E: Though not nearly as well stocked as Sundays, Monday’s pool features several of the shows I’m most excited about this season. Wondering what those could be? Read on! And as always, if we haven’t included something that you watch or were thinking about watching, please leave a comment and let us know why we’re missing the boat! Here’s a quick key to help you as you read:
- Titles in blue are new this season
- Each * means one Quibbling Sibling will be tuning in
- Click here for Sunday‘s post.
Dancing With The Stars (ABC, September 15th)
C: I’m going to step back and let you two handle this, since I’ve still never seen more than the last three minutes of this show (before Castle comes on).
E: Mr. E and I watch this sometimes, depending on who the cast is. Last spring we were definitely drawn in — Billy Dee Williams, Drew Carey, Candace Cameron, Danica McKellar, Charlie White and Meryl Davis? Amazing.
M: You used that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
E: Says the man who didn’t watch and wouldn’t know. Anyway, this season not so much. Though I’m incredibly curious to see So You Think You Can Dance’s brilliant Allison Holker make the transition from contemporary dancer to ballroom pro, this cast disappoints. I’m vaguely curious about PBS talk show host Tavis Smiley, comedian Tommy Chong and wacky fashion designer Betsey Johnson, too, but it’s not because I expect them to be any good.
M: I ask this every time… are any of the people on the cast actually “stars”? You know I prefer to call it Dancing With The Mildly Recognizable.
C: Yes. We do know that. Because you do say this every time.
M: Last season’s cast could at least remove the “mildly.” If you’re under 30 (and not a mega stoner) do you know who Tommy Chong is? Same for Tavis Smiley (without the stoner caveat)? If you’re not either her parents, in the fashion industry, or E, do you know who Betsey Johnson is?
E: Actually, I think she’s a big name as far as this show goes, which as you say is certainly a low standard. My money’s on ’80s movie star/’90s sitcom star Lea Thompson to win; it turns out she was a ballerina before turning Eric Stoltz’s head in Some Kind of Wonderful. Or at least, I thought so until I saw Alfonso Riberio (Carlton from the Fresh Prince of Bel Air) do this. Duck Dynasty’s Sadie Robertson’s not so bad either. (Yes. I admit it. I did watch the premiere, during which 70-year-old Betsey Johnson did cartwheels into splits. Still not sold on the season, but I might tune in from time to time.)
M: Again, we love her work, but when was the last time Thompson was in anything, let alone anything successful? I’m not watching until this show actually gets a current star, let alone stars.
The Big Bang Theory (CBS, September 22nd)***
E: I need to get into this show. I actually watched it a few times last year — partly because of the wonderful Laura Spencer, partly because I stumbled onto this totally genius scene — and it was gut-bustingly funny.
C: Regular readers will know that M and I have been trying to convince her to give it a chance for years, so this is something of a miracle you’re witnessing.
M: Can I get a “Hallelujah!”
E: Really, my big debate is whether to binge watch from the beginning, or just jump into the new episodes.
M: My advice? Do both.
C: Agreed. I’ll even loan you the first two seasons, which M gave me some time ago.
E: Okay, that’s a deal then. Adding my asterisk to the top. Also? Big Bang is moving to Thursdays in November, so don’t get all attached to this time slot.
M: I was baffled by the night change. Top rated comedy on TV, been on Thursdays forever, what are they doing moving it around? I was worried, then I learned that it’s just so they can have it on while Thursday Night Football takes over that night for a couple months. Which is good, because the show has done a great job of adapting over the years, bringing in new cast members (Melissa Rauch as Bernadette and the wonderfully funny Miyam Bialik as Amy Farrah Fowler) and changing up the dynamic of the group. You still have to wonder how long any show can last, and this is the start of season 10!
E: Well, they did just guarantee the cast a million dollars an episode (Friends money!) for the next three years, so presumably they plan to keep airing it for at least that long. Plots for the upcoming year: after Leonard and Penny’s engagement rocked his world, Sheldon spends the summer traveling the rails, lamenting his perfect life gone by. (This baffles me because I swear in the episode I watched from this season, Leonard seemed very happy with a different girlfriend.) Does this mean Sheldon’ll have to move out on his own? Not any time soon, as I understand it.
The Originals (CW, October 6th)
E: Meh. How did this show get renewed?
C: Apparently some of the cast members are attractive. At least, that’s the only thing I’ve heard about it.
M: Ha. When I saw the title I thought “Is that a new show? I don’t think I’ve heard of that one.” Pretty sure I’m not the target demo, but I’m also pretty sure that’s not what CW is hoping for.
E: For those who’re into this Vampire Diaries prequel, season two will focus around vampire/werewolf hybrid Hayley punishing everyone she can get her unnaturally sharp teeth and fast hands on for the attacks on her baby daughter. Also, there are gangsters, and lots of stunt jumping around a gorgeous New Orleans courtyard with wrought iron balconies and a fountain, as well as massive brawls in a fabled, picturesque graveyard. The architecture is so much more interesting to me than the blood.
M: That’s funny, you’re usually all about the blood.
E: I know, right? There, are, lets see, a new grungy gang, a vampire (Michael) who hunts vampires, mystical weapons (an oak stake, moonlight rings made from a sorceress’s stones), and two parents back from the beyond to take out their sons.
M: Sorceress’s stones? Between the possible Harry Potter jokes, and the potential male anatomy jokes, I don’t know which way to go.
Gotham (FOX, September 22nd)***
E: Yes, please! This is absolutely the fall offering at the top of my list. I’ve watched a lot of FOX this summer — So You Think You Can Dance being my summertime treat/obsession — and I got to thrill to this Batman prequel regularly.
M: I’ve watch nothing this summer, FOX or otherwise, but I’m still super excited for this.
C: It definitely looks classily produced and sharp, though I wonder if its apparent unrelenting grimness of tone will get wearing week after week. Of course, some fans enjoy that sort of thing (coughgameofthronescough), but I need a spice of humor, even in a dark-concept series.
M: I don’t think this will be as grim as GOT (sorry, coughGOTcough), but I think that anyone going in will be assuming that something Batman-related isn’t going to be bright and cheery.
E: I quite hope that they manage to catch the right tone. The cast includes The O.C.‘s Benjamin McKenzie (now going by Ben, according to his IMDB page) as a young detective James Gordon, and Jada Pinkett Smith as an original character, glamorous crime boss Fish Mooney–
C: That is kind of rad.
E: –as well as glimpses of Camren Bicondova’s Selina Kyle, David Mazouz’s Bruce Wayne, Sean Pertwee’s Alfred Pennyworth, Erin Richards’ Barbara Keane (Gordon), and Robin Taylor as Oswald Cobblepot.
C: That is less rad. I feel like a little more restraint might have given the show more legs, potentially, rather than feeling like they had to introduce every single well-known Batman villain already (many as children!). Kind of feels like they’ve left little for themselves to do in terms of telling an origin story, with the gradual build-up and occasional startling reveals that the genre classically entails.
E: Well, as I understand it, each season is going to focus on the rise of a particular super villain. This season, it’s The Penguin. In the future they hope to deal with forensic tech Edward Nygma, though we’ll see glimpses of him this year, too.
C: Though I’m voicing my fears, I do want this to be good, obviously.
M: I do share your concerns about pacing — though, that’s a concern I feel for almost every show, so I don’t feel it will be any more rushed here than anything else. Now back to the positive, there is the always underrated Donal Logue as Gordon’s partner Harvey Bullock, and Sean Pertwee (son of the Third Doctor, Jon Pertwee) playing Alfred. And come on, it looks sooooooo good.
The Voice (NBC, September 22nd)
E: New judges Pharrell Williams (obligatory black R & B hit maker) and Gwen Stefani (obligatory platinum blond female pop star) join the cast this season, fitting neatly into the categories of their predecessors (CeeLo Green and Usher, Christina Aguilera and Shakira).
M: Pharrell Williams, cashing in on that 15 minutes. Good for him. Still not watching.
E: You know, I really like the blind auditions. Watching the judges fight over the contestants is pretty fun; I usually catch at least one of those episodes each season. On the other hand, watching contestants on the same team fight against each other to stay on the show? Hate.
Mom (CBS, September 29th)
E: Fresh off Allison Janney’s Emmy win for best supporting actress in a comedy series, Anna Faris’s series hits its second season. Point of interest (or at least trivia): this puts West Wing alum Janney into a select club of actors who’ve won Emmies not only for multiple series, but for both drama and comedy.
M: Which is fantastic for her, but the show is still crap.
E: Exactly. I would much rather talk Emmy trivia than Mom. I hate that terrific actresses like Janney and Faris have latched onto something so dismal looking. Look, here’s a great interview with Janney! She even talks a little bit about how having an alcoholic in her family helped her with her character for this show. Cool, right?
M: If you say so.
E: Grumble grumble. Fine. I can tell you that Ed Asner and Sarah Rue will guest star during Mom‘s new season, and that the main characters will not only lose their home, but contact with Faris’s teenage daughter. Funny, right?
M: Considering that the original construct of the show was that Faris’ life was so messed up that she and her teenage daughter had to live with her mother, yeah, that’s a mess.
Scorpion (CBS, September 22nd)**
E: This is another series premise that has the siblings written all over it: a team of geniuses travel America helping people. Sneakers meets the A-Team!
C: Looks a lot like Leverage, actually. Only with self-proclaimed geniuses, who proclaim themselves geniuses kind of a lot. Kind of a whole lot. And seem fairly insufferable.
M: Yeah, but Leverage had Timothy Hutton, the poor man’s Kevin Costner… insufferable without the Oscars or box office success.
C: This, on the other hand, stars Elyes Gabel, who is… a person. Whom I know nothing about.
E: Yeah, me neither. Could be a good thing, could be a bad one. Oh, and speaking of the cast — because geniuses, you see, don’t relate well to normal folk, they recruit Katherine McPhee (a waitress with a genius son) to help them talk to the plebes.
C: I suppose if I can enjoy the Big Bang Theory despite the show’s assumption that intellectuals are incapable of relating conventionally to other people, I shouldn’t hold it too much against them here.
E: That presumption annoys me, for sure, but not enough to stop me from checking out the premiere at least.
M: Pretty sure the hook on the show is that they recruit the genius son, and she comes along as part of the package. Of course, the reality is that they needed an excuse to fit McPhever into the team of geniuses, and no one would buy her as a genius. Voila! Genius kid gets added.
C: That was way harsh, Tai. I mean M.
E: Ha! Good one, Cher. Also, I don’t even care, I’m too into the action geeks idea.
M: Right there with you.
Jane the Virgin (CW, October 13)*
E: Okay. The title’s weird. The idea is kind weird too. But the show gets points for me for these things: for showing an alternative view of sexuality and for basing a show around Latina women. There might even be a little intelligent reflection on religion in there too. Least you be fooled by these big themey themes, however, we’re looking at a comedy.
C: I’m skeptical of whether the show will treat its core notion of religiously-motivated celibacy with respect, but you’re right, at least it’s a woman of color getting a TV series!
M: Count me in the “incredibly skeptical” category.
E: Young, thoughtful virgin-by-choice Jane gets accidentally inseminated during a routine gynecological exam. They seems to be aiming for that heart-filled, frenetic, over-the-top Ugly Betty feel.
C: Probably because both are adaptations of telenovelas.
M: Which, as you know, I’m a huge fan of. And for those who don’t know me, just know that this would be a perfect time to use the yet uninvented (I’m working on it!) sarcasm font.
E: You know, you’re both probably right. The initial buzz is not buzzy; even if I like it, it’s probably going to get canceled. Still, I like to give shows a chance. That way when I ruthlessly mock them later, I know what I’m talking about.
Star Wars Rebels (Disney X D, October 13th)*
C: Can I just begin by stating my amusement that, before I edited it, WordPress had turned channel name Disney X D into Disney XD ?
E: Lol. My kids have been entranced by the little 3-minute teasers that Disney’s been producing all summer, shorts intended both to introduce characters and whet our appetite for this animated series about a rag tag band of merry resistance fighters, set in the time between big screen episodes 3 and 4. And smugglers, I’m pretty sure. It’s all got quite the Robin Hood feeling to it, really. It’s not super original, and the humanoid characters all look a little weird around their noses, but I think its going to be fun.
M: Cool trivia — the look is partly based on movie poster genius Ralph McQuarrie’s original concept art.
C: Oh, that’s neat.
E: Technically the show kicks off on October 3rd with a movie — Star Wars Rebels: Spark of Rebellion — on the Disney Channel.
M: Despite my growing excitement for JJ Abrams next episode in the Star Wars story, I can’t pull myself to get into any of the animated stuff. Perhaps because what I did finally watch of the Clone Wars was SO bad, perhaps because I feel like animation (or at least Lucas’ obsession with it) pretty much killed the prequel trilogy.
E: Oh, I don’t know. I don’t blame animation for that. I just blame Lucas. And since he’s no longer involved…
Sleepy Hollow (FOX, September 22nd)
E: The time traveler Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison) continues to battle the apocalypse with his partner, cop Nicole Beharie (a former recurring character on The Good Wife, in case you were keeping score).
M: You know C and I are… if only to mock you.
E: I’d expect no less. They’re joined by newly-promoted-to-regular-cast-member, John Noble as super evil destroyer Henry.
C: Oh, that’s exciting! Though, I must say I loved him far, far more as the amazing, complicated mad scientist Walter Bishop on Fringe than in his villainous role as Denethor. Hope he’ll get some good stuff on this series (which I must admit I’ve never seen).
E: Huh. I thought all three of us tried (and rejected) this last year. I wasn’t really into the horror mix of this show, but I have to respect any show runner who brings on the brilliant Noble. And the weirdness of his character’s parentage.
M: She also now counts him as a Good Wife alum, so there’s that.
E: How much do I love that I didn’t even need to bring that up — you brought it up for me! (Cue evil laugh.) The second season begins with Ichabod in a box, and Abby (Beharie) in Purgatory; obviously they need to find their way out before much more can happen. In season 2, we’ll also find out more about Abby and Jenny’s family history; Lyndie Greenwood’s Jenny has also been promoted to series regular. We’ll also meet the woman Ichabod was engaged to before he married Katrina.
M: So, this show looked really promising last season, but lost me VERY quickly. They went way too supernatural and it didn’t help that it had absolutely nothing to do with The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.
E: Lots of people love the gonzo wackiness of this take on the classic short story, but the more I hear about this it, the less sense it makes. It’s just completely bonkers. Noble plays Ichabod’s son? Seriously?
C: This is why I never got into it to begin with. Remember when we reviewed the pilot when it was new? It was like, there’s WHAT going on and also WHAT WHAT and HUH WHAT?! That is as articulately as I can explain my reaction.
M: Exactly. Next.
Ascension (Syfy, November 24th)*
E: Tricia Helfer. In a space ship. Need I say more?
C: Well… yes, a bit, please.
E: Ha! Trick question. I totally will say more, because there’s a lot to say here, and none of it seems to be about Battlestar Galactica‘s Tricia Helfer, actually. First off, this is a mini-series — but if audiences like what they see, Syfy will make more.
M: I’ll believe that when I see it. Stupid network cancelled Farscape. And didn’t pick up Almost Human. And changed their name to use y’s. Boo!
C: Well, they did send a Battlestar Galactica miniseries into series order, so it wouldn’t be unprecedented.
E: Next, the premise. While simultaneously struggling to get a single man into orbit with the Gemini program, NASA launches a secret program to launch 600 people into space in the hopes that, should the current population of Earth perish in a nuclear war, these pilgrims would be able to colonize a new planet. Love the idea, even if the lack of technologically-correct history makes me want to tear my hair out a little. The show begins 50 years after launch, when everyone’s getting testy and apparently starting to bump each other off.
M: Wait… 50 years? So, at the time that we couldn’t get one person it orbit, we were able to get 600 people, with enough food to last AT LEAST 50 years, into space?
E: Yes. Exactly. Massive, Titanic-sized suspension of disbelief required.
C: Guys, presumably it was a government conspiracy. They can do anything, you know, the government.
M: Hmph. What’s their destination? This just sounds frustrating. Do they at least run into Cylons or something?
C: Yeah, presumably it has more of a plot than that — seems like they run into some kind of serious trouble out there. What looks coolest, I think, is that the people aboard the spaceship are culturally stuck in the early 1960s, even though it takes place in 2014. Clothing styles and so on are delightfully Mad Men.
E: I quite like that, too. Though the show runners’ resumes aren’t exactly confidence-inspiring (previous credits include Smallville, Cougar Town, and Hollywood Heights) and the stars (Brad Carter, Aliyah O’Brien) are mostly unknown, I’m intrigued anyway. It gets super big points for that ’60s style.
M: Um, yeah, any points that gets it in my book it loses for the network, and the plot holes so big you could drive a spaceship through them.
Castle (ABC, September 29th)***
E: O Castle my Castle. How I have loved you for your wit and enthusiasm. And how afraid I am that you have jumped the shark. After a season of frustratingly few laughs, you make Kate think Rick has left her at the altar? No.
C: I’m embarrassed to admit I never even watched the back half of last season. Granted, I fell behind on several shows, but I didn’t feel motivated to catch up on Castle. That’s so not right!!!
E: What’s not right is that your lack of motivation feels fairly justified by the show’s alarming decrease in quality. I kind of wish I hadn’t seen it. The new season promo is “The search is on for Castle.” I’m only interested if they turn up Richard Castle from seasons 1-4. Five might even be okay. But six? Hell no.
M: I am afraid to agree.
E: Oh, go ahead. It won’t hurt you.
M: I enjoyed parts of last season a lot, and feel like it still could be a really great show. That said, the way they ended last season was just laugh-out-loud ridiculous.
E: And not in a good way. I agree that I have enough faith in the cast, at least, to think they can get back on track. I don’t want to give up on this show!
M: And C, since you didn’t watch, I’ll recap it. Castle’s on his way to their wedding, and gets driven off the road. Beckett, in wedding dress, goes looking for him and finds his car off the road, down a small embankment, smoking and upside down. Assuming her love is dead, tears in her face, the screen fades to black… and IMMEDIATELY comes the ABC announcer voice saying “Castle and Beckett will be back solving new cases in the fall… on ABC!” Fastest spoiling of a cliffhanger (even a weak one) ever.
NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS, September 29th)
E: It’s funny to think that these NCIS shows are the most popular shows in the country, and yet I really don’t think I know anyone who watches them.
C: Don’t think I do either, except probably my students.
E: Wait, really? I thought it was all old people. Huh.
C: No, teenagers love procedurals. I think they watch them with their families.
M: Seriously, you guys? I know bunches of people who watch this.
C: Says the father of a teenager. My point is made.
M: I watch the original one from time to time, as it’s a show you can pop in and out of and not have to catch up too much. Haven’t watched the LA version, but still.
E: Big news here: time slot switcheroo!
M: Which is to accommodate NCIS:New Orleans, which we will talk about tomorrow, and which I will probably watch because of the fantastic Scott Bakula.
E: Huh. Really. Can’t wait to have that discussion. Also, in the premiere episode, the team grapples with an underwater bomb. Adjust your DVRs and hold your breath!
The Blacklist (NBC, September 22nd)
E: Mostly out of love for James Spader, I tried this show last year. It was more brutal and violent than clever, however, and despite it being a big hit with the general public, it was not a hit with me.
M: Really? We watched a few episodes, but then it lost out to the general chaos that was last year for me. Kept wanting to go back, but never having the time.
C: What’s this one about again? I forget.
E: Master criminal who helps the government in exchange for bumping old enemies off the titular list. Here’s my big question for the new season: will they let lead actress Megan Boone actually wear her own hair? Could it really be so bad that those wigs are an improvement? Nominally, the question is about Peter Stormare’s evil character (like he plays any other kind?), Berlin, who blames Red for his daughter’s death. What lengths is he willing to go to to make Red suffer? We’re also promised more depth in other character’s on Red’s team, including someone named Wrestler, and also Alan Alda’s Fitch. (Who I’m guessing isn’t strictly on the team, but involved with it.)
M: Alan Alda? Really? Good for him.
E: Indeed. Boone’s Liz is now living out of suitcases, unmoored and tougher. There is no official word about traitor husband Tom; you’ll just have to watch the show – or at least read about it after the premiere – if you want to find out. By the way, the answer to the first question is clearly no. Still we have those terrible wigs. What the heck?
State of Affairs (NBC, November 17th)**
E: Former Grey’s Anatomy/bad romcom star Katherine Heigl…
C: Hey, don’t forget Roswell!
E: …that too, yup. Heigl takes on the role of top CIA analyst Charleston Tucker, who leads the team that prepares the “daily book” of potential threats for the president (Alfre Woodard).
M: Are you saying Alfre Woodard is playing the president? That’s awesome.
E: Yes I am and yes it is. Heigl’s character here is laser-focused at work, but also the kind of hard drinking, hard partying ball breaker who tosses strange men out of her bed in the middle of the night so she can go back to work. But don’t judge! You see, Tucker was engaged to the president’s son, who was killed doing humanitarian work in the Middle East, leaving Tucker’s personal life in the afore-mentioned free fall.
C: So it’s kind of Claire Danes on Homeland, redux?
E: Similar at least; Danes’ Carrie’s a bit of a screw up at work, too, while Charleston’s supposed to be more successful. Despite the fact that she’s kind of the cliche of a 1980s private eye, I’m mildly interested in this. I’d say it’s just that I like political shows — or shows about smart women — but I don’t like Scandal, so it’s not just that.
M: That’s because Scandal is about a stupid woman, and is really just a trashy soap opera. However, you’re often good with those (like the aforementioned Grey’s).
C: M, at this point you’re making me feel bad for E, and I can’t stand Shonda Rhimes’s oeuvre.
E: I’m just saying I really liked the idea of Scandal. So yes. I take it back. It’s that I like political shows, and shows about smart women — and I am not sanguine, but hopeful, that this might be one. Woodard helps a lot, too.
M: In my book Woodard’s the one redeeming quality. She’s like Michael Caine or Morgan Freeman, anything she’s in deserves at least a look. It might be bad, but not because of her.
E: So you’re watching it, too? Excellent.