Episode 55 – The Winter Break is Over: Return of TV in 2015
Why Watch That
The holidays are over; the trees and lights are tucked away; and we’re back to our regular schedules, which include watching winter TV, of course! In this episode, the Critic and the Referee discuss popular TV shows that have returned from winter recess. Enjoy!
Downton Abbey (British Drama)
Created by Julian Fellowes
Premiered on ITV in the United Kingdom on September 25, 2010 & on PBS in the United States on January 9, 2011
Plot: The series is set in the fictional Downton Abbey, a Yorkshire country house in Great Britain, the home and seat of the Earl and Countess of Grantham. Each series (or season) follows the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family, their friends, and their servants during the reign of King George V. The series follows the lives of the Crawley family and its servants in the family’s classic Georgian country house. The series begins with the 1912 sinking of the Titanic, which leaves Downton Abbey’s future in jeopardy, since the presumptive heirs of Robert, Earl of Grantham — his cousin James, and James’ son, Patrick — die in the catastrophe, leaving the family without a male offspring to take over Downton when the current lord dies. The point is important since Lord Grantham’s children are daughters — Ladies Mary, Edith and Sybil, but the facets of their lives and of those of the below-stairs staff — also a highly regimented world — have fascinating story lines.
Created by Paul Abbott
Premiered on Showtime January 9, 2011
Plot: The series depicts the dysfunctional family of Frank Gallagher, a single father of six children. While he spends his days drunk, his kids learn to take care of themselves.
Created by Lena Dunham
Premiered on HBO April 15, 2012
Plot: Aspiring writer Hannah (Lena Dunham) gets a shock when her parents visit from East Lansing, Michigan, and announce they will no longer financially support her as they have done since her graduation from Oberlin College two years before. Left to her own devices in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, she navigates her twenties, “one mistake at a time.” Allison Williams, Jemima Kirke, Zosia Mamet, Adam Driver and Alex Karpovsky co-star as Hannah’s circle of friends.
Created by Michael Lannan
Premiered on HBO January 19, 2014
Plot: The experiences of three close friends living and loving in modern-day San Francisco.
The Fall (Crime/Drama/Thriller)
Created by Allan Cubitt
Premiered in Ireland on RTE One on May 12, 2013 & in the UK on BBC Two May 27, 2013
Plot: Metropolitan Police Superintendent Stella Gibson, a senior investigating officer tasked with the reviewing of investigations, is seconded to the Police Service of Northern Ireland in order to assess the progress of a murder investigation that has remained active for longer than 28 days. When it becomes apparent a serial killer is on the loose, local detectives must work with Stella to find and capture Paul Spector, who is attacking young professional women in the city of Belfast.
Created by Cameron Porsandeh
Premiered on Syfy on January 10, 2014
Plot: A team of scientists is thrust into a potentially life-or-death situation in this thriller, which begins with the group being deployed to the Arctic to secretly investigate what could be a disease outbreak.
Created by Graham Yost
Premiered on FX Network March 16, 2010
Plot: Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) is something of a 19th-century–style, Old West lawman living in modern times, whose unconventional enforcement of justice makes him a target of criminals and a problem child to his U.S. Marshals Service bosses. As a result of his controversial but “justified” quick-draw shooting of mob hitman Tommy Bucks in Miami, Givens is reassigned from Miami to Lexington, Kentucky. The Lexington Marshals office’s jurisdiction includes Harlan County, where Raylan grew up and which he thought he had escaped for good in his youth.
Sons of Liberty (Drama/History)
Directed by Kari Skogland
Premiered on History Channel January 25, 2015
Plot: The miniseries centers around the beginning portion of the American Revolution and how the clandestine group, Sons of Liberty got started by men from all walks of life seeking freedom in the colonies while living under British rule in Boston, Massachusetts. Their actions lead to how they helped form the United States of America.
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 subsequently murdered in prison by agents of the people who framed him. Amanda was separated from him after his trial and never saw him afterwards. She has now returned to the Hamptons as an adult 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.
Created by Robert Doherty
Premiered on CBS on September 27, 2012
Plot: Following his fall from grace in London and a stint in rehab, an eccentric and 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, 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.
How to Get Away with Murder (Legal Drama)
Created by Peter Norwalk
Premiered on ABC September 25, 2014
Plot: Annalise Keating (Oscar-nominated, Tony-winning actress Viola Davis) is a brilliant, charismatic and seductive professor of defense law. She teaches a class called, “How to Get Away With Murder.” Unexpectedly, she and her students end up having to apply practical knowledge from the course when they become entangled in a murder plot that not only shakes the entire university to the core but also changes the course of each of their lives.
Scandal (Political Thriller)
Created by Shonda Rhimes
Premiered on ABC April 5, 2012
Plot: Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington), a former media consultant to the president, is ready to move on with her life and opens her own crisis-management firm. But she can’t seem to shake ties with her past. Olivia’s staff includes opinionated investigator Abby and hacker extraordinaire Huck. As she moves forward it becomes clear that, while her staffers may specialize in cleaning up the lives of other people, they can’t seem to do the same for themselves.
Grey’s Anatomy (Medical/Drama)
Created by Shonda Rhimes
Premiered on ABC March 27, 2005
Plot: The medical drama series focuses on a group of doctors at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital in Seattle, who began their careers at the facility as interns. One of the doctors and the show’s namesake, Meredith Grey, is the daughter of a famous surgeon. She struggles to maintain relationships with her colleagues, particularly the hospital’s one-time chief of surgery, Richard Webber, due to a pre-existing relationship between them — Webber and Meredith’s mother had a personal relationship when Meredith was young.
The Blacklist (Crime/Drama/Thriller)
Created by Jon Bokenkamp
Premiered on NBC September 23, 2013
Plot: Former government agent Raymond “Red” Reddington (James Spader) has eluded capture for decades. But he suddenly surrenders to the FBI with an offer to help catch a terrorist under the condition that he speaks only to Elizabeth “Liz” Keen (Megan Boone), a young FBI profiler who’s just barely out of Quantico.
The Walking Dead (Post-Apocalyptic Horror/Drama)
Created by Frank Darabont
Premiered on AMC October 31, 2010
Plot: Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) is a former Sheriff’s deputy who has been in a coma for several months after being shot while on duty. When he wakes, he discovers that the world has been taken over by zombies and that he seems to be the only person still alive. After returning home to discover his wife and son missing, he heads to Atlanta to search for his family. Narrowly escaping death at the hands of the zombies upon arrival in Atlanta, he is aided by another survivor, Glenn, who takes Rick to a camp outside the town. There, Rick finds his wife Lori and his son, Carl, along with his best friend Shane and a small group of survivors who struggle to fend off the zombie hordes. They also compete with other survivor groups who are prepared to do whatever it takes to survive.
Vikings (Historical Drama)
Created by Michael Hirst
Premiered on History March 3, 2013
Plot: The series is inspired by the tales of the raiding, trading, and exploring Norsemen of early medieval Scandinavia. It follows the exploits of the legendary Viking chieftain Ragnar Lothbrok and his crew and family, as notably laid down in the 13th century sagas Ragnars saga Loðbrókar and Ragnarssona þáttr, as well as in Saxo Grammaticus’s 12th century work Gesta Danorum. Norse legendary sagas were partially fictional tales based in Norse oral tradition, written down about 200 to 400 years after the events they describe. Further inspiration is taken from historical sources of the period, such as records of the Viking raid on Lindisfarne depicted in the second episode, or Ahmad ibn Fadlan’s 10th-century account of the Volga Vikings. The series is set at the beginning of the Viking Age, marked by the Lindisfarne raid in 793.
House of Cards (Drama/Political Thriller)
Created by Beau Willimon
Released on Netflix February 1, 2013
Plot: U.S. Rep. Francis Underwood (Kevin Spacey) of South Carolina starts out as a ruthless politician seeking revenge in this Netflix original production. Promised the post of Secretary of State in exchange for his support, his efforts help to ensure the election of Garrett Walker to the presidency. But Walker changes his mind before the inauguration, telling Underwood he’s too valuable in Congress. Outwardly, Underwood accepts his marching orders, but secretly he and his wife, an environmental activist, make a pact to destroy Walker and his allies. Based on the U.K. miniseries of the same name, the U.S. version offers a look behind the scenes at the greed and corruption in American politics. A number of real-life media figures make cameo appearances.