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 wasn't originally going to watch The Neighborhood based upon the promos but my wife and I both like Cedric The Entertainer and Max Greenfield, and she wanted to watch it because of them. It is better than the promos and the later shows are better than the pilot.

I'm not watching it, but,  believe it or not Happy Together is (allegedly) based upon a real circumstance. Harry Styles, one of the executive producers, was in the band One Direction and stayed with a regular, older couple for a time. It was thought that it would make a good show. We watched Amber Stevens West in the recently cancelled show The Carmichaels, which was a multi-generational show that was challenging and funny. The only thing we've previously seen Damon Wayans in was The New Girl, where he had a recurring occasional part. He wasn't that great. Coincidentally, this is also where we saw Max Greenfield.

A news item:

"The final paper that famed physicist Stephen Hawking worked on before he passed away has been published and it deals with a topic bigger than Hawking's legacy – what happens when objects fall into black holes?

The paper entitled “Black Hole Entropy and Soft Hair,” looks into whether black holes keep the information of the things that fall into them. Some theoretical physicists believe they do, while others do not."

"Black Hole Entropy and Soft Hair" sounds like an episode title from Big Bang Theory, Young Sheldon or Mom. 

Riverdale Season 3: The new season has begun, and while Archie continues to be the dullest character on his own show, at least the rest of the cast is interesting. I mean, it's teenage melodrama at its worst, but I still like it. It is full of gaps in common sense, believable characters, and even heart. But somehow, it's a pleasure to watch.

A few years ago, I would have called it a "guilty pleasure", but I don't believe in those anymore.

This is thriller TV, with teenagers who act like they think adults act--I would almost believe that this was written by an eighth grade girl--but somehow, this is so much fun to watch. I can't explain it.

Riverdale is the best. Everyone I know who watches it acknowledges how ridiculous it is, and just eats it up. It's gloriously campy, and I have to be careful when I'm taking a sip of something when I watch -- because it's made me spit my drink out in surprise on more than one occasion. (I try not to drink anything anymore when Cheryl is onscreen, because if anyone is going to say something so bonkers and over-the-top, it's her.)

I somehow get the feeling that this season's writers just discovered and binged the first season of True Detective.

Rob Staeger (Grodd Mod) said:

Riverdale is the best. Everyone I know who watches it acknowledges how ridiculous it is, and just eats it up. It's gloriously campy, and I have to be careful when I'm taking a sip of something when I watch -- because it's made me spit my drink out in surprise on more than one occasion. (I try not to drink anything anymore when Cheryl is onscreen, because if anyone is going to say something so bonkers and over-the-top, it's her.)

Richard Willis said:

Some random thoughts on the shows, new and returning.

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.

I didn't get into Grey's Anatomy until there was all the hype and hoopla over Sandra Oh leaving the show, so I watched it just to see her last episode ...

... and found her character Christina Yang so fascinating, I wanted to see more. So I would up watching the entire show from the beginning (thank you, Lifetime Channel) and have been watching it ever since. Christina Yang was a truly original character: driven but still oddly likable. She is supremely confident in her abilities, which would be taken as arrogance in other people. She has frequently slept with her bosses, but not to get ahead; she wouldn't think of them as her superiors anyway because she barely thinks of them as equals. She did covered up for Dr. Preston Burke when he had a hand tremor and never said a word to anybody when he went on to win the Harper Avery Award for work that she really did.

And most of all, she was totally, unambiguously, unequivocally clear that she did not want children. No longing, no "maybe someday," no "you'll regret it later if you don't." Not for her. 

The show has carried on without her, but she was really the best thing about it. I still enjoy Grey's Anatomy, but I'd never want to be a patient at that hospital.

Chicago Fire this season is doing a story they've done a time or two before: The Chicago Fire Department bureaucracy wants to force out Chief Boden and/or shut Firehouse 51 down.

They set it up last season with Chief Boden making a bid to be Commissioner. Doing so made an enemy of rival Chief Grissom, played by Gary Cole of The Legion of "Hey, It's That Guy!" Character Actors.

Grissom sabotaged Boden's candidacy by leaking a story to the press making it look like Boden took a bribe, which he didn't. Boden and the guys had rescued a prominent local businessman from a hotel fire; the grateful exec then mailed envelopes with $10,000 cash to Boden and to Lt. Severide because, hey, that's how they do things in Chicago. Boden immediately called the CFD's legal department and the police, and had the firehouse secretary lock the money in the firehouse safe until the police confiscated it. Still, the article in the Sun-Times made the mayor switch his choice from Boden to Grissom.

Then Fireman Brian "Otis" Zvonecek figures out that Grissom falsified his records to make his firehouse look like it handled more calls than it did. Unfortunately, Boden goes to CFD headquarters to deliver the report only to learn Grissom was named the new commissioner.

This season, Grissom is out to make Boden pay. He installs a deputy commissioner over Firehouse 51 named Gorsch, who is an old enemy of Boden. Why? Back when Gorsch was a candidate, Boden gave him a poor performance evaluation, saying his talents lie elsewhere than working in the field. He was right; Gorsch is no smoke eater. He's a bean-counting, butt-kissing desk jockey. As such, Gorsch slimed his way up the ranks to a place where he could put Boden under his thumb, just because.

If you've ever had a smurfhole boss who is a beady-eyed weasel, the kind who finds every nit-picky infraction and holds it over your head, who demands respect but can't command it because he leads through intimidation instead of inspiration, who wields the authority of his title because he doesn't have the authority that comes from actual leadership, knowledge and experience* -- well, you could only feel for Boden as he had to put up with this crap. And everyone else drawn into this feud.

Yes, Boden delivered the report about the falsified numbers. The weasel kicked it back, saying it was full of "clerical errors" that didn't shake the mayor's  confidence. And throughout this season, he sucked all the morale out of the firehouse. He told Boden it'll end when he quits his command; he'd give Boden a b.s. job on a b.s. task force, reporting directly to him. Naturally, Boden refused.

There's more, but it ended -- for now -- in the latest episode. Severide went to his father Benny, a retired firefighter, and asked him to use whatever clout he had with Commissioner Grissom to put a stop to this nonsense. Unfortunately, Severide and his dad have always had a rocky relationship and their conversations always end in arguments. This one was no different, as Severide told Benny that Boden was more of a father than he's ever been.

Ouch.

Benny said he'd think it over.

Fortunately for Boden and the crew, Benny did. He called in all his favors and got Grissom to send the weasel on his way. 

Then Benny died of a stroke. Next episode is the funeral.

*Yes, I've had that kind of boss.

Vulture examines how well the reboots and revivals are faring: "Are Network TV’s Reboots and Revivals Succeeding This Season?"

Not a cancellation, but a demotion: ABC moves Alec Baldwin's talk show from Sunday (the weeknight TV viewership is highest) to Saturdays (the night that whatever people do, they don't watch much TV).

From TV Club: "Divided Nation Comes Together to Agree Nobody Wants to Watch Alec ...

TV Line handicaps five freshman series that aren't likely to come back for a second season: "Cancellation Buzz: 5 Series in Trouble"

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