It's that time of year again!

We've done this before (herehereherehereherehere and here) but now it's time for this year! This is a place for comments about any and all shows, but especially for shows that don't generate their own threads.

I'm a bit late, as several new and returning shows have already premiered. Returning favorites for me include Mom (I've become a new convert), Greenleaf, Ballers, Insecure, EmpireSuits, WreckedSupergirl, and The Flash.

Through inertia, I'm also following Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and The Big Bang Theory to its end.

I'm still grooving on Chicago Fire, which has been put on Wednesday nights after Chicago Med and before Chicago PD as "One Chicago Night." On the second week of the season, they did a crossover of the three. Unfortunately, Chicago Justice bit the dust last year, so they couldn't carry it into the next night. 

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I don’t think we’re watching anything new this year, but these are the returning favorites.

FAVORITE DRAMA: THIS IS US

FAVORITE SIT-COM: YOUNG SHELDON

We still watch the Big Bang Theory, and Tracy likes Will & Grace and Murphy Brown because she used to watch the original ones.

FAVORITE “FAKE NEWS” SHOW: LAST WEEK TONIGHT with John Oliver

Full Frontal with Samantha Bee is a close (but definite) second; we still watch The Daily Show out of habit.

FAVORITE SCI-FI/FANTASY: THE WALKING DEAD / DOCTOR WHO (tie)

We also watch Fear the Walking Dead when the original is not on.

SUPERHEROES: SUPERGIRL and THE FLASH

We decided to drop Black Lightning.

GAME SHOW: Child Support

Those are all the shows I watch. Tracy watches a few that I do not, but I’m not sure what they are.

It was a summer show, and just ended its first season, but I just found out it'll be coming back for Season 2 and I'm THRILLED: Once it hits streaming, check out Lodge 49. It's a bit like The Big Lebowski might be if, instead of all the film noir elements, it had magical realism instead. It's one of our favorite shows right now. We've just got one more episode left to see, and we're savoring it. 

Other than that, we've just jumped back on to Doctor Who, which aside from the Doctor has an appealing cast. And we're enjoying the return of The Good Place.

And now all the comic book shows are coming back! I follow the whole Berlantiverse, while Kathy only goes for Flash and Supergirl. Plus Riverdale -- campy and fun as ever -- and a kinder, gentler Walking Dead. 

And we're looking forward to the two-episode wrapup of Timeless this December!

 

I found Black Lightning a chore, and never took to Riverdale. An Archie that isn't about teenage hijinks just isn't Archie to me. 

I gave the first couple episodes of The Good Place a try, thanks to all the hype about its wonderfulness. I didn't think it was that great, but I did find it amusing. Plus, it has Maya Rudolph.

On the medical show front, I'm sticking with Grey's Anatomy. I watched Chicago Med only because it was part of the One Chicago Night crossover; I now can go back to ignoring it.

I gave New Amsterdam a try, in spite of the promos. I can be down with A Crusading Doctor Fighting Against the System. But in the promos, Our Hero starts by firing all the cardiac surgeons en masse for overbilling. "Any department that puts money over patient care is gone," he declares. Fine, but shouldn't he have at least some proof these doctors did something wrong? And what about the patients who have surgeries on the schedule? It looked like a noble gesture, but it's really stupid.

Anyway, I watched it. There was a plot about a pair of doctors treated a high school kid for bipolar disorder who wouldn't take his meds, and a school system bureaucrat who wanted to expel him. Our Crusading Doctor told the doctors to sue the school system and he'd back them up. 

There was a second plot about a young woman who needed surgery, and her family wanted to do some kind of mystic ritual and the surgeon kept refusing. He felt personally insulted that the family had more faith in their religion than in his training and skills. Yet, every time they tried to take the woman out of the room she got drastically worse -- I mean, heart failure, vfib, epi, all that dramatic stuff. So the nurse had to persuade the surgeon that it wasn't about him; it's about his patient. 

There's potential in this show, but I'm not sold. 

I've seen a few episodes of S.W.A.T. It's not totally like the old show from the old days, which I guess is a good thing.

I also checked out the Magnum, P.I. revival pilot. The main feeling I got was, why? Not that the original was a great show but I didn't get that there was a burning, compelling desire to have it back, like there ostensibly is with Roseanne and Murphy Brown.

Since I already watch, for column purposes, Supergirl, Arrow, Legends, Flash, Black Lightning, The Gifted, Riverdale, Titans, Walking Dead, Fear the Walking Dead, Doctor Who. Daredevil, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, Punisher, Cloak & Dagger and Runaways, I don't have room for much else, and when I do, I let my wife decide, like Vikings. Over the summer we watched a lot of European cop shows, and are currently in the middle of Deadwind (Finnish). Next year will bring The Boys, Umbrella Academy, Deadly Class and some others I've forgotten, not to mention the final seasons of iZombie, Gotham and Agents of SHIELD.

Some random thoughts on the shows, new and returning.

Anyone who hasn't watched Mom from the beginning may not be aware that the emphasis changed. The grandchildren have moved on by growing up and starting a family (the girl) or living with his father (the boy). The emphasis is now on Christy, Bonnie and their fellow recovering addicts. IMO, this show manages to pull off the trick MASH used to perform: seamlessly weaving comedy and serious subjects, even occasional tragedy.

I would recommend watching The Good Place from the beginning. Ted Danson's character is a demon. The first season he tricks the flawed characters (and the viewers) into thinking they are in Heaven, the second season they know they are in Hell, and the third season he has played with the timeline and averted all of their deaths. Whenever it suits him he has wiped their memories to try new scenarios. The character Janet is a supernatural version of a computer.

The Murphy Brown reboot, other than returning actors being older, is indistinguishable from the old show. Anyone who used to like Murphy will not be disappointed.

I never started watching the Chicago shows. The first one seemed to have a hero whose main characteristic was police brutality. I've avoided watching it or any of its offshoots.

Still watching Law & Order SVU. I like the characters and the actors portraying them. Sometimes I even enjoy the stories. I think my wife enjoys it more than I do. Same comments for Grey's Anatomy. Not watching the Grey's Anatomy off-shoot, Station 19.

Blue Bloods has good stories even though most of the characters are too perfect. We watch and enjoy all three NCIS shows, Bull and The Good Doctor.

We're continuing to enjoy Big Bang Theory and are now watching Young Sheldon. Still waiting to see three of the latter episodes (17-19) of Young Sheldon's first season. They seem to be holding them back from streaming, presumably so they can show them as reruns later in the year. The most recent Big Bang Theory introduced a grown-up version of Sheldon's childhood friend.

We started watching The Neighborhood. We like both of the lead actors and the supporting actors are well-cast.

We are also watching and enjoying Modern Family, Superstore, Fresh off the Boat and Speechless. We're looking forward to the return of Black-ish tonight and the return of Midnight Texas on October 26.

Richard Willis said:

Some random thoughts on the shows, new and returning.

Anyone who hasn't watched Mom from the beginning may not be aware that the emphasis changed. The grandchildren have moved on by growing up and starting a family (the girl) or living with his father (the boy). The emphasis is now on Christy, Bonnie and their fellow recovering addicts. IMO, this show manages to pull off the trick MASH used to perform: seamlessly weaving comedy and serious subjects, even occasional tragedy.

Right. They even changed the opening credits this season to show Jill, Marjorie and Wendy, the friends in Bonnie's and Christy's AA group.

Interesting that you referred to "the grandchildren" and not "the children." I do think there's been a subtle shift making Bonnie (the grandmom) more of the lead than Christy (the mom).

Not that Christy's self-inflicted woes aren't front and center. She's started law school, but also has added Gamblers' Anonymous meetings to her daily schedule, along with the Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

Late last season, Christy and Bonnie drove to Nevada for a weekend at a spa, provided by Bonnie's fiance, Adam. They stopped for ice cream, which turned into a police stop -- Christy hadn't put her new license plates on the car, leading to Bonnie getting arrested for unpaid traffic tickets. The county sheriff told them if Bonnie paid up -- about $2,800 -- she's free to go. So while Bonnie waited in jail, Christy called Adam for the money and went to pick it up at a high-limit ATM.

I never knew there was such a thing as a high-limit ATM -- the most I thought you could get from one is $300 -- but it figures that they would have them in Nevada. But this high-limit ATM is in a casino, which also figures, being in Nevada. And Christy has a problem. She didn't get ten steps away from the ATM before she was at a craps table, gambling all the money away.

So she called her rich friend Jill for more money ... but the ATM still is in the same place, and Christy is still Christy. She crawls back to the jail with her tail between her legs, empty-handed. Fortunately for Bonnie, she and the sheriff bonded, sharing stories about daughters who screw up their lives. He said the office computer is sometimes a little wonky and fails to save data, like arrest reports, and let Bonnie go, which was mighty white nice of him. 

But in a later episode, Christy's friends throw a graduation party for her. Jill gives Christy diamond earrings ... which Christy quickly loses in a poker game. So that's why Christy's doing Gamblers Anonymous.

When I describe these episodes to my wife, she doesn't think this show is a comedy, but it is. I agree that Mom his the balance between comedy and tragedy. It shows that your problems are part of life; they don't go away when you stop drinking (or gambling, or whatever), but your drinking (or gambling, or whatever) will definitely make them worse.

Richard Willis said:

Some random thoughts on the shows, new and returning.

I never started watching the Chicago shows. The first one seemed to have a hero whose main characteristic was police brutality. I've avoided watching it or any of its offshoots.

Actually, Chicago Fire was the first one. I got into it because who doesn't like a good rescue show? They  introduced the cops on that one, starting with Voight. His son used a crash driving while drunk, and Voight tried to bribe and then harass the firefighters into making it go away.

I watched Chicago PD the first season because I liked the world-building they were doing. One of the EMTs on Chicago Fire has a brother who is one of the Chicago PD cops. One of the firefighters on Chicago Fire married the desk sergeant on Chicago PD. Then they brought along Chicago Med, and one of the doctors has a brother who is one of the cops on Chicago PD. And, oddly, one of the firefighters on Chicago Fire became a doctor on Chicago Med.

And they've stepped into the Law & Order universe. They did a great crossover with Law & Order: Special Victims Unit that was ripped from the headlines: two killers escaped from a prison in upstate New York and were on the run for a month before they got caught. On the crossover, the two killers were bad guys who had been caught by the cops on those shows, making really good use of each show's continuity. In the real world, the escape was abetted by a prison volunteer; on TV, the volunteer was a character who was a juror who fell under the spell of another nogoodnik. 

But I quit watching Chicago PD after a season. You're right, the "hero's" main characteristic is police brutality, not to mention stealing money, having a cage in the police station just for beating and torturing people, killing his enemies and covering hings up -- and I couldn't stomach the notion that we were supposed to be rooting for them. At least on The Shield, the hook was in wondering when these bastards were going to get caught, not in hoping they keep getting away with their dirt. 

As for Chicago Med, well, who doesn't like a good medical show? I just wish Chicago Med was one. I find it pretty mediocre and only watch it when it crosses over with the others.

I saw the pilot for Chicago Justice and found it dull. Apparently, so did a lot of people, since it got canceled in one season. They've kept the concept alive; they moved the assistant DA over to Law & Order: SVU, and his boss appeared in a recent episode, too.

I did (reluctantly) watch the Chicago P.D. episode that crossed over with Law & Order SVU show.

On what I think is an interesting note, I discovered the original Law & Order series because it crossed over with Homicide: Life on the Street, which I watched, I think, from the beginning. I had to watch the earlier L & O episodes at a later date. I knew Munch before he moved to New York.

Me, too! I was in on Homicide: Life on the Street from Day One. Original Law & Order I think I started watching about the second season, when they whacked Sgt. Max Greevey and brought on Sgt. Phil Ceretta, who only stayed into the third season. I hung in until Dennis Farina came aboard, but lost interest; as good as Farina is, he wasn't Jerry Orbach. Since Law & Order has been around forever, I've seen most (but not all) of the episodes I haven't seen live.

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit I didn't much care about until until the end of the 2012 season, just before Detective Munch retired, and I've been watching it steadily ever since. The episodes in the last six or seven seasons are jarringly different than the ones from the previous years.

Richard Willis said:

Some random thoughts on the shows, new and returning.

We started watching The Neighborhood. We like both of the lead actors and the supporting actors are well-cast.

I'm glad you're watching it so I don't have to. The promos make it look painfully unfunny.

I like the actors, but all of them have been in better shows. (Well, Beth Behrs of 2 Broke Girls not so much, but I still like her.) Making Cedric the Entertainer a new Archie Bunker is just a waste of his talent, especially as I never liked the original

Speaking of likable actors in lousy shows, there's Happy Together. Damon Wayans Jr. and Amber Stevens West are a young married couple who act like an old married couple. He's an accountant, and one of his clients is a Justin Bieber/Harry Styles-type pop star.  Through the kind of contrivance that only happens in situation comedies, the pop star comes to live with Damon and Amber because he broke up with his movie star girlfriend and wants to be around regular people.

Amber and the kid playing the pop star are likable. Damon is trying WAY too hard. And there are lots of jokes as if Amber and Damon are geezers, because they're thirtysomethings and the pop star and his crowd are twentysomethings. Age jokes aren't that funny to begin with, but applied to two people who aren't that old is odd. 

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