Goodbye TiVo, Welcome Back TV List

I grew up watching a lot of television. I watched soap operas after school and dramas and sitcoms at night. I love getting lost in the stories of other people and laughing at/with my television friends (the ones inside the box). When you are watching TV, you can cry with imaginary people without being REALLY vulnerable and go on wild adventures without leaving your couch.

In the early 2000’s I used to create recommendation lists for my friends at the start of the fall TV Season based on my extensive research of the reviews of new and returning shows.  (Really, I loved television!)  Those were the days of five major networks (and HBO) when the television season aligned with the school year and things predictably heated up during “sweeps” season when ratings were tracked by Nielsen four times a year (yes, only four times a year). A lot has changed!

When I lived with other people, I was always the one who knew how to program the VCR and I was all over it.  I had one of those special VCRs that would automatically fast forward though commercials.  I loved that VCR….until I met TiVo.

In my first year of business school (2001/2002), I learned about TiVo from a guy at a party. I must have been trying to impress him by talking about my cool VCR that fast forwarded through commercials and he one upped me by telling me about this magical new machine he had that would record things digitally that could be played back from a menu IN ANY ORDER!   This “DVR” did not automatically speed through commercials like my cool VCR (although a later model eventually would), but I could quickly fast forward through them myself with a cute peanut shaped remote that made a unique TiVo sound.  This magical machine would also let me start watching a show from the beginning, even if the same show was still recording!!

Before my first year of business school was over, I had my first TiVo.  In my second year of business school, I sewed a homemade TiVo costume for Halloween (shown below with my friend Toby who is dressed as himself.)

I have owned many TiVos since then.  When I had a corporate apartment in Chicago for work, I had one TiVo in NYC and one in Chicago. My TiVos got more cool features along the way like being able to watch recorded shows from my Ipad in a hotel room or set up recordings from my phone, which came in very handy while sitting at the airport reading about some new show in a magazine.  I could even record up to FOUR programs at the same time!  (This was HUGE before everything you wanted to watch was just waiting for you at all times, remember?)

When cable companies started building DVRs into their cable boxes, people didn’t understand why I still paid extra for a TiVo box + TiVo service + a special cable card.  It’s hard to explain if you’ve never had a TiVo.  If you have had a TiVo, I don’t have to explain. The TiVo remote makes that unique “ba-doop” sound I mentioned earlier that we TiVo owners know and (most of us) love. Maybe those “ba-doops” have hypnotic powers that makes it hard to part with your TiVo! Or maybe we just have mad, loyal respect for the company that invented the DVR.

The TiVo is the least successful, most significant consumer electronics device ever. – IEEE Consumer Electronics Hall of Fame  

In recent years, I did get frustrated with my Tivo because it would randomly not record things I had scheduled and the guide was often missing things that should have been there, making it challenging to set up recordings.  But I did not abandon TiVo until I finally cut the cable cord last summer and became a full-time streamer.  Even then, I held on to that TiVo box while it collected dust, unused, for almost an entire year because it made me sad to part with it.  I had used and owned a TiVo for almost 20 years!!!

Last month, as part of a massive apartment de-cluttering project, I finally dropped my TiVo Premiere off at Best Buy to be recycled and said my good-byes.  I later felt horrible that I didn’t try to give it a way or sell it.  I hope the TiVo gods (and the environmentalists) forgive me.

The name of this blog was inspired by my desire to spend less time with my imaginary television friends and more time in the real world, with real people.  The original sub-title of the blog was “City Chick Tries to Separate from her TiVo”.  I have officially separated from my TiVo (you may have noticed the sub-title has changed) and my world has gotten a lot bigger since I started this blog, but I can assure that I still watch quite a bit of television.

Granted, this was an unusual year (to say the least), so I have to cut myself some slack, but I am way above the 10 hours I was trying to limit myself to when I started this blog.  Pandemic or not, I feel like a shlub if I park myself in front of the TV before 8pm. But as soon as the clock turns 8, I allow myself to stop trying to be productive and just veg out until its time for bed (which is 10pm because that’s how I roll).  I clearly still have some TVaholic in me.

When I started the blog, I used to track what I was watching on the TV List tab which eventually stopped getting updated. This past year, many people have asked me what I have been watching and I keep drawing a blank when they ask.  It felt very weird to not be the person who helps people decide what to watch on TV and even weirder to not even remember what I was doing between the hours of 8-10pm all year!

After this came up again recently, I decided to spend an entire day reviewing my watch histories and writing down everything I watched in 2020 and 2021. (I did this in my bullet journal, using lots of colorful markers, as shown above.) It was like a walk down memory lane with all of my imaginary pandemic TV friends!

I am not sure it was the MOST productive way to spend my day, but I DO feel a sense of accomplishment.  And because I spent SO much time documenting what I watched, I decided to bring back the TV list tab ! Now that we can finally leave our houses and get out on the real world again, the you probably want nothing to do with your TV, BUT if you are looking for something new to watch, feel free to check out the TV list and maybe you will find something you missed this year that looks interesting.

My TiVo days may have come to an end, but the TV list is back…at least until I start having exciting adventures again and spend more time with real people. (Since I fractured my foot the day after my second vaccination shot, there has been a delay on getting out and about, which I have used to consume many seasons of Outlander on Netflix!)

I am sure that my imaginary TV friends will always be a part of my life and my TiVo doll is still hanging out in my television cabinet to remind me of the the old TiVo days.

Fall TV Picks

I can’t pretend that I have done much research on fall TV beyond skimming the Fall TV Preview issue of Entertainment Weekly while half watching Big Brother one night this week and obsessing about whether I might have contracted lyme disease from a possible tick bite on my leg that I acquired on the east end of Long Island. But the Fall TV season is starting and  I feel that it is my obligation to point out the very few things that caught my attention during the EW skim, before its too late.

These are Entertainment Weekly’s six can’t miss shows (I will be missing some of them)

  1. How to Get Away With Murder – Thu 10pm ABC (Starts Sept 25) – Shonda Rhimes’ lastest show (Scandal and Grays Anatomy) bringing mystery, drama, surprises, and Viola Davis. Not to be missed, clearly.
  2. The Affair – Sun 10pm Showtime (Starts Oct 12) – I have been watching the trailer for this all summer before Masters of Sex and Ray Donovan. Looks awesome. Two people who had (or are having?) and affair tell the story from their perspectives in the two halves of the pilot and there seems to be something going on (involving a detective) that will apparently suck us in.  Another must watch.
  3. Marry Me – Tues 9pm NBC (Starts Oct 14) – from the creator of Happy Endings which I only learned to appreciate at the very end as a hilarious show. Also starring one of the actresses from Happy Endings who is married to the creator. A Rom-Com with razor-blade sharp opposites attract chemistry.  Looks good!
  4. Red Band Society – Wed 9pm Fox – this one premiered last week (sorry!) and it sitting on my TiVo. I don’t need any more teen dramas in my life. Inventive, big-hearted, quirky with Octavia Spencer.  Worth a look…
  5. Transparent – Amazon streaming – yes, streaming.  Now that I have a Chromecast, I could actually stream this to my TV from my computer via Amazon Prime (and a Google extension). The world is so insane, right? (Of course my much younger and more savvy brother in law taught me how to do this.) Anyway, anyone with a laptop and Amazon Prime can watch this show (created by someone from Six Feet Under) about a transgender man who has not told his kids he is living as a woman.  I probably won’t have time for this, but is is getting a lot of attention.
  6. Flash – Tues 8pm The CW (Starts Oct 7) – something about tights and superhero fun. Not for me, but if you like this sort of thing.

Then these few of other things caught my eye..

Gotham – Mon 8pm Fox (Starts Sept 22) – this looks like a semi-interesting super hero show. More “dark and twisted” than “tights and fun.”

Madam Secretary – Sunday 8pm CBS (Starts Sept 8 minutes!) -Tea Leoni is tapped for Secretary of State. OK, I did a little bit more research to ge a second opinion and the Washington Post gave this show its highest score (A-) for new shows this fall. (If interested in their more here)

American Horror Story – Freak Show – Wed 10pm Fox (Starts Oct 8) – This is technically a returning show but every season completely different, so its never too late to start watching.  This season looks even creepier than ever with conjoined twins, a woman with three breasts, and Kathy Bates as a bearded lady. It looks insane.



So Much Television….

I have been thinking about writing this post for a while. When I started thinking about it, there was a lot more television going on. Now, I suppose,  it is more of a reflection on the highlights of the past six months of television. Now that we have straightened that out, here we go…

Orphan Black – my best new find of 2014 (which is really from 2013.) I missed season one but am now all caught up to season 2.  The most amazing thing about this show is the lead actress who plays at least five cloned versions of herself so well that you forget they are all the same person. Then of course you have mystery and drama and mostly likable characters (including that guy Max Headroom who is not so likable but a cult classic, Sarah’s half brother  who is hilarious and you totally want to be friends with, and the hottie from Nashville and Game of Thrones who I would love to be more than friends with.) Definitely worth watching. Go back and catch up.

The second show I added to my list was Penny Dreadful. I can’t say you should definitely watch this, but the premise is interesting and if you love creepy, monster stuff like I do, you might like it. It is a mish mosh of characters from Irish and British fiction all together in one story…werewolves, vampires, Frankenstein, Dorian Gray… There was a bit more devil possession going on that I would have liked but there was enough drama to keep me sucked in.

The Walking Dead and Louie were especially awesome this season. It has been so long since The Walking Dead that I can’t remember the details, but I remember being back in to it after not loving it so much last season. That Pamela is a piece of work, but I like her for Louie. The flashback to Louie’s teenage spiral in to the drugs and how he didn’t have the perfect answer to keep his daughter from going down the same path, except a hug. Hugs are awesome. The world could use more hugs.

The Americans had a stellar second season. Being a spy is very complicated. Being a spy in a time of typewriters and land lines is quite a challenge. Being a Russian spy with American children..phew! What will happen to Paige next season? Will she be forced to give up her newly found Christian community to join her parents as a next generation Russian spy?

The Bachelorette – I have given up on pretending I am not going to watch this show.  As ridiculous as it is, I always get sucked in. Every season I wonder..what if I were the Bachelorette? Could I actually pretend to be super excited about all of those dates? Wouldn’t it be cool to have wardrobe and makeup 24×7 for three months? Could I really make out with so many different guys in the same week? How did she not know on Day 1 who she would end up with? What the heck would I do for my hometown date? How does she remember what she is going to say at every rose ceremony? Right now I am wondering….Josh or Nick?

Big Brother – just like the Bachelorette I am once again hooked on this insanity. I am equally fascinated by observing these people’s behaviors as I am about the editing decisions made to tell the story. I think my dream job would be to work on this show. I just want to see how it all works! I could do with fewer competitions though. As creative as they can be, they are ridiculously stupid. Clearly I am not the key demographic for this show. Middle America must love these competitions, because they added a third weekly competition this year. Right now, I am rooting for Frankie, the smartest and most entertaining house guest this year (brother of Ariana Grande but this man stands on his own.)

Mad Med was its usual awesome self.  Parenthood tugged at my heartstrings most weeks. This is one of my absolutely favorite shows that I don’t list on OK Cupid as a fav because its just not as cool as saying, say, Game of Thrones.

Speaking of Game of Thrones, wouldn’t it be fun to see Jamie, Cersie, Tyrion, Arya Stark, Daenerys,Margery, Sansa, Lord Varys, Brienne of Tarth, John Snow, Lord Baelish all in the Big Brother House? Who would be able to build the longest word out of wooden letters shaped like lice (in the Miami Lice competition) that they have to fish through a pool to find? I can say that none of them would have trouble being a “have not” which requires eating an oatmealish food called slop for a week, sleeping in uncomfortable beds, and taking cold showers.

I did not love American Horror Story this season. Jessica Lange was awesome as always but the witch thing just didn’t do it for me. That show tends to go just a little bit too far sometimes, even for me. I got sucked in to 24 Live Another Day (because I loved 24), and initially, I was totally in to it is dragging on and I am ready for it to be over, for good.  Scandal was fun as always with lots of twists and turns.  Definitely a must watch.

Finally watching True Detective. I clearly should have watched this instead of 24: Live Another Day, but sometimes, I make stupid entertainment decisions. I am back on track now, and loving it.

I also finally watched The Normal Heart this weekend on HBO (the story of the start of the AIDS epidemic in NYC and the founding of the Gay Men’s Health Crisis). Amazing. Watch it if you get the chance.

I had a lot to catch up on. Hopefully you stuck with me. Before I go, I will mention that I just started watching The Leftovers (right up my alley, mysterious, troubled, sad characters, sci fi element to it. If that’s your thing set your DVR.). Masters of Sex, Ray Donovan, and The Bridge will be back soon….but I will try to get out of the house this summer. Really, I will.

Initial Thoughts: Once Upon a Time in Wonderland

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland is only one week out the gate and TV by the Numbers already has it on the cancellation bubble! If you like Once Upon a Time, you will like this show (I actually think this one is better.) The question is, how many hours of fantasy, fairy tale drama TV can a person watch? Sunday night feels like the right night to watch something Disney-ish (because, as I have mentioned before, The Wonderful World of Disney used to be on Sunday nights.)  Thursday night is more like a Vampire Diaries, Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal kind of night (in my TV world.)  People are getting ready for the weekend and want to watch drama and scandal and pretend their weekend will be full of the same. (None of this applies to me of course, because I record everything and watch it when I feel like it, but apparently, lots of people still watch things real time!)

That being said, I liked it. The story is told by bouncing around from present day to past (different times in the past, even) so you have to stay on your toes to follow the story. I like some intellectual challenge in my TV. What is the story? Let me tell you..(spoiler alert)

The whole things starts AFTER Alice’s adventures in Wonderland. When she returned from Wonderland, she had apparently been gone for a long time (not just like a nap) so everyone thought she was dead. No one believed her story so they institutionalized her. At some point (we don’t know the details exactly), as a young woman Alice escaped and went back to Wonderland to get proof that it exists. On this return journey, she fell in love with a genie. The genie was supposedly killed by the evil Red Queen (we don’t really know why) and Alice was devastated. When she returned to the “real world” from Wonderland, she was despondent. She told her doctors she did make it all up and then she agreed to electroshock therapy to forget everything (we are now in the present day that is not really the present day, because they still do electroshock therapy. Its a vague time period.)

BUT..before she goes in for the procedure, the Knave of Hearts and the White Rabbit (remember that people and animals can travel between worlds) tell her that her genie love (Cyrus) is alive and that she should go back to Wonderland to find him. BUT..when she gets there, we learn that the evil Red Queen made up the whole story of Cyrus being alive to get her back to Wonderland. BUT…then we learn that Cyrus really IS still alive and being held prisoner by the evil genie Jafar (we don’t know why) who is working with the Red Queen (at the moment. He also wants to kill her.)

So there you have it. Many mysteries to unravel and a romantic quest to find lost love in a fantasy land where there are lots of mushrooms and things can grow big and be made small. The dialog is actually smart and witty and the visuals are appealing. And Alice kicks ass, literally, with swords and karate moves.

Watching this show made me give some thought to what is is about Alice in Wonderland that appealed to me as a small child. I think it was because Alice was brave and curious and spoke her mind. She made her way, on her own, through this strange land and she wasn’t scared, she just rolled with it. She was nice to those who were nice to her but didn’t put up with any shit. She did get upset once and cry a river of tears, but she pulled herself together and got out of her predicament. No one came to save her, she just figured it out. She was smart.

Maybe Alice was my first feminist heroine!

Initial Thoughts: Masters of Sex and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

A good television show just feels different than a not so good one. A good television show has texture and feels thick and dense, full of quality. It holds your interest. You want to watch all the way to the end to see what will happen in the next episode. It might make you laugh out loud or think or cry. You want to know more about the characters and what they are thinking and how they feel. Entertainment is art. Everyone has their own opinions about what is good art, but I think most would agree that if you think art is good, it makes you feel something. A good television show makes you feel something (besides annoyed or bored.)

It may seem strange to include Masters of Sex and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D. in the same blog post, but I watched them back to back and they are both good television. Different, but both good.

Masters of Sex is based on a fascinating topic. Who doesn’t want to know more about sex? The characters are rich and full (and developed at an appropriate pace). It’s fascinating to me to see the sexual attitudes of the time and the impact those had on people. I am not sure how much this show will get in to all of the psychology behind sex or just focus on the physiological and societal perspectives. That would make it much more interesting to me, but we will have to see where it goes. Interesting that the guy with the biggest sexual hang ups so far appears to be Masters. Perhaps that is the whole point! And that Johnson had chutzpah! The story of Masters and Johnson themselves makes for good TV. (The did end up marrying..and divorcing eventually. Sorry for the spoiler but its in Wikipedia.) The topic is clearly interesting, but it is also well done. I don’t break down all of the technical stuff (I am a VERY novice TV reviewer) but it felt like good TV to me and I am looking forward to more.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D is completely different. The premise of this show is completely ridiculous but fun. I was able to pick up the context pretty quickly (I am pretty smart and I know how to use the internet.) The show is a spin off of this summer’s movie The Avengers where something called “The Battle of New York” happened and aliens from another dimension attacked earth and the superhumans (like Thor and Ironman) saved the world. The purpose of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division) is to “shield” the world from all of the super humans and aliens and this crazy stuff going on. They are hot and smart and they have that dry sarcastic wit that I love. I could date this show.

I did get a tiny bit bored during the action/chase scenes and this subject matter is not the most interesting to me, but it is good television. You care about the story and the characters and there is cool technology stuff going on. It is also an interesting companion to the movies (which will continue) because it references them, but (I read in EW) that they are sticking with the smaller stories and heroes for budgetary and artistic reasons.  TV is smaller and you have an hour every week so it has to have a different formula. Makes sense! Joss Whedon makes good TV. I may not watch it because I can’t watch everything, but I think it will be a huge success and if you are in to these Marvel heroes, you will love it.

Two good shows that made me feel something. Thumbs up to Masters of Sex and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Initial Thoughts: The Crazy Ones

I am not a fan of this show. A lot of people are watching it, but I don’t know why and I wonder how long that will last. There is not a lot of competition in its time slot for adults who don’t want to watch Glee or Gray’s Anatomy (yes, that show is still on). That might explain it. Here are my quick thoughts after two episodes:

  • Robin Williams is just too much. He delivers fast one liners as his complete dialog. He doesn’t have regular conversations. It’s like he is doing a comedy routine in every scene. As I was watching I just wanted to go watch him in Good Will Hunting to remind myself that he can be awesome. Not in this.
  • Sarah Michelle Gellar is annoying. Now that I am thinking about it, I am not sure I ever really liked her. I liked Buffy, the show, but I think she has always annoyed me a bit. He hair is horrible. I don’t get the damaged, dyed hair look.
  • James Wolk is awesome. I have loved him in everything I have seen him in (Lone Star, Political Animals, Mad Men). He is as cute as a button, first of all. He pulls off both cute and hot, actually. And apparently, he is funny too! I have never seen him do comedy, but he rocks it. The only scene I really liked of two whole episodes is one in the pilot where Robin Williams and James Wolk improv a sexy McDonald’s song (“Drive Through Lovin”) for Kelly Clarkson. It was hilarious. Worth watching the pilot.
  • Not Hamish Linklater‘s fault, but when I see him, I can only think that he was the guy who got all of my favorite people on The Newsroom in trouble.  So, I don’t like him. Sorry dude.

Like Hostages, this show feels forced to me (btw – “TV By The Numbers” predicts Hostages will get cancelled. Don’t waste your time on it.) The best part, after cute as a button James Wolk, was Kelly Clarkson in the pilot.  LOVE Kelly. She did good!

Initial Thoughts: Hostages and The Blacklist

I had an idea how this would go before I watched these two pilots.  From reading the reviews, I was pretty sure The Blacklist would be better. It was.

Hostages is not great TV. The show tried to set up the backstory of every character before the first commercial break. It just feels very forced. When Dillon McDermott’s character (the FBI agent) is introduced, he turns around slowly to reveal himself in response to the question, “who gave this order?” (or something) and predictably says “I did.” He then proceeds to take one of those huge TV risks to capture the bad guy, is successful and cocky about it, and this cheesy music plays while he walks away.  I had to re-play it to see if he walked away in slow motion because I remembered it being so ridiculous. He walked away normal speed, apparently, I just remembered it in slow motion.

Hostages was explained by one of its creators as Downton Abbey meets 24. I guess the Downton Abbey part comes from the fact that everyone in this family being held hostage had a secret. Maybe some more interesting stuff is coming, but we found out half way through in the first episode what everyone’s secret was and they weren’t that interesting. (spoiler alert!) One kid is dealing drugs, one is pregnant, and the dad is having an affair. Who cares? Something bigger is going on the with FBI agent. We don’t know what it is yet, but it seems to be slightly more interesting. This is no Downton Abbey. Where is the smart humor and the over the top, kind of making fun of itself but also being serious, drama?

The 24 part, I assume, is because the time span of the actual events will not be very long (more than 24 hours though) and will be spread out over many episodes. So far, there is not enough action for me to compare Hostages to 24 and our hero is no Jack Bauer. (I am not even sure who the hero is.)

The first episode ends with a cheesy statement from the surgeon mom, Toni Collette. The episode started and ended with major cheese.

The Blacklist, is much better. It may not be completely original, but it is better TV than Hostages. It is compelling, has unexpected twists and turns in the pilot, and we care about the characters. We also have a lot of mysteries that we actually want to know the answers too! Why is James Spader working with the FBI? Why does he ONLY want to work with this rookie FBI agent? How does he know all of these details about her life? (Is he her father? Is that possible?)  Is the actress playing the rookie FBI agent wearing a wig? (her hair looks very strange to me, but I may be the only person who had that question). Why does the guy in this show who was also on Homeland seem like a much worst actor on this show? (and did he change his hair color?)

I don’t want to give anything away about The Blacklist because you should watch it and it will be more fun if I don’t say any more. It’s no Homeland but it’s decent.

Thumbs down for Hostages. Thumbs up for The Blacklist. 

Emmy Minutia 2013

It’s time for my annual Emmy post! Here are my running thoughts from the red carpet and the show (as if I were live tweeting them, but I wasn’t, they were collecting, here, in bullet points). I have no idea if my random train of thought is interesting to anyone, but it has become a tradition.

  • Not a fan of Heidi Klum’s pomegranate dress although I am sure it will make the best dressed lists. She has an unusually long neck.
  • Love Amanda Peet’s messy pony tail. That is my dream hair do.
  • Taylor Schilling (Orange is the New Black) looks beautiful. (Lots of side boob and she could use better nipple covers, but it works) – (Not a huge fan of that show, however.  I might be the only non-fan.)
  • Claire Danes and Lena Dunham..I want to hang out with them!!!
  • A lot of dresses I don’t like. I don’t even know where to start.
  • I am confused about Julie Bowen’s (Modern Family) pale pink mermaid bow dress. I simultaneously love it and hate it.
  • I thought I hated Connie Britton’s dress, until I saw her on stage in it. It’s beautiful. (still confused by the Emmy nomination, though. Nashville is not that good.)
  • John Hamm is sporting a beard. Love beards.
  • This intro montage of clips from various shows is weird and not funny (but I still love NPH)
  • The House of Cards monologue by Kevin Spacey in the intro…hilarious. Makes up for horrible montage.
  • Al Pacino is looking particularly orange, right? Actually, a lot of people are looking orange. I am glad I don’t have go to award shows and pick pale or orange. In real life, I pick pale, pretty much always.
  • Tony Hale holding Julia Louis Dreyfus’s bag while she accepts her Emmy? This is why these people win awards. Well deserved to both of them. Veep grew on me in Season #2. Super funny.
  • I like these presenter bits. They are making me chuckle. I also like how they are not trying to make not funny people say funny things (for the most part)
  • Best half time show….EVER! NPH!!!! Sarah Silverman!! Guy from Castle??!!!
  • Dianne Carroll was an unexpected comedic pleasure. (I don’t need my reading glasses either…I don’t have them on right now.)
  • (I had no commentary for quite a while here…)
  • What a GREAT idea to have the choreographers do a dance number. And they danced! I wish I could dance like that…
  • James Cromwell was the only actor to ever say the words “Star Trek” on “Star Trek”? Very random trivia.
  • I am over Modern Family but it keeps winning!  Really? Better than Veep? Better than Girls?
  • Breaking Baaaad!!!!!  Yay!!!!!
  • I love television.

It’s past my bed time. My work here is done…

Initial Thoughts: Brooklyn Nine-Nine

I found this show to be hilarious.

Full disclosure, I was a bit emotionally raw after accidentally turning on the X Factor audition show and getting the chills twice  (“Valerie” from the adorable the dancing Motown guys and “House of the Rising Sun” from the bookworm, right?) and then practically bawling when the guy with Tourette’s Syndrome belted out John Mayer’s Gravity. Simon Cowell knows how to do TV.  (I NEVER watch these singing audition shows. Now I have to watch the X-Factor which I have no time for.)

I digress.

I heard on NPR that Brooklyn Nine-Nine was the funniest new show of the season. NPR is serious.

I don’t think I have ever seen a comedy like this about a police squad. (They say Barney Miller was the last decent comedy about a police squad but I was in my pre-teens in the mid-70s early/80s. I vaguely remember it, but I was more interested in Eight is Enough and Welcome Back Kotter.)

This show is just pure ridiculous humor while solving crimes. EW says the crimes are just there to make you care about the characters (love that!) so don’t expect complex who dunnits. It’s all humor. I chuckled quite a bit. So far, it seems to be the Andy Samberg and the Andre Brougher show. The rest of the cast didn’t make a huge impression on me (except maybe the civilian desk clerk with the raspy voice, and I guess the dorky detective is humorous.)

Andy Samberg is just funny. (That dry sarcastic humor that I love.)

Andre Brougher plays the straight man. (Ironically, his character is gay. I think it’s supposed to be funny that you don’t know he is gay, but I didn’t find that part so funny.) Regardless, love him. Last year’s Last Resort was a fail but I will give anything he is in a shot. Love when he cracks a smile on this show.  It is kind of like when someone is trying really hard not to laugh in a comedy but they crack a smile, except this is part of his character.  He is trying to be the tough boss, but Andy Samberg’s character breaks through his tough-guy shell. (Because Andy Samberg is just funny.) He plays it so well.

I loved the unexpected comedic twist when Andy Samberg tries to be a smart ass by illustrating to Andre Brougher that he can solve crimes inappropriately dressed and Andre turns it right around on him.

Sorry I couldn’t get to my Fall TV post BEFORE this previewed. I am sure you can catch up on the internet if you missed it. The internet is amazing like that.

Fall TV Watchlist

Just under the wire (maybe a tiny bit late), here is what I will be checking out this fall on TV. I am not super excited about any of the new stuff but I like to check it out before I rule it out. I have actually already ruled out many of the new shows. Here is what’s left, in order of interest…

Brooklyn Nine-Nine  (previewed last Tuesday on Fox) – I already watched the first episode and it was really funny, in a very silly way. Stay tuned for a mini review. (EW and TV Guide top pick)

Masters of Sex (Sun 9/29 10pm Showtime) Inspired by Masters & Johnson’s research into human sexuality it is described as Mad Men with gratuitous nudity. Sounds great! (EW and TV Guide top pick)

Hostages (Mon 9/23 10pm CBS) – A serialized white knuckle conspiracy thriller mixed with a complicated family saga starring Tony Colette and Dylan McDermott.  It is only 15 episodes, not a huge commitment, based on an Israeli drama (like In Treatment!) The main reason to check it out is that its exec producer says it is like Downton Abbey meets 24. I have to find out what that could possibly mean. (TV Guide top pick)

The Blacklist  (Mon 9/23 10pm NBC) – International man of secrets (the always creepy James Spader) inexplicably surrenders to the FBI to bust the underworld but will only work with a rookie cop and we don’t know why. Described as an unoriginal, but very entertaining Alias meets Silence of the Lambs (EW and TV Guide top pick)

Retro Fall TV Preview CoverAlmost Human (Mon 11/4 Fox 8pm) – This is our new Fringe (from JJ Abrams)! Cops work with robo-partners to solve crimes. The two leads apparently have great buddy-cop chemistry and the show offers fresh takes on sci-fi archetypes (and there is a mysterious box!) (EW top pick)

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland (Thu 10/10 10pm ABC) – This is a spin off of Once Upon a Time based on Alice in Wonderland (had you figured that out?). Alice was my fav growing up so I watch all things Alice. I also really like Once Upon a Time. Apparently, I dig fairy tale based fantasies. (nobodies top pick except mine!)

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Thu 9/24 8pm ABC) – This is not a show I would normally watch, ever (I have not even see the Avenger’s movie), but it was co-created by Joss Whedon who created Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which I loved. He also created Firefly which I think I would have loved if I had watched it. It is a “smarter superhero drama” with a covert government force that protects mortals from mutants. It sounds like there are a lot of super hero/comic book jokes that will go right over my head, but if you are in to that stuff, this might be TV gold. (EW and TV Guide top pick)

The Crazy Ones (Thu 9/26 9pm CBS)I don’t have a good feeling about this one, but it is created by David E Kelly with Robin Williams (needs no explanation but I will take this opportunity to give a shout out to Good Will Hunting, one of my favorite movies ever) and Sarah Michelle Gellar (the actual Buffy!) What will happen? Well, a kooky genius will run an advertising agency with his levelheaded daughter Sydney. See why I’m not that excited? (TV Guide top pick)

Hello Ladies (Sun 9/29 HBO) – A geeky guy and his friends try to date in L.A. This is not really my thing but EW says it is really funny so I wanted to tell you about it (and I would feel guilty if you missed it and it was awesome!) (EW Top Pick)

If I had more time, I would check out Super Fun Night (created by Conan O’Biran and the hilarious Rebel Wilson of Bridesmaids and Almost Perfect fame) and The Originals (a spin off of The Vampire Diaries that I also don’t have time for but kind of miss!) and maybe even Sean Saves the World (because I like Sean Hayes from Will and Grace.) But there is no time.

Let the fall TV watching begin!

Disclaimer: Almost everything I have written here is blatant plagiarism from Entertainment Weekly. Thanks EW!