Fall TV 2014: How Packed is Your Primetime Schedule?

I’m trying to blog more, I really am. But work-life and attempting to write scripty things has taken away my energy. Also my obsession with the show Arrow. BUT Fall is approaching and I wanted to take a look at the shows I’ll be watching this season.

Here’s TV Line’s full Fall Schedule.

And here’s mine! [Sept 13 edit, after I’ve watched several of these pilots, check out how and read reviews here.]

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What should I be watching that’s not on here?

I’m most excited for The Flash, Arrow S3, and Brooklyn 99 S2, but of course my other returning shows bring me much joy as well. I’m watching the Nolan Batman trilogy as I type this–Batman Begins at the moment–so I’ll check out Gotham (hopefully it goes more the way of Arrow and less the way of Agents of SHIELD in maintaining my interest). I’m gonna check out Cristela (even though it’s a multi-cam comedy) because diversity needs a shot on television. black-ish also gets my views for that reason, but also just missing the existence of a black sitcom, and having a TV that might speak to my experiences as a black nerd (hopefully).

How to Get Away with Murder should be very interesting. Shondaland Thursdays are in full effect–if only I still felt like watching Grey’s Anatomy. Sleepy Hollow and Castle are my Monday mainstays–hopefully I’ll still be able to blog about them come fall. New Girl and Mindy help BK99 fill the void of Parks not coming back till mid-season, but only just barely. Finally, I’ll check out Mulaney and Jane the Virgin, but those could go either way for me.

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On September 6th, I’ll be at the Paley Center here in NY watching the FOX, ABC, and CW pilots, so I’ll have a bit of an early preview regarding those, with an audience no less! Should be fun! I’ll try to blog about the experience. I know some pilots are available already, but like I said, other concerns have taken precedence. I’m working on getting back to blogging as fall approaches, hopefully I can start posting more. [Edit: Full post with links to episode reviews here.]

If you’re following along, what fall shows are you most looking forward to watching? So far my schedule is 14 shows deep! That’s not including Key&Peele, Whose Line, The Tonight Show, The Daily Show, The Colbert Report…! Phew! I hope my DVR can handle it all!

How packed is your primetime schedule?

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Upfronts 2014: FOX, NBC what are you doing?

Let’s start network-wide. Fox and NBC swapped for me in the past year, NBC going from a favorite, most watched network, to me having one show next season (the mid-season, finale season Parks debacle…). While FOX went from me abandoning several of it’s shows due to reordering episodes and demanding stasis in characters that achieved character development to the network I have the most shows I am interested in this fall. And FOX pulled me in with the commitment and success in diversity. So let’s talk about what they’re doing this fall.

NBC– honey, what are you doing? They’ve cancelled most of their comedies, leaving Parks and Recreation, their current longest running sitcom as a mid-season replacement in it’s finale season. According to the schedule listed in the link on Vulture, there are only 4 comedies on the schedule, split between Tuesday and Thursday 9-10 comedy hours. What? Has NBC given up on reclaiming it’s must-see-tv fame? I suppose it wasn’t working, but it kills me that not one of the four comedies is Parks. What a way to alienate your little comedy fanbase. Why not use Parks and the final season momentum to pull your existing fans over to new shows? You now have to do the work to get non-NBC comedy watchers (those who didn’t watch 30 Rock and Community and Parks in the hey-day of low-rated but cult favorite comedies). I suppose they no longer want those fans. They want new ones entirely. Or they’re trying to sustain the network on the Voice, Dick Wolf, and the Blacklist until they figure out something that works. But, to me, it doesn’t seem like they’ve found the formula yet. I’ll see you mid-season, NBC, when you put Parks and Recreation back on the schedule. (Let’s face it, it’s a cancelled-new-show replacement. As soon as one of the new comedies fail, they’ll stick Parks in the 9pm comedy spot until the rest of the season is done. More on Parks later.

 

 

FOX, homie, you’re doing a lot of things right, but one thing feels very wrong. I will be watching seven FOX shows this fall. That’s more than any other network and more than I’ve ever watched FOX. They’ve been getting some good, diversely cast comedies in these past couple of seasons. New Girl confirmed Damon Wayans Jr as the 6th member of the cast, rounding them out to Friends proportions, The Mindy Project had a strong finale with lots of possibility, and Brooklyn 99 came out of the gate with comedy, diversity, and heart. So why are they sending Brooklyn 99 to the Sunday animation slot?! It seems ridiculous to me. Vulture says,

There’s logic behind this year’s changes: Family Guy is pretty much a multi-camera sitcom that happens to be animatedand Mulaney is multi-cam; Brooklyn is sophisticated single-cam that could mesh with the sensibility of The Simpsons. And once Fox picked up both Brooklyn and The Mindy Project, it was obvious one would either move or wait until midseason: Fox simply doesn’t have the comedy strength to support a two-hour sitcom block on Tuesdays.

But that seems absurd. I definitely think they could sustain it. But even if it can’t, splitting the comedies into the animation block disturbs something that’s been working on FOX for years now. Animation fans won’t necessarily hold up these fresh comedies and when was the last time comedies aired on a Sunday night?! This makes me nervous for both BK99 and Mulaney (which I may watch), because they’re basically hiding it in the schedule. No one looks for comedies on Sunday nights. That’s typically a Feature film, Sports, Drama night. FOX made success with animation as alternative programming to this trend, but this upcoming change might break both the animation block and the comedies they want to succeed. Sigh. There are few shows I want to succeed more than Brooklyn 99. I hope they just suck it up and block the comedies together.

Schedules change, often by November sweeps when networks figure out what’s working and what’s getting cancelled. So we’ll see if this remains the schedule for the fall. But both networks are boggling my mind.

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Response Post: “New Girl, Brooklyn 99, and Breaking the “One Black Friend” Pattern | TIME.com”

Can you find the token? (Love you Dule Hill)

It’s so very rare to find a show with more than one character of color. Some notable tokens off the top of my head include Angela from Boy Meets World, Lisa from Saved by the Bell,  Martha Jones from Doctor Who, Charlie on The West Wing and Gunn on Angel. 30 Rock subverts the trend by having Tracy Jordan in the main cast, but also Twofer, who is both black and nerdy. Some of the disappointment behind Agents of SHIELD came from the team claiming diversity and internationality (yup, I made that up), but only having one character of color, Melinda May.

For the most part, the characters listed above were main cast members, but even when I Googled “Token Black Character,” a lot of the examples were recurring characters, if that. When we begin to include 1-episode black characters as “token” characters, it doesn’t look good for the diversity of television.

Some shows this season, however, are trying to buck that trend. Mostly they’re on FOX, who started and seems to be maintaining a diversity initiative this season. Brooklyn 99 has one of the most diverse casts out there, up there with Grey’s Anatomy in terms of variety, which makes sense due to its New York Police Department setting. FOX also airs Sleepy Hollow, which has 2 black main cast members and up to 4 black supporting characters. Then there’s John Cho’s recurring character and the sometimes seen Abbie ex-boyfriend Det. Morales.

And when they brought Damon Wayans Jr back to New Girl, I was pleasantly surprised that Lamorne Morris wasn’t going anywhere. (Though, just through a quick google, there don’t seem to be any new cast photos with Damian– I have to wonder how the conversation went down when they told Lamorne Damon was coming back. Was there a “don’t worry, we’re not replacing you with him like we did him with you” conversation, or was it just we’re adding him to the cast everyone, no one is leaving. With this trend so prevalent, I would have been a little nervous my time was up.)

This article, from Time a few weeks ago, discusses FOX and other networks beginning to break the 1 black friend trend, which we could hopefully include other nationalities of color too. Here are some of my favorite quotes from the article.

But it’s also a welcome change because it makes New Girl a rarity in TV today: a major-network sitcom with more than one African American character in its regular ensemble–a comedy about friends in which “a black friend” isn’t “the black friend.”

[…]

The big networks have had a notoriously sketchy track record on casting diversity–better some seasons, terrible other seasons. The reaction has tended to be adding minority characters to shows with largely white casts. That affects the overall math, of course, but it has the side effect of replicating a universe in which black–or Asian, Latino, &c.–characters are scattered, uniformly and singly.

[…]

The exceptions are scarce: Troy and Shirley on Community; Glee, if you count that as a comedy; Parks and Recreation, depending on your definition. (That is, Rashida Jones is biracial, but having seen every episode I can’t recall Ann Perkins’ ethnicity.)

[…]

Brooklyn 9-9, the diversity is very conscious, not for p.c. reasons but simple realism. As its co-creators have said, it’s a New York City police show, and New York’s police department is about half minority. So you’ll see two Latina detectives who are very different personalities, because why not? You’ll see Andre Braugher and Terry Crews (who had a fantastic episode this week), sharing a subplot about Crews’ character’s annoying brother-in-law–not because they’re bonded as the precinct’s black characters, but simply because they work together, and it’s life–and, you know, in-laws, amirite?

[…]

But there’s another reason: sometimes, a show should just have two black women on it, because sometimes in life, there just are two black women in the same place. (Again: or men, or Indian, or Middle Eastern, or…) TV should be diverse because of fairness, but above all because it should reflect the world.

I hope this upcoming pilot seasons shows a continued growth to this trend. It shouldn’t just be FOX and Shonda Rhimes’ shows on ABC that have more than one token character of color. But that’s if the shows feature a character of color at all, like I said, sometimes the token is a recurring character and not even a supporting character. All television shows don’t necessarily have to be a tossed salad of racial diversity, but more shows need it.

Read more: New Girl, Brooklyn 9-9, and Breaking the “One Black Friend” Pattern | TIME.com http://entertainment.time.com/2013/11/07/new-girl-brooklyn-9-9-and-breaking-the-one-black-friend-pattern/#ixzz2q49hWhew

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ConStar Watches New Girl “The Box”

I’m pretty sure this is my least favorite episode of the season. I couldn’t pin point why, but some other TV writers expounded on some of the problems where I couldn’t.

I think my initial problem was that it was the least funny of the episodes so far. Not to say I didn’t smile or laugh at some of the lines or Jess diving under Nick’s bed, but overall, it fell flatter than the other episodes. I wanted to say it could have been because of the heaviness of Nick’s outrageousness and the fight with Jess, but even when I’m hating Schmidt for being the douche we always knew he was, the episodes were funny as well.

From the beginning, when Nick get’s this influx of cash, I was reminded of a few episodes ago, when he wished he had money to take care of Jess and give her the things that he wanted. I get him not wanting to pay his bills, but it might have been more in character for Nick to try to spend all that money on Jess (and to have her say no, pay your bills, and do exactly what she did in the episode). Instead, he becomes really selfish, which is a typical “I’ve gained a lot of money” plot, when we all know he aches to give Jess better and to sort of prove to himself that he is worthy of her. Spending the money on Jess would have created the same reaction in her, because she’d want him to pay his bills. (And as someone who wishes I could just put my bills in a box (and sometimes kind of do), I would be appreciative if someone did it for me. It’s not that I don’t want to, but sometimes the burden of responsibility comes upon me and it’s too much and I want to hide. If you wanna pay my bills for me, go ahead! I’d welcome it! Nick definitely was in the wrong here.

From Nerdy Girl Notes:

Yes, it was sweet to hear Nick say he would do anything for Jess, but that’s not why he should be opening a bank account. He should be growing as a person because he wants to—not because he feels like it will appease Jess.

Also this, from Nora on Tumblr:

That’s your takeaway from all of this, Nick? You’re doing it cause your girlfriend told you it’s probably a good idea to start paying your bills and not, say, because you think it’s time to be a grown up? Man. Just like Schmidt’s trying to be a good person because he thinks that’s what he’s supposed to do, not because he believes in it.

[Jess shouldn’t have been thanking Nick for opening an account with her money (!)

  • I hadn’t even realized that that’s indeed what had happened!]

This is very important. Especially since in the episode he said “I’m not changing for anyone,” then did a complete about face. Instead, he could have “come to the conclusion” that Jess was right and realized that maybe baby steps should be taken in terms of his responsibility. Not because Jess told him to, but because he wanted to. It’s upsetting that the first fight episode is so troubling and problematic, because otherwise I would have loved to see a “new couple fight” episode and get to watch them overcome it and not break up (like most will-they-won’t-they couples do so, so often. They break up after the first fight).

I did enjoy Drunk!Nick expounding on money, Jess’ Nick character switch at the bank, the sassy receptionist when Jess tries to get Nick’s money back, and the end “how many times did you rub [the candelabra] thinking a genie would come out. Otherwise, it was the weakest episode of the season and the weakest episode in a long time considering how I increasingly loved the end of last season more and more. As Nerdy Girl Notes says, there were characterization problems and she pointed out that it is a new writer who doesn’t necessarily get the nuances of the characters, but that’s something a showrunner  or whoever helps them with that part of the job comes in to say, hey, we need to adjust this. It wouldn’t have even taken that much.

it just seemed to further highlight the fact that this season is doing this character no favors in terms of making [Schmidt] a sympathetic (or even relatable) character.

Let’s not even talk about Schmidt. I thought last week was his rock bottom, but it appears he has further to go. It’s not funny, it’s just sad.

All block quotes belong to Nerdy Girl Notes: TV Time: New Girl 3.05, except where specified.

ConStar Watches New Girl: “The Captain” and The Mindy Project: “Magic Morgan”

Not a lot to say about Mindy, so I combined them, but I enjoyed both episodes tonight. Mindy picked up steam for me this week. I’ll explain why I think so below.

New Girl:

I was not ready for Evil Schmidt. I’m glad we dealt with that in one succinct episode; I was worried it would be a drawn out arc. But I love Winston teaching Schmidt how to live in the loft with Nick/Jess and kind of how to be single. I think there will be more of that in the episodes to come.

“And you don’t have time to learn all those dolphin sounds.”

“Did you talk to tightpants and eyebrows!?”

Nick loves Jess too much to let Schmidt break them up over their communication skills. I loved that scene where he begins to express his feelings and I really loved both Jess’ pleased face about it and Schmidt’s disgust. 

SCHMIDT IS SO CHILDISH AND SELFISH. But I see that this is the climax of his actions. He peaked during the birth control pill scene and now he’s in a jerk-phase denouement. Interesting that he only went to CeCe’s house to leave the apology letter. We know he loves CeCe more, but he stayed with Elizabeth too, apparently because he liked them both, not because he just couldn’t break up with Elizabeth. He legit thought he loved them equally, so it’s interesting to wonder on whether it was 1. intentional of the writers to just pick CeCe (seems obvious but there’s also) 2. they couldn’t get Merritt Weaver for the episode or 3. Schmidt is subconsciously choosing CeCe. If that’s the case, I’m going to need Schmidt to discuss somewhere how he clearly loves CeCe more and how he didn’t keep dating them both because he loved them both, but because he was just too chicken to break up with Elizabeth. (Maybe I don’t need it; I suppose it’s all therein subtext. But still.)

I love Nick and Jess. Those final scenes with them were so great. Especially when Jess got annoyed at Nick for talking too much. I’m glad they’re not (currently) in danger of breaking up. Happy one month, guys!

The Mindy Project:

I enjoyed this week’s Mindy Project. it seemed to go back to it’s romantic comedy roots, which really helped the tone and my enjoyment of the show. I hadn’t quite picked up on that being missing while she was dating Casey, but maybe it was? It wasn’t hitting Romantic Comedy tropes. It did in this episode, and I enjoyed it more than the other episodes from this season so far.

Also the scene with Morgan and Mindy had a lot of fun physical humor. Her wrapped in the pizza box was a great visual.

Now I just need them to figure out the new Bro!Doctor (and get rid of him? He’s gross) and maybe make use of their supporting cast? Or at least figure out what to do with them as well.

What I Watched Today – New Girl “Double Date”

WHAT IS UP WITH SCHMIDT?!?! *spoilers ahead*

He’s been going crazy this season and it’s only getting worse. I love the show but I need to know where they are taking Schmidt’s character. It seems like they’re trying to weasel in an obstacle for Nick and Jess and the only way I’ll take this easily is if Nick and Jess survive it. Because to pit Schmidt against them so randomly and evil-y, if they break up over his future antics, then I will be very upset.

Nick and Jess are perfect for each other. There were so many things in this episode that continued to solidify that. Even at the end, after Schmidt begins his mind game, they fight and argue but still come around to an agreement about things. I really hope this test is not just a way to break them up, because as I’ve often mentioned, I’m really over shows constantly breaking up their will-they-won’t-they couple just to “create more tension.” I’m really enjoying watching Nick and Jess together and there could be so many stories for them to explore with them together, since they share such weird and occasionally opposite points of view on things. But they are so good together and Nick loves her so much (when he kissed her after she stuck her hand in the cigarette lighter and then did it himself–they’re both so hilariously dumb and weird but he clearly wanted her to not be in pain alone, great moment.)

I want this to work out, so hopefully they don’t go too far with Schmidt acting the way he is acting. He’s such a child and I am over it. I really would’ve enjoyed seeing him and CeCe together, but now that that is off the table (I would say for now, but what he did was really awful so I doubt they’ll get together again), I wonder what they’re going to do with CeCe’s character. Anything she does would be in Schmidt’s range and we’ve already seen the “date other people” plot. I really wonder where they’re going to take these two.

As long as Nick and Jess don’t meaninglessly break up. That would be a dealbreaker and would really kill my love for a show that I’ve grown to really enjoy watching every week. they’ve been killing it, so hopefully I can retain my faith in their storytelling and comedic abilities.

My (Current) Fall TV Schedule

My (Current) Fall TV Schedule

Am I forgetting anything? I might watch MIchael J Fox’s new show, but I’ll add that when I decide what I want to do after I watch it on Thursday (should I remember to do so.)

What are you watching?

What I Watched Today – New Girl, The Mindy Project, and Brooklyn 99

New Girl – Wow, this show is just so perfect. Almost too many jokes to mention. This show makes me laugh every commercial break, which is so important for a show. Genius move. Also cut on a hilarious joke and this show did that every act out for me.

I love the Nick/Jess moments. I love how much he wants to help her. I love watching Nick trying to juggle Jess’ AND Winston’s crazy. I’m really pleased with the Nick/Jess post hook-up dynamic. This has been a good year for couples I love getting together and getting better as characters/duos rather than falling flat or the writer’s trying to force them apart every moment they get. Let the characters get together and explore where that can take you! Too many shows give them 2 episodes together (this could be New Girl‘s approach, it’s honestly too early to tell, but I have hope) and then split them up and give them loads of angst. In this episode, you get the moments where they were together, but they also have the same dynamic as before which only makes watching their interactions even better. Great job to the writers.

I’m definitely Team CeCe. And I am so nervous for her and Schmidt’s dynamic when she finds out. She seems so pleased he picked her and happy to see him, her heart is going to be so broken. She really opened up her heart to him. Yikes, the angst will hurt. Hopefully they will keep Nick/Jess the way they are to keep me sane.

Poor Winston. But his “cat killer” crazy was hilarious and well-played. A broken heart made him a little psycho. Still thinking about how uncomfortable the licking sound the cat makes on Schmidt made me.

The Mindy Project –  One piece whipped cream suit was an amusing sight gag. Though I’m still having trouble seeing Mindy and the Rev together. I don’t know if it’s because I approve of Mindy/Danny or if they just feel forced together.

Also, as I tweeted last week, I am super over James Franco. So I don’t care about him on this episode. And I maintain that Mindy is always less funny after the brilliance of New Girl. If they switched the times, Mindy might be funnier in comparison. Or perhaps it’s Sophomore Slump? One day I will stop saying this, sorry.

The theme song remains the best thing about this show.

Brooklyn 99 – I enjoy the theme song for this too. They feel similar, so I wonder if they were done by the same person? Or one inspired by the other.  I liked the locker vs dumpster joke. Really good joke construction and delivery. Before the first act out, I laughed or smiled more than when I watched Mindy, but found myself not really caring about the plot. It was on in the background as I wrote these posts, but didn’t grab me to distraction from this task as trying to blog through New Girl did.

What I Watched Today

Today I finished Orange is the New Black, after starting the season yesterday midday during a sick day at home. Interesting show, great supporting characters, I’ve grown to dislike Piper more and more as the show progressed. Daya, Taystee, Poussey, and Black Cindy are some of my favorites characters. The pre-prison flashbacks were such a small taste of these characters and I really want more of how a lot of them got to prison and their normal lives.

I also watched:

Whose Line is it Anyway?

Brooklyn 99 – Hmm. Amusing new show. Enjoying the diversity (2 black people AND 2 hispanic characters). Mike Shur is a plus, as a big #Parks fan. I’ll keep this on my DVR.

New Girl – So glad it’s back! It was sooo good and I LOVE Nick and Jess! and Winston was FANTASTIC and oh Schmidt. But the show has not lost it’s greatness over the summer.

The Mindy Project – Well. There were some good moments, but as usual, you can’t air Mindy after New Girl, it’s not as funny and for me, constantly fails in comparison. Sorry Mindy. Also, I’m bored with James Franco. *rolls eyes* But welcome back, Mindy.

The Daily Show

The Colbert Report

The Queen Latifah Show – I might check this out regularly. I don’t watch a lot of talk shows, but today’s interview with Will was funny of course and the segment with Will and Alex Trebek was inventive and fun. I still need to watch the rest of the episode though…

A Different World – expect this to go on my daily list a lot, since I love it and it’s right there on my DVR.

[New segment I will do to help me write everyday/more often. As the Fall 2013 TV comes along, I will try to at the very least, post what I watched each day. If I’m feeling write-y, I will add opinions and such. Though it may only be: “I’m so excited for this episode!” (if written before) or “this episode was fantastic!” (when written after). Hope I can keep up and keep going with this blogging thing. =)]

ConStar Studies Myers Briggs TV Types

I am still notoriously bad at this, BUT if my anyone happens to be interested, my friend started a tumblr where she Myers Briggs Personality Types TV characters. So far 30 Rock, New Girl and Parks and Recreation characters have been typed according to the MBTI and more shows are on the way. It’s just for fun and as I’ve been obsessed with Myers Briggs recently and it relates to TV, I thought I’d share (so I feel less guilty for never posting). Anyway, check it out: tvtypes.tumblr.com.

Looking at character Myers Briggs types can be helpful when creating a character or working with an established character. You learn more about what makes them tick and you can learn the ways you can put different types against each other and what the common problems are. Two types may have chronic miscommunication because they just think differently. Or they may have a similar chemistry because they see the world the same way. It’s a cool way to learn more about (both fictional and real life) characters and why they operate the way they do. Then you can really understand why those two characters are in love or get along or why in spite of their differences, they are together. It could be a great way to discover conflicts between the characters, something I find myself struggling with (because my type, INFJ, hates conflict with the heat of 1000 suns).

tvtypes.tumblr.com

Something Like That (aka The One with All My New Girl Feelings)

Something Like That (aka The One with All My New Girl Feelings).

Nerdy Girl Notes usually says all I need to say about the shows we have in common. Here are her thoughts on New Girl, which had probably it’s best episode last night, which mirror my thoughts. I’m still working on how I want to use this blog (how I want to talk about TV, whether just random thoughts or weekly things), so this is just an aside for now. NGN is a blog inspiration though. blogspiration?