Even though summer is no longer a vast television wasteland, it still is a lot slower than the rest of the year. So it always gives me a chance to check out some new shows and catch up on ones I might have missed the first go around. I did watch a bunch of returning shows which I have written about before and won’t be writing about here because that would be too much. I’ll just leave it at the fact that I watched Orange is the New Black, Orphan Black, Queen Sugar, Playing House, Younger, Last Chance U, and Insecure and pretty much enjoyed them all. The one nice thing about summer TV is you get some of the stuff that is non-prestige drama, which is a nice break. That statement pretty much applies to all the shows I’ll be talking about as well. I probably watched some other stuff that I’m not remembering right now, but here are the shows that stuck out to me.
The Bold Type
The Bold Type was probably one of my favorite things I watched this summer. I’m a little worried that Freeform hasn’t renewed it for a second season yet because I really want more of this show. The show revolves around three twentysomething women, Jane, Kate, and Sutton, working in various capacities at a fashion magazine called Scarlett. Their boss is played by Melora Hardin. One of my favorite things about the show is that it doesn’t play into all the tropes about this environment that have become so common in tv, movies, and books especially since the Devil Wears Prada. Jacqueline is actually a really nice boss and serves as a great mentor to these young women instead of beating them down and making them terrified of her. Other stories like Sutton dating one of the board members against company policy is written in a way that doesn’t seem cliched like it could have been. It’s not a perfect show. There’s some of the top ridiculousness in it. I’m not going to lie. But overall it was smart, fun and had great relationships between the characters, which is basically all I’m looking for in a tv show. If you didn’t watch it, which I’m guessing most of you didn’t, I think Freeform has it on demand so I highly recommend going to watch it. And hey maybe if enough people do Freeform will decide it’s worth giving another season to. I really hope so.
Atypical was probably tied with The Bold Type for my favorite show of the summer. It’s a Netflix show starting Jennifer Jason Leigh and Michael Rappaport as the parents of a highly functioning autistic teenage boy and his teenage sister. Like the show Speechless it’s a heartfelt family comedy that is about a family affected by a member that has a disability, but is really about the dynamics of the family and how they are affected by the disability. It’s funny, sweet, and very well written.
The Carmichael Show just finished it’s third and final season on NBC. I’ve been catching up on it on Hulu. I haven’t finished it yet, but I’m enjoying it. It’s not a great show for binge watching, so it’s taking me a little bit of time to get through. Each episode looks at addresses an important topic but in a comedic way. It’s very smartly written so that the conversations between the characters about whatever that weeks topic is feel organic and very much how each character would react. It’s written in a way that doesn’t feel heavy handed. It’s probably the most situation of situation comedies that I’ve watched in a very long time in that the stories really revolve around the situation of the week and there aren’t any overarching plots or character arcs underpinning the humor. You just have Jerrod, his live-in girlfriend Maxine, Jerrod’s brother, his ex-wife, and their parents sitting around talking about things.
Superstore just finished its second season on NBC and will be returning for a third in the fall. We caught up on the first two seasons over the summer. I had heard that it was a good show and we had run out of things to watch, so I suggested it. It’s a workplace comedy set in a Wal-mart like store called Cloud 9. It’s funny, and the characters have been developed well. It’s nice that it has a really diverse cast where those things are not actually part of the show. The people just are. There’s a character in a wheel chair and I’m not sure there has been a single instance where anyone has ever referred to the fact that he’s in a wheel chair. It’s a sit-com and it’s a little ridiculous sometimes, which my literal brain can’t handle. I often find myself commenting on how unrealistic things are as if there is any attempt at making them realistic happening. Some of my favorite parts of the show though are quick interstitial bits where you see customers of the store doing ridiculous things and where you hear bits of music playing. I love the music parts because whoever is doing the soundtrack work on this show is spot on. It’s totally the kind of music you would hear playing in a store like Cloud 9. I often comment on my love of the grocery store/drug store soundtrack in real life. Their tv version of it is perfect.
I’m not sure I was over the top in love with GLOW the way that a lot of people were, but I did enjoy this Netflix series about the creation of the Lovely Ladies of Wrestling tv show. I think they did really good job of capturing the 80s in a way that seemed more real than your stereotypical 80s movie or tv show. They pulled some 80s songs I haven’t heard in awhile going beyond the sort of stock 80s soundtrack that exists. The outfits were also spot on. I’m pretty sure I owned one of those leotards for gymnastics, and my mother totally had the same perm/haircut that Alison Brie did.