The Must-Add Shows to your Watch List:
Mr. Robot (USA)
Rami Malek, Christian Slater, Portia Doubleday
Okay. If you missed season one, or if you watched 1-2 episodes and felt lost, you’re not alone.
Mr. Robot is deep. I mean DEEP. But it’s worth the effort. The dynamic and spellbinding writing for this show will captivate you after 4 episodes. You’ll feel a range of emotions that our guide to the story, Elliot (Malek) doesn’t express in his monotone, steady voice, void of feeling.
As season one progressed, we learned things, as an audience, a little quicker than computer hacking genius, Elliot. As a matter of fact, he actually asked us for help at times and we wanted to help, but we’re not sure he would have listened, anyway. I mean, he barely listened to Christian Slater! Who doesn’t listen to Christian Slater?!
It’s worth the forced USA commercials for their nonsensical reality shows that you must endure to catch up on demand. USA Network has a certified winner in Mr. Robot, unlike any other show on the network. It’s the shining star of USA Network and will have 12 episodes, instead of 10, in season 2. Mr. Robot airs on Wednesday nights on USA. Check local listings for time and channel.
Dominic Cooper, Ruth Negga, Joseph Gilgun
I will admit, I was ready for this series! I’m a comic book and graphic novel nerd and have been since I had 75 cents to pick up a copy of Iron-Man from my uncle’s comic book shop. Preacher isn’t your 75 cent comic book, though. It’s a little more than edgy and a lot more gritty and violent than anything you read as a kid.
A crazy sonic, supernatural boom at the church of failed preacher, Jesse Custer, leads to an unlikely alliance with a vampire taking on the worst humanity has to offer. Add in the mix the great Jackie Earle Haley as Odin and you’ve got yourself a show! It’s one that I can’t imagine watching while doing something else, because you have to pay attention to follow the pace. It’s a slow moving show at times, until something ridiculously violent happens, but it’s AMC.
AMC has become synonymous with shows making you wait for the payoff (The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, Fear The Walking Dead). Preacher airs Sunday Nights on AMC. Check your local listings.
Anthony Anderson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Marsai Martin
The Johnsons are one of my favorite families on television. Not because they get along, or because they remind me of my incredibly white family. It’s because they are so uncomfortably funny that I, at times, cringe while thinking, “Oh, please don’t let that happen!”
This is one of the best ensemble comedy casts on television, by far. The frustration Dre has with every situation in his life is so over-the-top, that his wife, Rainbow (Ellis Ross), is a necessary force to keep him from going fully Dre on everyone around him. We know that will eventually happen.
As funny as the two of them are, the kids on the show are what does it for me. Junior (Marcus Scribner) is my spirit animal. He is a total geek, who wonders why his father thinks he’s a geek. Jack (Miles Brown) is the sweet, lovable kid that every TV family for the past century has had. Zoey (Yara Shahidi), aside from being completely stunning, plays the role of popular teenage girl (who is slightly better than us) better than any of us.
My standout character on the show, though, is Diane (Marsai Martin), the youngest daughter. This girl deserves Emmy consideration. Her sarcastic attitude and brilliant, powerful ability when it comes to manipulating her siblings and even adults, is so well written and portrayed. Her scenes with Junior are particularly brilliant.
Black-ish returns to ABC Wednesday nights this fall. Check local listings for time and channel.
The Goldbergs (ABC)
Wendi McLendon-Covey, Sean Giambrone, Troy Gentile
My “wonder years” was taking place when “The Wonder Years” aired on ABC a few decades ago – has it been that long? Nostalgia has long been a beacon of most of our lives, as we look back on the years that shaped us, from the music, to the fashion, to the entertainment we loved.
The Goldbergs is the most emotionally charged program to air in decades, mainly because it’s about our emotions from a different decade! The jokes are so fast paced, it’s difficult to watch it just once, so record it for a second helping.
The cast in an incredible family ensemble and the side-characters are the best in television. Wendi McLendon-Covey and Jeff Garlin play a couple perfectly. They feed off of each others comedic impulses in a way that most others couldn’t possibly, but a standout star from the show is Troy Gentile. Watch this guy! If I was able to invest a million dollars into someone’s future in comedy, it would be his. He’s the funniest guy on television and only fans of The Goldbergs are already aware of it.
From the genius mind of Adam F. Goldberg, The Goldbergs airs Wednesday nights on ABC. Check your local listings for time and channel.
The Flash (CW)
Grant Gustin, Candice Patton, Carlos Valdes, Tom Cavanagh
The Flash has had many incarnations in the DC Comic Book series. The television version follows young Barry Allen and his friends and family. Most of the CW shows take a mushy approach to even the most action packed characters (see Smallville), but this show is actually more than watchable, it’s enjoyable.
You can tell the writers are actually listening to the fans and providing storylines that mirror, or at least coincide with major arcs in the books. The next season will be especially exciting because of the 2011 storyline that actually ended DC Comics “original” run of stories, “Flashpoint.”
DC actually relaunched their entire comic book world after the story, so rest assured, this will be a huge turning point for the show as well. However, this is not a show you can pick up and expect to watch while missing a few episodes. There are tie-ins that make it necessary to watch in order, so I recommend streaming what you’ve missed before the next season premieres.
The Flash returns Tuesdays, this fall, on the CW.
Twin Peaks (Showtime)
Madchen Amick, Dana Ashbrook, Kyle MacLaghlan
In 1990, I was starting high school, there was an odd but stimulating mix of grunge, real hip hop and alternative rock taking the place of the decade of hair metal and glam rock, and Twin Peaks invited us to investigate a murder with Special Agent Dale Cooper (MacLachlan).
The population of 51,201 are largely silent about what this series is going to do to our minds, 25 years later, but we’re expecting it to be much better than the last detective crime drama we watched, unaware of what to expect, True Detective Season 2.
I’m not sure if revisiting the Laura Flynn Boyle and Kyle MacLaghlan version will help in preparation for the one to come, but it certainly won’t hurt.
Dana Ashbrook stars on the new one. You’ll remember him as Jimmy from the TV series, “Crash” and Rich Rinaldi from “Dawson’s Creek.” He’s got one of those faces that seems to show up in stuff and you know you’ve seen him before.
If you’re still unsure of the strength of this show, Trent Reznor and Eddie Vedder have both somehow been listed as being tied to the new series. Boom.
The Good Place (NBC)
Kristen Bell, Ted Danson
NBC thinks the afterlife is comedy heaven. While they have a tendency to give up the ghost on their most anticipated shows after about a two week proving ground, they’ve got a pretty good design here. Kristen Bell’s character is dead. It’s time for her to move on to heaven, because of it, but somehow the paperwork has been royally forked up.
“Wait, why can’t I say forked?” – You can’t curse here.
Anyways, Danson plays her wise mentor. When Bell finds out she was actually supposed to go to “The Bad Place,” her mission becomes clear that she needs to pull of a “My Name Is Earl” type of fixer-upper.
Bell belongs on television. I would have preferred Veronica Mars to be in its 12 season by now, but I’ll watch. NBC, don’t fork this up and cancel it in the first season!
Designated Survivor (ABC)
Ok, so it’s not 24. I’m coming to grips with that. At a time when we all want to see Jack Bauer killing off terrorists, FOX is rebooting 24 to be whatever FOX does with reboots. Sorry, FOX, we’re following Sutherland, instead.
After Nashville’s departure on ABC, there’s a big gap for drama being left in my watch list. Designated Survivor fills the void with a political drama about a secretary of HUD (Sutherland) being sequestered during the State of the Union…wait, what? I’m not sold on the idea, but I’m sold on Sutherland in an action drama, again.
Ben McKenzie, Robin Lord Taylor, David Mazouz
I’ll be honest. The first couple of episodes of the first season weren’t exactly setting me on a path to be a fan of Gotham. It seemed odd having such a varied cast of age groups in leading roles, with no set timeframe of when exactly the show is set. The violence seemed nearly overwhelming and there were so many characters to have to identify with.
Character building is difficult in modern television, because most networks don’t give a show time to do so. Thank God (and Twitter), FOX did for this one. If you want the best experience watching this show, do it while live tweeting with the cast, writers and fans. It brings a whole new dynamic!
Gotham may be the greatest drama that you’re missing. The show is heading into its third season with the villains already having taken their wrath and mutated dead bodies rising to add insult to injury. We’ve already seen police commissioners, mayors, beat-cops, crime bosses and family members bite the dust, now we’re seeing some return – just not the same as they left.
Gotham airs Monday nights on FOX. Check your local listings for time and channel.