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, HIMYM, Parks 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!
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.
Black-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, 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, 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.
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!