Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Let's Talk Fall TV Premieres!

(Image courtesy of Flickr)

After the weighty subject of faith and politics, I'm feeling the need to tackle something lighter.  So, inspired by Sunday's Emmy Awards and these weeks filled (finally) with season premieres, let me tell you what I'm looking most forward to television-wise this fall!

First, I should note that we don't do a lot of drama series around here these days.  Partly because our favorites have wrapped up in recent years, and partly because both Mark and I find it difficult to devote  the emotional energy to hour-long dramas - particularly since having kids.  I had to give up crime-based shows shortly after Maya was born because I suddenly couldn't handle the subject matter.  And even series like Parenthood, which so many friends love and insist that I watch ... well, yeah.  I'm sure it's an excellent show, but the whole "ohmygosh I cry during every episode" thing is just not really what I'm aiming for in my television viewing at this point.  I know we're missing a lot of good stuff, though, and I'm teetering on the edge of switching on Mad Men some evening now that it's available for streaming on Netflix.

Also, I have not started Downton Abbey yet (I KNOW), but will sometime.  Pretty sure that's not one Mark would be into, but maybe one of these days when I'm folding laundry or something.

ANYWAY.  On to what we do enjoy!

Modern Family

I'm hoping people don't become fatigued by all of the hype this show gets around Emmy time, because it's honestly well-deserved.  While the third season seemed maybe less genius than the first two, it is still the most consistently funny sitcom of its kind around, and one that we know we'll enjoy each and every week.

The Middle

I've said this for years, and I'm glad some entertainment reviewers are starting to agree:  The Middle is one of the most overlooked comedies on television.  I'm not sure if it's the relative lack of edginess or that it's been overshadowed by the more strongly-hyped Wednesday night ABC offerings, but we are hooked.  Patricia Heaton's character is authentic and so much more likeable than her Debra from Everybody Loves Raymond.  Neil Flynn (who we adored on Scrubs) is always solid, and the three actors who play the Heck kids - Axl, Sue, and Brick - are seriously fantastic.  So much depth and quirk and heart in their performances, and they totally steal the show.

New Girl

My hands-down favorite last season.  We started watching after enthusiastic recommendations from friends, but weren't sure going in that we really wanted another sitcom in our lives.  Well GUESS WHAT. WE DO.  Zooey Deschanel is as adorably brilliant as she is in ... well, anything.  But the major surprise for me is the three guys on the show.  I expected this to be basically a Zooey-driven vehicle with the other characters as merely support, but nope. Jake Johnson as Nick is sarcastic and lovably neurotic, Lamorne Morris as Winston is equal parts well-adjusted and insecure, and everybody who's seen the show knows that Max Greenfield's Schmidt is brilliant.  That character could have been so different in other hands, but Greenfield plays him with so much heart that even Schmidt's most socially-inappropriate behavior is just ... Schmidt.

Such a fun show.  Not a family friendly show, mind you, but ridiculously fun.

Parks and Recreation

Somewhere around the time that Michael Scott was preparing to leave The Office and 30 Rock started sliding into storylines that just didn't work anymore, Parks and Recreation shot past them both as our favorite half-hour of Thursday night television.  I had a hard time connecting with the characters at first, but they've all developed so well, and my goodness the writing is smart.  Another consistently-good show.

The Big Bang Theory

Another one that we resisted for years because we didn't catch it from the beginning, we gave in and borrowed the DVDs a few months back and (as predicted) really enjoyed it.  I'll admit that I still have a hard time getting past the audience laughter (partly because I'm not used to it anymore [see all the previous shows I've mentioned], and partly because I feel like it's sometimes excessive in this show. Yes, Sheldon is hilarious.  But not every single line he utters is laugh-out-loud funny.)  That little complaint aside, though, we're looking forward to seeing more of this gang.  (Still a season behind, but last season is on it's way to us thanks to the wonders of eBay, so we'll be caught up soon!)

Other notes:

- I'm still a Survivor viewer (on my own, as Mark's never been into this one), mostly just because I've watched from the beginning.  Last season was such a snooze-fest I gave up partway through, but I think this one may have potential with the returning players. (Season Two was my all-time favorite, so having Michael Skupin back is fun just for nostalgia's sake.)

- The Office was almost un-watchably not funny last season, but Greg Daniels is back to produce the final season, and I could tell immediately from the premiere last week that it seems promising.  That moment with Jim and Pam talking to the documentary producers?  INTRIGUING.

- Thanks to my friend Chelle and her DVD collection, I'm now about halfway through Gilmore Girls, which is so delightful that I'm kicking myself for not having started it before now.

- Netflix has provided us the opportunity to catch lots of things we normally wouldn't, as we choose not to pay for cable.  From White Collar and Psych, to old sitcoms like Cheers, Frasier, and Newsradio, to all of the Storage Wars, Auction Kings, American Pickers, Ice Road Truckers, Cake Boss, BBQ Pitmasters - type series, we always end our evenings with a snack and some selections from our heavily-loaded queue.

How about you?  What's on your list of most-anticipated shows this season?

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