Get with the Program: Home Town

home townAirs: Tuesdays at 10:00/9:00c on HGTV

TV show equationHome Town  =  Fixer Upper – 1/2 Asian – Texas + Mississippi

Premise in a Sentence:  Fixer Upper in Mississippi.

Really, I just wanted to use this post as a way to tell all of my Fixer Upper fans that if you aren’t watching Home Town, you should be.  But I guess I can go a little more in depth.

The show follows Erin and Ben Napier as they try and save their small town of Laurel, Mississippi by renovating one house at a time.  She is a designer and he is the handyman.  Sound familiar?  This show was always going to be compared to it’s Texan cousin, mainly because it is obviously HGTV’s attempt to recapture that Fixer Upper magic.  I am happy to report that it holds up pretty well in comparison.  I am even going to make a bold statement and say that the Napiers have had a more promising start than the Gaines’.  Have you ever gone back and watched those early episodes of Fixer Upper?  It’s disconcerting.  Chip is not his Chip-py self, he barely even cares about demo day, and Joanna is clearly uncomfortable on camera.  Not so with the Napiers.  They had the banter and dorky humor down pretty quick, perhaps because they had a pretty good example of a winning formula.

homeBen Napier is not quite as entertaining Chip, but his resourcefulness makes up for it in my book.  He is quite the Mr. Fix-It and seems more than capable when it comes to building furniture, restoring construction, and coming up with solutions to make Erin’s designs work.  Erin’s design aesthetic has a nice lived-in element to it, but it has variety.  Every project thus far has felt different while still having her stamp on it.  The best way I can describe it is that she seems to like a lot of stuff on the walls, but in a good way.  The town of Laurel seems to have more of a small town quality than Waco and the houses have more historic character.

Like I said, it’s pretty hard not to compare the two, but both shows come out of the comparison in good shape.  Part of me wonders if they should have just gone the Flip or Flop way and just called this Fixer Upper: Mississippi, but I am happy to see seemingly nice people get their own platform.  Fixer Upper is always going to be my go-to HGTV viewing, but I am happy to have Home Town in the off season.

Ellen

What to Watch and When to Watch It – Fall 2015

It should be pretty evident that I am a huge TV nerd, so much so that it should not come as a shock that I make an Excel spreadsheet before every Fall TV season. In case you want to know what I am watching or in case you want to know what you should be watching, I am sharing my nerdy spreadsheet.

A few notes:

Blue is for shows that have a guaranteed season pass, red is for either new or older shows that I am going to give a shot, new show in italics. I recently upgraded my DVR to allow for 6 shows to be recording, so I no longer have limitations.

– Also, for the first time ever I made a chart of the release dates.

– I saw the pilot for Supergirl and I liked them enough to know I want more.

– Only new show that is a guaranteed season pass: The Muppets.  Duh.

– Some shows that are not on the networks that I am jazzed about: Fargo (FX), The Walking Dead (AMC), The League (FXX), You’re the Worst (FXX), Doctor Who (BBC America), The Mindy Project (Hulu).

– You may notice that CBS’ schedule looks a little screwy, but that is because of Thursday Night Football.  Things will shift around after November, so the Thursday schedule I have listed is what it will be after football.

– Just don’t even try to talk to me on Tuesday nights anymore.

 

Fall 2015 TV

Fall 2015 Calendar

 

So go ahead, let me have it. What am I stupid for watching? What are you getting jazzed to watch?

– Ellen

Get With The Program: Suits

Litigation. Corporate buyouts. Company bylaws. If these three words do not turn you on just a little bit, there’s a chance you aren’t watching Suits on USA.  If that’s the case, you have my sincere condolences. Not only have you been missing out on the greatest legal drama to grace the airwaves since JAG, but for the last five years you have been living without this unfairly lofty expectation for how a man should look in a suit.

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You also didn’t get to witness Meghan Markle demonstrating how to get it done in heels and a pencil skirt.

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You completely missed Gina Torres obliterate the competition for Ultimate Corporate Mamma Jamma.

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Nor seen the raw, cringe-inducing power of Rick Hoffman as Louis Litt, the stoolie we all hate to love.

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And been denied this bromantic buffoonery.

You’ve gone all this time without salivating every time you hear Ima Robot’s “Greenback Boogie”.

Starting to feel a little sorry for yourself? Well, that’s only to be expected. So take a minute, have a good cry. Then you need to dust yourself off and prepare for the binge of your life, because you’ve only got a few hours before the Suits season 5 finale airs on USA tomorrow night. Last one there is a Harold Gunderson!

Whitney

Sweet Streams: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

unbreakable_kimmy_schmidt_a_lNetflix released the first season of their new show Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt today, so of course, I have already watched the whole thing.  And I loved it.  That is going to be pretty much a guarantee if you attach Tina Fey to a new project.  Tina and fellow 30 Rock executive producer Robert Carlock bring us this new show about an unbreakable girl named Kimmy Schmidt (get it?) who moves to New York for a fresh start after being released from an underground bunker where she has been living for 15 years with her apocalypse cult sisters.  Did you follow that?

Admittedly, I wasn’t immediately sold on this show after the first episode, but much like 30 Rock and every other comedy, it really finds its groove as it moves along.  Ellie Kemper is utterly charming as the titular Kimmy, who is just rife with sunny optimism, 90’s pop culture knowledge, and a middle school naivete (she was kidnapped 15 years ago, remember?).  The rest of the cast gets plenty time to shine with Tituss Burgess as Titus Andromedon, Kimmy’s new roommate, Carol Kane as Lillian, their eccentric landlord, and Jane Krakowski as Jenna Maroney, I mean, Jacqueline Voorhees, Kimmy’s rich boss who hires her as a nanny.

The best praise I can give this show, though, is that it is very similar to 30 Rock in it’s pacing and humor with the sunny optimism of Parks and Recreation.  If you know me at all, you know that is high praise indeed.  The jokes are rapid fire, making rewatchability high, the guest stars are high caliber (I wouldn’t dare spoil some of them for you), the pop culture references are a plenty (the Olsen twins are actually the Olsen octuplets), and there are  moments so bizarre that they rival “Werewolf Bar Mitzvah” (VH3’s Joe Invisible Millionaire, anyone?).  Kimmy, who responds to someone calling her a bitch with “A female dog? The thing that makes puppies?”, has the same can-do spirit as Leslie Knope.  Also, at first glance she may be misjudged as weak given the whole cult thing, but really she is a strong, independent woman who doesn’t get taken down easily.  Also, if you like snappy theme songs that are based on fake viral videos, then this is the show for you.

To sum it all up, I’m already eager for season 2 (the only issue I have with the Netflix model of entire seasons at once) and I recommend that you join me in the wait.

Ellen

Get With the Program: Marry Me

marry-me-nbc-hed-2014During Fall Premiere season, sometime you have to step back and objectively evaluate each show based on their respective merits. I said sometimes you have to do that. I can’t. Tried, but can’t.

Which brings me to NBC’s new sitcom Marry Me. Now, my approval of this show was pretty much written in the stars. Firstly, it’s produced by David Caspe (if reading that name does not make you observe a moment of silence for our funny, fallen friend Happy Endings, there is a good chance you are a monster, or possibly have a life). Then there is the dazzling combined on-screen talents of Casey Wilson and Ken Marino, easily two of television’s funniest staples. Wilson and Marino play a couple in a long-term, quasi-committed relationship that gets turned on it’s head when Jake (Marino) proposes. I know, not exactly high concept, but some of the best sitcoms of all time have been based on even less (Cheers, Friends, Scrubs).

The supporting cast is none too shabby either, Tim Meadows, John Gemberling, and Sarah Wright being the most notable. marry-me-hed-01-2014One of the really impressive things about Marry Me is how it tricked us into thinking we’re watching a show about two attractive leads with occasional appearances from a supportive role, when really this is an ensemble. There are a lot of great characters here, and I have a feeling they are going to get the screen time they deserve. Assuming that this show doesn’t get chopped like another David Caspe gem I could mention. Yeah, ABC, still bitter.

-Whitney

Get With the Program: Jane the Virgin

jtvAirs: Mondays at 9:00/8:00c on The CW

UPDATE: The show just got picked up for a full season!

TV show equation:  Jane the Virgin  =  telenovella / Spanish language + occasional Spanish language x better production quality x cheeky self-awareness.

Premise in a Sentence:  At its most basic, Jane accidentally gets artificially inseminated after spending her life maintaining her virginity.

But this show has gone absolutely bonkers.  In the best way possible.  She was inseminated with a sample from her boss, Rafael, who she also had a romantic moment with 5 years ago.  Jane had gone in for a simple exam, but her doctor, Luisa, was discombobulated after walking in on her girlfriend cheating on her.  Luisa realized her mistake when she walked into her next appointment and saw her sister-in-law, Petra.  Oh, yeah, Luisa is also Rafael’s sister.  Also, Jane’s boyfriend, Michael, who she has been holding off for two years, proposes in the midst of all this.

I think that is all I am going to give you for now, because some of the other reveals are far too delicious to spoil for you and I really want you all to give this one a shot.  Even though it has only had two episodes, I’m going to go out on a limb and declare this one my favorite new show of the season (the only possible competition is Marry Me, which get the Happy Endings bump).

If you are anything like me, you heard the premise or saw the promo and had to keep from rolling your eyes, but this show won me over in it’s clear awareness of the ridiculousness of the premise.  If you watch some of those more soapy dramas like Scandal and Revenge and find yourself thinking “Oh, boy, that would never happen in real life but I love it anyway”, then you are really going to like this one.  The show’s humorous narration basically calls out how unbelievable some of the plot can be and to great effect.

This cheeky quality helps the plot to be a lot more fun, but it also helps the show to have tender moments without getting too schmaltzy.  Gina Rodriguez plays the titular Jane with a lot of heart and strength.  Jane’s romantic entanglements are already promising to be intriguing and the other relationships already range from sweet to over-the-top scandalous.

I triple dog dare you to get to the last 10 minutes of last night’s episode,  in which they dropped at least 5 bombshells, and tell me that you are not hooked.  You can’t turn down a triple dog dare.

Get with the Program: Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D

agents-of-shield-season-2Like a lot of you, I was super excited for Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D because I felt, much like that SNL skit this weekend, that Marvel could do no wrong.  And then like a lot of you, I watched the the first few episodes of the show and wrote it off.  The adorableness or FitzSimmons aside, it wasn’t doing much to keep me invested, but then like a lot of shows, I heard that it got better about halfway through the first season.  As a TV fan, I should have known that it would have, so I gave it another try.

Now that I have caught up, I am ashamed.  I should have had more faith in both Marvel and the wide, wild, world of Whedon because this shiz went bananas. Like, B-A-N-A-N-A-S.

I really don’t want to spoil too much, as this is a post trying to convince you to start watching the show, but I am going to vaguely lay out reasons you should play catch up with this one.

1) Watch if you love the Marvel Cinematic Universe – Again, no spoilers, but the show has set itself up as a pretty fascinating companion piece to all of your favorite Marvel films and seeing as how Marvel seems to be the blockbuster juggernaut that cannot be stopped, I don’t see it running out of material anytime soon.

2)  Watch if you love Whedon – Yes, Joss has a minimal executive producer presence, but his longtime collaboraters and family members, Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen (they’re married, aww) are the showrunners and all the writers pretty much nail Joss’ tone on the head.  You know the tone I’m talking about?  That mix of cheeky, funny, action-packed, and heartbreaking?  That’s the one.

3) Watch if you love love – Maybe you will like SkyeWard or FitzSimmons or Fitzskye or May and Coulson or MayWard or all of them.  S.H.I.E.L.D has you covered on the sexual tension front and if you like the same couple as me, your heart will be broken when you get to the premiere of season 2.

Are you watching S.H.I.E.L.D.?  Let’s chat because I am deep in it now.

Ellen