Monday, September 19, 2016

Reds look forward to fall TV

HALLIE EPHRON: It's always a little sad when the temperature starts to drop, as it has this past week in New England, and we know that after fall (my second favorite season) will come winter (ick). On the up side, no more "Member Favorites!" on Public TV (exactly whose favorites are they, anyway? And am I the only one that thinks some of these are 'pay to play'?)

The new shows are here!

The other night I watched "Churchill's Secret" on PBS. With the glorious Michael Gambon as Churchill recovering from a stroke that nearly killed him and was kept secret. I'll watch anything with Michael Gambon in it. Michael Gambon aka Albus Dumbledore. The Singing Detective. Michael Gambon whom I had the great pleasure of seeing in London perform in "The Unexpected Man," a two-character play with Eileen Atkins... sitting six rows back center with my young children who were as transported as I was by the performances of two true greats.

And I'm dying to know what our resident expert on Churchill thinks. Susan did you see? And of course it made me think too about what a great TV vehicle Susan's Maggie Hope series will hopefully be.

I'm also watching "Stranger Things" on PBS. Rejoice, X-Files junkies! I am one. Savoring this slowly, so NO SPOILERS! And isn't it nice to see Winona Ryder chewing the scenery. Terrific performances all around. Those kids? Amazing! 

And, don't tell anyone but I'm re-watching Star Trek Voyager.

As the new TV season takes off, what are you looking forward to watching?

SUSAN ELIA MACNEAL: I haven't seen Churchill's Secret yet, Hallie, but can't wait. It was odd to write about his illness in MRS. ROOSEVELT'S CONFIDANTE because I don't believe Maggie Hope would have known, yet had to allude to his pallor, unexplained absences, etc.

Fall TV? Noel and I are looking forward to Once Upon a Time, which we watch with Kiddo and I will admit to still watching Grey's Anatomy after all these years. Right now watching Broadchurch on Netflix — halfway through season 2. And when is The Fall (with Gillian Andersen and Jamie Dornan) coming back?

JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: Oh, gosh, I remember The Fall Season when I was a kid and there were only three channels and PBS (and we drove to our one-room schoolhouse in a buggy...) I would pour over the extra-extra large edition of TV Guide (Didn't everyone have a subscription to TV Guide?) with the pictures and synopses and behind-the-scenes glimpses. Nowadays, I'll notice something about a show online only to discover it was a limited run summer series and I've already missed it!

Can I include shows that won't air in the US until this winter? I'm looking forward to MORE POLDARK. I understand there will be sweaty bare chested mining to replace the sweaty bare chested scything. I'm very much looking forward to Kiefer Sutherland in Designated Survivor. I never saw much 24, so I still think of him as a terrific indy film actor, and the premise sounds fascinating. Also, Shonda Rhimes has a new series out that looks like what you'd get if you mixed Shakespeare, Once Upon a Time and a romance novel together. It's called Still Star-Crossed, and it has an amazing trailer.

Hallie, you're the second person I know to rave about Stranger Things. I'm going to have to try it! Thank God for Hulu Plus, or I'd never be able to catch up on continuing story television.

RHYS BOWEN: I watched Mr. Churchill's Secret on Sunday. It was brilliant. Such a good script and good acting, and it's always interesting to learn something one never knew about a public person. I felt the same about the series telling the life of Prince John, the youngest son of King George V who had epilepsy and died young. I'm also looking forward to more Poldark and, strangely enough, I plan to catch one or two episodes with all the old guys in Asia (you know William Shattner, Henry Winkler etc. I love travel-related shows.)

LUCY BURDETTE: Oh I am not the person to ask about great TV in our house (that would be John!) I watch the PBS news and then head off to read. But I still want to catch up on the latest ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK season and we are several years behind in THE GOOD WIFE. But best of all, I just read that my favorite current show, NASHVILLE, will premiere its season 5 on January 5. I only have to figure out how to either get CMT or stream through Hulu…

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Churchill's Secret, yes, indeed! And the Kiefer Sutherland Designated Survivor, which sounds like a rip-o--er, borrowing from THE MAN by Irving Wallace, right?  And yes, the return of Project Runway. And won't there be a new season of THE AMERICANS? And you know how I love POWER! (The show, you know what I mean.)  
I'm also interested in PITCH, about a woman who's the first to pitch for major league baseball. Hmmm..I wish TIMELESS, the time travel series, was good. But it's not getting good reviews. Bring back QUANTUM LEAP

DEBORAH CROMBIE: Aw, I was looking forward to TIMELESS. I'll give it a try in spite of the reviews. I love time travel shows, and yes, bring back QUANTUM LEAP.

Also looking forward to DESIGNATED SURVIVOR. I got burned out on the last couple of seasons of 24, but I do love Kiefer, and it's an interesting premise. And POLDARK! (I was a huge fan of Aidan Turner from a show called BEING HUMAN, long before he was cast in POLDARK.)

I loved CHURCHILL'S SECRET, too. That's the ONLY thing I'm current on. I seem to get farther and farther behind on TV. We're just starting Season 1 of TREME!

Oh, and am going to look up STRANGER THINGS right now! Thanks for the tip, Hallie.

HALLIE: So how about the rest of you? What are you looking forward to seeing or catching up on as the temperatures drop?


  1. Oh, Julia, those Fall Preview issues of TV GUIDE were spectacular; the current TV GUIDE is a sad imitation of those wonderful issues.

    STRANGER THINGS and DESIGNATED SURVIVOR are both on my list of shows to watch in this new television season and, although remakes of anything are usually despicable and disappointing, I’m hoping the new MACGYVER will be an exception.

  2. I had a wonderful conversation with a tv writer at Bouchercon--and I asked him about bad shows. Don't the writers and producers realize the show is going to flop? How does that happen? (you know the kinds of shows I mean, the ones that are just unbearable). And he said the writers are just so close to it they just keep hoping-- and in his opinion, they just don't see reality.

  3. It's true in the theatre, too... people in the show usually don't know if it's a smash or a flop until the morning after opening night.

  4. Great timing on this. Alexandra Samuel has a wonderful article in the WSJ today on TV: 5 Questions to help you determine What to Watch, When to Watch, How to Watch it, and with Whom to Watch. She has a Blog and suggestions on how to get ideas - one of them being just what you are doing - ask your friends.

    Susan's tastes seem to align with mine, minus Grey's Anatomy. I would add in The Americans - it is a really good drana with a great premise (KGB spies embedded in the U.S. raise a family). Samuel suggests 3 shows I never heard of: Borgen, Catastrophe, and Halt and Catch Fire. Have to try those. The article is - might be behind the paid wall. Here is a similar article on her blog

  5. No time for tv--too much work (a good thing, though)--and spare time goes to yardwork, getting it ready for that 'W' word. But, I confess I miss those International House Hunter shows--like mini glimpses into other cultures--what the living spaces are like in Amsterdam along a canal, or in Singapore, or Mumbai, or the heart of Rome. And guessing which place will be chosen.

    And a big yes, to bringing back Scott Bakula in Quantum Leap--the Vietnam episodes were my all-time favorites, but loved the episode where he's in Texas and an unknown kid with big glasses is singing "Piggy Sue."

  6. Thanks for those links, John - Going to check them out now.

    Quantum Leap? Really???

  7. The Girl loved, loved, LOVED Stranger Things and is very much looking forward to Season 2 (as long as the same girl comes back to play Eleven). Having not watched it, I don't know what she's talking about.

    For us, The Blacklist (we're catching up on last season now - yay Netflix!) and Longmire. For total popcorn, brain-dead viewing, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Gotham. We have a tone of Arrow and The Flash on the DVR, but I seriously wonder if we'll ever get around to watching it. It's been there forever.

    We're kind of over the time-travel thing. You know, going back to change things or save the world. But I loved Quantum Leap.

    Aside from running into Hank by the elevators, I missed all the Reds at Bouchercon. Wah! One of the few disappointments.

  8. Mary, I love Longmire, too. I still have a few from the last season to watch. Waiting to find out whether Henry Standing Bear has gone over to the dark side.

    Give The Girl a high-five from me.

  9. I really loved Season 1 of STRANGER THINGS, which I watched on Netflix. The acting is great. They resolved almost nothing in the final episode, so I hope Season 2 will not go completely over-the-top with the supernatural/conspiracy plotline. Is anyone watching MR. ROBOT? I thought from the title that it was some kind of sci-fi Transformers-type thing, but it's apparently a critically acclaimed show about a computer security guy who is recruited to be a "hacktivist." I'm going to give it a try. I've also been enjoying old seasons of AMERICAN CRIME--great acting from Timothy Hutton and Felicity Huffman.

  10. Except for Netflix, I'm not turning on the TV until the first Wednesday in November. I can't deal with the vitriol and lies in the political ads. So I'll be keeping my eyes and ears open about which shows to watch in reruns. But I really won't miss it. I am looking forward to the new episodes of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix.

    It was great to see Hank, Debs, Rhys (and John), but my only glimpse of Susan was when she was on her panel. Sorry to miss you, Susan! It didn't help that I spent so much time recuperating in my room, I guess.

  11. Susan S. W.: - I'm not watching Mr. Robot but with last night's Emmy looks like it's worth watching. Based on your rec, I'll try American Crime. I'm a huge Felicity Huffman fan, ever since Sports Night.

    Karen, how miserable to be sick traveling. When all you want is your own bed. I confess I was a bit disappointed by the last season of Kimmy Schmidt which I haven't finished watching, for that reason. I'd loved the first one so much. Like lightning in a bottle.

  12. Oooh, I love this post! Julia, yes, about Still Star-Crossed (adore Shonda Rhimes) and Hank, I haven't heard about Pitch but sounds terrific.

    And, John, yes, The Americans, how could I forget that? It's getting so good with the daughter's involvement.... Thank you for the links.

    Karen, sorry to have missed you, too! I spent a lot of time in the room, writing, alas.....

  13. I watched Mr. Robot Season 1. It was one of the darkest shows I have ever seen. Brilliant but hard to internalize. I am anticipating Orphan Black. Tatiana Massany is the new Meryl Strep in my opinion. Blindspot, Quantico, and Legends of Tomorrow fill my secret love of schlock. I am considering subscribing to for the new Star Trek. PBS is not on demand where I live. I don't watch much of this channel anymore. I need the on demand feature to rewind when I don't catch the closed captioning. I spend more time these days reading than watching; a good thing that.

    When ever the Blogger asks me to prove I am not a robot, my inner voice is saying "and I am also not Mr. Robot. thank goddess.

  14. Is ORPHAN BLACK still going? I love Tatiana Massanay, but after two seasons, the show got so crazy complicated with cadres of different, opposing evil forces that I had to give up. I loved the soccer mom clone though!

  15. I loved the show Being Human with Aidan Turner (I especially liked Annie played by Lenora Crichlow), and I'm glad to see him back in Poldark. Designated Survivor sounds very intriguing, and I do like Kiefer Sutherland ~

  16. On "shows going crazy" - a lot of them do seem to after a good season or two. I was riveted by Scandal and then... Also How to Get Away With Murder. I miss The Good Wife which did some 'going crazy' but kept its sanity. Largely.

  17. I adore Lenora Crichlow. Wonder what she's doing these days? I actually modeled a character after her in the new book.

    I'm not seeing any good new UK cop/detective shows on the radar? Anyone know of anything?

    Talking about the old TV Guide reminded me that the first thing I do in London is buy a copy of the Radio Times (which also has full TV schedule) to see what's on. My British friends think this is hysterical, but somebody else must read it....

  18. I was thinking of subscribing to BBC TV... anyone have it and watch it?

  19. Last night there was a behind-the-scenes Poldark Revealed show on PBS, and at the end they indicated the new season will be starting next Sunday--can't wait!! And I agree with those of you who loved Quantum Leap. Scott Bakula is still a crush of mine. I had never watched Gilmore Girls but decided to start watching on Netflix, and I'm now in the middle of season 4 and thoroughly enjoying it. I hope I finish season 7 before the three new 90-minute episodes are released in November. And last night my husband and I watched episode 2 of Stranger Things. Our son told us we have to at least make it through the third episode, and things will pick up considerably. Intriguing but slow so far IMO. I'm also hoping for the return of Last Tango in Halifax, another fantastic BBC show with Derek Jacoby and Nicola Walker. Season 4 has been delayed because it hasn't been written yet, and it will air first in the UK anyway.

    I watched the first episode of Speechless on demand (it debuts this week), and I was very pleasantly surprised. That's the one with Minnie Driver as the mother of a disabled son and "Kripke" of Big Bang Theory as the father. I've also set my DVR this week for This is Us, The Good Place, Bull, Lethal Weapon,and Macgyver. Actually, I'm hoping I don't like too many of the new shows because they will time away from reading. :)

    As for returning shows, I'm not ashamed to admit I'm already involved with Dancing with the Stars and Project Runway.

  20. Susan,

    It's funny that I love Once Upon A Time.


    Did they show the movie about Prince John, the youngest of King George and Queen Mary, in the USA or only in England? I asked because I notice some shows in England are not shown in the USA. Did you know that Henry Winkler co wrote a children's book series with Lin Oliver?

    Great comments, everyone!

    I saw Churchill's Secret two weeks ago. One show that I look forward to is the premiere of Supergirl in October with Lynda Carter playing the President of the United States.


  21. Karen - one of the great things about living in a state like Maine is that our two little electoral votes don't get anybody excited, so we don't see many political ads. My sister who lives in Northern VA, on the other hand...I think they squeeze in some TV between the wall-to-wall politicking.

    Interesting how many of usdon't watch television on TV, as it were. In my house, we only have cable for the internet, so we stream almost everything. I think we only ever watch broadcast for fall college football games. I have an Amazon Prime and Hulu Plus subscription, and the Smithie has Netflix, so we're covered at a lot less than our local internet + TV bundle.

    I believe the fact everyone is storing or streaming shows is why we have so much good novelistic TV these days. You have to be able to see episodes when it's convenient for you or else you're never going to catch up with the plot developments!

  22. Julia, if it weren't for sports, we'd ditch the broadcast TV in a New York second and I'd go with one of the Amazon Prime subscriptions to supplement our Netflix subscription. We watch so little network TV these days, and most of that is also available other places.

  23. Orphan Black ran (will run) for 5 seasons. Massaney just won the Emmy for last years season. // I subscribe to BBC America ... is this the channel you were wondering about Hallie?

    Julia I wish I did live in ME.. it turns out Central Florida may be one of the tipping points for this election. I want to stand at my door and say.. 'go away now please".

  24. Poldark....yes! Can't wait for it to start. I'll be watching Longmire also. Started up on American Horror Story last week. I don't know about this season yet. They are doing a riff on those ghost series with interviews with the "real" people and actors doing the reenactment. I love Once Upon a Time and am looking forward to that starting up again. Hook's my man! I don't know about Timeless; I'll have to check that out. I like Ripper Street on BBC; it may be over already. I missed Churchill. We were traveling last week. I don't know if it's recorded or not. I am really looking forward to Bruce Campbell playing Ash on Evil Dead. That should be happening soon too.

  25. Poring over the TV Guide when the new season started was right up there with studying the Sears and Roebuck catalog before school started each fall. Now I'm not much of a television watcher and I dislike shopping, go figure. The constant, however, is reading. Loved it then, love it now.

  26. No tv - to us it's a netflix and DVD box. Sigh. I so want to see Churchill's Secret! I'm hoping it's netflix bound before too long.

    Julia, I did exactly the same thing when I was a kid. I'd plan out my watching, but even then, I didn't watch much. Just planned for it. Nothing said "New Year" like the smell of pencils in the school box and the wonderful fall TV debuts.

  27. Oh Deborah - which book did you model a character after Lenora/Annie? Garden of Lamentations? Thanks!

  28. I am looking forward to Longmire and The Crown on Netflix, Elementary, and Broadchurch season 3 (in 2017).

    The Crown will be a biographical story about the reign of Queen Elizabeth II. Claire Foy plays the Queen, and Matt Smith plays Prince Philip.

  29. The Crown! I did not know about that..thank you, Angela!

    Pauline--thank you, too! Hurray! (I am almost afraid to watch it--is it still good?)