The CW (Not-So-Quite) Upfronts

Yesterday, the CW became the first network to release their plans for the 2020-2021 season, announcing that they would return with a full slate of new programming in January due to shutdowns from the corona virus.  The late start will not impact the number of episodes, with series still producing seasons of 13 to 22 episodes, depending on the show.  That will stretch the season in to July or August, leading to a very short summer break before the 2021 fall season starts in October.  The final episodes from some shows’ current seasons, which could not finish filming because of the pandemic, will be included in their next seasons.

Monday stays the same, with All American followed by Black Lightning.  Tuesday kicks off with The Flash, followed by the latest installment of the Arrowverse, Superman & LoisRiverdale and Nancy Drew continue to hold down the fort on Wednesdays.

While Supernatural may finally be over, Jared Padalecki returns to Thursdays in Walker, a re-imaging of Walker, Texas Ranger.  The night wraps up with Legacies.  Friday goes all reality, with Penn & Teller: Fool Us followed by back-to-back episodes of Whose Line Is It Anyway?  The Sunday night offerings are Batwoman and the new version of Charmed.

The network is planning a smaller version of its traditional Arrowverse crossover to air either late 1st quarter or early in the 2nd quarter of 2021.

To accommodate Melissa Benoist’s pregnancy, Supergirl gets bumped to mid-season.  Joining it are Dynasty, Roswell, New Mexico, In the Dark, and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, alongside two new series: Kung Fu and The Republic of SarahSupernatural, which still had two episodes to film in its final season before the shutdown, will air its final seven episodes in the fall, alongside some usual summer and/or streaming fare.

All of this, of course, assumes that the production shutdown due to the corona virus lets up and crews can get back to work.

200 Things To Do In Illinois – Superman

Illinois celebrated its bicentennial as a state in December of 2018.  To celebrate, the Chicago Tribune published the Bicentennial Bucket List: 200 Things To Do In Illinois, celebrating the best the state has to offer in history, food, architecture, culture, sports, nature, drink, and oddities.  With the state shutting down tonight due to the corona virus outbreak, I figured this was the second-best time to look through this collection and cover the ones I’ve done/eaten/seen.

We kick things off with one of the entries from the Oddities category: Superman, from Metropolis, IL.

DC Comics proclaimed this small town with a big statue the official home of Superman in 1972, and Metropolis isn’t about to let you forget it.  A 15-foot-tall bronze Man of Steel overlooks Superman Square, where you’ll also find the Super Museum packed with toys and props, amassed by Superman super fan Jim Hambrick.  This town on the banks of the Ohio River – from here, you can practically throw a chunk of Kryptonite into Kentucky – hosts an annual four-day Superman Celebration.

My one trip to Metropolis occurred in 2015, as part of a Mother’s Day Elvis trip.  On our way home from Tupelo, Mississippi, we decided to make a detour towards Metropolis, IL to see the symbolic home of Superman and, at least according to the travel guide we picked up at a rest station along the way, the world’s largest Dippin’ Dots store.  Sadly, the Dippin’ Dots store had closed and was replaced by a gift shop filled with DC merchandise and a cooler in the corner that did supply said Dippin’ Dots.  In the center of town, we found the giant Superman statue and posed for pictures.  We decided against going through the museum, which was probably the correct call.

Midseason Review – Tuesdays

old-tv-set1Continuing our look back at my thoughts on the new fall season, with the offerings that I found myself interested in for Tuesdays.

7:00

The Conners – After a season of nostalgia and a season of curiosity, can the show finally stand on its own two feet? Time will tell.

To be honest, I don’t know how I feel about this show.  I mean, it’s comfortable, like an old robe, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s any good or well worth my time.

The Flash – The gang returns for their sixth season, with Heroes alum Sendhil Ramamurthy onboard as the big bad.

Now that the Flash has survived the Crisis that had been foretold since the earliest days of the series, we’ll see how things change.

7:30

Bless This Mess – After a short run in the spring, Dax Shepard and Lake Bell return for season two, hoping to keep the momentum up for a full season.

I can pretty much take or leave this one, so I guess the decision on whether or not I continue to watch falls on ABC.

8:00

Mixed-ish – Another spinoff of Black-ish, this time focusing on Bow’s adolescence growing up with a white father and a black mother.

Well, I’ve stuck with this longer than I did Grown-ish, but that’s not particularly saying anything.  I think there’s a pretty good show in there somewhere, but I’m not sure anyone, including me, knows how to get it out.

Arrow – The show returns for a short, 10 episode final season, without Emily Bett Rickards.

The Crisis on Infinite Earths is over and, while the multi-verse is safe, Oliver Queen is dead.  If I’m counting right, the show will be wrapping up its run tonight.

This Is Us – The emotionally manipulative hit is back for a fourth season, assuming I ever go back and finish the previous two.

I still haven’t watched since midway through season two.  At what point do I admit that I don’t watch the show and free up some space on the DVR?

8:30

Black-ish – While it is putting spinoffs on the air, I don’t know if moving back to the half hour timeslot is a good sign for a sitcom heading into season 6.

Some weeks, the show still seems like it’s firing on all cylinders.  Others, it seems so tired that you can see all the seams.

Now, let’s see what interesting tidbits are coming this spring:

DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow –  Coming in at the tail end of the Crisis, there will be some additional turnover this year as Brandon Routh and Courtney Ford will be leaving the show this season.

 

2019: The Year In Movies

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The return of my annual long December vacation, with very little to do otherwise, saw a big increase in movie watching for me, with my highest total since 2011.  I managed to watch 89 movies last year, my eighth consecutive year under 100.  Again, many things contributed to this, chiefly the insane amount of TV I’ve been watching, the greater effort made towards going out for walks, and the awful amount of time I spend either at work or getting to and from work.

Here’s a look back at the first 50 movies I did manage to watch last year and what recollection, if any, I have of them. The films are listed in the order I saw them.

Life Of The Party (2018)
Melissa McCarthy joins her daughter at college after her husband leaves her.

The Haunted Mansion (2003)
Eddie Murphy tackles a movie based on the Disneyland ride.

Downsizing (2017)
Matt Damon shrinks himself to 5 inches tall, gaining wealth but losing a wife.

Knight And Day (2010)
A young woman gets mixed up with a disgraced spy who is trying to clear his name.

Keep Watching (2017)
A gang of intruders takes a family hostage and forces them to play a game.

The Space Between Us (2017)
The first human born on Mars heads to Earth to find his long-distance crush, even if it will kill him.

Black Mirror: Bandersnatch (2018)
A choose-your-own-adventure film about a young kid trying to make it in the video game industry.

Bird Box (2018)
A woman tries to save her two children in a world where seeing things leads to death.

Hereditary (2018)
A grieving family is haunted by tragic and disturbing occurrences.

Invasion Of The Body Snatchers (1978)
Aliens take over the human race. Continue reading →

Midseason Review – Mondays

old-tv-set1We continue our annual look back at the new fall season with Monday night’s offerings.

7:00

Arrow – Season 7 starts with Oliver Queen in jail after being outed as the Green Arrow.

Following the Lost approach of replacing flashbacks with flashforwards.  I imagine the end will be coming sooner rather than later.

The Neighborhood – Max Greenfield and Beth Behrs return as a white family who move into a black neighborhood in LA.

I made it through 2 or 3 episodes before deciding that I had better uses of my time.

8:00

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow – The Legends return for their 4th season, one I’m sure to enjoy once I go back and watch season 3.

Thanks to Netflix, I was able to catch up on season 3 and then stay current this season.  It has stopped taking itself seriously in any way, shape, or form, and the show is better off for it.

2018 New Fall Season – Mondays

old-tv-set1We continue our annual look at the new fall season with Monday night’s offerings, which features some returning favorites and a few new shows with some potential.

7:00

Arrow – Season 7 starts with Oliver Queen in jail after being outed as the Green Arrow.

The Neighborhood – Max Greenfield and Beth Behrs return as a white family who move into a black neighborhood in LA.

8:00

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow – The Legends return for their 4th season, one I’m sure to enjoy once I go back and watch season 3.

2018 New Fall Season – Sundays

It is time once again to dive in to the new fall lineups for the television season that kicked into gear two weeks ago. We start this year with Sunday night’s offerings, which features a little more programming that interests me than last year.

7:00

God Friended Me – What if you took last season’s Kevin (Probably) Saves The World and add in social media?  Then you probably get this show.

Supergirl – The CW expands to a new night, and moves one of their DC hits to kick off the festivities.

8:00

Charmed – A reboot of the old WB hit, replacing the Halliwell sisters with a new collection of witches.

Shameless – Season 9 of the show started a few weeks back.

Ray Donovan – The show returns for its sixth season at the end of October.

Doctor Who – The 11th season kicks off with a new show runner and a new Doctor, Jodie Whitaker.

9:00

Camping – Jennifer Garner and David Tennant team up for this adaptation of the British comedy.

The CW Upfronts

With more shows than spots on the schedule, the CW has finally decided to expand to a 6th night of programming for the first time in 9 years.  Monday gets a brand new look, with Legends of Tomorrow followed by Arrow.  Tuesday remains the same, with the Flash and Black Lightning offering up the second straight night of a double dose of the DC universe.  All American, about a high school football player who moves from Compton to Beverly Hills, follows Riverdale on Wednesdays.

Supernatural returns to Thursday for its 40th season, and will be followed by Legacies, about the next generation of supernatural beings at The Salvatore School for the Young and Gifted.  Friday has Dynasty and the final season of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.  The Sunday night offerings are Supergirl and a new version of Charmed, without any of the Halliwell sisters.

The final seasons of Jane The Virgin and iZombie, along with The 100, are on the bench for mid-season.  New shows on tap are In The Dark, about a blind woman trying to get by in the world, and Roswell, New Mexico, a reboot of the former WB and UPN series.

Lost to the sands of time are Hooten & The Lady, Life SentenceThe Originals, Reign, and Valor.

Midseason Review – Thursdays

old-tv-set1Time for our look back at Thursday nights, which has traditionally been the busiest night of the week for my television viewing habits.

7:00

Grey’s Anatomy – The medical drama enters its 14th season, which is astounding considering the number of remaining original cast members.  After the hospital blew up at the end of last season, some changes are bound to be afoot.

Things just keep chugging along at Grey Sloan Memorial.

The Big Bang Theory – The show returns to Thursdays in early November, following the midpoint of the NFL season.

The dynamics have been a little off due to Melissa Rauch’s maternity leave, so hopefully it gets back on track when she’s back full time.

Gotham – I haven’t watched the show since the middle of season 2, so who knows if I’ll even come back to it.

Yeah, I think I’m done.

7:30

The Good Place – After the shocking reveal at the end of last season, Ted Danson and Kristen Bell return to heaven.  Or hell.

I have strong feelings for this show.

Young Sheldon – Is too much Sheldon a bad thing?  CBS hopes not, as this spinoff of The Big Bang Theory goes back to Sheldon’s childhood in Texas.  Will it work?  Only time will tell.

I watched the first episode and saw no reason to return for more.

8:00

Arrow – The team goes through another shakeup after the events of last season.

The strains are starting to show for the original of the CW DC superhero shows.

9:00

S.W.A.T. – Shemar Moore returns to CBS with this update of the 70s show (and 2003 film).

Yeah, I didn’t even bother checking in on this one. Continue reading →

Midseason Review – Tuesdays

old-tv-set1Continuing our look back at my thoughts on the new fall season, with the offerings that I found myself interested in for Tuesdays.

7:00

The Flash – Barry returns from the speed force a changed man for the fourth season of the show.

The supporting cast has been pared down a bit, leading to easier-to-follow subplots.

8:00

Black-ish – For its fourth season, the show moves out from Modern Family‘s shadow and gets to lead off its own hour.

With Yara Shahidi moving on to Grown-ish and a new baby to take her place, the show has a slightly different tone, but still brings the funny more often than not.

This Is Us – The one breakout hit from last season returns to emotionally manipulate us once again.

The emotional manipulation continues, but the show seems to overestimate the audience’s attachment to the mystery of how Jess Mariano died.

DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow – With time shattered at the end of last season, the team has to put things right.

Somehow, I missed recording the second episode of the season, and it isn’t streaming anywhere at the moment, so I’ve only watched the season premier and the crossover episode.

8:30

The Mayor – A rapper runs for mayor to gain publicity for his mixtape and accidentally wins.  With Yvette Nicole Brown on board, I’ll give it a shot.

This was a fun little show, but has already been pulled from the schedule and isn’t likely to ever return.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine – Season 5 starts with Jake and Rosa in prison, framed for crimes they didn’t commit.

More of the same from the gang at the Nine-Nine.

9:00

Kevin (Probably) Saves The World – Jason Ritter returns to television in this show about a layabout who learns its up to him to save the world.

I caught up on the show over my Christmas vacation and, while not challenging in any way, it is somewhat enjoyable.

Now let’s look at the new shows premiering in the spring on Tuesdays:

Black Lightning – The latest foray in to the DC universe from the CW brings one of the few black heroes to television.

Another Period – The Comedy Central show about the Kardashians of the early 20th century returns for its 3rd season.

Roseanne – 21 years after its final episode, the former #1 hit returns as the latest revival.  Who knows if it will be any good, but it is certainly worth a look.