Fall TV, We Need to Talk

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.

Sundays

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.

Mondays

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.

Tuesdays

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.

Wednesdays

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.

Thursdays

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.  

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2 thoughts on “Fall TV, We Need to Talk

  1. Healther – I love this for two reasons. You took an opportunity to bemoan what we’ve all felt was lacking in TV this Fall and focus on the gems that remain bright in that disappointment. I truly admire that.

    I am so glad to see your take on Grey’s Anatomy, because I wholeheartedly agree. After a season that I felt was very erratic last year, it turns out killing off Derek has re-grounded the show in a way that I am really enjoying and find fresh. I of course agree with you take on the things we overlap with especially Jane the Virgin. I am of course catching up with The Flash season 1 in earnest now especially given your raves for s2. And I am back for B99 now that Holt has rightfully returned to the precinct.

    I will definitely need to check out You’re the Worst because your raves have piqued my curiosity for sure.

    I would only add to this list The Walking Dead which has been stellar our the gate this season with a balance of terror and character development/conflict. Who would have ever thought that a show about zombies would fill the void left by LOST. Certainly not me.

  2. I really like the idea of a post like this! TV has had a bit of a weird start to this season, so it’s nice to share with each other the shows that are making us happy right now.

    I am super slow on catching up with B99 (I’m probably averaging 1 or 2 episodes per week right now), but I am loving it so much. Comedies are difficult for me with my strong sense of secondhand embarrassment and often different sense of humor, but B99 has been just perfect. The respect for the relationships and the unashamed silliness of the show has been a delight. I watched “The Bet” this week and it was awesome. I look forward to eventually catching up all the way, especially since I know that it continues to be wonderful in its current season.

    I hope to get some Jane time in my weekly schedule if I can fit it in sometime soon, though I am pretty sure I won’t enjoy the love triangle. Over the years I think I’ve grown to dislike love triangles simply because of what they are – even if they’re done well/differently, I tend to get frustrated and annoyed because I usually don’t like the types of conflicts that come with having two love interests for the main lead at the same time. But I know from the few episodes I’ve watched so far that the show has enough wonderful things – especially the relationships between the Villanueva women – to offset any annoyance that will bring me.

    I’m a couple weeks behind on The Flash, but I tend to truly love 90% of the episodes which is rare for me with TV. I am so happy that it manages to continue to be a lighter toned superhero show, so that I’m not tied up in anxious knots every week watching it. It’s wonderful to watch these characters be friends every week, and I love the group they’ve got right now.

    I am behind on just about every single one of my shows right now unfortunately, but the other shows I’m really enjoying lately are:

    Quantico – This show is just so smart, and the characters are so complicated. I continue to love Priyanka Chopra as the main lead in Alex Parrish, and the plot feeds into my love of mysteries and thrillers with its fast pace and twists and turns.

    Supergirl – I loved Kara from the very first few minutes we saw of her, and I am so excited to have a female superhero in my TV lineup. I look forward to seeing more of Kara and Alex’s sisterly relationship, as well as the charming and intriguing James Olsen. I’m glad the show seems to be similar in tone to The Flash, it’s nice to have some silliness mixed in with the seriousness of the life-or-death superhero conflicts.

    Scorpion – This show is in its second season this year and continues to be fun every week. The group of characters is very much a type of chosen family, and they all have unique personalities that form a very entertaining mix when they work together. I also appreciate that even though they are a procedural-type show, because of the way their work is set up they get involved in a lot of different situations which makes for some good variety in cases.

    I’m also excited for Elementary to return next week so I can get my weekly Joan Watson fix 😉

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