Fall has traditionally been the time when the networks unveil their best news shows. And, amusingly, within two weeks one or two are usually cancelled. This Fall has been something of an exception with the first show not getting cancelled until after four whole episodes! What staying power the networks have! I also have to wonder if now that the first domino has fallen if other shows will get the axe next. I also wonder why American networks don’t simply do what the British networks do and ask for 6 episodes in a season so that if a show doesn’t get renewed at least its story is finished.
I have imagined that people wonder why we don’t watch all the shows that get huge raves from people In the Know, and the primary reason is that we don’t have any premium channels and can’t be bothered to watch things on our computer. So, yeah, someday we’ll binge watch Veep or maybe Game of Thrones (actually, Sarah will never watch that), but for now, we’re still a broadcast TV family.
To follow-up on a couple of shows from the summer: we actually never even watched Fargo, despite my being excited to watch it. I read about how violent it was and just decided to give it a miss. And Halt and Catch Fire was mildly intriguing, but not enough for us to watch more than two episodes. Two shows that we did enjoy quite a lot were Married (terribly uninspired name, guys) and You’re the Worst. They were both shockingly raunchy.
Of the two, You’re the Worst was much funnier. In addition to the two main characters, who were just so unpleasant, the supporting cast was awesome. I haven’t heard if the show was renewed, but I hope so. Oh, I see it was, hooray. Married was a bit more problematic for me, as I love Judy Green and Nat Faxon, but the show just wasn’t all that funny. It certainly had moments, again mostly from the great supporting cast, but the main plot lines between Greer and Faxon were just so negative and hopeless that it didn’t really inspire much humor.
Two other great comedies that we saw this summer were new to us. A Comedy Central show that we missed last season but loved this season was Drunk History. Holy cow is that show funny. The reenactments are simply genius, and I am so curious to know if these people actually know the history that they are talking about or if they are given scripts or what. We need to find Season 1 to see what we missed. And Garfunkel and Oates is a fantastic show starring the great comedy team of, well Garfunkel and Oates. I’ve enjoyed their music videos a whole lot and was delighted by their show as well. Hooray for Kate and Riki.
We also watched Welcome to Sweden which was pretty dreadful–so much potential but no chemistry and no comic timing. I assumed it had been cancelled, but I just read that it was renewed. Huh.
Anyway, on to the Fall and new shows:
So last time, I did a tally of networks. Let’s see who wins this time:
ABC: 6 FOX: 5 NBC: 4 CBS: 3 SyFy: 1 Comedy Central: 1
ABC has finally surpassed FOX. I find that somewhat hard to believe, but they did it. CBS and NBC just can’t seem to boost those averages.
The Simpsons (FOX)
We did not watch the FXX every Simpson Episode Marathon, which sounded amazing and which, if I was in college, I may have stayed up for the entire thing. But the latest season has been really funny. Suck it, haters. I also really liked the Family Guy/Simpson crossover–very well done.
Bob’s Burgers (FOX)
Bob’s Burgers had a couple great episodes and now seems to be on hiatus for sports. Which is better than it getting preempted for sports and ruining the whole Sunday night lineup. I can wait, it’s worth it.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine (FOX)
Not sure why they moved this to Sunday, but it’s still funny. I like the way they wrapped up the “summer” cliffhanger in a few minutes and got back to what the show does best. The show may not have deserved the Emmy so quickly, but it has certainly hit its stride.
Mulaney (FOX) STOPPED WATCHING
I had never heard of John Mulaney until Seth Myers interviewed him and gave his background as a writer par excellence. And I enjoyed his banter on the show. So I was pretty excited about this new sitcom. But man is it awful. Mulaney himself is pretty funny in his pre-show standup and even the lines he delivers during the show are funny. But he is so unnatural as an actor. It’s as if the script reads: Mulaney speaks, everyone pause, focus camera angle just on him, let him deliver his joke in his stilted stand up style, wait for explosive laughter, return to dialogue. His stand up style just doesn’t work as dialogue. And his entire supporting cast (except for Eliot Gould) is dreadful. So, we gave up on it, as it seems Fox probably has.
This show excels in cheesy goodness. We loved the pilot despite all of the very accurate criticisms I heard tossed at it–improbable, unscientific, way over the top. And yup, that’s all true, but there’s something about the chemistry of the actors and the fun over the topness that I really like. Of course, there are still kinks to be worked out (the opening sequence that describes the show and the characters even feels like they had to tack on that bit about helping the normal lady’s son to make it more I don’t know, sweet?). But I like how they’ve basically dispensed with the kid because that is a dead end premise if ever there was. So yes, a cheesy show, but a fun one. And I enjoy that Eddie Kaye Thomas has to run at top speed in every episode so far.
Sleepy Hollow (FOX)
We didn’t watch the finale last season, but we did watch the first episode of this season. I know Sarah is still interested, but I’ve completely lost the thread of the show and don’t really care anymore.
I loved the premise of this show–part Elementary, part Grimm (with the shop of science and magic). And then I noticed over the course of the four episodes we’ve watched, that they have slowly taken the mystical elements away from the show. I loved that he was going to die a lot, but he hasn’t died in the last two episodes. They’ve even stopped doing that “other” guy who has his same condition (which is fine, that was a stupid plot line that doesn’t need furthering). But now that you take away those two elements, it’s basically Elementary. So I’ve lost some interest. And, really, no one needs to redo Jack the Ripper. We’ll see where it goes in the next few episodes.
Selfie (ABC) CANCELLED
I figured this show would get cancelled after 6 episodes. It didn’t look promising, but I like John Cho a lot and wanted to watch his new show (even if he doesn’t get top billing). And, despite the icky premise, the show has been pretty funny. I hate the lead character. I know she is supposed to be awful, but she is just too awful. The supporting cast (and Cho) are great though, and if they could just tweak Eliza (and get her to stop wearing such awful outfits–at least make her a slightly believable character) the show might work.
Manhattan Love Story (ABC) CANCELLED
This show seemed awful from the start, but since it debuted early, we gave it a shot. I was surprised to see that the lead actress Annaleigh Tipton was a model from ANTM many years ago. So good for her for getting her own series (she must be the most successful alum of that show that I can’t believe is still on). But gawd did this show suck. We gave up after five minutes of episode 2 (pilots aren’t really a fair introduction). And it now has the distinction of being the first canceled show of fall 2014.
New Girl (FOX)
New Girl jumped right into the season with some great episodes. After languishing in that dull Nick/Jess partnership last season, they have simply moved on to better things. And there have been some great moments already this season (although the micropenis episode was a pretty low point). They are also pushing some bounds of good taste a lot more than usual (sex fist!). Which is a good thing. Glad to have them back.
Marry Me (NBC)
Tuesday night was a quiet night last season, but now it is chock full of shows. As such, I don’t know that we’ll be able to watch Marry Me all that often. Which is a shame because Ken Marino rules. There were some great jokes in the pilot and some funny things in episode 2. I’m not sure how much they can really do with the show, but I do hope they either keep repeating it on Fridays or keep showing sports on Fox Tuesday to preempt New Girl. We’ll see.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC)
S.H.I.E.L.D. has been really exciting this season. The whole destruction of the Agency was an amazing plot twist. And the whole Fitz/Simmons twist was very cool too. I also like that they keep throwing in new characters, it’s keeping it very interesting. Although Sarah and I laugh at the thought of Hydra putting their logo all over the place. Try to imagine some low paid Hydra guy having to paint the stencil of the octopus on the walls of their office. Or the lapel pins–where did they order those from?
Hasn’t returned yet, but I’ve got high hopes.
The Goldbergs (ABC)
This show absolutely cracks me up. Barry is comedy gold and Beverly continues to be cringe-worthy genius. Of course, there are major weird plot holes and timeline issues, but since it’s all supposed to be in Adam’s memory, that can be forgiven. We also love when they show “actual” footage from his childhood at the end of the episode.
Modern Family (ABC)
Slight up tick in the humor lately–there’s no way this should have won five Emmys, but it’s still pretty solidly funny. I’m delighted that Andrea Anders is going to be on the show for a bit.
Face Off (SyFy)
Face Off continues to amaze me with their designs. And, more impressively, with the fact that the artists actually help each other. It’s still one of the nicest reality shows around. Last season I complained that all of the women were kinda mean, but this season has had some of the nicest contestants ever, and I want all of them to win, especially the cake decorator.
Now this is a funny show. The kids are a bit too cute and precious, but hat’s okay. The writing is solid (that scene where he tries to find friends for his son was hilarious) and the cast is really great. I only wish that when they announce the show before it comes on that they would say it correctly–black-ISH, not BLACK-ish, come on.
A to Z (NBC) CANCELLED
I want this to be a little funnier. And I want the lead guy to look less like Scott Baio. On the positive side, I loved hearing the This Week in Baseball theme, and I can’t believe I knew the whole thing even though I haven’t heard it since 1977. I don’t quite get the Katey Segal introduction about this being a documentary or whatever, since there is no real evidence of that premise in the show–it seems like an odd tack on. I kind of like that we know the relationship is finite. And I rather hope that the show gets to go from A to Z before getting cancelled. Although if it were to get canceled early, they should have done it in the third episode and called it C for Canceled.
The Mysteries of Laura (NBC) STOPPED WATCHING
Strange how they made her so unappealing. I liked that she was a female Sherlock Holmes type character (I know that the males Holmes characters are unappealing, but I found her character less enjoyably unappealing–perhaps I am just sexist). I also didn’t care about her family life. So we bailed after two episodes.
Key & Peele (Comedy Central)
Key & Peele is solidly funny. This new western/driving opening business is weird and I wonder how it will pay off at the end of the season. I do miss them standing in front of their fans, but the car things is so odd that I like it as a change of pace.
Big Bang Theory (CBS)
Glad that Raj has more screen time and I love Penny’s new haircut. I don’t care that they are planning to get married, but if they can mine it for comedy that’s fine with me.
I feel bad that we never caught up with the end of last season. And now this is the final season and we have so much to go. We’ll never catch up before the show ends. And I still want to, I swear!
So nice to have it back! Sad that Monroe and Rosalee didn’t get to enjoy a honeymoon, though.
CANCELLED AND SADLY MISSED
Warehouse 13 (SyFy)
But at least it got to end on its own terms.
The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon (NBC)
I have grown very tired of Fallon and his same jokes, his mugging for the camera and his love of Chris Christie. I only watch his musical guests now.
The Late Show with Seth Meyers (NBC)
Seth Meyers is our new favorite late night guy. He’s funny and charming. His stand up is clever and his family stories are always funny. We may not watch his guests, but we watch most of his monologues.
Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (CBS)
Curious to see what happens when Craig leaves.
The Daily Show (Comedy Central)
We don’t watch this all the time, but it’s always good for a laugh, so it’s nice to have a few of these saved up.
The Colbert Report (Comedy Central)
Curious to see how they do the send off for this show at the end of the year when Colbert moves to the Letterman spot.