Happy Almost 2014, TV Tourists!
It's been a long year of some pretty damn good television (here's looking at you, Breaking Bad) and not-good-at-all TV (for shame, Super Fun Night). While I did pick up and stay with several new shows, it wasn't as many as in past years. Maybe because I'm already watching so much already, but more I think that there weren't a lot that gripped and held me enough to work it in to my viewing roster.
Here are some of my winners:
I know most people haven't considered this ABC TV spin-off a slam-dunk for creator Joss Whedon, but I think it's a decent show with some overall entertainment value. What's lacking is the usual wit and fun we've come to expect from a Whedon show. The cast is incredibly young overall, and I'm not sure it works, but the characters are finding their footing. We're still waiting to learn more about Ming Na's Agent May - perhaps the most intriguing character, despite her completely dead-pan delivery. And we're on the cusp of learning exactly what went down with Agent Coulson's (Clark Gregg) miraculous resurrection. The episodes have gotten better as the freshman season has progressed, and I appreciate the regular references by the team to the various Avengers, so I'll still be watching when the show returns next year.
This ABC show was a slow burn for me, but it's become a new favorite of mine. The humorous nostalgia of revisiting the 80s alone is great fun, but this is a real family with individual quirks and flaws that really gel. Mom Beverly, played to interfering perfection by Wendy McLendon-Covey, is the stand-out, while Jeff Garlin is rather grating and the weak member for me. Some of the antics and behaviors are played almost too big ... almost. It actually works. I was a fan of The Wonder Years, and now I feel like I have my new Arnolds. And again, love seeing the 80s again!
Yes, the title of this ABC sitcom sucks. It's just because Malin Ackerman's Kate is anything but. She really makes the effort to be a parental figure to her new stepkids and you root for her when she triumphs. This is a very solid team of players, adults and kids alike. I do, every episode, wonder just HOW Kate and Pete (Bradley Whitford) tolerate so much interference from his previous wives, the perfectly prickly Diane (Marcia Gay Harden) and the fiercely flaky Jackie (Michaela Watkins) - they are incredibly intrusive, but hey, technically they're family, and Kate acknowledges that and incorporates them for the kids' sake, so bring on the continued madness!
I've stuck with these two witch-centric series, though the latter was a little more of a chore to do so. FX's American Horror Story lost me last season with it's turn in the Asylum, but it's totally back with this seriously disturbing round about witches and voodoo in New Orleans. Talk about twisted TV! Lifetime's East End is good enough, and it finished its freshman run fairly strong, so I'll tune back in when it returns next year. Will be sorry to see AHS:C go, but I've sure enjoyed the ride.
Black is the new hot color in TV. While not currently airing new episodes till next year, I binge-watched these two terrific series this summer and eagerly await their new seasons. Tatiana Maslany is astounding as the many, many clones in BBC America's Orphan Black, and Taylor Schilling heads up a fantastic cast in Netflix's prison drama Orange is the New Black. Catch up now with both shows before we move on to what's next for these fascinating women.
There were other shows I started watching but quickly dropped because they just didn't do it for me: FOX's Brooklyn Nine-Nine, CBS's Mom and The Crazy Ones (though I did work on an episode, so I'll be watching that for sure). I've stock-piled FOX's Sleepy Hollow, which I will binge-watch during the winter break. And I'm hoping to be able to eventually catch up with CBS' Elementary, a show I really like but couldn't watch ... Thursday is a VERY packed night.
Surprisingly I did not tune in to any of the CW's new shows The Originals, The Tomorrow People and Reign. And that's usually my go-to network. Who'd have thought ABC would be the season winner of new viewing for me?
I've already said goodbye to Showtime's Dexter and AMC's Breaking Bad, and I'll soon be saying adieu to the CW's Nikita, which takes its final bow this month. Lifetime has cancelled The Client List, but USA's Psych is back next month, with the brilliant Suits returning in March to that same network. And of course there's all my fave shows that I'm still very committed to.
Then there's the slew of new shows premiering early next year that I'll be checking out to see if they'll make my playlist, among them CBS' Intelligence (welcome back Josh Holloway!) and FOX's Rake, starring Greg Kinnear. Which will make the cut? Wait and see!
Until then, take the opportunity during this dreaded winter hiatus to catch up on your favorite shows or take the chance to discover new ones, which you can do thanks much in part to Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime.
Happy Holidays, Tourists!