Last night, the temperature dropped to the 50s in the part of the country and it remained chilly when I left for work this morning. In a nod to the weather, I swapped out my normal open toed shoes for my pair of knee high boots. The first football game of the season was on last night. As I dodged school buses on my way to Dunkin Donuts for my pumpkin coffee, one thing became very clear to me.
Fall was here.
Now, technically I know that autumn doesn’t really arrive until around September 21st, but there is no denying that summer is beginning to beat a hasty retreat. Some of the trees are already beginning to change and you can already buy Halloween candy in some stores. I am personally excited about this as fall is my favorite season. Not only does it bring my birthday, but I love the weather, the food and the activities that come along with the season. Most importantly, fall means the beginning of a new TV season.
This is always a slightly stressful time for me as I try to decide which new shows to check out, which shows to drop and how to maneuver all my timeslot showdowns. These are pretty minor problems in the grand scheme of things, but deciding which shows deserve my precious leisure time is not something I enter into lightly. As painful as it is to watch a show that winds up being canceled or turns into a dud, I also hate to be not watching a show that becomes a pop culture phenomenon. I take this stuff seriously.
This season has been a particularly difficult one to navigate as there are just so many new shows to consider. I generally don’t jump on board with new shows during their first season unless there is something that definitely speaks to me or the critical buzz is unanimous; I’ve been burned once too often with shows that I got invested in only to be reminded that middle America and I do not see eye to eye on what makes a great show. The odds of any new show making it are pretty slim, but with many of my old favorites now gone (Adios 30 Rock) I do have more free time to take a chance on a newbie. And that is a dangerous thing for me.
This isn’t finalized, but here is my preliminary TV schedule for the fall of 2013. I’ve indicated the shows that I’m on the fence about – several of my regular series have become boring to me or have dipped in quality – and the new series that I’m willing to gamble on. It’s funny how daunting TV can be when you write it all down.
Here’s the shocker of the week – I currently have NOTHING on my agenda for Monday nights. I bailed on How I Met Your Mother for good last year and have no regrets and while I enjoy The Voice enough, I know I won’t become a long time regular viewer. I might be convinced to give the new programs Sleepy Hollow, Mom or The Blacklist (I do love me some James Spader) the chance, but as of now none have sold me. I figure I’ll primarily use Monday to catch up on the clusterf*ck that is my Sunday nights. More on that below.
8 pm – Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D (ABC) new
8:30 pm – Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Fox) new
10 pm – Sons of Anarchy (FX)
Given my love of The Avengers, taking a shot on a TV show based in that world isn’t much of a stretch. I’m not as confident about Brooklyn Nine-Nine – my comedic sensibilities do not really match up with the live action comedies on Fox – but Andy Samberg, the great Andre Brauer and generally positive buzz are enough to at least temporarily overcome my trepidation. I’ve been in on Sons of Anarchy since the show debuted and while I think that the later seasons have failed to meet the quality of the earlier seasons (especially season 2), I still quite enjoy the ride. Plus there are worse way to spend an hour than looking at Charlie Hunnam.
I had considered watching The Vampire Diaries spin-off, The Originals, but was underwhelmed with the backdoor pilot. I also decided that a woman in her 30s should probably limit herself to watching one show on The CW – and even that might be too much.
9 pm – Modern Family (ABC) tentative
10 pm – It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (FXX)
10 pm – American Horror Story: Coven (FX)
10 pm – Nashville (ABC ) tentative- watch on demand
10 pm – South Park (Comedy Central ) dvr later showing
10:30 pm – The League (FXX)
I’ve watched Modern Family since it began, but have become increasingly less impressed with it as the show progresses. I like some characters a lot – primarily the kids – but I don’t think I’d really miss it if I dropped it. I may skip a few weeks and see how I feel – it’s not a show that you need to watch every episode. 10 pm has become a surprising logjam; I will definitely watch American Horror Story live, since that show is too bat sh*t crazy to miss. I still have yet to catch up on Nashville from last season – I watched up until Thanksgiving – so that may just be a sign that I’m not all that committed to the show. South Park re-airs later in the evening, so I’ll just DVR the show then.
8 pm – The Big Bang Theory (CBS) watch on demand
8 pm – The Vampire Diaries (The CW)
8 pm – Parks and Recreation (NBC)
9:30 pm – The Michael J. Fox Show (NBC) new
10 pm – Parenthood (NBC)
10 pm – Scandal (ABC) tentative
While I like The Big Bang Theory – one of the very few things I watch on CBS – I can easily catch up on it when it is on demand. Parks and Recreation is my primary focus on Thursday nights; no matter how hard I try I can’t seem to quit The Vampire Diaries, so I’ll DVR that to binge watch multiple episodes on the weekend. I’ve loved Michael J. Fox since I was a little girl (my college admissions essay was about him. No joke – I got into a doctoral program writing an essay about the actor), so I’ll absolutely tune in when he makes his return to television. My only concern is that my comedic sensibilities have changed quite a bit since he last graced my TV and that my affection for the actor will not be enough to keep me interested. Parenthood makes the big mood to Thursday nights, which will mean that the Bravemens will simply make me tear up closer to the weekend. I’ve yet to watch any of the previous seasons of Scandal, but people will not shut up about this show so I may catch up and give it a whirl to see what all the sudsy fuss is about.
Friday – TV Wasteland
10 pm – Dracula (NBC) new and VERY tentative
I may DVR Dracula simply because I’m curious to see what NBC is going to do with this familiar story and partially out of some interest in whatever Jonathan Rhys Meyers does. I don’t expect it to be good, but what else am I going to watch on a Friday (assuming I’m even home, which is a big assumption).
Various – College Football
If I’m around, a good chunk of my Saturdays are spent watching Notre Dame games. Otherwise I’m out and about and if I am home, this is time to catch up on anything I haven’t cleared off the DVR yet.
Sunday – TV Nirvana
8 pm – Once Upon a Time (ABC) tentative
8:30 pm – Bob’s Burgers (Fox) on demand
9 pm – Boardwalk Empire (HBO) on demand
9 pm – Homeland (Showtime)
9 pm – Revenge (ABC) tentative
10 pm – Eastbound & Down (HBO) on demand
10 pm – Masters of Sex (Showtime) new
10:30 pm – Hello Ladies (HBO) new
I’ve soured quite a bit on the ABC shows; Once Upon a Time, which I initially loved, is beginning to feel a little played out and boring and Revenge kind of went off the rails last season. I’ll give both a few episodes to convince me to stay around. Of the two, Once Upon a Time is the more likely to be dumped, though I’ll tune in to watch Nick Swisher’s wife as The Little Mermaid. I love Bob’s Burgers, but until football season is over the likelihood of games running over and throwing off the delicate ecosystem that is my DVR schedule necessitates me catching the show on demand. I generally like Boardwalk Empire, but I don’t love it, so for now it will get watched at a later time. Same goes for Eastbound & Down. Homeland must be watched live so as to avoid spoilers, though I do have my concerns that a certain character is still on the show. Despite my trepidation about new shows, I will give almost anything on HBO or Showtime a chance. So Masters of Sex and Hello Ladies will get the nod at 10 pm, at least until I make a decision about either show.
I may be missing a show or two and this may evolve as we get into the season, but this is what I predict my TV schedule looks like, plus Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. It is a healthy dose of TV, but thanks to the miracle that is the DVR I can skip through commercials for a lot of these shows and compress my necessary viewing time. Still, there is no denying that I love my TV shows.
What’s on your fall viewing schedule? Any new shows that you are excited about? Any old shows that you are breaking up with? Sound off in the comments below. For a fairly comprehensive list of season premiere dates, click here.