This year I’ve decided to watch less TV. I decide this every year, and somehow end up with roughly 17-20 shows I try to watch anyway. Sure enough when I added up all the ones I want to check out this year, I ended up with seventeen. But I’m pretty serious about cutting back, even if it means leaving behind some things.
Definitely Watching – Returning Shows
These are the shows that I just can’t bring myself to give up.
Possibly my most-anticipated returning show this year. Season Two stepped up to the place something fierce after a rocky first season, and last year’s finale had me salivating to return to the Fringe universe – or should I say universes. Fringe is probably the best sci-fi you’ll see this fall, and is starting to get enough ideas going that it may make it onto the list of my all-time favorite sci-fi shows, if it can keep up S2’s momentum.
I never would’ve guessed it going into last year, but freshman sitcom Community consistently out-classed its more established siblings on NBC’s Thursday line-up, offering a witty and satirical look at self-absorbed types going back to community college. There’s far more here than meets the eye, and if the writing stays half as strong this year as last, I’m totally in.
Usually I start each year with several crime procedurals, because they make me happy. Generally, they fall off my schedule fairly quickly as my time runs short, though. Castle is one that hasn’t, because its combination of mystery/procedural, comedy, and character development hits that sweet spot that most procedurals can only manage for a few episodes at a time before it gets old. Thanks to the actors and snappy writing, so far Castle has stayed fresh, and I look forward to seeing much more Nathan Fillion on my TV.
I very nearly threw Chuck over when it spend way too long waffling on the will-they-won’t-they of Chuck and Sarah’s relationship. Now it seems they’ve firmly moved on from that and tied it up in a very satisfying way without letting it get boring, plus the setup for this season, with Chuck probably going rogue, looks to take the show in a whole new direction. This is one show that manages to reinvent itself almost every season and make it work. But if they do start waffling on Chuck and Sarah again? I’m probably out.
Syfy shows have been doing right by me lately, and I’ve just about caught up S2 so I can start right in on S3 when it starts (S1 and S2 are on Netflix Instant Watch). It’s not a great show, but it’s fun, geeky, B-movie-like, Nicolas Tesla and Jack the Ripper are characters, and with Warehouse 13 finishing up its season next week, I’m going to want something in this wheelhouse around.
(Also Parks & Recreation is a definitely watch when it returns in spring. I’m still a little miffed at NBC for delaying it.)
Trying Out – New Shows
The Walking Dead
AMC does zombies? Based on a graphic novel series? Seems a little outside their wheelhouse, but so far every original AMC show has been 100% awesome, plus I gotta check out what they do with the zombies. The trailers released so far look pretty darn good.
J.J. Abrams + spies = I will at least give it a try. It may be nothing more than Alias-lite, and it’s not like we haven’t seen the married spy angle in countless other shows and movies, but from the clips I’ve seen, looks like there’s a nice mix of action and humor here, with good chemistry between the leads. We’ll see how it goes, but I can’t skip a J.J. show.
This one has already started, and I have the episodes recorded but haven’t watched them yet. Not an auspicious beginning of keeping up with TV this year. But so far reactions from people who like TV I like are quite positive, and have increased my interest. I love spy shows, and I don’t have any nostalgic connection to the earlier series (no one seems to be mentioning the Luc Besson film, which I have seen, but didn’t love), so I’ll be coming into it fairly unbiased, aside from my general bias against CW shows.
No Ordinary Family
Looks like a live-action The Incredibles, with a family suddenly getting superpowers and having to figure out what to do with them. This could really go either way, but with Julie Benz and Michael Chiklis as the parents, it definitely seems worth a shot. The really REALLY bland marketing so far is not encouraging me, though.
Martin Scorsese producing an HBO show sounds like a winner right out of the gate, and the period Atlantic City setting is attractive to me, too. Of course, I don’t get HBO, so I may not actually be watching this right away, but if I did, I would be.
On Notice – Returning Shows
These are shows I’m going to probably start watching, but whether I keep watching them will depend greatly on how much time I have and how compelling they end up being for me this year.
We thought this was going to be a mid-season return, but turns out Syfy is starting it later this fall after all. Good thing, because hopefully it can get enough legs this way that they’ll renew it. And hopefully it will deserve renewing. It has been a pretty slow burn, but there’s so much percolating in there that I love that I really hope it comes into its own this year.
I’ve had a soft spot for Survivor the last few years, even though I didn’t watch it for the first several seasons. Last season was really good, with the two all-star teams, but I’m afraid it can’t really come up to that again. Survivior is my go-to “I’m too drained to watch anything else tonight” show, but there’s so much on Instant Watch now that I’m likely not to need it for that.
Oh, 30 Rock. I love you, but the last year or two have been a little lackluster. Both of the two newcomer shows to NBC’s Thursday night outshone even you, and I can’t promise that I’ll keep you if you don’t step it up.
How I Met Your Mother
This is a comfort show for me. I love the characters, but the storylines haven’t really been grabbing me for a couple of years. These are the kind of cuts that are hard to make, but especially since this isn’t available on hulu, I’m likely to leave it behind.
Family Guy is one of the few shows that I don’t care about watching in order, or if I miss an episode. So I’ll probably keep it in my hulu queue just for those times when I have 20 minutes and need some quick laughs, but it isn’t something I’ll feel the need to watch every week.
*sigh* This one’s hard, but I haven’t really been enjoying it for a couple of years. It’s time to cut the cord. Unless Amy Ryan comes back, which it seems like may happen from last season’s finale. Those episodes I might watch, even though it seems like a rather desperate attempt to recover the one thing that was good about the show the last couple of seasons.
The Amazing Race
I get a kick out of the whole traveling-around-the-world aspect of the show, but the last couple of years the format has been getting really stale for me, and the contestants more and more annoying. Not really worth it anymore.
Tentatively Checking Out – New Shows
Checking these out, but I’m not totally convinced they’re going to stay on my schedule.
Heh, yeah, so this is the only one that ended up down here. I will probably check out an episode or two of this, but the marketing is sooooo earnest and sooooo “this is the next big show” that I’m pretty dubious. My guess is it’ll turn out exactly like FlashForward did last year. In other words, not good.