Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Pitch Your Show - Olympics Edition - Part E





Welcome back to round 5 of Pitch Your Show, the penultimate part. Today we celebrate TV shows from M-R. Again there is a lot of variety showcased so hopefully you can find something new to try or maybe an old favorite that deserves a rewatch. Like before, to keep the articles short and readable, all pitches were edited for length (less than 300 words), clarity, and grammar. I have also limited nominations to 3 per show with a few very popular shows having 4. I am truly sorry if your nomination is not in here. Know that I appreciate your time and pitches. Making the choice of what went in was difficult. After all sections are posted, I will include a link to the original spreadsheet so you can read them all in their entirety. Also, don’t forget to add your comments below. What shows do you recommend?

Part A
Part B
Part C
Part D



MacGyver: CBS All Access

Joy Haldar – This is NOT the original MacGyver and it isn't trying to be. It’s pleasant, sexy, stylish, light-hearted and enjoyable, as well as very clean. It’s not Academy-Award winning stuff, but very fun and light, which is a relief in my opinion from all the cold, hard, bitter chic of TV today. I'd rather watch Mac than easily half (or more) of what's on these days. Lucas Till is relatable, enjoyable and funny as the lead, his banter with George Eads (CSI’s Nick Stokes) is smarta**, endearing and funny, and the rest of the supporting cast (Tristin Mays and Meredith Eaton) adds to the story without turning trite or flat. Like Peter Lenkov's other show Hawaii Five-0, it also relies heavily on bromance and family style character dynamics while containing breezy action sequences. It's always fun seeing Mac improve on spot using that big brain of his. It might seem like a reach at times but it's always innovative - that's a guarantee. It's a perfect Friday night fit with CBS' shows like "Hawaii Five-0" and "Blue Bloods." So sit back, get a tub of popcorn, and have a lot of fun enjoying this one.

Dahne – I grew up watching the original MacGyver with my family, so when the reboot was announced, I was intrigued. What I found was a whole lot of fun. Just like in the original, this reboot stresses Mac’s brain power but by adding Jack along as his friend and protector, it also added snark. Tons of snark. Plus, it created one of the best bromances currently on TV. I love the banter between Mac and Jack but I equally love their heartfelt moments. They know each other so well and depend on each other to get through not just the cases but also the tough moments that life throws at them both. MacGyver is not a perfect show. It can get a little too formulaic, I still hate what they did to Thornton, it took a long time for Matty to grow on me, and I still have no idea why Cage (season 2) is even on the show. However, the good points far outweigh any negatives. Riley is a fantastic character, who has easily had the most growth. Her father-daughteresque relationship with Jack is another big highlight. It adds dimension to both characters and has become my second favorite bond on the show. Basically, MacGyver is a fun Friday night show with awesome characters and a lot of snarky banter. You can’t go wrong with that combination.



The Magicians: Netflix

Ezio Auditore - Described by a cast member as “Harry Potter on crack,” The Magicians follows the story of Quentin Coldwater and his childhood best friend Julia who grew up reading the popular fantasy novels Fillory and Further. One day Quentin and Julia are recruited and tested for admittance into Brakebills University, where they discover the magical world they grew up reading about is real. While Quentin is accepted into Brakebills to be trained as a magician, Julia is not and seeks magic elsewhere. Things seems to be going well until a mysterious entity known as 'The Beast' begins terrorizing Brakebills. With the help of his new classmates, the booksmart Alice Quinn, resident senior students Eliot and Margo, and the guarded and foulmouthed Penny, Quentin must master his latent magical abilities to stop The Beast. While a fantasy series at heart the show also touches upon mature subject matter such as substance abuse and even sexual assault.



NCIS: Netflix

Ezio Auditore – If you're a fan of character driven crime shows with undertones of humor, NCIS is up your alley. NCIS is a police drama that revolves around the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, a federal law enforcement agency that investigates any crimes that involve the US Navy and Marine Corps, from assaults and drug dealing to major crimes such as murder and terrorism. The team consists of the gruff and no-nonsense former Marine, Agent Gibbs, who is as hard and stubborn as he is nurturing and compassionate, Tony DiNozzo, a charismatic and street smart former detective who serves as Gibbs' senior agent, the sassy ex-Secret Service Agent Caitlin Todd, and the timid tech specialist Tim McGee. Rounding out the team is the elderly but chipper ME expert Donald 'Ducky' Mallard and Abby Scuito, a goth loving forensic genius with a heart of gold. Later additions to the team include the Mossad operative Ziva David, Director Jenny Shepperd who shares a complicated past with Gibbs, the enigmatic Leon Vance, eager rookie Agent Ellie Bishop, veteran agent Alex Quinn, and deep cover agent Nick Torres. NCIS has had many changes over the years but the main reason it has lasted this long is due to the many memorable characters that have come and gone over the years.

Ellys Cartin – NCIS has been around for some years. Why? Sure, interesting cases ranging from whodunits to robberies to sabotage to cons pepper each season, but I believe the longevity of the show is in its characters. You should certainly start with seasons 1-2, as these introduce most of the core cast. Gibbs, the wonderfully wry and golden hearted no-nonsense team leader with the dark and tragic past that chases him; Tony, the goofball, lady appreciating man of action; Abby, the goth stereotype shattering scientist with caffeine veins and faithful plush farting hippo Bert; Ducky, the wise medical examiner with an anecdote for every occasion and a touching reverence for the dead; McGee, the nerd geek computer whiz comic relief steady friend, and, of course, Ziva. Seasons 1-10 are mostly superb, with great character development over the years as the team faces every imaginable danger together. A regular stream of excellent guest stars recurs. We meet the families of the team members, learn their backstories, explore the skeletons in their closet, etc. The core cast has such amazing chemistry. They feel like a family themselves; you’ll get invested faster than you expect, and tears and cheers will follow.

H – It's a crime drama, but it's nothing like CSI. The characters' stories are what drive the writers. It also has great humor and it's not just about the case.



New Girl: Netflix

Mariah Laura Marquez – Super funny!




The Night Of: HBO Go

Fred - One evening, a young student Nasir 'Naz' Khan (played by Riz Ahmed) takes his father's cab to go to a party, but on his way he meets a girl. He spends the evening with her; they both take drugs and drink until Naz passes out. When he wakes up later that night, he finds the girl dead. He is charged with her murder and taken to prison and that's the point where everything goes downhill. Other characters worth mentioning are Naz's lawyer John Stone played by John Turturro and Naz's guardian at the prison played by amazing Michael Kenneth Williams. The performances in this show are top notch. The Night Of is a fascinating story that shows how a single bad decision can screw up your entire life. The character development of Naz is mesmerizing to watch. It's amazing how environment and circumstances can change a person. After a couple of episodes, I started to have doubts. Is Naz really innocent? What's the truth? What really happened that night? Watch the show and you will find out :) It's only 8 episodes and it does have a proper ending that is really dark, tragic and sad, but I loved it. I recommend this show to everyone who likes dark cable dramas, brilliant writing and interesting characters.



One Day at a Time: Netflix

Jamie Coudeville – It's without a doubt one of the best sitcoms I've seen in a long time. Aside from being really funny, it also tackles difficult subjects like PTSD, sexuality, immigration, and religion. There are only 26 episodes so far, so it's super easy to catch up on. Don't let Netflix cancel another gem.



Orphan Black: Amazon Prime

Katie – Tatiana Maslany is a powerhouse of an actress. That is a good enough reason to watch it.

Milo – One reason should be enough to try this show, Tatiana Maslany. Her performances as multiple different characters are nothing short of incredible in this science fiction drama from BBC America. The mystery is complex and entertaining and it has one of the strongest pilots I've seen. Maslany's Sarah Manning, a streetwise hustler, witnesses a girl who looks exactly like her commit suicide on a train platform. She finds herself drawn into the conspiracy in a fascinating way from there with great, thrilling results. There's multiple female characters with plenty of depth and Maslany herself is terrific with her performance as most of them here. Its well-paced, well-written drama is a must watch for anyone who wants some good television.



Outlander:

Betty Hamilton – This is simply an amazing book adaptation of the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. There is something for everyone: action, adventure, romance, a bit of mystery, history, fantastic period costumes, gorgeous Scotland scenery, and even some sci-fi. The episodes are fast paced with lots of action and end far too soon. It’s truly a delightful show.

Ellys Cartin – This show is not for the faint of heart. Outlander's strongest asset is actress Caitriona Balfe, who plays the main character Claire Fraser, a World War 2 nurse who finds herself transported back to a simpler time. Just kidding. There's nothing simplistic about 1700’s Scotland. It’s on the brink of war, while barbaric practices and splendid outfits abound. Then there's Jamie, a Scot with a golden soul, whose physical and emotional wounds are soothed by his growing bond with Claire. He's fairly hunky too. (Bonus!) One tiny little problem: Claire is married back in the 1940’s. Another issue: guess which clan will be one of many wiped out in the upcoming war with England? Jamie's. Claire would prefer to not get involved in any unpleasantries, but, well, just as cows give milk and Scots wear kilts, danger and heartbreak abound. Not always the easiest show to watch, Outlander gives you lush love scenes one episode and then completely traumatizes you the next. There's a fair share of action, plenty of "adults only" content, and each episode leaves you both afraid and eager for the next. With the show being anchored by a lead with such poignant power in all her scenes, Outlander has much to recommend it. If you're looking for something intense to watch in the breaks between Game of Thrones and Westworld, it's the way to go.

Kirki Nia – It has just about everything: history, natural beauty, wonderful music, beautiful sets and costumes, the best love story ever written, wars and battles, time travel, humor, and the most talented cast ever.



Peaky Blinders: Netflix

Milo – If you're a fan of gangster dramas like Goodfellas, Boardwalk Empire, or The Sopranos, then this 1920’s UK show following the adventures of the ambitious Shelby family as they grow their criminal enterprise in Birmingham is essential viewing. Moody and atmospheric, this brilliant drama boasts an all-star cast with the likes of Cillian Murphy, Tom Hardy, Helen McCrory, Sam Neill and Annabelle Wallis, as well as a brilliantly-suited anachronistic soundtrack with the likes of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds as well as The White Stripes thrown in there for good measure. The plot is compelling and the characters are brilliantly well done, and with season 5 expected to air later this year, there's no better time to catch up.



Person of Interest: Netflix

Lex- Person of Interest premiered in 2011, starring Michael Emerson as reclusive billionaire genius Harold Finch, Jim Caviezel as burned CIA operative John Reese, and an ensemble cast of supporting characters who work together to prevent crimes before they happen. They’re able to do so with the guidance of Finch’s invention, "The Machine," an artificial intelligence with unfettered access to all means of surveillance in the country but mostly wherever the L train can take them. There are so many interesting aspects, including a lot of butt kicking from Sameen Shaw (Sarah Shahi) and John Reese (Jim Caviezel). We also get a cop perspective from detectives Joss Carter (Taraji P. Henson) and her partner Lionel Fusco (Kevin Chapman), who starts as a corrupt cop. Carter gets involved with Finch and John, helping them save people using police resources. Meanwhile Fusco is blackmailed by Reese into helping them. What Carter and Fusco don't know is that they are both working for the same people, as they both realize their partner is hiding something. Later on, Samantha Groves and Root (Amy Acker) are introduced. Root at first works against the team because she wants to find the location of the Machine and set it free, while John, Shaw and Finch trying to keep the machine away from hands of the government because Finch fears what the government will do with it. Much, much later Root ends becoming a part of the team and they all help people who are in need of it.



Playing House: USA Network

Carmkarn – This comedy is about the friendship between Emma and Maggie, written and played by real life best friends Jessica St. Clair and Lennon Parham. This helps not only the chemistry between the leads, but also makes the way they relate to each other feel very real to life. Seeing friendships between women, especially as the focus of a show, is unfortunately pretty rare, so it's really refreshing to watch a show that makes you laugh out loud and for me is pretty relatable. Rounding out the cast is Keegan-Michael Key, playing a romantic lead in a way I never expected from him, along with Zach Woods and Lindsay Sloane. The show is very heartwarming and keeps its light and comedic tone even while dealing with heavy issues. There's only 26 episodes so it's very easy to catch up on and is perfect for a binge!

Tuna – Playing House centers on two best friends in real life, Lennon Parham and Jessica St. Clair. Parham's character Maggie divorces her husband while expecting a child so she turns to her best friend Emma (St. Clair) to help raise the baby with her. Playing House is one of the funniest little shows on television right now and it is a very small commitment with only 26 episodes. I watched the first season's 10 episodes back-to-back within a couple of hours because of how quickly I connected with the characters. Their friendship is so real, which the viewer can easily tell just based on their chemistry and how comfortable they are around each other. Playing House is such a cute show that honestly means so much to me because of how real it is and how genuine their friendship is. The rest of the amazing cast includes Zachary Woods, Brad Morris, and Keegan-Michael Key. This show has so much heart and a lot of laughs; you will not regret watching this show.



Please Like Me: Hulu

LauraLoo - Please Like Me is a fantastic Australian show dipping into a nice mixture of fun, lighthearted comedy, and very emotional and hardcore drama. It deals with a variety of serious issues, such as mental health, abortion, homophobia, suicide, the workplace, and much, much more. It is always respectful and appropriate when talking about these topics as well, which is one of the best things about the show. Every episode was directed by the same person, and most of them were written by Josh Thomas and his real life best friend, Tom Ward. Josh is a comedian in real life and the show is based on his experiences with finding out he was gay a lot later in life, his best friend's reactions, his parents, his several flings, etc. He has a very creative and explosive way of getting his image onto the screen. This show doesn't just have impeccable writing; the directing is beautiful as well. The most noteworthy example is 2x07, where Josh and his mum take a camping trip together to talk about their experiences. The scenery is breathtaking and the writing was unbelievably amazing. It's also funny to note that none of the characters have last names, but this doesn't take away from the great character development that they all receive regardless. The acting is flawless in every episode too. Everyone delivers quality performances, especially Caitlin Stasey and Keegan Joyce. Keegan's Arnold is one of my favorite fictional characters of all time. This show is charming, very smart, and deserving of everyone's time. It's a great binge-watcher too.



Preacher: Hulu

Milo - With a new season on the way, it's the perfect time to catch up on the first 2 seasons of Preacher, a weird, brilliantly twisted and incredibly engaging drama that follows Dominic Cooper's Jesse Custer, a preacher in West Texas, who finds out that he has the power to make people do whatever he tells them to do. However, this has unexpected consequences and things go south pretty quickly. The comedy element in this series is excellent and the performances from Dominic Cooper, Ruth Negga and Joe Gilgun, as an Irish vampire, are brilliant. It gets weirder by the episode. Perfectly bingeable, this series was one 2016's best and you'd be doing yourself a disservice if you missed it.

Sam Challands – It is completely different, or very similar except it has as much stuff in it as possible. I'm talking about the wackiness of it, the supernatural stuff, the comedy, and the drama. It is just really bonkers and impressive.



Queen of the South: Netflix

Ezio Auditore - If you love action crime dramas with a strong female character trying to make it against impossible odds, Queen of the South is for you. The show centers around Teresa Mendoza, a young Mexican woman on the run after her drug dealing boyfriend is killed trying to rip off the cartel he works for. Fleeing to America, Teresa ends up as a drug mule for Camilla Vargas, the wife of the drug lord who ordered the death of Teresa's boyfriend and who Camilla secretly plots to overthrow. Now neck deep in the drug trade, Teresa must navigate through the life and make questionable choices both to insure her survival and to become the drug lord she will one day eventually be.



Reign: Netflix

Ellys Cartin – Reign is not for everybody. However, if gorgeous costumes, epic romance, killer performances, royal treachery and intrigue with a smidgen of impending doom are your jam, you will like Reign. The series is basically a sexy retelling of the life and times of Mary, Queen of Scots as well as two other formidable women rulers: Catherine Medici and Elizabeth I. Megan Follows, as Catherine, steals every scene even when she just walks by in the background. The first season establishes itself as a true guilty pleasure. Mary and her friends Greer, Kenna, and Lola find themselves entangled in attempted assassinations, socially improper romances, gorgeous costumes, etc. Did I mention how beautiful the show is? The countryside, the balls, the weddings, the executions even...everyone is impeccably dressed. However, Reign doesn't just make itself look pretty. It follows these characters as they form bonds, grow up, and face life's trials, and it doesn't hurt that, along with all the strong women, there are some seriously hunky guys too. Ranging from dreamy to dangerous, they complement the amazing ladies perfectly.



Rick and Morty: Hulu

Laura Markus - Rick and Morty is a sci-fi/action lover’s dream, disguised within a quirky, immensely creative animated cartoon. Filled with Dan Harmon’s distinctive quippy and witty dialogue and Justin Roiland’s signature voice acting, this show takes television to places it has never seen before. It’s Futurama for a new generation. Follow along with Rick Sanchez, our pansexual, mentally-ill lead character, who has all the genius of Doc Brown, but all the misanthropy of Gregory House. He’ll take his grandson Morty Smith on crazy adventures through space, time, other planets, other minds, and other dimensions! The entire Smith family grounds the show towards believability, but it also uses them as a crux to show how maniacal Rick can get at times. It’s entertaining as all hell. You watch as these characters grow and develop right before your eyes as they make their way through life and a variety of complex situations. Each episode is refreshingly different. Some are so insane in their premises that they physically made my head hurt trying to keep up, but that’s what it takes to have outstanding television in this day and age. Every outing of this show offers something new every time you watch it. Season 3 ended in October and it will be awhile before season 4 begins so there’s plenty of time for you to binge! There’s something in this show for everyone whether it’s the family dynamic you crave or the sci-fi nerd within you, or maybe you just like a good animated cartoon once in a while. This show features all of this and more in spades and it begs to be watched just from its pilot alone.



About the Author - Dahne
One part teacher librarian - one part avid TV fan, Dahne is a contributing writer for SpoilerTV, where she reviews and/or creates polls for Teen Wolf, How to Get Away with Murder, The Librarians, and others. She also runs the annual Character Cup. She's addicted to Twitter, loves live tweeting, and co-hosted The 100 "Red-Shirted" and Teen Wolf "Welcome to Beacon Hills" podcasts for Southgate Media Group. Previously she wrote a Last Week in TV column for her blog and SpoilerTV. ~ "I speak TV."

Monday, February 19, 2018

Pitch Your Show - Olympics Edition - Part D





Today's Pitch Your Show edition focuses on shows H-L and includes the third and fourth most nominated shows, Leverage and The Librarians. Since Leverage is my favorite crime procedural of all time, I wholeheartedly agree with its pitches. The character growth in it alone should make it heavily sampled. However, if crime procedurals are not your thing, there are plenty of other shows to try from heartfelt Canadian dramas to historical fiction chronicling the rise of personal computers and modern medicine to the funniest zombie romp you'll ever watch and so much more. Here's hoping something catches your imagination. To keep the articles short and readable, all pitches were edited for length (less than 300 words), clarity, and grammar. I have also limited nominations to 3 per show with a few very popular shows having 4. I am truly sorry if your nomination is not in here. Know that I appreciate your time and pitches. Making the choice of what went in was difficult. After all sections are posted, I will include a link to the original spreadsheet so you can read them all in their entirety. Also, don’t forget to add your comments below. What shows do you recommend?

Part A
Part B
Part C



Halt and Catch Fire: Netflix

Milo – This show is just too good. If you've missed Mad Men, Halt and Catch Fire is the show for you, taking place in the 1980s and following the early rise in personal computers. Its four lead characters, played by Lee Pace, Mackenzie Davis, Scoot McNairy and Kerry Bische are all absolutely fantastic in their performances. The series itself is one of those that rewards people who stick with it, perfectly bingeable with one great season after another. The character relations are great and it shines a rare spotlight on women in the tech industry, putting its two female leads front and center to great success. The soundtrack too is among the best on television, with carefully curated Spotify playlists available for each of the lead characters. The drama is consistently brilliant and it's unmissable, essential television.



Hannibal: Amazon Prime

LauraLoo – If gore and horror is not your thing I totally understand if you want to skip out on this show. It’s certainly not for everyone, and even I had to take my time getting through the first season. But if you can look past all of that and appreciate its beauty and aesthetics, then you will adore this show. It takes these characters that you’ve probably seen in one way before and shapes them into new beings. The chemistry between Hannibal Lecter and Will Graham is palpable all throughout the series, and if you know how the show ends it makes perfect sense, even at the beginning of the show. The rest of the characters are all outstanding too. It’s a wonder how none of them ever won any Emmys. Each season is remarkably different, with later seasons scrapping that procedural format and turning full-on serialized. It seems to be widely regarded that the last two seasons were the better ones, but I really enjoyed the first season for what it was. So, if watching shows like Hannibal is your design, then you’ll simply salivate over this offering too.

Milo – Bryan Fuller is currently working on his excellent series American Gods, so what better time to discover (or revisit) the wonderfully twisted Hannibal, that ran for three seasons on NBC before finally being axed but not before delivering some of the most memorable and gory episodes of television that I've ever seen. Boasting plenty of style, the show takes the Hannibal Lecter character to new heights following a brilliant performance by Mads Mikkelsen and Hugh Dancy, with Mikkelsen delivering a near iconic performance as Lecter himself. This is one of those rare shows that's best not saved for binge-watching, rather savoring a few episodes at a time, as it's just so uniquely crafted, brilliantly executed, and wonderfully made. Give it a shot. Despite being cancelled, it does have an effective ending that leaves the series open for a possible fourth season. By the end, you'll be wondering how a show as messed up as this ever ended up on NBC in the first place.



Hawaii 5-0: Netflix

Kewana – The procedural action of the show will draw you in and keep you guessing each episode, but the great characters and relationships keep you watching and in awe. There isn't another friendship out there like the one on this show. It’s funny, loving, and entertaining. Not to mention, there are beautiful scenic shots of Hawaii, a diverse cast, and lots of fun to watch.

Joy Haldar – First and foremost, you DO NOT need to watch the original to enjoy this reboot. This is an independent, strong show on its own rights by all accounts. Now in its 8th season, it's still going strong quality wise & ratings wise (one of the rare broadcast shows whose numbers went up year-to-year). The cast is a pure gem. They feel like family from get to. From the charismatic leader in Steve to his nagging, worrywart, hilarious partner Danny, who is also the best TV dad IMHO, to bada** female characters like Kono, Doris, Catherine, this show has got it all. There's also great diversity, which makes it even more special in my eyes. The thing that instantly clicked with me was the epic bromance between Steve and Danny. I am a sucker for that and this show delivered and how! It's truly on another level. Another thing I appreciate is that there's no unnecessary romance melodrama to slow down the narrative. Sure, there are cases of the week but that's not ALL this show is. The character interactions are the main focus here, not the cases they solve. They work as a team and they would walk through fire for one another if need be. They always have each other's backs. The gorgeous backdrop of Hawaii only adds to the narrative. The way the showrunner and writers incorporate this island's traditions and culture into the show is just awe-inspiring. If there was ever a perfect procedural, this is IT. It's got a lot of heart. In no time you will fall in love with the characters and for those who love action, you won't be let down either. High octane chase sequences and explosions make a deadly combo. It’s perfect Friday night entertainment.

Priscilla Starkey – It's the greatest crime show on tv with great stars like Alex O’Loughlin and Scott Caan.



Heartland: Amazon Prime

Amberly – Heartland is a heartwarming family drama about a family that runs a ranch in Alberta, Canada. Based on a book series, the show begins with death of Amy’s mother, which leads to her older sister returning home to help run the ranch with their grandfather. One of the main functions of the ranch is working to heal troubled and/or abused horses. The show is quite feel good, never too dark or angsty, and it follows the family through their work with horses and other animals as well as changes in their personal lives (marriage, children, etc.) There are lots of good characters you connect with as well as lots of beautiful horses. The show is Canadian and has aired 10 seasons so far and was recently renewed for an eleventh. The early seasons also feature recurring roles played by Stephen Amell (Arrow) and Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black).

Chelsea Para – The longest running scripted one hour show in Canada, Heartland is a family friendly drama that has good writing, interesting characters, and beautiful scenery and horses. People of every age can enjoy what the show brings to the table each week. You don't even have to be "horsey" to enjoy the show since plenty of time is spent on the human storylines as well. For those that are going to watch for the horses, this show covers many different disciplines and horsemanship techniques, all of which are fun to watch, and it's easy to get attached to all the character horses.



Human Target:

Folielex – Based on a comic book, this show chronicles the story of Christopher Chance, a former hit man who, plagued by a tragic and blood-soaked past, now works as a for-hire bodyguard. He protects his clients by secretly infiltrating their lives in order to draw out and eliminate threats. Running point on the missions is Winston, a former cop. Also, Guerrero, a former colleague from Chance's old life, more often than not offers his unique set of skills to help out. The second season also saw the addition of Mrs. Isla Pucci, a rich, socialite philanthropist who started out as a client and ended up footing the bill for the company, and Ames, a street smart thief who joins the team. Portrayed by the wonderful Mark Valley, Christopher Chance has all the Jason Bourne moves with all the James Bond charisma and wraps that up with a fun cowboy attitude that just make the show a joy to watch. The supporting cast of Chi McBride and Jackie Earle Haley is stellar, especially when it's just those two playing off each other. Their chemistry and their characters' bickering make for some of the best moments the whole series has to offer. The ladies introduced in season 2 were a welcome addition to the fully male cast and added some interesting layers and dynamics to the show. Overall this was a FUN-tastic piece of popcorn-action TV, with some great character moments peppered in there. I honestly wish there was more than just 25 episodes. On a positive note, there are no major cliffhangers, simply a "the show goes on despite the curtain call" vibe. So, feel free dive into this world and not be left hanging, just simply yearning there was more.



Imposters: Amazon Prime

Ellys Cartin - An unexpected delight this TV season, Inbar Lavi plays chameleon Maddie, a con artist who works with a team in the employ of a sinister type called The Doctor. Her act is making people fall in love with and marry her. Then she takes everything they have. Imposters picks up when two of her former husbands team up to track her down. Ezra and Richard couldn't be any different, which produces quite a bit of humor as they start to form a junior con artist team of their own. As for Maddie, Lavi is a revelation, spellbinding as she switches personalities and studies her marks. The first season combines romance, road trip comedy, soapy suspense, and cat/mouse interactions to create a first-rate guilty pleasure.



iZombie: Netflix

Ezio Auditore – This is a different take on the zombie genre that is fun and quirky. The series stars Medical Examiner Olivia 'Liv' Moore who is scratched and turns into a brain craving zombie the night of a yacht party. Now working as an ME for Seattle police, Liv discovers that she has the ability to gain the memories, personality and skills of the deceased person whose brain she eats, allowing her to help solve their murders. Working alongside her is her eccentric boss Ravi, and a detective, Clive. All while, Liv tries to keep the secret of zombies from her roommate lawyer Peyton and her ex-fiancée Major. As the series progresses Liv learns there are others like her and that not all of them are as friendly as she is. Also, the accident that turned her into a zombie may not have been an accident after all.

Milo – The CW's main comic adaption that isn't from a superhero source material, it offers the most unique approach on the zombie genre that I've seen and is just so much fun. Liv Moore is a M.D., who becomes a zombie after attending a party and wakes up with a thirst for brains that give her memories - and the personalities - of the deceased whose brains she has consumed. So naturally, she gets a job at the morgue and as a result, there's several new cases, each with different and often hilarious consequences. The cast have among the best chemistry that I've seen in any show, and Rose McIver's acting is excellent as she adopts a brand-new personality each week. Fans of other CW shows will find plenty to love here, and it rarely disappoints. Three seasons in and with a fourth on the way, iZombie is a rarity among zombie shows - it's actually entertaining!

Dahne – Simply put, this is the most pure fun show on The CW. While many of their shows get bogged down in angst and melodrama, iZombie is there to entertain with one of the fastest moving plots on TV. The story twists and turns, going places you never think it will, including a massive twist at the end of the third season which makes the fourth season the most anticipated yet. It’s a sci-fi, police procedural with highly serialized season-long arcs becoming more serialized as the series goes on. Best of all, it never gets boring because Liv, the main character, changes in each episode based on whatever brain she ate last. Rose McIver does an inspired job of adding the changing character elements but still keeping the heart of Liv the same. Plus, it has a great strictly platonic relationship between Liv and Ravi, her boss in the ME’s lab. The banter between the two is a lot of fun without the unnecessary “will they-won’t they” nonsense that hampers and ruins most procedurals. If you are looking for a great romp of a TV show, try this one out. Don’t let the zombie thing stop you, because this is unlike any other zombie show on TV.



Jack and Dean of All Trades: British Comedy Guide

Charlotte – I'll be honest, I expected very little from this comedy when I tried it out. It's made by Youtubers and is exclusively available on a minor streaming service. But oh boy, should you not judge this series by its cover. It's genuinely one of the funnier shows I've seen anywhere, bigwig networks included. Its genre of humor leans on the silly side. Think of a show led by Parks and Rec's Andy Dwyer. It's creative, fun, and easy to laugh with. What more could you ask?



Justified: Amazon Prime

Milo – Justified is far more than just your average crime show. Adapted from the work of Elmore Leonard, this six-season long series follows the adventures of US Marshall Raylan Givens, a certified bada** with a badge. The villains are among the best I've ever seen on television, with particularly standout performances by Walton Goggins as Boyd Crowder as well as a spectacular role for Margo Martindale in the show's best season, its second. This show, hands down, has the best dialogue on television. Nothing else even comes close to matching its best lines. With one of the best finales ever, this crime show is a must watch, period. It's essentially a modern day western and always worth catching up on if you haven't seen it already.



The Knick: Cinemax Go

Milo – Sadly cancelled after two seasons, Cinemax's The Knick is something that should not be overlooked as it is a pure gem and worth watching despite this. It's a medical show unlike any other medical show on television, taking place during the early years of medicine in early 1800’s New York. It's expertly directed and shot in a continuous way so that each scene perfectly transitions from the next, and its cinematography and direction is nothing short of superb, thanks in no small part to the involvement of the fantastic Steven Soderbergh (Ocean's Eleven) who directed every episode of Season 1. The soundtrack from Drive and Neon Demon composer Cliff Martinez is excellent, and the atmosphere is just brilliant. The cast is nothing short of exceptional too, with award-worthy performances by Clive Owen (Children of Men) and Andre Holland (Moonlight) in particular. It tackles issues such as racism, corruption and drug abuse all around the operating table, and still manages to maintain a large element of dark humor. It doesn't shy away from showing plenty of blood and guts though, so if you're squeamish, this is one to stay clear of!



The Last Ship: Hulu

Ellys Cartin – Before everyone decided to make military dramas again, TNT had already launched its thrilling, suspenseful The Last Ship. I love this show to pieces. It's rare for me to care about every character on a show, but these post-apocalyptic dramas always do it for me. The crew of the USS Nathan James thinks they are just on a normal off-the-grid mission, escorting a couple scientists on the side. But when they resume communications at the end of the mission, they discover the world as they knew it is gone, lost to a terrible plague and there's no time machine to fix it. There's no zombies either, though that's small comfort, especially when most of them have lost their entire families. Now they have a new mission: helping the scientists make a vaccine and then rebuilding the world from the ground up. Of course, whoever controls the vaccine will control the new world, so they face multiple enemies on land and at sea. This produces countless exciting action sequences. You don't want to miss Eric Dane as Captain Tom Chandler and Adam Baldwin as Captain Mike Slattery. I could go on and on about each character, including Special Forces team members Danny, Carlton, and, later on, Wolf. Just when you think the show can't get any better, it has its best season yet in season 3 when Bridget Regan joins the cast!



Legends of Tomorrow: Netflix

Ellys Cartin – If you had told me last year that Legends of Tomorrow would ditch all its season 1 baggage, bring in the best villain lineup ever, and become totally awesome for season 2, I would not have believed you but that's what happened. No need to watch season 1. The show brings you up to speed. Sara Lance, former deluxe assassin/recently resurrected bada** takes the captain's chair of the time ship Waverider, leading Firestorm, Atom, Vixen and historian Nate Heywood everywhere from the Jurassic Area to the Moon to Camelot to World War 1. Their mission is to work together to thwart the attempts of the Legion of Doom (so entertaining) to rewrite reality and find out where their former leader Rip Hunter has gotten to. Along the way, the show is just a ton of fun, with neat visual effects and costumes, as well as exciting action pieces. The show could only be more perfect if it had amazing character development and a strong villain....OH, WAIT, it has all that too! This is one so good you'll want to rewatch!!!



Legion: Hulu

Ellys Cartin – Whether you won't watch a comic book show to save your life or your life revolves around comic book shows, Legion is not to be missed. David Haller lives in Clockworks Psychiatric Hospital, because supposedly voices in his head drove him to attempt suicide. His existence of pills and therapy sessions is disrupted by a newcomer, Syd Barrett. The quiet young woman doesn't let anyone touch her, but David is drawn to her and they become friends. Then the day comes for Syd to be released. Things go horribly wrong and those voices in David's head just might be pretty dangerous. Yes, Legion is connected to the X-Men universe. Yes, there are mutants but it doesn't follow the same old formula. Sinister backstory reveals itself to us, as David begins to understand what he's capable of, and the show uses creative, entrancing visuals to illustrate his journey. In addition to fine work from Dan Stevens as David, the supporting cast, especially Aubrey Plaza, present top-notch characters. You have to pay attention while watching Legion, but there's real payoff when you do. The whole story comes together wonderfully!

Milo – You want weird? You've got weird. Weird is pretty much the one word that most sums up Legion, the breakout new series of 2017. It's smart, clever and inventive, with nods to movies like A Clockwork Orange, and is far and away the most unique take on the X-Men universe yet. But then, given the nature of David Haller in the comics, anything less would have been a disappointment. Often confusing but always great, featuring an Emmy-worthy performances by Aubrey Plaza, Dan Stevens, and Rachel Keller, Legion is the must watch show of the year and with a great soundtrack to boot, it's one of this year's most unique shows and should not be ignored under any circumstances.



Leverage:

Darla – I got hooked on the show when it first aired. I have to admit, I checked it out for Christian Kane but stayed because of the whole cast. They found the perfect ensemble for Leverage without giving in to stereotypes. I enjoyed watching those loners turn into a family and how they used their criminal talents for good, helping people that nobody else would or could help. The stories were always realistic and never lost their humor despite being a con show. I still enjoy going back and regularly watching an episode, as for 40 minutes they make you believe that there are actually people out there that can make this unfair world right again for a little while. How ironic that it's a gang of thieves of all people. Yeah, sometimes the bad guys really do make the best good guys.

Emily Dickinson – Entertaining for the whole family! Amazing cast with great chemistry! Never a dull moment!

Mary E. Brewster – Why to watch Leverage? So many reasons. The premise of the show to begin with. There’s the Robinhoodlums, five different and distinctive personalities, that come together to help those who have been wronged and can’t go against the establishment (or person) on their own. They each bring their own sets of talents to the table – mastermind, grifter, hacker, thief, and hitter. Together they help those who can't help themselves because sometimes the best good guys are the bad guys. The scripts are sometimes taken from the headlines and brought to life with creative genius. I love how at the end of the episode it shows how each of the cons were pulled off, a mini re-cap of the episode. The action is in good proportion, not too much and not too little. The actors (Christian Kane, Aldis Hodge, Gina Bellman, Beth Riesgraf, Timothy Hutton) fit so well with their characters and worked so well together that it came across on the screen. The sets and locations were as well chosen as the cast. The whole show came together to create a wonderful hour of fun, exciting entertainment. The chemistry of the cast though is what makes the show magnificent and still well-loved. So Leverage is my recommendation!

Telisha – They are highly trained at doing bad things - hacking, beating people up, stealing, etc. - but they decide to take on the bad guys who use legal loopholes, money and power to continue to hurt people through drug trials that kill, companies that legally steal homes, and more. They go after the people the law can't and they do it as a family. The close-knit inner family really makes the show great.



The Librarians: Hulu

Kathy Ares – The Librarians is a great family show, full of suspense, action, and magic. Everyone will enjoy it.

Clarike - Family-fun series with a hint of history that grows on you a little more every season!

Honorat – It’s fun for the whole family and doesn't take itself too seriously. There’s lots of variety in episodes and has great characters and actors. Smart and even occasionally educational, it can also have emotional and dramatic moments. Plus, it doesn't believe in cliff hanger season finales. Mixing up the stereotypes, the guardian colonel is a woman. The Asian character is a lovable rogue, the thief with a heart of gold who can't fight and is full of snark. The cowboy bar-fighting character is the art historian and linguist who loves literature. The girl in the cute clothes is the cutthroat scientist, non-neurotypical, and bi. The head librarian is charming and scatterbrained but a genius. John Laroquette--need I say more. It's a great ensemble cast.

Karen Wampler - It's a bit of action, a bit of comedy, and a whole lot of family friendly television!



Limitless: Netflix

LauraLoo – If you like any of the following you will enjoy this show: a wide variety of adorable and interesting characters, a stunningly layered and complex villain, a thoroughly relatable protagonist, a crime procedural that is so much more than just that, a serialized story arc surrounding a mythology that is routed in captivating sci-fi elements, a soundtrack and score that always plays the right songs in the right moments, a set of actors, actresses, writers, directors, and other creative cast and crew members who not just perform amazingly but have fun with the material they are creating, a show that gets better each week, a show that encompasses and transcends every genre you can think of? Limitless masked itself behind "your typical CBS police procedural", but proved week after week that it had so much more to offer. NZT-48 is a drug that allows you to access the full potential inside of you, and with that comes a lot of crazy scenarios and situations. If you dropped it after the pilot in fear that it would be unoriginal and boring, it is NOT. This show cared deeply about how it presented its cases of the week. Whether it was quirky animations or Brian's crazy NZT antics, the writers knew about the inherent stigma towards this genre and always strived to create a world beyond this, despite the serialized moments being the best part of every episode. If that's not enough, the two lead characters weren't involved in some forced romance. They remained friends and that friendship was excellent. This show knew how to have fun and serious, heartfelt moments. It was cancelled too soon, but fear not, it did not end on a cliffhanger.



Lucifer: Hulu

Ellys Cartin - Lucifer was not what I expected. I started watching with the season 2 premiere, and it took my breath away. For one thing, the cast is amazing and the strong storytelling perfectly complements their talent. The cases of the week capture your attention, the screenwriting is peppered with smart humor, and almost no other show as thoughtfully or realistically handles spiritual questions like this one does. Every episode is super entertaining. Characters grow and change, you actually don't see the twists coming, and Tricia Helfer plays Lucifer's loving but scheming Mom! I can't help but watch it live, although all episodes are available on Hulu to binge...again and again.



About the Author - Dahne
One part teacher librarian - one part avid TV fan, Dahne is a contributing writer for SpoilerTV, where she reviews and/or creates polls for Teen Wolf, How to Get Away with Murder, The Librarians, and others. She also runs the annual Character Cup. She's addicted to Twitter, loves live tweeting, and co-hosted The 100 "Red-Shirted" and Teen Wolf "Welcome to Beacon Hills" podcasts for Southgate Media Group. Previously she wrote a Last Week in TV column for her blog and SpoilerTV. ~ "I speak TV."

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Pitch Your Show - Olympics Edition - Part C





Continuing our Pitch Your Show series, today we have shows F-G and they contain some of my personal favorites like Fringe and Forever. I can’t say enough great things about them so check them and all these others out. Here’s hoping you find a new favorite to watch. Speaking of Forever, it was by far the most pitched show in this edition. It also had the longest pitch. To keep the articles short and readable, all pitches were edited for length (less than 300 words), clarity, and grammar. I have also limited nominations to 3 per show with a few very popular shows having 4. I am truly sorry if your nomination is not in here. Know that I appreciate your time and pitches. Making the choice of what went in was difficult. After all sections are posted, I will include a link to the original spreadsheet so you can read them all in their entirety. Also, don’t forget to add your comments below. What shows do you recommend?



Fleabag: Amazon Prime

Chris - I really don't know how and why I started watching this show, but I'm glad I did. The premise is a girl dealing with her best friend's death told through various comedic situations, dating, family, etc. Phoebe Waller-Bridge is truly amazing and she is also the creator. The first season has 6 episodes and it's so engaging, you will finish it in one seating.



Forever: CW Seed
Editorial Note – This was the most pitched show by more than twice any other. It also contained the longest pitch, at over 1200 words, which you can read in its entirety after the last section is posted.

GatorFan - In 1814, Dr. Henry Morgan is fatally shot while defying the captain’s order to throw an ill slave overboard. A few moments later, he returns to life in the closest body of water, the first of many such occurrences. His prolonged life gives Henry the ability to participate in history but he views his gift as a curse so he hides himself from the world and studies death in an effort to reverse his immortality. While working as a medical examiner, he survives a fatal subway crash and begins working with detectives Jo Martinez and Mike Hanson. Abe, the only other person to know his secret, encourages this. As time passes, Henry must choose between trusting Jo or continuing to hide. Forever’s writers weave the threads of emotional pain, death, immortality, and human relationships into a stunning tapestry, revealing the beauty of life—in the memories of family and friends and the creative culture of the living. Even the contrast between Henry’s and Adam’s experiences are woven into the stories, reminding viewers that although life’s beauties are temporary, they are very meaningful. In a drama about dealing with pain, aging, death, and immortality, one would expect that the series would be very serious but Forever does have a considerable number of comedic moments. These moments tend to lighten what can be a somber mood. Each episode is well-researched, as demonstrated by the writing, the set design, costumes, and acting. When watching Henry’s flashbacks, especially those in Europe, it is very difficult to believe that they’re filmed them on set. The tightness of the shots gives the illusion of the Orient Express while the costumes recreate 1929 Paris.

Jackie Ferguson – It's a crime drama, with historical flashbacks and a little bit of fantasy/sci-fi thrown in. When you have a coroner who has this much experience with death, through his long career and his firsthand knowledge, solving crimes just gets that much more interesting.

Annette Simpson – Dr. Henry Morgan is an incredible character who has the perfect combination of charm, intelligence, intrigue, whit, and dashing good looks. I guess it IS easy to become the perfect gentleman if you have had 200+ years of experiencing life in many different places and through many hardships. This show develops Henry's character, relationships, and history by weaving his modern story with experiences from his long past. Forever is a story about many different and sometimes complicated relationships. There’s a budding romance between Henry, whose wife disappeared almost 30 years ago, and Jo, who is still processing the sudden death of her lawyer husband. The father/son relationship with characters who "look" like their roles should be reversed is touching and full of wisdom. The protagonist /antagonist relationship between Henry and Adam is riveting and fascinating, considering that Adam has lived for almost 2,000 years and has even more history to share than Henry does. Matt Miller's brilliant storytelling and the superb acting makes this unique police procedural irresistible! Forever appeals to all generations (middle school and up) and a more intellectually savvy audience. If you like to learn about history, science, etc. and you also enjoy police dramas, love stories, and rich character development /relationships, then Forever is a "must watch" for you! Don't miss out on one of the most unique, intellectually stimulating, and entertaining shows to grace the airwaves in, well, forever!

Cathy Carey – Forever was billed as a procedural drama, but it is so much more than that. It turned out to be a family show (age 11+) as people of all ages watched together. Parents LOVED having a show they could watch with their teens that wasn't too graphic or filled with zombies. Adults loved watching with their elderly parents. Forever is filled with great relationships & one harrowing one. It has the best father/son relationship you've ever seen on TV as well as supportive friendship, teamwork, mentorship, beautiful romance, and budding love. There is also an anonymous caller/stalker storyline that weaves in and out. There are fantastic historical flashbacks, philosophical voice over narratives, Oscar and Emmy caliber guest stars, and tremendous heart at the center of it. The cast is the best in the business and once you get to know the characters, you'll find so much humor that calling it a drama is actually a misnomer. There is something, or someone, for everyone in Forever. It was created by Matt Miller, who was also the head writer and show runner. I've listed so many elements to the show, but I can assure you, it is not a convoluted mess. The pacing is perfect and the storylines are easy to follow. I cannot recommend Forever highly enough. It really is the best television show I've ever seen. (I'm 50+.) Please watch; you won't regret it.



Fortitude: Amazon Prime

Ellys Cartin – Welcome to Fortitude. A tiny town on the edge of Arctic Nowhere. The brochures tell visitors it’s a peaceful international community, where everything is white and the Northern Lights are bright. Then, for the first time ever, a gruesome murder rocks the town. What, if anything, could this have to do with a scientist eaten alive by a polar bear, a recently discovered wooly mammoth's body, and the community governor (a splendid Sofie Gråbøl)'s plans for a glacier hotel? In season 1, Inspector Eugene Morton (Stanley Tucci...so good) locks horns with shady town sheriff Dan Andersssen (Richard Dormer) in a search for the truth. It’s an absolutely cativating character drama with sci-fi horror brewing under the surface. The season 1 mystery is wrapped up, and season 2 adds Dennis Quaid and Michelle Fairley to the surviving cast members.



Frequency: Netflix

Darla – I'd never seen the movie, but the whole set-up of the show had me intrigued from the get-go. It's got very smart writing and a brilliant cast. Also, every episode keeps you at the edge of your seat and leaves you wondering what tiny detail might have a bigger consequence that you ever could expect in the future. I also loved how much attention was paid to actually making sure they shot according to the time which part of the story was taking place - whether it was the different music used for 1996 compared to 2016, or the computers and other equipment. This was by far my favorite show of 2016 and it's a shame it was cancelled.

Dahne – Frequency is one of my family’s favorite movies so I was hesitant initially about the idea of remaking it as a TV show. It ended up being an intriguing mystery with a great sci-fi flair. It’s not perfect and Peyton List’s character can get hard to take in places, but the time anomaly plot is very well done and the center mystery is well-executed. The writers obviously had a plan right from the beginning so nothing feels like they were winging it and hoping it would stick. The TV show deviates enough from the movie to become its own story but still holds on to the elements that made it such a great tale originally. Note - You don't need to watch the movie to understand the show.



Fresh Off the Boat: Hulu

Noor – Fresh Off the Boat is simply delightful. It tells the story of the Huangs (based loosely on Eddie Huang's biography), a Chinese-American family of 6 moving to Orlando and learning what it means to find their place in the world. When it's not laugh out loud funny, it's charming and heartwarming. The mother character, Jessica, is by far the best, as her overbearing yet loving nature makes her stand out and reminds me a little bit of my own mom! The kids too are surprisingly good actors, and so adorable and innocent you can't help but love them! The Father Luis and the Grandmother, who only speaks Chinese, as well as the extended family add a very different feel to the show that sets it apart from others. It feels a lot like my family, so I might have extra personal reasons to like it, but it goes to show that it's a step in the right direction for introducing different cultures to the audience. Another thing I love about the show is that it takes place in the 90s. The little future references and jabs at technology are so hilarious, it’s a little treat for my generation. Check it out. If you are not in love with the characters after few episodes, you might have to consult a doctor to locate your missing heart.

Dahne – If for no other reason, you have to check this show out for Constance Wu. She is brilliant portraying Jessica, a self-proclaimed tiger mom whose love for her kids shows in everything she does. Think Beverly Goldberg with less poufy hair and more tendency to hold her kids accountable for their actions. Wu is amazing in this role and is, in my opinion, the best comedic actress on TV. The first few episodes are rough because they focus more on Eddie, the eldest son, but the network soon realized that the real heart of the show is the parents. Once the focus shifted on them, this became one of my favorite new comedies and I am notoriously hard on comedies since so few actually make me laugh. Fresh Off the Boat has laughs in spades but it also has a whole lot of heart. The interactions between the parents and the kids are relatable and awesome as is the relationship between Jessica and Louis. Still, my favorite relationship is between best friends, Jessica and Honey. They are so wildly different in personality but they make for one of the best female bonds on TV and there just are not enough positive female friendships showcased these days.



Fringe: Go90

Christian Chirico – It has 3 of the best characters of all time and the best father-son relationship ever seen on TV in my opinion. ~~~Editorial note: I think the Walter-Peter relationship is by far the best TV father-son bond too. Forever’s Henry and Abe are high on the list as well. -Dahne

DarthLocke – A great science-fiction family saga that unfolds and explores consciousness across parallel universes! It has great characters like the most memorable Walter Bishop, and a well-explained mythology. It's a nice hybrid of a show that can be case of the week but gets more and more serialized. It’s one of Bad Robot's best offerings if you also liked Alias, LOST, or Revolution.

Milo – What happens when Homeland meets the X-Files? The result is something like Fringe, a series that follows FBI Special Agent Olivia Dunham who is assigned to the department's Fringe division that deals with unusual, often unexplained, affairs. The show is one of many that starts off as a procedural before becoming more layered and complex further down the line, and is something that is perfect for fans of The X-Files in particular. Plus, John Noble's performance as a formerly-institutionalized scientist is worth watching this show for alone. He's just so good here.



Galavant: Netflix

Noor – Do you fancy a great fantasy comedy musical that breaks the fourth wall and features ear worm after ear worm and absolutely lovable characters? Then look no further than the amazing, short lived series Galavant! If you need a reason to watch, go to YouTube and check out the Galavant theme song from season 1, which is the first 5 minutes of the pilot. Already hooked? Great my job is done! Season 2 is even better though, as the writers were keenly aware of their cancellation chances so they wasted no time poking fun at it and you won't be surprised to see the cast lamenting the fact they need a new job! It's just 18 episodes, doesn't leave you on a cliffhanger (the characters sing about that too!), and will enrich your play list. If that's not enough to watch, the premiere of season 2 was titled "A New Season, AKA Suck it Cancellation Bear.” For real!

Brandi Merryman – Galavant was hilarious and funny and massively under advertised. It was definitely something different which likely affected its marketing but it was also brilliant. The music is catchy, the cast is perfect and diverse, and they had a good relationship with the audience. Times now are rough and everyone could use a bit of laugh. Nothing makes me laugh like Galavant.

Dahne – This criminally underrated show is pure fun and has more wit than all the other new shows that debuted with it put together. While musicals are not for everyone, Galavant is pure brilliance. The characters are relatable and oh so funny. Plus, in 18 episodes, King Richard has one of the best character arcs of all time. The show is a fun romp that skewers fairy tale topes and isn’t afraid to make fun of itself. Plus, where else do you get lyrics like: “We’re gonna have to kill you if you sing that freaking song. It didn’t win an Emmy so it’s time to move along.” “It’s a good day to die…We won’t. There’s one more episode.” “You’ll know hell’s freezing if we get decent ratings.”



The Good Fight: CBS All Access

Alice Hem - The Good Fight is all that its parent show, The Good Wife, was and more! If you liked The Good Wife, you are going to love it, and better yet, if you have not seen it, you do not need to in order to understand this newcomer. The show follows novice lawyer Mia (played by Rose Leslie from GoT), who is taken under the wing of her godmother and well-established lawyer Diane Lockhart in the aftermath of a family scandal. It is set in Chicago and takes place in an African-American law firm. Less politically oriented than its predecessor, this legal drama clearly reaps cases from the headlines which makes for great and relevant TV material (i.e., cases inspired by Trump’s sexual scandals or related to comment policies on websites). Although all characters are multidimensional, The Good Fight stands out for the strong, complex, and intelligent women that it portrays. You can catch the first season of this gem on CBS All Access.



The Good Guys:

Folielex – Ambitious, but timid and by the book detective Jack Bailey has found his career at a dead end when he’s partnered with Dan Stark, a washed-out veteran detective, who has coasted most of his floundering career on a big kidnapping case he solved back in the 80’s, which ended up being turned into a TV movie. Reminiscent of "the good old days" and buying into the "action hero" persona the TV movie gave his on-screen counterpart, Dan refuses to move on with his life and let go of his drunken, lazy, thoughtless and abrasive behavior, driving Jack crazy and into unwarranted trouble in the process. For the most part The Good Guys is a buddy cop show with all the tropes you'd expect from the genre, but one should really give this fun cop procedural dramedy a try, for no other reason than to see Bradley Whitford give the performance of a lifetime as the "larger than life" Dan Stark. Colin Hanks is also stellar, keeping up with Whitford with ease as Jack Bailey, the straight man of the story. The cast is rounded up by the always lovely Diana Maria Riva playing the frustrated and flustered lieutenant of the duo.



The Good Place: Netflix

Ellys Cartin – In this year's most quirky new comedy with a super fun setup, Eleanor (Kristen Bell) winds up in the afterlife...the Good Place, to be specific. Just one tiny problem. There's been a mixup, and she's not the right Eleanor. To save herself from The Bad Place, Eleanor enlists the guy supposed to be her perfect soulmate, an ethics professor named Chidi, to teach her how to be a good person. A foolproof plan? Not quite. Every time Eleanor messes up, the Good Place glitches. Will her secret stay hidden? Will her perfect neighbor Tahani find out or Good Place custodian Michael (Ted Danson) or AI Janet maybe? By the time you get to the end, you'll want to watch it all over again. It's packed with fun performances and visuals (i.e. Good Eleanor's dream house has clown paintings on the walls!).

Ivan – If you're expecting a comedy where you don’t have to worry if you miss an episode, then this is the wrong show for you. The Good Place turns comedies on its head. This show is a heavily serialized comedy with great character dynamics. Its character growth is at the very top of the scale too.

Lindsey – If you’re into fantasy, comedy, and twist endings, you’ll love The Good Place. This imaginative comedy takes everything you think you know about traditional tv shows and twists them, adding new layers as it goes. This is one of the only shows that will make you laugh and gasp simultaneously. It is definitely worth checking out.



Gotham: Netflix

Joy Haldar – Gotham has an amazing cast, including its child actors. Plus, the acting of Robin Taylor and Corey Smith alone is worth tuning in. Its stunning cinematography is aesthetically pleasing to watch. Scenes are visually engaging with deliberate colorful lighting and actors arranged to create a true depth of field. There is no quickie solution at the last moment as there are no superhero powers, which raises the stakes considerably, and it’s self-contained so no need to watch other superhero shows to avoid confusion during crossover events. Also, no soap opera romances overshadow the ongoing storylines. They stay in the background and in moderation. Gotham has a darker, grittier, and more realistic tone than CW superhero shows and seamlessly executes multiple storylines in a coherent manner. While Jim Gordon and Bruce Wayne are the main protagonists, each character’s story is told, and the show delightfully embraces its own insanity. The best quality about “Gotham” is the pace at which it introduces its villains. There's no magic fix at the end of the hour, raising its unpredictability factor. Last but not least, this show avoids obligatory melodrama. Nearly every action sequence in a CW show is paired with a slow, emotional scene of self-expression. It’s as if they have a drama quota to fill in order to unlock the actual superhero stuff. Is the episode moving at a break-neck pace and full of action? Let’s bring all of that to a screeching halt to have characters talk about their feelings. Not that Gotham doesn’t have its fair share of introspective scenes, but they never hamper the pace of the narrative.


Gravity Falls: Hulu

Carmkarn – Don't let the fact that this is an animated Disney show fool you. This supernatural series covers everything. A pair of twins, Dipper and Mabel, spend the summer in Gravity Falls and discover that it's home to all sorts of mythical creatures and paranormal happenings, like body switching and time travel hijinks, that everyone else seems oblivious to. They deal with all that while slowly uncovering a mystery that may or may not mean the apocalypse is coming. Throughout the show the tone remains playful and fun, but it’s still grounded in characters you care about. If you like scifi/fantasy at all, then I highly recommend you check this out. There is a lot for both kids and adults to enjoy.

LauraLoo – Think Gravity Falls is just for kids? Then you are sorely mistaken and are missing out on one the greatest shows of our time. Combining the mythos of The X-Files with the quirky characters of, well, a kid’s show, Gravity Falls is an immensely creative animated cartoon that is begging for viewership. Follow the Pines twins, Dipper and Mabel, as they embark on a summer vacation at their great uncle’s tourist trap/home, The Mystery Shack. Only nothing is what it seems here, not even their uncle. Dipper is convinced that there are hidden mysteries, supernatural forces, and monsters beyond his imagination. Mabel, on the other hand, just wants to have a fun summer and fawn over cute boys that she meets. (She is a lot better than she sounds, trust me. She’s also fiercely loyal and morally good throughout the series, and that never waivers.) They run into many other adorable characters and some truly scary scenes as well. If this is meant to be for kids, then there are some kids out there that are probably scarred for life now. This show pushed the boundaries on what we should consider appropriate for kids, all the while enriching their imaginations and creative abilities. With seamless animation and excellent serialization in later episodes, this show has widespread appeal for any type of TV watcher. Rich characters and larger than life villains, combined with slick mythologies, make this the perfect time to join the Pines family on their quest to figure out what’s what.



Great News: NBC.com (both seasons) / Hulu (season 2)

Tuna – Great News stars Briga Heelan as an up-and-coming cable news producer whose professional and personal lives collide when her mother, Andrea Martin, gets an internship on her news show. Andrea Martin really is the standout of this show because not only is she great in the role of the mother, but she also is the funniest person on the show and really holds her own in the workplace. The rest of the cast includes Adam Campbell, John Michael Higgins, Horatio Sanz, and Nicole Richie, who is actually very funny in this role. I recommend this show if you like workplace comedies packed with funny hijinks and jokes that come flying at a mile a minute. I actually found myself rewinding quite a bit to catch some of the jokes that just fly right by you. If you also like heartfelt mother and daughter moments, there are plenty of those as well. It really starts getting good around episode 4 so don't give up after the first couple episodes. Stick with it because this show became one of my favorite comedies this year.



About the Author - Dahne
One part teacher librarian - one part avid TV fan, Dahne is a contributing writer for SpoilerTV, where she reviews and/or creates polls for Teen Wolf, How to Get Away with Murder, The Librarians, and others. She also runs the annual Character Cup. She's addicted to Twitter, loves live tweeting, and co-hosted The 100 "Red-Shirted" and Teen Wolf "Welcome to Beacon Hills" podcasts for Southgate Media Group. Previously she wrote a Last Week in TV column for her blog and SpoilerTV. ~ "I speak TV."