Friends, it’s been awhile, hasn’t it? The calendar days might have changed, but one thing remained constant: my DVR stands at a mind-boggling 88% with no sign of shedding those extra pounds. But what can I say? It’s been an excellent fall television season already, and I can’t be the only one with a serious case of #tvfomo. The next great series might be tucked away in some remote corner of the television landscape, and far be it from me to turn a blind eye to it. The result is an almost voracious devouring of any- and everything my DVR can store. Also, I still watch The Strain because I think I secretly hate myself.
We have so much to talk about, don’t you agree? While I could devote a great deal of space to the pure enjoyment I’m finding in this second cycle of Scream Queens, or the complete bewilderment I felt after watching — and, for the first time in two years, genuinely enjoying — Arrow‘s premiere episode, or the hilarity of Brooklyn Nine-Nine‘s opening Florida arc, I’m going to hone in on the new shows that I have added to my growing list. Guys, am I a TV show hoarder?
Rather than contemplate the psychology behind my TV obsession, let’s get to it!
Atlanta – Donald Glover’s wholly original new series is a must-watch. He plays Earn Marks, whose cousin Alfred starts blowing up the hip-hop scene as Paper Boi. The series is so specific and nuanced that Glover’s performance and world feel lived-in from the first frame. Earn’s desire to manage his cousin might be the driving plot in these opening installments, but this show already aspires to be so much more than a standard sitcom, as evidenced by the brilliant second episode that finds Earn in jail after the events of the pilot. Don’t miss it.
Better Things – If you loved Pamela Adlon in Louie C.K.’s masterful series Louie, then you will adore her brand-new show. This time, it’s Adlon in front of the camera and C.K. serving behind it as she plays Sam Fox, a single mother raising her three daughters in L.A. It’s a tough series to explain beyond that because, like Louie, it’s impossible to pin it down to a certain genre. The tone varies almost from comedy to pathos to drama as it moves from scene to scene. If you’re looking for a laugh-filled yuckfest, look elsewhere. But, if honest and insightful storytelling is more your speed, then you’ve got to add this to your list. #sorrynotsorry
Designated Survivor – In these tumultuous political times, we can derive so much comfort in having Kiefer Sutherland back on television. This time, he becomes the President after an act of terrorism decimates the entire U.S. government, leaving him at the helm. There’s not much else to say because if that premise doesn’t hook you immediately, then I’d advise you to see a doctor so that said doctor can confirm you have a pulse and are in fact a real-life human being. Because KIEFER vs. TERRORISTS. #triedandtrue #presidentbauer
The Good Place – As far as I’m concerned, Michael Schur can film a psychotic toddler frying ants with a magnifying glass for twenty-two episodes, and I’ll be there. Fortunately, his latest series is a tad more ambitious: Kristen Bell’s Eleanor winds up in an afterlife known as The Good Place, only to confess that she was selected for eternal bliss purely on accident. The emotional core of the series is Eleanor’s attempt to learn how to be good in order to keep her place in paradise. The show is inventive, wacky, and just a delightful way to spend twenty-two minutes each week. Plus, Ted Danson. Ted. Danson.
Queen Sugar – Ava DuVerney’s operatic and cinematic series is a revelation, centering around a group of siblings who relocate to Louisiana in the wake of their father’s death in order to claim their inheritance: a sugarcane farm. True Blood‘s Rutina Wesley leads a wonderful cast of characters, each affected in his or her own way by the loss of the patriarch while also managing the messiness of their own lives. In its exploration of grief, loss, and moving on, this feels like the spiritual successor of Six Feet Under, just about the highest compliment I can pay a show. Impeccably paced and brilliantly written and performed, do yourself a favor and get lost in DuVerney’s instantly-excellent show.
This Is Us – I never thought I would come across a series that would fill the hole in my heart left behind when Parenthood signed off last year, and then along comes This Is Us. The feels, you guys. So many feels. I’m not going to spoil anything here (the first two episodes end with great, attention-grabbing twists) beyond the fact that this funny and emotional series has, only two hours in, claimed my top spot for Best Network Drama on Television. So what are you still reading this for? Grab your box of tissues and watch already!
Sorry for the additional DVR-related angst, but if I’m feeling it, it’s only right that you would be too! Stay tuned for my next blog post, where I make a pretty big announcement!