At the beginning of every September, I get very excited about the upcoming television season. I want to try out new shows and welcome back old favorites. This year, however, while the excitement was there, the payoff has been lacking. While there are some new shows that I enjoy, I’ve failed to find one that I really love. And though many of my shows are having phenomenal second seasons, many that are older have fallen flat.
With many of my favorite cable shows airing in the spring, my falls are primarily driven by broadcast networks. While often derided in favor of their more niche cable counterparts, I tend to genuinely enjoy many of the shows they have to offer. Until this year. Whether it is an inexplicable writing choice in the hands of new showrunners, a lack of momentum and cohesion, or the choice to make every single character on your show miserable, several of my network shows have lost the things that made me love them.
Even though I have many options when it comes to things to watch, it makes me sad to drop a show I used to love. In some of these cases, I would have counted them among my favorite things to watch. It’s been wearing on me a little as the season has progressed, even if I’m not watching them. I know the medium and these shows are capable of great things. I’ve seen some really good work on all of them. And actually good work, not good for a network show or good for a procedural or whatever other qualification others may want to add. I know they can do more and all I ask is that they remember and believe that too.
So, since I’ve been disappointed in many shows this season and I know I’m not alone in that, I’d like to provide some alternative shows that I am very happy with in case you need to fill a recently developed hole in your viewing schedule.
Once Upon A Time I love what the Dark Swan arc is bringing out in this core cast. Jennifer Morrison in particular has been absolutely fantastic bringing out all sides of her descent into ultimate darkness. While this season has been heavy on Emma and Hook’s connection, if you’re not interested in that, there is still plenty more to love with the best versions of Snow and Charming (individually and together) that we’ve seen in quite some time and some wonderful moments for Regina.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine I will love Mike Schur and the things he creates until the end of time. He writes such wonderful characters and ensembles and never fails to make me smile. This season has gotten off to a great start with Jake and Amy entering into a solid relationship that remains one aspect of their characters, rather than the entire focus. With Holt and Gina back at the precinct, I have no doubt this show will continue to do even more and be one of the bright spots in my week.
Jane the Virgin After a remarkably strong first season, Jane the Virgin came back with the same confidence in itself and the stories it is telling. This is one of the few shows that can pull off a compelling love triangle, which is an accomplishment that should be recognized, but the heart of the show remains the Villanueva women. It has been a pleasure to watch Alba and Xo help Jane adjust to motherhood and this week, Ivonne Coll stole the show with a couple of heartbreaking and beautiful scenes about Alba’s immigrant status.
The Flash This show is fun to watch every week. The characters are all amazing and they genuinely care about each other and about making a difference. Seeing the bonds between them and the way they work and fight for each other’s happiness is a joy to watch. And Jesse L. Martin’s greatness cannot be oversold, especially not in combination with Grant Gustin.
Fresh Off the Boat This show has really found its voice in season two. With a slight shift in focus from the children to Jessica and Louis, this show knows how to make me laugh. The End of the Road sing-a-long was one of my favorite scenes of TV so far this season. It’s a strong cast and I’m so glad it is getting the recognition it deserves.
You’re the Worst This is the best show on TV right now. These very damaged people have worked their way into my heart and I love each one of their ridiculous, incompetent, unconventional selves. This is a show that can make me laugh ridiculously hard then completely stun me with a wave of emotion. Last night’s episode was one of the best things I’ve seen on TV all year. It addressed the realities of clinical depression and did so in a way that recognizes and honors the struggle that comes with the disease. It blew me away and while it won’t happen, Aya Cash deserves award attention for everything she did last night.
Grey’s Anatomy After nearly a year and a half, I am now completely caught up on this show and I am really enjoying the direction the show is taking this season. I love the new energy this show has found by combining Meredith, Maggie, and Amelia (with regular doses of Alex) and Ellen Pompeo remains as strong an actress as ever. Derek hasn’t been forgotten but life has moved on without him, as it had to. In its 12th season, these are still characters I want to spend time with each week and I’m enjoying every moment.