Hey, hey, hey!
Welcome to a brand new feature on trishajennreads! Fangirl Friday is written by my lovely friend Kim (@kimcreatorCA). She is a fellow booknerd. AND–she’s the biggest TV and movie nerd I know. She’s also a writer and graphic designer. She is seriously creative and LOVES a good story.
To get back on topic…She is awesome, and has agreed to host this new feature for you to celebrate other creative, writerly, story-focused things that many of us love.
Fangirl Friday will be an occasional feature and will squee about shows, movies, actors, and the like.
So, without further ado, the very first, Fangirl Friday!
Fall’s New Shows – Which Ones You Should Be Watching (or Not)
Every fall, network TV is flooded with new and returning shows. I’m a huge TV nerd. I will spend a day in August looking up what’s new and when it premieres, making lists of what looks good and what doesn’t (told you I was nerdy). Now that most shows have premiered this fall and aired a couple of episodes or so, I thought it was time to share my recommendations and thoughts.
Which Ones You Should Definitely Be Watching
The premise is simple: everyman Tom Kirkman, who works at the White House, is thrust into the role of President of the United States when a catastrophe wipes out most of the government. After a handful of episodes, I’m hooked and I didn’t expect to be. The pacing is great, working through the concept without rushing or dragging. There’s seeds of conspiracy, human emotions and struggle, and politics even in the midst of great national tragedy. Kiefer Sutherland does a very good “everyman” here as the new President (he’s no President Bartlet but that actually works great here), trying navigate his way through the murky and scary new world he finds himself in. The writing is solid, coming off like a well thought out (and executed) movie each episode you watch. (Bonus: Nikita’s Maggie Q showing up as an FBI agent with a thirst for the truth!)
This one’s been getting a lot of buzz out there already, but for good reason. The cast is stellar, it’s shot gorgeously, the acting and writing are both spot on. I assumed this would be some soapy family drama from the trailer, but it’s so much more than that. The characters feel real, very quickly, and the way they’re all connected (the “how” is revealed at the end of the pilot in a fabulous hook-me-forever kind of way) is awesome. This is a show that feels like it was based off of a very, very good book about multi-generationals of family dynamics. It’s genuine and heartfelt every step of the way. If there’s only one show you watch this fall, make it this one.
For anyone who saw the movie with Jim Caviezel and Dennis Quaid, this show is a must-see. It changes up the formula slightly by having the relationship be father-daughter instead of father-son, and makes both father and daughter cops in their respective times. It also takes the formula (and story) from the movie, and expands it. Awesomely. As daughter, Raimy, in the year 2016 talks through the magic radio to her dad in 1996, they work together to solve problems – namely, making sure her dad isn’t killed on the job in 1996. But every decision they make creates ripples, and bigger changes in Frank’s world become even bigger ripples in Raimy’s world. As a sucker for anything time travel related, this is right up my alley. Even if you never saw the movie, give this one a try. Not to mention, this show (thankfully) lacks the slightly “subpar” feeling that comes with many other CW shows.
Lethal Weapon (decent, if over-the-top, action-comedy perfect for popcorn and chuckles)
Speechless (cute, heartwarming, worth a look!)
Honestly, I’m in this for Hayley Atwell (of Agent Carter and Marvel’s Captain America movies) who may or may not be a huge girl crush of mine. Here, she plays brilliant Hayes Morrison, former First Daughter, current screw-up, who’s tasked with investigating closed cases to ensure convictions are correct (making sure the people in prison are the people who belong there). While the cast should be interesting on the surface, each with well placed character quirks, and Hayes herself is dynamic as much as she is sarcastic, the episodes play out as blandly as any age-old crime show (see: CSI, Law & Order, NCIS, etc). I’m not willing to give up on it just yet in hopes I can find something to really hook me, but for now, despite it’s clear effort to be different, it’s coming off as more of the same.
The reason I’m hesitant on this one is it’s just not hilarious when I feel like it really should be. The reason I’m hanging in there, however, is that it is finally a fresh show with a fun, quirky, unique idea (which means it’s definitely going to get cancelled because anything fresh, fun, quirky, and amusing pretty much always does – see Go On, Better Off Ted, Pushing Daisies, The Unusuals, Happy Endings, etc). The premise is that Eleanor (the wonderful Kristen Bell) dies and is sent to The Good Place, where architect Michael (the awesome Ted Danson) runs a neighborhood of amazing, outstanding good people. The only problem? Eleanor is actually a horrible person who shouldn’t be here, and has to keep that little fact to herself, lest she get cast out. Things only grow more complicated from there as the neighborhood’s fabric basically starts ripping apart due to her impossible presence. The more I watch, the more it’s kind of growing on me, and I just love the originality (and no laugh track, hallelujah!), but it’s not really laugh-out-loud hilarious (which, coming from Mike Schur, creator of Parks & Rec, it really should be, right? Then again, Parks & Rec had a not-so-great first season before it got near-perfect, so maybe I just need to hang in there…)
Don’t Waste Your Time
This show is a hot mess, y’all. After a handful of episodes, it hasn’t particularly evened out from the royally overstuffed pilot which was overflowing with tangled relationships, multiple betrayals, and virtually not a drop of morality between any of them. There’s no one to care about or cheer for in this drama about a chick who runs a news/talk show. The pacing is hecka rushed (for seemingly no reason), most of the cast is flat, and the only memorable thing about it is how much you want it to stop. The TGIT line-up on Thursday is very popular, however, and this might just find an audience with the people who eat up Scandal, How to Get Away With Murder, and Grey’s Anatomy. More likely, this is too messy for even those fans.
Yet another 80’s something being remade! While the original version was popular and now somewhat iconic (it’s basically a verb), this new version comes off terribly tropey, unbelievable, and poorly done from start to finish. Snarky hacker chick? Check. Funny roommate? Check. Tragic backstory involving the Hero’s Love in the first five minutes? Check. Ice cold boss, sarcastic mentor/partner, multiple shoot outs, a bio weapon… the list goes on and on and yawn. While MacGyver’s “claim to fame” is making stuff out of random crap, the tricks range from stupidly convenient to “there’s no way that’s a thing” (ie. a sprinkle of plaster dust and a clothed hand beating a handprint scanner? C’mon) to full on idiotic-looking. Plus, the voiceovers just end up feeling like a cheap copy of Burn Notice over anything else.
Let me just say this: it’s on FOX, paired up with FOX’s animated line-up (Family Guy, Bob’s Burgers, Simpsons etc.) If you like those shows, you’ll like Son of Zorn.
American Housewife (trying too hard, not my cup of tea)
Bull (bland, generic-feeling, and also “this makes no sense??” feeling. Constantly.)
There you have it!
That’s the quick and dirty rundown. There are a handful of other shows I didn’t mention since they’re neither standout awesome nor totally terrible. There’s still a couple shows yet to premiere or that I haven’t watched yet–who knows, maybe they’ll be great (though by the looks of The Great Indoors, my expectations are extremely low).
What new shows are you watching?
Which ones have you tried and stopped? Which ones are you loving?
@kimcreatorCA spends her time writing things, designing things, and watching a ton of television. She calls Alberta, Canada home where she can be found drinking tea, crying over fictional characters, and breaking back into the wide world of freelance graphic design.