Episode 49 – Winter’s Coming: Time for a TV Check-In
Why Watch That
As we head into the holiday season, everyone’s getting ready for a well-deserved break. The same can’t be said for the TV industry, so we figured that it’s time for another check-in. In this episode, the Critic and the Referee talk about what’s happening currently in TV land.
Scandal (Political Thriller)
Created by Shonda Rhimes
Premiered on ABC April 5, 2012
Plot: Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) is a former White House Communications Director for the President of the United States who has left to start her own crisis management firm, Olivia Pope & Associates. Olivia has decided to dedicate her life to protecting the public images of the nation’s elite but is finding that, no matter how hard she tries, she cannot leave parts of her past behind.
Referee – “It’s a strong love triangle right now but can we get rid of Joe Perry’s toupée!”
Critic – “In this season they actually talk, and you actually listen.”
Grey’s Anatomy (Medical Drama)
Created by Shonda Rhimes
Premiered on ABC March 27, 2005
Plot: This drama focuses on the lives of surgical interns and residents at the fictional Grey-Sloan Memorial Hospital as they gradually evolve into seasoned doctors, with the help of their competent mentors. The residents initially arrive at the hospital each morning and dispute with one another over who will care for a certain patient. A hospital superior is in charge of assigning cases, often traversing through the tense feelings between the residents and superiors. The surgeons tend to form personal connections with their patients, and their patients often convey messages that unintentionally relate to the surgeon’s private lives.
Critic – “This season is good…in parts.”
How to Get Away With Murder (Legal Drama)
Created by Peter Nowalk
Premiered on ABC September 25, 2014
Plot: This show follows the personal and professional life of Annalise Keating (Viola Davis), a criminal law professor at the fictional Middleton University in Philadelphia, one of the most prestigious Law Schools in America. Annalise selects a group of her best students from her university class to work at her firm. In her personal life, Annalise juggles between two relationships: her marriage to Sam Keating (Tom Verica), and a secret relationship with Nate Lahey (Billy Brown), a local Philadelphia detective.
Referee – “I’m done with murder. I don’t want to know how to get away with it.”
Critic – “This show should be called, How to Get Away with Murder: Hot Air!”
Nashville (Musical Drama)
Created by Callie Khouri
Premiered on ABC October 10, 2012
Plot: In its first episodes, this series focuses on the rivalry between Rayna Jaymes (Connie Britton) and Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere). Rayna Jaymes is the established “Queen of Country” music. However, her latest album is not selling well and her tour is playing to half empty venues. Her record label suggests that she open for Juliette Barnes, the young and sexy best-selling singer of bubble-gum country-pop. However, Juliette, seeing Rayna as privileged, purposefully alienates her. Rayna, who dislikes Juliette’s style of music, rejects a joint tour out-of-hand. The two women come into conflict as each tries to get guitarist Deacon Claybourne, Rayna’s bandmate and former lover, to sign on to their tour. Rayna’s life is further complicated when her estranged father, millionaire businessman Lamar Wyatt, convinces her husband, Teddy Conrad, to run for Mayor of Nashville.
Referee – “I’m enjoying this season. They’re dropping bombs in every episode.”
Critic – “It’s a polished primetime soap opera.”
Created by Kenya Barris
Premiered on ABC September 24, 2014
Plot: Andre ‘Dre’ Johnson Sr. (Anthony Anderson), an African-American advertising executive, struggles to gain a sense of cultural identity while raising his kids in a predominantly white, upper-middle-class neighborhood.
Critic – “The way they did their Halloween episode was great!” “Watch it. The cast is wonderful.”
Referee – “Every episode gets better and better.”
Stalker – (Procedural/Drama/Horror)
Created by Kevin Williamson
Premiered on CBS on October 1, 2014
Plot: Det. Jack Larsen (Dylan McDermott) is a recent transfer to the TAU from New York City’s homicide division, whose confidence, strong personality, and questionable behavior have landed him in trouble before – but whose past behavior may also prove valuable in his new job. His boss, Lt. Beth Davis (Michelle Webber) (Maggie Q), is a strong and focused expert in the field, driven by her traumatic personal experience as a victim. With the rest of their team, young but eager Det. Ben Caldwell (Victor Rasuk) and deceptively smart Det. Janice Lawrence (Mariana Klaveno), Larsen and Davis assess the threat level of cases and respond before the stalking and intimidation spirals out of control, all while trying to keep their personal obsessions at bay.
Critic – “It’s another TV detective unit. This one focuses on stalkers…I’m no longer watching this.”
Created by Robert Doherty
Premiered on CBS September 27, 2012
Plot: Following his fall from grace in London and a stint in rehab, an eccentrically modern Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) relocates to Manhattan, where his wealthy father forces him to live with a sober companion, Dr. Joan Watson (Lucy Liu). Formerly a successful surgeon until she lost a patient, Watson views her current job as another opportunity to help people. However, Sherlock is nothing like her previous clients. He informs her that none of her expertise as an addiction specialist applies to him and that he has devised his own post-rehab regimen – resuming his work as a police consultant in New York City. Watson has no choice but to accompany her irascible new charge on his jobs.
Over time, Sherlock finds her medical background helpful, and Watson realizes that she has a knack for investigating. Sherlock’s police contact, Captain Thomas Gregson (Aidan Quinn), knows from previous experiences working with Scotland Yard that Sherlock is brilliant at solving cases. So, the captain welcomes Sherlock as part of his team. The investigative group also includes Detective Marcus Bell, an investigator with sharp intuition and formidable interrogation skills. Although initially skeptical of Holmes and his unorthodox methods, Bell begins to recognize Sherlock as a valuable asset.
Critic – “When I saw the season premiere, I felt like I was in my comfortable shoes and jeans again. There is a spice to this.”
Referee – “It’s no Sherlock!”
The Blacklist (Crime/Drama)
Created by Jon Bokenkamp
Premiered on NBC September 23, 2013
Plot: Raymond “Red” Reddington (James Spader), a former officer of the United States Navy who disappeared twenty years ago and became one of the FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives, surrenders himself to Assistant Director Harold Cooper at FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C. Taken to an FBI “black site”, Reddington claims to share the FBI’s interest in getting rid of criminals and terrorists. Reddington’s criminal associates are so dangerous and devious that even Cooper is unaware of their existence. Reddington offers Cooper access to his knowledge and assistance on two conditions: immunity from prosecution and working exclusively with Elizabeth Keen, a rookie profiler newly assigned to Cooper. Keen and Cooper are suspicious of Reddington’s interest in her, but he will only say that she is “very special.” After Cooper tests Reddington’s offer in locating and killing a terrorist in the first episode, Reddington reveals that this man was only the first on his “blacklist” of global criminals. He has compiled this list throughout the course of his criminal career and wants to eliminate each of the criminals that it contains.
Referee – “I want more Spader.”
A to Z (Sitcom/Romantic Comedy)
Created by Ben Queen
Premiered on NBC October 2, 2014
Plot: The series follows the lives of Andrew Lofland (Ben Feldman), an employee at an internet dating site who dreams of meeting the girl of his dreams, and Zelda, a no-nonsense lawyer who was raised by a hippie mother and has a rebellious streak. By an accidental chance of fate, Zelda meets Andrew when resolving a mismatch dating dispute. These two single people suddenly find themselves falling for each other.
Critic – “I am not watching this…it was cancelled.” “They were trying to be funny and got smacked down like Manhattan Love Story.”
Created by Emily Kapnek
Premiered on ABC September 30, 2014
Plot: The series follows the life of Eliza Dooley (Karen Gillan), a woman obsessed with the idea of achieving fame through the use of social media platforms, including Instagram where she posts selfies. She begins to worry that “friending” people online is not a substitute for real friendship, so she seeks help from Henry Higgs (John Cho), a marketing image guru.
Critic & Referee – “We don’t want to talk about this!”
Homeland (Political Thriller)
Created by Howard Gordon
Premiered on Showtime October 2, 2011
Plot: When Marine Nicolas Brody is hailed as a hero after he returns home from eight years of captivity in Iraq, intelligence officer Carrie Mathison is the only one who suspects that he may have been “turned”.
Critic – “This show has been completely rebooted. It’s back to where it was in the beginning.” “It’s your spy thriller fix, and I’m enjoying it. The actors are wonderful!”
Referee – “We should tune in.”
The Affair (Drama)
Created by Sarah Treem & Hagai Levi
Premiered on Showtime October 12, 2014
Plot: The Affair explores the emotional effects of an extramarital relationship between Noah Solloway (Dominic West) and Alison Lockhart (Ruth Wilson) after the two meet in the resort town of Montauk on Long Island. Noah is a New York City schoolteacher who has had one novel published and is struggling to write a second one. He is happily married with four children, but resents his dependence on his wealthy father-in-law. Alison is a young waitress trying to piece her life and marriage back together in the wake of the death of her child. The story of the affair is told in two parts, one from Noah’s perspective and the other from Alison’s perspective, complete with distinct memory biases.
Critic – “You must watch the first episode. The story being told may not be what you think it is.”
Revenge (Psychological Thriller/Mystery)
Created by Mike Kelley
Premiered on ABC September 21, 2011
Plot: Emily Thorne (Emily VanCamp) comes to the Hamptons and rents a beach house next to the Grayson family mansion for the summer. Emily is really Amanda Clarke, whose father was framed for treason when she was a little girl. After a lengthy trial, he was imprisoned for life and was subsequently murdered in prison by agents of the people who framed him. Amanda was separated from him after his trial and never saw him afterward. As an adult, she has now returned to the Hamptons to exact revenge on those who wronged her and her father. Her primary target is Victoria Grayson (Madeleine Stowe), matriarch of the Grayson family, who loved and betrayed Amanda’s father. The show focuses on Amanda’s plot to destroy every individual who played a role in her father’s imprisonment. Along the way, she discovers various facts about her father’s past that change her plans many times. As the series progresses, Amanda brings in other individuals as allies for her plan.
As Amanda executes the stages of her elaborate plan, she finds it difficult to remain emotionally detached. She struggles to identify her true motivations and examines how her actions change her sense of identity. As she enlists trusted friends into her schemes, she worries about how their involvement will change their lives and about how she will proceed after she enacts her revenge on those who wronged her and her father.
Critic – “Every time they cut to the title screen, I laugh. This is fun to laugh at!”
The Newsroom (Political Drama)
Getting On (Medical Comedy)
State of Affairs (Drama/Thriller)
One Child (Drama)
The Game (BBC Drama/Thriller)