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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Zombies are Set to Walk Any Day Now, Pumpkin Spice is Everywhere and That TV Show You Totally Didn’t Expect To Come Back Is Totally Back! #PremiereWeek #ABC #FOX #NBC #CBS

Zombies are Set to Walk Any Day Now, Pumpkin Spice is Everywhere and That TV Show You Totally Didn’t Expect To Come Back Is Totally Back! #PremiereWeek #ABC #FOX #NBC #CBS

That’s right, laids and gents, the time has come for another crazy fall premiere week/season. Why season instead of just one or two weeks? Because the political shenanigans that have threatened to not only upend our country and current society as we know it under the leadership of orange-skinned or pant-suited tyrants are only now getting to the debates, which have frightened the major networks (and a few cable channels) into premiering their new shows at ridiculously staggered intervals. Because of Monday night’s first presidential debate, NBC has chosen not to premiere Timeless until October 3, while ABC has decided to do a similar thing with their new drama Conviction. While I think that delaying the premieres may be good in this case, I say that with a huge caveat: many of the new shows that premiered later into the season last year didn’t have a good chance to catch on, or couldn’t break preset viewing patterns. With the exception of Supergirl, ABC’s Wicked City, AMC’s Into the Badlands and a few other crap shows not worth mentioning struggled to find audiences. And while Into the Badlands may have gotten a renewal, most everything else did not. While I am well aware of the binge/Netflix-culture of today’s gotta-have-it world not being as tied down to certain norms, I still think that all shows benefit from one set deluge in the fall and again mid-winter after New Years, rather than a new show premiering each month, then going on hiatus, replaced with something for a few short weeks then back and forth and back and forth. While it encourages bingeing, I’m still not convinced that we as audience members enjoy the show more or as much as we think we do when bingeing. It makes water cooler talk way harder. But anyways...

Wait a minute, was that whole thing my opening paragraph? Oh my god! That was way too long. And then I went too deep into the subject matter of the schedule and... That definitely should’ve been in the second paragraph. Now I’ve wasted a second paragraph talking about how the first should’ve been at least two paragraphs, completely missing the point that this post is to inform people about some of the new shows coming this fall. Yeah, still knockin’ that rust off. Let’s get to the shows.

This year, let’s begin with the wimp of the major networks and go from there. I’m talkin’ about NBC.

For whatever reason—either because they think they’re returning shows are so fantastically great that they don’t need any new stuff or because they really couldn’t find anything that great to put on after all the really good shows went to FX and AMC, the good shows to ABC and FOX, and the decent shows to CBS—NBC has decided to premiere just three shows this fall. Frankly, none of them float my boat all too well, even after seeing countless commercials for them during NBC’s wonderful coverage of the 2016 Summer Olympics. While I keep an open mind for all shows, I can’t figure out which one of the three is the least appealing, so we’ll begin with The Good Place.

The Good Place

The Good Place follows the life—er... I mean, death and afterlife of Eleanor Shellstrop played by Kristen Bell. After living a far-less-than-stellar life rife with misanthropy, apathy for others, self-centeredness and a slew of curse words, she dies and goes to heaven or... The Good Place. Ha! Get it! Because it’s the name of the show. The joke’s probably funnier on the show. Her first overwhelming instinct is that she has somehow ended up in the wrong place. Not only should she not be in heaven, but she makes the argument that she shouldn’t even be dead yet. She makes this argument to Ted Danson in his return to goofy comedy after stints on more serious CBS dramas. Ted plays the mayor of the city in which Kristen’s character now resides. While he promises to look into the mystery behind her appearance in heaven and if her death was warranted, Kristen is paired with dorky black guy Chidi played by William Jackson Harper. Not only is he her guide to the new heaven where everything is roses, rainbows, lollipops and drunken nights with non-hangover mornings, but he is also revealed to be her soul-mate. Surprise, fool!

From here, the show seems to roll along in the same vein as most fish-out-of-water sitcoms as Eleanor explores/learns what it means to truly be a good person. Based off the commercials alone, I can’t figure out who this show is quite for. I can’t see it appealing to actual Christians as the spectrum of afterlife belief is so varied amongst all of them, that I’d find it hard to believe they would watch something like this for an extended period of time. Also, the euphemisms and funny twist-of-words for all the curses that she tries to employ through the show, while cute in a 30 to 60-second commercial, may grow immensely annoying over the course of a season, though I’m sure the writers would tone that down. Even worse, the show seems to be very much about nothing, and not in a good Seinfeld way. Again, I haven’t seen an episode and will give you my judgment after three episodes as always, but at the moment I can’t see this turning into a full series (maybe a full season) of comedic shenanigans that sitcoms so often thrive off. For instance, because it is heaven there shouldn’t be any random hookups—a singles’ sitcom staple. Eleanor is not married with children so the kids/family angle is gone, and she really isn’t a detective/sleuth so things like iZombie or other out-there concepts are also gone. This is really just laughing about the bad surrounded by good, which, at some point, can get old and feel more like we’re laughing at someone because they're different than us. Not that great of a message for a show billed as a wholesome comedy.

The strength of this show is in the casting as Kristen is everywhere right now and I’ve always loved her, and Danson is an old pro. Harper, while I’m not familiar with his work, also looks good. Ultimately, I think this show will be successful or fail based on the NBC network’s viewership’s eagerness to find a laugh amidst the drama-heavy slate of shows across the network. Other than this, the returning Superstore is the only real comedy that NBC has invested in after the critically-acclaimed but ratings-disappointments of Parks and Rec, Community, A to Z, Bad Judge and a slew of other shows over the last seven years. Will you tune in for a Good laugh or are you a soulless, heartless atheist with no chance of ever getting to meet Ted Danson in the afterlife? The Good Place airs Thursdays at 8:30pm on NBC.

That was a far too long preview of a show. I’ll try to cut it down to my standard from last year.
Next, This is Us.

This Is Us

Similar to The Good Place, NBC’s Olympics coverage bombarded viewers with advertisements for their new drama This Is Us. Fresh off his Emmy win for his role in FX’s American Crime Story: The People vs OJ, Sterling K. Brown was front and center for much of the commercials and promotion material. However, the sad thing in all of this was that even though they showed countless commercials for this series and even showed a reaction clip of people who watched the first two or three episodes and talked about how moving and heartwarming it was, I still have no idea what this show is actually about. That’s right, it’s another show that cannot communicate its draw within a commercial. I am flabbergasted by how someone in Hollywood would’ve elevator-pitched this successfully, but somebody did. So... Anyway, Brown is joined by Mistresses and Revenge alum Justin Hartley who, I guess plays some kind of Hollywood type, maybe an actor, though this isn’t made clear in the advertising. Milo Ventimiglia and Mandy Moore play a young couple on the cusp of starting their family as she is in labor with triplets. Then there is Chrissy Metz who plays a fat woman who is friends with Justin’s character. She meets a fat guy and wants to lose weight and can’t get involved with a fat person right now, and being a fat guy he’s funny and lovable, and laughs all around. The commercial then ends with Brown’s character revealing that he was orphaned at a fire station by this old black guy who he confronts on the stoop of some apartment building. Angry, he tells the man that he turned out alright without him, then seems to quickly forgive him and invite him to meet his grandkids.

All of this is supposed to be heartwarming (as said by the beta-viewers on the commercial) and really make you feel for these people going through life. Apparently, there is supposed to be one strand uniting them all, but with each commercial I found myself caring less and less. Again, what is the show about? Why would I care about these characters? The commercial is so nondescript in a bad way (not in the American Horror Story good way) that this has to be my least anticipated show of the fall. It might be as fantastically touching as a Hallmark holiday movie, but.. eh! We shall see. This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 10pm on NBC. Will This Is Us become a part of you?

Lameee! I tried to do something slick and funny with that last line and it fell completely flat. Stupid words, always messin’ up what I wanna say! Moving on!


Probably one of my most anticipated new fall shows, NBC’s Timeless stars Goran Visnjic (previously of ER fame) as a sinister time traveler who seeks to alter the history of some of America’s (and the world’s) greatest historical events. While not all of these alterations are bad (he helps the Hindenberg land safely, thusly saving the lives of three dozen people), they all have consequences that ripple through time’s expanse and effect us today. It is up to a team of three... or four or however many they want for that week to chase him through time with their own time machine vortex-thingy to stop him. See? See how easy it was to explain the concept of that show? And you can get all of that from the commercial. You’re probably even plotting in your head all the ways the series could go, the events they could cover. It’s simple, yet can get so complex. Granted, this is about concept more than character but it still has potential for great execution.

The team is filled out by Abigail Spencer (she’s a familiar face from multiple series), Matt Lanter and funnyman Malcolm Barrett. It promises fun period-piece adventures while reminding us of just how much things have changed and stayed the same. As already stated, Timeless will have a later premiere than the other two shows already mentioned. It premieres Monday, October 3 at 10pm.

Home-cave of the cancellation bear, the alphabet network always comes with a plethora of new shows to sub-in for the shows decimated by the previous season’s slaughtering of decent TV. While NBC has only three shows to premiere over the course of three weeks, ABC has a new show for nearly each night on its schedule. We’ll begin with Monday where the surprise cancellation of Castle left an hour-long hole in the 10’clock timeslot after Dancing With the Stars. In this slot, they’ve placed Conviction.


Starring Hayley Atwell (formerly Peggy Carter of Agent Carter/Captain America-fame) as a defense attorney with a heart of gold, from what I understand the show follows her and her team as they try to solve the crime of their clients and dig into the truth of what really happened before their clients are convicted of wrongdoing... or slide when they actually did do something wrong. Either way, it puts her into a tough kick-butt-worthy role similar to her days as Carter, while giving her a softer, more nurturing edge—testament to the female-leaning edge of the network. While I am glad to see more of Hayley... Mmm, more Hayley (and there’s your sexist comment of the day. You’re welcome!), I am a little taken back by the tone of the show. Castle dominated the Monday timeslot not just because it had two lovable, charismatic leads with great chemistry, but because it played well to the drama/comedy aspect that people often like to see to wind down their first day back into the workweek. Reality shows tend to do so well on Mondays because people don’t want heavy mental fare after the exhausting Monday. But since CBS hasn’t had a problem with its shows, I’m sure conviction can do just fine. Still, after my three viewings, if I feel it is better suited for a different day, I will tell you.

Conviction airs Mondays at 10pm on ABC. It will premiere one week after the first presidential debates. Next up, American Housewife.

American Housewife

Sitcom veteran role player Katy Mixon (of Mike and Molly fame) gets her first starring role as a typical American Housewife in this new 30-minute sitcom. While the commercials haven’t quite made it clear if this is a multi-cam or single-camera show (a la Modern Family), it does have the vibe of a new-age Roseanne. Joined by veteran actor Diedrich Bader (of Drew Carey Show-fame) who plays her eccentric husband, the two navigate life as a typical American Middle-class family situated somewhere in middle America. Katy is sure to bring her down-south sass to the role and the commercials look promising, though typical of such a show.

The polar opposite of NBC, ABC has decided to go heavy on the comedy and feature, not one but two nights of back-to-back comedies on Tuesday and Wednesday, all geared toward family viewing. With American Housewife sandwiched between the likes of Fresh Off The Boat and The Goldbergs, it should play well to the same audience and eke out a modicum of success for the network. American Housewife will air Tuesdays at 8:30pm on ABC and premieres October 11th after the second presidential debates.


Sticking with comedy, but moving to Wednesdays, we have ABC’s Speechless. Headed by Minnie Driver in yet another attempt of hers to break into the steady paycheck of the American sitcom market, she plays matriarch to a family whose life revolves around their handicapped son. While he has siblings, the family has been forced to relocate and change schools countless times as the son struggles to fit into a society that still has lots to learn about disability adjustments. The commercials I’ve seen of it don’t delve into the boy’s affliction, but I may have missed such a diagnosis in the few times I’ve watched. The boy, however, seems to have MS as, similar to Theorist Stephen Hawking, he is confined to a wheelchair and cannot speak for himself. Here is where Reno 911! vet Cedric Yarbrough comes in to serve as some sort of speech surrogate (hence, the name of the show).

The sassy, take-no-BS, angry but lovable black man shtick on full display here, much of the comedy will be mined from the relationship between Cedric and the boy as he interprets what the young man says, and between Minnie and Cedric as he interacts with the overbearing mother. What Black-ish tried to do with modern blackness, this show will try to do with the trials and tribulations of being handicapped and being the family/caretakers of someone with a disability. Truthfully, I’m not very interested in sitcoms these days and the ones that I did like from Fox last year both got canceled. Regardless of how good these shows are, I probably won’t tune in regularly to Speechless and American Housewife. Speechless will air on Wednesdays at 8:30pm on ABC. It premieres Sept. 28th.

Designated Survivor

Ending the comedy additions to the network, Designated Survivor ends the Wednesday night with another political drama that has promised to be unlike previous DC-centered productions. The always committed Jack Bauer—er, I mean Kiefer Sutherland returns to TV in yet another riveting role. Based around the very real idea that during large political speeches (not just the State of the Union) in which the majority of the top federal governing body is cloistered into one area (think President, Vice President, Secretary of State and on down), one person from the President’s cabin is chosen as a designated survivor to stay within a plan of succession in case something horrific happens to the entirety of the top staff. Well, something terrible happens. From the commercials we see that a bomb goes off during the State of the Union address, killing the President and pretty much everyone in the federal government. Because of this Kiefer is sworn in as President when before, he had never been elected to anything in his life—a fact we learn from Kal Penn’s character. Oh yeah, Kal Penn is in this thing, too, though I don’t know what role he plays yet. While I can see this making for a great movie concept, thinking toward the future, this show could become very stale and similar to any other political drama by the end of the first season. With that said, I still look forward to the insanity of a guy who has no idea what he’s doing becoming president amidst the country’s greatest tragedy and how he will handle that, as he and everyone around him has to know that whoever dared kill the federal government deserves a war, but more importantly wants a war. And how will his family deal with it? Obscurity to the most protected, scrutinized family in the world? Only time will tell. Designated Survivor airs at 10pm Wednesdays on ABC.


Thursday night sees an unexpected entry in the TGIT lineup. With Kerry Washington toting around another gut-full of her NFL-baller husband and that not playing into the plot of Scandal, Rhimes and her cohorts have decided to delay the premiere until midseason. This move has made way for another scandalous show, Notorious. Hoping to feed off the OMG-crowd of Scandal and How To Get Away With Murder, Notorious follows the working relationship between a high-powered celebrity attorney and a national news show producer as they decide what will and won’t be the biggest news stories. Very similar to my own novel A Negotiation of Wounds (sequel coming soon), the show feeds on public perception and how a court case plays out in the eyes of the public, and how that makes or breaks the news and vice versa. As an example, if the news producer wants to paint the lawyer’s client in a bad light, make him America’s newest villain a la Nick Dunne in Gone Girl, then that just makes everything much harder for the lawyer. And with TV vets Piper Perabo as the news producer and Daniel Sunjata (of Rescue Me fame) as the lawyer, things promise to get hot and downright devious as they work to control the narrative at every turn.

ABC clearly has high hopes for Notorious as they have slotted it in a fantastic slot at 9pm on Thursdays right behind the long-standing Grey’s and before How To Get Away. The biggest problem I see with this is that if the writing is subpar and less than emotional, it could damage the entire brand of TGIT.
Fridays and Sundays stay pretty much the same with the exception of ABC’s Secrets and Lies making its triumphant return after delaying its spring second season premiere to take advantage of the gaping hole left in the Sunday night schedule. Though not new, it will continue in the vein of an anthology series with Juliette Lewis’ detective character picking up another case rife with secrets... and, uh... lies.

A network always searching for the next big think, FOX has come under fire in the last few years for canceling shows that had yet to hit their rhythm but was gaining steam in many fans eyes. This included such shows as Second Chance and Almost Human. While it has made questionable decisions like canceling freshman comedies Grandfathered and the Grinder, while renewing the low-rated Sleepy Hollow after one of the two main leads left, and renewing Scream Queens after a season of volatile ratings, it seems to have stuck to a few trends while bucking others. The network which has always skewed younger seems to have veered into nostalgia land to grab a slice of the older demographic this season with the onslaught of shows based on past film franchises. While they started this trend last year (or a few years ago) most notably with Minority Report, they continue it this year with the likes of Lethal Weapon and The Exorcist. With Monday and Tuesday staying much the same as last season (Lucifer moves to 9pm on Mondays), we start on Wednesday with Lethal Weapon.

Lethal Weapon

Yet another procedural that will stick heavily to the case-by-case weekly format while plying the familiar winks from the film franchise, Lethal Weapon stars Damon Wayans as Murtaugh, the freshly 50-year-old cop with a bum ticker that nearly killed him on the day of his newest baby’s birth. Much to live for and trying not to have another heart attack, he nearly retires the day he gets partnered with his newest young partner Martin Riggs (played by Clayne Crawford), a Texas transfer new to the LA scene. Just like in the movie Riggs just recently lost his wife and now has a death wish that causes him to over-commit to the dangerous and deadly in his pursuit of criminals.

So what makes this concept fresh from the 80s where first we saw it? Umm... The black guy is already a proven comedian? Honestly, nothing. The difference between this and the movie looks so negligible that it's a wonder they didn’t just reboot it into a movie. Still, with Wayans in the role of “gettin’ too old for this sh—oh, my bad! Can’t curse on network TV” guy, it could make for an interesting watch. And with the likes of McG behind the camera, it looks similar to a long-canceled show entitled Fastlane. I ain’t got time. Look it up! My biggest hope is that they don’t just have a weekly case, but that they roll with the one overarching big case that all of the smaller crimes feed into at the end of the season, but that may be too much to ask.
Lethal Weapon airs Wednesdays at 8pm on FOX, right before Empire.


Speaking of minority capitalization—something both FOX and ABC have been very deft at achieving in the last 10 years—FOX throws viewers a curveball on Thursdays with the arrival of Pitch. Yes, I just pulled that reference out of the stereotypical entertainment-writer handbook for shows that deal with sports. Curveball. Just stupid! Anyway, Pitch, like more than a few other new shows I’ve seen pitched to us (there it is again! When will it stop) has a premise that sounds better as a two-hour movie than a 22-episode seasonal series. Even 10-13 episodes is pushing it. Pitch follows the drama, tragedy, struggle and triumph of Ginny Baker as she becomes the first woman to pitch in Major League Baseball. Played by Kylie Bunbury (I know her from Under the Dome; she is just... breathtakingly beautiful), the show flashes back and forth between her entry into the major leagues now, and what she did as a child to make it there. It is a feminist love-letter to sports. While I see no problem integrating women into the MLB as it is not a contact sport, I would have issue with the same going for football and basketball, as I’m sure plenty of fans would. 

To a larger point, I wrote that last sentence to make the point that this show courts precisely that critique. It will not be subtle about its aim and will field criticism from the point it’s trying to make. The strange part to me is that it looks like a family drama. Strange because shows with political statements to make do better when in categories similar to ABC’s American Crime or FX’s American Crime Story—far more serious and stoic about the subject matter. Again, this is only the tone I’ve gotten from the commercials so it could be far different than what I am envisioning, but we will see if it can weather the storm of critics who will hate it because of what it stands for, as well as the possibly low ratings due to the strength of its competition (it got lucky that Scandal wasn’t coming back because they’d play to a similar demo). Pitch airs Thursdays at 9pm on FOX right after Rosewood.

The Exorcist

Friday sees FOX’s old standby Hell’s Kitchen returning to open the night. We Americans still can’t get enough of the angry Brit who has another slew of men and women to terrorize in his LA kitchen. But to pair with his hellacious outbursts, FOX will air their TV version of The Exorcist. If the summer box office has told us anything, horror is huge right now. FOX Studios not only has American Horror Story playing over on FX (soon to be joined in January by Legion and Tom Hardy’s Taboo) but they also have Scream Queens on FOX. And now comes The Exorcist based on the book/movie of the same name from the 70s. Little info on this one and how it will adapt the novel or movie into a full series, but from what I’ve gathered, it is supposed to follow the exploits of Fathers Tomas Ortega and Marcus Keane as they travel the country/world performing exorcisms. Again, little is known about the full plot of the season, so I can’t tell you if this is a case-by-case procedural or if the season will stick with one or two cases that stretch a large expanse of episodes, but I must say that I am intrigued by this series. The concept of an exorcist by itself is populated with so many possibilities that I can see this series going in a thousand different directions every week, let alone throughout a full season.
The Exorcist airs Fridays at 9pm on FOX.

Son Of Zorn

Last, and probably least, is FOX’s Son of Zorn. In keeping with their Animation Domination Sunday brand that had been recently interrupted with the addition and success of Last Man on Earth, FOX greenlit this animation-live action hybrid. A great cast filled with comedy vets Cheryl Hines, Tim Meadows and Jason Sudekis voicing Zorn, the show follows an animated barbarian from another realm named Zorn. Bored with his life as ruler over this other realm, Zorn returns to our earth where he has a human son with Hines. Gone for much of the boy’s life, only now does he try to bond with him and be the father he never was. He even gets a regular job here as he hopes to stay close to the boy. Another fish-out-of-water concept, Zorn still thinks with his hefty sword first and has the mind of someone on the battlefield even when trying to adapt and adopt modern concepts. To make this simple, I do not want to see this show. I’m sure it has its good points, but... eh! It looks like a show that’ll be good for two seasons, then fizzle/slog through a third season before dying, and that’s my thought based solely off the commercials. But again, time will tell.
From FOX we move to...

Another network filled to the brim with returning fair of Survivor, NCIS and Scorpion, CBS has two new notable series. We begin on Tuesdays with Bull.


Bull stars former NCIS actor Michael Weatherly as Dr. Jason Bull, a jury consultant for the defense. From what was shown on the commercial, his job is to help the defense team and their client to choose the perfect jurors, and craft the perfect story that will get them off. In doing this, he and his team use the latest in psychoanalytic technologies to help predict the voting behavior and thought patterns of each juror both pre-trial and during the adjudication. Think of it sort of as a CSI or Law and Order but focused solely around the jury and not necessarily the victims.

If you’re into the psychology behind why people do what they do and why a jury would vote a certain way (and after watching American Crime Story: People vs. OJ, who wouldn’t be?), then this might be worth checking out, though I don’t know how much mental flossing they go into each week.
Bull airs on Tuesday nights at 9pm on CBS.


Testifying to the fact that Generation Xers still aren’t over their sickening obsession with everything 80s (you know they’re seriously blaming Millennials for this? Ridiculous), we have yet another classic TV series reboot. For those who aren’t in the know, MacGyver, played by Lucas Till this time around, is a clandestine government agent who uses his “unconventional problem-solving skills” (yeah, from the actual IMDb synopsis) to solve crimes and cases and whatnot. While Lucas looks well-suited for the part, and the concept and brand are highly recognizable to viewers, I can’t help but think that this show might fail based solely on the same problem I pointed out last year in my Limitless show three-week review: There is an overload of too many geniuses on TV. There’s just too many abnormally smart people on TV. 

While MacGyver may have been novel back in 1985 when first it premiered, today we see countless genius characters solving crimes using some obscure factoid they learned once in the fifth grade that happens to come in handy right now as a bomb is about to go off. We’ve seen characters use pieces of gum to fix everything from broken heels to blot out security cameras. The very concept on which MacGyver thrived has become routine. But again, name recognition is very strong. Still, with Limitless not able to eke out another season with a much more elevated concept, and MacGuyver getting the cringe-worthy 8:00pm timeslot on Fridays on CBS, I wouldn’t be surprised if it only lasted a season, regardless of how good it may be. Again, we’ll see when I deliver my three-week reviews for these new shows.

The CW
I wouldn’t normally cover the CW but since I did a little of that last year, I can dive in here again. The CW will have a few new shows to go along with the network-switched season 2 of Supergirl. Their two shows that actually have premiere dates so far are No Tomorrow and Frequency.

No Tomorrow

I haven’t seen too many commercials about this show, but from what I do know, it sounds very similar to NBC’s failed Me, You and The Apocalypse—a midseason replacement from last season that tried placing British humor in American primetime. No Tomorrow follows a main female character (again, I don’t even know her name at the time of this writing) who learns that the world is going to end in a set amount of days. From there we see the shenanigans that ensue as she tries to live her life and get things checked off her bucket list before it’s all over. One of those things happens to be fall in love. Enter Galavant—uh, I mean the guy who played Galavant from the now defunct ABC comedy. He’s there, he’s the one who knows the world is gonna end, and he’s gonna die, too, and, uh... there’s some funny stuff. And yeah. No Tomorrow will air Tuesdays at 9pm on the CW right after The Flash.


Another new CW show is Frequency. I don’t know if this is based on the movie of the same name but it seems to have a similar concept. Frequency is about a young woman played by Peyton List, who begins to get strange messages from her father through a particular radio frequency. The twist? Her father, a bad criminal/police detective who was said to have murdered people, died over a decade ago. Now, they must band together to stop some future crimes from happening while mending their complicated relationship and figuring out the truth about each other.

All I can say about this one is that it looks interesting, although it is just another twist on the overplayed procedural/mystery/detective theme we get so often on TV. Could be worth a watch, but I’m not holding my breath on me wanting to tune in for this each week.
Last but not least, we have USA’s latest entry, Falling Water.

Falling Water

I know little about this series but am intrigued. From what I can decipher from the commercials, it looks as if this is about the connection between three or more people’s lives through their dreams. The trailer mentions something about being able to step into someone else’s dreams, which sounds similar to Inception and has long been an entertaining concept. Here, however, it seems to hint at a more sinister play between reality and fiction, and bending the will of others as they sleep.
Falling Water will air on USA network, but because it is cable, you will have to check your local listings for the exact time. It is set to premiere Thursday, October 13th.

AMC and FX will have more new series later into the season near the midseason point in January, along with the rest of the networks. Of course, I will have missed one of your most anticipated series as I can’t cover everything, and I tend not to cover premium channels save for that one time I did Ash vs. Evil Dead. So tell me, what new shows this fall are you looking forward to? What returning shows can you not wait to start watching again? Will you give the new shows a three week grace period like me, or will you knock them from your viewing list immediately if they don’t live up to your expectations? Let me know in the comments below (hint: click the no comments button if you see no comments).

Check out my 5-star comedy novel, Yep, I'm Totally Stalking My Ex-Boyfriend. #AhStalking
If you’re looking for a scare, check the YA novel #AFuriousWind, the NA novel #DARKER#BrandNewHome or  the bizarre horror #ThePowerOfTen. For those interested in something a little more dramatic and adult, check out #TheWriter. Both season 1 and season 2 are out NOW, exclusively on Amazon. Stay connected here for updates on season 3 coming summer 2017. If you like fast action/crime check out #ADangerousLow. The sequel A New Low will be out in a few months. Look for the mysterious Sci-fi episodic novella series Extraordinary to premiere sometime this winter on Amazon and my blog. Join us on Goodreads to talk about books and TV, and subscribe to and follow my blog with that Google+ button to the right.

Until next time, "Ask the sex question."
‘OK. How often do you two have sex?’
“Never! This therapy didn’t work. We’re getting a divorce. We’ve tried everything, even killing each other.”
‘Maybe you should try that again.’

P.S. I know, that’s a terrible sign-off. For one, it’s too long, and for two it refers back to a movie that came out over a decade ago. Frankly, it’s not even a good joke as I really had high hopes for Ben and Angie. I hope that whatever this craziness is that is going on between the two of them gets worked out and the kids do well through the separation. They really made a good couple. Oh well. Love and marriage are hard.

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Sunday, September 25, 2016

Summer’s Over, The New Season is Upon Us, I Didn’t Watch The Emmys And More Than Half The Nation Still Doesn’t Know What Is Aleppo! IT’S Entertainment Time #Summer2016 #Fall #TV #Movies

Summer’s Over, The New Season is Upon Us, I Didn’t Watch The Emmys And More Than Half The Nation Still Doesn’t Know What Is Aleppo! IT’S Entertainment Time #Summer2016 #SummerRoundUp #Fall #TV #Movies

Wow! What a summer. Yes, I was gone from my blog for a very long time. It was an extended blogging vacation for me, but I got a lot of other creative work done on my writing and plotting for other projects. I stayed quite busy with the second season of my episodic novella series The Writer (check that out through the link down below). I also had to plot more than a few projects coming out this fall and winter, including (hopefully) The Man on The Roof, The Knowledge of Fear, A New Low, Hype Chick and the first season of Extraordinary(more info on that later). And I also stayed very busy with my garden which was only so-so. I’ll give garden updates later in the coming weeks as I do some garden cleanup, but until then let’s get to the world of entertainment that was over the months May-September 2016.

A Summer of War!!! Picture Courtesy of Marvel Studios and Disney 

Yes, summer starts in May—at least the summer of the entertainment industry starts in May. That began with the arrival of the film Captain America: Civil War. Unfortunately, due to how busy I was I was unable to get in a review of the movie and its soundtrack similar to what I did for Batman v. Superman. While people didn’t buzz about it for weeks as much as they did Batman v. Superman, I think most people conceded that Civil War was a far better film. Personally, I thought it was actually the best Captain America movie, as well as the best (hold on to your britches!) Avengers film. To me, an Avengers film is defined as when most, if not all, of the Avengers show up in one film. With the exception of Thor and Hulk, everyone else was there. I actually didn’t like the first Avengers all that much, but my opinion has gotten better in the last few years.
With that said, I can’t gush enough about Civil War and how great I thought it was. You could even understand Marvel’s fight with DC to keep its release date (Iron Man: “He killed my mom!”). The soundtrack was also the best one that the Marvel cinematic universe has had so far. A great video to look up (which I totally agree with on most of the points they made) is the Marvel Symphonic Universe. They took what I’ve been saying for years and made it into a short video for people to consume and argue over. With the exception of the Winter Soldier music and the music at the big fight at the airport, the music for much of Marvel is forgettable. Sorry, it just is. DC has better music while Marvel has better films. Again, still waiting for someone to interlace some DC music into Marvel films just to see what difference it makes.

Suffice it to say that I thoroughly enjoyed Captain America, even if that is his last go around as, uh... Captain America (if the directors are to be believed).

Moving on, some of the other films for the summer were hits and misses... and more misses. X-men, while I initially wanted to see it, had such bad reviews that I couldn’t bother to walk the few miles to sit in an AC-cooled theater to see it for 5.50 on discount day. I had other stuff going on. To keep it going with the missed opportunities, let’s talk about Independence Day: Resurgence. Wait... Wait... Maybe we shouldn’t talk about Independence Day: Resurgence. I literally almost fell asleep in that movie, which never happens. It was just so lackluster. It had no build-up, the characters weren’t interesting, the veterans (Goldblum, Paxton, Fox, the other ones) also seemed to have reached back into the 90s and faxed in their performances, ugh! And while they had a few cool concepts, even the CGI was just... blah!

That was my second biggest disappointment of the summer. Most of the other movies were serviceable/decent or fairly good. This list was mostly populated by horror films and included: the Shallows (good), The Conjuring 2 (pretty good), Tarzan (decent; had some nice moments), Star Trek Beyond (good), Don’t Breathe (pretty good; love Jane), Morgan (decent, but predictable), Me Before You (decent romance; No notebook, but then what is?), The Nice Guys (pretty good buddy-cop throwback comedy), Now You See Me 2 (good if you’re a fan of the first one) and Central Intelligence (decent).

I saw hardly any movies in August as most of that crap was just... no. No. No. No-no? No? No! That includes Sausage Party (tired of Rogen which is also why I didn’t see Neighbors: Sorority Rising), War Dogs (would have seen it but it just didn’t move me as I wanted it to), Mechanic: Resurrection (eh!) and the Obama love story Southside With You (wasn’t playing near me). There was also a ton of other stuff I didn’t see throughout the summer, that neither I nor anyone else apparently (check the box office) had time for: Mike and Dave need... blah blah blah, Nerve (wanted to see it but thought it came out in September), The BFG, Pete’s Dragon, Secret Life of Pets (didn’t feel like seeing animation this year), Dory (didn’t like Finding Nemo) and some other crap! As for that one movie that came out in August, you know... that comic book one with the funny black guy and hot white girl... and the guy with the boomerangs...? YOU KNOW! Well, let’s talk about that two paragraphs down.

Through all of the summer movies and into the rest of the year, I’ve realized a couple of trends for this year’s film and entertainment industry. For one, everybody is into civil war. Whether it be the civil wars of Marvel’s movie characters, their TV counterparts (Agents of Shield exploded in the last months of the third season), DC having Batman and Superman fight, the X-Men doing... what they do every film, villains fighting villains, or hell, even the crazy war in Syria, everybody is having it out with people they know and are close to. It’s getting ridiculous. We even had McConaghey getting in his own Free State of Jones Civil War movie. Yikes! 

Also, another big trend this year had to be animal movies. Yes, family-friendly movies meant for ages all the way down to two always tend to have some kind of animal in them to appeal to children, but with the slew of animal films this year: Zootopia, Jungle Book, Dory, Secret Life of Pets, Nine Lives, Angry Birds, Storks, Sing (or whatever that karaoke animated movie is named that’s supposed to come out in November or December), Pete’s Dragon (yes, I’m counting it. Dragons are animals, too, no matter how fictional they might be) and still other stuff I know I’m forgetting, everybody jumped on the trend. It actually makes me nervous for the other, darker version of the Jungle Book to come out by Warner Bros. sometime next year or 2018. Has it possibly already missed the mark and fallen in the canyon of too-late-trendiness? Hell, even the WB will have JK Rowling’s Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them, which, can we all stop acting like that isn’t a more British-y, old-timey version of Pokemon minus the poke-ball and Pikachu? Seriously, it’s a guy running around trying to catch monsters. Don’t tell me that you didn’t know at least someone between the ages of 2 and 36 that tried doing that this summer with PokemonGo! The movie is the same concept, I guarantee you!

Now, about that Suicide Squad movie (I know, you probably thought I was gonna go on a stream of PokemonGo jokes, right? Or that I was gonna mention that horrid Hillary Clinton “Go-go-go to the polls” misfire, or talk about the many church signs that used PokemonGo as an advertising ploy to get people to come in and catch them some of the Holy Ghost, or how perverts were trying to use the app to Peek-at-chu, but no! I am not going to make any of those lame jokes, accusations, and observations of 2016 summer pop culture. I’m too dignified for that.). Um... yeah, that movie was terrible. While I’d like to do a full review on that, too, people have made more than enough good observations on it for me to not waste a full post on its failings. I guess it made money, which is actually troublesome and disheartening for anyone coming after them to do a remake (I have long wanted to reboot and create my version of the DC superheroes, but hey... we all have dreams we’ll never achieve, right?). But everything from the poorly executed story, to the boring pace, to Leto’s joker, to the main villains own award-winning Hall of Funny Walks gyrations, to the redundancy of the Bruce Wayan cameo at the end—it all just wasn’t good. I so thought that this would be the film to really kick things into gear for DC and turn it around, but... eh! 

Honestly, I know what’ll happen. Wonder Woman is probably going to be good and do great just because it’s a female superhero, and feminist (no offense) will come out and champion the movie and claim how “a woman saves the DCEU.” I swear to God that will end up in someone’s review article just under a year from now. Guarantee it! But I think it’ll still be followed with movies that people aren’t as thrilled about, and that are bolstered by die-hard fans that think if they don’t support it, they’ll never get to see more of these films. I keep warning people, cheering on something you’re not all that thrilled about in hopes of seeing something better does not usually lead to better quality. It doesn’t. And as far as the tonal change DC is instituting, my answer to that would be to look at the two very different renditions of the Fantastic Four. The Jessica Alba edition and the latest... thing of 2015 had two completely different tones, still both not very good (though the first two FF movies I did like until I saw some other comic book movies and realized their inferiority; Oh my goodness! Can I sound any more pretentious?). But again, if this movie made money and is what people like, keep it up WB.

As far as summer TV went, there wasn’t a lot on to keep viewers inside. We had the return of Zoo, which wasted little time killing off the wide-eyed model white woman who scared me with her lemur-eyes. Big black dude finally got some and, let’s be honest, he probably almost crushed that little chica they paired him with more than a few times. It was a family affair as Jackson’s father was not only revealed to still be alive but was one of the evil masterminds behind all of this. And the doctor’s father was some egomaniacal womanizer who seduced and married his own son’s date, then divorced her years later. Who could have thought that the season would end with the big black dude and the Latina being the parents of one of the last remaining children in the world as humans were all sterilized as part of the cure for the animals? It was a lot of insanity.

Mr. Robot, the ode/ripoff of everything David Fincher, got excessively strange and turned a few viewers off while garnering others. Just how much of that series is actually taking place in his head? And why the hell is Craig Robinson suddenly on this show? So many questions and no answers whatsoever.
Those who watch the Haves and Have-nots were treated to another twisty, turn-y season that saw an overdose, more blackmail, and the white judge dude still sitting in prison and his wife cappin’ fools! And is Candace going to try to raise her child or give him to her mother or what? What the hell?

Grace won! Grace should always win. 

America’s Got Talent was buoyed by Simon Cowell’s return to American TV and by the singing talent to come along with him. While I can’t say that the finale was as exciting as the rest of the show, I think most people enjoyed a safer episode after the arrow-shooting mistake earlier in the season. Yes, folks, it’s actually a dangerous show. People can die!

A fair share of scripted shows started and sputtered to their death rather quickly. Houdini and Doyle had promise had it not cast a less-than-charming Houdini who has worked well as a serviceable character actor in Hollywood for years but probably isn’t best suited for a leading man role. Mistresses, after four seasons of pulling its own magic trick of staying on the air, was finally canceled when the plot got too ridiculous for people to care anymore. American Gothic and Brain Dead both showed real promise as concepts, but it became clear to most viewers through the first episode of both that they could quickly descend into tediousness. NBC’s Better Late Than Never probably should’ve chosen the never option when considering coming on TV.

And with the slew of reality shows (both early and late entries) clogging up the airwaves, with the exception of HBO’s pivotal sixth season of Game of Thrones, summer TV never took off from the ground. Maybe that was because of the one huge attraction of the summer, NBC’s Olympics.

Picture courtesy of whoever took it... and NBC.

The Olympics was my absolute jam. Don’t listen to all of the haters and fools that refused to tune in, during the day in favor of complaining while they had no day jobs, this year’s coverage probably had the most live event coverage since the games (winter or summer) were hosted by America. Granted, you did have to have the full NBC package including NBC Sports, CNBC, MSNBC, BRAVO and USA, but if you did have them, you could see every event live at some point. While NBC may have a very small amount of clout with the IOC, people need to understand that they can’t control the scheduling of events. A big complaint was about the gymnastics. They showed it live during the day when it was live and repeated it at night. People complained that they already knew the results by then. Please! Stop! Either don’t look at the results or watch it live, but don’t complain that they didn’t show it live at your convenience. Unless you record the events, you have to realize that some stuff just isn’t going to be on AND live exactly when you want it to be. You like boxing? Great! Just realize that it’s going to probably be on at a really awkward time for you. That’s why they have DVRs. That’s why they have the live-streaming service. Remember, people, they have literally hundreds of events to try to show you in the course of 17 days. I literally saw almost every single event live at some point: handball, shooting, marathon swimming, field hockey, rhythmic gymnastics—you name it, I saw it and it had that Live tag at the top of the broadcast. Yes, you might have to look for the stuff. Sorry, but it can’t all be aired on one channel. OK? OK. My only complaint with the way they covered it was more so with ATT (my cable provider) incorrectly describing and time-blocking the events. I taped trampoline three times when it supposedly was scheduled and only saw it once. But that is easily improved.

Moving on, the games themselves were phenomenal. Michael Phelps, the living legend, and Usain Bolt, the... living legend, both came back for yet another Olympics to add to their all-time, all-time-ness. From now until the world inevitably implodes into another war and the Olympics cease to be, you can never have another Summer games without mentioning both of their names in their respective sports. 

Allyson Felix, to me, was robbed of this privilege with the dive heard ‘round the world, but she is still up there with the greats. We got shocking upsets in almost all of our team sports, winning not a single gold in any volleyball discipline for the first time since... huh? Maybe ever. Definitely since the 90s. Ryan Seacrest and Adriana Lima may have made a love connection during the Olympic late night Rio Zone—good for them. 

The Final Five was the most amazing thing I’ve seen since the last Olympics but some of you hatin’-ass people still had to find things to criticize Gabby for. Shakin’ my damn head. Then people criticized Aly’s, Simone’s and Madison’s bodies. Give me a break! That’s all I’ll say about that as I would prefer to focus on their amazing accomplishments, as the world just saw quite possibly the greatest female gymnastics team in the world, with the greatest gymnast to ever do it! Yeah! I said that! 

And then there was Lochte. Sigh! Jeah, I don’t know, man. Um... from the silly hair to the loss to Phelps to the gas station bathroom lie, he took Meek Mill’s place as having the most L’s in a summer. The good news for him and his fans is that he will make a return in this fall’s Dancing With the Stars, along with cute anime character Laurie Hernandez.

Not to forget about our Paralympic athletes (in my opinion we should pay more attention to them and their games, too) we saw a McSweep on the wheelchair track from Paralympian McFadden. She won gold in every event she raced on the track, and won a silver in the marathon street wheelchair race. The US won its first women’s sitting volleyball gold, and the men’s wheelchair basketball continued its reign as the most decorated team in Paralympic history. We also won a gold on the track in blind sprints at, if I can remember, the 100m... I think. Don’t quote me on that. In any case, we had a helluva summer athletically as a country, showing our resolve and determination to be the greatest. If only politics showed the class and togetherness of the games. They will forever live as an ideal of what the world could and should be.

Speaking of politics, what the hell is Aleppo? To be fair to Gary Johnson the Libertarian presidential nominee, I also didn’t know what Aleppo was? I thought it was that fancy cat food brand, but I’m currently not a presidential candidate. But again, I’m not sure it should be the greatest of importance to know one singular city when there’s an entire country at war. Saying “the Syrian war” should be more politically correct. Yes, I get it. During WWII it was often about Berlin, but again, it’s the entirety of Germany that we have to defeat. Address the entire problem, rather than symptom treat. All of that should come with the mind that I am not a Libertarian, or at least I don’t think I am (don’t really know their politics, so I can’t say for sure).

Gary Johnson’s gaffe was a minor blip on the scale of insanity that continues to be the 2016 presidential race. In June both of the primaries ended with a gas of relief until Sanders continued to needle the democrats by saying he was going all the way... to where I don’t think even he knew, but he was definitely going there. And he did. He went there. So... I don’t know where the hell he is now, but he’s somewhere. 

When People Say Mean Things About You For Their Political Gain

In July, the nominations were made official with two of the gaudiest, most ridiculous displays of party inoculation that you’ll see. Yes, the RNC and DNC are often circuses, but with the behind-the-scenes backbiting and deal making, it seemed all too scripted like an SNL parody sketch. We got to see Hillary Clinton’s “damn, this some good weed!” face, hear about Melania Trump’s childhood growing up as a middle-class black woman in Chicago’s southside, come to terms with the fact that all Sanders voters were just “being ridiculous” (Sarah Silverman’s words), and came to realize that this fight between black lives and blue lives has bruised us all. This, all while trying to ignore the fact that both major party candidates chose the poster children for “creepy white guy uncles” as running mates. No way I’m leaving my kids with Tim Kaine nor Mike Pence even for an hour. Trump, uh... Trumped all over his supporters and they swallowed it down like—oh! Oh, wait! Let me just back away from that sentence. It was about to take this blog places it dare not go.

Since then, we’ve been invited to take a gander at Trump’s African-American, have been shamed over questioning the health of both candidates as if having doubts about a 68 and 70-year-old slated to run the country is somehow a bad thing, have been instructed that a popular internet meme of a green frog is actually a symbol of white power, have had our eyes burned down to the retinas with the sight of a life-sized naked Trump statue/effigy/paper-thingy and have seen both candidates ramp up the attack ads (if you’re in a swing state as great as my state of Ohio, you get to see this crap 24/7. Yay!). Yet, it’s far from being over. We still have another full month to go, which will see the debates and the election and the aftermath, and could cause political upheaval not seen since... 2008.

What a summer!

What did you all think of the summer that was, guys and gals? What did you do? What is your favorite memory from this summer (it can be personal)? What are you looking forward to in the upcoming fall/winter months? Let me know in the comments below (hint: click the no comments button if you see no comments).

Check out my 5-star comedy novel, Yep, I'm Totally Stalking My Ex-Boyfriend. #AhStalking
If you’re looking for a scare, check the YA novel #AFuriousWind, the NA novel #DARKER#BrandNewHome or  the bizarre horror #ThePowerOfTen. For those interested in something a little more dramatic and adult, check out #TheWriter. Both season 1 and season 2 are out NOW, exclusively on Amazon. Stay connected here for updates on season 3 coming summer 2017. If you like fast action/crime check out #ADangerousLow. The sequel A New Low will be out in a few months. Look for the mysterious Sci-fi episodic novella series Extraordinary to premiere sometime this winter on Amazon and my blog. Join us on Goodreads to talk about books and TV, and subscribe to and follow my blog with that Google+ button to the right.

Until next time, "Disney. Jobs. West. East! Other directions."

P.S. OK, so maybe I did liberally borrow from Kanye West’s strange stockholder-meeting speech he held in the middle of the MTV VMAs, but, you know, it’s like... art. Plus, did you see that video for his song Fade? My god, Teyana Taylor is... I mean, I knew about her body, but she’s got serious moves. Now I understand why Iman Shumpert was all Jheri-curled up. A woman that bad can make you do strange things. I’ll think of an original sign-off next time. And please forgive me as I haven’t done this in a while and am quite rusty. 

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