Fall TV 2015!

It’s that time of year again – I as the traditionalist think of it as time for new tv stuff!  Of course, thanks to streaming tv, cable tv, and the ridiculous levels of competition out there, new stuff already came out anyway, so my traditionalism is antiquated.

Nonetheless, the following are some observations about the new stuff that I managed to catch so far…

An admission and sort-of disclaimer: I’m not much of a late-night tv viewer and I was never much of a Stephen Colbert fan.  However, I had to watch the first episode of his taking over the Late Night Show, and I thought he had a decently entertaining 1st episode on network late night. Nice cameos. Good music.  Clearly having Jon Baptiste and his band, Stay Human, was a good move and their music and their energy entertains the live audience. I like Jon Baptiste and Stay Human.

Since that 1st episode, I think so far some of the joke bits are a little too long, but I like the selection of guests so far.  Colbert was moving with Vice President Joe Biden, for instance; it was strangely entertaining to see Justice Stephen Breyer on the show – and the next day, Breyer was on Charlie Rose’s show… well, that was strange for me, since I was changing channels and lo and behold on PBS with Charlie Rose… oh, and Trevor Noah had an appearance, to get ready for his hosting The Daily Show.

Also, there are times when it feels like Colbert’s still being “Colbert,” the blowhard on Comedy Central and “the character” (I guess it’s hard to get rid of that guy) doesn’t and didn’t necessarily work for me (it might entertain the hardcore Colbert fans; I don’t know).

I’m not sure how this will all work with CBS (Letterman pulled it off for years, but he has been a network tv guy and got to tease the networks for years, and CBS is… CBS – I have lots of mixed feelings about that network).  I’m hopeful that this would be a good product – something more substantive than either of the Jimmys (the one on the Tonight Show on NBC or the one on ABC), so I’m not the one who’s going to be all judgmental about Colbert after only a couple of weeks.

We’ll see how Trevor Noah will be once he takes over The Daily Show. I miss Jon Stewart in the meantime.  It’s not fun trying to make up my own Donald Trump jokes.

The Doctor Who season premiere – it was nice to see the Doctor back, along with Clara.  I still don’t know what to make of Missy (a.k.a. the Master), and I don’t get the Daleks (I’m not a veteran fan of the Doctor, so it’s not like I understand the Daleks or even the Cybermen).  As a Part 1 of 2, it’s hard to assess the episode because Part 2 might make Part 1 more interesting or flesh it out.  But, it was fun to watch anyway, just for being the usual Doctor weird stuff.

I thought that the new show “Blindspot” on NBC had an ok pilot episode. Jaime Alexander as Jane Doe, the tattooed woman with amnesia, who the FBI wants as a mystery to solve, was compelling.  And, of course, I’m a sucker for FBI agents in weirdo mysteries (somehow I managed not to be on the Blacklist bandwagon, but James Spader manages to annoy me over the years, so it’s not entirely surprising that I’m not a viewer of that show).

But, some turnoffs for me based on the 1st episode of “Blindspot”: they filmed a scene by the subway station near my old workplace, but called that “Brooklyn” (no! I recognized it as the Battery Tunnel exit, Manhattan-side). And, I had no idea that an obscure Chinese dialect could be apparent in written Chinese (I believe not, since written Chinese is just written Chinese). Was this as cool as say, episode one of “Fringe”?  No.  But, I might be suckered into watching episode 2, simply because I wonder if they’ll figure out why is Jane Doe in her situation, so…

I didn’t catch the Emmys Award show, mainly because, during the last couple of years, I’ve slowly pulled back from watching it, even  though I used to be a big Emmy viewer (for many reasons, including that I got tired of watching the same people win for years, not that there was anything wrong with that, but it wasn’t every interesting).

We seem to be in a new Golden Age of TV, but there’s so much out there and I find myself really unable to catch up. And, then again, that’s ok.

But, history got made and I share this quote: “You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there.” – Viola Davis.

I’m both surprised and not surprised that it’s not until 2015 that the first black woman wins an Emmy for best lead actress in a drama (so, yes, kudos to Viola Davis!). Roles must be created, even if we have to create them ourselves (so, yeah, we ought to have more people of color behind the screens too); so, hey, networks, keep it up with the experiment for more diversity in the small screen. Create great roles for great performing artists; I’ll be happy to getting used to seeing more people of color winning awards!

(and, coincidentally,  one of the panel programs at this year’s fall conference of the Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) covered the issue of racial diversity in casting; it really is becoming a thing where we have to create stuff for ourselves, it seems!).

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