M: Hi again folks, and welcome to the Relatively Entertaining 2015 Fall TV Preview: Sparsely Populated Weekend Night When Networks Assume Everyone Is Going Out Edition.
C: Don’t you feel like, in the age of DVR (for your age group) and catching-it-online-later (for mine), networks could start giving air time on Friday and Saturday nights to the kind of quality shows that don’t bring in big ratings but do have cult fan bases or strong binge-watching potential? What they lose in ad revenue they would, you’d think, make up later in sales of DVDs, tie-in products, licensing rights, syndication, etc. It seems like that ought to be a better long-term investment than some of the garbage they air on these nights because it’s cheap to make.
E: Absolutely. Why aren’t we running a network again? Because these few days are pretty thin. Some years, we haven’t even done a preview for Saturday. I think by now, though, cable is making enough of an effort that we can put the day back on the map, even if it’s still not got a significant enough schedule to merit its own post.
Note: New shows are in blue, asterisks (*) mean a Sibling will be watching.
Last Man Standing (ABC), September 25th
E: I have to tell you, I forget that this is its own show and always confuse it with Last Comic Standing. Not to mention The Last Man on Earth.
C: Ditto. I completely forgot it was a different thing than Last Comic Standing.
M: I didn’t forget it, I’ve just never watched it. I do like Tim Allen, though, so I’m glad it’s still kicking around.
E: I don’t know. It looks pretty terrible to me. I’d think it’d be a better thing to wish an actor you liked had a better show.
M: Oh, I do, but as I know people in the acting business, and know how hard it is to get work, just having a show is an accomplishment, even for someone of Allen’s status.
E: Hmm, maybe. Anyway, apparently there’s going to be quick time jump, with the show returning after daughter Kristin’s wedding, Mandy’s return from New York, Eve’s life plans falling apart, and Mike (Allen)’s return from a round-the-world photography trip. So, just a little drama set up there.
Amazing Race (CBS), September 25th
E: Lo how the mighty have fallen, from the most popular night of television (Sunday) to one of the least. The show, which has won all but 2 of the Emmy awards for Best Reality-Competition series since the category began in 2003, has clearly waned in popularity.
M: To paraphrase the fantastic, but now cancelled comedy The Neighbors, it’s at least getting the pity move to Fridays. You never know, maybe people just need a break from it.
C: Do you guys still watch this? Does anyone still watch this?
E: I never remember to watch it, though it’s definitely a fun idea. What’s new for its 27th season? A departure from Venice Beach which host Phil Keoghan claims is the best opening the show’s ever shot.
Reign (The CW), October 9th
C: And it’s another year of sexy, ahistorical shenanigans for the Reign gang… which, I’m still baffled to recall, includes Megan Follows.
E: I love that she’s working, even though it’s not exactly at the classic level of Anne of Green Gables.
C: I don’t know, maybe there are cases when a career change is more dignified. But it’s probably a fun show to film.
E: For its third season, the medieval soap plans to split its time between Mary Queen of Scots in France, and Virgin Queen Elizabeth in England. And, in true Reign style, they’ve going to get pretty raunchy with the so-called Virgin.
M: I was going to say, based on the little I do know about this show, they wouldn’t normally have anything to do with anyone referred to as a virgin.
E: Granted, everyone likes to speculate on Elizabeth’s romantic life, and since she’s a little older than Mary, the show feels like they have more room to push things. I almost laughed when I read that; not that I watch, but I’d never gotten the impression that anyone was holding back on the sexy times for any reason, let alone the characters’ ages.
M: Well, I suppose if the character was 12…
C: No one is 12 on this show. Even if they were at the time, historically, they just age them up to be a 16-year-old-played-by-a-26-year-old. In fact, I’ll broaden that statement — I don’t think anyone is 12 on TV at all. Okay, except actors playing 8-year-olds.
Masterchef Junior (FOX),November 6th
C: Crap, and now I have to immediately eat my words. Last year’s winner of this contest was 12. The contestants this year are 8-12. You guys knew I meant on scripted series, right?
M: Even if we did, we’d still mercilessly mock your embarrassing lack of precision.
E: Don’t you know that about us? And age is important here, since it’s because they’re kids that Gordon Ramsey is a bit nicer to the contestants on this show than he normally would be.
M: If he treated kids the same way he treated Hell’s Kitchen contestants, I doubt anyone would actually watch.
C: Hm, except really jaded middle-schoolers, perhaps. “Yeah, your soufflé sucks, you cry baby… tell him, Ramsey!”
E: I have a lot of friends who like Ramsey (or maybe it’s just a few good friends of mine who are very vocal on the subject) and they swear that Ramsey is not as beastly as the commercials for his other shows suggest. I don’t really know what to say about all that, because he is certainly marketed as being astoundingly unpleasant and basically behaving in a manner unfit for an adult, but what I love hearing is that Junior works hard to take the mickey out of him, as it were.
M: Well, when it comes to HK, it’s not by any means just the commercials. He was/is downright nasty to people on that show. Now, I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ve heard from friends who travel to the UK a lot that his TV persona on shows over there is 180 degrees from what it is here. There, allegedly, he never yells, and is more mentor than beastly boss than the character he plays for the American audience. So there’s that.
C: For whatever reason, audiences seem to want that nastiness, as much as they can get. The satisfaction of bullying without guilt, because done by proxy. But then when you turn around and embarrass the bully — just as satisfying.
E: That sounds about right: this season he gets bathed in frosting and dresses in costume.
Undateable (NBC), October 9th
E: So last year, in its second season, this show experimented with a new format. After doing a live episode and enjoying it mightily (including getting tanked on camera), star Chris D’Elia and his gang of undateable boys (Robert Funches, Rick Glassman, Brett Morin) will continue to strut their stuff live on the air. EVERY WEEK. What the actual heck.
C: Wait, this is a scripted sitcom right, not a reality show? I mean — I guess I should say it was scripted. Now it’s an improv sitcom?
E: No, still scripted, just performed live.
M: Wow, that’s quite the undertaking! are they doing multiple takes per week, for the different time zones?
E: No, sorry, they do one live show for the East Coast (we win!) which gets replayed for central, mountain and Pacific time zones.
M: For those who don’t know, this isn’t an actual dating show. The aforementioned gang of guys with various issues that make them “undateable” hangs out in a bar (now with former Disney Channel star Bridget Mendler as a waitress) and try to work out why they struggle with dating, and other things.
E: I’m honestly not sure if the live airing is a horrific or awesome idea, but I doubt I will ever tune in to find out.
M: I liked D’Elia on Whitney, and I like the concept, so I think I might try to.
C: I’d be curious to hear. The experiment is interesting, even if the premise sounds like a stereotypical testosterone-fest.
Dr. Ken (ABC), October 2nd*
E: Somehow I don’t think they’re talking about our dad’s business partner. Although you could make a pretty decent sitcom about two education consultants, I bet — particularly if one of them was our dad, who is totally sitcom-worthy.
C: That’s not just our bias either. I’ve been told many times that our dad is Quite A Character.
M: Very true. However, this is a sitcom based on the real life of its lead actor, Ken Jeong. Most people don’t know that the funny man from The Hangover, Community and about 100 other things, was actually a doctor before his family convinced him to go into acting and comedy. I love Jeong, so I’ll at least check this out.
C: He is great on Community, though in certain moments he goes so over-the-top it’s painful to look.
E: I’m totally fascinated that he was a real doctor.
M: I know, right?!?!?
E: Obviously he made a good choice, since he has a pretty decent resume before starring in his own show as a family practitioner with a terrible bedside manner. The mini teaser clips for this are interesting; a couple of them made me crack up (trashing-talking the skeleton? come on) but not all of them. So, I don’t know. I’m a little surprised that they put this on Friday considering Jeong’s resume.
M: To be sarcastically fair, with their “All Shonda All The Time” strategy, ABC hardly has time for anything else, especially things that are actually good.
C: There are a lot of “doctor with bad bedside manner” shows — if not currently on the air, certainly in the annals of television. Britain’s Doc Martin comes to mind, though this sounds like a different style of humor. It’s a formula that has worked and could again.
E: House was the first one that I thought of, but sure. Also featured in the show is Suzy Nakamura as Jeung’s very together wife. Also, to hearken back to our continuing conversation about diversity, that makes two sitcoms starring Asians. Go ABC!
M: Huh, to hearken back to the previous comment about it being on Friday, you would think they’d pull the normal TV exec move and schedule this after Fresh Off The Boat, to try to keep the lead in audience.
Truth Be Told (NBC) October 16th
E: Here’s a wild and crazy idea for a sitcom: take two wild and crazy couples (Mark-Paul Gosselaar & Vanessa Lachey — wife of Nick — and Tone Bell & Brescha Webb) and have them dish about everything. It doesn’t look nearly as shocking as it wants to be, but points for, once again, a diverse cast.
C: Oh, I take it this means Mark-Paul Gosselaar’s lawyer show with Breckin Meyer got cancelled? I never saw it, but I’m sad for Breckin Meyer.
M: Yeah, Franklin & Bash is no more. As to this, given that it’s Friday, I was at first assuming it was a reality/variety type show, and got confused when you coupled Gosselaar with Lachey. I’m with you now.
E: Oh, I was completely surprised to find this was a scripted series. It doesn’t sound like the title of one, does it? Originally called People Are Talking (leading to some confusion as I was making up this list), the show hopes to take a cue from the very chatty Curb Your Enthusiasm. I really have trouble imaging it will reach a similar level of critical success, based on the trailer in which Mark-Paul and Tone think they recognize the hot new babysitter for Tone’s kids as a porn star.
M: How lovely.
C: Hm, considering trailers usually feature a comedy’s funniest jokes, that isn’t necessarily impressive.
Shark Tank (ABC), September 25th
E: Most of what I know about Shark Tank (besides the basic premise of tycoons bidding for a share in the ideas/business of various entrepreneurs) is that billionaire shark Robert Herjavic swept his dance partner Kym Johnson off her feet on last season of Dancing With the Stars.
C: All I know about it is that my fiancé’s parents really like it. Getting to see all the interesting inventions is the appeal, I’m told — coupled with the “that could be me someday!” entrepreneurship fantasy. Also, maybe there’s something cathartic about seeing all those billionaires fighting over the talents of a hardworking middle-class American.
M: As I mentioned earlier in the Tuesday preview, I’m more interested in Behind The Tank, the behind the scenes/follow up show on the contestants than on the actual show itself.
E: Oh, and that an MBA friend of mine loves to watch the show with his kids so they can learn about business plans and entrepreneurship. Yay, education?
Hawaii Five-O (CBS), September 25th
E: Like The Blacklist, I stopped watching this show because the ethics of policing bothered me too much. Police brutality: not my bag.
M: Mrs M still watches, but not religiously, and mostly while doing stuff around the house at the same time. It got way too soapy and over the top for me to spend my time on it, despite loving the cast.
C: Oh, that makes me sad. I wasn’t interested enough by the plot to watch, but I love the actors. And I don’t just mean Alex O’Loughlin, though man, he is dreamy.
E: Agreed, I find this entire cast super appealing: Moonlight‘s O’Loughlin, Battlestar Galactica‘s Grace Park, Lost‘s Daniel Dae Kim and Ocean’s Eleven‘s Scott Caan all make me smile. For their sakes, I’m really pleased the show is still on the air even though I don’t love it.
M: Add in the regular side-players like Jorge Garcia (Hurley from LOST), Masi Oka (now back on Heroes, though) and Taylor Wily, too.
C: Dang, those are great people too. (Okay, I don’t actually know former sumo champion Wily’s work.)
E: Not to mention Christopher Sean, Bing Lee from our beloved Lizzie Bennet Diaries. By the way, executive producer Peter Lenkov says the show likes to have a theme each year — and that this year’s theme is love. Or aloha. Or both. Which, I thought aloha meant hello and goodbye, but whatever.
M: Well, couldn’t you argue that depending on how you say them, hello and goodbye both indicate and are expressions of love?
E: That’s weak, bro. Anyway, the love theme will play out with Park’s character, Kono (now married to Ian Anthony Dale’s Adam) and also O’Loughin’s McGarrett and his sometimes main squeeze, Michelle Borth’s Catherine.
America’s Next Top Model (The CW)
E: I know we’ve said that a ton, but this really is the show I’m most surprised still exists. You know how the pigs in Animal Farm talk about some animals being more equal than others? Well, this show is more under the radar than others.
M: Too true, I was shocked to see it on this list!
C: I remember when one of the prizes the models would win was a tiny guest spot on Veronica Mars. Considering VM has been off the air long enough to have gotten a comeback movie and even that was two years ago, this show has been on a long time. Now, that’s not actually very strange for a reality series — Project Runway is only a half-season “younger” and Top Chef is getting close to this longevity. But even while more recent reality competitions (even comparatively) get all the buzz, these shows must be plodding onward with some viewership, presumably, or they’d be axed.
Gold Rush (Discovery) October 16th
E: Did you know there are still gold prospectors? Did you know there’s been a show about them for four years so far? All of this information was new to me.
M: Same here.
C: Did I know we reviewed Discovery Channel TV shows? Nope, news to me.
E: Heh, sorry. This season’s big news: Gene has decided not to return for another season. Or maybe it’s just that he doesn’t want to work with protege Parker and will take up driving a dredge for competitor Tony instead. Ooooooo.
World’s Funniest (FOX)
E: World’s funniest what? Videos? Sports Injuries? Commercials? Farting Aliens?
M: Definitely the Slitheen.
E: Of course!
C: There’s one thing it’s definitely not, and that’s: Show.
E: Snort. I guess the idea is to let it all be open ended; the show premiered last year as The World’s Funniest Fails, but somebody in charge decided that was too limiting.
C: I’m not sure how that’s limiting, since the old-time World’s Funniest Home Videos was all videos of fails. Well, and talking dogs.
M: Yeah, there are an awful lot of funny fails.
E: Anyway, host Terry Crews promises a big fun party of video viewing, assisted by a panel of funny folks like Margaret Cho.
M: You and I apparently have a different definition of “funny folks.”
C: Wait, Terry Crews? Terry Crews of Brooklyn Nine-Nine? I was 100% uninterested and then my ears just did this:
E: Yes, that Terry Crews. Anyway, maybe they’re going for an MST3K vibe?
M: That’s a good idea if they are.
Grimm (NBC), October 30th
E: What better time to premiere a show about monsters than Halloween weekend?
M: Very true.
C: I’m not caught up on this series, but I really like the characters and the world they inhabit. Good stuff.
E: Right now already dark and moody Grimm really lives up to its name: [SPOILER ALERT!] the fourth season ended with Nick sitting with his girlfriend’s dead body in his arms and his mom’s head in a Seven-style box. Yikes. For the fifth season, David Giuntoli’s Nick will end up changing up his entire life. Except for the battling monsters bit, of course.
C: Um, okay thanks, now I’m completely spoiled. I was on Season Three… I just added a spoiler alert to what you wrote — that season’s not on video/Amazon yet, even though it did already air. And now I’m really depressed.
E: I’m sorry! That’s a major pitfall of doing these previews; we have to actually preview things a little.
M: I can’t believe this is already season five! I’ve liked this show the few times I’ve seen it, but it really doesn’t seem like it’s been that long since it premiered. The takeaway, as always? I’m old.
E: I must reluctantly agree. A cool distraction from our age? Grimm‘s going to take the show on the road, and among other places head to Scotland to look into the Loch Ness Monster.
Z Nation (Sy Fy), September 11th
E: Obviously a zombie apocalypse show, starring DJ Qualls, Kellita Jones and Michael Welch. Definitely quirky and odd, lots of Mad Max style action with weird humor thrown in.
M: Is it weird Mad Max style humor, like when the Master (of Master-Blaster) turns into a tweed-jacket-with-elbow-patch-wearing, pipe-smoking wannabe aristocrat? Because I loved that.
C: I am so far from understanding that reference that it might as well be spoken in zombie groans. As to going into detail regarding this show, we’re basically punking out here on you guys, because none of us cares. One more zombie show is several too many in my book.
20/20 (ABC), September 11th
M: The venerable news program, returning for its 437th season. Or something like that. Petty sure you don’t need us to preview it for you.
Blue Bloods (CBS), September 25th
E: Ah, the Reagan clan.
C: Not that one, the fictional one.
E: This is a actually a pretty good show; I watched most of the first season of the family drama about cops and lawyers, and enjoyed it. I can’t believe that this is the sixth season already!
M: See, to me this feels like it’s been around much longer than Grimm. They’re one year apart? Really? Huh.
C: Yeah, ditto.
E: The cast is solid and impressive (Tom Selleck, Donnie Wahlberg, Bridget Moynahan and Will Estes) and they really do feel like a family when they settle down for Sunday dinner together.
M: Very true. And I’d much rather watch Wahlberg on this than on Donnie Loves Jenny.
E: M, I am very fiercely pretending that reality show does not exist. This year, Blue Blood‘s going to focus on even more ripped-from-the-headlines cases.
M: No way, police/law procedurals NEVER do that!
E: I don’t know about you, but that’s totally how I want to relax on a Friday night — with a news magazine. Bring on the most serious issues of the week! The later the better!
M: I’m actually really surprised, I didn’t know it was still on. Which is a HUGE improvement over just a few years ago when NBC had it on 4 or 5 nights a week, in any time slot they couldn’t fill. Dateline Tuesday! Dateline Sunday! Dateline Wednesday! Thank the Lord it’s down to one night that we can all effortlessly ignore.
E: Amen, brother.
C: Heaven knows the last thing we want is to be informed through in-depth reporting.
Please Like Me (PIVOT), October 16th
E: Half-hour Australian comedy about the trials and tribulations of Josh Thomas’s Josh, who realizes he’s gay immediately upon breaking up with a long term girlfriend. This season will see him fall in love with Keegan Joyce’s Arnold after a series of disastrous attempts at dating other men.
M: What the hell channel is PIVOT? Where did you dig this up?
E: It’s a critically acclaimed show, on a network I’ve seen because it airs a lot of Veronica Mars. It’s apparently based on Josh’s real life. And to give a even more verisimilitude, Josh cast his dog John as the character’s dog. Good times.
M: You know you’re making it sound like a bad student film on cable access, right?
C: I don’t know enough to make a value judgment, but I too am curious about how we ended up reviewing an Australian series on a network I’ve also never heard of. (By the way, I just looked it up and according to their self-promotion, the network aims to serve “passionate millennials.”)
E: If you check out the trailer, it’s just very winsome and sweet, full of charm and farm animals and drinking and singing. And also lots of exuberant running through the night. And tripping.
C: That is a unique description for a TV series… rather more typical for a camping trip?
M: Ummm, pass.
The Knick (Starz) October 16th
E: I would watch this show in a heartbeat if I had Starz. It’s rather a shame, this explosion of good drama on premium cable. Who can afford to have HBO and Starz and Cinemax and Showtime? I feel like most people are lucky if they can get one.
C: But Clive Owen!
M: Through some strange cable-bundling chicanery, I actually get Starz and Encore as part of my basic cable package. Don’t ask, I don’t know how. Starz has put out some good shows (like DaVinci’s Demons), but they’re very, very cable-friendly, so be warned.
C: Guys, Clive Owen!
E: That is what I’m saying to you, C. This Steven Soderberg drama about a surgeon at the Knickerbocker hospital in New York City at the very beginning of the age of surgery looks fascinating, not least because it’s lead by the mesmerizing Clive Owen.
C: That’s what I said!
E: His Dr. Thackery begins the season in a turn of the century rehab for cocaine addiction, something I know I hope for in my medical team. Oh, and guess how they treat cocaine addiction in 1900? By giving you heroin.
M: Nice, I bet that works well.
E: Apparently the drug use was so intense that Owen had to keep a chart because the show filmed its ten episodes out of sequence. Here I’m high. Here I need a fix. Not so much this season, though. The first season showed us (or so I understand) the evolution of Thackery’s relationship with African-American doctor Algernon Edwards (played by Andre Holland), and there was nothing politically correct about it. We’ll see what Oscar nominee Soderberg brings us this time; he’s keeping a tight lid on spoilers.
C: I should really find the first season of this. Though I bet the medical parts are gross.
Satisfaction (USA) October 16th
E: All I can dig up about this show is the trailer from last year’s first season, but damn, it’s quite a premise. Take your basic mid-life crisis (successful man who has everything feels empty despite his beautiful family, big house and successful career in sales). Have that man (Matt Passmore) walk in on his wife (Stefanie Szostak) having sex with a young man who turns out to be a male prostitute, and watch his life implode. Struck by some sort of wild impulsiveness, the salesman steals the hustler’s phone and stars having sex with his clients, eventually quitting his own job.
M: Wait, what?
C: So it’s about a male stereotype who becomes a male prostitute? That’s a big bag of nope.
Continuum (Sy Fy) September 11th
E: In 2077, terrorists manage to slip into the time continuum and return to the year 2012, accidentally taking a young detective (Rachel Nichols) with them. She seems to have managed to finagle herself a job on a contemporary police squad so she can try and stop their nefarious plans to let loose the dogs of war. She desperately longs to return to her family, but it’s not easy, what with crazy warrior and the inventor of time travel (Erik Sadler’s Alek) being around but something of a crazy stalker.
C: I liked the start of this, though I got sidetracked and didn’t continue. I’ve heard good things. M, did you get further than me after we talked about it a while back?
M: On C’s recommendation, I’ve watched most of the first season of this at this point. It’s good, but I’m really far behind where it is now, so I can’t give a good update as to the plot for this season, and don’t want spoilers. Just know, if you like SciFi (not SyFy), are looking for something good to watch, and like seeing the Cigarette Smoking Man from X-Files in a questionably nefarious (though small) role, check this out. It’s on Netflix, or at least was.
E: I may do that. How can you pass up the Cigarette-Smoking Man?
C: Mulder never managed.
Saturday Night Football (ABC)
E: I just can’t contain my excitement.
M: I know, right!! Oh, you’re mocking. Well to quote Bill the Cat, “THBBFT!” And for those that don’t know, this is college football. And also for those that don’t know, Bloom County, one of the great comic strips of all time, has returned!
E: Now that, at least, is something we can all get behind.
Crimetime Saturday (CBS)
E: Back in the 90s, M and I used to be big fans of “Crimetime After Primetime”, which I think imported Canadian mystery shows as an alternative to new programs (and, though I didn’t it at the time, the failure of Pat Sajakj’s foray into late night). Silk Stalkings, anyone?
M: Yes! Started watching them late night in college, back before the days of widespread cable and DVR’s, when you only had the choice to watch what was on at that moment on about five channels. Let me tell you, those were NOT the days. At least, not in that regard. And yes, I’m once again proving I’m old.
E: Sadly the modern version just features reruns of CBS procedurals.
Dateline Saturday Night Mystery (NBC)
E: Got anything?
M: About as much as I had for 20/20, except without the “venerable” part.
E: I guess all I can say is that the idea isn’t too bad — instead of topical fare, go for a mystery and just explore that story in a long format.
Da Vinci’s Demons (Starz) October 24th*
E: Rather to my surprise, it turns out that Da Vinci’s demons are metaphysical rather than actual. I thought this show was a horror fantasia, but it isn’t.
C: Oh, that’s not what I was picturing at all.
M: No, it’s actually a pretty well done mystery/action. The first season was fun. I’m only about half-way through the second season, which hasn’t been quite as good.
C: Oh, is that why I haven’t heard you talk about it? Mystery/action about Da Vinci sounds up my alley.
E: Yeah, I didn’t know you watched this! The third season of this sword fest sees Tom Riley’s Da Vinci stricken with guilt because enemies have stolen and built his now famous war machines. He has to decide whether to throw his lot in with a local cardinal against the Turks.
M: And since the first two seasons have him relentlessly opposed by the Church, that’s a very difficult decision.
E: Blake Ritson of the Jane Austen season costars as a cleric/politician, and James Faulkner as Pope Sixtus IV.
M: And his evil twin. Seriously.
E: Wait. What? What?
C: Blake Ritson! I have a friend who will be very excited about that.
E: It won’t surprise you to know that the costumes bother me a lot here; the look is way more medieval than Italian Renaissance. I’m no scholar of fashion, so I’m sure I’m the one in the wrong, but they’re just not exuberant enough for me.
M: You’re right, that doesn’t surprise me.
Doctor Who (BBCAmerica), September 19th**
E: Peter Capaldi is back as the grumpy old version of the Doctor, bring fiercely furrowed brows and a scowl to pretty much every scene.
C: Sadly, I haven’t seen this in ages, despite being a huge fan of the 9th and 10th doctors.
M: Hooray for the return! **Spoiler alert** Boo to killing off Clara! However, the set up for this season, or at least the start of it, with the both Master and the massive conflict with the Daleks and their creator, looks quite good. The first episode was excellent.
E: Wait, what the heck are you talking about with that spoiler? I hadn’t heard that. You know, I’m happy the show is back, but I never got over losing Ten.
Ash vs. Evil Dead (Starz), October 31st
C: No way! An Evil Dead TV series? in 2015?
E: While this too is a high profile premiere, this is a series I have no interest in ordering a new premium channel for.
M: So, I have a confession to make that will drop my nerd cred a bit. I’ve never seen any of the Evil Dead movies. I know, I know, Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell. I know.
E: Me neither. We’re just not horror flick nerds. I will say, I would watch this Bruce Campbell comedy way before most of the other horror shows debuting this year. Which probably is a meaningless distinction. I guess I just mean if I had to watch horror, I’d rather go for the weird and humorous rather than the gratuitously gritty and dramatic.
M: Totally agree.
C: Wow, and I have! I never thought I’d see the day when I completely and utterly out-nerded you two. Victory is mine!!!
Guardians of the Galaxy (Disney XD), September 26th*
C: Whoa, WHAT? They’re making a show of this??!
E: Marvel/Disney actually started making this show while photography was still going on the feature film. And why not? What’s more natural than turning a comic into a cartoon? It’s a more obvious play than making GotG into movies, what with the walking tree and talking racoon.
M: They also green-light the sequel before GotG even came out in theaters. They knew what they had their hands on there.
C: Okay, but now that you’ve got the characters cemented in the public’s mind as played by certain actors, it’s hard to imagine getting used to others.
E: Yeah — sadly, but predictably, they’re not using the actors from the movie to do the voices. Chris Pratt really has left your television set, C.
C: Don’t remind me. 😥
The Last Kingdom (BBCAmerica) October 10th**
E: Often, BBC’s imports bring cheesy fun to Saturday nights. This doesn’t seem to be that same style, but as a medieval action adventure it could still be really cool.
M: Actually, most of the BBC America shows I see ads for are dark (Orphan Black, Ripper Street, Copper).
E: Well, who knows. Anything with this many medieval battles could get bloody, but it doesn’t look nasty like The Bastard Executioner. Using the tagline “England is Born,” the series tells us the tale (as detailed in Bernard Cornwell’s Saxon Overlord Chronicles) of Uhtred of Bebbanburg, a boy who was kidnapped, raised by Vikings, but ultimately contributes to the consolidation of England from a land of small kingdoms into a country under Alfred the Great and his son Edward.
C: Uhtred is a crazy name. I’ve only ever heard it in Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Shuttle.
M: As a history buff, and a fan of medieval and Arthurian fiction, that sounds right up my alley.
E: To play Uhtred, the producers have tapped Alexander Dreymon, a smoothly handsome leading man in the type of Orlando Bloom and Rupert Friend. This is something of a feat to achieve in the Dark Ages, considering all the animal skins and wigs he’s wearing, but he still has that slick, pretty look.
M: He definitely does look like Bloom. I’m assuming that’s not a coincidence.
E: How could it be? Exciting for us? Lord Uhtred — presumably the hero’s father — is played by 2005 Mr. Darcy Matthew Macfadyen. Woot!
C: I am always delighted to see him in things, though I haven’t loved his most recent projects.
M: I’m not included in that “us,” in case the readers are wondering.
E: Of course, given the plot, and all the battle scenes talking about invaders and taking back one’s land, well, I doubt we’ll see a lot of him. Except maybe in flashbacks.
48 Hours (CBS)
E: Why did we even include these? I’m too meticulous for anyone’s good.
M: No argument here!
Saturday Night Live Encores (NBC), October 3rd
E: Get warmed up for the newest episode with reruns that hope to make us snicker and guffaw with now-less-topical sketch comedy. I’m pretty sure they just repeat recent episodes, but how cool would it be to reach into their huge archives and see shows intermixed from the last five decades?
M: Their compilation shows are always great, so yeah.
C: It seems like they should given how popular their anniversary show was.
Saturday Night Live (NBC), October 3rd
E: At 41 seasons, SNL is the oldest institution on this list. So to start the season in a classy and appropriate manner, they’ve obviously turned to Miley Cyrus to get things going.
M: Couldn’t they have at least gotten someone who was alive at a time when this show was still both funny and relevant? Geesh.
C: Including old people isn’t necessarily the way to make something relevant…
E: Future hosts include Amy Schumer (it’s about time!) and Tracy Morgan, making what one hopes would be a triumphant return to comedic form after his emotional appearance at the Emmy Awards, two years after his near fatal car crash. I’m still hoping that the online clamoring will get George Takei onto the show.
M: That would long overdue, too.
E: Returning castmembers Vanessa Bayer, Aidy Bryant, Taran Killam, Kate McKinnon, Kyle Mooney, Bobby Moynihan, Jay Pharoah, Cecily Strong and Kenan Thompson will welcome new member Jon Rudnitsky.
M: Ummm, at least I’ve heard of Kenan Thompson!