Friday, September 28, 2018

Fall TV Preview 2018

This is getting harder to do every year.

In part that is because I am watching less and less of the Big Box networks shows with each passing season. It's not helped by the fact that I stopped my Entertainment Weekly subscription, so I'm not getting a fat issue with lots of synopses and helpful programming guides. And further, the fragmentation of the television "season" is so complete now that treating the start of new shows in September as an event worth noting . . . well, those days are gone as well.

At least Dean is on the case with a quality summary of what he thinks about all the shows on cable and streaming. (And I really regret handing that job over to him, because that is clearly where all the interest is these days.)

Still, I'll try to put this together this year--even if it is in a much more abbreviated and simplified form than you've seen in the past. I'll combine all the networks and nights into this one post and just leave it at that. Easy-peasy. But I'll categorize the shows I want to talk about into a few categories to give you some sense of what I think it worth examining and what you should just skip. It's going to be down-and-dirty stuff this year  But really, that is what normcore TV deserves in 2018.

(If it is not really clear . . . this won't be a comprehensive list of all the shows coming back this year. If you want something more elaborate, I'm sure you can find stuff on the Internet.)

CATEGORY -1: Oh God! My EYES!!

Magnum P.I. (CBS, September 24): If you are familiar even a bit with the history of television, I don't think I need to explain to you the premise of this show. What else but the Tom Selleck original did more to popularize Ferrari in the United States? What else could possibly make Hawaiian print shirts a viable wardrobe choice? But I'm going to reject this show sight unseen because whatever poor actor they've hired to take on the thankless task of replacing the original is NOT sporting a mustache. (I mean, of course he isn't . . . but still . . . no thanks.)

Young Sheldon (CBS): I didn't support it last year and I'm definitely NOT interested in year two.

New Amsterdam (NBC, September 25): I have a visceral dislike of this show, simply because it glorifies the doctors as so earnest and so humane. It just makes every cynical nerve in my body tingle. Pass.

A Million Little Things (ABC, September 26):  Below you will see my opinions on This is Us. I'm not being as charitable to an unknown clone of that show. So, A Million Little Things will be placed here.

Murphy Brown (CBS, September 27):  I didn't need a reboot of this show. If I didn't watch Newsroom, I don't need to watch a less expensive, less original version of that show to try and tell me how to think.

The Cool Kids (FOX, September 28): Vicki Lawrence (yes, THAT one) and Martin Mull are teaming up with David Alan Grier to be old, cranky retirees. The fact that it is written by Charlie Day may make it appealing to some. But not to me.

Last Man Standing (FOX, September 28): Speaking of old and cranky . . . shut up Tim Allen. I hope that you agree with the retrograde stuff your character says on this show . . . only because if you DON'T then it makes it even worse.

God Friended Me (CBS, September 30): On theological grounds alone I must strongly reject this show.

CATEGORY 0: Meh . . . I Guess I'll Watch TV Tonight

Castaways (ABC, August 7): This new reality show might already have come and gone. The only difference between it and Survivor or anything else is that the contestants are all placed separately. (At least, that is what you the viewer are being told. Everything is all acting anyway.)

9-1-1 (Fox, September 23): This super dramatic police "drama?" was a bit hit with viewers and media last year. It was super sensational and at least somewhat based on headline-ripping plots. This year, Jennifer Love-Hewitt joins the cast. So, if you've been wondering what she's been up to since you loved her in high school . . . well, you won't find out from watching the show, I guess. It's not written like that. But maybe that will motivate you to watch it?

The Big Bang Theory (CBS, September 24): The only reason this is noteworthy is due to the fact that this represents the final season of this long-running, super popular series. I quit watching about two years ago and I don't regret that choice at all. It is the equivalent of mashed potatoes and gravy. As long as you aren't buying it from KFC, you know exactly what you'll be getting and chances are if you've made the choice, you are happy even before you take the first bite.

Manifest (NBC, September 24): The description I read begins with "What if they remade LOST but . . ." That is enough to at least make me consider paying attention. But I know that the end result will likely be disappointing. Still . . . plane travelers experience time-based air turbulence might equal something interesting at least?

The Gifted (FOX, September 25): I tried this show a bit last year, but it never engaged me enough to stick with it past five or six episodes. Some of the preview commercials I've seen make it look interesting. Maybe you should consider giving it a try this year?

This is Us (NBC, September 25): Look, if I was only writing this post for myself, I would put This is US squarely in Category -1. I don't need that sort of emotional manipulation in my life. But I realize that lots of people really like this show, so in deference to all of you--I'll keep my negativity (mostly) to myself.

CATEGORY 1: I'm Shoutin' This From the Mountaintops!

The Good Place (NBC, September 27): This may very well be the ONLY entry in this best category. There just isn't that much interesting television left on the major networks any longer. (And even the term major networks is misleading and a relic of the past.) Be that as it may, The Good Place is great TV. It's clever, well-written, and it has a good heart. Please watch it.

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