Tater’s Best in TV 2018

This is mostly going to be about the Fall 2018 season. I don’t think I could remember back to the early part of the year. By best I mean what I most enjoy. A lot of these will not be critically acclaimed shows.

Best New Comedy – I’m watching three new comedies this season. Two will likely get a second season, one will not. One that will is my favorite new comedy, Single Parents. It has a very good ensemble cast and it has gotten better as it has become more of an ensemble and not an attempt at making Taran Killam a lead. If anyone should be the lead it is Leighton Meester. She is very good. Even the kids are good in this one, and I usually am annoyed by the precocious kids in sitcoms.

Best New Drama – There are actually several that we are watching and enjoying. This was a hard one as my two finalists are very different shows. I’m going to go with my first instinct and go with All American. It is a high school drama about a kid from Crenshaw moving to Beverly Hills to play football. It is based on a true story. As with Single Parents, there is not a weak point in the cast. I like the storylines and they are doing a good job of balancing the Crenshaw and Beverly Hills stories. The only weak part is the whole “is Spencer the coach’s son?” story. The faster they move away from that the better.

Best Revamp of a Current Show – Until the last week, I would have given this to The Connors. It is a much better show now that Roseanne is gone. She was the worst part of the Roseanne reboot.  We have been watching the new season of Lethal Weapon lately and it is very good. I thought the show was done when Clayne Crawford was fired and they killed Riggs off, but Seann William Scott’s new character is very good and different enough not to make it look like they are just trying to replicate the Riggs character. Then there was the news that Damon Wayans might quit and we would also not have Murtaugh. That might kill the show, but I don’t think it should.  It could become a very good ensemble show with Scott, Michelle Mitchenor’s Detective Bailey, her new “Riggs-like” partner, Kevin Rahm who is very good as the captain and a new partner for Scott. It can still be very good. I should call FOX.

Most Disappointing Revival – Murphy Brown is just not that good. The characters are caricatures of themselves. The stories are mediocre. The writing is bad. It’s just a mess. A better show – focus on Jake McDermott as Avery Brown. Bring in a good cast as his Wolf Network colleagues. Move Miles over to produce the show. Make Murphy and her crew recurring characters. It might still be mediocre, but it would be better than what we have right now.

Most Disappointing Second Season – I might be the only one who feels this way. I haven’t read any reviews, so I don’t know. I did not like season 2 of Westworld and ended up deleting half the season without watching it. I was just bored.

Long Running Shows I Still Love – Grey’s Anatomy and Survivor. I think Grey’s has done a good job of lightening the mood this season and finding the right mix of old and new characters. Survivor has been really good this season. I love the show even when it has a mediocre cast, but a good cast like this season really makes the show a must watch for me. I will be a sad day when Survivor finally ends its run.

Best in Streaming – I only have Netflix and I don’t watch much there, so I don’t have a lot to work with here. I loved the second season of American Vandal and I’m not happy with the news that they have canceled the show.  There are only a handful of Netflix originals I watch regularly. I’m now down to Thirteen Reasons Why and Dear White People. I guess I should finally watch some of the others.

That’s all of the categories I can think of at the moment. Any categories I missed? Any shows you think should be included? Tell me in the comments.


My Recent Books, TV and Movies

It has been a couple of weeks since my last one, so I don’t remember what I’ve read and watched in the interim. Some of these may be repeats since I’m too lazy to go back to look.

Books – My reading has really slowed down lately. I don’t know why. Am I watching so much TV that I don’t find the time to read? Are the books I’m choosing just not that good? Is my down mood lately affecting my ability to focus on reading? A combination of the three? Probably that one. Anyway, here is a list of what I’ve read recently:

The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang – A cute graphic novel love story and an easy read.

The Reckoning by John Grisham – Interesting story. Not quite what I was expecting from him.

Crush(Awkward #3) by Svetlana Chmakova – I’ve liked every book in the series.

I’m currently reading Little Heaven by Nick Cutter and listening to This Will Only Hurt a Little by Busy Phillipps.

TV – I have nothing new to talk about. I’ve watched a lot of TV, but it’s all been new episodes of shows I’m already watching. Midseason shows will start to premiere soon after Christmas so I will have some new TV stuff to talk about. In the meantime, you can read my Christmas viewing musts here.

Movies – We watched The Spy Who Dumped Me over Thanksgiving week. It was pretty good. I’ve always liked Mila Kunis, so liking this movie was not a shock. I watched Sorry to Bother You and Eight Grade this week. Both good movies. Sorry To Bother You went in an unexpected direction. Eighth Grade was almost painful to watch but was really good. I can relate to being the weird, shy kid.

Hopefully, my reading will pick up in December and I will make it through the pile of books I have at home. We will watch some Christmas shows when my daughter is home from college. I have Skyscraper and Black KKKlansman on DVD right now.

My Week in Books, TV and Movies 11/16/18

Another slow week for me. I’m almost positive I will not make my goal of 100 books read this year.There was a lull in movies from the library and nothing exciting on TV. I’m sure all of this makes you very excited to read the rest of the post.

Books – I finally finished one of my book club books, Walden on Wheels by Ken Ilgunas. Ilgunas writes about his quest to pay off his student loans and lead a debt free life. Part of this involves living in a van while going to grad school at Duke. It was an interesting story and it made me want to go on adventures, but I hated the author. I hated him more when I got the audio and listened to him read it. I would have cared more about his quest if he wasn’t such a dick about it. I also read Brave by  Svetlana Chmakova. I really like her books

TV – I didn’t watch anything new this week, so I will talk about the new series All American and a storyline I hope the resolve soon. The basic premise of the show is that a football player from Crenshaw is recruited to play at Beverly Hills High. He ends up having to live with the coach and his family in order to play. From the very beginning there are hints that the coach might actually be his dad. The coach’s daughter is attracted to him as well. So, now we have the story of possible accidental incest. A CW high school show really doesn’t need an accidental incest storyline. This show doesn’t need the intrigue. It’s fine as it is with the high school drama and conflict between his two worlds.

Movies – I did not watch any new movies this week. I did watch Lean on Me with Morgan Freeman while I was off for a snow day yesterday.

On Deck – I’m reading The Reckoning by John Grisham and continuing to read The Sparrow. I’m hoping to have Eighth Grade and The Spy Who Dumped Me over Thanksgiving.

My Week in Books, TV and Movies 11/9/18

I considered skipping this one this week because there’s not much to report. I’m not really sure what I’ve done with my week.

Books – I’m working my way through The Sparrow by Mary Doria Rusell for my work book club and Walden on Wheels by Ken Ilgunas for my personal book club. I really like The Sparrow so far and I don’t hate Walden on Wheels. It’s been slow going, though, for a few reasons. Reading two books at the same time always slows me down. Reading because I have to, even if I like the book, slows me down. After work my mind is usually in a place where I need passive TV watching, not reading. I don’t think I will make my goal of 100 books read this year.

TV – We spent a good portion of our TV time watching CB Strike. It is a really good adaptation of the books. I was surprised my wife liked it as she tends to not like the slower, character based mysteries. The other big TV event of the week was Andrew Lincoln’s last episode of the Walking Dead. Rick Grimes has been the main character of the show since the beginning.  The news that the episode was also the last for now for Lauren Cohan means there are now only two original cast members left on the show. I still like it and I think the loss of Rick and the time jump could reinvigorate the story telling.

Movies – We watched Oceans 8. It should come as no surprise to anyone that I slept through part of it. That’s just what we do. I fall asleep during movies and my wife falls asleep during basketball games. It will never change. The difference is I try to wake her up so she won’t miss the game and if she falls asleep during a TV show or movie I pause it and ask if she wants to watch it later and she just keeps watching and lets me sleep. I’m not sure which one is better.

On Deck – I have a feeling I will still be reading these two books next week. I do have Brave by Svetlana Chmakova as a possible graphic novel break to make me feel better about my reading accomplishments. I have no movies right now, so that spot might be empty next week. I will watch TV. I’m not sure I will watch anything worth writing about.

My Week in Books, TV and Movies 11/2/18

The book portion of my week is down again. It’s just easier these days to passively watch TV than read. Here we go

Books – I finally gave up on Space Opera. I just couldn’t do it. It was fed to the dustbunnies. I read Lu by Jason Reynolds. It is the last in the track series It was as good as you would expect from a Reynolds book. I would recommend reading the entire series. I started reading The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline. It is very good. I just need to force myself to read more.

TV – I watched the first two hours of the TV reboot of Heathers. I loved the movie. It is one of my favorites. I was hoping the TV show would be good. There were some very good performances in the show, specifically Brendan Scannell as Heather Duke and Jasmine Mathews as Heather McNamara, but the show as a whole just doesn’t work. I think there is a good idea in there somewhere, but they just didn’t find it. It also doesn’t help that the actors playing Veronica and JD are bland and boring. We watched the first part of CB Strike(based on the Cormoran Strike book series) and liked it. I was sure my wife would be bored, but we ended up staying up later than this old guy wanted to finish the first part.

Movies – We watched Ant-Man and the Wasp and Solo. We liked them both. I know people had issues with Solo. I guess it helps being someone who likes the Star Wars movies, but has not read the books and would have no idea if the story is off. I enjoyed the movie and that’s all that matters to me. Ant-Man was as fun and goofy as you would expect from Paul Rudd and Ant-Man. I do enjoy a lot of humor with my superheroes.

On Deck – If I manage to finish my book I’m reading, I need to read The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell for book club at work and a book with Walden in the title(I’m too lazy to look up the actual title) for my personal book club. We have Ocean’s 8 to watch this weekend and TV will be UK basketball tonight and UK football playing for the SEC East title tomorrow.

My Week in Books, TV and Movies 10/27/18

Last week was a down week for movies and one book took over most of my reading. This week had more movies, but once again, one book took over most of my reading for another reason.

Books: I spent a good portion of the week re-reading The Troop by Nick Cutter for my book club at work. I rarely re-read a book and now I’ve done it two months in a row for work. It really slows me down. The new book I’ve been reading, Space Opera by Catherynne M Valente has also slowed me down. I love the premise and when the author gets to writing about the actual plot I like the book. Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen enough. Too much of the book is her desperately trying to be Douglas Addams. She isn’t. I’ve still got over 100 pages to go, but I think I’m done. I need to move on to better things.

TV – I don’t have anything new to report about actual shows. I’m still watching the same stuff I have been watching. I haven’t given up on any new shows yet. My big TV thing is that my DVR is already close to 50% full and the season has just begun. I have several shows my daughter wants me to save for her. Until she watches them or decides she no longer cares, I will struggle with DVR space. Basketball season starting also means more time I will be watching something other than shows on my DVR. The space issue will make me really think about which shows I really need to keep recording, Maybe it’s time to finally admit I don’t care about those last 5 episodes of Westworld I still haven’t watched.

Movies – We watched two movies this week: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and Uncle Drew. I slept a lot during Jurassic World and didn’t feel the need to re-watch later. I actually really liked Uncle Drew. It’s not going to win any awards, but it’s a nice, funny sports movie and I’m a sucker for a decent sports movie. The NBA guys were better than I expected them to be.

On Deck  – The TV series reboot of Heathers is finally airing. I don’t know how I feel about it, but I will give it a try. We have Solo on DVD and at some point this weekend I need to find time alone to watch Hereditary. I have three new books to choose from. I think I will start with Lu by Jason Reynolds.

Tater Fixes Some New TV Shows

I’ve been watching a few new TV shows this season. I like the ones I’ve kept watching, but I don’t love any of them. Here’s my ideas for making some of them better.

Magnum PI – I have no issue with them making Higgins a woman. I think the woman playing Higgins is really good. The thing I don’t like is how much they seem to be going for the “will they, won’t they” thing with Magnum and Higgins. So much so that Rick and TC are barely in the show and it’s the Magnum and Higgins show. If Higgins is going to help with the cases, make her a member of the team, not the only person working with Magnum and let them be friends and nothing more. Also – maybe cut down on the narration.

New Amsterdam – Less is more. Stop adding complicated back stories for the characters. It’s OK for them to just be a doctor and not have a long-lost kid, cancer or a possible drug addiction. Make the main guy more likable. I think they think he is, but really he’s a jerk who convinced his wife to give up her dream to start a family and then left to take a job that breaks their agreement.  Add to that the fact that he refuses to take his cancer seriously and, thus, risks leaving her to raise their unborn baby alone, it makes him hard to like. It might be too late to fix all of that.

A Million Little Things – Same as above. I like all of the actors. They are really good, but there are too many little plot twists in too short a time. Now it looks like we add a possible pregnancy to the mix, I think you can do a show about friends dealing with friendship after a tragedy without adding secret affairs, possible pregnancies and yet another character with cancer refusing treatment. The only story that feels real is the guy who hates his job and wants to quit to follow his dream of making a movie.

Murphy Brown – The biggest mistake they made was bringing the Murphy Brown show back with the main group intact. I think it would be better with some fresh perspective. I think it would have been a better show had they focused it on her son’s show as the lone liberal voice on a conservative network. Have Miles as his producer and Murphy as a contributor. Maybe add in a possible relationship between the son and one of the more moderate conservatives at the network to give Murphy a consistent foil. Frank and Corky are occasional guest stars.

All American – It works fine as a high school drama and with the main character dealing with life in Beverly Hills and his ties back home in Crenshaw. We didn’t really need to add a mystery connection between his mom and the coach. If the coach is going to end up being his dad, tell us now so you can drop the possible relationship between him and the coach’s daughter. We don’t need an accidental incest story line here. If he’s not the dad, also clear it up now anyway so we don’t wonder if there will be accidental incest. Then just focus on the high school drama. It’s enough.

I will probably keep watching these shows. I just wish they were a little better.