Thanksgiving is on the horizon, so I’m storing up oodles and oodles of profound gratefulness for the blog for the occasion. But in the meantime, let’s put down the turkey baster and frolic in a little frivolity, shall we?
Every August, I start to pay attention to my hand-me-down Entertainment Weekly magazines (thanks, Kelly!) to see what the fall shows have in store for me. I don’t know if you’ve watched Gilmore Girls or not, but there’s this episode when Rory goes to college and she signs up for every class possible for “shopping week” before nailing down her schedule. I’m pretty much like Rory but instead of “classes” insert “shows”. I like to think of that week as my DVR earning its keep.
I generally record a whole heap of shows and then weed out the keepers from there. Some episodes make it easier to discern that than others. Usually, I’m a quick judge of quality and I have no qualms deleting anything if it’s not worth the time investment (current record: 3 minutes). Let’s be real, people, I have a life! And my DVR only has so much space…mostly taken up by The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon episodes. Plus, I’m already three weeks behind on The Voice. Which in reality TV is an ETERNITY.
After my careful evaluation of all that the television universe showered our way this fall, here’s the two shows that rose to the top for me.
1. Madam Secretary starring Tea Leoni and Tim Daly (CBS, Sunday PM)
The show follows former CIA operative, mom, and college professor Elizabeth McCord as she’s called in by her former CIA colleague–now President–to take on the Secretary of State position. Accepting the position means a move and transition for her family, learning and navigating a difficult political terrain, and discovering the possibility that her predecessor’s death was not an accident.
I love Madam Secretary because it smacks a bit of The West Wing – the show is propelled by Elizabeth’s desire to do some real good in her position despite the red tape that tries to slows her down. But underneath all the politically sensitive negotiations and briefings lies a show with real heart. What’s really winsome is the McCord family dynamic complete with a supportive husband, conspiracy theorist son, and their eldest daughter who has decided to drop out of school. One of the things I loved most about The West Wing that I’m enjoying with this show as well is how much I learn each week. The stories have a way of humanizing governmental proceedings and giving insight through vignettes (albeit dramatic) of a position I know very little about. Well worth every bit of DVR space, though I’ll confess the episodes never sit around there that long.
2. Scorpion starring Elyes Gable and Katharine McPhee (CBS, Monday PM)
Inspired by the true story of Walter O’Brien, Scorpion is a show about a group of certifiable geniuses who band together to try make a company that attempts to make a living with their various skills. Happy Quinn is their resident machine whisperer: she can make anything out of anything…think MacGuyver on steroids. Toby Curtis is an incredibly gifted behaviorist (if you’ve ever seen The Mentalist or Lie to Me, you’d be in the right vicinity for Toby). Rounding out their merry little band is Sylvester Dodd who can pretty much make any set of numbers make sense and, somewhat unfairly in my opinion, also has a photographic memory. Walter is their leader, with an off-the-charts IQ and a knack for holding their little group together.
Their misfit operation is validated when FBI agent Cabe Gallo, who we find out has a background with Walter, approaches them to help Homeland Security with especially difficult cases. His thinking? He can’t train his analysts to think like them, so they offer him a skill-set that can’t be duplicated. And to help translate the real world for them, former waitress Paige joins their crew. Added bonus? They can help translate Paige’s gifted son for her.
I swear, every episode of this show is like a mini movie. I love the fact that even though the cast of characters are highly gifted, they all have their particular vulnerabilities that make them relatable. Sylvester, for instance, is OCD and a germ freak which makes some missions highly difficult to conquer. Toby has a problem with gambling, Happy has Daddy issues from growing up in the foster system, and Walter has…well, a lot of issues and some are coming to bear now. Their friendship and care of Paige’s son, Ralph, is as heart-warming as the action is heart-pounding. You can’t help but root for them! Go ahead, I dare you.
If you’ve found a new show this fall that you love, I’m all ears!
Happy Tuesday, everyone.