WHAT TO WATCH: MARCH 2014

ImageSo we are already a week and a half into March and I’m just now getting around to writing this post. That’s for various reasons. One of which includes the fact that there is simply not that much worth talking about in March. While April will bring us HBO comedies, Game of Thrones, and most importantly Mad Men, March has very little to offer in way of new content worth watching. But alas, the show must go on, so here’s a few things you might want to look for this month:

7. March Madness (CBS, TBS, TNT and TruTV, March 20): I don’t think I’ve watched a single second of NCAA basketball this season, but that doesn’t mean the tournament isn’t a worthwhile TV event. Mainly because, you know, when else can you see Duke basketball on TV?

6. Believe (NBC, March 10): Let’s just be totally honest here. This is a show I’m probably not going to watch. But there is some logic to it being included on this list. Executive Producer and Director of the pilot episode is none other than Academy Award winning director Alfonso Cuaron. The pilot is actually airing right now, as I sit here to write this, but I’m watching highlights from the Wizards/Heat game, so yeah, I’m not going to watch this show. But maybe I’ll just go watch Gravity again?

5. Crisis (NBC, March 16): Another NBC midseason show, and this one, I may actually watch (the pilot at least). The show has been described as being basically the same premise as Hostages (the incredibly short-lived CBS fall show) starring Dylan McDermott and Toni Collette, replacing those actors with the confusingly similar Durmot Mulroney and Gillian Anderson (I really wish Anderson would just stick around on Hannibal, where she is amazing). I have very low expectations for this show, but suspect I will at least watch the pilot, and likely nothing more.

4. Whose Line Is It Anyway (The CW, March 21): Aisha Tyler (Lana on Archer) replaced Drew Carey last fall on the return of Whose Line, and the show barely skipped a beat. I grew up watching the Drew Carey’s Whose Line (though I missed the British original), and was so happy to see it back. The CW ordering more episodes of Whose Line was great news, and if you weren’t watching last fall, I highly recommend taking 22 minutes every week to enjoy this fun, funny escape.

3. Bates Motel (A&E, March 9): I’m still working my way through season 1 of Bates Motel on Netflix. It’s a show I started watching live last spring, but got so far behind, I just gave up. I did hear (and now have seen some myself) that the show improved as it went along, so when it showed up on Netflix, I thought it might be a fun idea to try to catch up. And regardless of the storylines, and if it might bother you to see Psycho: The Prequel, the performances of Vera Farmiga and Freddie Highmore are as good as any on TV and show an incredibly strange look at the mother/son relationship. Interesting, creepy as hell, funny at times and appropriately scary, Bates Motel and the two lead performers in particular, are worth your time.

2. Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey (Just about every network on your TV, March 9): An update of the Carl Sagan PBS special from a couple decades ago, this version of Cosmos is hosted by current internet hero Neil deGrasse Tyson. I am a little too young to have a lot of exposure to the Carl Sagan original, but I couldn’t be more excited for this version. I am so intrigued by the science of our universe, but feel so under-educated about it. So take that subject which I am horribly interested in, and put it on my TV, something I am very educated in…What could be better?!

1. Psych Series Finale (USA, March 26): Eight seasons, more fun than you can shake a pineapple at. What is there to even say about bidding farewell to Psych? It’s never been the most important show of my TV calendar, but it’s always been one I’ve looked forward to, because of it’s fun, funny, often sweet and charming. The duo of Shawn and Gus is as good as any, it’s like a younger version of the Hank/Brit duo from Terriers. These last few episodes of Psych are something I’ll cherish, and I’ll be so sad to say goodbye. Thanks for the great fun Steve Franks and James Roday. It’s been a treat.

-CJ

WHAT TO WATCH: THE AMAZON PILOTS

Amazon-622x414As many of you may know, at the beginning of February, Amazon released a set of 5 pilots (some pilots for kid shows were also released).  The shows are a mixture:  you’ve got one about the apocalypse, one about a football team, and one about the shockingly sex-filled world of classical music.  Some were great, some were good, and some were ugly.  I have now finally managed to watch all 5.  Here are my thoughts on the ones you should give the time of day to.  Take it for what it is worth (which, let’s be honest, isn’t that much).

1.  Mozart in the Jungle – This was my favorite of the pilots.  One could argue that it wasn’t the best of all the pilots, but it is the one that I definitely would want to keep watching.  If the title doesn’t give it away, this show brings us into the world of classical music.  Lola Kirke plays a struggling oboist (yup, she plays the oboe and yup, I had to look up how to spell oboe) trying to make it in NYC like most twenty-somethings.  She is befriended by a cellist in the pilot who gets her an audition for the famous Manhattan orchestra.  Oh and don’t worry, she meets a super cute wannabe actor in the pilot as well.  Good music, possible romance, and probably some drama.  I’m sold.

o-mozart-in-the-jungle-570

2.  Transparent – Transparent takes more thought and is potentially a more complicated show than Mozart in the Jungle.  The shining star in it is Jeffrey Tambor, who plays the patriarch of a family full of dysfunctional children (really these people are grown-ass adults).  I won’t reveal it because it is by far the best part of the pilot, but Tambor’s character Mort has a secret that he desperately wants to reveal to his children.  This show has the potential to delve deep into the characters and into a dysfunctional family that seems to be routed in love.  I’m intrigued.

2014-02-20-transparent_image

3.  Bosch – Now this is a show that I wasn’t expecting to like.  I am generally not into cop shows (unless it is Rookie Blue–which I have an unhealthy obsession with), but by the end of it I was interested and disappointed that I couldn’t watch more.  Harry Bosch, played by Titus Welliver, is an angry detective facing a civil trial over the shooting of most-likely bad-dude.  At the same time, he stumbles into a case involving a missing child’s bones found in the woods.  I didn’t come away from the pilot particularly carrying about Bosch, but I did want to know what happened to the dead kid and how the heck he ended up in the woods.  Plus, seeing The Walking Dead’s Hershel in the episode didn’t hurt either.

b4s_boschgroup020614_12433583_8col

4.  The Rebels – Rebels doesn’t have a complicated premise.  Natalie Zea plays the wife of dead football team’s owner (who not surprisingly used to be a former cheerleader).  The pilot addresses the question of whether the wife will take over the team herself or sell.  I would say the pilot was predictable and I probably wouldn’t keep watching if it wasn’t for my love of Natalie Zea (hello Justified fans).  But, damn, that girl looks good in shorts and I could watch her all day.  (and, yes, I am a straight woman).

The-After-Amazon-Screenshot-010-1280x720

5.  The After – Nope, not interested at all.  An apocalypse story by X-Files creator Chris Carter.  A group of 8 people end up together trying to navigate the world after what appears to be the apocalypse has occurred.  I found the characters to be one-dimensional and the story to be kind of boring (even with all the chaos happening).  Most importantly, I didn’t end up caring about anyone by the end of the episode.  Creepiness does happen in the last scene though.  Here is your warning.

the_after_amazon_tv.png?w=640

If you decide to watch any of the pilots, be sure to leave feedback for Amazon.  We watched through our Roku by using our Amazon Prime account.  It looks like you can watch them online too.  Just try googling Amazon Pilots.  You will find them.  Update:  It appears that the pilots may only remain available through this coming weekend, so watch quickly people!

What did y’all think?

-LJ

WHAT TO WATCH: FEBRUARY 2014

hannibal___season_2_promo_b_by_sahinduezguen-d6rt8n9

February on TV is not necessarily all that different from February at the movie theater. It is traditionally known as a dumping ground, but there’s always some good, if not great, stuff mixed in. This February is an interesting month. Thrown off by the Winter Olympics (which 100%, completely and totally will NOT be anywhere near this list–as boring as I find the Summer Olympics, the Winter Games are far, far worse), but still a testament to the changing face of television. The traditional television season, with pilots, show orders, September/January premieres, is all becoming a thing of the past. Cable networks set their own schedules, which allows them to nurture a show in ways not afforded to the Big 4 networks. Most importantly, they are not tied down to the structure of pilot season, giving them access to more and bigger named actors for their projects.

Now on to the list for February:

10. Growing Up Fisher (NBC–Feb. 23): This is a show that I know virtually nothing about, and in most months, would never make this list. But like I mentioned above, February is just a weird month. What puts this show on this list is the top line: JK Simmons, Jenna Elfman, and Jason Bateman. A JK Simmons project is always going to at least get a view from me.

 9. Questioning Darwin (HBO–Feb. 10): Again, a project I know very little about, but what I do know, tells me I’ll at least watch it. I generally enjoy the HBO documentary series (which this is a part of), and I’m always interested in a story about great scientific minds that have shaped the world, of which, Charles Darwin is certainly one.

 8. Legit (FXX–Feb. 26): One of the old FX comedies that got pushed over to the new network, Legit is the story of a standup comedian, Jim Jeffries, his best friend and his best friend’s quadriplegic brother. It’s not the finest of the FX/FXX comedies, but it has funny moments. Jim Jeffries is a talented comedian and that shows at many points in this comedy. Although, perhaps what I should be pointing out here is a show that I missed in January, Archer: Vice on FX. The new season of Archer throws the entire premise on its head, and is probably as good as or better than the show has been in its 5 seasons.

7. Mixology (ABC–Feb. 26): Another new network sitcom premiering at the end of February. Can’t be a good thing, right? I don’t know. This show has kind of an interesting premise, with 10 people spending one night in a bar. How can a premise like that go on, I’m not sure. But I’m at least interested in seeing what happens on this one, presumably crazy night. Although I don’t think I’ll get too attached, because I’m not expecting this to be a long term show on ABC–who has been struggling like crazy to find a comedy block to surround The Middle and Modern Family.

6. About a Boy (NBC–Feb. 21): Finally a show I actually do have some high expectations for. Not that I expect it to be a commercial success (although, I do expect it to be a critical success), but it is a show that I am greatly anticipating. Brought to us by Jason Katims, the man behind Friday Night Lights (TV), and starring David Walton (NBC’s short lived, but brilliant “Bent”) and Minnie Driver, the pedigree behind this show has all the makings of a great sitcom. The only thing that I can think of that would make this better is if NBC went all in on the “Bent” reunion and had Amanda Peet in the Minnie Driver role. But hey, I’m about as big a fan of “Good Will Hunting” as there is out there, so I won’t complain with the role being played by the namesake for my dog.

5. The Walking Dead (AMC–Feb. 9): Part 2 of season 4 premieres this weekend. LJ has posted a review of Part 1 of season 4 to get everyone ready for Sunday night, so I’ll direct you to her comments. She’s also a much bigger fan of TWD than I am, so I think it’s best to let her convince you to watch. Let me just say, I am NOT excited about the return of The Governor. Come on Scott Gimple. You killed him. Let him just be dead. No more Rick hallucinations, no more flash backs. Just let David Morrissey go on to his next AMC show.

 4. The Red Road (Sundance–Feb. 27): So this is one of those interesting situations where I’m going to say I know NOTHING about this show, but I couldn’t be more excited for it. First of all, just look at the cast: Khol Drogo himself, Jason Momoa, Julianne Nicholson (one of my favorite gingers), and Tom Sizemore–that is great stuff. Then, it’s on Sundance, who so far has given us Top of the Lake, Rectify and The Returned. I hope that this show will be just as brilliant as those 3, and I fully suspect that it will be.

3. House of Cards (Netflix–Feb. 13): House of Cards reminds me a lot of “Oz” from the early days of HBO. A great show, but it is most important because it paved the way for what came next. Like Oz, House of Cards was not technically the first Netflix original, but it is the first one of note. And like Oz, House of Cards is overshadowed in many people’s minds by what came after it. For Oz, it was obviously the greatest TV show of all time, The Sopranos, and for House of Cards, it was arguably the best show of 2013, Orange is the New Black. Nonetheless, more House of Cards is something to be excited about, including the news of a season 3 in 2015.

2. The Americans (FX–Feb. 26): As I reflect on my top 10 list from 2013, I am really upset at myself for not putting this show higher. The Americans suffered from what many shows do, it simply appeared too early on in the year, leaving me too much time to forget how great it was, and how much I enjoyed it. My vow is to not let that happen this year, and to let it sit up there with the other great FX shows including Justified, The Bridge, Archer: Vice, Louie, Sons of Anarchy, The Strain, and Fargo. Good night alive, it looks like it’s going to be a GREAT year for John Landgraf and FX.

1. Hannibal (NBC–Feb. 28): I will put Hugh Dancy and Mads Mikklesen’s performances in Hannibal up against any 2 performances on any show, including Olyphant and Goggins, Cranston and Paul, McConauhey and Harrelson, or Hamm and Kartheiser. The difference is that no one pays any attention to Hannibal for some reason. And, adding Michael Pitt to the cast for the upcoming season is only going to make this rich cast even richer. It’s the most beautiful show on TV and telling one of the most thoughtful crime stories ever put to film. Getting a second season is a gift we could have never expected. But hopefully, with the foreign financing, making this show brutally cheap for NBC, we will get as many seasons as Fuller and the gang want to do.

-CJ

WHAT TO WATCH: JANUARY 2014

Image

After taking a couple of months off from this particular post, we are back, and with a vengeance. January is probably the highest quality month of premiering TV since the Mrs. and I started this little blog. It may not be as busy a month, by sheer number of shows premiering, as September, but boy, does it run deep with high, high quality programming. January includes 4 shows that have been discussed (or will be) in the 2013 Terriers Memorial List (look for Part III this weekend), and at least 2 other shows that have appeared on previous years lists (including a former number 1). Also included in January is a show that many people such as myself are prognosticating will be on our 2014 lists, as well as a network sitcom that critics who have seen the pilot, are actually quite enthusiastic about. This is all a very long winded way of saying I hope you enjoyed your holidays, because January does not mess around when it comes to TV watching.  It’s back to business people.

On to the list (which I couldn’t even get down to 10, I tried, I really did, but it’s just not possible this month):

11. Banshee (Cinemax–Jan. 10, 9 PM): Much like Strike Back, Banshee is a show that has no business being as good as it is. Hopefully there will come a time when people like me stop using that statement about Cinemax shows, and that time is probably now. I wouldn’t say Banshee is quite as good as Strike Back (mostly because it lacks the “fun” of Strike Back), but it’s pretty close. Cinemax did a couple new shows in 2013, Banshee and Hunted (also good, but because of a dispute with the UK co-producer, it will not be back in 2014), in an aim to keep the momentum of Strike Back going. Banshee is the story of a master thief who gets out of jail and goes looking for his former girlfriend and partner in a sleepy Pennsylvania, Amish-country town, where he actually takes the identity of the new sheriff (who conveniently, no one had met). Strong acting, sufficient story-telling, intriguing characters, solid acting and all the violence and gratuitous nudity you would expect from Cinemax.

10. Downton Abbey (PBS–Jan. 5, 8 PM): If there was one show I considered leaving off of this list, it would likely be Downton, but I found just enough room for it, and it is still a show I watch and occasionally enjoy, so here we are. Let me actually explain my reservations on Downton though. While it’s a beautifully crafted and expertly acted show, Julian Fellows too often relies on true soap opera tactics to create drama. Too much conflict on Downton is the end result of miscommunications, or eavesdropping, simply put, the right people not having the right information. Fellows hides behind the period for much of this. Think about the episode from season 3 when Lady Sybill died, and the disagreement between the doctors on the proper course of treatment. That was a miscommunication issue that led to the death of a major character. Too much of that goes on in Downton. That said, I’ll be watching come Sunday night.

9. Enlisted (FOX–Jan. 10, 830 PM): Enlisted is the only new network show on this list. As it is a brand new network show, I’ve not seen any of it and I know very little about it. What I do know is that many professional TV critics whose opinions I value have been at least fairly enthusiastic about this show since they first saw the pilot last summer. Enlisted was supposed to premiere in the fall, but FOX pushed it, and then threw it on Friday nights after Raising Hope. I may not be in the TV business, but even I know that’s not good. That doesn’t tell me the show isn’t good (or even great) though, it just tells me FOX doesn’t know how to sell it (much like Raising Hope or Ben and Kate). The general premise of the show is three very different brothers, all in the Army, are stationed at the same base, and presumably hijinks ensue! It most notably stars Piz from Veronica Mars (Chris Lowell), and I’m looking forward to seeing what FOX has here.

8. Psych (USA–Jan. 8, 8 PM): I don’t think Psych will ever be confused as an all time classic TV show, but not every show has to be. Some shows just need to be fun and funny, and Psych has that down cold. With an incredible cast with maybe the best chemistry on all of TV (including the greats), Psych just continues to make me laugh and provide so much joy.  In fact, Psych: The Musical, which aired in December, was simply one of the most fun experiences I had watching TV all year. That’s what Psych is here for. To give us fun, quirky comedy with hilarious nicknames and pop culture references, and I welcome it back to my TV. I suppose my only hope is, with her ABC sitcom failing, Maggie Lawson will come back on board if there are any more episodes.

7. Cougar Town (TBS–Jan. 7, 9 PM): The good people at Turner broadcasting know good network TV when they see it. After saving Southland many years ago, last year the 4th season of Cougar Town premiered on TBS after 3 seasons on ABC. The most telling thing about the first season on TBS was that nothing seemed to change. Cougar Town still felt like Cougar Town. That’s doubly impressive, because not only was there a network change, but creator/show runner Bill Lawernce also left prior to that 4th season. Smartly, TBS is bring the cul-de-sac crew for a season 5, and letting us spend more time with our favorite winos who refuse to work!

6. Girls (HBO–Jan. 12, 9 PM): The second season of Girls had some very impressive highs (One Man’s Trash), but also was a small let down in other areas. It felt sometimes that Lena Dunham was trying to do her very best Louis CK impression, having episodes ands story lines that didn’t fit with the over all narrative. But the reason that works for Louis CK is that he goes all in on it. There is no over all narrative. Ms. Dunham sometimes tried to have it both ways in season 2, which sometimes resulted in great success, but other times not. But whatever the show was, it was always interesting, thoughtful, beautifully written and well acted (and funny when it was trying to be, which was not all the time), so I’ll always be looking forward to more episodes of Girls. After all, Hannah Horvath is the voice of my generation.

5. Sherlock (PBS–Jan. 19, 9 PM): Welcome back to the Batch and Martin Freeman. After taking 2013 off, Sherlock is back on PBS with 3 new episodes. Without a doubt my favorite incarnation of the Sherlock Holmes story, and for my money, the best Sherlock and Watson ever. Everything is right about it. Cumberbatch nails the prickly demeanor of Sherlock Holmes, making him just the right amount of jerk, while giving us enough to understand the connection that Watson feels towards him. And, along those lines, this incarnation of Sherlock perfectly captures the homoeroticism of the friendship between Holmes and Watson. The chemistry between the actors is top notch. Any episodes we get of Sherlock (much like Luther) are a gift we should be thankful for!

4. Shameless (Showtime–Jan. 12, 8 PM): Sunday nights in January are going to be really tricky to manage! I spent a lot of words in the Terriers Memorial List explaining why you should be watching Shameless, so I won’t go on for too long here. What I will say is that I’m so happy to have Emmy Rossum back on my TV, and can’t wait to see what sort of hilarious and heartbreaking disasters the Gallagher family gets into this season. Please watch this show!

3. True Detective (HBO–Jan. 12, 8 PM): See what I mean about Sunday nights? I guess I should tell you what True Detective is first…Starring Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey (along with Michelle Monoghan), True Detective is a cop story set in New Orleans, and follows a 17 year murder investigation. From what I have heard from those who have seen episodes, it is about as good as it gets, and with that cast, is anyone surprised? I think this show also presents an interesting glimpse into what the future of TV may be. If this show goes on after this season, it will be with a whole new cast, and a whole new story, providing an opportunity for actors as impressive as the ones here to come in and do a season of TV. That’s something worth being excited about.

2. Justified (FX–Jan. 7, 9 PM): Simply one of the best things on TV, period. Olyphant, Goggins and crew have captured an environment and a world that is second to none. There are many that would argue the show has never hit the heights it did in the Margo Martindale centric season 2, but I am not including among those. While Mags Bennett was definitely the best “big bad” of a season Justified has done, the show has continued to impress with the work of Olyphant and Goggins. And, I can’t think of a single reason why that wouldn’t continue going into season 5. For a show that is as serious as Justified, it’s amazing just how much fun it so often is, and that is a tribute to Mr. Elmore Leonard, who created the character of Raylan Givens, and Graham Yost, creator and show runner. Performances that astound, dialogue that crackles and tension you can often cut with a knife, Justified is the most underrated show in the Golden Age of TV.

1. Community (NBC–Jan. 2, 8 PM): Welcome back Dan Harmon. After an interesting and strange 4th season, the show gets to return to its roots, with its creator and central voice, Mr Harmon, back in as show runner. Community has often been so great not because it was funny (which it often is), but because of everything else it does. Community is thoughtful, it’s often sad, and always contemplative. Harmon has something to say, and he uses these characters (specifically Danny Pudi’s, Abed) to show us his weird, little world. I cut season 4 and it’s substitute show runners more slack than most, because I recognized how difficult of a job they had. But that said, it’s so good to have Harmon back. I’m hearing that the early episodes return us to Harmon’s weird, little world in amazing fashion.

So there you have it. Happy New Year! I hope you got a shiny, new TV for Christmas, because you’re gonna need it!

-CJ

WHAT TO WATCH: THE SING-OFF

The Sing-Off

I get it.  There are a lot of reality TV shows on the air.  And, I certainly understand that there are a fair number of singing-related reality TV shows (The Voice, The X Factor, American Idol, etc.).  None of them compare to The Sing Off though.  So, let me explain to you why you need to be watching.

6.  Nick Lachey needs some employment – Look, I am not saying Nick Lachey is the best host of a reality show ever.  But, he certainly isn’t the worst (I am looking at you, Mario Lopez).  And, I am happy that he has something to do.  Plus, maybe this will help us forget that he once married Jessica Simpson.

Nick-Lachey-of-The-Sing-Off_event_main

5.  Aca-scuse me? – Here is the thing…acapella is just freakin cool.  No other show on the air is giving props to this kind of music.  Hello, these people are doing all of this with just their mouths.  It’s amazing.

4.  No results show – You know what the worst part of any reality competition show, the stupid results show.  That’s right, in addition to watching the actual performances, you usually have to watch an hour of useless television only to find out in the last 30 seconds who has been eliminated.  Results shows are the worst things ever (right up there with orange sour patch kids, broccoli, taxes, and terrorists).  On The Sing Off, however, there is no results show.  You find out at the end of each episode who gets eliminated…after an ultimate battle-round.  Yeah, it’s pretty awesome.

3.  Something for everyone – Are you a fan of highschool musical?  Do you like country?  Would you prefer a barbershop quartet sound?  Have you always wanted to see a Filipino boy bad?  Then this is the show for you.  The variety of groups on The Sing Off is amazing.  You have highschool group of kids (who are one of the best in the competition, I might add), frat-tastic college boys, a group of country guys, and five “more-mature” men who are proving that you can be great at any age.  Also, for the guys out there, you have an all-female group who likes to wear short dresses.  See, something for everyone.

2.  The judges – Judges can make or break a show.  Here, you have Ben Folds, Shawn Stockman (Boyz II Men) and newcomer Jewel.  What is so great about them, you ask?  First, you can tell that they actually like being on the show.  They sing-along, they dance, and generally are excited about music and what these groups can do.  Second, they actually know what they are talking about.  Now, I don’t pretend like I understand what they are saying all of the time, but you can tell that they are musical veterans who can comment on something other than how great the performers’ outfits are.  Third, they have great personalities.  Ben likes to make ridiculous puns, Jewel makes fun of her own snaggle-tooth, and Shawn is just baller.  A show is only as good as it’s judges and these three are fantastic.

the_sing_off_sneak_peek The Sing Off - Season 4 The-Sing-Off-Season-4-Promo-Video maxresdefault

1.  Heart-throbs – Every show needs a heart-throb and here I can give you at least three.

  • Down-to-Earth Beauty – Jewel (They aren’t putting her in those dresses for no reason fellas)

jewel-sing-off-2013-nbc

  • The Foreign Boy-Bander – VJ Rosales (The Filharmonic)

filharmonic

  • And, finally, the Country Hottie – Austin Brown (Home Free)

7331fb3d5c5f1c6bf6cb865ed2a632f6

I rest my case.

-LJ

What to Watch: October 2013

Each month here on YBTV, I will attempt to provide our faithful readers and overview of what to look forward to in the coming TV month. Last month was a busy one with the beginning of the fall TV season making it almost impossible to include everything in one list. I will attempt to rectify that in some small ways in October, pointing out shows that maybe barely missed the cut back in September.

10. American Horror Story: Coven (FX, Wednesday, October 9 at 9 PM) — Every year I get moderately excited about this show, and every year, after a few episodes, I stop watching and never feel sorry for doing so. I suspect this will be another year of the same, but none-the-less, I’ll be watching for the first few episodes. There’s a lot to like here, great performers (Sarah Paulson, Emma Roberts, Taissa Farmiga, Jessica Lange, etc, etc), a creepy, fun premise. But for whatever reason, within a few episodes, I’m always just kind of bored with it. I find that Ryan Murphy is kind of like Kurt Sutter, but worse. He does things purely for effect, without thinking about their place in the story and whether they offer any intellectual payoff. Or, who knows, maybe this will be the year I finally stick with a season of AHS.

9. Cousins Undercover (HGTV, Sunday, October 6 at 7 PM) — John and Anthony are without a doubt two of the best personalities on all of HGTV/DIY, so whenever they have a show, it is watched in our home. Whether it’s Kitchen Cousins, Cousins on Call or this new show, it’s always entertaining and fun to watch. Plus, you get to see really great contractors doing some really cool home improvements. What’s not to like?

8. ESPN’s 30 for 30 (ESPN, Tuesday nights starting October 1 at 8 PM) — The 30 for 30 series of documentaries is back. While I don’t necessarily know what specific docs are coming up, I know that I’ll be watching them. Not every documentary is legendary, but the batting average for ESPN with these is incredibly high, so missing them is not really an option. We’ve been provided some great storytelling in this series by some great story tellers. Will any of this batch match “Catching Hell,” “June 17, 1994,” “Benji,” or “The Ghosts of Ole Miss?” I don’t know, given the track record, I would expect at least some of them to do so.

7. Eastbound and Down (HBO, Sunday nights at 9 PM) — This is the first example of a show that started right at the end of Septmeber that I didn’t get a chance to talk about last month. The return of Kenny Powers definitely deserves some attention though, so here it is. We all thought season 3 was going to be the final chapter of the Kenny Powers story, but you can’t kill Kenny Powers quite that easily. So here he is, back for one last run at making it back to the big leagues, and surely providing us with one last round of incredibly offensive humor. Welcome back Kenny Powers.

6. Strike Back season 4 finale (Cinemax, Friday, October 18 at 9 PM) — A show that has no business being as good as it is finishes out another excellent season later this month. Cinemax’s first attempt at original programming, I honestly expected it to be something suited only for Cinemax audiences. And while it does have a lot of those traits to it, it also includes excellent characters and character development. You don’t necessarily come to Strike Back for the story (you come for the guns, explosions and boobs), but you get it along with all those things. Scott and Stonebridge are often times forced to deal with the emotional fallout of their jobs (basically government sanctioned mercanaries), and it is wonderfully played by Phillip Wincester and Sullivan Stapelton. A show I never expected to watch more than 2 episodes of, I look forward to each and every summer.

5. Saturday Night Live: Bruce Willis, host (NBC, Saturday, October 12 at 10:35 PM) — The Tiny Fey season premeire came and went last week with many good things and some not so good. This weekend, we have Miley Cyrus, but that’s not what I’m looking forward to. I’m looking forward to an episode hosted by John Freaking McLane! I don’t think any of us can know what to expect out of Willis, who has not hosted SNL since the season premeire of 1989. That’s right. 1989. That kind of uncertainty makes me very curious to see what he will have to offer.

4. The Bridge season 1 finale (FX, Wednesday, October 2 at 9 PM) — A show that started out maybe having a little trouble finding its groove, The Bridge has settled into becoming a very solid show for me. It show remains centered around the outstanding performances from Demian Bichir, Diane Kruger and Ted Levine, each of whom have stepped their game up even further as the season progressed. The show has never really been about the case, never really been about the “big bad,” at least not for me. For me, this show is about how Marco relates to Sonya, and the growth of that relationship has kept me coming back week to week, and will have me back next season.

3. Arrow (The CW, Wednesday, October 9 at 7 PM) — Another show that I honestly expected to watch 2 or 3 episodes of last year when it premeired, but quickly morphed into one of my favorite watches each week. Stephen Amell does a great job playing both sides of the Oliver Queen/Bruce Wayne character, and can kick ass with the best of them. The reason you come to the show though is for the amazing chemistry between Amell and David Ramsey, who plays Diggle, a combination of both Alfred Pennyworth and Commissioner Gordon rolled into one, as well as the third part of the crime fighting team, Emily Bett Rickards, who plays computer whiz Felicity. The addition of Felicity midway through the season was one of the things that really helped this show turn the corner from being a good CW show, to just being a good show, and one of the best action/adventure shows on TV. With the death and destruction that occurred at the end of last season, I can’t wait to see where The Hood goes from here.

2. Bob’s Burgers (FOX, Sunday nights at 730) — Again, a show that started in the last couple days of September, but just deserves some discussion. Bob’s Burgers, going into its 4th season (and renewed for a 5th by FOX), is simply the best animated show on FOX right now. It is the freshest, the funniest, and the one with the most heart. Bob’s Burgers actually shares many similarities in that way with a previous FOX animation great, King of the Hill. Many of the other FOX animated shows are all edge and offensive humor (Seth McFarland shows), but Bob’s Burgers is so much deeper than that, and, because of that, a much funnier show than any of the other Animation Domination shows.

1. The Walking Dead (AMC, Sunday, October 13 at 8 PM) — Another new season of TWD, another show runner. Moving on to season 4, and the third showrunner, Scott Gimple, TWD is coming off a season where it arguably hit its creative high point, and became the most popular show on TV (all of TV, not just cable). I would expect much of that to continue because, hey, who doesn’t like seeing zombies get stabbed through the head. But if the show wants to continue to succeed creatively, there needs to be continued character development and a story focus on the people, not just killing zombies. Questions such as, how do you raise a child in this environment? Or, how do you build a loving marriage through the zombie apocolypse? And, can we work together and build real community while living in the constant fear that someone could turn on us the way The Governor did? I’m far more interested in delving into the answers to these questions than I am seeing more zombies killed. But, maybe that’s just me.

-CJ

WHAT TO WATCH: FALL 2013 (LJ EDITION)

walking-dead

So CJ claims each month he will be posting a list of “things to watch.”  I like his idea, but am going to put my own twist on it.  Below you will find a list of shows that I am most excited about watching this fall.  In other words, if you are exactly like me (which clearly everyone is), these are the shows you should be watching.  As you can tell, I possess a certain loyalty for returning shows, so unfortunately, my list is skewed a little against the new shows we will be seeing this fall.  This shouldn’t be taken to mean that I will not be watching any new programming over the next couple months.  If I am being honest, it just takes me a bit of time to jump onboard with anything new (consider this a character flaw).  Here we go:

10.  The X Factor (FOX, Wednesday, September 11 8:00PM) – I can already see CJ’s eyes rolling when he sees that The X Factor made my top 10 list.  Admittedly, I did not make it through Season 1 of The X Factor, but I vowed last year to give B. Spears my support and stuck it out.  And, you know what, I still find Mr. Simon Cowell amusing.  Plus, I have a huge girl crush on Demi Lovato (also, I should probably mention that my musical tastes match those of a 12 year old girl).  Now, unfortunately, Brittney is gone this year, but Demi and Simon remain.  I watch this show for the judges and not for the talent that is “discovered,” and I am excited to see what is in store with Kelly Rowland added to the panel.  I am cautiously optimistic. [Full disclosure, I watched last night’s premiere and I didn’t hate it.  I actually liked a lot.  Second episode is on tonight.  Set your DVRs.]

9.  Psych:  The Musical (USA, Sunday, December 15 9:00PM) – I know what you are thinking, what the heck is this?  Unfortunately, that means that you have not been watching the past seven seasons of Psych.  Let me tell you, you have been missing out.  This comedy is very clever and very witty.  Yes, it is pretty crazy at times, but it’s characters are incredibly loveable.  And, Dule Hill is, as always, amazing.  You have until December to get caught up.  Trust me, you will want to.

8.  Raising Hope (FOX, Friday, November 8 9:00PM) – We are now on Season 4 of Raising Hope and it has a new time slot.  I sincerely hope this is not the beginning of the end.  I feel like this show does not get enough credit.  Admittedly, I have been a skeptic.  But the fact of the matter is, this show is hilarious.  Yes, the characters are somewhat ridiculous, but this show has a lot of heart and I can guarantee that you will enjoy each and every episode.  Plus, Hope is so dang cute, how can you not love it??

7.  The Carrie Diaries (CW, Friday, October 25 8:00PM) – I will fully disclose that I was and am a huge Sex & The City fan.  I mean, I don’t have any t-shirts, but I will watch reruns pretty much anytime they are on.  Initially, I was skeptical about this show and it did take me until May to finish watching Season 1 on my DVR.  But, you know what, this show turned out pretty good.  AnnaSophia Robb is great and I am now a huge fan.  (Did you see her in The Way Way Back this summer??).  This is obviously a light-hearted show, but it is certainly entertaining and I am looking forward to Season 2 this fall.

6. Bob’s Burgers (FOX, Sunday, September 29 8:30PM) – If you haven’t ever watched Bob’s Burgers, then your life is a sad, sad place.  True statement.  And, this is coming from someone who doesn’t really like cartoons.  It is probably worth it to watch each episode just so that you can see the clever burger pun Bob has put on his restaurant chalkboard.  This show is clever and witty and undeniably funny.  Heck, Jon Hamm guest starred as a talking toilet last season.  That should be enough to convince you right there.

5.  Nashville (ABC, Wednesday, September 25 10:00PM) – As much as I didn’t want to like this show last year, I got roped in hard.  The beginning of the first season admittedly started out shaky, but mid-way through I was hooked. Yes, it is definitely soapy, but just accept the show for what it is and jump on board.  What became of Rayna and Deacon (we ended with the in a horrible car crash), is Peggy having Teddy’s baby, what will Scarlett’s answer be, will Jonathan Jackson’s hair still be most excellent?  All questions I need answers to.

4. New Girl (FOX, Tuesday, September 19 9:00PM) – Last season New Girl proved that even a “happy” couple can be funny.  This, of course, is no easy thing to accomplish and I hope that New Girl keeps it up this season.  We left last season with Nick and Jess agreeing to give couplehood a shot, while Schmidt was asked to chose between Cece and Elizabeth.  I can’t wait to see what this season has in store.  Also, extremely excited for Damon Waynes Jr. to return as Coach.

3. Arrow (CW, Wednesday, October 9 8:00PM) – Ranking my top three shows, was extremely difficult.  The amount of time I have spent thinking about it, is embarrassing.  Arrow’s first season was incredibly solid.  And, the finale was action packed.  I will not say how the season ended because that is how much I want you to watch the first season before October 9.  I am not kidding, DO IT.

2. Scandal (ABC, Thursday, October 3 8:00PM) – Kerry Washington, Scott Foley, and Joshua Malina.  That should be enough for you right there.  But, just in case it’s not, Olivia’s affair is now public and we know that Jake has been taking orders from Olivia’s dad.  What is going to happen next?  There is no way to predict.

1. The Walking Dead (AMC, Sunday, October 13 9:00PM) – Season 3 of this show was fantastic, especially the first half.  It fully solidified the fact that I love zombies.  I do.  Granted, I am actually afraid that the zombie apocalypse will happen (I know, I wish I was kidding…but it really could happen!) after watching this show, but that is just how good it is.  We left off with Rick and his gang admitting a bunch of Woodbury residents at the Prison, but the Governor is still out there.  And, I am very concerned about Daryl after all that happened with Merle at the end of last season.

What are y’all excited to watch?

-LJ

*Other shows considered:  The Blacklist, Parks & Recreation, Grey’s Anatomy, Homeland, 30 for 30, The Michael J. Fox Show, The Talking Dead, S.H.I.E.L.D., the 65th Annual Emmys.

**Times listed are for the East Coast.