Fall TV 2015: What I’m Watching (Monday Edition)

GUYS! In case you haven’t noticed yet, FALL TV IS UPON US! Most of our favourite shows are back, alongside a whole slew of newbies vying for our attention. This season, I find myself in a weird place, as I attempt to *gasp* cut back on my TV shows. I’ve said it before but I watch too much TV – I know that. For the past several months, due to work and personal family circumstances, I’ve had to make solid decisions on what I was watching and when. Making the call of what I really needed to watch day-of/live, as opposed to something I can watch later when I have time. Also, cutting shows that just weren’t doing anything for me. That last choice has been in effect for some time now, but as we begin this new TV season, I still question whether or not I still care about some shows. And even for that matter, do I even care enough about some of the new shows coming on the air to give my time to? Anyways, enough introductory babble, and onto my list of what shows I’ll be watching (and maybe watching)

MONDAYS

  • The Voice
  • Dancing With the Stars
  • Blindspot (NEW)
  • Minority Report (NEW)
  • Jane the Virgin
  • Supergirl (NEW)
  • Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (NEW)
  • Gotham?

Honestly, The Voice and Dancing With the Stars has been relegated to commercial status, in that I’ll watch them when the other shows are on commercial break or just clips later. Why? Because one, I don’t even get to vote so why bother watching live? And two, why waste my time watching through the people I don’t like, when I’m just waiting to see my faves? Like this season of DWTS – here for my pro dancers (and their partners): Allison Holker & Andy Grammer, Derek Hough & Bindi Irwin, Sharna Burgess & Nick Carter, Witney Carson & Carlos PenaVega, and Mark Ballas & Alexa PenaVega. As much as I love The Voice and the coaches, even I have to admit that I’m getting a little burned out on too much Voice.

One of my favourite surprises from last season was Jane the Virgin and I am so looking forward to what hilarious/adorable/endearing things they’ll do this season. I mean, Britney Spears will be guest-starring as Rogelio’s nemesis! Like, this cast/crew just speak to me and I want to be friends with Gina Rodriguez because of her sheer awesomeness.

As for the new shows? I absolutely can’t wait for Supergirl to premiere. Yes, I know the pilot already leaked way back in late May, but I’m pretty proud of myself for not actually finding + watching it. Not to mention, Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg has done so much good with Arrow and The Flash that I just have complete faith in them doing this show. And speaking of Berlanti, the uber-producer/writer who makes everybody else look bad, he’s also got another show on Monday with Blindspot. The premise of a Jane Doe waking up with no recollection of who she is and how she ended up with tattoos covering her body that serve as clues, is an interesting one. It makes me think of the movie Memento, but will probably veer towards a more procedural-style of storytelling. I’m definitely going to check out the pilot and see what they’re doing, but I definitely have my reservations about it.

I saw the first 15 minutes of Minority Report at SDCC and found some elements of it that were really interesting, especially the future tech. To be honest though, it kind of just made me miss Almost Human. Again, I liked what I saw, even if I wasn’t completely sold on any of the characters, but I’m hoping for the best. Another new show I’m a little iffy about is Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the only new show to premiere this fall on The CW. Something about the previews just didn’t sit with me, so I’m going to wait until I watch the full pilot to see exactly what the tone of it will be and take it from there.

There’s one big question mark on my Monday schedule, and that is, do I want to give Gotham another shot? I so desperately wanted to like it last season. It had its ups and downs in the first half of the season, but when it came back from its winter hiatus, I found myself struggling to keep interest. Word is that this season will be slightly lighter in tone and function better as a collective unit. I just don’t know though. And I love Ben McKenzie and Morena Baccarin, which is why I kind of want to see what happens, but is it enough? I may wait and watch during the weekend or something, definitely not a must-see for me.

Favourite DWTS Performances

Over the years, I’ve given Dancing With the Stars a lot of flack. First of all, there’s a very loose definition of “Stars.” Up until recently, they had their orchestra band perform all the songs, which I understood, but it resulted in a lot of not-so-good versions of pop songs. Their insistence on using a lot of pop songs was also met with mixed results; some songs just did not work with the style the pairs were supposed to be dancing. Nowadays, it annoys the hell out of me that they insist on including contemporary and jazz (just no, leave it to SYTYCD). Regardless, there has been multiple times where everything just comes together and we get legitimately good/great performances. After a certain point, I was just watching for the Pros and their group numbers during the results shows or dancing alongside the musical guests, but sometimes the stars actually do leave an impression and that’s the reason for the show’s existence. So here goes my top 10* favourite performances from the past 20(?!) seasons, in no particular order.

*Plus a few cheats. Because I can.

1.) Season 2, Drew & Cheryl – “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy”

This freestyle eventually set the bar for all future freestyles. Anyone who actually watched this back in the day, just has fond memories of it. It showed off Drew’s dancing skills that he learned from the weeks of competition and it was a lot of fun to watch. I guess it’s also one of the reasons why I’m not particularly fond of the slow, almost-Contemporary freestyles, because when I think freestyle, I think fun and upbeat. But that’s just me.

2.) Season 10, Nicole & Derek “El Capitalismo Foraneo”

Have I mentioned how much of a sucker I am for a good Tango or Argentine Tango? It’s such a gorgeous dance, and requires the partners to be strong and bold, yet sensual. Sure, Nicole Scherzinger was very much a ringer this season, but that doesn’t mean she didn’t earn her win. This routine was flawless from top to bottom, and it certainly helped that they got a more traditional song to dance to, as opposed to a pop song. Ugh, LOVE IT!

3.) Season 5, Helio & Julianne – “Hey Pachuco!”

The Quickstep is endearingly(?) referred to as the kiss of death on SYTYCD, and that’s because it is HARD. The stamina and energy required to just get through a one minute routine is crazy and mixed with the fact that you have to be light on your feet is crazy difficult, whether you’re a dancer or not. What was great about this routine was that Helio managed to do all that and look like he was legitimately having fun.

4.) Season 9, Joanna & Derek – “Living on Video”/ Season 10, Nicole & Derek – “Spanish Guitar”

As the show grew and with each passing season, it was expected of them to change things up a bit. First they added in non-typical ballroom dance styles, and then they started playing around with these fusion dances (some straight-up combos and some incredibly random). And if anyone could rise up to the challenge, it was Derek. [Full disclosure: I’m a huge Derek Hough fan. I think he’s an amazing dancer/choreographer and deserves all the praise in the world.] It was evident first in season 9, when Derek had to choreograph a ‘Futuristic Paso Doble’ (set to an 80s song) for his partner Joanna; then again in season 10, when he was tasked to choreograph a ’50s Paso Doble’ for Nicole. The end result was all kinds of awesome.

5.) Season 8, Gilles & Cheryl – “Assassin’s Tango”

See #2. Plus using the score from Mr. and Mrs. Smith gave it an extra edge that was absolutely wonderful.

6.) Season 5, Mel & Maks – “Free Your Mind”

The changing of the lyrics was actually hilarious, and exactly what I was talking about earlier. Mel B was just such a beast though, you kind of had to ignore the song arrangement.

7.) Season 18, Meryl & Maks – “Feel So Close”/ Meryl & Val – “Too Close”

I never usually call ringer, even when there’s someone in the competition who has dance experience, because normally it’s like a hip-hop or Broadway background, not ballroom. When Meryl Davis, along with Charlie White, were announced as part of this season’s cast, boy did I ever yell “RINGER!!!” I mean they basically ballroom dance, ON ICE! AND Derek had helped them with choreography for the Olympics! As the season went on though, I just couldn’t deny how great a dancer Meryl is, and she had such a great partnership with Maks. Had to choose both her Tango with Maks and Argentine Tango with Val because I would not have pegged those songs to use for Tangos (which would have annoyed me before), but they made it work!

8.) Season 8, Shawn & Mark – “Do Your Thing”

It was just non-stop dancing, and simply put, so much fun and entertaining to watch.

9.) Season 15, Shawn, Derek & Mark – “Jungle Jazz”

Sure, it was more Afro-Jazz with touches of Samba, but you couldn’t deny how good the performance was. Shawn getting to dance with both her partners on the show was such a treat.

10.) Season 19, Alfonso & Witney – “369”

When it was announced that Alfonso Ribeiro was going to be a part of the season 19 cast, everyone pretty much called it that he was going to win, pretty much based solely on “The Carlton.” From the beginning, he proved that he was going to work hard and earn that Mirror Ball Trophy, starting with this dance. A Jive in week 1 is no joke; you have to get those flicks and kicks right, and make sure you’re light on your feet with a natural bounce/rhythm. Alfonso’s routine was all of that and then some.

 

HONOURABLE MENTIONS – Non-competition performances

1.) Season 5, Jennifer Lopez performs “Let’s Get Loud” with the Pro Dancers

I don’t remember many of the group numbers from seasons 1-4, though obviously I always knew the Pro Dancers were crazy talented. Things changed after watching this performance; I loved every part of it, with our Pro Dancers performing, while J.Lo sang. I think it had finally dawned on me how much I love the Pros dancing as a group, when everything just comes together – choreography, music, costumes. I can’t ever listen to this song now without picturing this performance in my head.

2.) Season 7, Jennifer Hudson with Derek & Julianne – “Spotlight”

The Hough siblings are ridiculously talented and I love them both dearly. It’s just so great to see them dance together, every once in a while.

3.) Season 10, Chelsie & Derek – “Malaguena”

I absolutely loved the simplicity of the performance. An acoustic arrangement (featuring Mark on guitar) and they let the dancing do everything else. It was very much a classic Paso Doble. It’s no wonder they were Emmy nominated for this.

4.) Season 11, Mark & Val “Toxic”

This was before Val became a Pro on the show, though the connections and relationships were already there. They set this up as Val and Mark always having had a friendly rivalry because they both danced and played musical instruments; this was just a fun showcase of that. One of my favourite things about this is that they were playing “Toxic.” I mean, I remember watching it and it starts off with the dueling violin and guitar, then I start hearing those recognizable notes/riffs, and I was like “Are they..? OMIGOD THEY’RE DOING TOXIC!!!” 😀

5.) Season 10, Pro Dancers – “Evacuate the Dancefloor”

It’s great when you see the Pro Dancers do straight ballroom, but it’s also so much fun to see them let loose like this.

6.) Anytime Derek & Allison choreograph something (Season 13/Season 15 “Heart Cry”/Season 18 “Animals”)

Before Allison became a Pro on DWTS, she had often choreographed special performances with Derek. Two of my favourite dancers working together? It was amazing! The first time they performed together on the show in S13, they did an incredible Tango/Paso/Flamenco/Contemporary fusion number;I remember being away on vacation, watching the performance on YouTube, and was honestly left breathless. In S15, they choreographed a beautiful Contemporary number, which also featured Melanie Moore, Kathryn McCormick, and Jessica Lee Keller. Then in S18, they worked together on the really fun fusion featuring some of the Pros and Troupe members, though Allison didn’t perform with them.

Thankful for Pop Culture

I’m Canadian, so we already celebrated Thanksgiving a month ago (ya know, the REAL Thanksgiving, as per Robin Scherbatsky). However, in honour of Americans celebrating their Thanksgiving this weekend, I thought I would give thanks to the pop culture things I am thankful for this year.

1.) NIKITA

Always thankful for this show, from the moment that it was picked up to the fact that it is still on the air, despite the odds. I know I gush about this show A LOT, but they have never failed to amaze me with what they do. Maggie Q is the the first Asian-American to be the lead of a TV show, which to me is such a huge deal. The rest of the cast and crew work tirelessly (especially the countless  “Fraturdays”) to give us a mini-movie each episode. The show has done so much in 2.5 seasons (thus far) than most shows do in their entire run. Thank you for being awesome and I honestly look forward to the day that I can actually tell you all that in person!

2.) The last season of FRINGE

So incredibly thankful that we’re getting a final season of Fringe. Again, it’s a show that has faced incredible odds and as a fan, you can’t help but be incredibly grateful that a final season of the show even exists. FOX could have easily cancelled it because of the low ratings, but they totally did us (and all involved with the show) a solid by allowing the writers to finish the story they set out.

3.) MAROON 5 & KELLY CLARKSON

Two of my favourites in music had a great year. Though Kelly released her album “Stronger” last year, I’m simply thankful for her putting on such great concerts this year. A great singer performing incredibly well LIVE, there’s not much more you can ask for than that. I’m still not IN LOVE with Maroon 5’s “Overexposed” but I am happy that they have a huge hit with “One More Night”; they completely deserve it. Also, the fact that “One More Night” kept “Gangnam Style” from ever hitting #1 on the Billboard chart was a great bonus (seriously, I would’ve called that the end of the world if Gangnam became a #1 hit).

4.) TIFF

The Toronto International Film Festival is such a great event for movie fans. It offers a little something for everyone: indies, documentaries, foreign films, and just damn good movies. This year I got to attend one of Jason Reitman’s famous live readings, got to see an incredible performance by Marion Cotillard in the film Rust and Bone; the harrowing Twice Born starring Penelope Cruz and Emile Hirsch; and a lighter different side to Alexander Skarsgard in What Maisie Knew. Not to mention the official release of movies that played at TIFF last year – 10 Years, Friends With Kids, The Oranges.

5.) Wonderfully written TV Shows

A great number of both new and returning shows have been doing ridiculously well creatively. On the drama side: Parenthood, Homeland, the resurgence of Dexter, Once Upon A Time, Revenge (season 1), Covert Affairs, Suits, Nashville, and Arrow. On the comedy side: Parks and Recreation, Community, Happy Endings, How I Met Your Mother, Go On, and Ben and Kate.

6.) AMAZING DANCING

I am beyond thankful for all the truly amazing dancing we witness on both the big and small screen. Step Up Revolution continued the series with some more new and exciting choreography. But So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing With the Stars are the dancing gifts that keep giving. The most recent example? Derek Hough and Allison Holker choreographing an INCREDIBLE contemporary number this past week on DWTS, that also featured Melanie Moore, Kathryn McCormick and Jessica Lee Keller.

 

That’s what I’m thankful for, this American Thanksgiving. Share what pop culture things you’re thankful for!

Upfronts 2012: ABC Announces Schedule for 2012-13 TV Season

Broadcast networks upfronts day 3 – on board for today is ABC. The network renewed most of its current slate, while picking up a total of 9 pilots – 5 dramas and 4 comedies. Like last season, ABC continues to try their hand at different types of shows, particularly on the drama side.

    • 666 PARK AVENUE [Drama – Sundays @ 10]: Without a doubt, one of the pilots that I am most looking forward to. Dave Annable and Rachael Taylor play a young couple taking up the opportunity to manage the titular ominous building, owned by Terry O’Quinn and Vanessa Williams. With an address like that, nothing is definitely as it seems and supernatural forces come into play. The cast alone (which also includes Robert Buckley and Helena Mattsson) makes me want to watch it. But then you have executive producers Matthew Miller, Leslie Morgenstein, Gina Girolamo, and Alex Graves, who have come from shows like Chuck, The Vampire Diaries, and Fringe (ie. some of my favourite shows)? SOLD. Allow me to slightly fangirl here…SO. DAMN. EXCITED.
    • HOW TO LIVE WITH YOUR PARENTS FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE [Comedy – Midseason, Tuesdays @ 8]: Well ain’t that a mouthful of a title (and we thought How I Met Your Mother was long). Sarah Chalke stars as a single mom, who moves back in with her parents after a divorce. I think Sarah Chalke is pretty cool so I’m willing to give the show a try, but I really do wish they come up with a shorter title.
    • THE NEIGHBORS [Comedy – Wednesdays @ 9:30]: First of all, it took all of me to spell “neighbours” the American way. Anyways, the show is about the Weaver family who just moved into a gated community called Hidden Hills. They soon learn that their oddball neighbours are actually aliens. Yes, aliens…because clearly, ABC hadn’t learned their lesson from Cavemen. I highly doubt this one’s going to last.
    • NASHVILLE [Drama – Wednesdays @ 10]: Focusing on the country music scene, the show follows Connie Britton’s Rayna James, a successful star in country music who is losing popularity, and Hayden Panettiere’s Juliette Barnes, an up-and-comer. As usual, I’m always up for some more music on my TV screen. I’m not usually a country music fan, though I am fascinated by it, so hopefully this show turns out well.

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    • LAST RESORT [Drama – Thursdays @ 8]: Taken straight from Entertainment Weekly, the show is about “a U.S. nuclear sub crew refuses orders to fire their missiles and escapes to a NATO outpost and declares themselves the smallest nuclear nation.” Yeah, there was no way for me to explain it any other way. I’m kind of interested in the show based on the cast alone (Andre Braugher, Scott Speedman, Autumn Reeser), but I’m not so sure if I’m going to like this. I’ll probably watch the pilot episode, at the very least, just to see how all this gets played out, and then I’ll make judgment from there. However, this timeslot hasn’t particularly been kind to its former occupants in the past few years, so it’s going to be a tough one.
    • MALIBU COUNTRY [Comedy – Fridays @ 8:30 starting November]: Country music singer Reba returns to television in this new series, playing a woman who moves from Nashville to Malibu with her kids after she finds out her husband has been cheating on her. I somewhat enjoyed her last TV venture, but I don’t think I’ll go out of my way to watch this show. It doesn’t seem like my type of show.
    • ZERO HOUR [Drama – Midseason]: Anthony Edwards plays a publisher of a skeptics magazine, who gets pulled into a big conspiracy of his own when his wife is abducted. Sounds interesting to say the least, plus Scott Michael Foster (aka Cappie!) is in it too!

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  • RED WIDOW [Drama – Midseason]: Marta Walraven (played by Radha Mitchell) discovers that in order to protect her family and uncover the truth of her late husband’s death, she must take on her husband’s former role as part of an organized crime syndicate. I think this is another one of those “we’ll have to wait and see” to really decide whether it is worth my time or not.
  • FAMILY TOOLS [Comedy – Midseason, Tuesdays @ 8:30]: Kyle Bornheimer stars as Jack Shea, who takes over his father’s handyman business. Bornheimer seems like a funny guy, but he just hasn’t found the right project yet, maybe this will be the one to turn it around for him.

Other notable changes in the schedule:

  • Revenge moves from its current Wednesday slot to Desperate Housewives former slot @ 9 on Sundays. I actually don’t mind the move at all because that means ABC’s got me for the entire night on Sunday. Once Upon A Time, Revenge, 666 Park Avenue = perfect Sunday night.
  • Last Man Standing moves to Fridays @ 8, pairing it perfectly with Reba’s Malibu Country (even though I don’t watch LMS and I don’t really intend on watching MC).
  • Unsurprisingly, following NBC moving The Voice‘s Tuesday telecast to 8, ABC has also moved the Dancing With the Stars results show to 8.  While we’re on the topic of DWTS, it was announced that next season will be an all-star edition, featuring fan-favourites from past seasons.
  • Happy Endings and Don’t Trust the Bitch in Apartment 23 are now paired up on Tuesdays following the DWTS results show. Seriously, how perfect is this pairing?
  • Body of Proof is being held off until midseason.
  • Cougar Town has officially moved to TBS for next season.

All in all, I must say ABC has done some good things to its schedule for next season. They’ve made some pairings and line-ups that should really work out in the long run. For a complete look at what the schedule will look like and a more detailed description of the new shows, head on over to Deadline.

Tomorrow, it is CBS’ turn.

‘So You Think You Can Dance’ Results Show Cancelled? Why?!

2012 started out not so well for dance fans, when news hit that FOX had cancelled the results show for the upcoming 9th season of ‘So You Think You Can Dance‘. Executive producer and resident judge, Nigel Lythgoe tweeted the news on Sunday, which came as a shock to fans. FOX has yet to release an official statement on the news.

For many, the news of SYTYCD’s results show being cut is seen as being a step in the right direction for reality competition TV. We’ve all complained at one point or another how other reality shows like ‘American Idol’ and ‘Dancing With the Stars’ have unnecessarily long and drawn-out results shows. ‘American Idol‘ especially, is the biggest culprit of tediously long results shows, when the results of who gets sent home can/is announced in the last 5 minutes of the show. The rest of the hour is all filler with a painful group performance by the contestants, shameless promotion of a Ford vehicle, a guest performance, and the aforementioned drawn out results with countless repeatings of “Dim the lights!” and “We’ll find out…after the break!” This is not to say that ‘Dancing With the Stars‘ is any better, as instead of shameless promotion, they feature increasingly lame “comedic” filler segments, along with the usual guest performances. Both shows could use, at the very least, a cut in the results show length from one hour to a half-hour. Actually, I remember when Idol used to have half-hour results shows and at some point, they decided to increase it to one hour.

Personally, I never had a problem with SYTYCD results shows. They had a formula that worked and it didn’t feel like the results were being dragged on. Show starts with a group performance, cue opening title sequence, we find out the bottom 3 couples, special performance from the dance world, contestants dance for their lives, judges deliberate while musical guest performance takes place, find out who gets sent home – all that in one hour, doesn’t seem so bad. Now with the news that the results show is cancelled, there’s going to be some big changes to accommodate the situation. Sure, results shows aren’t particularly necessary seeing as how shows like ‘America’s Best Dance Crew’, ‘The Sing-Off’ and ‘The Voice’ have all made due with being on once a week. Let’s also not forget that SYTYCD in its first season didn’t have a results show, and because season 6 aired during the fall, the first 3 weeks of competition also didn’t feature a results show, with the judges determining the bottom 3 and who got sent home in the same episode. If SYTYCD adopts a similar format to ABDC, which is sort of what they did for the first few weeks of season 6, then it’s not so bad.

Like I said, I never really had a problem with the SYTYCD results shows. The thing I probably hate most about no results show for SYTYCD is that we probably won’t get the group routine. The group routine was my favourite part of the results shows, and a lot of them have become so memorable. Can you imagine if they never started doing results shows in season 2? We might not have gotten “Ramalama” or “Calle Ocho” in season 5 or “El Fuego” in season 8 – those were damn good group routines. Granted, season 8 started incorporating some more group routines during the performance shows, in lieu of another couple routine, but it’s just not the same. The results show group performance was sort of free of a dance style restriction. Sure, sometimes they did fall under certain styles, but you look at “Calle Ocho” which was a hip-hop/ballroom fusion and “Ramalama” was certainly like nothing else we’d seen on the show and to this day, is arguably the best group routine the show’s ever done.

Yes, the news that the results show is being cancelled comes with lots of pros and cons. My biggest gripe with this news, which not a lot of people are really considering, is that SYTYCD is a SUMMER show. As it is, there aren’t a lot of options as to what to watch during the summer. I don’t see why FOX feels the need to cancel an hour of programming in the form of the SYTYCD results show, when they probably don’t have anything else to air. If they do have something else, it’s probably another reality show of some form. So why cut SYTYCD to one night? If this was the regular TV season, it make sense to cut an hour or a half-hour of a results show, so they have room for other shows, that way long hiatuses aren’t necessary. Yes, I get that Idol has the highest number of viewers of any show. But how fair is it to, say fans of ‘Fringe’ which in its first season was put on hiatus for 2 months because of Idol? No freshman series should ever have that long of a hiatus, seeing as how many are still trying to get viewers (or in the case of Fringe, 4 seasons later, still looking for viewers in order to stay on the air). And yet, ‘Glee’ had to endure a 4-month hiatus in its first season as well, even though it was a hit and already had viewers.

At the end of the day, none of this really makes sense to me. Results shows may not be completely necessary, but we’re talking the summer TV season, in which case, I will gladly take an extra hour of SYTYCD over a re-run or some other stupid reality show the network tries to get me to watch.