On Fall TV, in November

IMG_1779So, I tried real hard to have a Fall preview up here in late August.  I had a large list of shows picked out, a short handwritten synopsis of them, and even had printed out a calendar to colo(u)r-code.  Then school started (after a busier-than-I ever-want-again-summer), and I had to, like, work. And here I am with two weeks until Thanksgiving! The good news is that by doing it this way, we can cut through the BS, and look at the list of televisions shows that I am actually watching. There is always a certain amount of attrition each season, so really this is the true list. This list doesn’t include the summer shows I kept up with, such as The Bridge and Broadchurch; these belong on another half-written post that may make it to “publish” some day.

I watch the following shows through a combination of DVR, Hulu +, and “live tv.”  I stay current on most of the dramas, and with the exception of Parks & Recreation, I tend to let a couple episodes of the comedies pile up and watch them on the weekend. The other thing to keep in mind is that I am a sports fan, so on any given night there may be a baseball  game (#thecardinalway) or hockey game (this is our year!) to distract me. I absolutely know that I am missing some good shows, but this is what I can do.  It is also entirely possible that I am watching way too many shows on Fox.

So, as evidenced by my colo(u)r-coded calendar:

Masters of Sex (Showtime): I am thoroughly enjoying this look at Bill Masters and Virgina Johnson, who were among the first people to study female sexuality. It probably helps that I am thoroughly in love with both Michael Sheen and Lizzie Caplan, who play the titular characters. The show does needs to work a little harder to develop Virgina Johnson, however the dramatized version of this real-life St. Louis 1950s research team is always entertaining. One of the few shows I watch as it airs.

Almost Human (Fox): The only show on this list that hasn’t debuted yet, it is from exec produced by J.J. Abrams, stars some attractive people, and has a sci-fi concept. Obviously, I will be there.

Sleepy Hollow (Fox): This show is so ridiculous that it is highly entertaining. Created by the team behind Fringe (RIP), it is the story of Ichabod Crane, re-told to make Ichabod an Englishman, who was killed in the Revolutionary War (obvs, he fought on the side of us Yanks) by the Headless Horseman, who awakes in present day Sleepy Hollow. Here he meets local deputy Abbie Mills (whose mentor was decapitated by said Headless Horseman), and together they become the two Witnesses destined to stave of the apocalypse. Oh, and there is also the witch Katrina, Ichabod’s wife, who is trapped in purgatory.  If this sounds bat-shit crazy, you are correct. If it also sounds like one of the most enjoyable shows on right now, you are also correct. The chemistry between the two leads is excellent, and the way the show makes American history fit into its needs, a la National Treasurer, is so ridiculous it works. The fact that Ichabod is still wearing the clothes he was buried in 200 years ago, is an example of why this show is so crazy it works.

Agents of SHIELD (ABC): Off to a slow start, I am sticking with it because of 1) Joss Whedon and 2) the Avengers connections. So far this story of the Agents of SHIELD working after the battle of New York that happened in the Avengers movie has been a bit pedestrian, with story lines that aren’t really taking advantage of the rich comic book world it can work in. However, because of the two reasons above, I suspect I will stick with it for the at least this season.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Fox): The best new comedy out there, it follows a group of homicide detectives in Brooklyn. Led by Andre Braugher’s Captain Holt (who is one of the few gay captains in the NYPD) and Andy Samberg’s Jake Peralta, the show brings a great cast that has clicked quickly, and some fabulous one-liners. Created by some of the people behind Parks & Recreation, it sports a diverse cast (that doesn’t feel the need to tell you all the time how diverse it is), makes me like Andy Samberg again, and well, has Frank Pembleton with the best deadpan this side of, well Frank Pembleton. Don’t believe me, check it out here

New Girl & The Mindy Project (Fox): New Girl was fantastic last season. The Mindy Project beat my beloved Ben and Kate out for renewal. I am still watching both. New Girl is in that slump after total excellence, and The Mindy Project is still wildly uneven with at least few jokes that make me laugh every episode. I am rooting for both of them to be successful (even if it is begrudgingly so in The Mindy Project’s case) and enjoying them.

Arrow (CW): Since this is the show that caters to the (straight) female gaze on an equal footing to the male, all I need really need to say is “salmon ladder.” (Check it out, I’ll wait.) But, since the show is so darn good, I will also say it brings above-average storytelling, zigs when I think it might zag, and has fixed some of the main problems from last season.  Now if they could just figure out what to do with Laurel, and her constant damsel in distress ways….

Nashville (ABC): The show I can’t quit, not matter how ridiculous it becomes. The weirdest combination doing just exactly what I think it will do and also not at all what I think, but somehow annoying me at least 70% of the time. There are good story lines in there, and well Mrs. Coach, but I resent characters completing changing when  it fits the storyline. I don’t like nice guys, becoming “Nice Guys,” and I don’t really understand why Teddy still exists.

Parks & Recreation (NBC): Oh Parks & Recreation, you wonderful show, even Jerry (or is it Garry? Nah, let’s call him Larry)  keeps coming back for more. If this is the last year I get to enjoy Leslie & Co., I plan on taking full advantage of it. All #bossbitch of it.   After all it is a show that I like that is on television.

The Returned (Sundance): The most recent addition to my list, you might call it a show about french zombies. And while people coming back from the dead is the factor that pulls you in, the quiet way it handles this is why you should stay. It is very French, but with a beautiful setting in the French Alps, and good balance between plot and character development, I am  completely hooked.  Check it out, and I promise you will be happy you said oui  à Les Revenants.