Fall TV Diary: New Shows

Time for my annual rundown of all the new shows I’ve tried this fall. There are a few shows I like okay, but mostly it seems to be a pretty lackluster season overall, especially on network tv.

Unbelievable

Unbelievable is by far the best show I’ve watched so far this fall, but it was only an 8-episode short series on Netflix. I’m all done with it and there won’t (hopefully) be any more. The show is based on a true story. There are two separate storylines through most of the series until they meet at the very end. Kaitlyn Dever plays a teenage girl who is raped by a stranger who breaks into her apartment in the middle of the night. The cops eventually decide she is lying and we see how the rape and the fact that everyone believes she lied about it effect her life. Toni Colette and Merritt Weaver play cops from two different precincts in Colorado discovering that they have a serial rapist on their hands and teaming up to figure out who it is. It’s heartbreaking and difficult to watch at times, but it’s also really enjoyable and a great process-y cop show that leaves you feeling satisfied at the end.

Country Music

Country Music is the latest in Ken Burns’ series of documentaries. Being a country music fan I really enjoyed this deep dive into the history of country music. I would highly recommend it to anyone who even marginally likes country music. I get why he chose to end the series when he did with the death of Johnny Cash, but I also wish there had been one more episode that took us a few years farther into the future when he really could have addressed the switch from the old style of country music to the more pop country and bro country of today. I definitely felt like it was worth the 16 and half hours of my time though.

Nancy Drew

I’m enjoying Nancy Drew so far. I don’t think I’ve ever read any Nancy Drew books, although I did read a book about the women behind the character for one of my book clubs. I gather actual Nancy Drew fans aren’t necessarily so keen on this reinvisioning of the character, but I since I don’t have anything to compare it to I’m completely fine with it. It’s scratching my Veronica Mars itch to some degree, though they aren’t exactly the same thing. It also has some excellent teen angst, which I am still a sucker for even in my middle age. This show seems like it may have more of a supernatural element to it, which I’m not so into. It could just be a red herring though. At this point it seems completely serialized, but I think it might be a stronger show if like Veronica Mars there were the episodic mysteries in addition to the overarching mystery. I like the actresses that play Nancy, Bess, and George. I really don’t like Scott Wolf as Nancy’s father though. We’ll see where the story goes, but so far this is one of the shows I’m liking the most so far this season.

Batwoman

So far I’m also really like Batwoman. I like Ruby Rose as the character. I suspect I’ll enjoy it for at least this season. I apparently have a thing for super hero origin stories or these CW super hero shows just get much less interesting after a season or two because I pretty much burn out on them by season 3 if not earlier. Partly it’s because I feel like with showing their backgrounds and their origin stories you get a lot of good character development in the beginning before all it winds up being is a bunch of convoluted stuff that I don’t care about. Hopefully Batwoman will buck that trend, but if not I’ll enjoy it until I don’t any more.

Stumptown

Stumptown is a fairly middling but pleasant diversion. I like Cobie Smulders. The episodes are kind of fun. It’s not an amazing show, but I can take it for what it is.

Mixed-ish

Mixed-ish is the second spin-off from the show black-ish. Grown-ish, which follows the eldest daughter Zoe in college, is the first spin-off and my favorite of the three shows. Mixed-ish is fine. It follows Rainbow’s childhood in the 80s. Mark Paul Gosselar stars as her father and Gary Cole as her grandfather. Like both black-ish and Grown-ish, Mixed-ish focuses on teaching people about other people’s culture and experiences in a humours manner. As I said it’s my least favorite of the three so far, but I like it well enough to keep watching.

Emergence

Emergence is one of those convoluted mystery shows that were a dime a dozen in the wake of Lost. It’s actually pretty good so far though. I actually care about the characters and the mystery so far. Again it’s early so it could go off the rails or not know how to sustain itself, but for now I enjoy watching it.

Perfect Harmony

This sit-com stars Bradley Whitford as a retired music professor from Princeton who winds up in a small town directing a not-so-great church choir led by Anna Camp. It’s not a particularly great show so far, but it’s goofy over-the-top small town ridiculousness reminds me just enough of Hart of Dixie, even though that was an entirely different type of show, that I’m still watching. I don’t expect this show to make it past one season if it even makes it that long, but it’s still on my watch list for now.

Sunnyside

NBC has saved me the trouble of telling you not to watch this show by canceling it already. I watched one episode and that was more than enough. It was not good at all.

Evil

CBS on the other the other hand has given the first full season order of the year to the only other show that I tried that I immediately gave up on. Obviously other people seem to like this show, but it was very much not for me. I gave up on it half way through the first episode even though we watched all of it.

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