Sunday, September 21, 2014

TV Roundtable

Ty: It's TV roundtable time.  The fall season is kicking off and we'll be offering a few thoughts. Our e-mail address is  Participating in our roundtable are  The Third Estate Sunday Review's   Ava, and me; Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude; Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man; C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review; Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills);  Mike of Mikey Likes It!; Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz); Ruth of Ruth's Report; Trina of Trina's Kitchen;  Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ; Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends;   and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub. Betty's kids did the illustration. You are reading a rush transcript.


Dona (Con't): Okay, summer season is over.  Ruth and Stan you covered season two of ABC's Mistresses.  How did it fare compared to the first season?

Ruth: I think the show suffered this season in that there was nothing like Savi struggling with whether or not to cheat on her husband Harry.  I think the show also suffered from Alyssa Milano's pregnancy.  At the end, the big purses and strange angles couldn't hide it.  They should have just made Savi pregnant again.  Without a central storyline like that, it did seem a little disjointed.  Everyone -- all four women -- they were all on their own trajectory and, as Stan has already noted, Joss was pretty much treated as a footnote when her story was the most involving since she was falling in love with Harry, her sister's ex-husband.

Stan: I agree with what Ruth said and would just add that I don't know what they do with season three because they repeatedly go over the top with Dr. Karen Kim.  And now that she's had her AIDS scare and I'm assuming she's pregnant, I have no idea where they go next. I do agree she needs to leave her field.  She's a menace to her patients -- sleeping with her male patients, trying to become her female ones.  Season two wasn't bad but it wasn't as strong because everyone was off on their own trajectory.  You got, for example, April and Karen talking about their problems but the four women really weren't working as a team of support the way they did in season one.

Dona: But you're both eager for a season three?

Ruth: Yes.  Cannot wait to see if Savi's going to walk in on Joss and Harry making lover.

Stan: Agree and let's remember Joss and Harry are making out on the beach, the beach Joss is about to get married on so her fiancee may walk in on this as well.

Donna: Extant was a big hit this summer as well and Betty, Marcia and Ann covered that show.  Ladies, your thoughts?

Ann: It was great to see a woman, especially a woman of color, carry a TV show.  Halle Berry did an amazing job as Molly.  We're all pulling for her to get an Emmy nomination next year.  She did drama, melodrama, comedy and action in this role, it was very challenging and, especially at the start when she returns to earth from her space mission and is pregnant -- from a solo space mission -- she really had to walk a tight line to keep the thing from going over the top.

Dona: Alright.  Marcia, you really seemed to identify strongly with one character on the show.

Marcia: Ethan.  John created him, he's a robot, and John and Molly raised him as their child.  I loved Ethan.  He became aware of his surroundings and of life and began to have feelings and other things.  He was a strong character.  I say was because he apparently died in the last episode, giving up his life to save Molly.  But, if you saw the film Lucy this summer, he kind of is still around in a Lucy type way.

Dona: Betty?

Betty: My only negative criticism is they kind of lost track of Molly's friendship in the last three or so episodes.  Camryn Manheim adds a lot to the show and, to be honest, I don't take a show about a woman seriously if she has no woman friend.  I took a lot with Alias just because Francie was there as Sidney's best friend.  I don't like movies that don't reflect real life or TV shows that don't.  And reality is that most of us, most women, have at least one close female friend.  I also have close male friends.  But if I see a woman surrounded by men, it doesn't ring true to me.  Near the very end of the last episode, they had Halle and Camryn talking and that was good and long overdue.  I thought the writing was strong and that this was more than summer filler.  I really enjoyed it and plan to buy it on DVD.

Dona: Who's going to cover what this fall?

Rebecca: Scandal starts with new episodes this Thursday and I'll be covering it.  I'll also be covering Revenge -- which starts airing Sunday, September 28th.  I covered those two last year and the year before.

Dona: And you also covered Community.

Rebecca: Which Yahoo is bringing back, sadly.  I may cover it as well.

Stan: I will be covering The Good Wife and Arrow which are the two I cover during the year.

Mike: And I'll be grabbing The Flash.

Stan: I asked Mike to do that.  I don't have time to cover three shows.  I may add some to what Mike writes -- and The Flash is a spin-off of Arrow, by the way.

Dona: And, Mike, that's in addition to?

Mike: Oh, thanks.  Yes, I'll continue to cover Elementary.

Dona: Ruth?

Ruth: Betty and I are talking about teaming up to cover a show -- possibly The Mysteries of Laura or How To Get Away With Murder or both.

Betty: I'd love for us to cover a sitcom but they really didn't like women in sitcoms last year and this year's new offerings are pretty much the same.

Dona: That stands out, by the way.  The lack of interest in women.  It was awful last year and it's only a little better this year.

Ava: In October, ABC will be offering Cristela which is the only new sitcom that revolves around a female lead.

C.I.: This is one of two shows with a Latina lead.  The other is The CW's Jane The Virgin which is questionable at best.

Ava: The hour long show will revolve around Jane and her pregnancy which results from an accidental artificial insemination.  I find the concept off putting as I do the idea that a 30-year-old actress is playing a virgin.  That's before you get to the sperm donor being her boss and so much more.  This is not a tale of female empowerment in its roots, it's a tale of chattel and enslavement.  And I'd love to know how this crappy idea sold to begin with.

Dona: While only one new sitcom this fall revolves around a female lead, we will see CBS' hits 2 Broke Girls and Mom and Fox has The New Girl as well as, Ann?

Ann: The Mindy Project which I will continue to cover.

Marcia: While I'll continue to cover The Originals.

Dona: Trina, you sometimes cover 2 Broke Girls.

Trina: I love the show when I can remember to watch.  I'm just not much of a TV watcher and I usually have it on PBS watching The NewsHour as I'm fixing dinner or cleaning up after and generally forget that it's Monday and the shows about to come on.

Kat: I may grab a TV show this year.  I may not.  But I may.

C.I.: Kat should probably grab The Flash from Mike.  Mike, you're not watching Stalker?

Mike: I don't know the show.

C.I.: It's a new show CBS starts airing in October.  Dylan McDermott is one of the stars.  The other is Maggie Q.

Mike: So I will be watching.  Maggie Q is famous for playing Nikita on The CW series and I covered that show at my site.  I will make a point to catch Stalker.

Dona: Which network's doing the best by women this fall?

Ava: We'd say CBS.  C.I. and I were talking about this and CBS is doing a better job in terms of leads and co-leads.  NBC is ridiculous and their claim of Women Wednesdays or whatever that is -- it's just an attempt to distract from how little women play a role in their lineup. Debra Messing and Casey Wilson are leads in new NBC shows -- Casey's a co-lead with Ken ABC could be doing so much better and The CW appears to have forgotten all about their teen female audience.  There's a rumor NBC's Bad Judge may be pulled -- it stars a woman but it's a troubled production that's already lost its show runner and critics are savaging it already.

C.I.: Right.  And there's A-Z which is an ensemble cast sitcom that NBC will offer.

Ava: After last fall when NBC couldn't find a woman to star in a new show, this is an improvement but not much of one.

C.I.:  On The CW.  A 30-year-old lead?  Did the failure of Emily Owens not make clear to The CW that no one's interested?  As to whether shirtless men on the new shows can keep the audience, I have no idea.  Fox is probably second to CBS in terms of being the strongest for women.  That said, sandwiching Brooklyn 9-9 between The Simpsons and Family Guy will either be seen in a few months as genius or insane.  As a general rule, live action sitcoms have not paired well with the Sunday animation shows, not in the last fourteen years.

Dona: Alright then.  That's our preview of the fall TV season and what various sites will be covering.  As always, here you'll find Ava and C.I. covering TV each week.  Their preference is to cover entertainment programming but they have to grab news and public affairs sometimes as a result of current events.  Again, this is a rush transcript.

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