Monday, September 22, 2014

PCP on TV - 2014-2015 TV preview - What's on my DVR?

It's fall now, so it is time for the return of my annual TV preview. Sorry this is late, some shows have already begun, but I've been swamped at work lately. Welcome to the 4th edition of this post! Wow, I can't believe I've been running this blog for that long. Anyways, once again, here's my recap of all the shows that I'll be watching this fall, plus what is returning from last year, and what got cut. If you're not watching some of these shows, you're missing out! Also, you may notice some formatting changes from last year's post, I tried to streamline things for you to make things simpler.

Making their debut this year:
I think this year is our smallest additions to the DVR in a long time. That's probably a good thing, as it was starting to get a bit overwhelming with how many shows we watched.

Black-ish - This comedy focusing on an African-American family in a multicultural America is a big risk for ABC, but some are calling it an updated Cosby Show. It'll be interesting to see how Laurence Fishburne does in a comedy, something he hasn't done in a long time. Anthony Anderson should be pretty funny in the starring role at least. It makes its bow on September 24th.

The Flash - Arrow is already one of my favorite shows on TV, and it really got great during its 2nd season. During last season, it introduced the character that would become the Flash, and they are expanding the universe with this spin off. Considering there will be crossovers between the two shows, it's a natural fit to add this one to the DVR. Plus, it looks pretty good. The Flash speeds on to our TV on the CW network on October 7th.

Gotham - Although it is not tied to the same television universe as Arrow and The Flash, Gotham City is obviously a big part of the DC universe. This prequel show on Fox focuses on a young Detective Gordon, long before he becomes commissioner, and a Bruce Wayne that's still a child. The early buzz on this show is that it is the best new show of the fall, so that sounds pretty promising. Gotham begins on Monday September 22nd.

Marvel's Agent Carter - Marvel continues to expand its universe, and unlike DC is still keeping things tied together (they also have shows on some characters like Daredevil coming to Netflix in the near future). Agent Cater is the female agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. back in the founding days of the organization in the 1940s, played by Hayley Atwell, and she was Steve Rogers' (Captain America) love interest back in his films. This retro show should be pretty fun, but still tie in to the overall Marvel universe of films and television, so in a sense it is required viewing. It is only going to be a partial season show, filling the gap of the two halves of its corporate sibling Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. when that show goes on a production break. It's debut date is TBD at the present time, but look for it in 2015 probably, or in December of this year.

State of Affairs - Katherine Heigl, who used to be one of my biggest Hollywood crushes a decade ago, returns to television as a CIA agent in a new series involving espionage, and with the US President played by Alfre Woodard. It'll be interesting to see if Heigl can play someone tough, after playing someone neurotic in practically every movie she's done lately. It could be good, and it could be terrible, but this is one my wife wants to watch, and considering I'm adding three comic book shows this year, I kind of owe her one. It doesn't make its start until November 17th on NBC.

After the jump, read on for what's returning to the DVR and what got cut! --->

Returning shows we watch:
You may notice if you paid close attention to the 2013-2014 post that there are some shows on here that weren't mentioned in the preview for last year. This is because we added a few more shows after that post got written and I was just too busy to amend it. Unlike last year's post, where I put them in their own section, here I'm just including them in this section. Same with the HBO/Showtime/Netflix shows that we have to wait to catch on DVD, those are also now lumped into this section instead of being their own section. 

The Americans - F/X Network's Cold War spy saga really has some incredible performances, especially from Keri Russell, and some great tension. If you aren't watching this one, you are really missing out. Luckily, it is only about to start its third 13 episode season, so if you want to get caught up, you can binge watch the first 26 episodes in a very short time. F/X has not announced a premiere date yet, but based on the past two years, look for this one to come out some time in January or February.

American Horror Story - American Horror Story: Coven was the first season of American Horror Story that we watched, and like each of the two previous seasons, it was a self contained story independent from the other seasons. Coven, a story about witches in New Orleans, was okay, but I'm hoping for better out of the new one, which is called American Horror Story: Freak Show. Look for that one to make its bow on October 8th over on F/X.

Arrow - In its second season, Arrow really excelled and quickly became one of my favorite shows on TV. I'm looking forward to seeing the new storyline for season 3, featuring Ra's Al Ghul, the villain from Batman Begins. Too bad they aren't having Liam Neeson reprise his role, but it should still be fun to watch. Also, there will be crossovers with its spin-off, The Flash, as well, so those should be big events for the series as well. Its season begins the same night as AHS: Freak Show, on October 8th on the CW.

The Big Bang Theory - BBT is going to be on our DVR for quite awhile, since it was renewed for three seasons! Not surprising, considering it is a ratings juggernaut. The question is will people still watch it on a different night? Because CBS has the rights to Thursday Night Football for the first half of the NFL season, BBT is starting out its season on Mondays before returning to its normal time slot. Hopefully it will be over each week before Monday Night Football's game begins, otherwise it might take a hit in the ratings. The 8th season makes its bow on September 22nd, picking up a few months after the season 7 finale saw Sheldon leave town.  
Castle - Season six promised us a wedding between Rick and Kate, only to throw a last minute curveball and have Castle's car have a fiery crash in the season finale. The season 7 premiere picks up immediately after the finale left off, and the show is promising some new story elements this year including more dives into Castle's past. The fun cop show comes back on September 29th on ABC.

Dallas - As I write this, Dallas is still airing episodes from the back half of season 3, with its season finale airing on September 22nd. The reboot had to get through season 3 without the legendary Larry Hagman, who died in the real world, ending his J.R. Ewing once and for all, and they did a decent job of it without him, keeping the show interesting. Thus far, there is no word from TNT as to whether or not the show will get a 4th season.

Game of Thrones - The best show on HBO isn't going away any time soon, getting a renewal for seasons 5 & 6 last year. Pretty soon they are going to catch up to the books, so writer George R.R. Martin needs to plant his fat butt in a chair and write faster. I love this show, having read the books, but my wife also enjoys it and she hasn't read them. Part of the fun for me is watching the look on her face when a jaw-dropping twist happens that I knew about but she didn't.  Unfortunately, like everything on HBO, it only airs for a handful of episodes a year, so we have to wait until April 2015 for season 5.

Girl Meets World - Yes, my wife and I watch a show aimed at kids. We grew up on the original Boy Meets World, along with so many others of our generation, so of course we were going to start watching its sequel. Its a fun trip down nostalgia lane, especially when stars from Boy Meets World put in an appearance. The Disney Channel has picked it up for a second season, no word yet on when that will air specifically, except it will be in 2015.

Graceland - The USA Network's summer undercover federal agents series is actually quite good summertime fare, following a group of undercover agents as they try to take down various gangs and cartels in Los Angeles. The season 2 finale was on September 10th, but there is no word yet from USA as to whether or not the show is going to be back next summer. I sure hope it returns, as it is a fun little show. If it doesn't, I'm going to be pissed, given the cliffhanger ending of season 2.

Homeland - The best show on Showtime should be radically different in season 4 as it <SEASON 3 SPOILER ALERT> deals with the fallout from the death of Brody and the relocation of the primary action to Istanbul and Pakistan. It will also be interesting to see how the show addresses the real life death of James Rebhorn, the actor that played Claire Danes' Carrie's father. This will be an interesting season of the show, as everything is primarily on Claire Danes' shoulders now, with the exit of Damian Lewis from the cast. The season begins on October 5th with a 2 hour season premiere.

The Lottery - Think of this show as the film Children of Men, only with 100 pregnant women instead of one. We started watching this Lifetime channel dystopia this summer, but have fallen a bit behind and have a few episodes on the DVR that we still need to clear before the season 1 finale ends on September 28th. No word yet from Lifetime if it is going to get a 2nd season or not.

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - S.H.I.E.L.D. got a lot better in the back half of its season, after the dramatic upheavals in the Marvel Universe following the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. If the show can maintain the level of awesomeness it had in its final 8 episodes, then we should see some great things with the show this season as Coulson and the team have to rebuild the agency from the ground up. Joining the cast this season also is Xena herself, Lucy Lawless, which should inject some new energy into the show. They return to ABC on September 23rd.

The Millers - I was not expecting this show about an extremely dysfunctional family to be as funny as it was, but it was a very enjoyable sitcom that debuted last year after Big Bang Theory on CBS. With a very funny cast led by Will Arnett, The Millers had me very consistently cracking up. Unfortunately, unlike BBT, CBS is holding the premiere of this one until after they are done with their part of the NFL season on Thursday Nights, so it doesn't begin until October 30th.

Nashville - ABC's country music soap features a great cast and some pretty good music too (and I normally don't like country music), and it promises to be just as naughty in its 3rd season as its been in its first two. I'm expecting the show to write the real life pregnancy of star Hayden Panettiere into the show, with a "who's the baby's daddy?" storyline, natch. The music starts on September 24th. Also, my wife will be traveling to Nashville this November for business, I'm hoping she runs into some of the stars and gets photos or autographs!

Orange is the New Black - This summer, my wife and I watched the first season of this great Netflix series set in a woman's prison, but we still have to catch season 2. Fortunately, we've got plenty of time before season 3 comes out in 2015. This show is unlike anything else we watch, and that's really refreshing, as it is a very interesting and compelling series, but also very funny too.

The Originals - This one came close to winding up in the axed category, as my wife just wasn't feeling this one until very late in its first season. It is hard to give up on though, since events that unfold here can also have an impact on its parent show, The Vampire Diaries. Hopefully, the show gets a lot better in its second season. It comes back to the CW on October 6th.

Orphan Black - This show has become my go-to recommendation show, when friends or coworkers ask me "what show should I watch next?" The lead actress, Tatiana Maslany, is utterly incredible, turning in the best performances on television. The very twisty cloning saga is easily in the top 3 shows on TV as far as I'm concerned, and if you haven't watched it yet, you have plenty of time to catch up on the first two seasons (they're only 10 episodes each) before season 3 comes back to BBC America in April 2015.

Reign - In my fall preview post last year, I was convinced that Reign wouldn't be that good of a show, but it turns out it was a lot more fun that we thought it would be. My description of "The Tudors but for a younger crowd" turned out to be a pretty accurate prediction, and like The Tudors, we found ourselves enjoying this one too. The Queen reigns again on October 2nd on the CW.

Scandal - The season 3 finale dropped quite a few bombshells including the death of a couple of characters, so it will be interesting to see how the show picks up the pieces from there. 2014 is an election year though, and my wife and I might start to get politics burnout and stop watching the show if it isn't in top form. Hopefully it'll be good and entertaining. It comes back to ABC on September 25th.

Sleepy Hollow - On paper, this show should have been a mess. A man wakes up 230 years into the future and fights evil in modern America, including conspiracies that go back to the Revolutionary War. It turned out to be the best new show last year, consistently funny and entertaining, while also being very thrilling. I loved the twisty plot of the show and the creepy supernatural villains, and I can't wait to see where the show goes in season 2. We'll also get a lot more of the show this year, as Fox ordered 18 episodes for the season, as opposed to last year's 13. The season begins on September 22nd.

South Park - Last year, Comedy Central renewed South Park for 3 seasons, so we'll have plenty more crazy adventures and funny political commentary from the warped minds of Trey Parker & Matt Stone. The first teaser commercial for the 18th season shows that the controversy over the Washington Redskins is going to be hit with their satire cannon, and had me cracking up. You can watch the video clip yourself here: (LINK) The series returns on September 24th.

The Strain - F/X began this series this summer, and it is still currently airing, with it's season 1 finale airing on October 5th. It covers a vampire apocalypse that spreads like a plague from a parasite, based on a pretty good trilogy of books co-written by Chuck Hogan and Guillermo Del Toro. The series has its ups and downs, but as the vampire apocalypse continues to spread, there should be more and more action, which is when the show really shines, with good action and freaky monsters. Look for season 2 to come out next summer.

True Detective - I don't think HBO is capable of making bad television. True Detective was an outstanding short series with only 8 episodes in its first season, and featuring some incredible performances from Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, as they worked on a violent and disturbing case in rural Louisiana. HBO is going to make the show an anthology, with each season featuring a different case as well as different actors. They have not announced the official casting for season 2 yet, which will premiere some time in 2015, but Colin Farrell announced on his Twitter feed over the weekend that he was going to be one of the actors on the show next season. He's a better actor than many give him credit for, so I'm already looking forward to that season.

The Vampire Diaries - With True Blood retiring this year, The Vampire Diaries is now the longest running vampire series currently on TV as it is set to begin its 6th season on the CW. Although it stumbled a few times last season with some of its villains and plot convolutions, it still is a highly entertaining show, and it's cliffhanger at the end of season 5 was a pretty big bombshell, jeopardizing fan favorite character Damon. They better find a way to bring him back, because the show wouldn't be the same without him. We'll begin to find out his fate when it returns on October 2nd.

The Walking Dead - Another show that left its characters in a cliffhanger bind at the end of its last season, The Walking Dead is one of my favorite shows on TV because every character is truly in jeopardy. The source comic book material is not afraid to kill off characters regularly, and the show does the same, which is only fitting in a zombie apocalypse. And unlike Game of Thrones, the show actually wildly diverts from the books, so events and characters are different, including how they meet their demise. Because of this, I'm on the edge of my seat with every episode, since you never know when someone is going to get killed, usually in a horribly gory way. AMC's biggest hit returns for a 16 episode 5th season on October 12th, right in time for Halloween.

Witches of East End - This supernatural ladies witchcraft show over on the Lifetime network was omitted from last year's TV preview as my wife decided we were going to watch it after the post had gone live. And because of its shortened seasons (10 and 13 episodes each, respectively), Lifetime has already nearly finished its second season, with the finale airing on October 12th. No word yet on whether or not the soapy supernatural show will get a 3rd season, but I'd actually surprisingly miss it if it isn't renewed.

Axed from the DVR:

Almost Human - Although uneven at times, this sci-fi show was starting to show some promise at the end of its first season and it had set up some good storylines for next year, so I will miss this one. The chemistry between the leads Karl Urban and Michael Ealy was pretty great too, but oh well. I guess that's what I get for going with a sci-fi show on Fox. For every X-Files or Fringe that has a long run, there's two or three of a show like Firefly, Dollhouse, Alcatraz, Terra Nova, or this one that gets killed off too soon.

Betrayal - I watched the first episode of this one and thought that the show was pretty dull. My wife made it all the way through the 13 episode first season, but she was one of the few watching it, and ABC gave it the axe. I'm not going to miss it.

Dexter - The show wrapped it's eighth and final season with probably one of the most disappointing planned series finales I've ever seen. I used to love this show but it had jumped the shark ever since season 4 (the Trinity Killer season), so it won't be missed too much.

Dracula -  This show really didn't find its footing until the back half of it's season, finally getting good in the last two episodes. Unfortunately, it lost pretty much all of its audience along the way, and wasn't renewed for a 2nd season by NBC, which I can't blame them for.

Elementary - This one was renewed by CBS, but it is one of four shows that we are axing this year despite their being renewed (the other three being Girls, Glee, and Hawaii 5-O). While I liked the show and the actors involved, it just wasn't doing enough to hold our interest.

Girls - Lena Dunham's show on HBO is bold and original. Unfortunately, I just have grown to dislike the characters too much, and I don't think that I'm in the target demographic for this show at all. I just found myself watching the show and wondering "why am I watching this?" way too often, so I'm just going to cut my losses now. It should be back on HBO in January for its next season, but I won't be tuning in.

Glee - This show kind of jumped the shark for us after the death of Corey Monteith. Once Fox moved it to Tuesdays at the same time of Agents of Shield and the Originals, we had to stop recording it because we could only do two shows at once, and we discovered we didn't really miss it all that much. This upcoming season of the show will be its last, but we won't be watching it.

Hawaii 5-O - Although renewed by CBS, we decided to give this one a cut midway through last year, just due to having too many shows on the DVR. It was filled with gorgeous scenery, but otherwise it was just your average procedural.

Hostages - Despite having a great cast including Toni Collette & Dylan McDermot, this attempt at a thriller wasn't particularly thrilling or good. We stopped watching after 3 episodes, and CBS isn't bringing it back for another season. I wish we had never put this one on the DVR, because I chose this over timeslot competitor The Blacklist, which was renewed. Can't win them all, I guess.

Ironside - This Blair Underwood detective series was cancelled by NBC after like 2 episodes, before we even had a chance to start watching it, so I don't think we missed anything.

Nikita -The CW was nice enough to give this show 6 final episodes to wrap up its story, and it went out with a bang. I liked this show a lot so I'm sad to see it go. Maggie Q sure knows how to kick ass! Too bad her new show, Stalker, is getting all sorts of negative press.

Star Crossed - This sci-fi show on the CW was actually getting pretty good on the second half of its season, but unfortunately it seems no one other than my wife and I were watching it, except for William Shatner (yes, that William Shatner), who tried to pressure the CW to save the show, to no avail.

The Tomorrow People - Another sci-fi show on the CW that was pretty entertaining but couldn't find an audience to save its life, just like Star Crossed. It's season (series) finale was a game changer, and it would've been really interesting to see what they would've done with a second season. Too bad we'll never find out.

Trophy Wife - This comedy about a really messed up extended family was actually pretty funny and entertaining, but sadly ABC decided to cancel it after its first season. It's too bad, because we really liked this one.

True Blood - This past summer saw the 7th and final season of this vampire series on HBO. Unfortunately, since I don't have HBO, I won't be watching that until the last season comes out on DVD. Hopefully that will be soon. I have heard from friends though that it disappoints at the end like Dexter, which is too bad.

Alright, that's what we're watching this year. Do you think I've missed anything new or returning that I need to be watching? Think I shouldn't have dropped Girls, Glee, Elementary, or Hawaii 5-O? Argue your case in the comments!

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