: Lone Star (we like it; RENEWED for SEASON 2)
*After Life Netflix (Oddly compelling; RENEWED for SEASONS 2 & 3)
All Rise (we really like this one; RENEWED for SEASON 2) CBS
Almost Paradise (similar to Reef Break; we like it) WGN
Another Life Netflix (We like this; RENEWED for SEASON 2)
A Place to Call Home
 (EXCELLENT series; SEASON 6 is final; ACORN or DVDs)
*Anne with an ‘E’ (sad it’s over; great final SEASON 3)
*A Very British Romance with Lucy Worsley (PBS; intriguing mini-docuseries)
Big Little Lies (Finished on HBO for SEASON 2; waiting for DVD; LIMBO SEASON 3)
*Blood & Treasure TNT (RENEWED for SEASON 2)
Blue Bloods (RENEWED for SEASON 11)
*Cable Girls (Las Chicas Del Cable) (Good, but darker for SEASONS 3 – 5; Netflix; CANCELED for SEASON 6)
*Call the Midwife PBS (EXCELLENT show; RENEWED for SEASONS 8, 9, 10)
Case Histories (very well done; 2 SEASONS; Netflix)
C.B. Strike (very well-written and -acted; RENEWED for SEASON 4; DVDs or On Demand)
Chicago Med (Okay for SEASON 5; RENEWED for SEASONS 6, 7, 8)
Chicago PD (Okay for SEASON 7; RENEWED for SEASONS 8, 9, 10)
Chicago Fire (Okay for SEASON 8; RENEWED for SEASONS 9, 10, 11)
Deputy (great female characters, and we like it; but, CANCELED for SEASON 2)
Documentary Now! TBS (now in its 4th SEASON)
Endeavor PBS (RENEWED through SEASON 8)
F.B.I.  (Good enough for SEASON 2 and RENEWED for SEASON 3)
F.B.I.: Most Wanted (We like this; RENEWED for SEASON 2)
Frankie Drake Mysteries (great! RENEWED for SEASON 3; PBS, Netflix & Ovation (DVD for us; LIMBO for SEASON 4)
*Full Frontal with Samantha Bee TBS (RENEWED for SEASON 4)
*Genius (Einstein, 2017; Picasso, 2018; Aretha Franklin, ? June?/20)
God Friended Me (CANCELED for SEASON 3)
Gone WGN (We like this; uncertain about SEASON 2)
*Good Girls (good enough for SEASON 3; RENEWED for SEASON 4)
Grace & Frankie (Netflix, RENEWED for SEASON 6; we sort of like it)
*Grey’s Anatomy (Good for & RENEWED for SEASONS 16 & 17)
Heartland Netflix [13 SEASONS, plus Hudson miniseries (SEASON 14, really), SEASONS 1 – 11 available since 2019; SEASON 12 releases July, 2020; SEASON 13 releases Aug, 2021, both on Netflix; Hudson is only on CBC/Canadian streaming, as of 5/22/20]
*Jane Fonda in 5 Acts (excellent)
Janet King (We liked this; several SEASONS, DVDs)
Lewis (We liked this; several SEASONS, DVDs)
Lincoln Rhyme: The Bone Collector (we sort of like this; LIMBO SEASON 2)
Luther (we like this enough, but it’s violent) 6 SEASONS on AMAZON
Manifest (intriguing; Okay but confusing for SEASON 2; RENEWED for SEASON 3)
Midsomer Murders (Netflix has 20 SEASONS; DVDs for the rest; we like this a lot; LIMBO for SEASON 22, Britbox/DVD)
*Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries (Another great, feminist, Australian series; 3 SEASONS and 3 films [planned]; Netflix)
*mixed-ish (I like it; RENEWED for SEASON 2)
New Amsterdam (We like this; RENEWED for SEASONS 3, 4, 5)
NCIS (Okay for SEASON 17; RENEWED for SEASON 18)
NCIS New Orleans (Okay for SEASON 6; RENEWED for SEASON 7)
Northern Rescue Netflix (We like this; RENEWED for SEASON 2)
*Ozark (FUN to see “my” lake! Okay for SEASON 2; Netflix RENEWED for SEASON 3)
*Patsy & Loretta (very well-done)
Private Eyes ION Channel (trite, but somewhat cute; splits its SEASONS, June/February)
Prodigal Son (great writing, but very upsetting; RENEWED for SEASON 2)
Republic of Doyle (6 SEASONS; we increasingly liked this; Netflix)
Scott & Bailey (liked this a lot; 5 SEASONS; DVDs)
Shakespeare & Hathaway PBS (We like this; RENEWED through SEASON 4)
Shetland (We like this; several SEASONS on DVD; RENEWED through SEASON 6, ACORN and BritBox)
Station 19 (Trite, but watchable for SEASON 3; RENEWED for SEASON 4)
Stargirl (Watchable and unexpectedly funny for SEASON 1) The CW
Stumptown (We like it enough; RENEWED for SEASON 2)
Sweet Magnolias (1 SEASON, so far; we liked this; LIMBO for SEASON 2) Netflix
The Blacklist (uneven for SEASON 7; RENEWED for SEASON 8)
The Bletchley Circle [DVDs; RENEWED for SEASON 2 in (having relocated to) San Francisco]
The Bodyguard PBS (sadly compelling; LIMBO for SEASON 2)
*The Bold Type Freeform (Great for SEASON 4; LIMBO SEASON 5)
The Brokenwood Mysteries (we like this a lot; RENEWED for SEASONS 6; LIMBO for SEASON 7)
The Good Doctor (good for SEASON 3; RENEWED for SEASON 4)
The Good Fight  (Excellent for SEASONS 1 & 2; awaiting DVD for SEASON 3; RENEWED for SEASON 4)
The Great American Baking Show (had to get rid of the abusive co-host; ON for SEASON 4)
The Great British Baking Show/Bake-Off (THE BEST; RENEWED through SEASON 12)
The Heart Guy (aka Doctor, Doctor) (DVDs RENEWED through SEASON 5)
The Kominsky Method Netflix (very fun; great for SEASONS 1 & 2; LIMBO SEASON 3)
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Amazon Prime (RENEWED for SEASON 4)
*The Messiah Netflix (I was intrigued; CANCELED for SEASON 2)
The Orville (but moving to Hulu for SEASON 3; so, DVD for us)
The Resident (Good for SEASON 3; RENEWED for SEASON 4)
The Rookie (Good for SEASON 2; RENEWED for SEASON 3)
*The Split PBS (great acting; RENEWED for SEASON 2)
Tommy (we liked it; CANCELED for SEASON 2)
*Unforgotten PBS (Extremely well-written, acted and intriguing; RENEWED for SEASON 4)
Virgin River Netflix (SEASON 2 releases late 2020; RENEWED for SEASON 3; we like it)
*You (weirdly fascinating; moved to Netflix; RENEWED for SEASON 3)
*Younger TV Land (I like this; RENEWED, but production delayed for SEASON 7)
*Young Sheldon (Good for SEASON 3; RENEWED for SEASON 4)
*Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist (great singers/dancers; I liked it, but CANCELED for SEASON 2)

Check our opinions against the networks’ decisions with updated lists of Canceled and Renewed/Canceled shows (UPDATED 5/22/20):

*Absentia Amazon Prime (TOO DARK; RENEWED for SEASON 3)
Briarpatch AMC (plot and characters are too awful; already CANCELED)
Broke (unwatchable; disappointing; CANCELED) CBS
*Chesapeake Shores Hallmark (WRETCHEDLY STUPID, usually; RENEWED for SEASON 5)
The CW (Mom stopped watching; RENEWED for SEASON 3)
Cherish the Day OWN (even for Cicely Tyson, couldn’t continue; LIMBO for SEASON 2)
Indebted (truly awful; LIMBO for SEASON 2)
*It’s Personal, with Amy Hoggart TBS (not worthwhile)
*Nancy Drew The CW (awful; RENEWED for SEASON 2)
Outmatched (sadly awful; CANCELED for SEASON 2)
*Pandora SyFy (not great; got worse; RENEWED for SEASON 2)
^Project Blue Book History Channel (CANCELED for SEASON 3)
*Roswell, New Mexico The CW (not so happy with this reboot/version; RENEWED for SEASON 3)
The Doctor Blake Mysteries (EXCELLENT PBS series, but star got blackballed for bad behavior and is OUT for the final film; changing name to The Blake Mysteries and featuring his new wife, instead)
The Oval BET (couldn’t even get past first 10 minutes; awful; RENEWED for SEASON 2)
The Politician Netflix (Episode 1 was terrible, and NO SINGING; RENEWED for SEASON 2)
*This Is Us (OFF OUR LIST: egregiously awful scripts; in SEASON 3; RENEWED for SEASONS 4 – 6, anyway)
Treadstone Paramount (too violent for us; LIMBO SEASON 2)
What/If (HORRIBLE! Stopped mid-Episode 1; LIMBO SEASON 2) Netflix
*Will and Grace (still awful for final SEASON 11)

Maybe/Still Considering
(Not Great/BORING/Upsetting)

(image from Pixabay)

*Batwoman The CW (I don’t like it much; RENEWED for SEASON 2)
*black-ish (not so good; RENEWED for SEASON 6)
*Burden of Truth (very uneven; confusing for SEASON 3)
*Carol’s Second Act (somewhat iffy; CANCELED for SEASON 2)
Carter WGN (was fun, but mostly AWFUL for SEASON 2; RENEWED for SEASON 3)
Council of Dads NBC (disappointingly divergent from actual story; LIMBO for SEASON 2)
Dispatches from Elsewhere, AMC (it has to get better or we’re out; LIMBO for SEASON 2)
Evil (too Catholic and silly, but RENEWED for SEASON 2)
*Greenhouse Academy (Trite, but watchable; Netflix LIMBO for SEASON 5)
*Katy Keene The CW (great singers/dancers, but very trite; Mom won’t watch; LIMBO for SEASON 2)
*Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (returned summer, 2019, & RENEWED for final SEASON 7)
*Miracle Workers TBS (bearable for SEASON 1 but not for SEASON 2; LIMBO for SEASON 3)
Queens of Mystery Acorn TV (DVD for us; BORING, mostly; RENEWED for SEASON 2 & 3)
*Sanditon (limited series on PBS; okay only; already CANCELED)
Supergirl The CW (Not great for SEASON 5; RENEWED for SEASON 6)
The Baker and the Beauty (kind of sweet, but also, corny; LIMBO for SEASON 2) ABC 
Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan (not great; Amazon Prime; RENEWED for SEASONS 2 & 3)
*When Calls the Heart Hallmark (treacle, but RENEWED for SEASON 7)
*When Hope Calls Hallmark (more treacle, but, somehow, I watch; RENEWED for SEASON 2)

[TRUTH, RUMORS and PROBABILITIES are now at the END of this post: too cumbersome!:

NOTE: I can’t possibly include all the upcoming projects, pilots and series, casting changes, renewals/cancellations, staffing switches, and network politics. I TRY to focus on planned/upcoming series and TV specials (and their casts) that we might watch as premieres on basic cable TV, on Netflix or Amazon Prime, or that we will wait to watch after the premium or other streaming service channels’ series come out on DVD, because I/we might find them interesting. Additionally, I include some of the shows I choose to complain about and declare we will not watch.]


If you want to check out the newest original series on Netflix, go visit
Best Netflix Original Series Premiering in 2020 (as of 5/22/20):

Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Acorn and other streaming and DVD listings are updated constantly here: https://movierewind.com/everything-netflix/

As of 5/22/20, hot off the presses, the constantly updated renewals, cancellations and premiere dates, by month (all subject to change): https://www.thewrap.com/fall-tv-2019-canceled-tv-shows-renewed-ordered-new-series/

This is the 61st Post, for 5/1/20, Updated 5/22/20 
(each post is UPDATED on most interim Fridays).
Next full post, 5/29/20

CANCELED, TBD or RENEWED shows’ statuses can be found here:  http://TVShowsCancelled.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 (recently 88) and I (65.75) 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 since August, 2014.

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 has been a TV watcher for about 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.”

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

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

—“Why is it always so dark in all these shows? I can’t see a thing. What is the point?”
—“Why is the music so loud but the dialogue is barely audible?”
—“Why do so many writers depict adult characters as adolescents with endless insecurities and incessant competition and/or bickering?”
—“Car chases, foot chases and fighting are NOT PLOT.”
—“There is no one to like on this show!”

Keep up with the changes! http://thefutoncritic.com/guide/
or here, for the schedule (UPDATED 5/22/20, for future months):   http://TVShowsCancelled.com/

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) or other pay channels (SundanceTV, CBS All Access, Disney+, etc.)); most YA/”teen” or any children’s/animated shows. We do sometimes get the local library’s DVDs or watch Netflix/Amazon Prime airings of these pay shows, about one year later.

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

Post 61, for 5/1/20, Updated 5/22/20

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

Shows we recently have watched and reviewed (UPDATED 5/22/20)

Burden of Truth CW (returned 5/21/20 for SEASON 3)
SEASON 3 started confusingly, about 6 months after SEASON 2 left off, and is not very interesting. We’ll see. Watching together, again, for now. We had the final 4 Episodes of SEASON 1 waiting to be watched and we kept postponing: not a good sign. I finally watched them alone; not great, but did get somewhat better.
SEASON 2 started out disappointingly banal. Not very optimistic, but quicky renewed for SEASON 3!?!
Yet another legal drama, but this one was produced in Canada and features “a big-city lawyer who returns to her hometown to take on what she thinks is a simple case, only to *find herself in a fight for justice for a group of sick girls.”
Stars Kristin Kreuk (Smallville), Peter Mooney, Alex Carter and Benjamin Ayres.
Story is weird. Some characters are good, some merely stereotypes. Not sure about the likability of either the story or the stars. I watched the last several Episodes alone and found it all very uneven and not very satisfying.
Very uneven; not a great start for SEASON 3

Stargirl The CW (premiered 5/11/20)
“It is based on the DC Comics superhero of the same name … [and] follows high school student, Courtney Whitmore, portrayed by Brec Bassinger, who discovers the ‘cosmic staff’ and becomes the inspiration for a new generation of superheroes who become the Justice Society of America.” Expectedly cheesy, trite, many fights and special effects, but then, unexpected and welcomed humor and twists as well.
Also starring: Luke Wilson, as stepfather and former sidekick to now-dead Starman; Amy Smart, as his new wife, mother to Stargirl.
Watchable and unexpectedly funny for SEASON 1

Luther Amazon (6 SEASONS; free on Prime through SEASON 4 as of mid-2020)
Idris Elba is excellent as the lead DCI Luther. Police stories in England starting in 2009-10-ish which veer into the violent, gangster, serial killer areas more than we like, but the writing and characters are interesting, so we are continuing. Also starring /featuring many BBC actors we like and recognize in recurring and guest star roles, so that’s fun.
Dark and violent, but interesting

Sweet Magnolias Netflix (10 Episodes for SEASON 1 released early May, 2020; LIMBO for SEASON 2)
Small town life, female friendships, non-violent and romantic plots, from author, Sheryl Woods: what’s not to like? Brooke Elliot (from Drop Dead Diva) and JoAnna Garcia Swisher (Reba, Kevin Saves the World) and Heather Headley (Chicago Med) are going to co-star, with romances abounding for each.
We liked this a lot; LIMBO for SEASON 2

Northern Rescue Netflix (released 3/18/19; RENEWED for SEASON 2)
What is it with newly dead wives as the plot line? Here’s another one, starring William Baldwin as the widower, with Michele Nolden as the departed wife. Their two children  are played by Amalia Williamson and Taylor Thorne. This one is darker and more realistic, but the benevolent sister-in-law, played by Kathleen Robertson, helps them out.
Very well-written, complex and realistic characters, not too maudlin but appropriately sad in parts. We like it a lot. Glad it was renewed.
Like this very much RENEWED for SEASON 2

Another Life Netflix (released July, 2019; RENEWED for SEASON 2)
Starring one of our faves (we miss Longmire), Katee Sackhoff, as the starship captain. Yay! This is extremely well-written, acted and devised, without a lot of violence or fighting and very good character development and plots. Glad it got renewed!
“Astronaut, Niko Breckinridge [Sackoff], is focused on searching for alien intelligence, leading a crew on a mission to explore the genesis of an alien artifact. As Niko and her young crew investigate, they face unimaginable danger on what might very well be a one-way mission.”

Garth Brooks: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song PBS (premiered 3/29/20, and was taped 3/4/20, before corona virus shut-downs/closings/limited gatherings took over)
These annual Gershwin Prize award shows are some of our favorites because they highlight the songs of great songwriters with stellar performances throughout, along with biographical info about the recipient(s). This was another great one!
Brooks is one of the major changemakers in the history of country music. His music weaves the beauty of poetry, the universality of the human experience and the inclusiveness of other musical genres, making him one of the most influential performers in country music today. He has combined the sound of traditional country music with the performance style of arena rock legends of the 1970s, creating a unique artistic vision.
Brooks’ first number one single, ‘If Tomorrow Never Comes,’ set the stage for him as a songwriter and showed his knack for expressing very personal feelings that touch on universal truths. The songs that he has written, as well as those he has chosen to record, have often moved beyond the traditional subject matter for country music, such as ‘We Shall Be Free,’ which won a GLADD Media Award in 1993 for addressing homophobia, homelessness and racism.”
The bio info will duplicate much of the documentary on Brooks I already watched, but will still be moving, amazing, and fabulous!


photo credit: Richard Harris
“Garth Brooks
, center, is flanked by his team during a dinner overlooking the White House prior to his receiving the Library of Congress’ Gershwin Prize in Washington, D.C. From left, Kerry O’Neil Hagaman; co-manager, Bob Doyle, publicist, Nancy Seltzer, Trisha Yearwood, Cheryl Harris, attorney, Rusty Jones, and co-manager, Randy Bernard.”
Brooks, 58, is the youngest recipient of the prestigious prize, a lifetime achievement award for singer-songwriters whose music made a lasting impact — it was created in 2007….Previous recipients are Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Sir Paul McCartney, songwriting duo Burt Bacharach and the late Hal David, Carole King, Billy Joel, Willie Nelson, Smokey Robinson, Tony Bennett, and Emilio and Gloria Estefan.”
Featuring performances/tributes by: Trisha Yearwood, Keith Urban, Ricky Skaggs, Chris Stapleton, Keb’ Mo’, Lee Brice and Jay Leno.
We loved this! 

The Baker and the Beauty ABC (premiered 4/13/20; LIMBO for SEASON 2)
We almost didn’t watch this because the title is so horribly sexist and insipid, but I recognized two of the actors (Lisa Vidal, Carlos Gómez), so we gave it a try. Surprisingly sweet, even if corny. My mom says: “It’s like a Hallmark movie!” We’ll keep going.
“Daniel Garcia is working in the family bakery and doing everything that his loving Cuban parents and siblings expect him to do, until his life changes unexpectedly on a wild Miami night with a chance encounter with Noa Hollander at a fancy restaurant. Noa is an international superstar, the daughter of a real estate magnate and a successful model, just out of a high-profile Hollywood relationship. Sparks fly between the two and the unlikely couple must decide whether to upend their lives to be together, pulling their families into an inevitable culture clash.”
Also starring: Nathalie Kelley (the Beauty), Victor Rasuk (the Baker), Georgina Reilly. Dan Bucatinsky. Madelyn Sher. David Del Rio.
Kind of sweet, kind of corny; LIMBO for SEASON 2

Almost Paradise WGN (premiered 3/30/20)
Similar to Reef Break (CANCELED), and we liked that a lot. Plus, we like Christian Kane (The Librarians, Leverage, Angel), so we’ll try this, but it could be very silly. It “centers on Alex Walker (Kane), a former US DEA agent who was forced into early retirement. Once the DEA’s most resourceful undercover operative, the combination of his partner’s betrayal and a life-threatening battle with hypertension has sent him as far from the madness as he can go… a small tropical island in the Philippine Archipelago. He now runs the gift shop in the island’s luxury resort hotel, gets his disability payments at the US Naval base, and generally manages his transition from Jason Bourne to Jimmy Buffett. But the island’s luxury resort has attracted rich, powerful, and sometimes criminal elite from around the world, often on a collision course with Alex. Despite his best efforts to begin a tranquil new life, he’s pulled back into a world of dangerous people and deadly situations, either through his friends in the local police or running into people from his old life. And the problem is, he likes it.”
Why would networks cancel Reef Break (very similar) and start this? Inexplicable.
We like it

Broke CBS (premiered 4/2/20; CANCELED for SEASON 2)
We couldn’t even watch 10 minutes of this. Very disappointing. This likely-to-fail comedy comes from Jennie Snyder Urman (Jane the Virgin) and Alex Herschlag (Will & Grace), BUT it is starring Pauley Perrette (NCIS), along with Izzy Diaz(Telenovela), and Natasha Leggero (Another Period). So, maybe…
It “centers on two siblings who are forced to reconnect when an outrageously wealthy trust fund baby (played by Jaime Camil, Jane the Virgin) is cut off by his father, and he and his wife [Leggero] move into her estranged sister’s [Perrette] Reseda condo.”
Alex Herschlag will write it, and it will be directed by Victor Gonzalez.
Perrette’s Jackie is a tough, sharp-witted, loving but struggling single mom with a 9-year-old son. The manager of a bar, Jackie is feisty, not easily cowed, sometimes hot-headed, the kind of woman who knows her way around a tool box and an acetylene torch. She’s not thrilled when her snobby rich sister and husband suddenly show up on her doorstep, but she comes to remember how much she loves her sister-in-law and learns to appreciate them both in her life….Leggero’s Elizabeth is Jackie’s refined and slightly snobby older sister who married the wonderful and wealthy Miguel and moved to Mexico City. However, she and her husband have burned through Miguel’s trust fund and now, without money or prospects, the two have landed on Jackie’s doorstep, in need of a place to live. Despite the slightly elitist mentality, Elizabeth is a loving woman who hasn’t entirely forgotten her humble roots….Diaz will play Luis, a fastidious, impeccably dressed man with an impressive memory, and the ability to do just about anything well. He is Miguel’s (Camil) assistant, driver and friend who will be forever loyal to Miguel.”
Yet another contrived “in-laws with adult children/relatives in the same housing unit” faux comedy. Doubt if we’ll watch, but we do love Pauley
Awful and unwatchable; CANCELED for SEASON 2

Council of Dads NBC (premiered 3/24/20; re-run of Pilot and premiere of 2nd Episode, both 4/30/20; LIMBO for SEASON 2)
We watched, and it was very moving. But, I have a lot of issues with this show (SPOILERS, here). Why base a show on someone’s autobiography and then NOT FOLLOW IT?
A pilot developed years ago didn’t make it this far. This should not have, either. Inspired by Bruce Feiler’s memoir, The Council of Dads: My Daughters, My Illness and the Men Who Could Be Me, it is NOT Feiler’s story, but “the story of Scott Perry,” which steals Feiler’s reasons for the establishment of the Council of Dads and having had cancer, but the resemblance ends there. The real Feiler survives and never invokes this Council (his had 6; TV’s has 3 members).
The TV dad “assembles a unique group of carefully chosen male friends to help his family adjust to a new normal after receiving a potentially terminal diagnosis.” But, the resemblance ends there. The TV show DOES NOT chronicle “the real-life experiences of bestselling author, Feiler (Walking the Bible).”
Feiler, “in 2008, was diagnosed with rare, life-threatening cancer. Fearing what the absence of a father figure would do to the lives of his young twin daughters, he looked at his male fiends and realized that there was no one person perfectly suited for the job. So he formed a ‘Council of Dads,’ which consisted of six of his closest friends who agreed to help him raise his daughters. Each had his area of expertise: homework dad, outdoors dad, etc., so the girls knew who to turn to for a specific issue when their mother’s help was not enough. Feiler’s story has a happy ending—he made a full recovery and the Council was never fully activated.”
THIS series kills off the dad in Episode 1, and he stays dead (no flashbacks planned)! What a rip-off! And, WHY?
Starring Sarah Wayne Callies (The Walking Dead and Colony) as Perry’s wife, Robin, “an OB/GYN, the mother/stepmother to four children ranging in age from 7 to 21 – and she’s pregnant.”
Michele Weaver (Love Is…) is the narrator, Luly Perry, a now adult-child whom Scott had with his first wife. “A talented writer, she is focused on her future and waiting to hear if she’ll get an important internship at a prominent New York publication.”
Blue Chapman is the now-ubiquitous character of a young trans kid, J.J. Perry. “A sweet child [born a female], he is adored by his family and has a wonderful relationship with his parents.”
J. August Richards (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) wis one of the Council, Dr. Oliver Post, “an esteemed oncologist and surgeon who is Scott’s doctor” and colleague/friend of Robin’s from medical school days. Oh, and mostly gay (he hit on Robin while in school…).
Clive Standen “plays Anthony Lavelle. One of Scott’s oldest friends, Anthony is a chef and wears his heart on his sleeve… [and is one of the Council].”
Also starring: Michael O’Neill (Jack Ryan), Steven Silver (13 Reasons Why), Emjay Anthony (Chef) and Thalia Tran.
plays Larry Malvern, a calming presence [also on the Council] who is used to being in charge.” Silver is “Evan, a smart, caring young man with a great sense of humor who has been taking care of his sick mother,” who meets and befriends fellow cancer support group member, Luly. Anthony “portrays Theo Perry, Scott’s son, who thinks the world is against him and that he can’t do anything.”  Tran is Charlotte Perry, Robin and Scott’s adopted Vietnamese daughter.”
During Episode 1, Scott and Robin also have one more daughter. Soon after that, Scott DIES. Awful. And, not what actually occurred, as I’ve said.
About 5 minutes after meeting, Luly and Evan get married (!?!) and everyone in the Council takes turns walking Luly down the aisle. Oy.
I wish they had stuck to the original premises. I don’t think this show will make it, as is. And, it shouldn’t.
We like it, but it’s very sappy; LIMBO for SEASON 2

*Charmed The CW (RENEWED for SEASON 3)
We really liked the updates/modernizations, but SEASON 1 left us UNcharmed; Mom is out. I continued, and am into SEASON 2, but the storylines are confusing, the production values make many key scenes too dark to see what is happening, and there is way too much whining. I fast-forward and mostly don’t care.
“After the tragic death of their mother, three sisters in a college town are stunned to discover they are witches. Soon this powerful threesome must stand together to fight the everyday and supernatural battles that all modern witches must face: from vanquishing powerful demons to toppling the patriarchy….Hargrove plays Parker. President of the Phi Delta Upsilon fraternity. Parker is the quintessential upper-class pretty boy with a wild streak and a sensitive side. His charm and confidence catch Maggie’s (Jeffery) eye when he defends her from a rude customer at her waitressing job.”
My mom watched every Episode and loved the original. I guess we’ll try this.
Starring: Madeleine Mantock, Melonie Diaz, Sara Jeffrey, Rupert Evans, Ser’Darius Blain, Charlie Gillespie, Ellen Tamaki, Nick Hargrove.
We liked the updates, but not the plots, characters or directing; got even worse for SEASON 2; RENEWED for SEASON 3

*Roswell, New Mexico THE CW (premiered 3/16/20 for SEASON 2; RENEWED for SEASON 3)
I was VERY EXCITED about this (I am such a GEEK, and loved the original), but SEASON 1 was mostly a disappointment, and SEASON 2 is off to a bad start, IMO. The “updated” stories and aged characters are not improvements. Very violent, too dark, “evil” aliens subplot; ghost aliens, too; very much NOT like the original.
SPOILER: Especially not liking what they did with Max. Why kill him off but make him a ghost? Why bring Rosa back at all? She’s such a whiner.
Jeanine Mason is in a lead role. 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). But so far, not so great.
“Based on the Roswell High book series by Melinda Metz. After reluctantly returning to her tourist-trap hometown of Roswell, New Mexico, the daughter of undocumented immigrants discovers a shocking truth about her teenage crush who is now a police officer: he’s an alien who has kept his unearthly abilities hidden his entire life. She protects his secret as the two reconnect and begin to investigate his origins, but when a violent attack and long-standing government cover-up point to a greater alien presence on Earth, the politics of fear and hatred threaten to expose him and destroy their deepening romance.”
Not Mom’s cup of tea.
Amber Midthunder (Legion) who has already appeared in several Season 1 Episodes as Rosa Ortecho, the murdered sister of Liz (Jeanine Mason), has been “brought back to life” and is a regular in SEASON 2. Big mistake.
I am very disappointed, and probably stopping; RENEWED for SEASON 3

Heartland Netflix [13 SEASONS, plus Hudson miniseries (SEASON 14, really), SEASONS 1 – 11 available since 2019; SEASON 12 releases July, 2020; SEASON 13 releases Aug, 2021, both on Netflix; Hudson is only on CBC/Canadian streaming, as of 5225/20]
Horses, strong,, appealing women, interesting/attractive men, beautiful Alberta countryside: this long-running and beloved Canadian series that ended late fall, 2019, is a balm for our troubled souls these days. Almost no one gets hurt or killed, and the horses are mostly well-treated and beautifully ridden. Easy on the eyes and psyches!
Starring some Hallmark and Canadian TV regulars and some newbies (for when this came out) whom we now recognize from newer series/films made since this was finished, such as: Amber Marshall, Michelle Morgan (the lead sisters, Amy and Lou); Shaun Johnston, Chris Potter (grandfather and father to the sisters); Graham Wardle (farmhand, then vet/love interest for Amy) and Nathaniel Arcand (FBI: Most Wanted; vet, former farmhand, some-time love interest for Lou),
We LOVE it

Queens of Mystery Acorn TV (DVD, for us, in 2020; RENEWED for SEASONS 2 & 3)
We are disappointed by this series. We’ve watched all of SEASON 1 and were mostly bored. Too bad. Had some great graphics and some good acting (the narration is a bit heavy-handed and some characters are stereotypes), but the stories were silly to the point of dull. We will try future SEASONS, perhaps.
This network offers MANY great shows, including this: an original six-part female detective series, created by writer, Julian Unthank (New Tricks and Doc Martin), starring Olivia Vinall (The Woman in White), co-starring  Julie Graham (The Bletchley Circle)  and Sarah Woodward (The Politician’s Husband),  and featuring Siobhan Redmond (Alfresco), Andrew Leung (Doctor Who), Rebecca Grant (Holby City) and Martin Trenaman (The Inbetweeners).  “Queens of Mystery follows Matilda Stone, played by Vinall, a perennially single female detective and her three aunts, played by Graham, Woodward and Redmond, who are well-known crime writers that help her solve whodunit style murders as well as set her up on blind dates. Leung plays the dashing Dr. Daniel Lynch, Grant as Daniel’s mean-spirited girlfriend, Natasha; Michael Elcock as Police Constable Terry Foster, who has long been in love with Matilda, and Trenaman plays dry Inspector Derek Throne. The Amelie-esque contemporary murder mystery series will feature quirky characters, fast-paced dialogue and darkly comic murders.” The SEASON 1 DVD is on Amazon and it was RENEWED for SEASON 2.
We had it on DVD; RENEWED for SEASON 2

Dispatches from Elsewhere AMC (premiered 3/1/20; LIMBO for SEASON 2)
We could barely get through one Episode, but we were looking for Sally Field. She appeared for the last 15 minutes or fewer, and not in a very impressive role. However, each of the four who gathered near the end are set to have their own Episodes this first one was Jason Segal’s (Peter), who also wrote and directed it. Not liking it much, so far.
The narrator is slimy; “Simone,” the trans character (Eve Lindley), is not discussed as such, so what is the point of that casting? I have no experience with the person playing Fredwyn (André Benjamin [3000]), but what is the purpose of assigning him such an odd name that they spend minutes discussing it oddness?
Seems to be trying too hard to be unusual, which results in artifice and silliness, so far, and a study in how gullible people can be and/or howto start a cult.
An “anthology television series created by and starring Jason Segel….Four ordinary people feel there’s something missing in their lives, but can’t quite put their finger on what it is, are brought together by chance —or perhaps it’s by design —when they stumble onto a puzzle hiding just behind the veil of everyday life. As they begin to accept the mysterious “Dispatches from Elsewhere” challenges, they come to find that the mystery winds deeper than they imagined, and their eyes are opened to a world of possibility and magic.”
Getting very mixed reviews; we see the reasons.
Also starring: Sally Field, Andre 3000, Eve Lindley, Richard E. Grant.
We don’t like it much; haven’t returned to Episode 2, yet (many weeks later); LIMBO for SEASON 2

Virgin River Netflix (SEASON 1 already released; RENEWED for SEASONS 2 & 3, releasing late in 2020 & 2021)
Any contemporary romance lovers and/or Robyn Carr readers out here? We sometimes like her novels, and Virgin River has a stellar cast—Alexandra Breckenridge (This Is Us, The Walking Dead), Martin Henderson (Grey’s Anatomy, Miracles From Heaven), Tim Matheson (The Affair, The Good Fight) and Annette O’Toole (Smallville, Marvel’s The Punisher) —that is based on twenty of Carr’s novels, all set in one small  town (a common author-of-romances ploy). So far, we like it and will continue (watched 2 Episodes).
“Melinda Monroe (Breckenridge)…answers an ad to work as a nurse practitioner in the remote California town of Virgin River. Desperate to move on from her painful past, she’s left everything behind in Los Angeles, thinking it will be the perfect place to start fresh and leave her painful memories behind. But she soon discovers that small-town living isn’t quite as simple as she expected and that she must learn to heal herself before she can truly make Virgin River her home. Henderson plays Jack Sheridan, a sharp-witted ex-Marine commander, who moved to Virgin River after his service was over in search of a peaceful life, far away from the horrors of war. Matheson portrays Doc Mullins. Set in his ways and a bit of a curmudgeon, he’s not keen on working with anyone including Mel, who he views as a challenge to his authority. O’Toole is Hope McCrea, Virgin River’s brash and blunt mayor—a little rough around the edges, but her saving grace is her love for the town and her mission to preserve it….[Also features] Jenny Cooper (Grey’s Anatomy) as Joey Barnes, Mel’s charming older sister, adviser, trusted confidante, and best friend; David Cubitt (Siren) as Calvin, the unquestioned leader of the largest of the many illegal pot fields that litter the landscape around Virgin River; Lexa Doig (Arrow) as Paige Lassiter, a local entrepreneur, and an illustrious baker with a warm smile who has secrets of her own; Daniel Gillies (The Originals) as Mark: Mel’s first love, strikingly handsome and accomplished, a surgeon in the Los Angeles ER where Mel worked; Lauren Hammersley (Orphan Black) as Charmaine Roberts, an attractive hair stylist from nearby Clear River, and competition for Jack’s attention; Benjamin Hollingsworth (Code Black) as Dan Brady, another former Marine under Jack’s command, Brady differs from Preacher in almost every way; Colin Lawrence (Riverdale) as John “Preacher” Middleton, Jack’s best friend, the two men served in the military together, and Ian Tracey (Bates Motel) as Jimmy, Calvin’s lieutenant and enforcer, anyone unfortunate enough to incur Calvin’s wrath is inevitably forced to deal with Jimmy.” if you like evening soap operas, you’ll love this! Glad it was renewed.
We like it; RENEWED for SEASON 2

*It’s Personal With Amy Hoggart TruTV (premiered 2/26/20)
Coming from Full Frontal with Samantha Bee correspondent, Amy Hoggart, it purports to have her be someone who “will deconstruct the problems facing Americans by playing a severely under-qualified psychologist…blending scripted and unscripted segments…. [E]ach episode .. will tackle an issue that makes American lives harder…. “Wounded wannabe psychologist, Hoggart, will go to ridiculous lengths to focus on such topics as monogamy and polyamory, friendship, and shame—always aiming to make everyone feel just a little bit better….’I’m so relieved to be finally getting my money’s worth after an expensive and so far useless psychology course,’ Hoggart joked. ‘I’ll be exploring the topics we all have a hard time coping with, learn why we do the insane things we do, and unnecessarily demean myself for laughs.’”
Episode 1 was mediocre and strange; not quite funny nor poignant, and I’m not sure what she was going for, anyway. I tried one more (“Monogamy”) and got about halfway before I gave up. It was awful.
Not worthwhile (I watched one Episode and part of another)

*When Hope Calls Hallmark (premiered/returned 2/23/20; RENEWED for SEASON 2)
A spin-off of When Calls the Heart that aired all of Season 1 first on premium channel, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries in summer, 2019, after airing the first 2 Episodes on regular Hallmark (which I did watch and enjoyed enough), now returns to Hallmark, so I can watch!
Starring many of the same characters from its parent series, including Morgan Kohan and Jocelyn Hudon, playing adult, orphaned sisters “who open an orphanage in the 1916 Western town of Brookfield. Caught between the traditions of cattle ranchers and the ambitions of a growing town, they strive to find romance and happiness while overcoming the challenges of helping the children in their care. Throughout their journey, they discover community, acceptance and love as they create the family they always longed to have.” Also starring: Ryan-James Hatanka and Wendy Crewson.
I gotta say: for a Christian station/studio, Hallmark employs more gay men, lesbians, bis and African-American/ethnic mixed individuals and those over 55 as actors than any other studio, and lets them play “regular” characters rather than playing into ‘types.” Good on them!
I’ll keep watching; RENEWED for SEASON 2

Cherish the Day OWN (premiered 2/11 & 2/12/20; LIMBO for SEASON 2)
We love to see Cicely Tyson, so we tried this. It was very uneven, IOP. Some of the storylines are interesting, some trite or boring. The writers are depicting a couple as they get to know each other, and they do make an attempt to keep it realistic. However, by doing that, there is a lot of silliness and trivialities (part of every first few dates, right?). We couldn’t get ourselves to continue.
An “American romantic drama anthology television series created and produced by Ava DuVernay. The series chronicles the relationship of one couple, with each episode spanning a single day marking a significant moment. The full SEASON of 8 episodes will cross 5 years.”
Trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GMC5diy_E5E
Starring: Alano Miller, Xosha Roquemore, Cicely Tyson, Michael Beach.
We didn’t like it and haven’t returned after Episode 1, even for Tyson; LIMBO for SEASON 2

*A Very British Romance with Lucy Worsley PBS (3- Episode mini-docuseries, premiered 2/10/20)
Fascinating!  Lots I never knew and found interesting.
Lucy Worsley explores how our idea of romance has developed since the Georgian period.” She has 3 Episodes, each focused on a period: Georgian, Victorian, and 20th Century. “Lucy Worsley concludes her series with the most dramatic transformation of romance yet. Out of the carnage of World War One came a racier species of romantic love. It could be found in the novel The Sheik, the Fifty Shades of Grey of its time, while in real life, Marie Stopes urged husbands and wives to explore their sexual desire.”
I was intrigued

*The Pieces I Am (in theaters 6/21/19; we got the DVD in early 2020)
What an inspiration the late Toni Morrison was and continues to be! “Navigating a white, male world [as an editor at Random House in the 1960s] was not threatening. It wasn’t even interesting. I was more interesting than they were, and I wasn’t afraid to show it.” Watch the great, original, Nobel-prize-winning author, “Toni Morrison, in this trailer for a new documentary about her life, directed by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders“:
This was amazing!

Tommy CBS (premiered 2/6/20; CANCELED for SEASON 2)
Even though this is yet another police drama (WHY?), we really like this one. It is from writer, Paul Attanasio (Homicide: Life on the Street and Bull), and director, Kate Dennis. This is very well done.
Starring Edie Falco (The Menendez Murders, A Land of Steady Habits, Nurse Jackie and The Sopranos) as Abigail ‘Tommy’ Thomas, and co-starring Michael Cheras (Patriot), Russell G. Jones  (The Americans), Adelaide Clemens (Rectify), Joseph Lyle Taylor (Sneaky Pete), David Fierro (The Knick), and Olivia Lucy Phillip  (Frozen). “With a New Yorker’s gift for being tough and sarcastic while remaining likable, Tommy—as she likes to be called— loves being a cop more than anything and is a former high-ranking NYPD officer who’s just been hired as the first female Chief of Police for the LAPD. In her new role, Tommy uses her unflinching honesty and hardball tactics to navigate the social, political and national security issues that converge with enforcing the law….Chernus will play Ken. Rumpled, insecure, smart, wry and a little self-deprecating, Ken is the speechwriter for L.A.’s incoming and first female Chief of Police. His job is to channel his boss’ inner life and get it all on paper, which is put to the test immediately when tasked to write her swearing-in speech without ever having met her…. Jones will play Looper. Phlegmatic but sharp as a tack, Looper is the Chief of Staff, whose job is to keep the trains running while the new Chief of Police performs the political aspects of the job. Part of Tommy’s inner team, Looper proves to be instinctual and insightful, a good cop with good instincts and the ability to keep his mouth shut….Clemens will play Blake. As the Press Secretary for the chief of police, she focuses less on substance than on how things look. Polished, confident whip-smart and hard-working, Blake worked as Press Secretary for the previous chief of police, whom she tolerated in exchange for ample appreciation of her efforts. By comparison, she’s uneasy with the new chief, who doesn’t know her—or, as far as she can tell, like her….Fierro’s Buddy is the brilliant, manipulative mayor of Los Angeles, who becomes a rival for power with the city’s first female police chief. Taylor will portray Dudik, Buddy’s deputy, Treat ‘The Dude’ Dudik, the somewhat dim, brutal, blindly loyal fixer who always returns to his master’s side for another kick….Phillip will portray Kate. She’s Tommy’s daughter, who seems to be everything her mother is not: soft where her mother is hard, quiet where she is commanding; deep down, however, she’s just as stubborn. A school psychologist who is married to an engineer and the mother of 8-year-old, Luna, Kate lives in L.A. and is estranged from her mother, whom she resents for putting her career before her child.”
This is very much like a female-centric, funnier Deputy with some Blue Blood thrown in.
We liked this a lot; CANCELED for SEASON 2

*Katy Keene The CW (LIMBO for SEASON 2)
This is very trite and not very watchable. Mom won’t even try it. Should have known, since it’s a spin-off from Riverdale, it “follows four Archie Comics characters…centered around the budding fashionista in New York City…This musical dramedy chronicles the origins and struggles of four aspiring artists trying to make it on Broadway, on the runway and in the recording studio.”
Lucy Hale (Pretty Little Liars) stars as Katy; singer/songwriter, Josie McCoy [who began on and is now leaving Riverdale], is Ashleigh Murray. Zane Holtz (Hunter Killer, From Dusk Till Dawn) and Katherine LaNasa (Imposters, Satisfaction) are also starring “Holtz will star as Ko Kelly, a boxer with two goals in life: to fight a welterweight championship in Madison Square Garden and to marry his longtime girlfriend, Katy Keene. Born and raised in Queens, Ko is a humble, protective, salt-of-the-earth guy who makes ends meet as a personal trainer and a bouncer. LaNasa is set to portray Gloria Grandbilt, a legendary personal shopper at the luxury department store Lacy’s, which caters to the rich and famous. Always impeccably dressed and the queen of her domain, she demands a level of excellence from her ‘girls,’ young assistants that few can provide.”
Maggie Kiley will direct.
Ashleigh Murray as the singer, but otherwise, awful.
Very trite and mostly unwatchable; LIMBO for SEASON 2

*Miracle Workers TBS (returned 1/28/20 for SEASON 2; LIMBO for SEASON 3)
SEASON 1 was mostly awful, but Daniel Radcliffe was good and wants to continue. SO, “The plan for Miracle Workers is to take on the one-season-one-story approach pioneered by franchises like Ryan Murphy’s American Horror Story…[] Season 2 would be an entirely different story. The official description states that it ‘will be a medieval story about friendship, family and trying not to be murdered, centered on a group of villagers in the dark ages trying to stay positive in an age of inequality and fake news,’ with Radcliffe, [Steve] Buscemi, and first season regulars, Geraldine Viswanathan and Karan Soni returning in new roles.” Simon Rich will remain as creator.
The Dark Ages is the theme for SEASON 2.  Yick.
I watched Episode 1 of SEASON 2 and will not continue. It’s terrible.
Not watching for the rest of SEASON 2; LIMBO for SEASON 3

*The Bold Type Freeform (returns 6/11/20 for SEASON 4B; LIMBO SEASON 5)
This show gets better each Episode and SEASON, with SEASON 4 back with a ROAR! Feminist, smart, funny, poignant, realistic, diverse and important topics, characters and issues. Kudos to Freeform!
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 in the summer of 2017, 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 going to the end of SEASON 1.
Excellent and continuously improving acting and writing, and Episodes 1 & 2 of SEASON 2 were great. The writers are capably covering complicated and interesting topics without overly simplifying or resolving facilely (rare on any TV show these days). In addition to great depiction of female mentoring and friendships, this show delved into inherited breast cancer (the BRCA gene), rape and sexual assault injustices, office relationships/romances, bisexuality and sexuality, gender inequality and identity, political topics, career moves, drinking, bed bugs, financial difficulties, immigration/deportation, religious and class differences, interpersonal competitions and more.
Starring Katie Stevens, Aisha Dee (liked her on Chasing Life) and Meghann Fahy as the three millennial leads, with mentoring roles played by Melora Hardin and Stephen Conrad Moore; romance/friendship roles played by Sam(uel) Page, Matt Ward, Nikohl Boosheri, Dan Jeannotte.
Any writers who correctly reference/quote the late, great Nora Ephron in TWO Episodes get my vote!
KEEPING for SEASON 4; RENEWAL uncertain for SEASON 5

Station 19 ABC (RENEWED for SEASON 4)
We like this enough to keep watching, but it is very trite and way too much happens in the dark and/or in bed or during sex scenes, which is frustrating even if realistic. SEASON 2 was better.
SEASON 3 started with and promises to have more “crossovers” with Grey’s Anatomy, which I like. But, they have ruined the characters played by Danielle Savre (making  Maya the new Captain, unfairly) and Boris Kodjoe (making him a Chief but a drug addict, absurdly hiding a disability), and killed off a great one (Ryan, Alberto Frezza), and are about to kill off another one, former Chief Herrera, played by Miguel Sandoval. Bummers.
Jaina Lee Ortiz (Rosewood) stars as a firefighter in this Grey’s Anatomy‘s spinoff, set in “a Seattle firehouse. This Shonda Rhimes series is a soap opera with “firefighters’ life-and-death situations at work and their personal lives.”
A bit too much junior high-esque, with all the lying and romantic entanglements.
Good enough for SEASON 3; RENEWED for SEASON 4

*Project Blue Book History (CANCELED for SEASON 3)
I was a fan of the original and best sci-fi shows: The Twilight Zone, Outer Limits, The X Files, but not the remakes. I am a sci-fi writer (http://www.sallyember.com/Spanners) and fan/avid reader from age 8. I SHOULD have been the “target demographic” for this show, right?
It barely keeps my interest. It tries to be a cross between The Americans, The X Files, and who knows what else, but it fails in all areas, IMO. It is often BORING, confusing, trite and not very interesting even in the “weird” parts. Based on actual events doesn’t cut it if the writers make the events DULL However, enough people like it that it got renewed!
Dr. J. Allen Hynek is a brilliant college professor who is recruited by the Air Force to spearhead a clandestine operation into unsolved cases. Each episode will draw from actual files and will blend UFO theories with authentic historical events to chronicle the most mysterious, top-secret phenomena of the ‘50s and ‘60s….based on the true, top-secret investigations into unidentified flying objects and related phenomena conducted by the U.S. Air Force from 1952-69.”
Starring: Aidan Gillen (Game of Thrones), Neal McDonough, Michael Harney, Laura Mennell and Ksenia Solo.
Barely kept my interest; CANCELED for SEASON 3

This is a spin-off and is from 9-1-1 co-creators, Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Tim Minear. This series “follows a sophisticated New York cop (Rob Lowe) who, along with his son, re-locates to Austin, and must try to balance saving those who are at their most vulnerable with solving the problems in his own life. Lowe will serve as co-executive producer on the series.”
Line dancing, with Liv Tyler and Rob Lowe!?!  Fun. Gay characters, PTSD handled with thoughtfulness, fire fighters as humans: good writing.
We like it; RENEWED for SEASON 2

*The Crown Netflix (RENEWED for SEASONS 4 – 5; SEASON 3 released in mid-November, 2019)
For SEASON 3, it is about 20+ years past SEASON 1 (1947 – 1955) and about 10+ years past SEASON 2 (up to about 1965), and gets an entirely new cast of main characters for SEASONS 3 & 4, and again for its final SEASON 5.
The casting, acting, costumes, hair, directing and overall production are AMAZING in this series, and the music for the theme is outstanding. I love this, but it’s so sad!
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 SEASONS 3 & $ early in 2019, apparently, 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? And, an odd choice, barely recognizable: Gillian Anderson (The X-Files, The Fall, Hannibal, Sex Education) as Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (FYI: “Thatcher served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990, making her Britain’s longest-serving PM of the 20th century”!).
Olivia Colman takes over for Claire Foy as Elizabeth seamlessly, in her own way, but still, a continuation, for SEASON 3 & 4. When interviewed, she claimed NOT to be intending to “copy” Foy‘s performances.
Imelda Staunton will play the role of Queen Elizabeth II in this show’s final 5th SEASON.
MORE CASTING NEWS (9/13/18), here! For great side-by-side comparison photos and more info: https://www.eonline.com/news/948927/the-crown-season-3-cast-meet-the-new-additions-taking-over-the-royal-roles#photo-920393
—-Josh O’Connor (God’s Own Country) is great as a young adult Prince Charles.
—-Marion Bailey (Allied) replaced Eileen Atkins as the older Queen mother, Mary
—-Jason Watkins idoes well as Prime Minister Harold Wilson.
—-Erin Doherty (Call the Midwife) is fabulous as Princess Anne.
—-Tobias Menzies (Outlander) plays the middle-aged Prince Phillip (replacing Matt Smith, whom I didn’t much like in that role, anyway) outstandingly.
—-Ben Daniels (The Exorcist) plays Antony Armstrong-Jones, seems to relish playing the selfish, sleazy, adulterous middle-aged version of the husband of Princess Margaret.
—-Helena Bonham Carter aces a middle-aged Princess Margaret
Gillian Anderson plays a nasty-ish Cabinet member in SEASON 3, then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in SEASON 4.
Deserved every award it got and then some. Have watched all of SEASONS 1, 2, 3 already and LOVED it. I don’t know much about the relationship between Elizabeth and Philip, nor their friends and family, so it’s all news, to me.
Princess Diana arrives in SEASON 4, played by newcomer, Emma Corrin.
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! Watched (premiered 2/10/19), PBSMargaret, The Rebel Princess and got even more info. She had a sad life, I think.
John Lithgow (as Prime Minister Winston Churchill) was and Clare Foy were outstanding, as were all the rest of the cast and writing. Truly remarkable.
Mom wasn’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 SEASONS 1, 2, 3; 4- 6 RENEWED, and recast every 2 SEASONS

Lincoln Rhyme, Bone Collector NBC (LIMBO SEASON 2)
The Bone Collector 
was already a book and a film; now it’s a series, starring Russell Hornsby (The Hate U Give, Proven Innocent)Arielle Kebbel (Midnight, Texas), Ramses Jimenez (Fear the Walking Dead)Brooke Lyons (Life Sentence), Roslyn Ruff (Divorce), Tate Ellington (The Brave), and Michael Imperioli (The Sopranos).
Based on 1997 book series by Jeffery Deaver and the 1999 film (with Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie), this “follows Lincoln Rhyme, a retired genius forensic criminologist left paralyzed after an accident on the job. When a harrowing case brings him back to the force, Rhyme partners up with an ambitious young detective, Amelia Sachs, to take down some of the most dangerous criminals in the U.S….Imperioli will play Rick Sellitto, an NYPD detective and Lincoln’s partner….Kebbel’s Amelia Sachs is extremely bright and can hold her own in any situation. The character’s last name matches that in the books. In the movie, it was changed to Amelia ‘Donaghy’….Jimenez will play Eric Ortiz, an NYPD detective and Sellitto’s (Imperioli) new partner. Lyons portrays Kate, an invaluable addition to the investigative team….Ellington will play Felix, who is part of the CSI team and quick to speak his mind…. Ruff is Claire, Lincoln’s caregiver.” It will be scripted by VJ Boyd and Mark Biancull(S.W.A.T.) and directed by Seth Gordon (The GoldbergsSchooled, The Good DoctorSneaky Pete, Marry Me).
Sounds familiar, but I did not see the film and never read the books.
We like this

*Sanditon PBS (8 Episodes; CANCELED)
“An eight-part period-drama adaptation of Jane Austin‘s final novel, written only months before her death in 1817. Rose Williams and Theo James play the lead characters of Charlotte Heywood and Sidney Parker. The story follows Charlotte as she moves to the quiet fishing village of Sanditon for a fresh start, only to meet Sidney, a charming man who has ambitions to turn the tranquil seaside residence into a luxury resort. Written by … Andrew Davies.”
Situations, characters, plots all tedious but probably accurately depicted and well-acted.
It was okay; CANCELED

F.B.I.: Most Wanted CBS  (RENEWED for SEASON 2)
We like this spinoff for F.B.I. that is “centered around the division of the FBI tasked with tracking and capturing the notorious criminals on the FBI’s Most Wanted list.”
Written by Dick Wolf and Rene Balcer (Law & Order, The Council) and directed by Fred Berner (Law & Order), this follows Wolf’s Chicago series’ franchise playbook.
Julian McMahon (Marvel’s Runaways) “will play Jess LaCroix, an ‘agent’s agent’ who’s at the top of his game and oversees the team from the FBI’s Most Wanted Unit, which is assigned the most extreme and egregious cases.” Also starring: Kellan Lutz (The Legend Of Hercules, The Expendables 3), Roxy Sternberg (Mars, Emerald City), Alana de la Garza (Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders) and the fabulous Keisha Castle-Hughes (Whale Rider, Game of Thrones)—all grown up, now—who “will play Lynn Khanna, a cowboy boot-wearing FBI analyst from a conservative Dallas family. She is a master of data-mining and social engineering with a sharp, earthy sense of humor. Lynn is tough, playful and young in years but an old soul at heart….De la Garza will play A.S.A.C. (Assistant Special Agent in Charge) Isobel Castile, Fugitive Squad Supervisor, polished and focused West Point graduate with a brief stint in Silicon Valley. She’s a rising star who shuns politics and is a guided missile in the field….Sternberg will play FBI Agent Sheryll Barnes, an ex-NYPD detective with elevated street smarts….Lutz will play FBI Agent Crosby—an Army intel vet Jess has taken under his wing, communications whiz.” Nathaniel Arcand (Cold Pursuit) “will play Agent Clinton Skye, Mohawk Nation, Jess’ brother-in-law, a marksman with a law degree.”
We watch the original, so I guess we’ll give this a try as well.
We like it; RENEWED for SEASON 2

Manifest NBC (RENEWED for SEASON 3; midseason premiere date, 2021)
We were intrigued by SEASON 1 of this series and looked forward to more, but SEASON 1 is off to a confusing and disappointing start. Too many flashbacks, fake events, “callings” that aren’t clearly “marked,” and strange occurrences, unexplained. Sheesh.
“When Montego Air Flight 828 landed safely after a turbulent but routine flight, the crew and passengers were relieved. Yet in the span of those few hours, the world had aged five years and their friends, families and colleagues, after mourning their loss, had given up hope and moved on. Now, faced with the impossible, they’re all given a second chance. But as their new realities become clear, a deeper mystery unfolds and some of the returned passengers soon realize they may be meant for something greater than they ever thought possible. From Robert Zemeckis and Jack Rapke comes an emotionally rich, unexpected journey into a world grounded in hope, heart and destiny.”
Starring: Melissa Roxburgh, Josh Dallas, Athena Karkanis, J.R. Ramirez, Luna Blaise, Jack Messina, Parveen Kaur.
Displaced in time and wondering how to adjust? I can relate.
We sort of like it for SEASON 2; RENEWED for SEASON 3)

Deputy Fox (CANCELED)
We like this, despite its having entered a very crowded field of hour-long police procedurals, because of great female characters, good writing, and excellent politics! This one is from producer/director, David Ayer (Bright) and writer, Will Beall (Gangster Squad, Castle, Training Day).
Stars Stephen Dorff (True Detective), Yara Martinez  (The Tick, Bull), Siena Goines (Grey’s Anatomy)Bex Taylor-Klaus (Dumplin’, Hellfest), Shane Paul McGhie (What Men Want), and Brian Van Holt (The Bridge).
The “Peter Principle”- themed show “centers on Deputy Bill Hollister, a career [police officer] who’s very comfortable kicking down doors and utterly lost in a staff meeting. But when the LA County Sheriff drops dead, Bill becomes acting sheriff of Los Angeles County, in charge of 10,000 sworn deputies policing a modern Wild West. The ensemble procedural has the full cooperation of the LA Sheriff’s Department….Martinez will play Hollister’s wife, Dr. Paula Reyes, a trauma surgeon. Strong-willed yet sensitive, she’s a good match for her husband…. Goines will play Deputy Rachel Quinn. Practical, meticulous and a workaholic, this clever detective pieces together details overlooked by others, and does so quickly. Taylor-Klaus is Deputy Breanna Bishop. Smartly dressed and sarcastic, this ‘quietly badass’ driver is in charge of newly appointed Sheriff Hollister’s security detail. McGhie portrays Deputy Joseph Blair. Bright-eyed and buzz-cut, this whippet-slender young man is the son of Hollister’s old partner….Van Holt will play Deputy Cade Walker. A former Marine who served in Afghanistan and is eight years sober, Cade works MAJORS—‘the Delta Force of the LASD.’ He’s tough, with a highly developed gallows humor.”
Excellent acting and interesting premises.
We liked this; but, CANCELED

*Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist NBC (CANCELED)
This is a fun, Eli Stone-ish (which we loved) “musical dramedy” from Austin Winsberg (Jake in Progress) and Eric and Kim Tannenbaum, and WAS to be directed by Paul Feig (Freaks and Geeks, The Office9JKL), but got handed over to Richard Shepard (Ugly Betty) since Feig was overcommitted.
It lives up to its claims, so far, which are that it is “What Women Want meets La La Land…. [If she has an aneurysm, add Eli Stone]…[and] follows a whip-smart but socially awkward [woman] in her late 20s who is suddenly able to hear the innermost thoughts of people around her as songs and even big musical numbers that they perform just for her. With this new ability at her disposal, she is able to use her ‘gift’ to not only help herself understand people in her life, but also to help others around her.”
Jane Levy (Suburgatory, What/If, Castle Rock, Don’t Breathe) is great as Zoey.  Skylar Astin (Pitch Perfect, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), John Clarence Stewart (Luke Cage), Carmen Cusack (Sorry for Your Loss), and Alex Newell (Glee) splendidly co-star. “Stewart will portray Simon, a marketing exec at Zoey’s tech company….Astin will play, Max. Zoey’s co-worker and best friend, who is funny and has an indie vibe. Newell is Mo, Zoey’s neighbor, who is easygoing, open-minded and cool….Cusack will play Joan, a female tech pioneer who runs a tight ship at Zoey’s office.” Andrew Leeds (Bones, Cristela) “will play David, a lawyer and Zoey’s older, more self-assured and ‘normal’ brother.” Adding Mary Steenburgen as Zoey’s mother and Peter Gallagher (The O.C., Covert Affairs) as Zoey’s father (and they can sing WELL) make it even better!
I loved it, even though it was quite silly, at times; CANCELED

Prodigal Son Fox (RENEWED for SEASON 2)
Great cast, excellent writing, very creepy but interesting. We’re hooked.
From writers, Chris Fedak and Sam Sklaver (Legends of Tomorrow, Deception and Forever, which we loved), this crime drama “centers on Malcolm Bright [Tom Payne (The Walking Dead), replacing Finn Jones (Game of Thrones, Iron Fist), who departed after the first table read over “creative differences”], who has a gift. He knows how killers think, how their minds work. Why? Back in the ‘90s, his father was one of the worst––a notorious serial killer called ‘The Surgeon.’ That’s why Bright is the best criminal psychologist around; murder is the family business. Bright uses his twisted genius to help the NYPD solve crimes and stop killers, all while dealing with a manipulative mother, annoyingly normal sister, a homicidal father still looking to bond with his prodigal son, and his own constantly evolving neuroses.”
Starring Lou Diamond Phillips, Aurora Perrineau, Bellamy Young, Frank Harts, and Keiko Agena, with Michael Sheen as “Martin Whitly, [who] is intelligent, wealthy, charismatic—he also happens to be a predatory sociopath who murdered more than 20 people. Martin once was a devoted family man and successful cardiothoracic surgeon with high-profile patients….Young plays Bright’s mother, Jessica Whitly, an elegant WASPy New Yorker who wields sarcasm like a samurai sword. As the wife of a serial killer, she is a disgraced member of high society, but she refuses to hide from her truth, and she wishes her son would follow suit….Agena will play Edrisa, the slightly off-center coroner working with the NYPD detective team. She is thrilled by her work, and she is both smitten and fascinated with Bright.”
We’re hooked; RENEWED for SEASON 2

*Carol’s Second Act CBS (CANCELED)
I tried it. Mostly stupid, but some of it is endearing. Some god moments. Mom is out.
Starring Patricia Heaton (Everybody Loves Raymond, The Middle), Bonnie Dennison (Third Watch), Kyle MacLachlan (Twin Peaks, Sex & the City), Jean Luc Bilodeau (Baby Daddy). and Ito Aghayere (Logan Lucky), from creators Emily Halpern and Sarah Haskins (Trophy Wife, The Mayor, Imaginary Mary, Black-ish).
This “centers around Carol Chambers (Heaton), who, after raising her two children and retiring from teaching, embarks on a unique second act: she’s going to become a doctor…
.Dennison will play Jenny, Carol’s big-hearted daughter, who became a pharmaceutical rep because, as a pretty and charming young woman, it’s an easy job. Jenny loves and is supportive of Carol, and her practical and outgoing demeanor is a buoyant counterpoint to Carol’s neurotic medical colleagues. MacLachlan will play Dr. Frost. Handsome, affable and accomplished, he is the Senior Attending Physician on the ward (as well as the Department Chair) and thinks he’s funnier than he is. Considerably more empathetic than Dr. Maya (Ito Aghayere), Dr. Frost takes an immediate shine to Carol. …Aghayere portrays Dr. Maya, the Chief Resident in charge of Carol and the other three interns. A type-A, high-achieving disciplinarian, Dr. Maya is all business. She’s instantly annoyed because Carol is a chatty maverick who hates authority—and Dr. Maya and her authority are not up for debate….Bilodeau will play Daniel, the second member of Carol’s quartet of interns. He graduated from Harvard in 2014 and from Harvard Medical School in 2018 and already is published in The New England Journal of Medicine—twice.” Directed by Pam Fryman (Abby’s, Murphy Brown).
These creators have a very bad track record, for our tastes.
SEASON 1’s finale left us with Kelsey Grammer as Carol’s ex, now the hospital’s new director. Ridiculous.
Somewhat iffy; CANCELED for SEASON 2

This series is producing s #coronavirus-inspired social distancing Episode for late April, filming via social distancing/virtually!  Sad, but necessary.
Yet another legal drama, and we really like this one! It comes from writer, Greg Spottiswood (Remedy), and stars: Wilson Bethel (Hart of Dixie, Daredevil), J. Alex Brinson (Travelers), Marg Helgenberger (CSI, Intelligence, Under the Dome), Simone Missick (Luke Cage), Lindsay Mendez (Carousel), Ruthie Ann Miles (The King & I), and Jessica Camacho (Taken).
It “pulls back the curtain on the court system and follows the dedicated, chaotic, hopeful, and sometimes absurd lives of the judges, assistant district attorneys, and public defenders as they work with bailiffs, clerks, cops and jurors to bring justice to the people of Los Angeles….Bethel will play Mark, a roguish, highly successful Deputy District Attorney whose best friend and colleague, Lola (Missick), has been just been appointed a judge. Never great with boundaries, Mark struggles with the personal and professional changes in their relationship….Brinson will play Luke. Wholesome, generous and hardworking, Luke is a bailiff by day and law student by night, determined to move up in the world by becoming a lawyer….Helgenberger will play Judge Judith, who broke the glass ceiling by becoming one of the rare female judges in California. Originally a progressive voice from the bench, over time she has become an entrenched member of the judicial establishment. As Supervising Judge, Judith is a powerful and influential figure who oversees Lola’s transition to judge—and through that relationship, she will rediscover her passion for justice….Missick will play Lola. Over the course of her impressive career as a Deputy District Attorney, Lola was known to be independent, formidable and, occasionally, wildly impulsive. As a newly appointed judge, Lola suddenly has more power. So she doesn’t sit back on the bench; Lola leans in— immediately pushing boundaries and challenging expectations of what a judge should be…Mendez will play Sara, an ebullient, optimistic court reporter who has surprising hidden talents. A close friend do Emily, Sara hosts the Courthouse poker games and is a reliable source for gossip and courthouse intel. Miles will portray Sherri. As Lola’s Judicial Assistant, Sherri is The Gatekeeper; she controls the schedule, the witness lists, the flow of paperwork—everything. She can make defendants sit in the lockup and wait all day for the next appearance, or she can find a way to get them in and out before her morning coffee gets cold. Efficient, pragmatic and armed with wickedly dry sense of humor, Sherri isn’t thrilled she has to ‘train’ Lola…—a rookie judge….[Camacho] will play Emily Lopez-Berarro, a tough and determined public defender who is undaunted in her efforts to prove her clients’ innocence.”
Good cast. We like it a lot; RENEWED for SEASON 2

*mixed-ish ABC (RENEWED for SEASON 2)
black-ish has gotten a second spin-off (already has eldest daughter, Zoe’s, grown-ish), “about Rainbow Johnson’s (Arica Himmel as a young Tracee Ellis Ross) experience growing up in a mixed-race family in the ‘80s, and the constant dilemmas they had to face over whether to assimilate or stay true to themselves.”
I lived in several communes, myself, so this set of characters interests me. The first Episode was good, so I’ll continue.
Mark-Paul Gosselaar (The Passage) plays Bow’s father, Paul Johnson; he replaces Anders Holm (he was in the backdoor pilot). “Bow’s parents, Paul (Gosselaar) and Alicia (Tika Sumpter), decide to move from a hippie commune to the suburbs to better provide for their family. As her parents struggle with the challenges of their new life, Bow and her siblings navigate a mainstream school in which they’re perceived as neither black nor white. This family’s experiences illuminate the challenges of finding one’s own identity when the rest of the world can’t decide where you belong….Co-starring in the series are Christina Anthony as Denise; Mykal-Michelle Harris as Santamonica Johnson; and Ethan Childress as Johan Johnson.”
I like it; RENEWED for SEASON 2

Stumptown ABC (RENEWED for SEASON 2)
A few too many car chases, but we liked it enough to continue.
Written by Jason Richman (Detroit 1-8-7) and Ruben Fleischer and starring Adrian Martinez (No Activity), Michael Ealy (Secrets and Lies, Being Mary Jane, Being Human), Camryn Manheim (The Practice)with TBD to replace Mark Webber (Green Room), and Cobie Smulders (Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.Avengers, How I Met Your Mother).
It “is inspired by the graphic novels published by Oni Press. It follows Dex Parios, a strong, assertive, and unapologetically sharp-witted Army veteran working as a P.I. in Portland, Oregon. With a complicated personal history and only herself to rely on, she solves other people’s messes with a blind eye toward her own….Ealy will play Miles Hoffman, a detective with the Portland Police Department who is looking for escaped convict Samuel Kane—who’s probably going to pay a visit to Grey McConnell (Webber) any day now. Jake Johnson (New Girl) will co-star as Dex’s best friend and has an unrequited crush on her. He’s been renovating an old-fashioned brew pub into a modern-sleek mixology joint and has hired Dex’s brother as his sole employee… Smulders plays Dex, a whip-smart, hard-luck heroine you can’t help but get behind. Once a decorated Military Intelligence officer overseas, Dex is now back home in Portland, Oregon, unable to hold down a steady job, spinning her wheels, running up gambling debts, waiting for trouble to catch up with her—and so it does… Manheim will play Lieutenant Roberta Volk, Hoffman’s (Ealy) superior officer on the Portland Police Department, who has a no-nonsense, big-city vibe. Her path crosses with Dex when she supervises Hoffman’s investigation into a kidnapping case….Martinez will play Tookie.”
Very formulaic, but we mostly like it; RENEWED for SEASON 2

My mom and I watched the first Episode through about halfway, and she was exasperated: “Why is it all so dark? I can’t see anything!” She gave up. I finished it,and it did get better, but…
Episode 1 focused on darkness. Episode 2 is about miracles (or fake ones) and probably isn’t so “dark” in either manner. So, I’ll encourage her to try it again.
Great cast and good writing.
From the team of Robert King (writer, exec producer), Michelle King (writer, exec producer), Liz Glotzer (exec producer), it claims to be a “battle between science and religion focused on a skeptical clinical psychologist, Kristen Bouchard, who joins a priest-in-training, David Acosta, and a blue-collar contractor, Ben, to investigate supposed miracles, demonic possessions and other extraordinary occurrences to see if there’s a scientific explanation or if something truly supernatural is at work.”
Starring: Aasif Mandvi (The Daily Show, Blue Bloods) as Ben, “a carpenter who was recruited for David’s team early on, Ben has a deep skepticism about all things supernatural. He is a genius at uncovering the organic reasons behind reported ‘hauntings,’ but there may be things outside his understanding that will rattle his belief system”; Katja Herbers (Westworld) as Bouchard, the psychologist; and, Michael Colter (The Good Wife/Fight, Luke Cage) as the junior priest “tasked by the Church to assess unexplained phenomena to see if there is a supernatural or scientific explanation.” Probably too horror-like for us.
We reluctantly continued; RENEWED for SEASON 2

The Brokenwood Mysteries Acorn; DVD (5 SEASONS released; returns to ACORN 1/6/20 for SEASON 6; LIMBO for SEASON 7)
Another very well-written and -acted UK detective series. This one is set in New Zealand, which is new, for us. Reminds us very much of the BBC‘s beloved Midsomer Murders.
Starring: Neill Rea as Detective Senior Sergeant Mike Shepherd, Fern Sutherland as Detective Kristin Sims, Pana Hema Taylor as Jared Morehu, Shepherd’s Maori neighbour, Nic Sampson as Detective Constable Sam Breen and Cristina Ionda as a very dry-witted Dr. Gina Kadinsky, medical examiner.
We really like this; LIMBO for SEASON 7

Endeavor BBC/PBS Masterpiece/Amazon Prime (returns for SEASON 7 8/9/20; RENEWED through SEASON 8)
We really like this show! 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 6 will appear in mid-2019.
Enjoy this a lot; KEEPING and watched; RENEWED for SEASON 8

*Younger TV LAND (returned 6/12/19 for SEASON 6; RENEWED, but production delayed for SEASON 7)
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, SEASONS 4 & 5 kept getting better, partly because some of the characters are now in on the secret (true age of Foster‘s character, Liza—early 40s vs. the purported mid-twenties) and some of their reactions are excellent.
OFF THE RAILS at the end of Episode 1 for SEASON 5, though: I have no idea how they’re going to walk this back or forward. NO SPOILERS, here. Still puzzled by where this can go after watching Episode 2. Hmmmmm.
They figured it out, and SEASON 6 is great.
Also starring Debi Mazar, Miriam Shor, Nico Tortorella, Peter Hermann, Molly Bernard and Charles Michael Davis; and, featuring guest stars: “Laura Benanti, Phoebe Dynevor, Michael Urie, and recurring cast member, Chris Tardio, … [with] Nicole Ari Parker (Empire), [who] will play Maggie’s (Mazar) love interest; novelist and screenwriter, Michael Cunningham, (The Hours); novelist, Meg Wolitzer (The Wife); and, actresses, Becky Ann Baker (Girls), Willa Fitzgerald (Dare Me) and Beth Leavel.”
Most people won’t like this, but I somehow do; RENEWED through SEASON 7

The Bletchley Circle: San Francisco ITV/BritBox (SEASON 1, 8 Episodes, aired 7/25 – 9/16/18; can pay; EXTRA to watch on Amazon Prime, but we won’t; got DVD; RENEWED for SEASON 2)
A fabulous cast, good stories (but somewhat DARKER), and excellent chemistry among the new and returning cast members. LOVED this!
This series is based on the original show, The Bletchley Circle (which we LOVED), adding 4 stories across 8 Episodes and relocating to San Francisco a few years after the other Episodes left off.
Millie (Rachael Stirling) and Jean (Julie Graham) are “investigating a friend’s murder in the Bay Area three years after the events” of ending of the first series.
It is BritBox’s first original series, with four two-hour episodes. “The original series centered on a group of female WWII code-breakers who reunite in the 1950s to track down a serial killer.”
Chanelle Peloso, Crystal Balint and Ben Cotton are great

*Call the Midwife PBS (12/25/19 special for SEASON 9; returned 3/29/20 for SEASON 10; RENEWED through SEASON 11)
Strong returns for each SEASON, but not many new storylines. The Christmas Day specials usually have involved the troupe going to some other locale; 2019’s went to Scotland’s Outer Hebrides. Not all that different, otherwise.
These writers tackle difficult issues quite well: “bastards,” South African apartheid, alcoholism, sexism, extra-marital affairs, classism, poverty, domestic violence, racism, prejudice, gossip, Travelers (“Gypsies”), dementia, Thalidomide’s birth defects, birth control pills, prostitution, lesbianism and homosexuality (when illegal and abhorred), adoption, infertility, late-in-life romance, Down’s Syndrome; and, a lot about communal living, especially among those in religious organization’s challenges, e.g., nuns and renouncing vows, following orders, being “called.”
8-episode run for each SEASON in the USA starts in early April.
Lost several favorite characters in SEASON 6 and, now, 7. Sorry to see them go.

*When Calls the Heart Hallmark (Christmas Episodes, mid-December; RENEWED for SEASON 8, premiere date mid-February, 2021)
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. Yes; hers is one of my alternate reality jobs.
But, they killed off the adorable Daniel Lessing as her Canadian Mountie/ love interest/now husband (SEASON 5).
Chris McNally (Supernatural) and Kevin McGarry (Heartland) joined for SEASON 6: McNally is Lucas Bouchard, “a charming gambler and saloon owner who is hiding more than a card up his sleeve.” McGarry is Nathan Grant, “the epitome of the strong, silent type and takes all his responsibilities to heart as the new Mountie in town.”

When calls the heart

Lori Loughlin was justifiably AXED due to her indictments for criminal behaviors (March, 2019).
Other characters are also “stock” and mostly two-dimensional, but I blame the Hallmark Channel‘s writers (Janette Oke and Derek Thompson, most recently, but there are 18+!) more than I fault the actors.
Also has Chelah Horsdal and many others from the Hallmark stock character stables.
The show is very sappy, predictable, silly and overly sentimental, with many stereotypes and tropes, but I still watch.
SPOILER ALERT: Elizabeth is widowed while pregnant (of course, since the film of the same name stars the character who is Elizabeth and Jack’s granddaughter).
Keeping; RENEWED for SEASON 8

Blood & Treasure CBS (premiered 5/21/19; RENEWED for SEASON 2 but delayed return [not May, 2020])
We like a lot of this, but it’s very derivative (as expected).
“A brilliant antiquities expert ]Matt Barr] and a cunning art thief [NOW known to be played by Sofia Pernas (The Brave)] team up to catch a ruthless terrorist who funds his attacks through stolen treasure. As they crisscross the globe hunting their target, they unexpectedly find themselves at the center of a 2,000-year-old battle for the cradle of civilization.”
Didn’t these just get canceled (The Librarians meets Hooten & the Lady)? Amazingly, this was renewed. 
Also starring: Katia Winter, Michael James Shaw, James Callis.
We like it; RENEWED for SEASON 2

Shakespeare & Hathaway PBS (SEASON 2 premiered September, 2019; RENEWED for SEASONS 3 & 4)
Kind of silly and trite, but we like it all right.
Luella Shakespeare (Jo Joyner), “ex-hair dresser/people-person turned private investigator trainee,” and Frank Hathaway (Mark Benton), a “hardboiled private investigator,”  are “an oddball couple of private detectives investigate crime in Stratford-upon-Avon….Unfortunately for Frank, going through life out of shape and low on cash is no way to run a business. Lu hires Frank to spy on her fiancé, whom she thinks is having an affair. Fortunately for Lu, it turns out her soon-to-be husband is not cheating on her. The bad news, however, is that he’s not who she thinks he is, and he ends up murdered about an hour after the ‘I do’s.’ With Lu needing a new challenge after she helps Frank solve the murder, the two join forces and form an unlikely detective duo in Stratford-upon-Avon, where low-life criminals seem to go for high crime drama.”
We like British detective shows (much more interesting and less violent than those in the USA, for sure). This one is a little silly, but we like it.
Already has two SEASONS in the can. We like it; RENEWED for SEASON 3 & 4.

*A Discovery of Witches AMC & BBC (simulcast and premiered in the USA, 4/7/19; RENEWED for SEASONS 2 & 3, but delayed 2020 return)
I like the actors and story, but the music and ambiance are so overblown, it is difficult to enjoy it. Also, the talking is hard to understand (poor audio balance). Will continue, but disappointed.
I read and liked all three books and the encyclopedia that accompanied the series AND the 4th book related to the same series by Deborah HarknessA Discovery of Witches, and was disappointed that the TV series (now getting three SEASONS) was only on paid channels we do not get (Sundance Now, Shudder, AMC streaming, and the UK’s SKY). BUT, it was so popular they brought it to cable!
A Discovery of Witches is a modern-day love story set in a world where witches, vampires and demons secretly live and work alongside humans, hidden in plain sight. Season 1 follows Diana [Teresa Palmer], a young scholar at Oxford who is a descendant of the Salem witches. When she accidentally unlocks an enchanted manuscript, she is compelled to embrace the magic in her blood and enters a forbidden romance with charming 1,500-year-old vampire Matthew (Matthew Goode). In the second season, Matthew and Diana are hiding in time in the fascinating and treacherous world of Elizabethan London , where they must find a powerful witch teacher to help Diana control her magic and search for the elusive Book of Life. Owen Teale, Alex Kingston, Lindsay Duncan, Valarie Pettifor, Edward Bluemel, Aiysha Hart, Trevor Eve, Malin Buska and Gregg Chillin also will return for Season 2.” Sounds as if each SEASON is based on one of the volumes of the 3-book series.
Will continue, but tentatively

Gone WGN (premiered 2/27/19; RENEWAL status unknown as of 5/22/20)
We watched because Chris Noth (Law & Order, Sex & the City) and stayed because of the others and the plots. We like this. This series actually began and aired in 2018-2019 in Europe, then WGN bought and aired it in 2019. Not sure about SEASON 2, yet.
Noth is back in law enforcement, this time as an FBI agent, with Danny Pino (Magnum P.I.) as his partner. They are in this limited series based on One Kick by Chelsea Cain. They will work with a layperson played by Leven Rambin (True Detective), who was abducted as a child, “on a task force devoted to missing-person cases….Gone follows the story of Kit ‘Kick’ Lannigan (Rambin), survivor of a highly publicized child-abduction case, and 20-year veteran Frank Novak (Noth), the FBI agent who rescued her. Years later, he recruits her to join a special task force dedicated to solving abductions and missing persons cases. Paired with former Army intelligence officer, John Bishop (Pino), Lannigan uses her intuitive wit and martial arts skills to solve cases and bring victims home. Tracie Thoms and Andy Mientus co-star….{c]reated and written by Matt Lopez (The Sorcerer’s Apprentice).”
Usually “happy” endings, so not too dark.
We like this a lot, but can’t find SEASON 2 anywhere

*Good Girls NBC (RENEWED for SEASON 4; midseason premiere date, 2021)
The writers of this show seem to believe that ANYONE can be a murderer, drug dealer, sociopath, thief, accomplice to other crimes, if desperate/angry enough. Very pessimistic view of humans, right? Compelling, though. Very good acting.
Weird twists, especially in SEASON 3 (people coming back from the dead is very soap opera-y) is not very good, so far. Having a child therapist treat adult? Faking a pregnancy? Too much soap opera and not enough actual drama. Come one!
SEASON 2 was rough (too much violence). Didn’t like it as much, but continued.
Starring one of my faves since she was a teen actor, Mae Whitman, with two new to me: Christina Hendricks and Retta, with co-stars, Manny Montana, Izzy Stannard, Matthew Lillard, and Reno Wilson, and features many other strong performances.
Lauren Stamile (Complications, American Horror Story, Blindspot, Chicago Fire) joins for SEASON 2 to “play Gretchen Zorada, a confident, intelligent and pedigreed defense attorney working on Manny’s (Manny Montana) case.”
“When sisters, Beth and Annie, and their best friend, Ruby, become fed up with playing by the rules and not getting the respect they deserve, they band together to take control of their lives—by holding up a local grocery store. Beth’s the perfect wife and mother, but her used-car-dealing, cheating husband has sent her family into financial ruin; Ruby is happily married to a policeman but can’t afford the medical bills and experimental drugs to help her daughter; and Annie, a single mom, is caught in a nasty custody battle with her ex. In desperate need of money, the women plan the heist expecting to ease their financial burdens. But new to the game of crime, they get pulled in deeper than they ever imagined—and the only way out of this will be together.”
Strangely compelling, but got very violent; okay for SEASON 3; RENEWED for SEASON 4

Frankie Drake Mysteries DVD/CBC/Ovation/Netflix (SEASON 1 released early 2019; SEASON 2 premiered in Canada 7/27/19 & SEASON 3 premieres on PBS for earlier SEASONS and Ovation 4/4/20; ; LIMBO for SEASON 4)
These are excellent!  Many actors are from other CBC shows we have liked, and the stars are fabulous: Lauren Lee Smith (The Listener) is Frankie, and Chantal Riley (soon to be on Pearson) is her partner, Trudy,  and, Wendy Crewson is a hoot as Frankie’s mother. We like how they insert real people and events along with the fictional (notably. recurring appearances by a young Ernest Hemingway, who DID write for the Toronto newspaper before going to paris!). Fantastic hats, costumes, set designs, props, also. We can forgive some lazy anachronisms regarding ways of talking, hair and make-up colors, and general attitudes, because these are fun!
“Set in stylish 1920s Toronto, [FDM] follows the female-only agency Drake Private Detectives, led by the eponymous Frankie Drake and ,her partner Trudy Clarke. Incorporating a brand of justice that doesn’t always follow the law, Frankie and Trudy investigate mysteries and crimes that either the police refuse to take on, or that their clients cannot take to the police at all. Against a backdrop of social change, radical politics and jazz music, the series is immersed in both the real Toronto of the 1920s and the world of mystery and suspense conjured by creators, Carol Hay and Michelle Ricci.”
We like these a lot; RENEWED through SEASON 3; LIMBO for SEASON 4

*Documentary Now! IFC (returned On Demand 2/9/19; premiered 2/20/19 for SEASON 3; RENEWED for SEASON 4 but delayed return)
I doubt if we’ll watch any of these together, and I won’t watch most, BUT I did an entire blog post reviewing Wild, Wild Country, the documentary about Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, last April (2018), so seeing Michael Keaton and Owen Wilson in a parody of that documentary was VERY fun, and sad, both.
Now in its third SEASON on IFC, this Episode was entitled “Batsh*t Valley.’ It was described as this series’ “version of a story about a reclusive spiritual community, in the vein of Wild, Wild Country and The Source Family. Wilson is set to star as the leader of this secluded group in the woodlands of Oregon, with Keaton playing the FBI agent bent on investigating and exposing the truth behind the entire operation. Necar Zadegan will also star in the episode [NCIS: New Orleans; as a Ma Anand Sheila-type character], written by Seth Meyers and directed by Alex Buono.” This will be the fourth Episode of the new SEASON.
This was good enough that I may go back and watch some others somewhere, if they’re available. Looking forward to the Stephen Sondheim-based Episode, also: “Six new Sondheim-ian songs were written for the send up of Original Cast Album: Company, the 1970 D. A. Pennebaker documentary about the grueling overnight cast recording of Stephen Sondheim’s hit musical.”
This SEASON also includes parodies of …”bowling doc, League of Ordinary Gentlemen, and Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present. Guests include Cate Blanchett, Michael C. Hall…Tim Robinson, Bobby Moynihan, Natasha Lyonne, John Mulaney….Richard Kind, Renee Elise Goldsberry, James Urbaniak, and Paula Pell.”
FMI: https://www.indiewire.com/2018/10/documentary-now-michael-keaton-owen-wilson-wild-wild-country-1202011119/
I liked two and may watch more; RENEWED for SEASON 4

*You Netflix (12/26/19 released for SEASON 2; RENEWED for SEASON 3)
Embarrassed to say I checked this show out of curiosity and got hooked; watching the entire series On Demand. Followed it to Netflix, but on my own.
You was “developed by Sera Gamble & Greg Berlanti based on the book by Caroline Kepnes.”  It involves multiple murders, stalking, obsession, narcissism, misogyny, bookstore, writing, female competitions, overbearing parents, class wars: not very uplifting.
SEASON 2 moved from NYC to LA, and is “loosely based on the author’s second book in the series, Hidden Bodies.” It is MUCH creepier and very hard to watch parts of it. Twists and turns as well, but compelling. Acting is stellar.
Victoria Pedretti (The Haunting Of Hill House) will be the new stalking victim, opposite stalker/murderer, Penn Badgley (Gossip Girl) in this “psychological thriller.”
Pedretti will play Love Quinn, an aspiring chef working as a produce manager in a high-end grocery store. Love is uninterested in the world of social media, branding and self-promotion, focused instead on leading an interesting life. She is also tending to a deep grief—and when she meets Joe Goldberg (Badgley), she senses a shared knowledge of profound, life-changing loss.”
Also adding Chris D’Elia (Undateable and Whitney), Robin Lord Taylor (Gotham), James Scully (Heathers), Marielle Scott, Charles Barnett (Russian Doll, Chicago Fire), Melanie Field (Heathers), Magda Apanowicz (Continuum), and Jenna Ortega (Jane the Virgin). D’Elia will play Henderson, a designer-hoodie, black Ray-Bans, expensive sneakers-wearing famous comedian with a ‘hard-life-lessons, man-of-the-people’ thing working for him.” Taylor plays Will, who “deals with unsavory sorts as part of his job, but is himself a thoughtful, personable, and highly intelligent guy who marches to the beat of his own drummer. That is, until he gets trapped in a bad situation….Scully will play Forty Quinn, Love’s (Pedretti) beloved brother, Forty is confident, opinionated and privileged—at his best, a charming buddy; at his worst, a razor-sharp bully. He’s been working a 12-step program with all the sincerity (and smugness) he’s got, relying heavily on his sister for support and attention. But it never takes much of a shove for him to fall back off the wagon….Scott will play Lucy, an edgy-chic literary agent with a deadpan wit and a sense of humor about her own LA-ness. Her career-driven nature is balanced by her earthy partner, Sunrise and their toddler. … Ortega is Ellie, a teenager who grew up fast in the big city, Ellie likes to act and appear older than her years. Secretly living with minimal supervision or nurturing in her life, she must take care of herself and isn’t afraid to get into murky waters to make a little cash. This includes working cons on the adults around her, including Joe Goldberg….Barnett will play Gabe, Love’s (Pedretti) oldest friend and closest confidant. He’s a successful acupuncturist and psychedelics aficionado living L.A. life to the fullest….Field will play Sunrise, a stay-at-home mommy blogger who raises a toddler with her partner, Lucy, in their gorgeous Venice Beach home. A New Age wellness aficionado who’s monetized her interests with a popular Instagram, she’s the cheerleader of her friend circle. Apanowicz will portray Sandy, a woman from Joe’s past with an infectious smile and restless spirit. She has been beaten up by life….Ambyr Childers plays Candace, Joe’s ex-girlfriend. It really did not end well. He thought she was dead. Turns out, not so much. She’s alive, and feeling less than forgiving. She appeared in four episodes in Season 1″ and is returning for SEASON 2, somehow. Also coming in for SEASON 2 is Adwin Brown (Heathers, The Fosters, Adam Ruins Everything, Scorpion, The Middle, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine), to play “A ‘true West Coaster’ who’s a mix of both meditation and stress, Calvin manages a high-end grocery store, and although he feels his life is more together than most, working at an unconventional store for some unconventional bosses tests him.”
I find it more disturbing and fascinating than “thrilling,.” Very well-acted and -directed and it seems to have been written by someone who understands narcissistic, violent, misogynistic obsession all too well.
Will keep watching, reluctantly; RENEWED for SEASON 3

C.B. Strike HBO and DVD (which is the way we watch; DVD of SEASONS 1, 2, 3 all one one available; 3 SEASONS on HBO; RENEWED for SEASON 4, but airs in the UK, first)
Tom Burke plays the title character in this J.K. Rowling-as-Robert Galbraith-inspired British detective series, featuring an ex-military cop and currently recovering, wounded P.I., and his new assistant with their cases. Well-acted, well-shot, and interesting.
Has three SEASONS out on HBO; we watched and liked SEASONS 1, 2 & 3 on DVD from our library.
We like this; RENEWED for SEASON 4

Orville FOX (returned 12/30/18 for SEASON 2; RENEWED for SEASON 3, but on HULU)
We were right to be worried that Seth MacFarlane & Co. would be guilty of trying too hard and that the show would be awkward, unfunny, terrible, but, somehow, endearing. The first twenty minutes or so weren’t great, but they weren’t terrible, either. SEASON 1 limped along and we stuck with it, with uneven payoffs, in our opinions. SEASON 2 started off horribly, though. We accidentally missed the entire first 20 minutes, and we didn’t mind at all because this was a BORING and ridiculous Episode, especially for a returning SEASON premiere. However, each Episode got better. Now, we’re hooked.
We liked Adrianne Palicki in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and were glad to see her in this show, albeit in 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.”
Not sure we’ll stick with this.
Series was RENEWED, but SEASON 1 was reduced by 1 Episode, which will be added to fall, 2018, SEASON 2’s run.

The Good Fight CBS Access (CBS is running SEASON 1 for cable viewers, now; DVDs for past 2 SEASONS; RENEWED for SEASONS 3, 4, 5)
We loved The Good Wife and were sad that this new spinoff was pay-per-view for a few years. Delighted to find the DVDs at our local library! Returning/continuing are: Cush Jumbo, Christine Baranski, Gary Cole, Carrie Preston, Sarah Steele, Matthew Perry, and some others who pop up occasionally. 
Added newly: Bernadette Peters, Paul Guilfoyle, Justin Bartha, Delroy Lindo, Rose Leslie, Erica Tazel, Nyambi Nyambi, Louis Gossett, Jr., and so many more greats who are regulars or guest/recurring stars.
The writing and directing are stellar  (but not consistently done by the same people).
Added the wonderful Audra MacDonald and Michael Sheen (Masters Of Sex) in SEASON 2. For SEASON 3, Sheen plays “charismatic Machiavellian Roland Blum, who’s more interested in winning than following the law. The character is based on Roy Cohn, or his more recent iteration Roger Stone, King said, describing  Blum is a Satan in the law firm.”
This is fabulous! RENEWED for SEASONS 3, 4, 5

The Kominsky Method Netflix (great for SEASON 1 & 2; LIMBO SEASON 3)
This is fun. Kind of depressing, but so well-done. Totally worth it, if you like stories about Hollywood folks, elderly male issues and a great friendship, father-daughter relationships, acting. Co-created by Chuck Lorre, but we don’t like most of his latest shows (The Big Bang Theory, Two and a Half Men). We enjoyed most of this and look forward to SEASON 2. The story “follows an aging actor who now makes his living in Hollywood as an acting coach.”
Starring: Michael Douglas, Lisa Edelstein, Nancy Travis, Sarah Baker and Alan Arkin; SEASON 2 is adding Jane Seymour, Jacqueline Bisset and Paul Reiser.
Seymour will play Madelyn who is described as a seventy-something, well-to-do woman whom Norman (Alan Arkin) had a mad love affair with in the ’60s before he met his wife. After fifty years, the two reunite and start it again. Bisset steps into the role of Gabrielle, who is Mindy’s (Sarah Baker) mom and Sandy’s (Michael Douglas) French ex-wife who delights in still being able to push the buttons of her ex-husband. Rounding out the trio is Reiser, who plays a sixty-something high school teacher who gets romantically involved with Mindy.”
We like it; even better for SEASON 2

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Amazon Prime (SEASONS 1 – 3 available 12/6/19; RENEWED for SEASON 4)
We like SEASON 3 all right, but the Episodes written by the husband of the husband-wife writing team of Daniel and Amy Sherman-Palladino are not as good as hers….
SEASON 2 is off to a great start. SEASONS 1 & 2 won Golden Globes and other awards.
This is an unsurprisingly delightful (coming from Daniel and Amy Sherman-Palladino of The Gilmore Girls, among other shows of theirs that I like) period piece, circa 1962 (Lenny Bruce’s stand-up era) that features a kick-ass, funny, smart, young Jewish wife & mother who accidentally becomes a stand-up comic after her pathetic, cheating husband aspires to have his own stand-up career and fails miserably, then leaves her for another woman.
“Set in early 1960s Manhattan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is a 60-minute dramedy that centers on Miriam “Midge” Maisel, a sunny, energetic, sharp, Jewish girl who had her life mapped out for herself: go to college, find a husband, have kids, and throw the best Yom Kippur dinners in town. Soon enough, she finds herself exactly where she had hoped to be, living happily with her husband and two children in the Upper West Side. A woman of her time, Midge is a cheerleader wife to a man who dreams of a stand-up comedy career, but her perfect life is turned upside down when her husband suddenly leaves her for another woman. Completely unprepared, Midge is left with no choice but to reevaluate what to do with her life. When she accidentally stumbles onto the stage at a comedy club, she soon discovers her own comedic skills and decides to use this newfound talent to help her rebuild a different life for herself.”
Starring the fabulous, award-winning Rachel Brosnahan in the title role as “Midge” (Miriam) and Michael Zegen as her awful husband. Also featuring Luke Kirby as the infamous Lenny Bruce, and the inimitable Tony Shalhoub as Midge’s unsupportive father and Marin Hinkle (doing double-duty as the principle of Speechless‘ high school, too) as her frosty mother. With Alex Borstein as her staunchest supporter/new agent,
Gaining Zachary Levi for SEASON 2.
Intelligent, funny, poignant and interesting.

We watched all of SEASONS 1 – 3.

The Bodyguard Netflix (released 10/24/18; delayed return, but seems unlikely to be  LIMBO for SEASON 2, as of 5/22/20)
We found this to be sadly compelling and very well -acted and -written. This is another 6-part BBC miniseries (one not to be confused with the Whitney Houston film) that “centers on David Budd, a bodyguard played by Richard Madden (Game of Thrones) assigned to protect Home Secretary Julia Montague (Keeley Hawes)” (Durrells of Corfu, which I love).
We finished, but the questions were not all answered. AND, even though they killed off/captured several key characters, it has been renewed for SEASON 2!?!!

The Bodyguard
image from BBC One, Richard Madden and Keeley Hawes from The Bodyguard
We like it; already LIMBO for SEASON 2

*black-ish ABC (RENEWED for SEASON 7)
SEASON 5 started off with stupid plots and subplots that did not capture my interest at all. Not feeling it this year. We’ll see. This show has had great acting (sometimes), excellent storylines that are relevant and important (and very informative without being heavy-handed), especially for African-Americans (but not only), and funny bits that aren’t usually too silly.
The writers have tackled postpartum depression, incarceration, Type II (Adult Onset) diabetes, divorce, bullying, class issues/homelessness/charity/poverty, marital issues, sibling rivalry, workplace harassment, racism, sexism and so much more, fitting each or more than one topic into a 30-minute segment that features a family that has children from age 19+ to an infant and one set of divorced grandparents who live in “the backyard”
I understand why the actors and writers (Kenya Barris, Peter Saji) have won so many awards.
Starring Tracee Ellis Ross, Anthony Anderson, Jenifer Lewis, Lawrence Fishburne, , and the kids (Yara Shahidi, Marcus Scribner, Miles Brown, Marsai Martin and the infant).

Supergirl CW (RENEWED for SEASONS 6 & 7)
Supergirl got an updated and more practical costume: leggings! https://morgan-magazine.com/2019/07/16/supergirl-getting-costume-pants-for-season-5-on-the-cw/

For SEASON 3, Supergirl seemed depressed, angry and unwilling to play nicely as Kara Danvers so much. In SEASON 4, she’s driven and a bit “over the top” with “work,” but finally seems grown up and is mentoring another reporter who reminds her of her younger self. So, good on Melissa Benoist and the writers for finally showing her acting her age! For SEASON 5, however, Lena Luther’s character has gone bad. Damn. Now we aren’t liking the show, again.
“The CW DC Crossover” with three consecutive December nights of sequential Episodes of Supergirl, Arrow and Flash—3rd year of that—Elseworlds, was confusing, but we got into it and liked it. Definitely paved the way for this year’s, also. When the Crossovers ended in 2020, havoc was wreaked with many storylines and characters on all 6 involved shows!
Crisis on Infinite Earths [COIE], one of the most important superhero comics of all time, has officially been announced as the subject of the 2019 Arrowverse crossover.
However, Arrow was otherwise CANCELED for 2019-20.
Still, for 2019-20, “[COIE] will be a five-part event featuring The Flash, Arrow, Supergirl, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, and the latest addition to the Arrowverse, the Ruby Rose-headlined Batwoman….[and] split across two quarters, with the first three parts airing in December before wrapping things up after a winter break with the final two episodes in January.” January date: Arrow and Legends both air on 1/14/20.
Nicole Maines—the first trans actor as a superhero in a TV series—and Rhona Mitra and Sam Witwer are also joining. Bruce Boxleitner is set to some in as Vice-President Baker. Can Bruce sing?
Another newbie: look for Azie Tesfai (Jane The Virgin, The Kominsky Method) for SEASONS 4, 5, 6 “as Kelly Olsen, the sister of …[James] Olsen…. Kelly is an intelligent and insightful woman who spent time in the military in order to pay for medical school. She’s recently discharged from the military and is currently finishing her training as a psychiatrist. She’s got a large heart and cares deeply about others.”
Jon Cryer is coming on as the iconic villain, Lex Luthor, in SEASON 4 as well. Stay tuned!
Also, another CW three-night cross-over event is happening again this year, with the finale of it on Supergirl (12/11/18), sandwiching in Arrow (12/10/18) and starting with Flash (12/9/18) (which we’ll watch only for this event) in order to introduce viewers to Batwoman, Lois Lane and their version of Gotham City. Tyler Hoechlin will again be this DC-verse’s Superman (he’s appeared on Supergirl a couple of times already); Ruby Rose will be Batwoman; Elizabeth Tulloch (Grimm) will be Lois Lane. LaMonica Garrett is also joining, as “The Monitor, a cosmic character with a singular spot in the eight-decade publication history of DC Comics. In April 1985, The Monitor was introduced as a powerful entity at the center of ‘Crisis on Infinite Earths’…The Monitor, also known as Mar Novu, was created by writer, Marv Wolfman, and artist, George Pérez.”
Jessica Meraz (Major Crimes) “will play Menagerie/Pamela Ferrer. An iconic DC villain and a member of Manchester Black’s “Elite,” Menagerie is a jewel thief who doesn’t mind hurting people.”
BTW: We liked the first cross-over, with only Flash & Supergirl, in 2016, because it was a musical, but last year’s (2017) was BORING (alternate, Nazi-infested Earth with too much violence and an overload of dystopian elements). 2018’s proved to be midway between, interest-wise.
If you’re a die-hard DC/Batman fan, read this: What’s Up With Batman? and more DC TV info, link here
Not great for SEASON 5; RENEWED for SEASON 6

The Blacklist NBC (RENEWED for SEASON 8)
Now that we (and others) know Reddington is/isn’t Lizzie’s father; in fact, he isn’t even Reddington! Maybe Liz has a half-sister. Her mother isn’t dead… What?
The new relationship between Lizzie and Reddington /not-Reddington is intriguing, though, and we like the nuances and mysteries. Great performances by all.

*Young Sheldon CBS (RENEWED for SEASON 4)
This show improves yearly. I never watched The Big Bang Theory, so I wasn’t going to watch this. However, having seen the star, Iain Armitage, in Big Little Lies and being amazed at how good he was, and then I saw him be excellent in a movie, I decided to try it. Didn’t like it much, at first, but it really grew on me. Somewhat silly and often goes for the laugh, but sometimes, really hits the mark.
“It’s 1989 and 9-year-old Sheldon Cooper has skipped four grades to start high school along with his less-intellectual older brother. As he struggles to be understood by his family, classmates and neighbours, his mother arms him with the best tool she can come up with: reminding bullies his dad is the football coach and his brother is on the team. His twin sister doesn’t share his exceptional mind, but she has a much clearer vision of what life has in store for the young genius. Jim Parsons, who plays the adult version of Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory, narrates.”
Also in this cast: Zoe Perry. Lance Barber. Montana Jordan. Raegan Revord. Jim Parsons (narrator, only). Annie Potts, Wallace Shawn, Matt Hobby.
Outmatched tried to capitalize on the success of this in 2020 and failed miserably, BTW.

*Full Frontal with Samantha Bee TBS (ongoing and RENEWED for SEASON 4)
Full Frontal with Samantha Bee: Christmas on I.C.E.
TBS (premiered 12/19/18)
Not the White House correspondents’ Dinner, 2nd Edition
(1st one was in 2017) TBS (premieres 4/27/19, and serving hamberders): “‘I promised myself I’d never do another one of these,’ Bee says in a new promo for the event (watch it HERE), ‘but someone’s gotta roast that motherfcker and if they won’t do it, I will.’”
I loved Samantha Bee on The Daily Show and awaited her new individual show with great anticipation. I have mostly not been disappointed, but I haven’t been watching as regularly, either: TOO MUCH of #45.
Bee is funny, insightful, appropriately outraged and very bold, extremely feminist and “in-your-face,” but since I agree with her POV, this all works great, for me. I laugh out loud and sigh 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 fo.
SEASON 2, but I AM SO SICK OF this administration and all rethuglicans!
Definitely keeping and glad it was RENEWED for SEASON 4

The Rookie ABC (RENEWED for SEASON 3)
We like this, but SEASON 2 seems kind of without focus. Not really new rookies any more…We’ll see.
One of our favorite (but, of course, short-lived) shows, starring Hayley Atwell, was Conviction. Its co-creator is directing this new series! Liz Friedlander is also the Executive Producer of the ABC pilot of the crime dramedy, which stars one of our 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.” We like this a lot, but many do not. We think our taste is not “typical,” so it will likely get canceled. But, until then, we intend to enjoy it.
Fillion plays a complicated, realistic, good-hearted, courageous, intelligent, unmacho middle-aged new cop, which is refreshing, with some others who are somewhat 2-D (so far), but whom we hope will expand as we go along.
The cast as several new to us: Afton Williamson as Fillion‘s Training Officer (but she left due to sexual harassment and racism!); Melissa O’Neil as his co-trainee and love interest (so far); Mercedes Mason as the Captain (SEASON 1 only); and, Alyssa Diaz as another TO with Titus Makin, Jr., as another rookie. Richard T. Jones (whom we always like) as the Sergeant-in-Charge and Eric Winter (whom we also like) as another TO, with Mircea Monroe as his drug-addicted, homeless ex? wife who may recur, are the rest of the main characters (so far).
We liked it for SEASON 2; RENEWED for SEASON 3 

God Friended Me CBS (CANCELED for SEASON 3)
SEASON 2 is off to an odd start, but it got better.
Joe Morton (Scandal, many more), again? Wow!
Great production and creative team, led by Greg Berlanti.
Touched by an Angel, Heaven Can Wait,  etc.: been there, done that, but, doing it again with social media.
Brandon Micheal Hall is very charming; supporting cast also good.
“Questions of faith, existence and science are explored in this humorous, uplifting series about an outspoken atheist whose life is turned upside down when he is ‘friended’ by God on social media. Unwittingly, he becomes an agent of change in the lives and destinies of others around him.”
With Adam Goldberg, Violett Beane, Suraj Sharma, Javicia Leslie, Erica Stemple.
Very sweet; okay for SEASON 2; CANCELED for SEASON 3 

Still liking this in SEASON 6, especially Scott Bakula‘s character.Necar Zadegan, is staying, although will no longer lead the team (Pride took one of two offered promotions, but she got demoted so he returned to his former position).
But, why is Pride’s mental health an issue again? BORING, especially his dreams/hallucinations.
We miss Lucas Black and the two other female agents who left, and don’t like the new guy, much (I saw Charles Michael Davis on Younger), Special Agent Quentin Carter.
Also starring: CCH Pounder, Vanessa Ferlito, Rob Kerkovich, Daryl “Chill” Mitchell.

*Grey’s Anatomy ABC (ENDING in 2020-21; see other parts of this post for SPINOFFs news)
I am a long-time fan of this show, especially, Ellen Pompeo. Spawned its 3rd and 4th spin-offs for 2018!
Richard Flood is a good addition and possible love interest for Meredith (“a gift from Cristina”), replacing Karev, but what the HELL, writers? Terrible, not credible, awful departure storyline for Alex Karev (Justin Chambers) and horrible treatment of Jo Wilson (Camilla Luddington).
Plenty to keep one’s interest, if you like these characters and this kind of drama, which I do (Mom stopped watching this years ago: “Too much sex” was her reason.).
Excellent character arcs for Dr. Bailey (Chandra Wilson), Owen (Kevin McKidd) and Amelia (Caterina Scorsone).
Jake Borelli (the other half of the gay male couple–see below) has done well for SEASON 16.
Alex Landi is this series’ first gay male surgeon, Dr. Nico Kim. Better late than never! The series has been groundbreaking with featuring and starring lesbians, bisexuals and questioning women, and some trans characters floated around, but no gay males, up until SEASON 15 (2018-19).Looks as if he’ll be leaving for SEASON 17, though.
Love the anti-homophobia story lines and the actions/discussions the show inspires, especially for parents of LGBT kids and for everyone about bullying. Excellent PSAs built right into the show.
Very strong return for each SEASON, and I always enjoy it, even though some key characters keep leaving/being asked to leave.
Sara Ramirez (played bisexual Dr. Callie Torres here for 10 seasons) may return at some point before the end. We’ll see.
Happy to keep Chris Carmack (Nashville) as the newest orthopedic surgeon with an attitude, Greg Germann, and Kim Raver as regulars for SEASON 16 (she just had Owen’s baby!).

We appreciate this, which fulfills its mandate:  “a scripted drama about the inner workings of the New York office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”
The spin-off aired its pilot as an Episode in SEASON 1 and is having its own Episodes in 2019-20: F.B.I.: Most Wanted.
First Unit Director for this FBI branch was played by Connie Nielsen, then Sela Ward, now De La Garza: that role is not keeping its actors! Not much for them to do, we suspect.
Stars: Alana De La Garza (Forever), Jeremy Sisto, Missy Peregrym, Ebonee Noel, Zeeko Zaki, with Milena Govich (Law & Order) joining as a  director/co-executive producer for SEASON 2.
Going to keep; RENEWED for SEASON 3

The Resident FOX (RENEWED for SEASON 4)
Killing off characters is not the only way to have drama, FYI, writers, but we don’t miss them on this show.
Jane Leeves (Frasier)may be leaving? But, her character “is an orthopedic surgeon and foil for Bruce Greenwood‘s CEO.”
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? Yet, we LOVE this one!
“This medical drama follows the relationship between a senior resident and a young doctor at a hospital.”
Strong characters and interesting plots. We’re hooked.

Keeping; RENEWED for SEASON 4

*Ozark Netflix (SEASON 3 released 3/27/20)
Did not enjoy SEASON 2 much. Watched it all, though there were dozens of murders and it was much darker. I’m reluctant to return to it.
SEASON 1 was odd, dark, violent and disturbing, but strangely sweet and compelling. My favorite aspects are the stories, scenes and interactions with the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri, 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.
Who exactly are the “good” and who are the “bad” guys, anyway?
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 sort of like it; RENEWED for SEASON 3

9-1-1 FOX (RENEWED for SEASON 4)
For SEASON 3, keeping Jennifer Love Hewitt (Ghost Whisperer), but what is up with her character’s brother?
An Emergency Response drama created by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk.
Starring Angela Bassett and Peter Krause, with ZERO on-screen chemistry, but whose characters are married, now.
The writers seem to be trying too hard to set up the most bizarre and objectionable characters and rescue situations as possible, but we are underwhelmed and not all that interested during and fast-forward through many scenarios.

We are fans of this show, so far, but…if it weren’t for Mark Harmon…Then, Yay: Ziva CAME BACK THIS YEAR (SEASON 17)!
We like this; RENEWED for SEASON 18

Chicago Med NBC (RENEWED for SEASON 6)
Colin Donnell leaves before SEASON 5, but will occasionally guest star. Glad to see him and his mentally ill partners/exes and dad gone, also.
Too many love triangles. A bit too much soap opera-esque-ness in these nighttime medical shows: how do they have so much time on their hands?
We LOVE Oliver Platt, and the rest of the cast are good, with interesting (but largely implausible) stories.
Starring: Molly BernardColby LewisNick Gehlfuss, Torrey DeVitto, Rachel DiPillo, Brian Tee, S. Epatha Merkerson, Yaya DaCosta, Marlyne Barrett.

Blue Bloods CBS (RENEWED for SEASON 11)
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.
MORE STORY! Less angst!
Definitely staying tuned, if only to see what these writers are up to this year.
Also starring: Donnie Wahlberg, Bridget Moynahan, Will Estes, Len Cariou, Sami Gayle, Marisa Ramirez and Vanessa Ray.

Blue Bloods


Chicago P.D. NBC (RENEWED for SEASON 8)
Jon Seda is leaving this show before SEASON 7, but will occasionally guest star.
Anne Heche‘s character is also leaving. Already killed off 2 others. Sheesh!  We like this show less and less.
Nicki Micheaux (Good Trouble) and Alexis Louder (Harriet) join in 2019. “Louder will play Jasmine Price, the composed, bright, hopeful, impressive daughter of Ray Price (Wendell Pierce). A rising political star on the wings of her successful father…” Micheaux plays “Alicia Price, the wife of Ray Price ….She’s a very intelligent and graceful wife and mother. She’s at times steely, measured and dutiful to her husband.”
Disappointed that so many ON THE FORCE are doing so many bad things.
Starring: Jason Beghe, Marina Squerciati, Jesse Lee Soffer, Jon Seda, Patrick Fleuger, Laroyce Hawkins, Amy Morton, Tracy Spiridakos

Chicago Fire NBC (RENEWED for SEASON 9)
Getting a full 22 Episodes for SEASON 4. Ode of my CHANGES conversations between authors‘ guests, poet performer, James Gordon, has recurring minor roles on this and Chicago PD!)
Losing one or more main characters is tricky, but they handled it all right.
A new partner in the ambo is a recurring theme; we miss Brett!
Starring: Jesse Spencer, Taylor Kinney, Eamonn Walker, David Eigenberg, Joe Minoso, Kara Killmer, Yuriy Sardarov, Cristian Stolte, Miranda Rae Mayo, Gary Cole; added Annie AlonzehSteven Boyer, Austin PeckJordan Belfi (American Curious) .
KEEPING, and okay for now; RENEWED for SEASON 9

We LOVED this show and its great cast, but now that we know why Eliza Dushku (and probably Jill Flint as well) haven’t returned, and how disgustingly Weatherly, Moonves, Caron and CBS have ROUTINELY behaved toward women, we feel conflicted about watching. AND, even though it was RENEWED for SEASON 4, it lost Spielberg and its other producers. Interestingly, the SEASON 4 opener was all about Bull’s needing to apologize, beg, be humble…. Hmmmm.
Stars: Michael Weatherly (NCIS), Freddy Rodriguez (The Night Shift), Geneva Carr (Law & Order: SVU), Christopher Jackson (Broadway’s Hamilton), Jaime Lee Kirchner (Mercy), Annabelle Attanasio. 
Very good writing and acting all around, with the “right side” usually prevailing, often in a Perry Mason “gotcha” moment during the trial. We like that.

The Good Doctor ABC (RENEWED for SEASON 4)
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.
SEASONS 2 and 3 had strong starts, despite constant casting shifts.
Not liking Sharon Leal‘s character (but she did great in it).
Starring Freddie Highmore as Shawn Murphy, and including a couple of familiar faces [Richard Schiff (The West Wing) and Hill Harper (Covert Affairs, CSI: NY)].  Also, Antonia Thomas as Dr. Claire Browne, Nicholas Gonzalez as Dr. Neil Melendez, Tamlyn Tomita as Allegra Aoki, Christina Chang as Dr. Audrey Lim, Fiona Gubelman as Dr. Morgan Reznick, Will Yun Lee as Dr. Alex Park, Paige Spara as Lea Dilallo, and
We really like this one; KEEPING and Good  for SEASON 3; RENEWED for SEASON 4

New Amsterdam NBC (RENEWED for SEASONS 3, 4, 5)
We like this show better each week, and even though SEASON 2 seems to have taken several steps backward, in our view. especially since it had “calmed down” a bit before last year’s finale, it got back on track, eventually.
Dear Writers: you do not have to provide an emergency every 2 minutes or kill key characters off to keep our attention. Please, as your character reminded the lead, SLOW DOWN! And, stop killing off characters we like!
“Inspired by Bellevue, the oldest public hospital in America, this unique medical drama follows the brilliant and charming Dr. Max Goodwin, the institution’s newest medical director [Ryan Eggold, recently killed off in The Blacklist and star of its short-lived spinoff] who sets out to tear up the bureaucracy and provide exceptional care. How can he help? Well, the doctors and staff have heard this before. Not taking ‘no’ for an answer, Dr. Goodwin must disrupt the status quo and prove he will stop at nothing to breathe new life into this understaffed, underfunded and underappreciated hospital—the only one in the world capable of treating Ebola patients, prisoners from Rikers and the President of the United States under one roof—and return it to the glory that put it on the map.”
Also starring: Freema Agyeman, Janet Montgomery, Jocko Sims, Anupam Kher, Tyler Labine, with Margo Bingham and Sendhil Ramamurthy (Reverie, Heroes, Heroes Reborn, Covert Affairs) coming on soon.
We wish it were more like Red Band Society and less like Bedlam.
We like it; RENEWED and KEEPING for SEASONS 3, 4, 5

Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan Amazon Prime (SEASON 1 released 8/31/18; RENEWED for SEASONS 2—11/1/19 released— & 3 [no release date, yet])
John Krasinski (How I Met Your Mother) does all right as the newest Jack Ryan  (but we liked Chris Pine better, and who can forget Harrison Ford, Ben Affleck or Alec Baldwin, all of whom have had a turn playing this iconic role?), as do the other cast members, with the lousy script they were given.
But, this version has too many car chases, too much violence/torture, and too  many anti-heroes/villains for our taste. We keep starting and not going back.
Mom is a long-time reader and fan of both the Jack Ryan books and films and was very put off and confused by how out-of-context most of this new series seemed to all the rest that have already been made/written. I’ve only seen a few films and never read any of the books, but I agree.
Also, in trying to modernize it (original was set in the 1970s-80s), they set Ryan and the CIA in yet another tired plot of Middle-Eastern-men-as-villains in SEASON 1 and similarly in SEASON 2, but in Venezuela, with car bombs, deception. We also don’t like plots with revenge-seeking for events from 30+ years ago and more recent hostility, etc., nor do we want to watch “interrogation” scenes, which we hate.
We watched all 8 Episodes of SEASON 1, and some are all right, but VERY dark and violent. We only got through 1 Episode of SEASON 2 and can’t seem to go back.
What happened to Ryan’s girlfriend?
Starring: John Krasinski, Wendell Pierce (Suits)
Too much violence and not enough script; RENEWED for SEASON 3

Midsomer Murders [must get DVDs; used to be on both PBS and Netflix (SEASON 21 returns in 2020; SEASONS 1 – 20 released on DVDs, Britbox SEASON 22 LIMBO)]
During this lull in summer TV, my mom and I found Midsomer Murders on Netflix and have been enjoying its being less bloody and violent than USA detective shows, and its quirkiness. PBS started airing SEASON 13 this past month as well (September, 2018).
We believe the writers hate women (most culprits have been female so far, and we’re 12 SEASONS in), the English countryside’s small towns (not-so-subtle digs at how “quaint” and “backward” they are), special interests/social clubs (which contain obsessive people willing to kill over orchids, fishing rights, rare books, bike racing, golf, choir competitions and whatever), and marriage (marriages and other relationships on this series mostly suck–the couples are so mean to one another!). Every one of these small towns has way too many crimes and murderers per capita and a lot of drunkards, liars, adulterers and thieves. Also, most Episodes have some kind of fete (festival), and these are hilarious.
We also like to play: “Who is that actor?” (now 15-20 years older from the Episodes we’re watching) and “Where else have we seen him/her before or since? (mostly since). Or, check here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Midsomer_Murders_characters
   IMDB is so good for answering those questions, usually. The series is based on the books by Caroline Graham, “featured 251 deaths, 222 of which were murders.”
Starring Bergerac‘s John Nettles as the the lead detective, DCI Barnaby, for the first 13 SEASONS, and Jane Wymark and Laura Howard (also for 13 SEASONS) as the wife and adult daughter of Barnaby, as regulars. An ever-changing roster of supporting and Episodic characters fills out the roster nicely each Episode. Seasons are generally from 4 – 8 Episodes long, but each Episode is about 90 – 100 minutes (basically, = 2 night-time hour-long slots, with commercials, we think, originally).
Turns out we can get the DVDs for SEASONS 18 – 25 at our local library, and plan to do so during the next hiatus of TV after we’re done with Netflix‘s offerings.
Warming: In 2011, producer/creator, “Brian True-May, caused controversy when he said the television series ‘was the last bastion of Englishness because it did not have actors from ethnic minorities….We’re the last bastion of Englishness and I want to keep it that way.’ The 61-year-old was suspended for his comments” and was forced to step down at the end of that year’s Episodes.
True-May banned swearing, violence and sex scenes from the show but his idyllic formula does not stop challenging storylines, or other elements of diversity which do not involve ethnicity. ‘If it’s incest, blackmail, lesbianism, homosexuality … terrific, put it in, because people can believe that people can murder for any of those reasons,’ he told the Radio Times. “A study in 2006 found that Midsomer Murders was ‘strikingly unpopular’ with minorities.”
We wondered about the lack of non-Caucasians…
The weather is also atypical of southern England and more like southern France or Spain (hardly ever rains, hardly ever very cold). or they arranged to film each Episode in any season but winter.
Liking these, but some scripts are dull

Carter WGN (RENEWED for SEASON 3; Spring, 2021, premiere date)
We like Jerry O’Connell, usually, so we tried this. SEASON 1 was iffy, but it got better.  SEASON 2 was off to a stupid start and got worse. We’re disappointed.
Carter’s character got sillier and kept “breaking the fourth wall” (talking in asides to the audience, or to other characters about the show as a show) for unknown reasons, throughout the SEASON, including the final Episode, a “cliffhanger,” according to him!
It’s a police procedural in which a TV actor returns to his small Canadian town and people make him a police consultant, convinced he knows more than he actually does from having played a detective on TV in a successful series. We also like a lot of the CBC‘s series, so this boded well.
However, the writing is mostly terrible. They make O’Connell’s character too buffoonish and everyone else is drawn 2-dimensionally and stereotypically. Many of the plots, though, have some twists, so maybe it’s not hopeless.
For SEASON 2: Andy Berman (Psych, Rosewood) was showrunner and Executive Producer. We liked both of those shows, but this SEASON was mostly awful.
Also starring: Sydney Tamiia Poitier (yes; Sidney’s daughter!), Kristian Bruun, Joanne Boland, Sherry Miller, John Bourgeois, Vijay Gill, Matt Baram, Dave Leigh.
We were disappointed in SEASON 2; RENEWED for SEASON 3

Private Eyes ION (premiered 5/29/19 for SEASON 3, but 2nd half of the SEASON is MIA…delayed; perhaps they’ll run it prior to SEASON 3?)
Canadian TV can make some great shows, and we like 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, Cleo Bennet, Kurtis Mazhari (of The Listener and Blindspot).
For unknown reasons, this SEASON stopped in late August and then resumed in early February); a split SEASON, like Suits.
Predictable, but sweet & worthwhile; RENEWED for SEASON 3

*Cable Girls (Las Chicas del Cable) Netflix (SEASON 5 released 2/14/20; CANCELED for SEASON 6)
An excellent 1928-31, Spain-based somewhat true account of the beginnings of the telephone company, trade unions and the precursors to the Spanish Civil War from the telephone operators’ and other women’s points of view. Excellent writing, acting, plots and subplots that include bisexuality, transgender identity and domestic violence, women’s rights’ issues as well as the usual infidelities, class wars, crimes, lies and substance abuse/drinking problems.
Warning: DUBBED (Spanish to English), very well, and also offers subtitles if you prefer or can’t turn them off.
SEASON 3 returned about 5 months after SEASON 2; SEASON 3 about 6 months later. I enjoy this, but it’s very disturbing, in parts.  Still well-written, acted,and interesting.
Starring: Blanca Suárez, Yon González, Ana Fernández, Maggie Civantos, Nadia de Santiago, Martiño Rivas, Ana Polvorosa, Sergio Mur.
I like this, but Mom doesn’t; CANCELED

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

**Law and Order—SVU NBC (RENEWED for SEASON 22 [longest-running drama on network TV!])
Mom is keeping this on her list for sure; RENEWED.

**Saturday Night Live (SNL) NBC (returned 9/30/19 for SEASON million)
Mom is keeping this on her list, but I am bored with it; RENEWED

**NCIS: Los Angeles CBS (RENEWED for SEASON 12)
David James Elliot and Catherine Bell from JAG are reprising their roles on this in 2019-20! Mom is thrilled, since she watched every Episode of that great show.
Mom is keeping this on her list for sure; RENEWED for SEASON 1

2020 PREMIERES/RETURNS (some not yet reviewed/watched as of 5/22/20)

Some PREMIERES/RETURNS are still unknown for 2020, so I give the known first/return air dates. I/we plan to watch the shows listed, below (UPDATED 5/22/20).

Link to premiere dates, renewals and cancellations for 2020:

Or, use these links for a frequently updated 2020, schedule:
http://www.thefutoncritic.com/guide/winter-2020-grid/ and http://www.thefutoncritic.com/guide/spring-2020-grid/

Also, try https://nextseasontv.com/upcoming/ for release dates.

2020 Planned Viewing

Ben Platt LIVE at Radio City Music Hall Netflix (releases 5/25/20)
We like him and his voice, so we’ll watch this.
Sounds great!

Uncut Gems Netflix (film releases 5/25/20)
Adam Sandler in a crime drama? Sure, why not! He’s actually a great actor who usually does shtick, but when he’s serious/charming, he’s excellent. The plot is a bit Donald Westlake/Carl Hiaasen-ish (funny, but dark—Hot Rocks, Strip Tease), with the real NBA player, Kevin Garnett, playing himself, and Eric Bogosian as as the bad guy/loan shark. Idina Menzel, Julia Fox, Judd Hirsch, and a host of others pop in: how bad could it be?
“The film tells the story of Howard Ratner (Adam Sandler), a New York jeweller with a tendency to bet other people’s money on blood diamonds and elaborate basketball wagers.”
We’ll watch

Space Force Netflix (Episodes for one SEASON release 5/29/20)
An “American comedy web television series created by Greg Daniels and Steve Carell,” starring Carell, John Malkovich, Ben Schwartz, Diana Silvers, Tawny NewsomeOwen Daniels, Noah Emmerich. “A group of people are tasked with establishing the U.S. Space Force.”
What could go wrong?
We’ll watch

Lovestruck (fka Let’s Spend the Night Together) Netflix (released 4/28/20)
We LOVE Kathleen Turner and are going to be glad to see her, again! She and Andie McDowell are going to co-star, with Steve Kazee (Shameless, Once), Rachel Bilson (Hart of Dixie), Richard Roxburgh (Rake), Madeline Wise (Nobodies and Veep), Beth Riesgraf (LeverageComplications), Jeffery Self (You’re Killing Me), Linda Park (Bosch), and Usman Ally (A Series of Unfortunate Events), inspired by the French series, Quadras, that has spawned a new version in English for Fox for 2019-20, perhaps. It is to be written by Tom Kapinos (who wrote Californication, which I had a love/hate relationship with and Mom didn’t watch at all), to be directed by Sanaa Hamri. It is described as “a structurally inventive dramedy in which the entire first season takes place over the course of single night at a wedding. As we get to know the wedding party, we’ll learn surprising reveals about both their present and past. We’ll see that things aren’t always what they seem and explore the complicated bonds of love, friendship and family at different stages of life….MacDowell will play Lily, the bitter, fiery supermodel meets ‘80’s video vixen and and the ex-wife of British rock star, Nigel Valentine. Turner will portray Grace, the blunt, tactless, and the judgmental mother of Alex Fletcher…Kazee will play Alex Fletcher, a charming, caring and earnest music journalist who has a way with words and loves music….Bilson will play the bride, Daisy Valentine. A ‘bolt of pure sunshine,’ she’s sweet, thoughtful, assertive, has deep soulful eyes and works in music education. …Roxburgh will play Nigel Valentine, Lily’s (MacDowell) ex-husband, a legendary British rock-star who tries to save the world through music and has a weakness for supermodels. Wise plays the quirky and pessimistic Poppy, the exceedingly blunt daughter of Nigel and Lily. Ally will play Julian, a roguish doctor who doesn’t act like one….Reisgraf will play Isabelle, a rational, smart, affable beauty and mother trying to navigate a divorce and just wants the best for her son. Self portrays Kevin, an earnest, avuncular, gay accountant with a sense of humor and is a good friend. Park will play Kate. She’s a mellow and fun mom with an easygoing sensibility and loyal to her friends.”
We’ll watch

Modern Love Amazon (fall, 2019 released; RENEWED for SEASON 2)
It is a “romantic comedy anthology based on the popular New York Times column about love and human connection….Anne Hathaway (Ocean’s Eight)..,,Tina Fey (30 Rock),…John Slattery (Mad Men),… Dev Patel (Lion)…,Catherine Keener (Get Out),..,Andy Garcia (Ocean’s Eleven), Cristin Milioti (Black Mirror),..,Brandon Victor Dixon (Power), Olivia Cooke (Ready Player One), Andrew Scott (Sherlock), Julia Garner (Ozark), Shea Whigham (Homecoming), Gary Carr (The Deuce, Downton Abbey), Sofia Boutella (Kingsman: The Secret Service) and … John Gallagher, Jr. (The Newsroom) are all set to appear in the upcoming series….John Carney (Once, Begin Again, Sing Street), who will write, direct, and produce,” With this cast and that director, I expect SINGING!
We’ll try it; RENEWED for SEASON 2

*The Mind, Explained Netflix (docuseries with 20-minute Episodes; SEASON 1 released 9/12/19; 9/26/19 for SEASON 2; LIMBO for SEASON 3)
“Memory. Dreams. Anxiety. Psychedelics. Mindfulness. The billionaire boom. Athleisure as fashion. The lure of cults.” These and other topics “about culture and social trend” are purportedly explained by various non- and actual experts in each Episode.
For the Mindfulness Episode, “‘Although the true nature of the mind can’t be described directly, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t at least try to develop some theoretical understanding about it.’ – Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche. The Joy of Living.”
Emma Stone narrates.
I may watch; Mom won’t.

The ABC Murders  Amazon Prime (released 2/1/19)
Agatha Christie‘s Hercule Poirot is revived yet again, with John Malkovich in the main role. Never have liked him, but these are great stories, so we might watch.

Russian Doll Netflix (8 Episodes, released 2/1/19; RENEWED for SEASONS 2 & 3)
This is a dramedy from Natasha Lyonne (Orange is the New Black) and Amy Poehler; “Lyonne plays a woman who gets caught in a time loop, repeatedly going to the same party and dying every night, only to wake up the next morning unharmed.”
Starring: Natasha Lyonne, Greta Lee, Yul Vazquez, Elizabeth Ashley, Charlie Barnett.
We’ll try it; RENEWED for SEASONS 2 & 3

The Coroner CBC, then Amazon (released, but not free, winter, 2019)
This is the newest CBC legal/medical drama, and stars Roger Cross (Dark Matter) and Serinda Swan. “The series, which will shoot in Toronto, centers on a newly appointed coroner investigating suspicious deaths in Toronto….Inspired by M.R. Hall’s best-selling book series, Coroner centers on a newly appointed coroner investigating suspicious deaths in Toronto.” Serinda Swan (Inhumans) fills the title role of “Jenny Cooper, a brave, determined yet vulnerable coroner driven by an intense desire for the truth. A former ER doctor and recently widowed mother, the passing of her beloved husband has unlocked a primal connection to death, tied to a secret in her past that is only now coming to the surface. She loves her son more than life itself and strives to support him while also trying to take care of herself.”
We do like a lot of CBC’s (Canadian Broadcasting Company) TV series, but this adds to an already ridiculously high number of medical/legal dramas. How many ways can people find bodies killed in how many ways? We’ve already seen dozens of repeated body discovery scenarios and similar murder methods across the many shows we watch/have watched.
We’ll try it 

Heartstrings Netflix (8 Episodes, released November, 2019; CANCELED for SEASON 2)
“Told as an anthology series, each of the eight episodes will be based on one of [Dolly] Parton’s songs, showcasing the stories, memories, and inspirations behind her most beloved numbers. But there will be new music scoring each episode, along with more classic hits, and the genres of each entry will span love stories, westerns, and revenge comedies.”
Probably sappy, but we’ll try it; CANCELED for SEASON 2

Good Omens Amazon Prime (released 5/31/19)
If you are a fan of any or all of these: Neil Gaiman and the late Terry Pratchett. who are the co-authors of this limited series (based on Gaiman’s 1990 novel); actors, Michael Sheen and David Tennant (who star as an angel and a demon who team up to prevent the arrival of the Antichrist and global apocalypse; Frances McDormand (as the voice of God), Jon Hamm, Benedict Cumberbatch and Brian Cox; director, Douglas Mackinnon (Doctor Who, Sherlock), as we are, try this!
We’ll watch 

The Hunters Amazon (10 Episodes, released 2/21/20; LIMBO for SEASON 2)
(Not to be confused with a 2019 feature film with the same title, starring Emma Roberts and Amy Madigan). Being created by David Weil (Moonfall), who will write and executive produce. Logan Lerman (The Perks of Being A Wallflower, Jack & Bobby, Fury, Noah and Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters) is starring, as “Jonah Heidelbaum, who, when his grandmother is slain by a mysterious intruder in their apartment, sets out to track the culprit—only to find himself swept up in the mysterious organization known as The Hunt, a group of justice-seeking individuals dedicated to rooting out the Nazi murderers living in the U.S. under assumed identities. Based on an original idea, drawing from real-life events,”
Also starring Al Pacino as one of “a diverse band of Nazi Hunters living in 1977 New York City. ‘The Hunters,’ as they’re known, have discovered that hundreds of high-ranking Nazi officials are living among us and conspiring to create a Fourth Reich in the U.S. The eclectic team of Hunters will set out on a bloody quest to bring the Nazis to justice and thwart their new genocidal plans….”
“Jerrika Hinton (Grey’s Anatomy) is poised play Millie Malone, a gutsy FBI agent who’s marginalized in the Bureau because of her race and gender.Lena Olin (Alias) will play a Nazi.”
Also starring Dylan Baker, Greg AustinCatherine TateTiffany BooneSaul Rubinek, Kate Mulvany, James Le Gros, Ebony Obsidian, Caleb Emery, Henry Hunter Hall, Jeannie Berlin and Carol Kane. Ebony Obsidian (If Beale Street Could Talk) as Carol Hawthorne, Jonah’s neighbor and romantic interest. Caleb Emery (Little) and Henry Hunter Hall (When They See Us) will play Jonah’s best friends, Arthur ‘Bootyhole’ McGuigan and Sherman ‘Cheeks’ Johnson, respectively. James Le Gros (Drugstore Cowboy) plays veteran FBI agent, Detective Grimbsy, who is also Millie’s (Hinton) boss at the New York bureau. Berlin (The Night Of) [plays] Jonah’s grandmother.”
Sounds frightening but compelling and horribly timely.
We may watch; LIMBO for SEASON 2

Queen Sono Netflix (released 2/28/20; RENEWED for SEASON 2)
This will be the “first original African series” produced on Netflix (or, perhaps, anywhere!). It is starring Pearl Thusi (Quantico) as “a highly trained spy in a South African agency in the series….Created by director, Kagiso Lediga, who worked with Thusi in dark romantic comedy Catching Feelings, and exec producer, Tamsin Andersson, who produced Catching Feelings and Lediga’s coming-of-age adventure Wizard, the series will see Thusi’s character take on dangerous missions, while also facing challenges in her personal life.” Sounds fascinating.
We’ll try it; RENEWED for SEASON 2 

Spinning Out Netflix (released 1/1/20; CANCELED for SEASON 2)
Love ice skating depicted on film? Starring Willow Shields (The Hunger Games) and Kaya Scodelario (The Maze Runner films, Skins), this series “is set in the world of competitive figure skating. Created by Samantha Stratton(Mr. Mercedes), a former competitive figure skater herself, the series centers on Kat Baker (Scodelario), an up-and-coming, high-level single skater who’s about to turn in her skates after a disastrous fall took her off the competition track. When Kat seizes an opportunity to continue her career as a pair skater with a talented bad-boy partner, she risks exposing a fiercely kept secret that could unravel her entire life. On and off the ice, Kat and her new partner will face daunting odds, injury to body and soul, financial sacrifice, and even potential mental breakdown on their way to realizing their Olympic dream…Shields will play Kat Baker’s younger sister, Serena. While Serena lacks her sister’s natural grace on the ice, she makes up for it with discipline and fierce determination. Her complicated relationship with her sister is made up of equal parts loyalty and competition….Two-time Olympian and NBC correspondent, Johnny Weir, Sarah Wright Olsen (American Made, Marry Me), Will Kemp (Reign, Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce)Kaitlyn Leeb (Shadowhunters, Total Recall), Amanda Zhou (October Faction, IT: Chapter Two) and Mitchell Edwards (All American, The Fix) have joined the cast…. Weir plays Gabe, who seems like an easygoing guy—but under his funny, laidback exterior, he’s a cutthroat competitor who will stop at nothing to beat Kat and Justin. Olsen is Mandy, Justin’s stepmother. Raised in rural Kentucky, Mandy started her own real estate business from scratch. She fell in love with Justin’s widower father when she sold him a house and has helped raise his two younger sons. Kemp portrays Mitch, the charming, British ‘it coach’ in the region who has gotten scores of girls into high-level competitions. When he first signs on to be Serena’s coach, she’s sure that she finally will beat her sister. Leeb is Leah, Gabe’s skating partner who is as mean as she is beautiful. When she’s replaced by Kat as Justin’s pairs partner, she makes it her life’s mission to take the two of them down. Zhou plays Jenn, Kat’s foul-mouthed best friend who doesn’t suffer fools. Jenn is an extremely talented single skater, the daughter of Chinese immigrants who own a successful local sporting goods store and Serena’s main competition. Edwards is Marcus, son of a prominent African-American family and Kat’s co-worker at the lodge bar. Besides being a bartender, he also is a gifted skier who is trying to find his place in a predominantly white sport.”  Also starring January Jones (Mad Men) as “Carol Baker, Kat (Scodelario) and Serena’s (Willow Shields) mother. Carol is a former high-level figure skater who had to forfeit her dreams when she became pregnant with her oldest daughter at a young age. The head of the Baker family, Carol fiercely pushes both her girls to become Olympians in order to fulfill the dream she could never achieve herself. Simultaneously, she struggles with personal demons that threaten to ruin her relationship with her daughters, the thing she values about all else.” Doubt if any of these stars will do their own skating much (or at all), but could be fun to watch, anyway.
We’ll try it, but only has one SEASON

Tales of the City Netflix (10 Episodes released 6/7/19; CANCELED for SEASON 2)
I saw the first iteration of Armistead Maupin‘s Tales of the City (based on his award-winning LGBT stories) years ago—1990s).  As a sequel more than a reboot, there is a 10-Episode revival coming to Netflix (trailer here: https://movizark.com/2019/04/10/tales-of-the-city-netflix-unveils-1st-trailer-of-the-armistead-maupin-series-adaption-check-it-out/), thatfinds Laura Linney’s Mary Ann— in full-tilt midlife crisis mode—returning home to her daughter, Shawna  (Ellen Page), and ex-husband, Brian (Paul Gross), in San Francisco, 20 years after leaving them behind to pursue her career….[This series will] feature new ‘joys and complications… for the residents of 28 Barbary Lane’… Mrs. Madrigal’s tenants, both old and new, will be entangled in delicious new adventures and ever-expanding possibilities for love.'”

The cast also includes Tales vets Olympia Dukakis (Anna, one of TV’s earliest trans characters), Barbara Garrick (DeDe), as well as Zosia Mamet (Girls, Mad Men, United States of Tara, Parenthood), Murray Bartlett (Looking) and Charlie Barnett (Chicago Fire).
I doubt if Mom will watch, but I will; CANCELED for SEASON 2

Pine Gap Netflix (6 Episodes; released 12/7/18; LIMBO SEASON 2)
Created by Felicity Packard and Greg Haddrick, directed by Matt King.
At top-secret U.S.-Australian joint defense facility, Pine Gap, fissures appear in the critical alliance as spies work with, and against, each other.”
Starring: Parker Sawyers, Jacqueline Mckenzie, Steve Toussaint, Tess Haubrich, Stephen Curry, Lewis Fitz-Gerald, Mark Leonard Winter 
We’ll try it 

My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman Netflix (SEASON 1 released in mid-2018; SEASON 2 for 2019; LIMBO SEASON 3)
We want to see but haven’t watched any of these 6 (soon to be 12) interviews, yet. For SEASON 1, Letterman talked with President Barack Obama, George Clooney, Malala Yousafzai, Jay-Z, Tina Fey and Howard Stern.
We’ll get to it eventually

Terriers Netflix (only one, 13-episode season)
A “surfy SoCal Sherlock Holmes tone” to a comedic crime series about pair of friends who “solve crimes in a fictional-ish Southern California coastal town.”
Starring Donal Logue and Michael Raymond-James .
Could be good

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

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

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

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

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

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

800 Words (ran for 3 SEASONS. Released originally in 2015-16. Aired on PBS in 2019 and now is on streaming services)

Cast of 800 Words

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

*Genius National Geographic (SEASON 2 returned 4/24/18, about PABLO PICASSO;
SEASON 3 premieres June?/20, “Aretha Franklin, Queen of Soul)
“Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, Suzan-Lori Parks, will exec produce and showrun…[with co-EPs,] Franklin collaborator, Clive Davis, and Atlantic Records chair and CEO, Craig Kallman….[SEASON 3] will cover the ‘Respect’ singer’s iconic career, how her work changed music and the world, her time as a gospel prodigy, and her civil rights activism. Many of her biggest hits, such as ‘I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)’ and ‘Chain of Fools,’ will be included in the project, as will her renditions of ‘I Knew You Were Waiting for Me,’ ‘Freeway of Love,’ and ‘Sisters Are Doin’ It for Themselves.’…Franklin received 18 Grammys, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and countless other awards and accolades throughout her nearly-six-decade career. Her records have sold over 75 million copies worldwide, and she was the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She died August 16, 2018, of advanced pancreatic cancer. She was 76.” Look for this in June or later, 2020.
Starring: Cynthia Erivo as Aretha, and Courtney B. Vance, Malcolm Barrett, Patrice Covington, Kimberly Hébert Gregory, Rebecca Naomi Jones, Shaian Jordan, Marque Richardson, Pauletta Washington, Steven Norfleet, T.I., Antonique Smith, Tina Fears, Ethan Henry and Omar J. Dorsey.
FMI: https://womenandhollywood.com/aretha-franklin-to-be-subject-of-genius-season-3-suzan-lori-parks-will-showrun/
SEASON 2 starred Antonio Banderas as the adult Picasso. I wasn’t captivated and stopped watching after Episode 1, though; haven’t gone back to it.
SEASON 1 of this bio-pic series was based on the life and work of Albert Einstein. Only I watched these, but I really enjoyed each Episode.
Flipped back and forth between college-aged (Johnny Flynn) and professorial-/World War II-aged Einstein (Geoffrey Rush). Also starred the great Emily Watson as his second wife for a while, then stayed with the older versions for the last few Episodes. Spoiler: ends with Einstein’s death and its aftermath.
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.
Mary Shelley, the author of many novels and the person credited with creating science-fiction as a genre with her incredible Frankenstein, MAY or MAY NOT be the subject of SEASON 4. See NEWS, above. Stay tuned!
Excellently done; SEASON 3, RENEWED

*Greenhouse Academy Netflix (releasing late fall, 2020, for SEASON 4; LIMBO for SEASON 5)
A teen-focused, sci-fi, somewhat soap-opera-y half-hour show that I somehow like enough to keep watching. Elite boarding schools have an odd appeal, don’t they?
Starts with a tragedy that is NOT what it seems, as we find out, slowly. Bad guys vs. good guys, but no heroes, yet. It’s always about money, too, which is trite.
Not a lot of info in SEASON 1, but SEASON 2 is more revealing.
Starring:Ariel Mortman, Finn Roberts, B J Mitchell, Chris O’Neal, Dallas Hart, Leo Cruz, Alex Woods, Grace van Dien, Brooke Osmond. Jessica Amlee, Jedckie Sanders. Benjamin Papac, Max Miller. Cinthya Carmona, Sophie Cardona (“students” are all in their 20s, but playing high schoolers). 
Dana Melanie
(Wild Nights With Emily) and Rafael Cebrian (Narcos) are joining for SEASON 3: Melanie is to replace Aviv Buchler as Emma Geller; Cebrian will be playing a new character, Enzo.
Somewhat predictable, but fun; RENEWED for SEASON 4; LIMBO for SEASON 5

*Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. ABC (returns 5/27/20 for final SEASON 7)
I only half-watch (while coloring). It’s gotten increasingly implausible, more violent, and sillier (without humor) in the last three seasons, but, somehow, I still watch to see how it all goes.
I certainly liked the child clairvoyant, the time travel aspects, the tech inventions and the romances more than the fighting and displays of temper and testosterone.
In casting and character news, Deke Shaw, who plays Jeff Ward (Jemma [Elizabeth Henstridge] and Fitz’s [Iain De Caestecker] grandson), is going to be a “regular,” joining other regulars, Clark Gregg, Ming-Na Wen, Chloe Bennet, Henry Simmons, and Natalia Cordova-Buckley.
Probably not worth your time; RENEWED for final SEASON 7

Hanna Amazon (8 Episodes for SEASON 1 released 3/9/19; RENEWED for SEASON 2)
“This TV adaptation of the 2011 thriller centers on a teen girl [Miles] who was raised by an assassin. Kinnaman will play Hanna’s father, Erik. He is a battle-tested solider who trains Hanna to survive the remote and dangerous forests of Poland. Meanwhile, Enos will portray Marissa—an ambitious CIA agent who’s racing the clock to track down Hanna.”
If this isn’t too violent, we’ll like it. The film was interesting, and we loved Enos in The Catch.
Starring: Esme Creed-MilesJoel Kinnaman (Altered Carbon) and Mireille Enos (The Catch)
Sounds possible; RENEWED for SEASON 2

No Premiere Dates Set, Yet (UPDATED 5/22/20)

Transplant NBC (13-Episodes; probably premieres fall, 2020)
Premiered 2/26/20 on CTV, it “centers on Dr. Bashir “Bash” Hamed, a Syrian doctor with battle-tested skills in emergency medicine who fled his country with his younger sister, Amira. Together they struggle to build a new life in Canada as Bash strives to rebuild his career in medicine.”
Stars: Hamza Haq (Quantico), Laurence Leboeuf (The Disappearance), John Hannah (Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Jim Watson (Mary Kills People) and Ayisha Issa (Polar).
If this focuses on plot/medicine and not romance, I’ll be shocked. We’ll see.
We’ll try it 

Soulmates AMC (6 Episodes; no premiere date, yet; summer, 2020)
Interesting sci-fi premise about romantic matching in the near-future. We’ll try it!
This “six-part episodic anthology series that wryly examines the nature of romantic love, written by Will Bridges (Stranger Things, Black Mirror) and Brett Goldstein (Superbob, Adult Life Skills)….Soulmates is set fifteen years into the future, when science has made a discovery that changes the lives of everyone on the planet—a test that unequivocally tells you who your soulmate is….Each of the six episodes will feature a different cast and explore an entirely new story around discovering (or opting not to discover) the results of this new test and the impact of those results on a myriad of relationships.”
Starring: Charlie Heaton (Stranger Things), Malin Akerman (Billions, Dollface, Rampage), Betsy Brandt (Breaking Bad, Life in Pieces) and JJ Feild (Turn), Sarah Snook (Succession, The Dressmaker, Steve Jobs), David Costabile (Breaking Bad, Billions) and Sonya Cassidy (Lodge 49, Humans, The Woman in White), Joe Anderson (Brave New World), Steven Mackintosh (Rocketman), Tom Goodman-Hill (Cheat).
We’ll try it

Law & Order: SVU spinoff, Untitled as of 5/22/20; NBC (13-episode series, probably premieres 2021)
I used to watch the original, but it got too dark for me. Mom has continued to watch all 20 SEASONS of the original show, which did star Christopher Meloni. This spinoff is all his. who reprises his role as Elliot Stabler, and it “centers on the NYPD organized crime unit led by Stabler.”
I might try it. Mom will definitely watch

Leverage (13-Episode reboot of series that ended in 2008; probably premieres 2021) IMDb TV
is found on the Internet Movie Database, http://www.imdb.com and is Amazon’s free (if you allow ads) streaming service.
This reboot of Leverage, which was one of our favorite shows, whose premise is: “a team of high-tech crooks attempt to steal from wealthy criminals and corrupt businessmen,” stars: Noah Wyle (replacing team leader, Timothy Hutton, I guess); with returning cast members, Beth Riesgraf as “Parker”; Gina Bellman as “Sophie Devereaux”; Christian Kane as “Eliot Spencer”;  and, Aldis Hodge, as “Alec Hardison.”
Hope it happens

The Time Traveler’s Wife Netflix (limited series, releasing in 2020)
I loved the book. The film was fine. Now, a TV series of The Time Traveler’s Wife is in the works for Netflix. But, hey, worth the wait, since Stephen Moffat (showrunner for Sherlock, Doctor Who) is involved! The Time Traveler’s Wife is a cool concept, worth serializing, I think. Audre Niffenegger’s novel “revolves around a man who has a genetic disorder that causes him to travel through time unpredictably. This causes him to experience his life—especially his relationship with his wife and daughter—through a skewed lens, meeting his grade-school-aged daughter before she’s ever been born, and glimpsing tragic events that will occur far in the future.” Eric Bana will play the Time Traveler. Rachel McAdams, the titular Wife.
Excited for this

Echo NBC (no fall premiere date, yet)
This was ordered to pilot for 2020-21. It seems that it is Stitchers meets Tru Calling. We liked both of those, so… Will try this. “A team of investigators solve the highest-profile crimes by sending our heroes into the past … in the body of the victim. They assume the victim’s identity and must race against time to prevent the crime before it happens.” From producer/creator, JJ Bailey.
Could be fun

Harrow Hulu (DVDs for us; look for them in 2020)
This is an Australian drama series that premiered in March, 2018, then moved to Hulu in fall, 2019, starring one of our favorite actors, Ioan Gruffudd (his character on Forever was also a forensic pathologist!), who also directs many Episodes. He plays Dr. Daniel Harrow, who is “a forensic pathologist with a total disregard for authority. He has an unfailing empathy for the dead which helps him solve even the most bizarre of cases. Willing to bend every rule, he is determined to give victims a voice and reveal the truth behind what happened to them. Meanwhile, a terrible secret from his past threatens him, his family, and his career.”
We’ll look for DVDs; RENEWED for SEASON 3

Maverick The CW (no premiere date, yet, for 2020-21)
An intriguing and too-close-to-home premise, here: “In a present day America that finds itself under authoritarian rule, the President’s daughter—raised to believe her father is moral and benevolent—has her worldview rocked on her first day at Georgetown. Challenged by her fellow students, and under the watchful eye of Secret Service agents, she’ll have to decide if her loyalties lie with her family or with a growing resistance as she navigates her freshman year.”
No cast, yet, but could be interesting.
We’ll give it a try

The Big Sky ABC (late fall, 2020, no premiere date set, yet)
Starring Kylie Bunbury (Pitch) and Katheryn Winnick (Vikings), this promises to be interesting. “Procedural thriller in which private detective, Cassie Dewell (Bunbury), partners with ex-cop, Jenny Hoyt (Winnick), on a search for two sisters who have been kidnapped by a truck driver on a remote highway in Montana. When they discover that these are not the only girls who have disappeared in the area, they must race against the clock to stop the killer before another woman is taken.”
Also starring: John Carroll Lynch, Brian Geraghty, Dedee Pfeiffer and Ryan Phillippe.
We’ll watch, but it may be too dark

Out the Door CBS (no premiere date, yet, for 2020-21)
We like a lot of the shows produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, so we’ll try this, but it sounds very silly.
Upon learning that his impending retirement is being pushed off by several years, an apathetic LAPD detective who just wants his pension so he can go off and live the good life decides to do everything in his power to get fired, but his bad behavior only leads to surprising success at solving cases.”
No stars attached yet, which is a red flag…
Probably not great, but we’ll try it

The Equalizer CBS (no premiere date, yet, for 2020-21)
We never saw the original, so this is not a reboot, for us. Sounds interesting, though, and we like Queen Latifah, who stars. A reimagining of the classic series in which an enigmatic figure uses her extensive skills to help those with nowhere else to turn.”
We’ll try it

Rebel ABC (no premiere date, yet, for 2020-21)
The subject and one of its producers is one of our sheroes, Erin Brockovich.
This series is “inspired by the life of Erin Brockovich today. Annie ‘Rebel’ Bello is a blue collar legal advocate without a law degree. A funny, messy, brilliant and fearless woman who cares desperately about the causes she fights for and the people she loves. When Rebel applies herself to a fight she believes in, she will win at almost any cost.”
Starring: Katey Sagal
We’ll probably enjoy this

thirtysomething(else) ABC (no premiere date, yet, for 2020-21)
Original show’s writers, Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick, join director, Edward Zwick, and some of the same cast, for this interesting “sequel to the groundbreaking series thirtysomething, which follows an ensemble of new faces playing the grown-up, 30-something children of the original cast. Apparently, raising children (even grown children) never ends, but who could have known how hard it would be for them to raise their parents?”
This Is Us tries to be, and fails. Parenthood came closer, but none is/was as good as this original show.
Starring (originally and now): Ken Olin, Mel Harris, Timothy Busfield, Patty Wettig
Loved the original and will try this

*Prospect ABC (no premiere date in 2020-21, yet)
Writers, Sherry Bilsing-Graham and Ellen Kreamer, and director, Randall Einhorn, are bringing a show I might like, even though it’s a sit com: “A comedic western with a feminist twist: an idealistic young woman moves to the frontier to be a schoolteacher, but her ideals are quickly tested when she learns that her students are rowdy ranch hands, not children.”
Set to air in 2020-21.
I’ll try it 

Y: The Last Man FX (late fall 2020 premiere date not set, yet)
This series, adapted from yet another graphic novel in the DC Universe, has Amber Tamblyn, Diane Lane, Barry Keoghan, Imogen Poots, Lashana Lynch, Juliana Canfield, Marin Ireland as its stars. It is based on the comics by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra.
“Y traverses a post-apocalyptic world in which a cataclysmic event has decimated every male mammal save for one lone human. The new world order of women will explore gender, race, class, and survival. Tamblyn will play Mariette Callows. Daughter of the President of the United States, Mariette has been groomed for a career in politics and to uphold her father’s conservative values.”
Michael Green (American Gods, Blade Runner 2049, Logan) and Aïda Mashaka Croal (Luke Cage, Turn) are Showrunners and Executive Producers. Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson of Color Force (American Crime Story, Pose, The Hunger Games) and Brian K. Vaughan are Executive Producers and developed the series. Melina Matsoukas (Insecure, Master of None, Beyonce: Formation) directed the pilot episode and also serves as Executive Producer.
Dark premise, odd beginnings, great cast.
We might try it 

neXt Fox (spring/summer premiere date not set, yet)
Written by Manny Coto (24: Legacy co-creator/executive producer), is “a propulsive, fact-based thriller grounded in the latest A.I. research. It features a brilliant but paranoid former tech CEO who joins a Homeland Cybersecurity Agent and her team to stop a terrifying A.I. outbreak that threatens us all.”
Starring: John Slattery (Mad Men) as “Paul Leblanc [who]  is extremely intelligent. People think he may be a sociopath but he’s really just a narcissist with money instead of social graces”; Jason Butler Harner (Ozark) as “Ted LeBlanc, Paul’s somewhat narrow-minded younger brother, who is a corporate executive at a tech company“; and, Michael Mosley (Seven Seconds, Ozark) as “CM, a Southern ex-con hacker with a genius IQ who works at the FBI cybercrime division.” Also starring: Fernanda Andrade, Elizabeth Cappuccino, Aaron Moten, Gerardo Celasco; and, Eve Harlow (Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D., Heroes Reborn), who “will play Gina. Easy to offend, a bit of a nerd and ultra woke, she works at the FBI cybercrime division….Cappuccino will play Abby. A smart college who is somewhat estranged from her father, Paul, and has learned how to live without him in her life.” Sounds too crisis-ridden, for me, but Mom might like it.
Probably for Mom

Filthy Rich Fox (spring/summer premiere date not set, yet)
From Tate Taylor (writer, exec producer), and three exec producers: John Norris, Brian Grazer and Francie Calfo. It is a “southern gothic dramedy [that] revolves around two strong, sharp women who will go to any lengths to protect their loved ones and get their due. When the wealthy CEO of the world’s largest Christian network dies in a plane crash, his wife and adult children are stunned to discover he has grown, illegitimate kids who also are in his will. When the steel azalea matriarch of the family tries to pay them to go away, these newly legitimized heirs have very different ideas and insist on not only staying in town but becoming part of the family empire. Based on the New Zealand series.”
Starring: Kim Cattrall, Aubrey Dollar, Corey Cott, Mark L. Young, Benjamin Levy Aguilar, Gerald McRaney, Steve Harris, Melia Kreiling. Cattrall plays the new widow, Margaret Monroe. “Dollar plays Margaret’s daughter, Rose Monroe, a sarcastic but kind-hearted clothing designer who yearns to be real and find her own voice apart from her family. Cott plays her brother, Eric Monroe. Married with two kids, he’s the Senior VP of Operations at the conservative Christian Sunshine Network, which was created by his powerhouse parents. Aguilar plays Antonio Rivera, a tattooed, up-and-coming boxer and single dad who finds himself wondering if a life with his new family in New Orleans might be the best thing for his toddler. Young plays Jason Conley, an attractive, loyal young man who runs a weed business at a ranch in Colorado….McRaney, who is a Southerner himself, hailing from Mississippi, will play Eugene Monroe. An extremely southern, charming, charismatic man, he is Margaret’s (Cattrall) husband, one half of the Christian powerhouse couple that runs the Sunshine Network….Harris will play Franklin Lee, the Monroe family lawyer and a suit at the Sunshine Network. Kreiling will portray Ginger Sweet, a beautiful and fierce woman with business savvy, who grew up dirt poor in Vegas.”
May be tolerable, may not

Surveillance CBS (spring/summer premiere date not set, yet)
Missing Sophia Bush (Chicago P.D., One Tree Hill)? She’s coming back to star in this “spy thriller drama” with Dennis Haysbert (The Unit, 24, Reverie) and Matthew Modine (Stranger Things), as well as Rafael Acloque (24: Legacy) and Matt Reeves (Batman).
Coming from writer, David C. White (Sons of Liberty), and director, Patricia Riggen (Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan), the series is described as being “centered around the head of communications for the NSA (Bush), a charming operative who finds her loyalties torn between protecting the government’s secrets and her own.”
Also starring Catalina Sandino Moreno  (The Affair, Salvage) as “Natalie, who oversees all active operations at the NSA, the first woman to do so—and she’s excellent at her job. She is fiercely loyal to Maddy (Bush), her close colleague and longtime friend, and the two are like sisters….Modine will play Man in a Red Tie, a high level and mysterious government operative whose identity and true mission is shrouded in secrecy….Haysbert will play Barry, the NSA Deputy Director, a father figure to Maddy and her longtime mentor.”
We’ll try it.

Superman & Lois The CW (no premiere date yet, for 2021)
Superman and Lois 2020-21
Introduced as a couple (Tyler HoechlinElizabeth Tulloch) with one or two sons (depending on which multiverse they were in) within the DC Universe on The CW ‘s 5-series’ Crossover Episodes of 2019-20, this new series “follows the world’s most famous superhero and comic books’ most famous journalist as they deal with all the stress, pressures and complexities that come with being working parents in today’s society.”
We’ll watch

Raised by Wolves got moved from TNT to HBO Max, so we have to wait for the DVD. Bummer. It is a new sci-fi series from Ridley Scott that “centers upon two androids tasked with raising human children on a mysterious virgin planet. As the burgeoning colony of humans threatens to be torn apart by religious differences the androids learn that controlling the beliefs of humans is a treacherous and difficult task….'[A] wholly distinct and imaginative world, full of characters struggling with existential questions: What makes us human? What constitutes a family? And what if we could start over again and erase the mess we’ve made of our planet? Would we survive? Would we do better?’ said Scott” Travis Fimmel (Vikings) plays Marcus” Aaron Guzikowski (Prisoners) will write the script. No other cast, yet, but sounds interesting. Also starring: Amanda Collin, Abubakar Salim, Winta McGrath, Niamh Algar, Felix Jamieson, Ethan Hazzard, Jordan Loughran, Aasiya Shah and Ivy Wong. “Collin (A Conspiracy of Faith) is Mother, an android with a secret past who has been programmed to raise a brood of human children on a faraway planet. In addition to teaching her children to survive, Mother must also keep them from believing in the unreal; to ensure this virgin planet isn’t torn apart by the same religious differences that lead the Earth to its ultimate destruction. Mother hopes her family will serve as the nucleus for a peaceful, technocratic colony—a new beginning for humanity. But as she struggles to mold these growing humans, she also begins uncovering secrets hidden within her own programming, secrets that could help her protect her family, but could just as easily destroy them. Salim (Fortitude) will play Father, an android whose devotion to his human children is matched only by his devotion to Mother. Father is a considerably less complex model than Mother, but thanks to his wisdom and patience, he is no less important to the family’s survival. Like many human fathers, Father wants to be funny—especially in the eyes of Mother—but it’s a skill he often struggles with. What he is good at is always being there when you need him. McGrath (Aloft) will play Campion, a scrappy and soulful 12-year-old boy who was raised by Mother and Father since birth. When a ship of humans arrives from Earth, Campion is exposed to followers of religion for the first time in his life, and starts to question whether his android parents really know what’s best for him. Algar (The Virtues) is Sue, a strong, resourceful combat medic who put aside her reservations about coming to this new planet at the urging of her husband, Marcus. But as the planet’s mysteries and dangers threaten to upend the promise of a new life, Sue questions whether they have compromised too much in the name of survival. Jamieson (Game of Thrones) will play Paul, Sue and Marcus’ 12-year-old son, a boy of unshakable faith in both his religion and his father. Having always felt like an outsider back on Earth, Paul strikes up a complicated friendship—and rivalry—with Campion. Though the two young men begin to learn from one another, they also begin to challenge one another. Hazzard (The Long Song) will play the highly intelligent Hunter, age 17. His father was a high-ranking member of a powerful religious order back on Earth. But now that the hierarchy he once sat atop no longer exists, Hunter must learn what it’s like to be just like everybody else. Loughran (The Infiltrator) will play Tempest, 17. Raised with a religion she never really believed in, she sees Mother and Father as superior to the human guardians who so often let her down. Soon after arriving in the new world, Tempest discovers she is pregnant; the result of a rape she suffered at the hands of a high-ranking member of her church. Shah (Call the Midwife) will play Holly, 15, a burgeoning warrior who is trying to find her place in this strange new world. Wong (Star Wars: Rogue One) will play Vita, 9, the youngest member of the family, but also the most fearless…. Fimmel will play Marcus, a roguish, charismatic soldier, who was the ultimate survivor back on Earth. To escape the doomed planet, Marcus and his wife Sue made a dangerous decision that they must keep secret at all costs. But now that they’ve arrived in the new world, Marcus is struggling to reconcile the sins of his past, even as he continues to embrace the killer instincts that always kept him alive in the first place.”
We’ll try it.

The Gilded Age HBO (midseason premiere date not set, yet; we wait for DVDs)
Not sure if Julian Fellowes‘ newest period drama is for you, AND it just got moved to a pay station, but if you loved Downton Abbey, this will help you decide: Michael Engler, “who directed multiple episodes of Downton Abbey, including the two-hour series finale, is set to direct the opening two-hour episode of Fellowes’ 10-episode series,” and “also will serve as executive producer with Fellowes and former Downton EP, Gareth Neame.” Fellowes is the creator and writer: “The Gilded Age is a sweeping fictional epic of the millionaire titans of New York City in the 1880s—a period of immense social upheaval, of huge fortunes made and lost, and of palaces that spanned the length of Fifth Avenue. In the series, Marian Brook is the wide-eyed young scion of a conservative family who will embark on infiltrating the wealthy neighboring family dominated by ruthless railroad tycoon, George Russell, his rakish and available son, Larry, and his ambitious wife, Bertha, whose ‘new money’ is a barrier to acceptance by the Astor and Vanderbilt set. Marian is about to experience a whole new world springing up right outside her front door.” Look for this later in 2019d
No stars attached, yet, and no cast listed at all, but how bad could it be?
We’ll try it when it’s on DVD

Cavendish CBC (then Netflix or Amazon?) (premiered summer, 2019)
A comedy from the Canadian creators of Picnicface, comedy troupe founders, Mark Little and Andrew Bush, along with Garry Campbell (Kim’s Convenience). “Bush and Little star as two bickering brothers who return to their PEI hometown to take care of their grumpy and ailing father, only to collide with the eccentric townsfolk and their even stranger superstitions.”
Probably not our thing, but many will like it. We may try it. Canadian and British sit coms are VERY hit-or-miss with us,; most USA sit coms are definite misses.
May try it

Young Frankenstein Live! ABC (no premiere date, yet; near Halloween, 2020)
“Based on the 2007 Broadway musical adaptation of [Mel] Brooks and [the late] Gene Wilder‘s 1974 film, Young Frankenstein Live! will feature Brooks‘ original music and lyrics from the stage show. A comedic re-imagining of the Mary Shelley classic, Frankenstein, the musical follows Frederick Frankenstein, an esteemed New York brain surgeon and professor, as he inherits a castle and laboratory in Transylvania from his deranged genius grandfather. He now faces a dilemma: does he continue to run from his family’s tortured past or does he stay in Transylvania to carry on his grandfather’s mad experiments? The Broadway musical, Young Frankenstein, featuring a book by Brooks and Thomas Meehan, debuted on Broadway on November 8, 2007 and continued through January 4, 2009.”
Trailer here: https://www.broadway.com/buzz/198044/young-frankenstein-live-is-abcs-next-tv-musical-event/
No cast announced, yet (5/22/20).
We’ll watch

Ongoing Shows, DVDs Completed, or Films/Specials We Like(d) and Have Watched (UPDATED 5/22/20; look for them on DVD, streaming, On Demand, or on premium channels/repeat airings; latest ones near the top of this post, when great)

Shetland BBC One/Netflix/BritBox (First 3 SEASONS on Netflix; SEASON 4 DVD came out 10/2/18, but no longer on Netflix —snapped up by BritBox, which we won’t pay to watch; RENEWED for SEASONS 5 & 6)
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.
“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; RENEWED for SEASON 5

Grace & Frankie Netflix (RENEWED for SEASON 7; released 1/15/20 for SEASON 6)
The writing has deteriorated even worse for SEASONS 3, 4, 5, but we keep watching. 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 was gone, and is coming back for SEASON 6. Peter Gallagher is the best of the bunch, but his lines are so trite. They sometimes have great guest stars as female friends, but, again, these, the people in the offices, and the gay friends are all 2-D stereotypes and wasted in this show.
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 final SEASON 7

Big Little Lies HBO and DVD (SEASON 1 premiered 2/19/17; SEASON 2 premiered 6/9/19; we’ll get it later in 2020, on DVD)
Won many awards already (Golden Globes, SAG). Trailer for SEASON 2 here: https://deadline.com/2019/04/hbo-season-2-teaser-big-little-lies-1202595647/ 
“The apparently perfect lives of three [really, five] mothers of first-graders unravel to the point of murder.”
As if it didn’t win enough awards for SEASON 1, Meryl Streep is joining the SEASON 2 cast! “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! Also gains Douglas Smith for this one as well as a new director, Andrea Arnold. Need to get this one on DVD since we don’t get HBO, but it’s very worth waiting for!
FMI and some spoilers: https://soundbooks.org/2018/01/24/whoa-big-little-lies-season-2-will-star-meryl-streep/
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.
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, but compelling.
David E. Kelley, Barbara Hall, Liane Moriarty are responsible: how could it be bad?
KEEPING and RENEWED for SEASON 2; we have to get it on DVD

The Heart Guy (aka Doctor, Doctor) ACORN TV/Nine Network (SEASONS 1 – 3 on DVD; SEASON 4 released November, 2019, on air; RENEWED for SEASON 5)
Surprisingly and increasingly engaging 10-Episode/SEASON 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; Watching/ed SEASONS 1 –  3 on DVD

*The Split Sundance (SEASON 1 aired in 2018 and repeats in May, 2020; SEASON 2 premiered 5/21/20)
“Set in the messy world of London’s high-end divorce circuit, the legal-world series follows modern marriages and the legacy of divorce.”
Starring: Nicola Walker, Annabel Scholey, Fiona Button, Deborah Findlay, Stephen Mangan, Rudi Dharmalingam and Barry Atsma, with Donna Air and Ben Bailey coming in for SEASON 2.
I really like Nicola Walker and this is the third show I’ve seen her in. Mom won’t watch, but I like it.
Great acting 

Ms. Fisher’s Modern Murder Mysteries Acorn, first; then we’ll search (4 Episodes for SEASON 1 began airing 4/29/19)
This spinoff of the original Australian series (see above)  “will feature Peregrine as the niece of the original Miss Phryne Fisher—evoking the same spirit, sense of social conscience and love of fashion as her famous aunt….In 1964, when the famous aunt she never knew, Phryne Fisher, goes missing over the highlands of New Guinea, the gorgeously reckless Peregrine Fisher (Geraldine Hakewill, Wanted) inherits a windfall. Peregrine sets out to become a world-class private detective in her own right with the unerring guidance of The Adventuresses’ Club, a group of exceptional women of which her celebrated aunt was a member. A natural rule breaker, Peregrine is fearless, fun, and charmingly down-to-earth, as well as having a keen INSTINCT for solving crimes. With newfound wealth and The Adventuresses to hone her rough edges and become THE FAMILY she’s never had, Peregrine is unstoppable. The series co-stars Joel Jackson (Peter Allen: Not The Boy Next Door, Deadline Gallipoli) as smart, ambitious cop, Detective James Steed, and Catherine McClements (Wentworth) as Birdie, an ex-member of WW2 Special Forces and head of The Adventuresses.”
Hope to find this soon

The Great British Baking Show [Bake-Off]  [was/is PBS (SEASON 5 premiered 6/22/18; Season 8 released on Netflix 9/7/18; SEASON 9 released 11/9/18, and PBS keep releasing SEASONS that are older, I believe); RENEWED in the UK on its origin channel, 4, through 2021, SEASON 12]
This is the ONLY “reality” contest/show we watch, and were sad when the American version of the show, The Great American Baking Show, was derailed and removed from broadcasting mid-season in 2017 by the bad behavior of one judge, Johnny Luzzini. So, we were delighted to have it back with SEASON 5, which hadn’t been aired before, with its original presenters, Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc, and judges, Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood. Makes us hungry, but very informative, interesting, fun.
We can smell what they bake, sometimes, we swear!
Also, catch the Master Classes when they appear (some in August, based on desserts made in their previous classes: great actual lessons for baking their ways!
The newest version has Prue Leith, Paul Hollywood as judges and Sandi Toksvig, Noel Fielding (newly blond, as of September, 2018) as EmCees.
Definitely KEEPING 

*Unforgotten PBS (RENEWED for SEASONS 3 & 4 and coming to ABC; available for SEASON 3, which premiered 4/7/19 on PBS)
Unforgotten is yet another British-based detective series brought over to the USA years after being broadcast in its native land (2015, for this one) that my mom and I often enjoy. But, she bailed after the first Episode. I am devoted.
The main characters are DCI Cassie Stuart (Nicola Walker) and DI Sunny Khan (Sanjeev Bhaskar) who investigate historic cold cases with their team. Each SEASON lasts 6 Episodes (two cases per SEASON).
The series will continue to air on PBS until ABC gets it for SEASON 4 and perhaps beyond.
Walker appeared in a similar role but was mostly the object of her former partner’s hallucinations, since she was murdered at the beginning of that mini-series (River, which we also liked a lot), so it is good to see her alive and well in this one. We’ve watched so many of these BBC shows, now, that we recognize many of the other actors, even minor ones, and each one is very well-directed and performing, with a great script.

‎Also starring/featuring: Trevor Eve, Bernard Hill, Ruth Sheen, Tom Courtenay, Gemma Jones, Brian Bovell, Cheri Lunghi, Hannah Gordon, ‎Claire Goose, Tamzin Malleson, Peter Egan, and Frances Tomelty. Chris Lang created/wrote it.
Extremely well-written, acted and intriguing; RENEWED for SEASON 4

*Anne with an ‘E’ Netflix (SEASON 3 released 1/3/20; CANCELED for SEASON 4)
Finished what turns out to be the final SEASON 3, which got better and better as it went along. Sorry it did not get renewed.
SEASONS 2 & 3 continued with a slightly older Anne and edgier storylines, tackling racism, sexism, homophobia, bullying, classism, grifters and many other topics I don’t remember being prominent or featured at all in the original books. The TV series is based a great series of middle-grade books by Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables, which “follow[s] Anne (Amybeth McNulty), an outsider who, against all odds, fights for love, acceptance, and her place in the world. Season 2 adds new characters and continues to explore themes of identity, prejudice, feminism, bullying, gender parity and empowerment. Geraldine James, R.H. Thomson, Corrine Koslo, Dalila Bela, Aymeric Jett Montaz, Lucas Zumann and Kyla Matthews return for Season 2, along with newcomers, Dalmar Abuzeid (Sebastian Lacroix) and Cory Grüter-Andrew (Cole MacKenzie).
I loved these books as a kid and the series is great.
Loved SEASONS 1, 2, 3; CANCELED for SEASON 4

*The Messiah Netflix (available early 2020; CANCELED for SEASON 2)
What if a Jesus-like person came to Earth NOW? That is the premise of this series, and I am hooked. Michelle Monaghan plays the CIA agent charged with investigating/protecting/isolating and/or finding out what’s what with this Messiah guy, who is Jewish (?) from Palestine (?) or Iran (?) or… ? He speaks many languages, is well-educated, seemingly psychic or very well-prepped. He shows up in several countries, gaining thousands of followers (literally, walking with/behind him from Syria to Israel) in the Middle East before coming to Texas via Mexico and getting caught up in immigration politics. He becomes a cause celebre.
“There’s a fair deal of suspicion about whether Al-Masih is all that he says he is—and so CIA agent, Eva Geller, starts an investigation to determine if he is Christ or a conman, perhaps even the embodiment of the Antichrist. Throughout the first season, we see Al-Masih miraculously survive a would-be-deadly plane crash and apparently resurrect his fellow passenger, Aviram Dahan, and then witness one of his loyal disciples similarly escape death following a suicide bombing.”
Also starring: Mehdi Dehbi as Al-Masih (“The Messiah”). Tomer Sisley as Aviram Dahan. John Ortiz as Felix Iguero. Melinda Page Hamilton as Anna Iguero. Stefania LaVie Owen as Rebecca Iguero. Jane Adams as Miriam Keneally. Sayyid El Alami as Jibril Medina.
I am intrigued; CANCELED for SEASON 2

The Inspector Lynley Mysteries (2001-2008 on BBC; now on DVD; 23 Episodes; 7 SEASONS)
“The aristocratic Inspector Thomas Lynley [Nathaniel Parker] and the down-to-earth Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers [Sharon Small] join forces to investigate a series of murders. Their working relationship is challenged by their respective lots in life—Lynley is an earl, while Havers comes from a working-class background. The characters and some of the storylines are based on the novels by Elizabeth George.”
Also starring and recurring roles played by: Lesley Vicarage, Adam Godley, and many other now-familiar faces.
We liked this a lot

Janet King DVD/Acorn (3 SEASONS)
We got all three SEASONS from our library and watched them happily. Marta Dusseldorp, the star of this, was also the star of A Place to Call Home, which we love. This is an Australian urban legal drama, and very well done. Recommended.
We liked this

Case Histories Amazon Prime (2 SEASONS)
We love Jason Isaacs and the rest of the cast and stories are great. HOWEVER, the Edinburgh-Scottish accents can be very difficult for us midwestern USA folks to understand. Each Episode is in two parts or all one part, depending on your viewing stream. ” based on the Jackson Brodie novel series by Kate Atkinson….[Also starring] Amanda Abbington, Zawe Ashton, Millie Innes. Former soldier and policeman, Jackson Brodie, becomes a private investigator.”
We liked this

Republic of Doyle Netflix (available for all 6 SEASONS—2010-2014— in 2016)
“The sleepy port city of St. John’s, Newfoundland, is changing. While an influx of oil has flooded its coffers, it’s also brought to the surface the corruption—where there’s cash, there’s trash, after all. And doing his part to clean things up is private eye, Jake Doyle, who, with the help of his dad and partner at the Doyle P.I. Firm, takes on all cases—with the odd homicide thrown in just to keep things interesting.”
Somewhat fun, but too many trite tropes and chase scenes, with several obnoxious characters, including the star,/co-writer, Allan Hawco, who is not nearly as adorable as he thinks he is. But, after one SEASON, he grew on us and we keep watching. The father -son relationship is dysfunctional (rather, Malachy, is played by Sean McGinley), and his “relationship” with his ex-wife is downright pathological. Best character is the step-mother of the star, played by Lynda Boyd. Co-starring Krystin Pellerin and Marthe Bernard.
CBC gave it a lot of years and it won awards: it gets better, but is uneven.
We sort of like it and it grows on us

Lewis (was BBC; now DVD) 8 SEASONS
Another very well-written and -acted British detective series, and this one stars Kevin Whately, the co-star of Inspector Morse—which we haven’t watched, yet, because we are continuing first with Morse’s prequels in Endeavor—as DI Lewis, who previously was Morse’s (Endeavor’s) DS, and now he is Hathaway’s DI (James Hathaway, played well by Laurence Fox, who is much like the character of Endeavor, interestingly). For the last several SEASONS, Lewis is semi-retired, and Hathaway becomes a DI to DS Maddox (Griffith).

Great characters, not very bloody stories, excellent music by the recently deceased and much-missed composer, Barrington Phelong, who wrote the music for all three series and many more.
Starring/featuring: Clare Holman, Rebecca Front, Angela Griffith.
We really liked this

Scott & Bailey (was BBC; now DVD) 5 SEASONS
Another very well-written and -acted British detective series, and this one has many strong female characters in leading roles! It is a “series following two officers who work in a Manchester police unit specialising in murder cases.” Produced contemporaneously, more or less, with 2011-16. Written by the great Sally Wainwright (The Amazing Mrs. Pritchard, Last Tango in Halifax, Gentleman Jack, Happy Valley).
Starring/featuring: Suranne Jones, Lesley Sharp, Amelia Bullmore, Tony Mooney, Nicholas Gleaves. 
We really like this

The Last Laugh Netflix (released 12/10/18)
This grew on  us slowly. We did like it, especially the singing.
“When retired talent manager Al Hart is reunited with his first client, Buddy Green, a comic who quit show business 50 years ago, he convinces Buddy to escape their retirement community and hit the road for a cross-country comedy tour.”
Starring: Richard Dreyfuss, Andie McDowell, Chevy Chase
A TRAILER HERE: https://movizark.com/2018/12/30/the-last-laugh-trailer-chevy-chase-and-richard-dreyfuss-lead-this-netflix-comedy-check-it-out/
We liked this a lot 

*Magical Land of Oz PBS (released 8/28/19)
This is “a three-part series about Australia’s magical wildlife.”I spent 3 magical weeks Down Under over 20 years ago… Loved it.
Very fascinating. Loved this!

The Late Late Show Carpool Karaoke Primetime Special with Celine Dion CBS (aired 5/21/19)
We really enjoy a lot of the shorter segments (how talented is James Corden?), and the first Special, with Sir Paul McCartney, was fabulous.
This one was sillier, but fun. Vegas, right?
Weird, but fun

*Fosse/Verdon  FX  (8 Episodes; premiered 4/9/19)
We were excited about this Bob Fosse/Gwen Verdon bio, but what an awful man. I fast-forward through most of it and Mom quit after about 20 minutes.
Starring Sam Rockwell and Michelle Williams, from Lin-Manuel Miranda & Thomas Kail (Hamilton) and Steven Levenson (Dear Evan Hansen). BUT, after Episode 1 (which we didn’t even finish), we were disappointed. We thought we’d try more, but it’s so DARK (literally as well as metaphorically) that we haven’t gone back to it.
“Based on Fosse, the biography written by Sam Wasson, the limited series tells the story of the singular romantic and creative partnership between Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon. He was a visionary filmmaker and one of theater’s most influential choreographers and directors; she was the greatest Broadway dancer of all time….Nicole Fosse, daughter of Fosse and Verdon, is Co-Executive Producer.”
(You can watch one of their classic dance numbers HERE, https://deadline.com/2018/07/bob-fosse-gwen-verdon-fx-limited-series-michelle-williams-sam-rockwell-star-lin-manuel-miranda-thomas-kail-steven-levinson-1202432819/.)
“Together they changed the face of American entertainment—at a perilous cost. Featuring Fosse’s choreography, the series explores the hidden corners of show business, the price of pursuing greatness, and the suffering inflicted in the name of art.”
In case you don’t know, Bob Fosse and later, he in collaboration with his wife, Gwen Verdon, originated a tight, sinewy style of choreography made famous by Ben Vereen, Joel Grey, Anne Reinking, Bebe Neuwirth and others in award-winning shows Pajama Game, Damn Yankees, Chicago, Pippin, Cabaret, Sweet Charity‘s that was imitated in multiple shows after that. All That Jazz, an autobiographical film that Fosse wrote and directed, was completed during his first heart attack (starring the late Roy Scheider), but he died from another attack soon after the film’s release, at the young age of 60. A true original and genius of dance.
Cast includes: Norbert Leo Butz, Margaret Qualley, Aya Cash, Nate Corddry, Susan Misner, Bianca Marroquin, Kelli Barrett, Evan Handler, Rick Holmes, Paul Reiser, Ethan Slater and Byron Jennings.
Well-done, but awful story

*Jane Fonda in Five Acts HBO (premiered 9/24/18; on DVD in late 2019)
This lived up to its hype: excellently done. Billed as “a candid documentary About the formidable actress and activist.” Despite an uneven script and some silliness, we have enjoyed Fonda‘s playing off Lily Tomlin in Grace & Frankie on Netflix these last several years. “Drawing on 21 hours of interviews with Fonda, the film premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival to largely positive reviews. Per the official synopsis: ‘[Fonda] speaks candidly and frankly about her life and her missteps. She explores the pain of her mother’s suicide, her father’s emotional unavailability, 30 years of an eating disorder and three marriages to highly visible, yet diametrically opposed, men.’…[It] also includes interviews with family and friends—Robert Redford, Lily Tomlin, producer Paula Weinstein and former spouses, Tom Hayden and Ted Turner—as well as rare home movies and verité footage of the 80-year-old Fonda’s busy life today.”
Doing “Climate Change Fridays” and continuing to grow this, and get arrested, qualify as her SIXTH Act, right?
Loved this

*Garth Brooks: The Road I’m On A & E Biographies (aired December, 2019, 2 nights)
This was very well done, and coming after I already watched Ken BurnsPBS documentaries about Bluegrass and Country Music, fit right in. Excellent interviews, clips, concert pieces, live and recorded parts. Fun.
I liked this a lot

*Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s ‘All in the Family’ and ‘The Jeffersons
( 5/22/19 was the first LIVE special on ABC, but they’re re-airing it from the recording due to popularity. NEW one, with Good Times and All in the Family, aired 12/12/19)
They did an OKAY job with the first two, but the stories were silly. Second round was much worse.
This first one was a tribute to two of Norman Lear‘s most iconic shows, “forty-eight years after Archie Bunker first sat in his armchair and yelled at ‘Meathead’ [Rob Reiner‘s role] to get his feet off the coffee table…,
“Hosted by legendary producer, Norman Lear, and Jimmy Kimmel, the tribute will star Woody Harrelson as the curmudgeonly Bunker and Marisa Tomei as his wife, Edith—originally played by Carol O’Connor and Jean Stapleton. Jamie Foxx will take on Sherman Hensley’s role as George Jefferson, alongside Wanda Sykes as Louise ‘Weezy’ Jefferson [Isabel Sanford‘s role]. The show also stars Ellie Kemper as Gloria Stivic [Sally Struthers‘ role] and Will Ferrell as Tom Willis [Franklin Cover‘s role]. It will be directed by Cheers’ co-creator, James Irrows.” Kerry Washington (Scandal) “will play Helen Willis, the character who was one half of the first interracial couple featured on American primetime TV.” Justina Machado, .Jovan Adepo, Anthony Anderson, Stephen Tobolowsky, Jackée Harry, Ike Barinholtz, Sean Hayes and Amber Stevens West are joining as well. “Ike Barinholtz will re-create the role of Mike ‘Meathead’ Stivic, Sean Hayes will play Mr. Lorenzo, Amber Stevens West is set to play Jenny Willis Jefferson…Jovan Adepo will re-enact the role of Lionel Jefferson, Anthony Anderson joins as Uncle Henry, Stephen Tobolowsky is set to play Mr. Bentley, and Jackée Harry will play Diane Stockwell….and Justina Machado is Florence Johnston.”
Not as good as promised.
I saw all the original Episodes, so I watched. Underwhelmed

Emilio & Gloria Estefan: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song PBS (premiered 5/3/19)
These annual Gershwin Prize award shows are some of our favorites because they highlight the songs of great songwriters with stellar performances throughout, along with biographical info about the recipient(s). This one was moving, amazing, and fabulous! 
 to the newest and unique recipients (first Latinx and first couple) to be given this great honor, Gloria and Emilio Estefan, winners of over 25 Grammys and other awards and currently the topics of the  popular, multiple Tony-Award-winning Broadway and national touring musical, On Your Feet! “Previous winners include Paul Simon, Billy Joel, Tony Bennett, Stevie Wonder, Carole King, Paul McCartney and Smokey Robinson…” This all-star tribute concert occurred/was taped in March, 2019.
FYI: Gloria Estefan is only the second woman (Carole King was the first) and the first WOC to be a recipient!
Definitely watch this!

*Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind HBO (aired 7/16/18; got the DVD)
This was funny (laugh-out-loud funny!), poignant, amazing, sad. A documentary on the life and work of one of our most precious geniuses, gone too soon, Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind.
BTW: one of my best friend’s mothers died of the same disease that caused Robin Williams to commit suicide, and he was not wrong. It’s a slow horrible, debilitating dementia and physical atrophying illness—Lewy Body Disease—that no one survives or recovers from. Her last years were bedridden, mostly unable to communicate with any logic or make sense of anything, not recognizing anyone or any place, barely able to eat or talk. That was what he was facing. Understand suicide in that circumstance, for sure.
Fascinating, but somewhat sad

*Aretha! A Grammy Celebration for the Queen of Soul CBS (premiered 3/10/19)
Proved that Aretha Franklin has gone but NEVER will be forgotten, as evidenced by this fabulous line-up for her tribute in 2019: Tyler Perry will host, and performers include Janelle Monae, Alicia Keys, John Legend, kelly Clarkson, Celine Dion, Patti LaBelle, Alessia Cara, Jennifer Hudson, Common, Brandi Carlile, H.E.R., SZA, Chloe X Halle, BeBe Winans, Yolanda Adams and Shirley Caesar. This will be filmed January 13th at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles and air later in 2019. “Franklin, who died in August at age 76, earned 18 Grammy wins and 44 nominations throughout her career.”

This was quite moving, and fabulous!

*Motown Celebration: A Grammy Celebration CBS (premiered 4/21/19)
Just what it sounds like. Great!
I watched this in bits. Fun! 

Love, Gilda  CNN (aired 1/1/19 and will air again and online)
If you ever were a fan of the late Gilda Radner (gone too soon, from ovarian cancer, in her 40s), Saturday Night Live (especially its earliest years), great comedy, and her collaborators/legacy comedians (Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Chevy Chase, Martin Short, Dan Ackroyd, Bill Murray, Lorraine Newman, Jane Curtin, Melissa McCarthy, the late John Belushi and John Candy, and so many more), then you will love this documentary about her life based on her own notes, her autobiography, interviews, home movies, and other clips/shots. It is extremely well-done, mostly chronological, and hilarious (and, sad).
We loved this

Rent FOX (aired 1/27/19, 7:00-10:00 PM ET, NOT live/PT, tape-delayed)
The NOT-live musical production of the Tony Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical, Rent, was NOT shown live because one of the stars (Brennin Hunt, Roger) broke his leg and they had no understudies! So, we all saw the dress rehearsal, which was taped.
Brandon Victor Dixon (Tom Collins, “the computer scientist who returns to New York after being expelled from MIT”), Vanessa Hudgens (Maureen Johnson,” the outgoing performance artist who’s not afraid to take on the establishment”), Kiersey Clemons (Joanne Jefferson, “Maureen’s girlfriend and an Ivy League-educated lawyer”), Brennin Hunt (Roger Davis, “a struggling musician and Mark’s roommate and best friend”), Valentina (Angel Dumont Schunard, “a young drag queen and street percussionist who embraces life and lives it to its fullest”), Mario (Benjamin Coffin III, “Mark and Roger’s former roommate-turned-landlord, who is after their rent”), Tinashe (Mimi Marquez, “the dancer who struggles with addiction”), Keala Settle (who will perform “Seasons of Love” and in the ensemble) , and Jordan Fisher (Mark Cohen, “an aspiring filmmaker, who serves as the show’s narrator, while filming the lives of his friends”).
Billed as: “a re-imagining of Puccini’s La Bohème, and set in New York City’s gritty East Village, Rent tells the unforgettable story of seven artists struggling to follow their dreams during a time of great social and political turmoil. Winner of four Tony Awards and the Pulitzer Prize, writer/composer Jonathan Larson’s tour de force continues to offer an inspiring message of hope and friendship.” Producer is Marc Platt (Grease: Live, La La Land, Wicked), and the estate of the late writer/composer Jonathan Larson, will executive-produce. This will be our third version (first film, first live filming of the play already viewed) to watch, but we like this show a lot, sad as it is.
We watched, but were not impressed

*Anne of Green Gables: Fire & Dew PBS (premiered 9/23/18; NOT the same as Netflix)
This is another adaptation of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s series of books, into a trio of TV movies written by Susan Coyne. This one picks up the plot with in a later time in her life than the Netflix series (so far, anyway; it’s in SEASON 2). It’s also not in a series format. We missed the first two parts of this trio:
——Anne of Green Gables (premiered 11/16), which “tells the story of Anne Shirley, a precocious young girl taken from an orphanage and placed in the care of the uptight Marilla Cuthbert and her brother, Matthew. The conservative Marilla has a profound effect on the adventurous Anne and creates a journey of learning and personal engagement”; and
——Anne of Green Gables: Good Stars (premiered 11/17), which picked up the story a bit later. “When Anne Shirley turns 13, she faces complex issues with her friends, inspirational adults and Marilla and Matthew. At the same time, she begins a friendship with Gilbert Blythe that emotionally escalates to disrupt the status quo of her peaceful world. Her free-spirited nature is challenged by her perceived need to become sensible, and her journey toward this goal is fraught with confusion and more than a few unfortunate—albeit, amusing—mishaps”), but they can be watched online and elsewhere.
Starring: Ella Ballentine, Martin Sheen, Sara Botsford, Drew Haytaoglu.
“Anne arrives in Charlottetown to attend accelerated classes, and she continues to work toward her dream of being a school teacher. Anne finds herself facing choices for her future, stirrings of romance, and tragedy unlike anything she’s ever known….Through the influence of a spirited new teacher, Miss Stacy (Natalie Lisinska), Anne (Ella Ballentine) steps up her ability at scholarship and competes for the few spaces available at a teacher’s college. When Anne leaves for Queen’s College, Matthew and Marilla (Martin Sheen and Sara Botsford) feel a sudden emptiness in their lives. Anne moves to Charlottetown and is overwhelmed by her new surroundings, difficult classes at teacher’s college, and a deepening romance with Gilbert (Drew Haytaoglu). At the same time, Matthew and Marilla deal with health and financial difficulties that jeopardize their lives at Green Gables.”
I’m interested in how these two adaptations differ. Loved these books as a child!
I watched the last two: very well-acted and -written

A Place to Call Home ACORN (then DVD and Amazon; already has 5 SEASONS on DVD; SEASON 6—its final—aired on ACORN in late 2018; DVD released 4/23/19)
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 fabulous as “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 Sara Wiseman and Craig Hall.
“The 10-Episode final season will take the Blighs and all the residents of Inverness into 1960.”  Here is a ink to a great interview and info about this show: https://tellyspotting.kera.org/2018/08/30/as-we-begin-our-final-stay-at-ash-park-a-qa-with-sara-wiseman-and-craig-hall-of-a-place-to-call-home/
We LOVE this and SEASON 5 was excellent!

The Doctor Blake Mysteries Netflix (on PBS and other online outlets; also, DVDs through SEASON 5 available)
Star Craig McLachlan has been accused and was investigated for sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior on set. He got blackballed for bad behavior (spring, 2018) and is OUT for the final film, The Blake Mysteries: A New Beginning, which aired on 11/30/19 in the UK and we’re trying to get it on DVD in 2019. This is featuring his new wife, instead.
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. SEASONS 1- 5 are out on DVD as of late 2018.
We like this, and too bad about the star

RECOMMENDED but discontinued/canceled/ already Shown/Ended for now;
Can Catch Again (On Demand or online)

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

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

Kinky Boots
42nd Street
on Great Performances PBS (each aired in November, 2019, and online after that; go to http://www.pbs.org/show/videos/ )
Each of these was a London-based production of a Broadway show that was filmed live, and each was FABULOUS!
Each won many awards in the USA and is up for similar awards in England (Tony Awards, here; Olivier Awards there), and well-deserved, all.
Very enjoyable

Patsy & Loretta Lifetime (premiered 10/19/19)
This film was very well done; expecting that, since it’s from Callie Khouri (Nashville). It is very sad, since it ends with Cline’s death, mostly, but also, very moving and sad in other places as well as inspiring.
“About country music stars, Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn. Megan Hilty (Smash) will play the former and Jessie Mueller (Broadway’s Beautiful and Waitress) the latter.” Janine Turner (Northern ExposureFriday Night Lights) “will play Hilda Hensley, Patsy’s mother, and also her seamstress/costume designer and confidante.”
Written by Angelina Burnett (Halt and Catch Fire), it gave a very intimate look at their friendship and home lives. Starts with a glimpse of their separate lives, then “revisi[s] how the singers first met. ‘Cline already was one of the biggest stars in country music and Lynn was starting out with little to her name but a $17 guitar,’… Instead of seeing the newcomer as competition, Cline took Lynn under her wing to help her make it in Nashville. They soon became close friends, touring together, bonding over their husband troubles, and commiserating on being females in the male-dominated music business….
“Cline and Lynn’s respective daughters, Julie Fudge and Patsy Lynn Russell… co-produce[d].”
Kyle Schmid (Six) and Joe Tippet (Rise) are also starring.  “Schmid…[as] Charlie Dick, Patsy’’s second husband. Tippett… [as] Doolittle ‘Mooney’ Lynn, Loretta’s husband and father of their [6] children.”
I watched this having just seen both of Ken Burns’ documentaries (Bluegrass and Country Music as the topics), which animated this for me a lot.
I appreciated this very much

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

Annual Kennedy Center Honors PBS (aired 12/26/18 and repeatedly after that, same date)
41st year’s host was Gloria Estefan and the honorees were: Cher; composer, Philip Glass; Reba McEntire; jazz great, Wayne Shorter; and, the creators of Hamilton—writer and actor, Lin-Manuel Miranda; director, Thomas Kail; choreographer, Andy Blankenbuehler; and, music director, Alex Lacamoire. These awards “recognize artists who have made enduring and indelible marks on the culture.”
Great mix of live performances, bio-clips, interviews and tributes. Well worth watching.

A Very Wicked Halloween: Celebrating 15 Years on Broadway (Musical Special) NBC (premiered 10/29/18 )
THIS WAS WONDERFUL! I had to explain context for my mom, who’s never seen the production, but so much fun! Highly recommended! Two of our favorite performers, the original Wicked stars, Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth, “reunite to host and perform during this NBC special. Performing alongside the pair of Tony winners will be pop star and Broadway alum Ariana Grande, … the a cappella group, Pentatonix, the current Broadway cast of the musical (led by Jessica Vosk and Amanda Jane Cooper), Adam Lambert, and Ledisi.”
Highly recommended!

*Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries Netflix and DVD (3 SEASONS already released and 3 planned films, for 2019 and beyond, and a more modern spin-off; see below)
The spin-off version begins airing on Acorn TV 4/29/19 and is set in the 1960s.
The first of 3 planned movies with the original cast, still set in the post-war, 1920s, Australia, Miss Fisher and The Crypt of Tears, will release March, 2020! It “follows the Honourable Miss Phryne Fisher on a Middle Eastern adventure IN SEARCH OF an ancient treasure. The film features several series regulars, including Nathan Page as Detective Inspector Jack Robinson, Miriam Margolyes as Aunt Prudence and Ashleigh Cummings as her loyal assistant and maid, Dorothy ‘Dot’ Collins.”
Another excellent, feminist, fun detective series from Australia with a female protagonist, Miss Fisher, played so well by Essie Davis, and a male counterpart (Nathan Page). Great supporting cast, especially her side-kicks, fun music and interesting plots.

Set in the twenties, so Mom won’t watch it. I really like the series and look forward to the spin-off and films. The writers promise more “Fashion, feminism and fun” from all of the next additions.Visit their Facebook page for more info!
Worth your time

American Masters on PBS: Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story, PBS (out on DVD/VOD 4/24/18; premiered 5/18/18)
THIS WAS FASCINATING and very sad, as well. If you have an interest, it’s very well done, with amazing film and still photos from many decades of Lamarr‘s life, interviews with her children and granddaughter and many others as well as Lamarr herself.
Here are some clips: http://www.pbs.org/video/bombshell-hedy-lamarr-story-trailer-alebky/
I have a particular connection to Ms. Lamarr because one of my former partner’s mothers and aunt were her friends—three young women who were beautiful, talented, Jewish Austrians and Holocaust survivors. After they all had escaped from Austria and made their way to Los Angeles during Hitler’s rise in the late 1930s, these three appeared in two movies together (my partner’s relatives had very minor roles). They were also friends with another fellow Jewish Austrian, Johnny Weismuller, known for his roles as Tarzan.
Hedy Lamarr was the original wild child. Her scandalous nude appearance in the 1933 Czech film, Ecstasy, made her infamous at the age of 17. She married a prominent Austrian businessman who became a weapons dealer to the Nazis. Lamarr, who was born Jewish, fled her husband in the middle of the night, boarding a boat for America with nothing to her name except a single designer gown. On board, she dazzled MGM boss, Louis B. Mayer, and convinced him to offer her one of the best contracts in Hollywood. As a movie star, she was considered by many to be ‘the most beautiful woman in the world.’ Songs were written about her beauty. Snow White [Disney’s original animated version] was modeled on her iconic look. She married six times and had affairs with everyone from Howard Hughes to Spencer Tracy.”
We liked this a lot

The Late Late Late Show Carpool Karaoke– 3rd Primetime Special CBS (aired 4/23/18) AND the one with Paul McCartney (aired 8/20/18)
We LOVE these scenes and were glad to watch even the ones we’d already seen on James Corden‘s show. Then, we were rewarded by a funny opening scene that turned into a hip-hop number AND a brand-new “Broadway Crosswalk” musical excerpts set with great guests!
Guess we weren’t the only ones who liked seeing Sir Paul McCartney in a James Corden‘s Carpool Karaoke segment! Carpool Karaoke: When Corden Met McCartney Live From Liverpool was a full-length, primetime special that CBS aired 8/20/18. You can find it on YouTube or online, elsewhere. Sir Paul is also featured on a September edition of 60 Minutes, so catch that as well.
In other Carpool Karaoke news: SEASON 2 will feature many pairings, “including Jamie Foxx, who appears in the first episode with daughter, Corinne; Jason Sudeikis (both from Shazam), jamming with the Muppets; Matthew McConaughey” (can he sing or rap?!) with Snoop Dogg; and, “Rashida Jones and dad, Quincy,” on Apple TV and later, YouTube.
So fun!

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

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

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

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

Somewhat trite, but cute; 2 SEASONS

Fearless Amazon (premiered/available 10/27/17, but only has one SEASON)
We like British mysteries/crime dramas a lot. Here is another new one.
“The series follows human rights lawyer, Emma Banville (Helen McCrory) as she tries to overturn the conviction of killer, Kevin Russell (Sam Swainsbury). Russell was convicted of murdering a 15-year-old schoolgirl, but after serving 14 years of his sentence he still adamantly maintains his innocence. As Emma begins her investigations into the original case, led by DCS Olivia Greenwood, (Wunmi Mosaku), she is immediately met with a negative backlash from the public and press who wish to keep Russell behind bars. As she delves deeper into the case and stumbles upon a possible conspiracy, Emma finds her own personal life under the spotlight.”
We have watched all the Episodes, but just found out it won’t have a SEASON 2.
Is strange, but interesting; only has one SEASON)

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

American Film Institute (AFI) Lifetime Achievement Awards TNT (6/21/18 first aired)
We watched George Clooney get kudos, tributes and honors he richly deserves from the American Film Institute (AFI) Lifetime Achievement awards ceremony and it was WONDERFUL, It aired here on TNT June 21, 2018, and is often repeated or available online after that.
What a mensch! So many wonderful Hollywood folks came out to say great things about him and showcase his generosity, humor, wit and talent. Read about it and watch excerpts here: https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/george-clooney-honored-afis-life-achievement-award-1118272

*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)
See top of this post for news about the 2019 MusicCares Award for Parton and the airing of that show!
Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love is a sequel to the fun 2015 film based on her memoirs and recently released as a children’s book, Coat of Many Colors.
We were somewhat mystified and disappointed at the role the adult Dolly Parton gave herself in this sequel biopic, of one fall of her childhood at age 9: why would she have the local business owner (played by Parton’s real-life younger sister, Stella Parton), call her out as a prostitute? The child-aged Dolly says things like: “I want to look just like you when I grow up!” and the adult Dolly, known as “The Painted Lady” in the film, responds: “Maybe you will!” big smile. Very bizarre. The Painted Lady is a benefactor whose money is considered “dirty” and taken away by the store owner from child Dolly, but she keeps appearing throughout the film. Unclear as to why.
Which begs the question I’ve long had: why would anyone do to themselves what Dolly Parton has done (all the plastic surgery, wigs, false eyelashes, excessive dieting, garish make-up and clothes, for decades), and refuse to age gracefully? Dolly Parton is an inspiration and role model for many singers/songwriters and business owners, and she does consider herself an advocate for women. So, why does she refuse to look like a ordinary person?
Alyvia Alyn Lind, who plays young Dolly, reprised her role from the film last year and did a splendid job most of the time, but she could have been directed better. Some of the scene in which she has to speak more than a line or two are very stilted and artificial. The shorter interactions and her singing/playing guitar scenes are the best parts. Jennifer Nettles and Kelli Berglund, playing the eldest daughter, were excellent and well cast as Dolly’s mom and oldest sister. Mary Lane Haskell reprised her role as the school teacher, Miss Moody, who I hope is true-to-life and lived long enough to see how successful Dolly Parton became.
WARNING: This film has a very strong mystical, grandiose/romantic, heavy-handed Christian /Christmas messages which the adult Dolly definitely still believes in and wants everyone to know. There are appearances of visions, prayers, Baptisms, magic, God, blessings, angels and the like in her life and in this and the former film. If you believe in all that or like watching films like this, you’ll love it. We are not so fond (raised Jewish and practicing Buddhist, here).
may return in 2017

Top of the Lake Sundance (China Girl, SEASON 2, aired in fall, 2017; SEASON 3 discussed)
Stars Elizabeth Moss [2017 EMMY winner for The Handmaid’s Tale] as a New Zealand detective recovering from her own traumas while attempting to rebuild her life. Apparently, this premiered in 2013 with 7 Episodes, so this is its second season, but it is new to us. Good and bad reviews; excellent cast. Can’t find where to watch SEASON 1, so we’re starting here. (SEASON 1 is set in a remote mountain town in New Zealand.)
Mostly, having watched to the bitter end (which SUCKED, BTW), we have to say: there is not one functional and/or likable character in the entire bunch of misfits, criminals, tragic victims and struggling teens and adults. Most of the situations are awful. There are gratuitous nudity, active simulated sex, symptoms of mental illness, several incidents of violence and other horrific examples of humanity in almost every scene. Some of the scenes (especially those of the porn-watchers/prostitute-users in the cafe) are so terrible we couldn’t stand to listen to the dialog, however realistic.
Beautiful settings, though, since they shot on location and not near LA, as most shows do.
Also stars: Nicole Kidman, David Wenham, Peter Mullan, Thomas M. Wright, Gwendoline Christie, David Dencik and Ewen Leslie.
[SPOILER ALERTS, from now on]
SEASON 2 is set near Sydney, Australia, and centers on finding the murderers of “Cinnamon,” found dead and floating in the lake stuffed into a suitcase. The local police call the case “China Girl,” even though she is from Thailand.
Robin Griffin (Moss) leads the investigation with an unstable constable accompanying her and apparently spying on her for their boss, with whom she is having an extra-marital affair and pregnancy, which becomes part of the story in odd ways).
Episode 1 (SEASON 2) was unnecessarily confusing, presenting viewers with many unlikeable characters, awful situations, dysfunctional families and no discernable plot. Nicole Kidman appears in a couple of scenes and more in later Episodes. There is an adoptive child/parent reuniting as a subplot that involves several of the characters through until the end in sordid and strange ways.
Excellent acting and probably realistic, but WHY? Horrible plots, situations and characters don’t make for “good” TV, IMHO.
Didn’t love it. Not sure who would, but we did finish it

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

*PSYCH USA (12/7/17, first film premiered; 2nd film releases after 4/15/20 on Peacock (NBC streaming only, “Lassie Come Home”)
This silly but endearing show returned to the network that created it, USA, and NOT just for one “Holiday movie,” 12/7/17, as previously announced: the producer is planning at least two, possibly a total of 6 full-length PSYCH movies, as a “series,” 2017-2019.
In this one (and probably more( they sing, again! So fun.
“…[F]eaturing fake psychic detective, Shawn Spencer (James Roday) and his best friend, Burton “Gus” Guster (Dulé Hill), the team reunited once again… when the two-hour special premiered 2017 (December). Psych creator, Steve Franks, who co-wrote the movie with Roday, is directing. Lassiter (Timothy Omundson), Juliet (Maggie Lawson), Henry (Corbin Bernsen), and Chief Vick (Kirsten Nelson) also returned for the movie, which picks up three years after the series finale.”
Psych: The Movie 2 releases in late 2019, to show this story: “Santa Barbara Police Chief Carlton Lassiter (Omundson), ambushed on the job and left for dead. In a vintage Psych-style Hitchcockian nod, he begins to see impossible happenings around his recovery clinic. Shawn (Roday) and Gus (Hill) return to Lassie’s side in Santa Barbara and are forced to navigate the personal, the professional, and possibly the supernatural. Separated from their new lives in San Francisco, our heroes find themselves unwelcome in their old stomping grounds as they secretly untangle a twisted case without the benefit of the police, their loved ones, or the quality sourdough bakeries of the Bay Area. What they uncover will change the course of their relationships forever.”

Silly, but fun

Great Performances, “She Loves Me” PBS (aired 10/20/17 and other dates and online)
A multiple Tony Award-winning revival of Jerry Bock‘s and Sheldon Harnick‘s cute musical play whose book (by Joe Masteroff) is a mix of You’ve Got Mail, The Shop Around the Corner and a few others like it.
Excellent vocals and acting, adorable choreography (by Warren Carlyle), great sets and amazing costumes.

Laura Benanti and Zachary Levi in She Loves Me, image from Playbill

Starring Laura Benanti (who knew she had such an amazing voice as a high soprano after seeing her sing alto/low soprano in Nashville?) and Jane Krakowski (always wonderful), singing and dancing. (Mom and I thought Jane was about 10 years too old for this part, but she pulled it off) as the female leads, with the charming Zachary Levi and Gavin Creel as their co-workers and respective love interests. Including very strong and fun performances from each of the minor characters and the entire ensemble. Delightful!
We love having Broadway LIVE in our home!

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

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

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

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

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

Jesus Christ Superstar NBC (premiered LIVE on Easter Sunday, 4/1/18)
A Broadway-filmed “live” (at filming time) showing of Jesus Christ Superstar (JCS)! If you’ve never seen it, it’s very worth it, when done well. It’s brilliant. JCS was one of the first “rock operas” of the 1960s-1970s. It has almost no dialogue and many amazing songs. Much more serious and politicized/satirical than Godspell, and not the same angle at all on the story of Jesus’ rise and fall, this one is told from Judas’ POV.
Amazing sets and lighting design, especially for the closing scenes. Our highest praise is for the staging.
Some of Camille Moore‘s choreography was good, some silly and/or derivative of other (not this) shows, some moves and configurations were interesting; none was great.
Some of the singers are NOT Broadway experienced and were difficult to hear or understand, even with microphones. Some were not on key too much of the time. Maybe they’ve been too reliant on post-production recording software to tune them up?
David Leveaux‘s direction was not great, either. Many actors were poorly situated or coached for the camera angles and lyrics. Some seemed to miss the points of their characters at key moments in their songs. Some were not well-directed or couldn’t act as well as they sang (or couldn’t do either aspect well), so some were poorly cast and it seemed more for their celebrity than their talent or suitability for this venue and these roles.
I’ve seen the first JCS film multiple times and the play produced in a variety of theatres. My opinion is both as a fan and as a professional. My mom had never seen it, anywhere, and is not a professional, but we agreed on all of these points.
Brandon Victor Dixon was the best and most experienced (Hamilton, for one), but even his songs were not great, some of the time. Sara Bareilles was one of the better ones, singing and acting, but poorly cast (there was zero chemistry between her and Legend). John Legend as Jesus was mediocre (and we’re being generous) at best; not at all up to the part, its subtleties or vocals.
Alice Cooper as King Herod was a sensation for casting, but barely audible, uninteresting and mostly flash with no substance (great costume, though). Jin Ha and Norm Lewis were not vocally capable of their demanding parts. Ben Daniels was a better actor than singer, as Pilate.
Overall, though, well-produced and fun/interesting/sad to watch. Worth your time, especially if you’ve never seen the play or the film (Mom was a newbie).

Mostly great and worth watching

Shows we/I NAYed: OFF OUR LIST
(but I sometimes “check in”)

*This is Us NBC (RENEWED for SEASONS 4 – 6, despite being AWFUL; premiered 9/24/19 for SEASON 4)
Won multiple Golden Globe, Emmy and SAG awards, we do not understand why we disliked this show enough to avoid watching it and finally ditched it in SEASON 2 after 1.5 Episodes and haven’t watched SEASON 3 at all, together. I watched a couple and was convinced we were right.
The scripts have increasingly SUCKED. Acting is all right and even good, but we hate the characters and the story!  We continued to be underwhelmed and frustrated by the immaturity and selfishness of these characters, especially Kate and Kevin. Also, very annoying the ways they keep jumping timelines and storylines without much info or warning: CONFUSING.
The choice to spend a “lot of time in Vietnam” for SEASON 3 to give more of Jack’s backstory clinched it, for us. We already lived through that.
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), and Ron Cephas Jones (Mr. Robot) only in flashbacks, now. Gaining Goran Višnjić (Timeless and ER) in Beth’s (Mandy Moore) flashbacks, but that won’t save this drek.
We were originally surprised by the quality of the acting and the story’s twists and turns and unexpected pathos in SEASON 1 and looked forward to more. But, by early in SEASON 2, we were OUT. The triplets are excessively juvenile and neurotic in “present” time; the flashbacks are deliberately incomplete and frustrating (but the actors who play them as younger selves are well-cast and excellent).
The main characters have younger and teenage versions of their characters played out in several Episodes throughout the series. Starting 2/19/19, Randall’s wife, Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson), will get her younger father, Abe Clarke (Carl Lumbly, of Supergirl and Alias), and two younger selves [Rachel Naomi Hilson (Rise, Madam Secretary, Law and Order SVU, The Americans, The Affair, Elementary, The Slap) and Akira Akbar (Grey’s Anatomy)], with Phylicia Rashad as Carol, Beth’s mother, and Goran Višnjić (Timeless) as Vincent, a teacher of Beth.
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/is amazing and so was/is 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. at first. But, now…
Jennifer Morrison (Once Upon a Time, House) is becoming a recurring character for SEASON 4.
OFF OUR LIST by early in SEASON 3; RENEWED for SEASONS 4 – 6, anyway

*Pose FX (Returned 6/11/19 for SEASON 2: RENEWED for SEASON 3)
There is a lot to like about this show, due to its talented actors, costumes, research and 1980s feel of it all. And, the great Patti Lupone joins for SEASON 2. Plus, Ryan Murphy recently revealed that there “will be a time jump from season one. It will go from the ’80s to 1990. Specifically, the first episode will take place the day that Madonna’s Vogue was released—which is very appropriate for the show about the ball and vogueing culture of New York in the ’80s and ’90s.” Maybe more kitsch and less angst?  More details, here:
But, it was very depressing/disturbing on so many levels, and deciding to include a young and obnoxious Donald Trump-type as a seemingly unimportant character (after Episode 1, only) seems gratuitous and gross.
The dancers are excellent and I appreciate the verisimilitude that propelled the designs of the mid-1980s sets, costumes, music and interactions and which also drove the writing and stories.
As a cis-gender (mostly) senior female, even though bisexual, I’m a Jewish, Buddhist, white woman, so I’m not the target demographic for this show. I’m glad it exists and I hope it makes its mark with those who need to know about this era.
The acting and directing are very uneven; I believe they sacrificed in order to hire many transgender individuals as actors, which is fine, but some of them are AWFUL. Plenty of typical actors are awful in many series, though, so it’s unfair to hold this one to higher standards, isn’t it?
Ongoingly, and not solely due to performances from these cast members, directions from the director and stories from these writers, I sincerely am offended by the caricatures some “drag queens” make of the women, especially “mothers,” whom they claim to depict—however famous—and dislike intensely the campy, exaggerated ways that many of them walk, talk, dress, accessorize and handle themselves in relationships. I don’t know any women-born-women like that, except stereotypical Hollywood types, so why do so many transsexuals and transvestites choose these tropes to imitate? Why is this “glamorous”?
I also do not “get” the passion for the Ball culture. It eludes me completely.
Ryan Murphy’s newest show will delve into New York City’s drag ball culture, with a stellar cast of five up-and-coming transgender actresses in series regular roles.
Pose makes history for featuring the largest cast of transgender actors as series regulars on any scripted series. FX Networks, which produced other Murphy hits, Feud: Bette and Joan, American Crime Story, and American Horror Story,…cast MJ Rodriguez (Luke Cage), Indya Moore (Saturday Church), fashion model and ball scene fixture, Dominique Jackson, Hailie Sahar (Mr. Robot), and Angelica Ross (from the Emmy-nominated Her Story).
“All five are out, transgender women, and will be playing authentic transgender characters. Billy Porter, a Tony Award winner for Broadway’s Kinky Boots, rounds out the cast.” Set in the 1980s, Pose looks at the juxtaposition of several segments of life and society in New York: the rise of the luxury Trump-era universe, the downtown social and literary scene and the ball culture world. Murphy co-created the show with Brad Falchuk and Steven Canals.”
Mostly well done; not a keeper for me: RENEWED for SEASON 3

*Will & Grace NBC (in final SEASON 11)
David Schwimmer (Friends) as Noah Broader, a “cantankerous, divorced writer, and a love interest for Grace” (Debra Messing). and Molly Shannon is returning as Valerie Bassett, their crazy, stalker neighbor; Matt Bomer (White Collar) is returning as “a smooth-talking, self-satisfied TV news anchor” who is Will’s (Eric McCormack) suitor, McCoy Whitman, for SEASON 10. Additional guest stars (could only help) include Alec Baldwin (already returned), Chelsea Handler, Minnie Driver and Mary McCormack (returning).
After all the hype and the adorable trailers this crew did for the 2016 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! Mom could only watch one Episode; I watched the rest alone, but didn’t like any of it, much.
We kept saying: “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 Mullally star.

Chesapeake Shores Hallmark (RENEWED for SEASON 5 and may return as usual, late August, 2020, or may be delayed)
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. Also, HORRIBLY fake Irish-American accents. Tragic.
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.
Why, Treat Williams? Why, Barbara Niven? Why?
KEEPING, but liking even less for SEASON 3; RENEWED for SEASON 4

*Absentia Amazon Prime (was first on Sony AXN) (10 Episodes each year; RENEWED for SEASONS 2 & 3).
This was very dark, depressing, scary and NOT FOR US. We lasted through 1 Episode, but that is IT for us. I finished SEASON 1 by myself: totally not worth it.
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.’…In season two, after tracking down and killing her abductor, Emily struggles to define her new normal as a mother and a survivor of six years of physical and mental torture. Even while she rebuilds her relationship with her son, Emily still cannot shake the darkness of her past. She enlists Boston police detective, Tommy Gibbs (Angel Bonanni), in a secret investigation of her mysterious history. When the case turns deadly, she risks everything to uncover the truth and protect her family.”

*Black Mirror Netflix (SEASONS 1 – 4 available after 1/5/18; RENEWED for SEASON 5)
This British version of an updated Twilight Zone-ish series is very unsettling (I’ve only watched two episodes, but those were so disturbing I may not return any time soon). However, they are well-written, well-acted and “realistic,” as far as they can be while venturing into odd and futuristic territory. Recommended if you like bizarre, weird, unnerving and challenging. I know my mom won’t like it, so I watch when she’s not around.
I recognize some of the actors from other BBC series (Downton Abbey, Mr. Selfridge, New Tricks and others), so that is fun.
VERY DARK. I have watched about 12 episodes, then stopped. Many are truly awful, dystopian, nightmarish depictions of our future.
It’s now in its 4th season, so if you can stomach it, there are many episodes to watch!
Stopped watching, too nauseated; RENEWED for SEASON 5

The Politician Netflix (released 9/27/19; already RENEWED for SEASON 2)
This was so bad we couldn’t even get through one Episode. Why do they cast people in their late 20s as HIGH SCHOOL students!?!  Ridiculous. And, the characters ad story are terrible; not one likable one amongst them. Too bad.
Starring Jessica Lange and Dylan McDermott, “the new satirical comedy primarily tracks Payton (Ben Platt), a wealthy Santa Barbara politician who will drive the series. Each season will track a different political race he’s working on…Gwyneth Paltrow, January Jones, Zoey Deutch, and Lucy Boynton are all series regulars.” Also “popping in” will be two more megastars: Judith Light and Bette Midler!?!
We love Ben Platt (Pitch Perfect, Dear Evan Hansen), Gwyneth Paltrow (Duets), Dylan McDermott, January Jones, Jessica Lange (who knew those last three can sing?]) and the amazing, possibly guest-starring…Barbra Streisand [update: 3/25/19, Streisand‘s horrifying comments and attempted walkback of same regarding the kids abused by Michael Jackson (now adults, as seen in the HBO documentary about Neverland) may get her axed from this show].
WOW! With those singers, we’re bound to watch the second; not sure about the first.
THIS WAS AWFUL and there was no singing, but it’s already RENEWED for SEASON 2

The Oval BET (premiered 10/23/19)
This Tyler Perry series was so terrible that we couldn’t even get past first 10 minutes; awful. Purports that it “tells the story of a family placed in the White House by people of power while also highlighting the personal side and everyday lives of the staff who run the inner workings of the nation’s most iconic residence.” If ongoing domestic violence between the First Couple is Perry’s idea of “drama,” forget it.
Stars: Ed Quinn, Kron Moore, Javon Johnson, Ptosha Storey, Vaughn Hebron, Teesha Renee, Paige Hurd, Daniel Croix Henderson, Lodric Collins, Ciera Payton, Walter Fauntleroy, Taja V. Simpson, Brad Benedict, Travis Cure and Matthew Law.
We often like White House dramas, so we tried it. However, we haven’t liked anything by Tyler Perry (series is written, directed and executive produced by him) and don’t know Michelle Sneed‘s work (she is other Exec Producer), so not sure.  These two have another new series (Sistas) starting the same week that sounds like an African-American, social media-focused Sex & the City. Passing on that one.
This Oval was almost as bad as the one IRL these days!

Treadstone USA Network (premiered 10/15/19; LIMBO SEASON 2)
Are you a Jason Bourne franchise fanatic? Then you’ll be glad to know that his “origin story” has gotten its own TV series, written by Tim Kring (Heroes and Heroes Reborn) on the USA Network.
However, neither me nor Mom could stomach the confusion and violence of this version of these stories. We got out after Episode 1 (me) and 2 (Mom).
Stars: Jeremy Irvine (War Horse, Mamma Mia 2) and Brad J. Smith (Sense8).
This says it “explores the origin story and present-day actions of a CIA black ops program known as Operation Treadstone —- a **covert program that uses behavior-modification protocol to turn recruits into nearly superhuman assassins. The first season follows sleeper agents across the globe as they’re mysteriously ‘awakened’ to resume their deadly missions. Irvine stars as J. Randolph Bentley, a spy dispatched by the CIA to eliminate a key target, but ends up embroiled in an international conspiracy. Smith plays Doug McKenna, an all-American oil-rig worker whose life changes after he discovers long buried truths about himself.”

Nancy Drew The CW (RENEWED for SEASON 2)
Based on the novels of my childhood (and a film which starred Pamela Sue Martin, who will guest star in this), this character’s stories have been made into pilots several times, recently. Let’s see if this one “takes.”
We couldn’t get past the first 20 minutes: very poorly conceived and acted. Not continuing.
Coming from Josh Schwartz, Noga Landau and Stephanie Savage (Gossip Girl, Dynasty) and “centered on 18-year-old Nancy Drew…Set in the summer after her high school graduation….Nancy Drew thought she’d be leaving her hometown for college, but when a family tragedy holds her back another year, she finds herself embroiled in a ghostly murder investigation—and along the way, uncovers secrets that run deeper than she ever imagined.”
Kennedy McMann will play Nancy. Leah Lewis (Charmed) also stars, as “George, a tough, tattooed girl from the wrong side of the tracks, who felt personally wronged by Nancy in high school. George now finds herself a suspect in the killing along with her former nemesis, forcing her to team up with Nancy to track the culprit and clear their names… and it just may be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.” Tunji Kasim (Nearly Famous) will play “Ned ‘Nick’ Nickerson, Nancy’s secret flame. Nick is a former high school athlete with a mysterious past, who should be on full scholarship to a top university. Instead, he’s working as a car mechanic when he winds up a suspect in the murder along with Nancy —leading her to uncover a shocking motive from his past. But whether Nick’s a victim of circumstance or something far more sinister remains to be seen.” Also starring Maddison Jaizani (Versailles), Scott Wolff (replacing Freddie Prinze, Jr.), Alvina August (Siren), and Alex Saxon (The Fix). “Jaizani will play Bess, a refined young woman whose wealthy background sets her apart from Nancy—but when they both become suspects in the same murder, Bess proves to be a spirited ally in the search for the real killer, all the while doing whatever it takes to keep her own dark secrets hidden….Saxon will portray Ace, a charming dishwasher with a philosophical bent; his provocative insights on the murder investigation will lead Nancy to conclude that there’s much more to this supposed burnout than meets the eye….Prinze will play Nancy’s dad, Carson Drew, a dynamic attorney who has become estranged from Nancy following the recent death of his beloved wife. But his attempts to reconnect with his daughter run aground when Nancy’s murder investigation reveals unsettling secrets from Carson’s own past…August will play Detective Karen Hunt, an ambitious police detective who had a close friendship with Nancy’s late mother. Karen has a protective attitude towards Nancy (McMann), who tends to get in hot water while pursuing her various investigations…..Martin will play Harriet Grosset, a small-town psychic who offers her talents to help Nancy investigate a murder—and ends up delivering an otherworldly clue that neither of them bargained for. The name of the character appears to be paying homage to Nancy Drew’s origins: author, Harriet Adam,s is credited with shaping up the literary character and early storylines…….[Riley Smith, Proven Innocent, Frequency] plays the handsome and affluent Ryan Hudson whose trophy wife is the murder victim. While he has been ruled out as a suspect by the police, Nancy’s not so sure.”
Larry Teng (The Walking Dead, The Good Doctor, S.W.A.T., Criminal Minds, ElementaryLethal Weapon, Supergirl, Animal Kingdom, Medium) will direct.
More info and a trailer, here: https://movizark.com/2019/05/18/nancy-drew-the-upcoming-cw-series-gets-a-first-trailer-check-it-out/  and  https://movizark.com/2019/05/18/cw-reveals-full-synopses-for-batwoman-nancy-drew-and-katy-keene/
Disappointing; RENEWED for SEASON 2

What/If Netflix (premiered 5/24/19; LIMBO SEASON 2)
WE HATED THIS. Stopped watching mid-Episode 1. Don’t bother. Here is a trailer for this “upcoming anthology thriller series” (not to be confused with a series on network TV with the same name (see above).   https://deadline.com/2019/04/what-if-renee-zellweger-social-thriller-netflix-premiere-date-teaser-1202600097/ , giving film star, Renée Zellweger (botched facelift and all), her first TV series, but at Netflix. “Each season, the show will depict a different morality tale and delve into ‘the ripple effects of what happens when acceptable people start doing unacceptable things….Anne [Zellweger] is a venture capitalist who makes a lucrative, ethically perilous proposition to a financially strapped newlywed couple. Anne is magnetically charismatic, seductive, charming, even vulnerable when it serves her purpose…[b]ut she’s also a virtuoso of deception with a cauldron of destructive secrets, including a deeply buried metaphorical deal with the devil that set the course for her life back when she was still just a girl herself.’” Writer, Mike Kelley (Revenge), is creating and writing the series. He certainly knows how to write morally compromised/questionably ethical/seductive characters who are also charming! Cast includes Dave Annabelle (Brothers and Sisters, Red Band Society,), Louis Hurthum (Westworld),  Samantha Ware (Glee), Juan Castano, Keith Powers (The New Edition Story, Famous in Love) and Saamer Usmani (Reign). “Ware will play Angela, Castano will portray Marcos, Powers is Todd and Usmani will play Avery….Also starring: Tyler Ross (The Killing)Derek Smith (Grey’s Anatomy), Nana Ghana (White Rabbit), Monique Kim (Looks That Kill) and Marissa Cuevas (Midnight, Texas).
We hated this; LIMBO SEASON 2)

Briarpatch USA (premiered 2/6/20; already CANCELED)
This AWFUL “anthology series” (very trendy, apparently) based on the Ross Thomas‘ novel via writer-executive producer, Andy Greenwald, stars one of our faves, Alan Cumming (we miss Instinct and The Good Wife!). Ed Asner (The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Lou Grant) will play James Staghorne, Sr., the President and owner of the town’s only newspaper, The Chronicle. The longtime power behind the power in City Hall, he never bothers to hide his racism and resentment and deigns only to speak to his son Jimmy Jr. —-unless someone sets off his powerful temper. Cumming will portray Clyde Brattle, an elegant, charming, and murderous arms dealer. Currently a fugitive –-and the target of a Senatorial investigation run by Allegra Dill (Dawson) —-he arrives in town to wreak havoc and settle some old scores. Kim Dickens, Jay R. Ferguson, Brian Geraghty and Edi Gathegi also star.”
However, Cumming and Asner did not appear in the first Episode, and we aren’t continuing because this is terrible. Chris Cooper appeared, then was killed off already. Why?
Dawson plays Allegra “Pick” Dill, “a talented and tenacious PI working for a Senator in Washington, DC. When her ten-years-younger sister, a homicide detective, is killed by a car bomb, Allegra returns to her corrupt Texas hometown. What begins as a search for the murderer becomes a fraught and dangerous excavation of the past Allegra has long sought to bury…in a blend of crime, thriller, mystery, and pulp fiction….Ferguson (Mad Men, Living Biblically, The Real O’Neals) will play Jake Spivey, Allegra’s childhood best friend and former running buddy. Once the poorest kid in town, he’s returned from years of shadowy business abroad and reinvented himself as the region’s richest swell. Now, it’s said, he dabbles: In real estate, in society, in women. Whispers abound that he might just be dabbling in drugs, guns, and politics too — only most locals can’t decide which of those would be worse. Gathegi (StartUp) plays A.D. Singe, an estate attorney, an iconoclast, and — rarest of all in these parts — an optimist. He was Felicity Dill’s friend and is ready to be Allegra Dill’s friend too, if only she’ll let him. Geraghty (Ray Donovan) plays Captain Gene Colder, a model cop and citizen. A former boy scout, a current assistant deacon, and an inveterate professional climber, he was Felicity Dill’s boss ever since she was promoted to homicide. Now he’s ready and eager to do anything he can to wrap-up the investigation into her murder.”
No likable characters or situations. We hated this.
We hated this: OFF OUR LIST; already CANCELED

Indebted NBC (premiered 2/6/20; LIMBO for SEASON 2)
Is this canceled, yet? We couldn’t even get past the first 10 minutes. Fran Drescher‘s voice and the 4 main characters’ traits are so awful we turned it off.
Written by and exec produced along with Dan Levy (The Goldbergs, The Awesomes, Schooled). Starring Steven Weber (NCIS: New Orleans, many others), Fran Drescher (The Nanny), Adam Pally (Happy Endings, The Mindy Project, Making History), Abby Elliot (Happy Endings, Saturday Night Live, Odd Mom Out), Jessy Hodges (Barry, Graves, Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce), and Amer Padha-Chatel (Beecham House, Year of the Rabbit). “Indebted centers around young parents, Dave and Rebecca, who end up having to take care of Dave’s parents [Weber and Drescher] who have mishandled their finances and need help to pay down a sizable debt. The project is expected to touch upon social issues as the title refers to the fact that the family has no insurance….Pally’s Dave is a natural hype man with a good heart. Elliott’s Rebecca is a supermom who longs for the kind of order she never can achieve in a chaotic household…. Hodges will play Joanna, Dave’s edgy younger sister. Chadha-Patel is Aram, Dave’s business partner who is fast talking and always trying to make a deal.”
How is this a “comedy”? I guess the way all other dark topics can be made funny… But, this writer is NOT one of our faves.
Truly awful; LIMBO for SEASON 2

(Thanks to and most quotes from: Women & Hollywood, http://TVShowsCancelled.com/Deadline and http://www.indiewire.com).

Watch this!

BILL MCGOLDRICK of the SyFy Channel Previews 5 new shows for EW

BILL MCGOLDRICK of the SyFy Channel Previews 5 new shows for EW

SyFy logo

Link to full article, trailers and interview, below. 5 shows summarized here:

Ascension “Mini-series; possible series. Six hours. Stars Brian Van Holt, Tricia Helfer. The show sets up an alternate version of reality in which, in 1963, President Kennedy and the U.S. government, fearing the Cold War will become hot and lead to the destruction of the Earth, decided to launch a covert space mission. They sent 600 men, women and children into space on a century-long voyage aboard the Ascension, a massive, self-sustaining generation ship. Their mission is to populate a new world, known as Proxima, assuring the survival of the human race. Nearly 50 years into the journey (i.e. in the present), as they approach the point of no return, the mysterious murder of a young woman—the first homicide since their departure—causes the ship’s crew to question the true nature of their mission. Premieres Dec. 15, 2014.”

12 Monkeys “Series, 13 episodes. Stars Aaron Stanford, Amanda Schull and Kirk Acevedo. A complete re-imagning of the Terry Gilliam film. A time-traveler from a decimated future journeys back to present day in a bid to locate and eradicate the source of a deadly plague that will pretty much annihilate the human race. Premieres Jan. 16, 2015.”

Childhood’s End “Mini-series, 6 hours. Stars Charles Dance. Based on Arthur C. Clarke’s sci-fi classic, follows a breed of aliens called the ‘Overlords,’ who manage to peacefully invade and rule Earth, and create a pseudo-utopia that comes at the price of human identity and culture. Premieres 2015.”

The Expanse “Series, 10 episodes. Stars Thomas Jane, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Steven Strait. Based on the series of books by James S.A. Corey, a thriller set two hundred years in the future, The Expanse follows the case of a missing young woman who brings a hardened detective and a rogue ship’s captain together in a race across the solar system to expose the greatest conspiracy in human history. No date.”

Hunters “Series, 13 episodes. Based on Whitley Strieber’s novel Alien Hunter, a Philadelphia cop searches for his missing wife leads and discovers a secret government unit that assembled to hunt a group of ruthless terrorists who may not be from this world. Premieres 2016.”


My Fall #NewTVShows Reviews: 2014 is a VERY Mixed Season, thru 10/1/14

Yes: I watch TV. Not reality shows, not zombie shows, not most half-hour sit coms and not late-night or daytime shows. But, prime time shows sometimes get my attention.

I have a few I keep watching (until they end or are cancelled; you can find most of those on my Pinterest board: http://www.pinterest.com/sallyember), but this post is about new shows.

Then, there are this Fall’s new shows. For a somewhat unbiased summary of each new show, check TV Guide: http://www.tvguide.com/special/fall-preview/new-shows.aspx

Since my mom and I are sampling some of the new shows, I kindly provide my /our recommendations and opinions, below.

#unexpectedlygreatTV: Red Band Society premiered this week and blew me away. My mom didn’t want to watch it since it features adolescents and she isn’t so interested (well, she is over 80…). But I have a soft spot for teens and decided to give it a try. It has Octavia Spencer and Dave Annabelle, it is produced by Steven Spielberg: how bad could it be?

#RedBandSociety is astonishingly excellent: script, acting, story, values, humor, poignancy, pathos, hope. It’s got it all. The promos (branding it as “‘The Breakfast Club’ in a hospital” does NOT do it justice) are not sufficient.


Give it a watch. I promise you’ll be pleasantly surprise. Bring tissues. BTW: I am not paid or compensated in any way for this review. I HATE Fox news, but Fox TV is often great.

Episode 2 was also good, but not as good as Episode 1, BTW. http://www.fox.com/red-band-society/

#asgoodasexpectedTV: Madam Secretary was excellent. If you like great acting, scripting, suspense and twists in your political dramas, watch #MadamSecretary!

Kudos to Tea Leoni for picking, co-producing and starring in this intriguing show and to producer Barbara Hall for bringing another of her favorites from other shows into this one: great to see Tim Daly again. Enjoying the relationship between his character and Tea’s (married to each other).

Give this one a chance. http://www.cbs.com/shows/madam-secretary/

#reallylikethisshow Forever has an interesting premise, a good-to-excellent cast, and Sherlock-like mysteries/crimes to solve. Well-timed flashbacks give just enough to tantalize and inform slightly. What’s not to like?

Good to see Judd Hirsch, again (liked him in NUMBERS), and I like the dynamic between him and Ioan Gruffudd (the lead). Their actual relationship becomes apparent and is fascinating. Ioan Gruffudd and the police detective, Alana De La Garza, have great potential as well.

Also interesting to see one of the former interns from BONES working in another morgue-like setting (Joel David Moore) and Lorraine Toussaint in another role as a high-up police officer.

Give #Forever a whirl! Both the pilot and Episode 2 (playing in the same week for inexplicable reasons) were fun. http://abc.go.com/shows/forever

#fantasticTV Scorpion delivers, bigtime, especially if you like harrowing, fast-car and airplane antics, last-minute rescues and strange combinations of characters and plot. I like the “true-story” basis, with the backstory and complicated relationship between the Robert Patrick character (loved his irascible self on the X-FILES and his odd-ball, shapeshifting father on TRUE BLOOD, among other roles) and one of the leads,
Elyes Gabel.


Great to see Katherine McPhee in a non-singing, maternal-figure role and getting to play an action heroine as well. So far, so great! Had some great actors in bit parts for the Pilot which bodes well for future episodes.

Plus, the co-producers/exec producers is like a who’s who of film and TV producers that spans SCRUBS to STAR TREK to THE AMAZING SPIDERMAN to FAST & FURIOUS. Unique plot and effects combos can come from that crew!

If you liked and miss TOUCH, ALPHAS, SNEAKERS (film), and/or other ensemble cast of misfits shows in which they each showcase their talents/skills and solve problems/crimes and save lives, #Scorpion is for you. http://www.cbs.com/shows/scorpion/

#ShondaRhimesdoesitagainTV I predict that Shonda Rhimes has another hit on her hands with How To Get Away with Murder. Strong female leads, especially African-Americans, are her specialty: THANKS for those, Shonda: great storylines, interesting supporting characters, fascinating peeks into medicine, politics, and now, law. Throw in parenting, marriage, college/graduate school, small business dynamics and sex and you can see the formula but it doesn’t feel formulaic at all.

I like the writing, by Peter Nowalk. Viola Davis was provided a nuanced, deeply troubled character to play: a brilliant role that Davis plays to perfection. Good to see [a very much blonder and thinner (why?)] Liza Weil (loved her in Gilmore Girl, among other series and guest appearances), Alfie Enoch (from Harry Potter movies, now all grown up and calling himself Alfred) again along with many surprise “new” and not-overused faces in this diverse cast.


If you like courtroom/law and mixed-age dramas, you’ll like this! #Howtogetawaywithmurder does not disappoint! http://abc.go.com/shows/how-to-get-away-with-murder

#triteandprobablycancelledTV The Mysteries of Laura, with Debra Messing, should have been better. Instead, the script was predicatable and trite, many of the fine actors were wasted, there were too many car chase sequences, and her single-mom-as-crack-detective is not credible, if only because she keeps leaving her NOT pre-school (but billed as such) twin hellion boys with random staff and who knows whom to race off to solve crimes. Sure.

And no one predicted (SPOILER ALERT) that her soon-to-be-ex is her new boss. Right.

Messing looks great and has wonderful acting chops but is wasted in this travesty of a cop show. Give it a miss.

I did watch Episode 2, just so no one could say I made a hasty judgment. It was marginally better than Episode 1, but only in that they kept the fake pre-school-aged kids mostly out of it. Otherwise, The Mysteries of Laura is now is a parody of itself, cliches abounding. Too bad.

My prediction: #MysteriesofLaura will run probably 4 shows, tops. http://www.nbc.com/the-mysteries-of-laura

#beentheredonethatbetterthanthisTV Gotham was disappointing in almost every way. First of all, do the writers not understand anachronisms? E.g.:

  • 1) There would NEVER have been any people of color, much less any women, in high-ranking positions in either the police or organized crime syndicates when the character of Bruce Wayne was a child, yet this Episode, the pilot, had several in the PD and one in crime.
  • 2) Black women in that era did not dye parts of their hair bright red (probably didn’t even have the materials to do so), yet one character in this Episode had hair like that.
  • 3) The opening scene, intended to make the character of Jim Gordon as a rookie seem brave and clever just came off as his being arrogant and stupid, especially since the anti-psychotic pills the criminal was clamoring for did not exist in that era; that criminal, if he had been that psychotic, would have been in residential care (pre-Reagan, they ALL were); and, the PLASTIC bottle of aspirin did not exist yet, either.


Next, why is the character of Alfred suddenly more Australian than British? Was that an accident or are the writers that ignorant of the original Batman story?

Finally, the story was improbably, boring, and untrue to the origins in too many other ways. Whenever any TV show or film spends a lot of time in “chases” or creepy entrances, we know they are short on plot and low on in-depth characterization.

Too bad. The original story and premise would have made great TV. Oh, wait; they already DID movies and a TV show about Batman. http://www.fox.com/gotham/

#anotherdisappointingspinoffTV NCIS New Orleans is not only disappointing but completely unnecessary. There was not one original moment in the entire first Episode of the series even though NCIS and NCIS Los Angelesgave this series a running start and even had many of the characters and the setting pre-trialed last year on NCIS.

What a waste of the many talents of Scott Bakula (he wasn’t even playing the piano live in the jazz music scene!), C.C.H. Pounder and the rest of the cast, writers, crew and director. Too bad. No wonder they don’t look happy in this promo shot…


Even staunch fans of NCIS‘ other two shows, like my mom, didn’t like it. She and I agreed that it was BORING.

I give it a half season at best. #NCISNO is a no-go. http://www.cbs.com/shows/ncis-new-orleans/

October 2 and beyond:
Kathyrn Heigl’s new drama, State of Affairs (Mon., 11/17)

Kate Walsh’s sure-to-be-short-lived “comedy,” Bad Judge (Thurs., 10/2, NBC)

Cristela Alonzo’s semi-autobiographical comedy, Cristela (Fri., 10/10, ABC)

Jane the Virgin (Mon., 10/13, CW) offends me just by the title.

Shows I already Skipped and I am not Sorry:
A – Z
The Affair
The Flash
Happy Land
Manhattan Love Story
Marry Me
The McCarthys
Survivor’s Remorse