Managing Editor, Annamarie Carlson, shares her television expertise with a go-to guide for returning shows and new series debuting this fall.
I’m a television junkie. I cannot tell you when it started or how I function each week in between classes, my thesis, and running the web-components of The Sandspur (yes, all those emails you receive are from me.) It simply doesn’t make sense that I have time to watch as much television as I do in a typical week.
Regardless of how much television manages to squeeze itself into my schedule, in my pseudo-expert opinion I am hoping to provide you, dear reader, with a go-to guide to some of fall’s new and returning shows. Now that many series are well underway–or at the very least, have finally begun–take a peek at what you should be (or shouldn’t be) tuning into next week.
Most Exciting New Show: Once Upon a Time in Wonderland
When: Thursdays, 8 p.m.
What: Taking place in the same universe as the hit fairytale spectacular, Once Upon a Time, Once Upon a Time in Wonderland focuses on Alice who–along with her best friend, the Knave of Hearts–returns to Wonderland to save her love, Cyrus, who is really the genie from Aladdin. Are you confused yet?
Why: After the first episode, I was hooked. Alice is a strong, powerful female; the guys are hot (not a requirement, but helpful); and the locale and plot have enough going for them to keep me watching. However, the show will need to stick to the whole-story-in-one-season arc it promised to keep my attention. Spreading this out any more just makes it Once Upon a Time with different characters.
Final Rating: 4/5
Most Exciting Returning Show: Scandal
When: Thursdays, 10 p.m.
What: Drama, drama, drama! Scandal follows the story of a president of the United States and the people who got him elected, specifically, Olivia Pope. Pope, along with her team of gladiators, runs a crisis management firm to help protect the public image of the nation’s elite.
Why: This political thriller is so much more than a two-sentence summary, but is nearly impossible to summarize without spoiling the plot. Each week piles on twists and turns that are shocking enough to constantly keep you guessing while still being believable enough (when placed in the twisted world on Washington) to keep you watching.
Final Rating: 5/5
Need to catch up? Here’s how: Netflix
Show in the Middle: How I Met Your Mother
When: Mondays, 8 p.m.
What: How I Met Your Mother is just what it sounds like: a show where a father (Ted) tells his kids how he met their mother. After eight seasons getting to know Ted and his buddies, this final season has finally introduced the mother that Ted took so very long to meet.
Why: The cast is phenomenal, the love stories are heart-warming, and the dialogue is humorous without seeming faked or forced. Unfortunately, this season simply hasn’t been as strong. Gone are the familiar hangouts and quick stories; instead, the entire season is dedicated to one, wedding weekend. The new focus has taken away from the dynamics that used to make the show so appealing.
Final Rating: 3/5
Need to catch up? Here’s how: Netflix
Most Disappointing New Show: The Crazy Ones When: Thursdays, 9 p.m. Where: CBS What: A dad (Robin Williams) and his daughter (Sarah Michelle Gellar) work together at an advertising agency in Chicago. Why: I keep tuning into this show because it has so much potential. The all-star cast could be phenomenal: Robin Williams in his comedic element and Sarah Michelle Gellar of “Buffy” fame. Every week I am repeatedly disappointed. The show just isn’t funny. It doesn’t have great dialogue to make each episode watchable, and it doesn’t have a strong enough story to keep me tuning in to follow the plot. There is nothing crazy—or anything crazy good at least—about this show. Final Rating: 1/5
Most Disappointing Returning Show: Glee
When: Thursdays, 9 p.m. Where: Fox
What: If you haven’t heard of Glee (have you been living under a rock?), the show is a musical-comedy-drama explosion that tells the story of a bunch of teenagers who are/were part of their high school glee club.
Why: Glee has gone from awesome to cool to watchable to nauseating in as many seasons. I still keep watching new episodes on the hope that things will get better again, but they never do. Real-life issues are thrown into episodes with no sensitivity to watchers, new cast members are not nearly as strong as the people they replaced, and the constant divide between the old and new students makes neither storyline as strong as it needs to be.
Final Rating: 1/5
Need to catch up? Here’s how: Amazon Prime (1-3), Hulu Plus (4)