2014 Fall Television Preview: Friday and Saturday

M: Welcome, one and all, to the last day of the Quibbling Siblings 2014 Fall Preview! For those of you who haven’t been following along, we’ve been quibbling even more than usual, mostly because I’m irritable and cranky. Or because my sisters intentionally bait me. The links are below, you make the call!

C: It’s definitely the former. And since Friday and Saturday are the oddball days of television, expect some more extreme opinions below!

E: It’s absolutely the former.

M: Obviously.

E: We would never ever tease or bait you.  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:

FRIDAY

8:00pm

Last Comic Standing (ABC, October 3rd)

M: Mrs M and I caught the tail end of the summer season of Last Comic Standing, and it did not disappoint. In fact, we liked some of the comics so much that we’re headed into Boston to see the tour tonight!

E: And hopefully, it’ll be a great show!

Amazing Race (CBS, September 26th)

E: CBS’s Emmy-dominating travel competition makes the jump to Fridays.  Though Shark Tank normally rules the Friday ratings, this schedule shake up could change all that. Will fans stay home to follow the show?

C: If they don’t, they’ll just watch it online the next day.

Whose Line Is It Anyway? (CW, ongoing)

E: Our old favorite is back!  Okay, okay, it’s been back for a while, but it’s still cool that it is.

M: The CW has been using this on its summer schedule, so I wonder if it’s really going to be lapping over into the fall season. I hope it is, because it’s been great. It’s also been great introducing my kids to the world of improv.

C: Yeah! Next you’ll be signing them up for classes. I can’t wait for the day.

MasterChef Junior (November 9th, FOX)

E: FOX’s popular spin off series

M: Or we could just watch Food Network.

E: Obviously that’s what you and I will do, but who knows about the rest of the viewing audience?  For those who like this, the coming season will feature Gordon Ramsey’s mother, who inspires rather better behavior from the famously belligerent and bellicose chef than we’re accustomed to seeing.

M: That might actually be worth seeing.

Dateline NBC (NBC, perpetual)

M: Or we could just watch Food Network. Or Cartoon Network. Or “I’d rather gouge my eyes out” Network. At least it’s only on once a week now, as opposed to a few years back where it felt like NBC’s entire line up was Dateline at 8:00 and Jay Leno at 10:00.

C: I know it’s on prime-time so we have to mention it, but honestly, what is there to say about Dateline?

M: I got nothin’.

E: Me neither.

8:30pm

Cristela (ABC, October 10th)

C: Contrary to what you might have assumed, this is in fact a TV sitcom and not a brand-name alcohol.

M: *snort*

C: Cristela (comedienne Cristela Alonzo) is a woman in her early thirties, working on a law degree that’s taking forever and living with her sister, brother-in-law, their kids, and (I think) her mother as well. A situation I have reason to suspect that many might find relatable!

M: Welcome to Obama’s America! :>

E: Nope, not biting.  It’s based on the comedienne’s real life.  It looks too sitcommy for me to enjoy, but I definitely appreciate that it’s written and produced by a latina woman looking to challenge television’s stereotypical representation of latinas.  More than usually, I hope it’s better than it looks.

C: There was at least one very funny line in the trailer: when a white co-worker at her new job as a legal intern asks Mexican-American Cristela first to empty the trash and then to validate her parking, Cristela fake-coos: “I think you’ve been validated enough.” Luckily, their other co-workers seem to find this woman just as ridiculous.

9:00pm

Shark Tank (ABC, September 26th)

M: The times I’ve watched this show I have felt two things about our society. First, that there are people out there with really great ideas. Sure, some of the ideas are horrible, but lots of them are great. Second, that the “sharks” are chosen based on how Simon Cowell-esque they can be.

C: How is that “about our society”?

M: You’re right, the second one’s not.

E: Well, I don’t know.  It says that television executives think people want to hear a lot of scathing, brutal put downs from honest but entitled judges, although a look at the sweet offerings of this season leads some critics might suggest a trend shift.  I don’t know that having great ideas is a “thing” about our society, either.  Now, a friend of mine who’s an MBA watches Shark Tank with his daughters, so they can see and discuss what goes into making a successful business pitch.

M: Interesting. I’m still passing.

Hawaii Five-O (CBS, September 26th)

M: Another show that I had to give up on for time reasons in the last year or two. It’s still good, though, when I occasionally catch an episode.

C: I’m glad it’s made such a success, for the sake of Alex O’Loughlin, who seems to have a somewhat bland part here but who I’ll always root for due to the one-season-only awesomeness that was Moonlight.

E: Me too. When someone gives a terrific enough performance, it can color your view of them forever.  Funny how that works, huh?  Really, I like the entire cast of this show, which I stopped watching it because (as with several other recent law enforcement shows) its cops are too lawless and aggressive.

C: I like the rest of the cast, too.

M: Scott Caan, obviously, being the break-out; we already know how much we loved Lost‘s Daniel Dae Kim  and Battlestar Galactica‘s Grace Park.

E: There’s some sort of island of misfit toys joke here, but I’m too exhausted by the rest of this previewing to know what it is. As far as the next season, there’ll be some cameos from wonderful old stars like Carol Burnett and Franky Valli, and the show’s 100th episode, pitched as “The Wizard of Oz meets Sliding Doors meets Hawaii Five-O,”  which star O’Loughlin considers a love letter to fans.

M: I don’t even know what to make of that.

America’s Next Top Model (The CW)

M: Much like everything else on The CW, I wonder how this is still on. What it really makes me wonder is how The CW is still on.

C: It’s been six days, bro. People might be getting tired of seeing you make that comment.

M: It’s been 10 years, I’m tired of having to make it!

Utopia (FOX, September 26th)

M: Didn’t we already discuss this? Is it re-runs, or a second episode of the week, like Big Brother does in the summer?

E: That’s a good question.  It is in fact not a repeat.  Remember

Grimm (NBC, October 24th)

M: NBC’s Friday hit. One of NBC’s only hits. How the mighty have fallen.

C: Grimm is the one and only show that I intended to binge-catch-up on, and actually succeeded! Well, almost. After hearing great things about it for three years, I finally watched the first two seasons this summer. But due to some sort of weird pre-digital-age holdover (I assume), the 3rd season only just became available on Netflix and Amazon this week. Right. Because heaven knows we don’t want new viewers to be able to watch the previous season in time for the new one to start! That would be disastrous!

M: Yeah, network execs are still trying to figure out the whole digital age. Which would have been acceptable in 2006.

E: I don’t understand why that is, but a lot of networks still do that – last night while I watched the Bones premiere (grrr), they advertised last season’s dvd set going on sale that very day.  It’s ridiculous.  Honestly, they ought to be working to get the previous season available at least a month before the new one airs, to build up excitement and publicity in old and new fans.  What’re they thinking?

C: Complaints unrelated to the series aside, and while avoiding season three spoilers I’ll just say that this show is really great. Fans of The X-Files and its grand lineage of shows, Fringe included, are pretty much bound to like this. What I enjoy is that while the mysteries-of-the-week can get gory and the mythology arcs rather dark, the writers have a sense of humor that always shows through, and most importantly, the characters have a wonderful camaraderie. This is helped, I think, by the lack of a will-they-won’t-they romance; instead, complications come from outside forces and from the ethical choices characters have to make.

M: Nice, maybe I will have to catch this some day.

E: Me too. Mr. E and I stopped the first season after a few weeks – it seemed really dark and we weren’t bonding with any of the characters – but if you’re comparing it to some of  your all time favorite shows then clearly we quit too soon.

C: I’m really surprised you stopped, actually, and I would recommend it.

E: Now I’m nervous about spoiling the big twist that ended the third season, though, since you haven’t seen it!  Suffice to say that the fourth starts in reaction to last season’s cliffhanger, with characters having to adapt quickly to a new and confusing situation.

10:00pm

20/20 (ABC, perpetual)

M: Also back for its 107th season…

C: For actual commentary, see Dateline.

Blue Bloods (CBS, September 26th)

M: Tom Selleck’s mustache returns for another season of what happens to be the last of the 150 procedurals we mention in these previews. From what I understand, this one is pretty solid.

E: It is.  Mr. E and I watched the first season, and it’s pretty enjoyable. Not so much that we kept going with it, but the give and take between the family members is entertaining and relatable.  News for this season: Bridget Moynahan’s Erin gets a new love interest, interim DA Holt McCallany, and Donnie Wahlberg’s Danny gets a new boss, LaTanya Richardson.

M: I am a Donnie Wahlberg fan. But, well, can’t we get a few more shows taking chances?

C: Good news! One of those such chances is up next.

Constantine (NBC, October 24th)

E: Constantine’s titular character is a grumpy human living in a supernatural infused world, having to make it without any actual superpowers of his own.  Furthermore, he’s somehow already been doomed to an afterlife in hell, and is busy trying to work his way out of that curse.

C: Well that’s not good.

M: Seems like he damned a girl (presumably an innocent girl) to hell, and is damned himself in response.

E: This is a very confusing theological point (you can’t damn another person! hello, free will!), but I suppose you just have to flow with their logic.

M: Based on a comic, Constantine is a Brittish dude who can see (and be seen by) demons, including LOST‘s Harold Perrineau. Looks like he’s going to teach a girl with a similar “gift,” whose late father he knew, how to deal with them. Oh, and “something big is coming,” but even he doesn’t know what that means. As I was watching the trailer I though “Ok, so this is like Grimm on demon-infused steroids.” Right after I thought it, a little message popped up in the corner that said “Like Constantine? Check out Grimm!” so yeah, nailed it.

E: Nice, M. Keeping patting yourself on the back there.

M: Will do. Oh, and one of the lead writers is the master of all things gritty and dark, David Goyer (from things as recent as DaVinci’s Demons, Man of Steel and the Dark Knight trilogy, all the way back as far as the highly underrated Dark City)

E: I understand they’re working very hard to make sure we know it has little in common with the much reviled Keanu Reeves movie made from the same source material, a comic (as M said) about a superhero with a sort of supervision, but no powers to help him deal with the demons he sees.  He is, however, a street magician, so maybe card tricks confuse the spawn of Satan?

C: Juggling?

M: Maybe a unicycle?

Saturday

In addition to Football on ABC, general sports talk on FOX, a variety of “Crimetime” shows on CBS, and baseball on ESPN, you do have a few television options other than watching movies.  Here are a few:

Doctor Who (BBCAmerica, August 23rd)**

E: I’m not enchanted with the new doctor yet; Mr. E keeps telling me not to rush to judgment, but it’s not easy (no matter how much the show tries to preach at me — and Clara — about how the Doctor inhabiting an older body is really a sign of trust).

C: Trust in what, exactly?

E: Trust that we’d still like him even if he’s no longer young and cute and shiny.

M: Hasn’t seemed preachy to me. I think they mostly did it because they kept getting themselves caught up having too much romantic chemistry between Matt Smith’s Doctor and both Pond and Clara.

E: Indeed, they are certainly backpedaling from that, especially now that they’ve introduced Remi Gooding’s Rupert Daniel Pink, a love interest for Clara who figures prominently in the season’s overarching mystery. Also, since when does no one know if the Doctor is a good man? Ridiculous. I can see him doubting it, but Clara?

M: Yeah, that doesn’t resonate.

C: That does seem a bit much, when there was an episode a couple years ago literally called “A Good Man [meaning the Doctor] Goes to War.”

E: Granted, Clara wasn’t around for that – that was back in the day of the 10th doctor. Sigh.  I still haven’t really gotten over David Tennant. And maybe I’m just not in love with Steven Moffat as a show runner (even though he has written some of my favorite ever episodes).

M: Backing up, not only will I take Mr E’s side, but I will say that so far I am enjoying Peter Capaldi’s Doctor. I am not in a position of having to “get over” David Tennant, as I have yet to watch his seasons (seen all of Matt Smith, but still working through Chris Eccleston’s season). Not sure that would make a difference, though, as I really enjoy the body-switching and the new blood that it brings.

E: I guess, she says grumpily.

M: As a total aside, they are doing construction work on the floor below my office, and one of the most common sounds they make sounds like the TARDIS. I have no idea what exactly they’re doing (running metal cable tubes, maybe), but it’s always fun to picture the TARDIS showing up beneath my floor.

E: Lesson: when life gives you annoying construction noise, imagine them bringing you time travel adventures.  Attitude is everything!  In addition to Doctor Who, BBCAmerica’s generally a fun bet on Saturday nights; Orphan Black airs them, and Being Human, as well as a bunch of other fun shows. They just rotate a lot during the year, especially since British shows have much shorter seasons than American network ones; watch this slot!

Mythbusters (Discovery Science, ongoing)

M: From what I hear, a lot of the cast is turning over this year. The build team, Grant, Kari and Tory, are all out, and it will be going back to the original format with just Adam and Jamie doing everything. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing, I always liked the interactions with the build team.

E: That’s surprising.  I wonder how that will affect their production schedule?  I always felt like the build team was filler, there to stretch out the episode.  Will we get fewer new episodes without them?

Marvel’s Ultimate Spider-man: Web Warriors/Marvel’s Avengers Assemble/Marvel’s Hulk and the Agents of SMASH (DisneyXD)

E: I hear good things about these animated shows: I might record a few for my kids.

C: These are on prime time??

M: And if so… why?

Chopped (Food Network, ongoing)

E: I love this show so much.

M: So much fun. Especially when they have theme episodes/weeks like Teen Chopped or All-Stars. I especially like it when the judges get put in the competition.

E: The best.  It’s on often enough that you can practically catch it whenever you feel like it, which is a very good thing.

Property Brothers (HGTV, ongoing)

E: The Scott brothers renovate fixer uppers; there’s something about this kind of show that really speaks to me.  (I’m currently obsessed with Texas reno show Fixer Upper, but that mostly airs during the day; I’d suggest checking it out not only for the gorgeous transformations, but the wonderful chemistry of the Gaines family.) Also airing on Saturday nights: House Hunters, House Hunters International and House Hunters Renovation, three super fun and addictive shows about home searches around the globe.

Great Performances and Austin City Limits (PBS, ongoing)

E: Wish you were out at a concert?  These are the shows for you.  Austin City Limits particularly features newer, less well known acts. Great Performances shows concerts, plays and even operas.

C: And with that, good friends, we have come to the end of our Fall 2014 Television Preview.  We hope we’ve entertained and informed you.

M: And if you’re a new reader, we hope you stick around!  See you next week with the October Movie Preview.

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4 comments on “2014 Fall Television Preview: Friday and Saturday

  1. I think Doctor Who is literally the only TV show you guys have mentioned that I watch.

    Thankfully, the “Am I a good man?” thing has really only seemed to impact the first two episodes. Because it is kinda silly, especially in the context of the anniversary episodes, which worked overtime to establish how awesomely good a man the Doctor is. The uncertainty angle about a non-young Doctor wasn’t really brought up after the first episode, either.

    I am warming to Capaldi, but Mrs. S liked him right away. Which is actually kind of weird! The storytelling has been really varied this season; each episode has been in a totally different tone and style and structure, and I really like that in my Doctor Who.

    • E says:

      Me too, Steve. I saw “Listen” since writing this, which is vastly different in tone, and liked it quite a bit.

      I agree as well that really the first two episodes were the ones that focused on the regeneration; while I wish I’d enjoyed those more, I’m glad they’ve dropped the self-doubt. It’s helped.

  2. MMGF says:

    Not a lot of asterisks here on Friday and Saturday, I see. 🙂

    Wow, after so many seasons away, Last Comic Standing seems to be back with a force. I hope they don’t Who-Wants-To-Be-A-Millionaire it to death. (But… considering it’s on NBC….)

    LOVE Whose Line Is It Anyway! Did I mention my Aisha Tyler obsession yet? I even don’t mind the new inclusion of celebrity guests included in skits – some are certainly duds, but some are pretty clever and fun, totally game to jump right in! (The show can certainly skew a little, umm, adult, though.)

    I’m a big MasterChef fan, but, to be honest, I found MasterChef Juniors a little creepy last year. (I see Project Runway’s copying the idea, though, with an upcoming kids edition, Project Runway Threads. Clever name, probably terrifying show.)

    When I saw Cristela listed, I totally thought you were previewing a Univision show. I mixed it up with Cristina. That probably makes me look racist.

    Shark Tank is actually a lot of fun, although I often have no idea why the “sharks” are easy on some folks and tough on others. There’s really only one Simon Cowell-esque guy on there, though – it’s not too bad. But some of the ideas are amazing, and watching the deals is wild.

    “Much like everything else on The CW, I wonder how this is still on. What it really makes me wonder is how The CW is still on.”
    That’s a mic-drop line if there every was one. I look forward to rooting for M on the next season of Last Comic Standing. In summer 2019.

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