I was OVERWHELMED by your list of the new TV coming up in the mid-season. If you had to boil it down to the few that you're excited about, which ones would they be?
Yes, it's a lot. Very quickly, I liked Fox's "Rake" (starring Greg Kinnear), which starts next week. I was surprised at how much I really liked CW's "The 100" (March 19) about a bunch of reprobate teenagers (100 of 'em) who are banished from their orbiting space station back to post-apocalyptic Earth. And although I haven't seen it, I'm very interested in AMC's "Turn," which is about Revolutionary War spies.
I'm probably forgetting some.
So happy. Moffat and Gatiss have really figured out how to stretch the anticipation. And I've remained spoiler-free.
I've watched them, but I shan't spoil. I have to write a review of it for Saturday and I'm kinda hemming and hawing. I get why people love it so, but I find it's euro-style and hyper-effects to be a little trite at this point. But I am not picking fights here. "Sherlock" fans will be very pleased by this new season. I can't see how they won't.
I kind of like this trend of shows announcing that their next season will be their last. It sure beats a show like The Office that just keeps trotting out stale seasons. Boardwalk Empire risked becoming Boardwalk Vampire if Nucky was allowed to carry on much longer.
Haha! "Boardwalk Vampire." I hope they weave that in somehow.
Yes, it's a very artistically respectful way to go -- to announce way out when a show is ending, so that both the viewers and the writing staff might adequately prepare. We've seen more and more of that. And even though you disparage those final seasons of "The Office," (it's over now) I happened to like those seasons and it also benefitted from the advance notice of its series finale. I hear Jim and Pam are very happy in Austin.
Hank! I know you don't have a lot of love for 'Derek,' but I do. When do you think the 2d season will be available in the states? Have you received a screener yet?
It was in production in November/December, so it's probably a ways off yet, and Netflix doesn't tell anybody anything about nothin' until they're good and ready. I didn't pan "Derek," btw -- I gave it a C+ in last fall's preview guide, which is pretty good considering how dreadful everything was last fall. I thought "Derek" was good as a character sketch and not as great as a full story. Maybe it will get better. It was certainly surprising (to me) in its tone and execution.
I really love the Mindy Project. I recognize that it's all over the place, but it really makes me laugh. Does it have a chance of being renewed?
Fox chairman Kevin Reilly said at TCA this week that he's "bullish" about the show's chances coming back for a third season -- I don't know quite how to analyze that in network exec-speak, but it seems like a good sign. And he also stressed that we shouldn't read anything into the fact that it will be on hiatus until April after next week's episode.
In other news, I like the show more and more every week -- there's always one line that makes me laugh out loud.
What do you think of the BBC/PBS Sherlock? Are you reviewing it? I know I'm aging up the demo of the chat by 10 years but I'm curious to know what you think of it.
We've come to expect them, although think this year had more than in the past. One puzzler, on TV the next day shows like ET were showing the Fey joke about De Caprio about supermodels and vaginas, but bleeping the v word. Why? It wasn't bleeped during the the show, and isn't a swear word.
ET bleeped out VAGINA? What a weirdo thing to do. I have it on high authority that plenty of women on ET have vaginas.
That said, whoever was in charge of the mute button at NBC on Sunday night needs some practice at it. They'd miss the bad word and then block out too much of the words around it. I yelled out in pain as they fumbled around while trying to bleep out Diane Keaton.
Brooklyn nine-nine has grown on me, and I think it's getting better. I hope winning the Golden Globes will help it in the ratings. Do you know how it's doing? Is it on the bubble?
In another world it should be (about 3.5 million viewers per episode), but a second season seems to be a sure thing after the Golden Globe wins. Plus, it's one of the post-Super Bowl shows this year (along with "New Girl"), so that should certainly boost its season average.
While the horrible event at the end of the last episode may not be family-friendly, viewers can't forget that most of the first season revolved around Mary causing a Turkish man to die of pleasure. Not something I'd want to explain to a 10-year-old. Other storylines have focused on whether Matthew could get his plumbing to work and Thomas' awkward attempt at seducing one of the footmen.
Yes, but having a Turkish noble die in your bed and then trying to move his body back to his own room is GREAT FUN. What happened last week was not. I'm not thinking here of explaining it to 10-year-olds. I'm thinking here (and so is Joe) of straying from the kind of TV show you're trying to be.
So I'm heading to a taping of The Big Bang Theory later this month. Any tips on things I should know about? How can I make sure my laugh is heard on the laugh track?
All I can say is get ready for it to last a whole lot longer than you're expecting it to; save your energy. That's my only experience with being on sitcom sets. Taping takes hours. Even for stuff that seems so effortless when you watch it at home -- especially so.
THE GOOD WIFE has a great track record with casting so who let Melissa George slip through? I think her "work" in ALIAS was at least an accessory in that show's demise and she's at it again. Plus her "ethics enforcer" character seems to have wandered over from ALLY MCBEAL, daffy and quirky, then turns on a dime to high-minded outrage on Sunday's episode. Can't you make her go away?
I kind of wish I could!
I agree, she's an irritant.
I don't watch Downton Abbey, but a friend of my mom's very educated friend recent lost her eldest adult son and obviously was quite distraught by that. Upon my mom's recommendation, she starting watching DA and she was telling my mom how it was saving her from her crippling grief. I know that doesn't make it a "good" show, but I think people forget about escapism and wanting something lush and that drama for its own sake doesn't make something a schlocky as what soap operas you see in the middle of the afternoon.
I have heard quite a bit from readers who love "Downton" precisely for this reason. It's escapism and it's pretty to look at it and it puts them in a cozy place. The value of this is immeasurable and I always try to nod in that direction in my unfavorable reviews of it.
Should we be watching this show then? The Globes certainly seemed to think so...
I say: Yes. If only for Andre Braugher and his hilarious performance as a stone-cold no-nonsense captain who plays surprisingly well off Andy Samberg's weirdness. I think Samberg is kind of perfect in this role, but looking at the other chat questions that puts me in the minority!
How is the new HBO show Looking which is about a group of gay men in San Francisco? Would it have any appeal to people not in the subject demographic?
I have a review running Sunday, that I wish was up online now so I could link to it. It'll probably be up online Friday. I think the look and feel of "Looking" is very much of a piece with some recent HBO efforts, including "Girls" but also the short-lived "How to Make It in America."
As a "gay" show, it feels late, but still welcome. The standout performance of the three main characters is NOT Jonathan Groff, it's Murray Bartlett, who plays Dom.
I've seen only three episodes, which is all that HBO sent. I'll be interested to see if 1.) it progresses beyond portraiture and 2.) straight people will watch it. Straight men, I mean. It's got a lot of gay sex in it, and I remember all those otherwise-progressive guys who just would not, could not bring themselves to go see "Brokeback Mountain" or "Milk."
Any chance TV's moguls will get over their obsession with Sunday nights? Even with a DVR I was reduced to catching the Golden Globes in YouTube snippets (Julia Louis-Dreyfus and her E-cigarette continue to crack me up). Couldn't they counter-program some of the reality show crap blighting the rest of the week?
Sunday night is where it's at and that's not changing anytime soon, though I think there might be a little movement. (I notice that History is going to try "Vikings" season 2 on Thursdays this time around. Discovery's launching "Klondike" -- which I liked! -- this Monday.)
I have a Comcast DVR that also gives up after two or three competing shows, especially if we're watching one of them live. Other providers are advertising better capabilities for simulatenous recording. In my household, the saving grace is On Demand, which doesn't involve the DVR.
They sure have a surfeit of unlikable characters. Not the intentionally unlikable like the late, unlamented Mrs. O'Brien, but Lord Grantham seems incapable of intelligent behavior and Cora is an increasingly oblivious twit. More Maggie Smith!
Cora (Elizabeth McGovern) is woefully underused this season. She used to be the centrifugal force.
I love it! Absolutely love it! Andre Braugher kills me (trying to "explain"/"help" Terry at that party was great), but I honestly love them all. I am not much of a laugh out loud type, but this show does that for me (The Neighbors, too, I can't help it, I am still with Lisa de Moraes on that one. It is hysterical). I have to say though, New Girl has completely lost me. It feels like something to slog through while I anxiously await The Mindy Project.
I admit I need to catch up on "Brooklyn Nine Nine." I think I read yesterday (sailing past on my twitter feed) that the Globe wins didn't do much for B99's ratings.
If I were going to pick one to receive an acting award, it would NOT have been Andy Samberg (who pratfalls heavily into the Adam Sandler school of acting).
Did you see how they panned to Lorne Michaels during Andy Samberg's speech? And then he didn't get a shout out. Ouch.
Hi Hank. I share your cursory view of True Detective. Love the styling. Great concept. I was excited to see it. But the dialog in the first Ep. was so heavy handed. This idea that have to hit the audience a 5-minute sledgehammer of a monologue so I fully understand the gravity of a topic. Please, tell me it gets better.
I thought it just got murkier and murkier and four episodes in, I don't care one whit about the case they're trying to solve. I will be watching episodes 5 through 8 (eight is the total for the series) very closely to see if it improves.
Do people 35 and under actually relate, let alone like, HBO's "Girls"? HBO realize demographics on its audience. Seems anecdotally that girls I know born in and around 1986 (year Lena Dunham herself was born) don't really relate to Girls and her "making in the essayist world of Brooklyn" and are a bit turned off by the show.
Count me as some of that anecdotal evidence: I don't really like "Girls" that much. I do not relate to it all. Yet I watch every episode and click on every thinkpiece about the show. Would love someone to analyze that one.
Bates Motel is not available for free on A&E Video on Demand. It's only available by purchase or by disc. How come some shows aren't available for free On Demand? It would seem a series like this (non network, non premium, off season premiere) would benefit from the greater viewership free On Demand could provide. Do you know why networks make the decision to make some show and not others available for free? Thanks
"Bates" was On Demand for quite some time during and after its first season last spring. But shows don't stick around forever On Demand; there are secondary markets (DVD, streaming) to exploit. That's the business model. Season 2 starts March 3. You should keep your eyes peeled for reruns/marathons leading up to that.
I liked it in the beginning, but the characters just don't seem to learn from their experiences and grow. Women of that age should be getting more mature and responsible, but the characters (especially Jessa and Hannah) seem to be regressing. And I wasn't too impressed by Lena Durham and the producers' defensive and nasty responses to a perfectly reasonable question by a reporter about the amount of nudity on the show. Get over yourselves, folks.
A young woman I know (she's 22) told me she watches it as a sort of moral guide: Here's how NOT to live your life. That was an interesting take I hadn't considered. I remember watching "The Real World" that way back in the early '90s when I was in my 20s. (And that was back when "Real World" cast members were, by comparison, exemplary citizens compared to the kids they dredge up for that show today.)
Another time I asked how a critic judges a performance and you said the performance is judged against what it was attempting to do. But for the Sound of Music, I thought you said it was not up to Broadway standards, yet the production was inferior to that of a TV movie. But was the Sound of Music trying to be either of those? Wasn't it instead, by being live, an attempt to be a hybrid between Broadway and a TV movie? Because of the uniqueness of what it was, how can you then judge it?
Because Carrie Underwood was such a bad actress.
It's on my DVR but I'm spoiled for what happens and I'm actually considering skipping the episode entirely. I feel like the show's getting too soapy and less crunchy gravel - I want the crunchy gravel back!
You know, sooner or later, they might pave that driveway. (Progress and such. New developments in macadam.)
Monday Nights at 10 I have been watching Castle and The Blacklist. I'd like to watch Intelligence, but my TiVo only does two shows. Many basic cable networks (Food Network, Cooking Channel, TLC, USA, Lifetime, etc) will repeat their prime time shows again later at night. Why can't the networks? I can watch Grimm, TiVo Hawaii 5-0, and TiVo Say Yes to the Dress when it repeats at 11. Same with Dracula and Blue Bloods, recording Something Borrowed or Something New at 12. I'd love if networks would do that. Why don't they? Or maybe run their top shows on Saturday night?
Do you dislike watching TV shows on a computer? Many networks will let you watch a show online. That way you could check out the show and see if it merits a reprioritizing of your TiVo. (I'm presuming that you don't have cable/On Demand, where all these shows can be watched, usually for the duration of the season.)
What happened with the Bridge? That show with the body on the US/Mexico border? I saw the 1st ep when I was visiting someone (I don't have cable) and I liked it. I haven't heard very much about it since it premiered, tho.
"The Bridge" has been renewed for season 2, which will air this summer. Season 1 should soon come available (if it isn't already?) on DVD or streaming. The first couple of episodes were great, then there were some rough (and convoluted) patches and a late development that left some fans cold. But I thought it ended well. And now there's more. Demian Bichir is fantastic.
Wow, the difference in Community now that Dan Harmon is back is just unbelievable. It seems impossible that one person can make such a difference like that, but there is no denying that the show had lost whatever makes it so special last season and that it is back with a vengeance now.
As impossible as he is to work with (according to so many accounts), it's hard to ignore the fact that the show really suffered last year.
How many shows are there about Alaska ? Shouldn't Discovery just start a new channel Discovery - Alaska ?
That's what I was thinking, but "Klondike" won me over.
Speaking of Alaska, I do have a little secret guilty pleasure right now with "Ultimate Survival: Alaska" on Nat Geo. Anyone watching this? Probably not -- it's on Sundays.
I am under 35 and I liked the first season of Girls. Then, I got bored on the first couple of episodes of the second season and haven't watched it since. It's weird - I usually love shows set in New York - Sex & the City, Will & Grace etc. I think some of the girls on the show are just too annoying.
Many are with you.
To me spoilers are like books you have read made into movies/tv shows. I saw Little Women knowing Beth would die and Amy would marry Laurie. I knew Jack Torrance would go crazy and be trapped in the Overlook forever. So what is wrong with spoilers? (By the way, I hate surprises!)
You and I can start a very small club of people who don't think spoilers are the end of the world, who look at a story as a journey of characters and background and mood and put plot in a different perspective than other people do. Here's what I wrote about that. It ran last summer.
I've read that IFC's "The Spoils of Babylon" is referencing major TV based on swiping novels like "Rich Man, Poor Man" and "The Winds of War" and especially "The Thorn Birds." I admit I've never seen them, but did any of them having a character played mannequin since I find the mannequin aristocratic English wife funny, but I don't the reference.
I think that's just their joke.
"Spoils of Babylon" is one long, very protracted riff.
Hank, what do you know about Joseph Gordon-Levitt's new TV show? Apparently it's based on a website he runs that enables communities to collaborate on artistic endeavors, and uses those to provide the content of the show. I want to like it because it sounds cool, and I love him, and I'm pretty much the target demo. But I think it might be one of those things I want to say I watch but don't actually enjoy watching all that much. I tried thinking about WHY I didn't enjoy the first episode and I think it's this: with a sketch show, there's a unifying factor - an overarching philosophy or vision so that no matter how weird it gets, it feels like part of a whole. "Things created on one website" doesn't feel like a cohesive enough thread. But I digress. I want to like this. What do you know about it?
I'm not reviewing it. I did watch a couple of episodes and just found it smarmy beyond what I can stand. It has an "everyone gets a trophy" feeling to it. It was a hug that lasted too long. All that sunny optimism and faux relating to one another and the Power of the Internet to Connect us All. It was like having to watch a TED talk _and_ listen to Coldplay simultaneously.
Didn't watch, but wonder if anyone really believes the hype that the show finds the next rising star A. because we have multiple seasons of forgetttable winners and B. because its well known that the main voters are preteen girls. Most people I know don't talk about it anymore, whether they watch or not. May be past its sell date.
Agreed it's past its prime, and likely will never rise again to the peak of 2006, when 30 million people tuned in. But at least now it's *fun* to watch -- that's almost enough for me. (Harry Connick Jr. being a major reason for that.) And last night's episode spent so much time focusing on the contestants (imagine that!) that it seemed like there could be some real breakout stars waiting to happen. Plus, a lack of sad backstories...there could really be a comeback brewing, at least in quality if not viewers.
Is our long national nightmare that was fall 2013 network comedies over?
Just about, though quite a number of them are hanging on, maybe all the way to May. I don't expect a lot of renewals for 2014-15.
"It was like having to watch a TED talk _and_ listen to Coldplay simultaneously." <-- I love you.
At some point, these people have got to grow up and stop being grrls. Too painful to watch their hyper-extended adolescence any more.
Which of course reminds me of the "Blerta" sketch about "Girls" back when Tina Fey hosted in September. Blerta tells Hannah: "There, there you are only 15."
Hannah: "I'm 24."
Beth DIES???? Aaaarrrrgghhhhh!
How does a show like this get greenlighted? And, more importantly, how do they pay for it because it really looks like they film it in Norway? Don't get me wrong, I like it, but it seems like Netflix took a big chance on filming a whole season on a quirky project.
You might be surprised to see the email that I get from people who think it's the best thing they've ever watched.
There's no denying all those stories about Harmon being difficult. He's even acknowledged it himself. But wasn't it the cast who actually went to bat for bringing him back? I think I read that Joel McHale was the one leading that charge. Interestingly, you know whose absence hasn't made much difference? Chevy Chase. Go figure.
Seriously -- I vaguely remember the Harmon/Chase feud but maybe the absence of that drama helped as well.
Okay - first let me say that I'm 44, so I'm not exactly answering the "under 35" question, but I enjoy that show. The caveat is that at first, the pilot completely turned me off - Hannah was just such a self-involved, entitled idiot! Then I got sick and binge-watched the entire first season. That turned it for me. Any particular episode can be pretty weak, and the characters are kind of odious, but there's always a moment when you see a kernel of truth portrayed in a way that really makes you stop and think "hey - that's something." That's why I keep watching.
Listen, I can't stand "Girls," but when the screener shows up in my mailbox, I watch it pretty much right away. It's interesting to look at. It's interesting to yell at.
Your review helped temper my expectations and I ended up really liking Episode 1. I'm in for a least a few more. Certainly see it getting darker but I thought the two leads were great and, even though it's HBO, they didn't go for the over-the-top violence that turned me off of that Kevin Bacon show The Following.
That's for sure.
Have you seen it, any takeaways?
If you click on Winter Guide (link in intro back up at the top) and scroll down to Jan. 9, you'll see that I gave "Spoils" a D.
For comedy, it's exceedingly tedious.
Just wanted to thank you for the list. I grew up in a house where the local newspaper's TV topics section is stored in the TV console to access the listings. We get the print edition of the Post in our house, and I saved the section with your list to do the same thing my parents do! As I usually read online now, it felt old fashioned in a comforting way. P.S. I love shameless!
When people tell me that they don't feel like a grownup yet, I tell them to subscribe to the newspaper.
Hank what are your thoughts on shows such as Hannibal and Homeland that very quickly dispatched with main, well-liked characters. It was clear Homeland wrote itself into a corner from which they couldn't escape. But I was shocked to see Hannibal's turn on a main character. Are the days of artful elongated storytelling numbered? What those two shows did would be the equivalent of killing Breaking Bad's Jessie in season 2.
Well, I dunno. I'm for narrative and momentum. I don't like being show the same dynamic and same situations over and over and over. I'm for death or time travel or whatever it takes to keep a story aloft.
Based on the ratings of "Reality Shows", it would appear that most viewers prefer watching white trash goobers than news. This country is rightfully doomed.
Oh, go out for a walk. Get some sunshine, some air. The world is not as doomed as you think.
I don't see any way the Oscars can provide more all-around amusement. Especially since Emma Thompson didn't get a nomination.
This is kind of morbid but I think there needs to be a death on Girls (hopefully Jessa) so that they have to deal with a real life problem and snap out of their self-absorption.
As you will soon see, death (not of a major character) has little impact on Hannah's narcissism.
Isn't Sherlock just three episodes? I mean that is what we got in the past, so it isn't less than we are used to, but I find it very hard to call it a "season."
Well, over there they don't call 'em seasons. They call 'em _series._
Each episode of "Sherlock" is 90 minutes long. It feels like plenty to me.
Downton is a fast moving show, with many months, and sometimes years, skipped through the season (sometimes even within one episode). But don't you think doing that with the Anna storyline would be disrespectful to the gravity of the event? So now we're stuck with weeks about rape recovery. Not the way most women want to spend their Sunday nights.
Except for the first season, Downton seems to stick to a year (at most) per season. I would dearly love for them to skip ahead to the 1940s. And then to the 1970s, where old Lady Edith keeps a small apartment at Downton and the rest of it is a tourist trap.
This coming spring is the end of Mad Men, right? :(
Not quite. They're splitting the final season over a two-year span, like they did with "Breaking Bad." So we'll get eight episodes (I think?) starting in April of this year, and then we'll get the rest in 2015.
Can we get Tina Fey and Amy Poeller to host everything? They're great. I'm really not sure Brooklyn 99 is the best comedy on TV right now but good for Andy Samberg and Brauer, etc--this show at least gets a couple more seasons. Glad to see Breaking Bad and Cranston go out on top.
Glad Fey/Poehler are already signed on for another year. It's unnecessary to have anyone else host at this point.