Welcome to the new Needless Things!
As I write this I have no idea how far along the transition will be. Consider this a soft relaunch. A longer post explaining why things had to change and where all the old stuff went is coming, but not today. For today, we talk about the wonderful world of television!
I love TV and it’s a cornerstone of my entertainment world. Right now it’s better than ever, with dinosaur networks duking it out with hungry and daring streaming services; with new creators and the audience at large benefiting from an industry-wide revolution.
Eventually things will level out and we will hopefully be able to streamline our services and spending a bit more, but for now the New Fall Season is upon us, so let’s take a look at all of the stuff that is personally interesting to me!
9/12 – American Horror Story: Apocalypse – FX
I have finally made peace with this show. Maybe it’ll be glorious, maybe it’ll suck ass. I can accept either.
AHS has provided two of my favorite seasons of television ever – Murder House and Hotel. It’s also done everything from taper off in quality (Coven, Asylum) to become full-stop unwatchable garbage (Freak Show, Roanaoke) to amazing starts and finishes with almost unbearable wheel-spinning in between (Cult). I think last season was the one where we finally accepted that when it’s time to check out, we just go and don’t put up a fight.
Here’s hoping Apocalypse can keep its head out of its ass and provide some good, old-fashioned AHS shocking insanity.
9/14 – Norm Macdonald Has A Show – Netflix
Whether this will be a trainwreck or sublime genius, I’ll be tuned in and watching. Norm Macdonald is one of the comic greats of my generation and I’ll give anything he does a chance.
It’s entirely possible this will just be him reading from a 1914 almanac.
9/24 – Magnum P.I. – CBS
Somehow I missed that this was happening. My gut instinct is to say that I’m sure it will be terrible, but Jay Hernandez – who I like a lot – is playing Thomas Magnum and Justin Lin is directing the first episode.
Look, obviously it won’t have the charm and innocent machismo of the original show. Those days are long gone and we all just have to accept it. But it could be something fun and new and a genuinely good revival of a beloved franchise. Look how much fun Lethal Weapon was out of the gate (no, seriously – the first two seasons were really good!).
Unfortunately this means Jay Hernandez won’t be our next Indiana Jones.
9/25 – The Gifted – FOX
This was my favorite new show last year and the Marvel Mutant adaptation(ish sort of maybe) that I always wanted.
No – it doesn’t feature too many notable mutants. But that’s to the show’s advantage, as it can take liberties with some lesser-known characters and be far more interesting than a straight adaptation – say, of “The Dark Phoenix Saga” – could ever be. The key thing is that it nails the tone, message, and atmosphere of the X-Men comics I’ve been reading for the past thirty years and that regardless of their notoriety has given the audience well-developed characters that we can invest in.
9/27 – Murphy Brown – CBS
I loved this show when I was younger. Many of the politics went over my head and I seem to remember later seasons getting a little more abrasive, but the writing was smart, the cast was tremendous, and it was a high water mark for late 80s/90s sitcoms.
This is actually a continuation of that original show, featuring most of the original cast. Murphy’s son, Avery – the one Dan Quayle got so mad about – is a conservative pundit at odds with his mom’s liberal network.
I’m genuinely excited for this one and hope that it can tread the line of politics and humor as skillfully as the early seasons of the show. To me that’s the best way to educate and win hearts.
9/27 – The Good Place – NBC
The first two seasons of this show were an absolute delight. The cast is incredible and Kristen Bell is a gift from above.
I’m not gonna lie, though – the ending of the second season has me concerned. Not in any real way because I want this show to always be bold and daring and to challenge my ideas of what it can be, but the idea of our friends back in the real world seems so mundane and dangerously close to Average Sitcom territory.
It’s absolutely ridiculous that I should feel this way and someone should really slap me for it. But until the new season starts and proves me wrong (which it undoubtedly will, and likely ten minutes into the season premiere), I’m gonna be a little edgy.
9/30 – Bob’s Burgers – FOX
The humor and family dynamic of this show are, in my opinion, perfect. Mrs. Troublemaker was watching this first while I watched Archer first, so we have wildly varying opinions on whether H. Jon Benjamin is really Sterling or Bob.
Also, am I the only one that sees puppets? To me the characters look so puppet-like that I was surprised to learn it wasn’t originally meant to be a live action puppet show.
10/7 – Doctor Who – BBC America
TAKE OF POSITIVITY – I’m looking forward to a new creative direction and a new Doctor! I hope this is the opportunity to dive back into a franchise that I have (mostly) loved since 1983!
I feel it’s necessary to note that I loved Peter Capaldi as the Doctor. End of thoughts; let’s move on.
10/7 – Star Wars: Resistance – Disney Channel
I’m not sold yet on the new animation style, but Dave Filoni is the current best steward of modern Star Wars, so that’s really all I need to know.
I just think it’s a shame that we’re less than a month out from an entirely new Star Wars and there’s no sign of toys or the intent to produce them.
10/9 – The Flash – The CW
The only reason we even finished last season is because Flash is my son’s favorite superhero (other than Robin). I wish the DCCW shows could adopt the same strategy that Agents of SHIELD did for their last couple of seasons – multiple story arcs. 22+ episodes is too damn many for a single storyline. Watching these shows turns into a real drag.
I will say that Ralph was an absolute delight last season and I hope he will be back full-time.
10/12 – The Haunting of Hill House – Netflix
I don’t know a thing about this, but Netflix’s reputation + solid horror foundation + Halloween season = me watching.
10/14 – Supergirl – The CW
It took about four episodes for this show to become intolerable last year. I can’t point to any one thing, it just felt like a meandering mess where the characters we had grown to love in the amazing first season sort of bumbled around and whined.
Look – I know that’s the CW formula. But it seems that since the show moved from CBS to The CW the charm has slowly been sucked out of all of the characters. There have been great moments, for sure, but overall it feels like what started out as a bright, hopeful show is beign shoehorned into the dismal angst of the CWverse. We got seven or eight episodes into last season before deciding we just didn’t have time for it.
10/14 – AMC Visionaries: Eli Roth’s History of Horror – AMC
I love Eli Roth and I’ll happily join him for a look back at the annals of horror.
10/15 – Arrow – The CW
Additionally – YOU HAVE FAILED THIS CITY.
I know that folks are all excited about the fact that (the first episode of, probably) the new season is adapting an unused movie script. But I have very little interest in seeing Oliver even more isolated and miserable than he’s been for the past however many years. I hope that this season can be a little lighter, but at the same time hope that most of the supporting cast gets killed off because good lord are they all annoying.
Can’t we just bring Cody Rhodes back and have him team up with Oliver?
10/17 – Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – Nickelodeon
We watched the premiere of this a month or so ago and it was even worse than I thought it would be. The design is awful and the animation is some of the worst I’ve ever seen on Nickelodeon. Everything about it was an off-putting mess.
I keep trying to remind myself that I didn’t like the last show at first, either, but I think this one truly has gone beyond my ability to adjust my expectations. Nothing about it appealed to me.
10/22 – Legends of Tomorrow – The CW
Somehow this show remains delightful. I’m sure the reduced episode count helps. For the most part, though, I think it’s just that they’ve happened upon a total magic formula of a cast – each person does their thing and everyone has chemistry with everyone.
10/26 – Castlevania – Netflix
Just as I was starting to settle down and accept what this story was offering, it ended. I need to rewatch the first episodes because I didn’t love them, but I very much want to love a cartoon based on one of my favorite video game franchises.
Albert Thermostat Dracula FTW.
10/26 – The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina – Netflix
I’ve never seen a single episode of Riverdale, but from what I’ve heard of it I’m thankful that Sabrina has nothing to do with it.
The comic was creepy and horrifying and great, so I have high hopes for this one. Of course, it would be fine if somehow it spawned an Afterlife with Archie show, but I doubt that will happen.
11/16 – She-Ra and the Princesses of Power – Netflix
I can’t say I’m excited for this one from what has been shown so far, but I am certainly hopeful. It looks like it’s going to lean more “huggy friend power” than “action-packed”, but that can still be good if it’s done in an organic and interesting way.
12/30 – The Orville – FOX
Man, did this show over deliver or what?
It would have been perfectly fine as a general sort of parody of Star Trek and other classic sci-fi franchises, but instead it had to go and be a modern reinvention of episodic, televised science fiction. The humor can be base and sometimes misses the mark, but the characters, stories, and feel of the show are so spot-on it’s easy to forget that it’s from the same guy that churns out year after unfunny, tone-deaf year of Family Guy.
This might be the show I’m the most excited about. And I did not think that would be the case when I gave it a chance last year.
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