Notes On The New Season By A Heavy TV Viewer

My wife and I currently have 56 series queued up on our DVR: 36 broadcast series, 14 ad-supported cable series, and six premium cable series.  Of those, 38 are on this fall.  There are also seven or eight original Netflix series that we regularly watch (often the week they become available, but sometimes several weeks or even months later).  

Note to advertisers: We watch less than half of our recorded shows within three days of its initial broadcast, and roughly 25% after we accumulate two or three episodes so we can binge-watch them.

Here are some thoughts on some of the shows I’ve been watching since the new TV season began.

“Fear the Walking Dead” (AMC) – Consistently intense and compelling.  Each season is better than the last.

“Ray Donovan” (Showtime) – I can’t recall the last time a show went from being so good to so bad in one season.  If killing off (spoiler) was supposed to open up creative avenues, it did just the opposite, making the show more depressing.



“This is Us” (NBC) – Still hits all the right notes and tugs on all the right heart strings.

“NCIS” franchise/ “Criminal Minds”/ “Blue Bloods” (CBS) – All these returning procedurals are still enjoyable and entertaining.

“Empire” (FOX) – Sadly, its fourth season is only a shadow of its great first season.

“The Blacklist” (NBC) – James Spader continues to shine and the show continues to effectively combine action and humor.

“The Good Doctor” (ABC) – I know a few doctors who think the premise is absurd and the show is ridiculously unrealistic.  But they are probably not the target audience.  The first episode was great, and ratings were solid.  Let’s see if they can maintain it on a weekly basis without becoming repetitive.

“The Mayor (ABC) – Excellent cast, uplifting, timely cultural references, funny — the best new comedy of the season.

“Ten Days in the Valley” (ABC) – I love Kyra Sedgwick, so I wanted to like this.  But there was simply nothing to like about it.  None of the characters are interesting or sympathetic, and I just didn’t care about any of them or what they were experiencing.

“Marvel’s Inhumans" (ABC) – I’m one of those familiar with these characters from the Marvel comics.  Based on reviews I’d heard coming out of San Diego Comic Con, from its IMAX debut, and the fact that no pilot was available before the season, I was ready for an epic fail.  In fact, I was disappointed in the show, but I do see some potential here (if it can attract enough viewers to sustain it).  I do think it’s better suited to Netflix, though.  

“Seal Team” (CBS)/ “The Brave” (NBC) – It’s hard to explain exactly why “Seal Team” is so much better than “The Brave.” Still, it has a better cast and better writing, plus more depth – you feel more for the characters and their relationships.  CBS knows the audience for this type of show.

“Young Sheldon” (CBS) – The pilot was funny, and following “Big Bang Theory” should help it succeed.  My only concern is whether the set-up will get stale over time.

“9JKL” (CBS) – I watched the first episode with my wife and mother-in-law (who usually likes CBS comedies).  We turned it off halfway through.

“The Orville” (FOX) – Still can’t decide whether this is a “Star Trek” homage or parody, but it’s been growing on us.

“The Gifted” (FOX) – Surprisingly good.  Takes place in the X-Men universe, and might be the best show about people with super powers on television.

“Will & Grace”(NBC) – I was hoping it would be as funny and topical as the original, but my suspicion was that it would not only be less witty, but dated as well (especially with the annoying nonstop laugh track).  My suspicion won out over my hope, but ratings were good.

The new TV season is upon us with seemingly less fanfare than ever before, which makes the broadcast networks’ stubborn refusal to promote one another’s new series (despite doing so with their real competitors, namely cable networks and streaming services) mind-bogglingly short-sighted.  There is no question that ratings would be higher for many new (and returning) shows had they done so.

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