We're a few weeks into the Fall 2013 television season, and yes, there are still a couple of shows waiting in the wings to debut at all, but already some pretty major adjustments have been made to the schedule. Shows have already been dropped across a few networks, and more personally, many shows have been dropped for not living up to my (not even crazy high) expectations. But the good news is that there are a couple of shows that came out of the gate with super strong episode two and threes and completely hooked me in a way I just did not expect. That is super rare and therefore that much more thrilling when I experience it.
- 8 p.m. - The Biggest Loser - It's a vicious cycle that I can't stop if I wanted to: every season I am inspired by the people who want to change their lives; I am motivated by the yelling the trainers do; and I am in tears over the success stories. If these people can lose literally half of their body weight, then I should be able to lose ten pounds, right? Well, no because I end up eating my feelings with this show, but the emotional ride it takes me on is worth it!
- 8:30 p.m. - Brooklyn Nine-Nine - I wish this show was a little less "of the week," but so far it has endeared me by its colorful, oddball characters and clever dialogue. In addition to their strong supporting cast, they've brought in some really great guest stars, too, including the hopefully recurring Dean Winters. Each episode goes by so fast that I leave it wishing there was more.
- 9 p.m. - The Goldbergs - I admit it: I am fully only watching this show for its pop culture references. I wanted to love it, but it's making it hard. It's one thing that this show only has one decibel, but it's another that the two male kids are so over the top with their facial expressions and voice inflections they seem like they're in a sitcom while everyone around them is in the (admittedly really loud) real world. I never would have thought Jeff Garlin would be one of the subtler ones on the show, but he is.
- 9 p.m. - Supernatural - This is going to be a busy year for the boys, and I am 100% invested. From Sam not quite being Sam again (let's face it, that's when I've found him the most complex and interesting) to Dean living with yet another choice that will drive a wedge between him and his brother, to Cas trying to navigate life and vulnerabilities, to the literal thousands of angels that have crash landed and are out for blood, in addition to old foes who still just won't die... It's still a beautifully shot show, too. It just feels like it's firing on all cylinders, and this is season nine, for crying out lodu!
- 9:30 p.m. - Trophy Wife - I laughed out-loud when Diane announced she was Catfishing a bunch of teenagers, and I haven't stopped since. It's not perfect, but it is well on its way to being the strongest, smartest comedy of the season.
- 9:30 p.m. - The Mindy Project - Single Mindy is my favorite kind of Mindy. That's because when she is single on this show, they do the smart thing of juggling a few potential guys around her, keeping them around for more than one episode, generally infusing a lot of guest stars into episodes in ways that don't make those episodes feel all about the guest stars or in any way "stunty." Danny is always there as a part of that, but the Danny and Mindy friendship is evolving into something so sweet and caring that you almost don't want them to hook up and potentially ruin the new vibe. Everyone just feels like a real person in this world, coming in and out as they normally would. This season also has Adam Pally, though, who I'll pretty much watch in anything after Happy Endings, so that's a bonus.
- 10 p.m. - Chicago Fire - I never expected to like this show, I'll be honest, but I found I stayed current with it in season one because it moved the plot along quickly and in ways that allowed for real character growth and relationship developments. The fires and cool stunts were always secondary, almost time outs from what the characters were currently doing or worrying about-- they had to put the important stuff on the line to do their job, and once you were in their job with them, you realized how insane and petty some of their distractions were in the first place. I love watching the visual effects and stunts on this show, but what I enjoy even more is watching how these characters rise to the pressures each and every week. As they're constantly being reminded they're not invincible, they're still proving we can do more than of which we may think we're capable.
- 10 p.m. - Lucky 7 - R.I.P. I was watching you. But no one else was.
- 10 p.m. - Awkward - This is the last of creator Lauren Iungerich's run, and she really was this show. It was her baby, but more over, it was her lexicon that set it apart and made it something special. She's taking her main character down a darker, potentially less relatable let alone likeable path this season, too, and that excites me because it makes you look at yourself more. You may have started this series relating to Jenna's outcast ways and introspective nature, but as time as gone on, you've been able to see her as stunted and immature and now pretty selfish. You may have rooted for her because you thought she was like you, and you wanted better for your own high school self. Is she a hero who has stumbled? Or did you only project onto her in the first place and see what you wanted to see?