Earlier this fall, I sat down and put together a schedule of what I was planning to watch and write about per night and per network. Now that we are officially deep in the season, I thought it was the perfect time to see what I'm still watching and plan to continue on with through the rest of the year and beyond.
You should note that I gave every individual new series three episodes to hook me-- or completely turn me off-- before making my decisions, so there are no snap judgements here. Will my television schedule surprise you?
And I'm going in alphabetical order, only looking at major networks. For now.
Once Upon A Time (Sundays, 8 p.m.) - I was completely on board with Storybrooke with magic, Regina's (Lana Parrilla) desperation to have anyone in her life, Rumple's (Robert Carlyle) self-hatred, and of course Hottie Hook (Colin O'Donoghue). I was on the fence when it came to sending Snow (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Emma (Jennifer Morrison) into another world because the whole literally, physically searching to reunite is just done too much that it feels "too easy" from a storytelling device of relationship conflict. But then David Anders was revealed as Dr. Frankenstein, and I ran screaming "Jumping the shark!" from my television. I'm giving the show a couple more episodes to show me Dr. Frankenstein was a fluke-- an attempt at capitalizing on Halloween-- but I may have to call it. Such a shame, because I really wanted to (eventually) meet Ariel, and more importantly Prince Eric, in this world.
Revenge (Sundays, 9 p.m.) - I'm not as in love with this series as I was last season, but I admit professionally recapping it may be a big part of the reason why. It's hard to fully enjoy the viewing when I'm worrying about character count. But I appreciate how they have expanded the world and made it more of a true ensemble, rather than just revolving on Emily (Emily VanCamp) and her mission. I absolutely love the addition of Aiden (Barry Sloane), and I'm intrigued by the Initiative, even if I think the naming is over-the-top. I like that Nolan (Gabriel Mann) is getting more to do on his own, but I admit I absolutely do not like Padma (Dilshad Vadsaria). Almost as much as I don't like Declan (Connor Paolo), who I never had as many problems with in season one as most people. Now I get it, though, and I just have no interest in his side story. The good news is that his side story is so minimal right now, it's not distracting from the fun I'm having with Emily, Aiden, and of course, Victoria (Madeleine Stowe).
666 Park Avenue (Sundays, 10 p.m.) - I stand by my original review that this is American Horror Story lite, but it has hooked me and made me squirm in ways AHS never has (I really don't like birds!). I wish The Drake would just swallow up Louise (Mercedes Masohn) already, but I am really intrigued by Jane's (Rachael Taylor) deep connection to the building, and I appreciate that for once it is the women who seem to hold the keys, even if its the men with the secrets.
Castle (Mondays, 10 p.m.) - This season has already far surpassed my expectations. I was going into the season just watching out of obligation-- the sense of needing to see something through-- but I have so much fun with it week after week that it's back to being a guilty pleasure. Sure, it's still silly at times. Sure, they still take too many liberties with jurisdiction and exposition, and the cases are never hard to crack, but they seem to be having fun with it this year, so how can I not follow suit? Oddly I find that Beckett (Stana Katic) being lighter as a result of Castle's (Nathan Fillion) influence is even working for me, despite always championing the show to give her deeper, darker stuff in the past.
Happy Endings (Tuesdays, 9 p.m.) - Hiatus was so long without this gang in my life. Yes, it has felt more like a traditional situation comedy of late, and I usually rage against those, but in focusing the funny on the situations, it is still allowing the characters individually (and as couples) to have moments of growth. But even if it didn't evolve its players, I think the sheer amount of quotable lines it gives me would be enough. This is one show I have to watch more than once in order to fully appreciate and get all the jokes-- mostly because I miss some in the first viewing because I'm still laughing at or thinking about a previous one. I just love these guys so much!!
Modern Family (Wednesdays, 9 p.m.) - I watch this show for Luke (Nolan Gould) and Luke alone these days. Honestly, something about the series has just been rubbing me the wrong way. I don't know if it's that I'm annoyed they sweep all the awards when there are other deserving shows out there or that I find too high a percentage of its characters increasingly grating (Phil included) to find amusing, but it just feels like a shell of what it was. Or maybe just too much of what it was. It hasn't evolved in three years, and what was a cute, clever novelty at first has now worn off. Wednesdays are light, so I stick with it, but it's nothing I'm eagerly anticipating seeing. In fact, I've taken to watching it the next morning, after I've caught up on everything else, and even then I don't rush to turn it on if I have transcribing to do. That's really saying something, and the message isn't good.
Suburgatory (Wednesdays, 9:30 p.m.) - There is so much plot to this show, I just want to put Emily Kapnek in front of every other comedy writer's room and show them why it's okay not to be afraid of arcs and characters and actual story developments. She has done so much in so little time, and she always does it with some great, dry references and astute observational commentary. I'm so happy George (Jeremy Sisto) and Dallas (Cheryl Hines) are trying out coupledom, and I'm equally excited to watch the evolution of Ryan (Parker Young).
Nashville (Wednesdays, 10 p.m.) - This isn't the perfect relationship drama I had hoped for, but I still love every minute of it-- even when it's soapy. The music has won me over in a way I didn't expect, too, considering I don't like the country twang, and the accents are subtle enough not to get on my nerves week after week. I like how dark and complicated some characters seem to be (namely Deacon and Avery), but honestly, even the ones who seem like regular ole guys (like Gunnar) are fun, too. The one thing that bums me out is how one-note (sad) Juliette (Hayden Panettiere) gets over her mother; I like Panettiere best when she's strong and maybe a little smirky. That storyline can go, if you ask me; it feels manufactured for TV but not as grounded as so many of the others.
Scandal (Thursdays, 10 p.m.) - The cases of the week seem much more predictable this season than they were last, but that's okay, because Shonda Rhimes is delivering harder on the complex character relationships and overall Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) politics, and that's what I watch these shows for anyway. Introducing David Rosen's (Joshua Malina) wall of crazy was one thing; seeing just how twisted but trying Huck (Guillermo Diaz) is is another, but that "table" of five-- and specifically who was sitting there and what they all accomplished together-- was a bit of a mindf*ck. I will be the first to admit, I didn't see that coming. But I'm on the edge of my seat waiting to see what happens if and when some of Olivia's "Associates" find out about it. I've learned this show is one that is best to just sit back and enjoy without worrying about what's around the bend. That's Olivia's job, and she's much better at it than me anyway.