Fall 2015 Pilot Tests

When I start hearing buzz about a new fall drama or comedy, I usually wait before diving right in. It needs to reel in some great reviews and ratings first, maybe an article here and there in Entertainment Weekly. After I read up on it and watch a trailer or two, I give it the ol’ pilot test. If the pilot episode hooks me, I stay with it for a while. If it doesn’t keep me interested, I try to rough it for a few episodes, given that some shows just take longer to really get underway, which I get. And even though I usually have a full fall roster every year ready to jam up my TiVo, I still try a couple new ones, just because. So this year, here’s what’s new to my ever-growing line-up and whether or not I think I’ll keep them …

Best Time Ever
Tuesdays at 10 on NBC

Best Time EverAs mentioned in my last PSA, I’m a huge Neil Patrick Harris fan so imagine my surprise when his hugely touted variety show, new to NBC this season, appeared to flop miserably. I found myself with a puzzled look on my face throughout much of the first episode, even fast-forwarding entire segments. The second episode did not fare much better. It’s as though he’s trying to cram much too much into every second and the pressure of performing it all live puts a strain on the easy-going, natural charmer that we know NPH to be. The audience participation in the first episode leaned more toward stalking and the second—an on-air proposal—seemed odd and out of place. His celebrity guest announcers falter awkwardly and “The End of the Show Show” runs the gamut from chaotic to sloppy. The only parts worth sitting through are the pranks and the physical obstacle course, which changes from show to show. But even so, after two episodes, I removed this from my TiVo to-do list. Sorry Neil, it just didn’t live up to its name. Continue reading

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I Wish I Was A Walker

One of my favorite scenes from Brothers & Sisters. You know it’s good TV when a mere 120 seconds makes you want to jump through the screen and pull up a chair.

As I’ve mentioned, I’m still suffering through the 5 stages of binge-watching (think Kübler-Ross). This is totally a thing. When you gobble up an entire series in such a short amount of time, it messes with your emotions. You’ve become so engrossed in this world and the people that inhabit it that to not spend hours of every day with them feels like you’re doing something wrong. Watching anything else feels like cheating. This is the first time I’ve truly experienced this hell and I believe it’s because 1. I fell hard for this show and 2. I finished watching it at warp speed.

Brothers & Sisters was an ABC drama that aired Sunday nights from 2006-2011. Centered on the Walker family, it starred Sally Field as Nora, mother of five adult children (Rachel Griffiths, Calista Flockhart, Balthazar Getty, Matthew Rhys and Dave Annable) all living in or around Pasadena, CA. I started watching on June 13 and finished all 5 seasons by July 1. I love ensemble casts and I love family dramas, so I don’t know why I was surprised that I enjoyed it so much. It actually reminded me quite a bit of Parenthood at times—which is another show you should be watching if you’re not already—the daughter who comes back to live with her parents, the adorable backyard dinner scenes, the cancer, the fighting, the love. Plus, hello, Sally Field. She’s brilliant. In anything. I was talking about the show at a BBQ a couple months ago and someone asked, “Who’s Sally Field?” Damn near broke my heart. Continue reading