While the rush of the end of the year seems daunting, it’s good to sit back and relax to take some time to yourself. While I obviously promote reading a lot, television is an easier escape.
Here are eight shows that mostly premiered this year that you can check out in their first and only season so far in their entirety right now. Two shows have their second seasons premiering in December; I’ve notated that in their blurb.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon) An Emmy-award winner that takes the best of Gilmore Girls (from the same creators) and Mad Men. Expect fast-paced witty dialogue coupled with cozy melodrama. Transport to 1950s New York City to follow the titular character as her husband leaves her and she finds her own voice through stand-up comedy. Season two premieres December 5, 2018.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (Netflix) Halloween may be over, but you can avoid scary political discussions with that uncle by watching some teen witches get real dark. The Melissa Joan-Hart sitcom is far in the review window as this drama chooses to follow a horror comic book version of the half-human, half-witch teen. It can feel a little stiff, but it’s worth the payoff.
Homecoming(Amazon) Based on the popular podcast of the same name, Homecoming explores the psychological effects the war has on soldiers. Julia Roberts was a case manager at a facility that helps transition soldiers back into civilian life. The real eerie twist comes years later when she discovers the real purpose of the facility was a lot more sinister.
Pose (FX) Live. Work. Pose! Welcome yourself into a blooming drag house in the late-80s that was inspired by real life events. The story balances the queer community in Harlem with the Wall Street lives of money hungry businessmen. This was the largest cast of transgender actors ever assembled for a major television production. For fans of RuPaul’s Drag Race and Joseph Cassara’s debut novel, The House of Impossible Beauties.
Barry (HBO) Bill Hader’s comedic chops are tweaked in this dark comedy. He was a longstanding bright spot on SNL and proved his dramatic skills in films like The Skeleton Twins. He finds the perfect balance as a hitman who becomes passionate about becoming a commercial actor.
Everything Sucks! (Netflix) This show was canceled after this one season. It’s a mid-level teen melodrama set in the 1990s. It hits all of your typical beats (some extremely well and some only so-so), but the characterization of the main characters is extremely unique. The young actors turn out some terrific performances.
Killing Eve (BBC America) Expect a slow, drawn out murder mystery with this one. My sister, who prefers Bob’s Burgers and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and rarely likes anything serious, swears by this show. Sandra Oh turns a brilliant performance as an obsessive MI5 officer.
The Runaways (Hulu) Adapted from a comic series where teens with special abilities discover their parents are basically super villains, this is a good one for you and your teenage relatives to connect over. While it’s a superhero story, the teens are very well written and show the different facets of the world we live in today ranging from depression to immigration. Season two premieres on December 21, 2018 in its entirety.
Trixie Mattel is dominating the drag scene right now. She has her own show The Trixie and Katya Show on Viceland with fellow RuPaul’s Drag Race alum Katya Zamolodchikova (and later Bob the Drag Queen), a stellar folk album called One Stone, and recently took home the title for RuPaul’s Drag Race All-Stars 3.
The drag queen, born Brian Firkus, embarks on her own headlining U.S.-wide tour called Now with Moving Parts, a reference to lyrics from her folk album.
I spoke on the phone with the multi-talented queen while she was on tour for the Haters Roast about all of the aspects of her blossoming career. You can tour dates, as well as purchase tickets, to her upcoming tour here.
The return of Roseanne was… fine. There were plenty of laughs, but mainly because it was just nice to see such a lovable cast back again. Like many revivals, this was bogged down in having to catch up on too much. The first two episodes did an admirable job trying to give us two decades of background information scattered throughout the runtime.
The early hype surrounding the 36th season of Survivor was mixed. The theme is Ghost Island. No one really knew what we could expect.
It was going to be used similarly to Exile Island – where castaways are exiled from their tribe and sometimes they can find Hidden Immunity Idols, but they lose the ability to bond with their tribe. But because host Jeff Probst kept billing it as a graveyard for bad decisions and promos hinted that previous idols and advantages were going to come into play, fans knew that this would be a heavily twisted season.
April used to not have a lot going on for it, pop culturally speaking. It’s before the summer blockbuster month and it’s right near the tail end of the traditional network television cycle.
Thankfully, cable doesn’t care about the archaic calendar and realized April is the last month to premiere a show and air enough episodes that it would be eligible for September’s Emmys. Here’s a ranking of shows I’m stoked to be back from unbelievable excited to wickedly giddy.
Podcasts are trendier than ever now. Which is a grand thing to say. There’s a lot out there – some top notch, some not so much – and trying to find the right one for you is tricky. Here are 30 I listen to that I suggest to a lot of people I meet. Most of them are the “mainstream” ones, because I haven’t done much of a deep dive. Chances are you’ve listened to most of these if you love podcasts, but if you haven’t listened to much, you should definitely check some out.
Here is a confession that I should just get out of the way right now. I cried five minutes into NBC’s This is Us. Not a full fledged ugly cry. Just a little swelling of tears. I’m not sure what that says about me. That I’m not manly? That I appreciate cliched tropes? That this show is the new emotional pulse of broadcast television? Probably all three; but definitely the last.
Wow. This has been a year filled with extraordinary debuts. Some of them were expected – like a spinoff from one of the best dramas ever – and some of them weren’t – a techno-thriller that debuted on a network known for campy sitcoms – but all of them were stellar. What’s scary is that I haven’t even seen remotely close to all of them. I debated putting HBO’s miniseries Show Me a Hero on here, but decided to only include continuing series. Similarly, The Jinx was left off because it is a docu-series, and I only wanted fictional shows. However, I wanted to give them a shout out for captivating my attention.
Any show worth watching has already premiered in 2015 (thank you, Amazon, for waiting until the last month). Here’s a list of my favorite shows that returned this year. You’ll notice some heavy hitters missing. For instance: I unfortunately don’t watch Game of Thrones regularly. That means I realize that this isn’t a best of list. You can’t really argue with me on my personal taste. Also, this is based off of episodes airing in 2015 only; not considering the whole series. I actually left off one of my favorite shows from last year (How to Get Away with Murder) simply because this season isn’t living up to my expectations.