Since we don't have This Is Us, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Legends of Tomorrow, Supergirl or B Positive around any more, and I am still on a self-imposed moratorium on watching cop shows*, I have several holes in my viewing schedule.
I am happy Chicago Fire is back. More so for the second season of Abbott Elementary, a truly funny and heartwarming show that just gets better and better. At the Emmys, co-star Sheryl Lee Ralph won for best supporting actress in a comedy and gave the best acceptance speech of all time. Just watch.
* This means I've given up The Rookie, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and haven't even tried Law & Order: Organized Crime or the revival of original Law & Order, and won't be trying East New York.
Waiting for the return of Grey's Anatomy and The Flash, but those are due back later in the season.
I'm a belated convert to Home Economics, an ABC sitcom about three siblings in different financial status. One is a wealthy bro in investment banking or some such who lives in a fabulous house and can buy anything he wants on a whim. One is a sanctimonious granola-eating liberal who also is a lesbian married to a Black woman (less a fully rounded character than a cobbled-together collection of cliches) who was struggling until she got a teaching job at a high-end private school, the better to whine about income inequality and the class struggle while being unwilling to give up the benefits of working in and for a school that caters to the rich. The middle brother is a struggling writer, solidly middle class and envious of his elder brother's ease with money but wanting to make his own way providing for his wife and kids.
Home Economics is no great shakes, but it's amusing enough. Sometimes, though, it gets turned into a half-hour commercial for other Disney properties. Like the Halloween episode, which has the sister lamenting her kids thinks she's too uncool to be seen with (dressing as an 19th century feminist didn't help) while the middle brother dons a homemade Iron Man costume while the elder brother buys one that looks and functions exactly like one from the movies. Or the season premiere, in which the elder brother pays for the whole brood to go to Disneyland, the better to break some bad news to the middle brother that he knows his brother isn't going to want to hear.
It seems that three shows we watch are returning this coming Thursday:
Young Sheldon (season six)
Call Me Kat* (season three)
CSI: Vegas** (season two)
*Not as good as the original British show upon which it is based, Miranda.
**I don't know the reason for your "self-imposed moratorium on watching cop shows" but you might enjoy John Oliver's coverage of Law & Order.
Jeff of Earth-J said:
**I don't know the reason for your "self-imposed moratorium on watching cop shows" but you might enjoy John Oliver's coverage of Law & Order.
The reason was George Floyd's murder. I just couldn't stomach the copaganda any longer. As Andre Braugher once said, "It's a very complicated subject, but I think they have to be portrayed much more realistically, in terms of this: The convention ... that police breaking the law is okay because somehow it's in the service of some greater good, is a myth that needs to be destroyed." (That was exactly why I bailed on Chicago P.D. early on.)
Admittedly, I did break the embargo for two shows. One was We Own This City, the HBO miniseries based on the book We Own This City: A True Story of Crime, Cops, and Corruption by former Baltimore Sun reporter Justin Fenton (who is now with the Baltimore Banner). Both dealt with a special detail in the Baltimore Police Department, the Gun Trace Task Force, that ostensibly was charged with getting illegal guns out of circulation and became a street gang with badges.
The cops in this group regularly and routinely bilked the city for overtime by arresting people on utterly bogus probable cause, stole money from those people, illegally seized guns, drugs and money, stole and sold drugs, charged the city for overtime even when they were on vacation (a practice the city of Baltimore ended only last year) and ruined the reputation of the Baltimore Police to the extent that prosecutors in the city State's Attorney's Office couldn't empanel juries in court cases -- because every prospective juror had been rousted on these illegal arrests or knew someone who had. (Even I know people who have been victimized this way.)
I watched for two reasons: I dabble in background extra work (as noted here), and did so in We Own This City in three episodes. (I had one blink-and-you'll-miss-me moment in one, and in two others I was way, way, WAY in the background.) The other reason was the story itself; it takes place in my hometown, so I care very deeply about what it revealed.
The other show I broke the embargo for was Brooklyn Nine-Nine. They were prepping Season 8 when George Floyd's murder happened and determined they couldn't do business as usual and scrapped the first four scripts. Then the start of the season was delayed because, y'know, COVID.
So when Season 8 finally appeared, to my surprise they covered a lot of the same ground that We Own This City did: cops racking up overtime by making utterly unjustified arrests, superior officers who do nothing to stop them because the bureaucracy protects them and reprimands and punishments only damage the careers of the captains who issue them, and police unions who back crooked cops to the utter end no matter what dubious, dishonest, or outright illegal things they may do.
John Oliver's observations were previously recommended to me, and I concur. Law & Order (and for that matter, Blue Bloods) will never do what Brooklyn Nine-Nine did, and it's telling that a silly sitcom is more honest about these matters.
"...you might enjoy John Oliver's coverage of Law & Order."
"John Oliver's observations were previously recommended to me, and I concur."
Perhaps "appreciate" would have been a more appropriate verb for me to have used than "enjoy."
I gave a try to Quantum Leap, and I'm not totally sold but am willing to give it at least one more try. This version might properly be labeled a sequel. It's not a reboot (using the premise with an all-new cast) nor a revival (bringing back the show after many years away with several original cast members).
The original, which aired from 1989 to 1993, was set in the then-near "future" of 1999, but the new one is set in the here and now. The Quantum Leap project has been restarted after many years, with a new team trying to figure out what Dr. Sam Beckett was doing. Wisely, they have upgraded all the machinery, but, unbeknownst to the team, lead scientist Dr. Ben Song has also secretly installed lots of new computer code. He also is secretly working with an unknown confederate who, in the pilot episode, sends increasingly frantic text messages telling him he has to go do a leap TONIGHT! NOW!! BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE!!!
Song uses the machine and finds himself in an obvious backlot set 1985 Philadelphia, in the person of a wheelman for a crew in the middle of doing a heist. Naturally, his memory is shot, because some things never change. He also has a hologram guide, Addison, who gives us viewers the exposition we need explains to Ben his mission is to prevent another member of the crew from getting killed after the heist. Said crew member isn't a hardened criminal; he's a sad sack trying to score the money to pay for his wife's medical treatments and restart his family's bankrupt restaurant. In the end, after lots of shenanigans, Ben pulls it off and the team is ready to bring him home ... but he sabotages the return so he can keep leaping! Why?
Well, that's what's different about this show. Rather than have Ben merely leap from life to life, Quantum Leap 2.0 is trying to build layer upon layer of mysteries.
I've noted elsewhere that I wished the old show gave us more than the occasional glimpse of the then-near "future" of 1999. Well, be careful what you wish for; the tech crew running the Quantum Leap project is going to be a BIG part of this new version. I can tell now this will mean less time spent on the case of the week and lots of handwringing about how to get Ben home, especially as Ziggy, the supercomputer that runs things, is still prone to malfunctioning at the most inconvenient times, because some things never change.
We watched Quantum Leap last night. I liked it well enough, despite the soft pretzel guy not actually selling Philly-style soft pretzels. And, as you say, the show only doing the bare minimum to dress the set as Philadelphia; that ballroom was like no room I've ever seen in the Philly art museum, and the exterior didn't look anything like it either. And, for that matter, there was no newspaper called the Philadelphia Times ... at least not in 1985 (a paper with that name folded in 1902). I'm definitely willing to give it a few more shots, and perhaps enjoy some shows in places and times I didn't grow up.
I've watched the first two episodes of Quantum Leap, and really like it. The character development seems to be building and all of the actors are doing a good job.
For those of us who have watched the first (hopefully) season of Sandman, Mason Alexander Park, who plays prominent team member Ian Wright, is the same actor who plays Desire in Sandman.
When Ernie Hudson's character says he served in Vietnam, I wondered about Hudson's age. Despite presenting with jet black hair, Mr Hudson was born in December 1945 and is definitely old enough to have served in Vietnam
TVLine presents a comprehensive list of dozens upon dozens of new and returning shows: "Fall TV: Your Handy Calendar of 140+ Season and Series Premiere Da...
All of our shows returned on Thursday.
YOUNG SHELDON [S6]: If they're going to follow the backstory of The Big Bang Theory, this should be an eventful season.
CALL ME KAT [S3]: I noticed for the first time that Miranda Hart is executive producer.
CSI: VEGAS [S2]: This is a show Tracy brought into the marriage. (I was never a fan of cop shows.) Early on when she'd watch it, I'd go into another room to read. Later, I started sorting comics in the same room, but not really paying attention. Little by little I got to know the characters and were were eventually watching all three (including New York and Miami). Regarding the "copaganda" angle, I didn't think of it as a cop show so much as a science show. I was a lifelong reader of Dick Tracy, but then Chester Gould retired and Max Collins got fired and the strip became silly. I found that CSI scratched the same itch that Dick Tracy used to.
I do remember one particular episode of CSI: Miami in which everything changed for me. There was one episode (a child's life was at stake. I think), in which Horatio Caine and Calleigh Duquesne, two of the main characters, tortured a perp for information in a kind of "ends justify the means" situation. (Specifically, Caine twisted his fist and pressed it into the perp's bullet wound to extract information from the perp (IIRC). "There'll be some ramifications for that," I confidently predicted, but it was never mentioned again. The show was never the same for me after that.
Last season on CSI: Vegas, original characters Gil Grissom and Sara Sidle returned to investigate former lab tech David Hodges who had been framed for tampering with evidence. That plot was involved and lasted the entire season, with smaller individual crimes being investigated each episode. I was initially drawn to the show by the science and the characters' personalities, but not the characters' stories. By the end of the series, "soap opera" elements had crept in, which I could have done without. Season one of the revival, has soap opera elements as well, ones that have nothing to do with the crimes being committed, but those scenes are well-written and hold my interest.
In season two, Grissom and Sidle are gone, but Catherine Willows is back. I thought that the first episode's crime was the one that was going to last all season, but they solved it by the end. A soap opera element was introduced which I think is going to be the season's over-arching, uh... arc. Basically, her protege is missing and Willows suspects she has met with foul play, so at least the personal bit is crime-related this time.
I was also going to mention, about CSI: Vegas, its characters professionalism. Almost the entire staff has changed since the shows been off the air. Maxine Roby is head of the crime lab now, but when lab legends Grissom and Sidle come back in season one there's not a moment of professional jealousy from Max or anyone else. Same thing with Willows' return in season two.
I do have one entry from The Chuck Lorre Factory that's holding my interest: Bob Hearts Abishola. In the new season, Abishola's mother (Saidah Arrika Ekulona) has been upgraded from recurring guest star to full cast member. I can't say I'm totally thrilled with this development, as Ebunoluwa -- Ebun for short -- is imperious, insufferable and intimidating. But, I suppose, such things are the elements comedy, as Ebun is there to be a source of friction in Bob and Abishola's happy home.
Also, the status quo has been shaken up a bit. Goodwin, the loyal No. 2 man in the family sock business Bob runs, gets fed up when he is passed over for a promotion for a vacancy created when Bob's sister joins a competing start-up.
The sister entices Goodwin to join her at the start-up, and he does ... and Bob is startled. First because he was unaware how upset Goodwin was at being taken for granted. Second, because he really realized how much he everyone was taking Goodwin for granted. Third, because he began to hear how hollow the promises he kept making to Goodwin that he'll get to take over when Bob steps down, realizing that he was not taking any steps to make that happen; he's been running the place after his dad died right through the end of his first marriage and a heart attack with no end in sight.
So Bob -- after a day spent hanging out with the ghost of his dad -- decides to end it. He relinquishes the CEO title to Goodwin and semiretires.
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