TV

Fall TV Week: Wednesday Horror Story

I don’t know if anyone has realized this, but there’s like, a lot of shows on TV right now. There’s not as much as Tuesday, but the 10 PM Wednesday block is stacked. Though, I now know I should have used my time turner to watch Designated Survivor live instead of My Roanoke Nightmare. American Horror Story: I Couldn’t Live-Tweet A Good Show.

Speechless, Wednesdays at 8:30 on ABC
It’s fun to see how many new “kooky white family” Pilots air each season. Imagine the pitch:

We need groundbreaking television! Guys… I think I have it. Please, tell us! So there’s this family right? Great. What Else. And they’re like, a super kooky white family. Brilliant. Keep Going. But here’s the twist. They’re getting a divorce/are superheroes/it’s the 80’s/they’re serial killers, etc. etc. etc.

You get it. Speechless sort of fits into the “kooky white family” trope, so it really wasn’t high on my list, but with all the early praise I had to tune in. And I’m glad I did, because unlike most kooky white family shows, it actually is groundbreaking. The DiMeo’s are tough but sweet, and I was genuinely stunned when I found out that Micah Fowler actually has cerebral palsy rather than just playing it. No offense Artie Abrams, but that’s a big deal. Speechless begs the age-old question: if you’re a family sitcom that’s not on Wednesdays on ABC, do you even try?

black-ish, Wednesdays at 9:30 on ABC
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The Johnson’s are the best, even despite the fact that this premiere was one long commercial for Disney World, planned for no reason other than the fact that the show airs on ABC (sidenote: nothing will beat the meta Full House Disney World special, where DJ imagines Steve as Aladdin, which is funny because he was the character’s voice actor). Regardless of the plot setup this episode had me laughing out loud, from Bow walking around with Mickey hands and feet eating a turkey leg to Charlie describing how he’s lived in the office for two months because his house is haunted. The family lesson about having fun together is cheesy as hell, but I still got a little choked up watching them enjoy the fireworks over Cinderella’s castle. C’mon, I’m not a robot.

American Horror Story: Roanoke, Wednesdays at 10 on FX
Womp. That’s how I feel about this season. I get that it’s a horror anthology show in it’s sixth season and you have to maintain some surprise and introduce new elements to keep the audience entertained. But repeating familiar plots has never hurt this show before (we’re all fine with having two Evan Peters ghosts roaming haunted buildings in LA), so changing the format this late in the game feels a little unnecessary. I’m assuming, and hoping, that there’s going to be a huge twist at the end that reveals My Roanoke Nightmare is Billie Dean Howard’s new TV show, or the talking heads are coverups for some horrifying conspiracy, or we find out it’s just a fever dream Matt Bomer is recounting to his therapist, Darren Criss. But for now, I don’t care about any of the characters because they all seemingly live to tell the tale. I’m not watching reruns of Discovery Channel’s A Haunting for a reason. Just give Lily Rabe more to do, and show me Evan Peters already. Also, I kind of miss the theme song.

Designated Survivor, Wednesdays at 10 on ABC
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I am EXCITED about this show. All caps excited. I was a little young to get into 24 when it was on, but there’s something in the air and I think it’s this show uniting America as one nation under President Kirkman. I typically don’t care about fictional politics unless they’re Selina Meyer’s on Veep, but I’ve been fully obsessed with the presidential hierarchy for years so I feel like they just made this show for me. There was so much going on but my early guess is that the army general wants to kill Kiefer Sutherland because his son has been illegally selling drugs to teenage terrorists and somehow Maggie Q is involved because she seemed pretty chill for someone who just witnessed her friends/family/husband (?) die. This show is going to get so juicy and I cannot wait.

Mr. Robot, Season Finale also at 10 on USA
Ugh, I love Mr. Robot. But not this episode. Rami Malek is fantastic, and he deserved that Emmy. But not for long, winding conversations with Tyrell Wellick, who I was thrilled was barely in the season because his storylines put me to sleep. Last season’s reveal of who Mr. Robot really was was shocking, and Elliott & Mr. Robot’s dynamic this season has been interesting, but it’s not the same. There were so many  questions that needed answering, so many things at risk, so many and now I’m just fully confused. Is Stage Two getting Elliott to fall in love with Tyrell? I didn’t even catch the end-credits scene because I was glad the episode was over, and while I’m intrigued for what the Trenton/Mobley/Leon story means, I also still have no idea what any of it means. And I’m going to forget everything by next year.

Thank God It’s Thursday.

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TV

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

With that I mean, obviously, the Fall television schedule. The leaves are changing, the temperature, and you’re sitting in a dark room watching every possible new pilot and deciding which you’ll actually stick with through the rest of the year. It’s the one time where there’s shows on TV with ridiculous concepts (see Selfie) and everything’s riding on a single Pilot episode. It really is the most wonderful time of the year.

With that in mind, and the fact that so many of my old shows are gone (RIP, HIMYMParks and Recreation till the midseason, and I’m still not over The Office), I made it my mission to watch as many Pilots as I could. Here goes nothing!


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A to Z, NBC, Thursdays at 9:30pm; airs October 2

I’ve discussed how I feel about rom-coms before, so maybe the fact that A to Z was incredibly cheesy and romantic was what won me over. But I really liked this one. The characters are interesting; it’s the cliched “guy believes in fate, girl rejects it” tale at first, but our Andrew and Zelda, played by Ben Feldman and Cristin Milioti, manage to evolve even a little bit over the course of the first 20 minutes. The premise, while it could get old after a while (can they have more than 26 episodes?), is at least a different spin on the typical dating comedies that have been overloading networks for the past few years. Coming back from her death as The Mother on HIMYM, I am really pulling for a good show for Milioti, and with the ultimate question of “what happens after they date for 8 months?” I’ll stick with this one for now. A to Z is, in a word, cute.


 

blackish-101Black-ish, ABC, Wednesdays at 9:30pm

I am an incredibly privileged person. As a straight, white, middle-class, girl I have seen people like me on TV for my entire life. It was never a question for me of, “why aren’t people like our family on TV?” because since the 90s network TV has been incredibly whitewashed. So I was really excited to see Anthony Anderson’s Black-ish on the ABC line up this year. And after watching, I really enjoyed it. It’s sad that a show like this has to be praised for being “different” in the year 2014, but it deserves the praise because it is different. Some people have found offense in the many stereotypical jokes, while others felt that it was a good representation of what it is like to live in a predominantly white society (a coworker of Anderson’s Andre asks him in a whisper “How would a black person say ‘good morning’?” prompting Andre to respond “Just like that.”) I thought Black-ish balanced social commentary well with comedy, and I look forward to seeing more of the Johnson family next week.


 

gotham Gotham, FOX, Mondays at 8pm

If there’s two things I love, it’s Batman and The OC. So when news first broke about FOX’s new show Gotham earlier this year, I was thrilled to see Ben McKenzie back on my TV and a new twist on the story we’re pretty much all familiar with at this point. I’ll admit I was a bit nervous considering the success of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy (as most were) because how could they really tell this story in a way that might be more interesting? But so far, so good. The first episode of Gotham was a lot of setups and introductions, considering they have a lot of future villains and heroes to feature, but it was also incredibly entertaining (Jada Pinkett Smith is going to be the next big evil TV mastermind). In the end, it might be just another NYC cop show with a young Bruce Wayne running around and maybe McKenzie is just playing off his role as a cop in Southland and his role punching people in The OC but this is a show that lived up to it’s hype so far.


how-to-get-away-with-murder-posterHow to Get Away with Murder, ABC, Thursdays at 10pm

I’ve never watched a Shonda Rhimes show. I know. You hate me already. Scandal has been on my watchlist for probably two years now and my friends have been begging me to start Grey’s Anatomy for at least six, so I was determined to get started with How to Get Away with Murder, especially considering Aflie Enoch (aka Dean Thomas) was starring. And let me tell you, I was not disappointed. This show was awesome: a little cheesy, at-times unbelievable, and so full of plot twists it felt like it had been on for weeks. Viola Davis was fantastic as the tough-as-nails law professor who’s also having an affair and also may have killed her husband. The pilot read like a feature film, and I already have a list of guesses for what might happen in future episodes. If you watch just one show this season, it should probably be this one.

 


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Red Band Society, FOX, Wednesdays at 9pm

Red Band Society has already gotten a lot of heat from people who actually work in hospitals; the kids are given way too much freedom, their bedrooms and clothing are too casual, they’re all simply too strong and healthy for the majority of their screen time. And yeah, people who don’t know what it’s like to be a teenager with cancer may look at this show and think, “Hey! Those sick kids said the hospital is ‘like boarding school.’ Must not be that bad.” However, I also think that it’s important to get a look, even an exaggerated and airbrushed look, at kids who are experiencing real issues. My 15 year old sister tunes into this show, and just maybe it’ll spark an interest in helping kids like these extremely fictional characters. At the very least, it’s a primetime network show that screams “sick teenagers are people too!” It’s campy and not infinitely accurate, but I recommend it all the same.


I’ve barely scratched the surface of which new shows are actually worth watching, and I’m still waiting till October to start Marry Me (NBC), Mulaney (FOX), and The Flash (CW). But if you’ve watched any of the above shows, or recommend any I’ve missed, comment below!

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