Welcome to Benjamonster's TV - a place that covers broadcast networks with reviews, ratings, and other features!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

WEEKLY RECAP: January 8-14, 2018

Here is the weekly ratings recap looking back at the week in ratings for Week #15. Please note no repeats, sports, specials, or Saturday airings are counted.

TOP 20 SHOWS (18-49 DEMO)
1. The Simpsons (FOX, Sunday 8:30pm) - 3.3    8th week
2. The Big Bang Theory (CBS, Thursday 8:00pm) - 3.1    13th week
3. This is Us (NBC, Tuesday 9:00pm) - 2.7    11th week
4. Young Sheldon (CBS, Thursday 8:30pm) - 2.6    10th week
5. Ellen's Game of Games (NBC, Tuesday 8:00pm) - 2.1    2nd week
    Bob's Burgers (FOX, Sunday 9:00pm) - 2.1    4th week
7. Family Guy (FOX, Sunday 9:30pm) - 1.8    7th week
8. The Good Doctor (ABC, Monday 10:00pm) - 1.6    11th week
    Modern Family (ABC, Wednesday 9:00pm) - 1.6    12th week
    Mom (CBS, Thursday 9:00pm) - 1.6    9th week
11. NCIS (CBS, Tuesday 8:00pm) - 1.5    12th week
    The Goldbergs (ABC, Wednesday 8:00pm) - 1.5    12th week
    9-1-1 (FOX, Wednesday 9:00pm) - 1.5    2nd week
14. The Bachelor (ABC, Monday 8:00pm) - 1.4    2nd week
    Chicago Med (NBC, Tuesday 10:00pm) - 1.4    6th week
    The Amazing Race (CBS, Wednesday 8:00pm) - 1.4    2nd week
17. The Middle (ABC, Tuesday 8:00pm) - 1.3    12th week
      Law & Order: SVU (NBC, Wednesday 9:00pm) - 1.3    6th week
      Chicago PD (NBC, Wednesday 10:00pm) - 1.3    5th week
      Shark Tank (ABC, Sunday 9:00pm) - 1.3    2nd week

BOTTOM 20 SHOWS (18-49 DEMO)
1. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (CW, Friday 8:00pm) - 0.2    9th week
2. The Brave (NBC, Monday 10:00pm) - 0.5    2nd week
    Taken (NBC, Friday 9:00pm) - 0.5    1st week (New Season)
4. Kevin (Probably) Saves the World (ABC, Tuesday 10:00pm) - 0.6    11th week
    Great News (NBC, Thursday 9:30pm) - 0.6    5th week
    Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC, Friday 9:00pm) - 0.6    5th week
    Dateline NBC (NBC, Sunday 7:00pm) - 0.6    1st week
8. The Mick (FOX, Tuesday 9:30pm) - 0.7    10th week
    20/20 (ABC, Friday 10:00pm) - 0.7    14th week
    Blindspot (NBC, Friday 8:00pm) - 0.7    8th week
    Wisdom of the Crowd (CBS, Sunday 8:00pm) - 0.7    7th week
    Madam Secretary (CBS, Sunday 10:00pm) - 0.7    12th week
13. Better Late Than Never (NBC, Monday 9:00pm) - 0.8    2nd week
      LA to Vegas (FOX, Tuesday 9:00pm) - 0.8    1st week
     Match Game (ABC, Wednesday 10:00pm) - 0.8    2nd week
     Child Support (ABC, Wednesday 8:00pm) - 0.8    2nd week
     Dateline NBC (NBC, Friday 10:00pm) - 0.8    6th week
     60 Minutes (CBS, Sunday 7:00pm) - 0.8    2nd week
19. SEAL Team (CBS, Wednesday 9:00pm) - 0.9    2nd week
    Chicago Fire (NBC, Thursday 10:00pm) - 0.9    1st week

TOP 20 SHOWS (TOTAL VIEWERS)
1. The Big Bang Theory (CBS, Thursday 8:00pm) - 15.9 million    13th week
2. NCIS (CBS, Tuesday 8:00pm) - 14.2 million    12th week
    Young Sheldon (CBS, Thursday 8:30pm) - 14.2 million    10th week
4. Bull (CBS, Tuesday 9:00pm) - 10.5 million    12th week
5. Blue Bloods (CBS, Friday 10:00pm) - 10.2 million    12th week
6. This is Us (NBC, Tuesday 9:00pm) - 9.7 million    11th week
7. Mom (CBS, Thursday 9:00pm) - 9.5 million    9th week
8. Hawaii Five-0 (CBS, Friday 9:00pm) - 9.4 million    12th week
9. NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS, Sunday 9:00pm) - 9.1 million    12th week
10. NCIS: New Orleans (CBS, Tuesday 10:00pm) - 8.7 million    12th week
11. The Good Doctor (ABC, Monday 10:00pm) - 8.3 million    11th week
12. MacGyver (CBS, Friday 8:00pm) - 8.1 million    11th week
13. The Simpsons (FOX, Sunday 8:30pm) - 8.0 million    2nd week
14. Ellen's Game of Games (NBC, Tuesday 8:00pm) - 7.9 million    2nd week
15. 60 Minutes (CBS, Sunday 7:00pm) - 7.7 million    14th week
16. Life in Pieces (CBS, Thursday 9:30pm) - 7.2 million    6th week
      Madam Secretary (CBS, Sunday 10:00pm) - 7.2 million    5th week
18. The Amazing Race (CBS, Wednesday 8:00pm) - 7.0 million    2nd week
19. Chicago Med (NBC, Tuesday 10:00pm) - 6.9 million    6th week
      Chicago PD (NBC, Wednesday 10:00pm) - 6.9 million    4th week

BOTTOM 20 SHOWS (TOTAL VIEWERS)
1. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (CW, Friday 8:00pm) - 0.7 million    9th week
2. The Mick (FOX, Tuesday 9:30pm) - 2.0 million    11th week
3. Great News (NBC, Thursday 9:30pm) - 2.3 million    4th week
    Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC, Friday 9:00pm) - 2.3 million    5th week
5. Kevin (Probably) Saves the World (ABC, Tuesday 10:00pm) - 2.4 million    7th week
6. LA to Vegas (FOX, Tuesday 9:00pm) - 2.6 million    2nd week
7. Taken (NBC, Friday 9:00pm) - 2.8 million    1st week (New Season)
8. The Brave (NBC, Monday 10:00pm) - 2.9 million    2nd week
9. The Good Place (NBC, Thursday 8:30pm) - 3.1 million    3rd week
10. Match Game (ABC, Wednesday 10:00pm) - 3.3 million    2nd week
    The Four (FOX, Thursday 8:00pm) - 3.3 million    2nd week
    20/20 (ABC, Friday 10:00pm) - 3.3 million    12th week
    The Last Man on Earth (FOX, Sunday 10:00pm) - 3.3 million    10th week
14. Fresh Off the Boat (ABC, Tuesday 8:30pm) - 3.6 million    3rd week
      Blindspot (NBC, Friday 8:00pm) - 3.6 million    2nd week
      Hell's Kitchen (FOX, Friday 8:00pm) - 3.6 million    6th week
17. Black-ish (ABC, Tuesday 9:00pm) - 3.8 million    3rd week
     Superstore (NBC, Thursday 8:00pm) - 3.8 million    2nd week
19. The X-Files (FOX, Wednesday 8:00pm) - 4.0 million    1st week
20. Better Late Than Never (NBC, Monday 9:00pm) - 4.1 million    2nd week
      Child Support (ABC, Friday 8:00pm) - 4.1 million    1st week
      Family Guy (FOX, Sunday 9:30pm) - 4.1 million    9th week

WINNERS OF THE NIGHT
Monday - The Good Doctor (ABC)    3rd week
Tuesday - NCIS (CBS)    2nd week
Wednesday - The Goldbergs (ABC)    2nd week
Thursday - S.W.A.T. (CBS)    2nd week
Friday - Hell's Kitchen (FOX)    1st week
Sunday - NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS)    1st week

LOSERS OF THE NIGHT
Monday - The Brave (NBC)    2nd week
Tuesday - Kevin (Probably) Saves the World (ABC)    3rd week
Wednesday - The X-Files (FOX)    1st week
Thursday - Will & Grace (NBC)    1st week
Friday - Taken (NBC)    1st week (New Season)
Sunday - Wisdom of the Crowd (CBS)    5th week

PILOT REVIEW: Black Lightning

BLACK LIGHTNING











Starring: Cress Williams, China Anne McClain, Nafessa Williams, Christine Adams, Marvin "Krondon" Jones III, Damon Gupton, and James Remar

Based on Characters Created for DC by Tony Isabella with Trevor Von Eeden
Developed by Salim Akil
Written by Salim Akil, Directed by Salim Akil

THE PREMISE
Black Lightning is the latest entry to the CW collection of DC Comics shows. The Black Lightning story isn't one of the more generally known comics. I don't claim to know a lot about the comic world, but this was not one I had even heard of before it was put into development last year. It centers on Jefferson Pierce (Cress Williams) who gave up the Black Lighting persona nine years earlier and took a job as a principal at a charter high school. Despite ending his marriage with Lynn (Christine Adams), Jefferson is thrust back into action as Black Lightning when his daughters, Jennifer and Anissa (China Anne McClain and Nafessa Williams) get caught up in the troubled overrun of the city by a gang called The 100. Rounding out the main cast is the leader of The 100, Tobias (Marvin "Krondon" Jones III), Detective William Henderson (Damon Gupton), and advisor to Jefferson (and one who knows about his alter ego), Peter Gambi (James Remar).

THE REVIEW
Forgive me again for being so ignorant about the comic book world, but I don't know if the comic has race relations as a major theme or not. This show certainly does and it was interesting to see a Black Lives Matter theme meet a superhero show. All in all, it was an enjoyable and slickly produced pilot that had something to say. Not surprisingly, I was far more interested in the family and community dynamics than the superhero stuff and to my surprise, that was the vast majority of the pilot. Precious little time was devoted to Black Lightning doing "superhero stuff." I am curious what kind of show this is going to be on a weekly basis and if it will focus as much on community and family storylines as it does on heroes and villains.

A lot of the credit for the pilot's strength should go to Cress Williams, who I also enjoyed immensely on Friday Night Lights. He is a commanding and interesting presence. He has made Jefferson Pierce a character to sympathize with and root for. The rest of the cast was serviceable too but so much of the pilot rested on Williams' shoulders and he was absolutely up for the challenge. I liked his dynamics with his on screen daughters and ex-wife. I also believe Damon Gupton and James Remar can do good things but they were pretty limited in the pilot.

Where the pilot lost me was in the superhero storyline. And I'll fully admit that it is not my thing. There are tons of superhero TV shows and movies and I don't watch any of them. But I also felt like it made this show just seem like all the others when he was dangling a bad guy over a hotel room balcony. It was anything I probably could have seen on The Gifted most recently or probably any of the other CW superhero shows (though I don't watch any of them). I get that is the whole point of this show but that was where it seemed like the next entry in a factory of CW DC shows whereas the family and community scenes gave me hope it could be something more.

WILL I WATCH IT AGAIN?
Yes I'll probably give it one more episode but if I'm being honest, I'm very unlikely to stick with it. That's not an indictment of the show itself, which is interesting. It's just a personal taste issue.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

THE WEEK AHEAD: January 15-21, 2018

Here's a look at Week #17!

ABC
ABC has a mostly all new week including the return of TGIT on Thursday night. That isn't as big a deal as it used to be but it has still gotten a lot of promotion from ABC and should return solidly. The Bachelor has had a very soft start to its season while dealing with New Years Day and the College Football Championship competition. We'll see if it can perk up on a more normal Monday.

MONDAY
8:00 The Bachelor
10:00 The Good Doctor

TUESDAY
8:00 The Middle
8:30 Fresh Off the Boat
9:00 Black-ish
9:30 Modern Family (Repeat)
10:00 Kevin (Probably) Saves the World

WEDNESDAY
8:00 The Goldbergs
8:30 Speechless
9:00 Modern Family
9:30 American Housewife
10:00 Match Game

THURSDAY
8:00 Grey's Anatomy
9:00 Scandal
10:00 How to Get Away with Murder

FRIDAY
8:00 Child Support
9:00 Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
10:00 20/20

SATURDAY
8:00 NBA Basketball: Golden State at Houston

SUNDAY
7:00 America's Funniest Home Videos (Repeat)
8:00 America's Funniest Home Videos
9:00 Shark Tank
10:00 Shark Tank

CBS
CBS has the return of its Monday lineup this week but they probably won't do much better, if at all, than the repeats of The Big Bang Theory and Young Sheldon were doing in recent weeks here. Tuesday and Sunday is full of repeats but the rest of the week has normal lineups.

MONDAY
8:00 Kevin Can Wait
8:30 Man with a Plan
9:00 Superior Donuts
9:30 9JKL
10:00 Scorpion

TUESDAY
8:00 NCIS (Repeat)
9:00 NCIS: New Orleans (Repeat)
10:00 Bull (Repeat)

WEDNESDAY
8:00 The Amazing Race
9:00 SEAL Team
10:00 Criminal Minds

THURSDAY
8:00 The Big Bang Theory
8:30 Young Sheldon
9:00 Mom
9:30 Life in Pieces
10:00 S.W.A.T.

FRIDAY
8:00 MacGyver
9:00 Hawaii Five-0
10:00 Blue Bloods

SATURDAY
8:00 TBA

SUNDAY
7:00 60 Minutes
8:00 Wisdom of the Crowd (Repeat)
9:00 NCIS: Los Angeles (Repeat)
10:00 Madam Secretary (Repeat)

NBC
NBC has all new episodes this week. Will & Grace has had a rough January return so it will be interesting to see if it can recover at all. I kind of doubt it as it seems like the novelty has worn off.

MONDAY
8:00 The Wall
9:00 Better Late Than Never
10:00 The Brave

TUESDAY
8:00 Ellen's Game of Games
9:00 This is Us
10:00 Chicago Med

WEDNESDAY
8:00 The Blacklist
9:00 Law & Order: SVU
10:00 Chicago PD

THURSDAY
8:00 Superstore
8:30 The Good Place
9:00 Will & Grace
9:30 Great News
10:00 Chicago Fire

FRIDAY
8:00 Blindspot
9:00 Taken
10:00 Dateline NBC

SATURDAY
8:00 Will & Grace (Repeat)
8:30 Superstore (Repeat)
9:00 Dateline NBC
10:00 Saturday Night Live (Repeat)

SUNDAY
7:00 Dateline NBC
9:00 TBA

FOX
FOX has the two hour season finale of The Gifted on Monday. Despite ever decreasing ratings, it has already been renewed for next season. Its replacement, The Resident, premieres on Sunday night after the NFC Championship Game and it will certainly get a great sampling because this post-Championship game slot has become a great launching pad.

MONDAY
8:00 The Gifted (Season Finale)

TUESDAY
8:00 Lethal Weapon
9:00 LA to Vegas
9:30 The Mick

WEDNESDAY
8:00 The X-Files
9:00 9-1-1

THURSDAY
8:00 The Four: Battle for Stardom

FRIDAY
8:00 Hell's Kitchen
9:00 9-1-1 (Repeat)

SATURDAY
8:00 The Four: Battle for Stardom (Repeat)

SUNDAY
7:00 NFL NFC Championship Game
10:00 The Resident (SERIES PREMIERE)

CW
After being dormant for over a month, the CW is back in action this week with its full lineup except for Friday. It includes the series premiere of Black Lightning on Tuesday night. I don't think it will have a great debut but it should be a little better than Valor and Dynasty were in the fall.

MONDAY
8:00 Supergirl
9:00 Valor

TUESDAY
8:00 The Flash
9:00 Black Lightning (SERIES PREMIERE)

WEDNESDAY
8:00 Riverdale
9:00 Dynasty

THURSDAY
8:00 Supernatural
9:00 Arrow

FRIDAY
8:00 Black Lightning (Repeat)
9:00 Penn & Teller: Fool Us (Repeat)

TV NEWS & THOUGHTS
- The CW announced the rest of its premieres for the season: Life Sentence will premiere on March 7 at 9pm. Dynasty will leave Wednesday nights and head to Fridays that same week in a definite timeslot downgrade. Additionally, iZombie will take over the Monday 9pm slot from Valor starting February 26. The 100 will air on Tuesdays at 9pm starting April 24 while the final season of The Originals premieres April 20 at 9pm.

- ABC finally announced all its midseason plans. They already announced a March 11 premiere date for American Idol. It will be followed by Deception at 10pm. Idol will aired on Sundays and Mondays for awhile before an all-star athlete edition of Dancing with the Stars takes its place starting April 30. On Mondays at 10pm, The Crossing will start once The Good Doctor ends its season on April 2. Tuesdays brings Splitting Up Together at 9:30pm starting March 27, the same day Roseanne debuts while Alex, Inc. takes Wednesdays at 8:30pm starting the next night. Earlier in the month, the Shondaland drama For the People takes over Tuesdays at 10pm and the Untitled Grey's Anatomy spinoff has a two hour premiere on March 22 at 9pm. After Scandal ends, the third season of Quantico joins on Thursdays at 10pm starting April 26. Other than Quantico, which shouldn't have ever been renewed, I think ABC made mostly good decisions with a very packed spring lineup.

- Scandal will air its series finale on April 19 at 10pm. It will move back to its original Thursday 10pm slot for the last couple episodes to make room for the Grey's Anatomy spinoff.

- NBC renewed Ellen's Game of Games after just one episode in its regular timeslot. The unscripted winter filler has been a big success story for NBC this season.

- FOX has given three additional episodes to LA to Vegas after the freshman comedy's decent debut. This news came before the freshman comedy had a pretty rough week two drop.

- CBS has announced that Elementary will begin its season on Monday, April 30 at 10pm while Code Black will follow two days later on May 2 at 10pm. Both shows will air well into the summer. It looks like CBS is trying to transition them to summer series.

- FOX announced a continuation of its unscripted science show Cosmos to air in Spring 2019. It last aired in Spring 2014. Its previous Sunday 7pm timeslot seems like a likely destination again.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

WEEKLY RECAP: January 1-7, 2018

Here is the weekly ratings recap looking back at the week in ratings for Week #15. Please note no repeats, sports, specials, or Saturday airings are counted.

TOP 20 SHOWS (18-49 DEMO)
1. The Big Bang Theory (CBS, Thursday 8:00pm) - 3.1    12th week
2. The Simpsons (FOX, Sunday 8:07pm) - 2.8    7th week
3. Young Sheldon (CBS, Thursday 8:30pm) - 2.6    9th week
4. Ellen's Game of Games (NBC, Tuesday 9:00pm) - 2.4    Special Airing
5. Ellen's Game of Games (NBC, Tuesday 8:00pm) - 2.2    1st week
6. 9-1-1 (FOX, Wednesday 9:00pm) - 1.8    1st week (NEW SHOW)
7. Modern Family (ABC, Wednesday 9:00pm) - 1.7    11th week
    Mom (CBS, Thursday 9:00pm) - 1.7    8th week
9. The Amazing Race (CBS, Wednesday 8:00pm) - 1.6    1st week (New Season)
    Ghosted (FOX, Sunday 8:37pm) - 1.6    3rd week
    Family Guy (FOX, Sunday 9:07pm) - 1.6    6th week
12. The Bachelor (ABC, Monday 8:00pm) - 1.5    1st week (New Season)
     The Middle (ABC, Tuesday 8:00pm) - 1.5    11th week
     NCIS (CBS, Tuesday 8:00pm) - 1.5    11th week
     Chicago Med (NBC, Tuesday 10:00pm) - 1.5    5th week
     The Goldbergs (ABC, Wednesday 8:00pm) - 1.5    11th week
17. Law & Order: SVU (NBC, Wednesday 9:00pm) - 1.4    5th week
      Chicago PD (NBC, Wednesday 10:00pm) - 1.4    4th week
     Will & Grace (NBC, Thursday 9:00pm) - 1.4    7th week
     America's Funniest Home Videos (ABC, Sunday 8:00pm) - 1.4    2nd week
     Shark Tank (ABC, Sunday 9:00pm) - 1.4    1st week

BOTTOM 20 SHOWS (18-49 DEMO)
1. Valor (CW, Monday 9:00pm) - 0.2    10th week
    Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (CW, Friday 8:00pm) - 0.2    8th week
3. Great News (NBC, Thursday 9:30pm) - 0.6    4th week
    Madam Secretary (CBS, Sunday 10:00pm) - 0.6    11th week
5. Better Late Than Never (NBC, Monday 9:00pm) - 0.7    Special Airing
    Better Late Than Never (NBC, Monday 10:00pm) - 0.7    1st week
    Lucifer (FOX, Monday 8:00pm) - 0.7    4th week
    The Gifted (FOX, Monday 9:00pm) - 0.7    3rd week
    Kevin (Probably) Saves the World (ABC, Tuesday 10:00pm) - 0.7    10th week
    Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC, Friday 9:00pm) - 0.7    4th week
    Wisdom of the Crowd (CBS, Sunday 8:00pm) - 0.7    6th week
12. The Wall (NBC, Monday 8:00pm) - 0.8    1st week
     The Mick (FOX, Tuesday 9:30pm) - 0.8    9th week
     20/20 (ABC, Friday 10:00pm) - 0.8    13th week
     60 Minutes (CBS, Sunday 7:00pm) - 0.8    1st week
16. Match Game (ABC, Wednesday 10:00pm) - 0.9    1st week (New Season)
    SEAL Team (CBS, Wednesday 9:00pm) - 0.9    1st week
    Criminal Minds (CBS, Wednesday 10:00pm) - 0.9    2nd week
    Child Support (ABC, Friday 8:00pm) - 0.9    1st week (NEW SERIES)
    MacGyver (CBS, Friday 8:00pm) - 0.9    7th week
    Hell's Kitchen (FOX, Friday 8:00pm) - 0.9    7th week
    NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS, Sunday 9:00pm) - 0.9    6th week

TOP 20 SHOWS (TOTAL VIEWERS)
1. The Big Bang Theory (CBS, Thursday 8:00pm) - 16.2 million    12th week
2. Young Sheldon (CBS, Thursday 8:30pm) - 14.7 million    9th week
3. NCIS (CBS, Tuesday 8:00pm) - 14.1 million    11th week
4. Bull (CBS, Tuesday 9:00pm) - 11.2 million    11th week
5. Hawaii Five-0 (CBS, Friday 9:00pm) - 10.0 million    11th week
    Blue Bloods (CBS, Friday 10:00pm) - 10.0 million    11th week
7. Mom (CBS, Thursday 9:00pm) - 9.9 million    8th week
8. NCIS: New Orleans (CBS, Tuesday 10:00pm) - 9.1 million    11th week
9. Ellen's Game of Games (NBC, Tuesday 9:00pm) - 8.9 million    Special Airing
10. Ellen's Game of Games (NBC, Tuesday 8:00pm) - 8.8 million    1st week
11. NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS, Sunday 9:00pm) - 7.9 million    12th week
12. MacGyver (CBS, Friday 8:00pm) - 7.8 million    10th week
      60 Minutes (CBS, Sunday 7:00pm) - 7.8 million    13th week
14. Life in Pieces (CBS, Thursday 9:30pm) - 7.4 million    5th week
15. The Amazing Race (CBS, Wednesday 8:00pm) - 7.3 million    1st week (New Season)
16. Chicago Med (NBC, Tuesday 10:00pm) - 7.0 million    5th week
17. The Simpsons (FOX, Sunday 8:07pm) - 6.9 million    1st week
18. Chicago PD (NBC, Wednesday 10:00pm) - 6.8 million    3rd week
     9-1-1 (FOX, Wednesday 9:00pm) - 6.8 million    1st week (NEW SHOW)
20. The Middle (ABC, Tuesday 8:00pm) - 6.4 million    2nd week

BOTTOM 20 SHOWS (TOTAL VIEWERS)
1. Valor (CW, Monday 9:00pm) - 0.7 million    10th week
    Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (CW, Friday 8:00pm) - 0.7 million    8th week
3. The Mick (FOX, Tuesday 9:30pm) - 2.3 million    10th week
4. Great News (NBC, Thursday 9:30pm) - 2.4 million    3rd week
5. The Gifted (FOX, Monday 9:00pm) - 2.5 million    5th week
    Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC, Friday 9:00pm) - 2.5 million    4th week
7. Kevin (Probably) Saves the World (ABC, Tuesday 10:00pm) - 2.6 million    6th week
8. The Last Man on Earth (FOX, Sunday 9:37pm) - 3.0 million    9th week
9. Lucifer (FOX, Monday 8:00pm) - 3.1 million    4th week
    The Good Place (NBC, Thursday 8:30pm) - 3.1 million    2nd week
11. Hell's Kitchen (FOX, Friday 8:00pm) - 3.4 million    5th week
      Family Guy (FOX, Sunday 9:07pm) - 3.4 million    8th week
13. The Four (FOX, Thursday 9:00pm) - 3.7 million    1st week (NEW SERIES)
14. Match Game (ABC, Wednesday 10:00pm) - 3.6 million    1st week (New Season)
15. LA to Vegas (FOX, Tuesday 9:00pm) - 3.8 million    1st week (NEW SERIES)
16. Superstore (NBC, Thursday 8:00pm) - 3.9 million    1st week
      Shark Tank (ABC, Sunday 10:00pm) - 3.9 million    Special Airing
      Ghosted (FOX, Sunday 8:37pm) - 3.9 million    8th week
19. Black-ish (ABC, Tuesday 9:00pm) - 4.0 million    2nd week
20. Better Late Than Never (NBC, Monday 10:00pm) - 4.1 million    1st week

WINNERS OF THE NIGHT
Monday - None
Tuesday - Ellen's Game of Games (NBC)    1st week
Wednesday - 9-1-1 (FOX)    1st week (NEW SHOW)
Thursday - The Big Bang Theory (CBS)    2nd week
Friday - Child Support (ABC)    1st week (NEW SHOW)
Sunday - Shark Tank (ABC)    2nd week

LOSERS OF THE NIGHT
Monday - The Gifted (FOX)    4th week
Tuesday - Black-ish (ABC)    1st week
Wednesday - SEAL Team (CBS)    1st week
Thursday - Great News (NBC)    4th week
Friday - None
Sunday - Madam Secretary (CBS)    2nd week

Sunday, January 7, 2018

THE WEEK AHEAD: January 8-14, 2018

Here's a look at Week #16!

ABC
ABC starts the week off with the return of TV's #1 new drama, The Good Doctor. It has to face off against the College Football Championship on ESPN but that seems like it could be a different audience. Still, if The Bachelor is soft like last week, a series low wouldn't shock me. The Mayor was pulled off the schedule so another Modern Family repeat takes its place. Another Truth and Lies special airs on Thursday ahead of the return of TGIT next week.

MONDAY
8:00 The Bachelor
10:00 The Good Doctor

TUESDAY
8:00 The Middle
8:30 Fresh Off the Boat
9:00 Black-ish
9:30 Modern Family (Repeat)
10:00 Kevin (Probably) Saves the World

WEDNESDAY
8:00 The Goldbergs
8:30 Speechless
9:00 Modern Family
9:30 American Housewife
10:00 Match Game

THURSDAY
8:00 Child Support (Repeat)
9:00 Truth and Lies: The Tonya Harding Story (Special)

FRIDAY
8:00 Child Support
9:00 Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
10:00 20/20

SATURDAY
8:00 Movie: Flushed Away
10:00 20/20

SUNDAY
7:00 America's Funniest Home Videos (Repeat)
8:00 America's Funniest Home Videos
9:00 Shark Tank
10:00 Shark Tank

CBS
CBS has new episodes all week except for Monday as they chose not to compete with College Football. Sunday night has the finale of the de facto cancelled Wisdom of the Crowd. CBS had a great start for the new season of The Amazing Race. It will be interesting to see how it does in Week #2.

MONDAY
8:00 The Big Bang Theory (Repeat)
8:30 Kevin Can Wait (Repeat)
9:00 Young Sheldon (Repeat)
9:30 Superior Donuts (Repeat)
10:00 S.W.A.T. (Repeat)

TUESDAY
8:00 NCIS
9:00 Bull
10:00 NCIS: New Orleans

WEDNESDAY
8:00 The Amazing Race
9:00 SEAL Team
10:00 Criminal Minds

THURSDAY
8:00 The Big Bang Theory
8:30 Young Sheldon
9:00 Mom
9:30 Life in Pieces
10:00 S.W.A.T.

FRIDAY
8:00 MacGyver
9:00 Hawaii Five-0
10:00 Blue Bloods

SATURDAY
8:00 NFL Divisional Playoffs

SUNDAY
7:00 60 Minutes
8:00 Wisdom of the Crowd (Season Finale)
9:00 NCIS: Los Angeles
10:00 Madam Secretary

NBC
NBC has its schedule back in full force this week with the return of The Brave and This is Us. This is Us should have a big return on Tuesday especially with the surprisingly huge performance for Ellen's Game of Games. Friday night has the season premiere of Taken, which should have a very quiet debut.

MONDAY
8:00 The Wall
9:00 Better Late Than Never
10:00 The Brave

TUESDAY
8:00 Ellen's Game of Games
9:00 This is Us
10:00 Chicago Med

WEDNESDAY
8:00 The Blacklist
9:00 Law & Order: SVU
10:00 Chicago PD

THURSDAY
8:00 Superstore
8:30 The Good Place
9:00 Will & Grace
9:30 Great News
10:00 Chicago Fire

FRIDAY
8:00 Blindspot
9:00 Taken (Season Premiere)
10:00 Dateline NBC

SATURDAY
8:00 Will & Grace (Repeat)
8:30 Superstore (Repeat)
9:00 Dateline NBC
10:00 Saturday Night Live (Repeat)

SUNDAY
7:00 Dateline NBC
9:00 Movie: Ride Along

FOX
FOX had a solid start to its January with three series premieres that ranged from strong to acceptable. The key will be how LA to Vegas, 9-1-1, and The Four do in week two. FOX is choosing to let Bob's Burgers air after The Simpsons instead of Ghosted following the NFL playoff game.

MONDAY
8:00 Lucifer (Repeat)
9:00 The Gifted (Repeat)

TUESDAY
8:00 Lethal Weapon
9:00 LA to Vegas
9:30 The Mick

WEDNESDAY
8:00 The X-Files
9:00 9-1-1

THURSDAY
8:00 The Four: Battle for Stardom

FRIDAY
8:00 Hell's Kitchen
9:00 The X-Files (Repeat)

SATURDAY
8:00 The Four: Battle for Stardom (Repeat)

SUNDAY
7:00 NFL Overrun/The OT
8:00 The Simpsons
8:30 Bob's Burgers
9:00 Family Guy
9:30 The Last Man on Earth

CW
The CW is still in repeats and specials mode before returning next week with their regular shows. Only Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is new for them this week.

MONDAY
8:00 Supergirl (Repeat)
9:00 Arrow (Repeat)

TUESDAY
8:00 The Flash (Repeat)
9:00 DC's Legends of Tomorrow (Repeat)

WEDNESDAY
8:00 The 3rd Annual Howie Mandel Stand-Up Gala (Special)
9:30 Animal Crackers (Special)

THURSDAY
8:00 23rd Annual Critics Choice Awards (Special)

FRIDAY
8:00 Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
9:00 Penn & Teller: Fool Us (Repeat)

TV NEWS & THOUGHTS
- ABC has cancelled The Mayor, pulling it off the schedule effective immediately. The show may finish out its run at a later date but make no mistake, it's a cancellation.

- New Girl will have its seventh and final season premiere on FOX on Tuesday, April 10 at 9:30pm. It will air its one hour series finale on May 15 at 9pm.

- FOX renewed The Gifted for a second season as announced this week during the TCA Winter Tour. The Marvel show started strong but has had ever decreasing ratings. Still, it will get another season from FOX. The trend is definitely hard core going in the wrong direction for this show though.

- Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder will have a crossover episode later this season. I'm usually a fan of crossovers but this is a dumb idea. I'm sure it will get ratings but these shows don't take place in the same universe. It feels incredibly gimmicky.

- CBS has given a second season to Young Sheldon. Being the #1 new show, this was never in doubt but it's earlier than CBS usually hands out renewals.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

PILOT REVIEW: 9-1-1

9-1-1












Starring: Angela Bassett, Peter Krause, Oliver Stark, Aisha Hinds, Kenneth Choi, Rockmond Dunbar, and Connie Britton

Created by Ryan Murphy & Brad Falchuk and Tim Minear
Written by Ryan Murphy & Brad Falchuk and Tim Minear, Directed by Bradley Buecker

THE PREMISE
9-1-1 is a Ryan Murphy show masquerading as a Dick Wolf show and there's a lot of elements of both. It is centered on first responders in Los Angeles as they deal with harrowing situations on a daily basis. The first responders include field sergeant Athena Grant (Angela Bassett), fire captain Bobby Nash (Peter Krause), firefighters "Buck," "Hen," and "Chimney" (Oliver Stark, Aisha Hinds, & Kenneth Choi), and 911 dispatch operator Abby Clark (Connie Britton). Rounding out the main cast is Athena's husband, Michael Grant (Rockmond Dunbar) who just came out as gay to his wife and children.

THE REVIEW
If you've read my blog before, you know that I am decidedly mixed on Ryan Murphy. While I thought the inaugural season of American Crime Story was one of the best things to hit TV this decade, I have felt that his other shows I've seen from Glee to American Horror Story to Scream Queens to The New Normal to Feud all range from campy at best to self-indulgent trash at worse. That's what makes 9-1-1 so odd because there's a lot of it that feels more like a show in the Chicago universe than a Ryan Murphy vehicle. That's not to say there aren't some odd things (more on that in a minute) but it's awfully tame, some may even say mundane. For me though, this is more my cup of tea.

The all-star cast certainly makes a big difference. Veterans like Angela Bassett, Peter Krause, and especially Connie Britton elevate the show and make it more compelling than it probably would be with a less prestigious cast. In particular, Britton was commanding. At first, I thought they were grossly undervaluing her, but then her role in the final call of the episode (the break in) was vital to the story and made it the best part of the episode. Krause is also very strong here and he's always a likable performer in any role he's in even though his personality seems like a slightly more tortured version of his Parenthood persona.

I know Ryan Murphy has said that all these rescues are based on true stories and I'm not arguing that, but wow, the first two stories were just so ridiculous that it was hard to take it serious on any level. I mean, a baby in a drain? Seriously? The last story, centered on a break-in while just a child was home in suburban LA, was so much more compelling at heart pounding because I was engrossed in the story and not laughing at the absurdity of it. While I'm not going to knock the show for delving into the personal lives of the characters, I was not at all moved by the gay dad storyline. I'm not saying that isn't something families have dealt with but the reveal was just so poorly done and melodramatic. It felt completely out of place with the heart pounding feel to the show even for the most absurd cases.

WILL I WATCH IT AGAIN?
Yes. I'm captivated enough by the cast to give this a few episodes and we'll see if it can avoid some of the common Ryan Murphy traps.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

PILOT REVIEW: LA to Vegas

LA TO VEGAS












Starring: Kim Matula, Ed Weeks, Peter Stormare, Nathan Lee Graham, Olivia Macklin, and Dylan McDermott

Created by Lon Zimmet
Written by Lon Zimmet, Directed by Steven Levitan

THE PREMISE
LA to Vegas has a very clever premise. In case it's not clear by the title, each episode is set on a weekend flight from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and back. The plane is piloted by the eccentric Captain Dave Pratman (Dylan McDermott) and the flight attendants are Ronnie and Bernard (Kim Matula and Nathan Lee Graham). Much like Norm and Cliff in Cheers, there are "regulars" on the plane including a stripper, Nichole (Olivia Macklin) and a Russian bookie, Artem (Peter Stormare). Roun. Rounding out the main cast is a UCLA professor, Colin (Ed Weeks), who becomes interested in Ronnie.

THE REVIEW
I found LA to Vegas to be a breath of fresh air with an odd charm to it. It's a very unique setting. While Wings was set at an airport, I can't think of any show that was primarily set on a plane besides the dreadfully dull Pan Am in 2011 (and even that had more land scenes than this one did, at least in the pilot). I'm quite curious to see what it looks like on a weekly basis. Will they always stick to the plane and airport or will they venture into Vegas from time to time? I think they would be better off sticking completely to the plane for as long as they can. If Cheers can get 11 seasons while rarely leaving the bar, I think this show can come up with enough stories to stick to its premise.

Among the cast, the standouts of the pilot were definitely Dylan McDermott and Kim Matula. Matula is a natural and a strong protagonist. The opening of the series with her running through an airport was a joke that's been done before in different ways, but Matula landed it with good comedic timing (and it was also well shot). And then McDermott is just ridiculous as the pilot. For an actor that I've seen primarily in very serious roles, this was a hilarious turn. He seemed to lean fully into being an outrageous personality and it was fun to watch. Although it didn't happen in the pilot, I also love the casting of Dermot Mulroney as a rival pilot given all the jokes about the two actors over the years.

I wasn't completely sold on the rest of the cast because they seemed closer to caricatures. McDermott was also playing a caricature but doing it very effectively while the others were less convincing though Peter Stormare had a few funny lines ("this baby man is in my seat"). There were a few sitcom cliches and jokes that didn't land (JFK jokes weren't funny and I wasn't surprised in the least when there was a hookup in the airplane bathroom). But all in all, it was a solid start. This show may be confining itself to the plane but it seems intent on becoming a character driven sitcom even with the gimmicky premise. Up, up, and away!

WILL I WATCH IT AGAIN?
Definitely. It wasn't perfect but it definitely showed me enough to make me want to jump on future flights. And it was much better than I remembered from the trailer.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

THE WEEK AHEAD: January 1-7, 2018

Check below this post for My Top 20 Episodes of 2017!!

Here's a look at Week #15 and the first week of 2018!

ABC
ABC kicks off 2018 with the season premiere of The Bachelor on New Year's Day. It always does well but it doesn't usually have to start on a holiday so it could be down on a year to year basis. The comedies are new during the week except The Mayor is oddly preempted. Match Game will once again be the bridge for Designated Survivor on Wednesdays. The Thursday lineup doesn't come back for a couple more weeks so there are comedy repeats and another Truth & Lies special this week. Friday brings the premiere of the unscripted Child Support, which will be a bridge for Once Upon a Time. It won't do well but can it really do much worse than Once has?

MONDAY
8:00 The Bachelor (Season Premiere)
10:00 The Good Doctor (Repeat)

TUESDAY
8:00 The Middle
8:30 Fresh Off the Boat
9:00 Black-ish
9:30 Modern Family (Repeat)
10:00 Kevin (Probably) Saves the World

WEDNESDAY
8:00 The Goldbergs
8:30 Speechless
9:00 Modern Family
9:30 American Housewife
10:00 Match Game (Season Premiere)

THURSDAY
8:00 The Middle (Repeat)
8:30 American Housewife (Repeat)
9:00 Truth and Lies: Waco (Special)

FRIDAY
8:00 Child Support (Series Premiere)
9:00 Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
10:00 20/20

SATURDAY
8:00 The Good Doctor (Repeat)
9:00 Ten Days in the Valley
10:00 Ten Days in the Valley (Season Finale)

SUNDAY
7:00 TBA
8:00 America's Funniest Home Videos
9:00 Shark Tank
10:00 Shark Tank

CBS
CBS is going with repeats on Monday but then new episodes the rest of the week including the season premiere of The Amazing Race, which will be a bridge for Survivor. CBS often comes back strong in early January, will that be the case again this year?

MONDAY
8:00 The Big Bang Theory (Repeat)
8:30 Young Sheldon (Repeat)
9:00 Young Sheldon (Repeat)
9:30 Young Sheldon (Repeat)
10:00 SEAL Team (Repeat)

TUESDAY
8:00 NCIS
9:00 Bull
10:00 NCIS: New Orleans

WEDNESDAY
8:00 The Amazing Race (Season Premiere)
9:00 SEAL Team
10:00 Criminal Minds

THURSDAY
8:00 The Big Bang Theory
8:30 Young Sheldon
9:00 Mom
9:30 Life in Pieces
10:00 S.W.A.T.

FRIDAY
8:00 MacGyver
9:00 Hawaii Five-0
10:00 Blue Bloods

SATURDAY
8:00 NFL Wild Card Game

SUNDAY
7:00 60 Minutes
8:00 Wisdom of the Crowd
9:00 NCIS: Los Angeles
10:00 Madam Secretary

NBC
NBC has all new episodes for the first four days including the bridge shows for The Voice: The Wall, Better Late Than Never (double pumped on Monday) and Ellen's Game of Games (double pumped on Tuesday). Both The Brave and This is Us don't come back until next week. Friday and Saturday bring figure skating to NBC while Sunday has the Golden Globes.

MONDAY
8:00 The Wall
9:00 Better Late Than Never
10:00 Better Late Than Never

TUESDAY
8:00 Ellen's Game of Games
9:00 Ellen's Game of Games
10:00 Chicago Med

WEDNESDAY
8:00 The Blacklist
9:00 Law & Order: SVU
10:00 Chicago PD

THURSDAY
8:00 Superstore
8:30 The Good Place
9:00 Will & Grace
9:30 Great News
10:00 Chicago Fire

FRIDAY
8:00 2018 US Figure Skating Championships

SATURDAY
8:00 2018 US Figure Skating Championships

SUNDAY
7:00 Golden Globe Awards Preshow
8:00 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards (Special)

FOX
FOX has the busiest week with four premieres including three series premieres. Tuesday has new comedy LA to Vegas, which has gotten a ton of promotion but is airing in a difficult slot. Wednesday has the return of The X-Files, which hasn't aired since Spring 2016. It is followed by the series premiere of 9-1-1 which could get off to a good start if X-Files is as strong as it was two years ago. Thursday has the series premiere of FOX's new unscripted hope, The Four. I think this is the show that's most likely to have very disappointing premiere numbers. Sunday has an NFL playoff game leading into their comedy block so season highs seem quite likely

MONDAY
8:00 Lucifer
9:00 The Gifted

TUESDAY
8:00 Lethal Weapon
9:00 LA to Vegas (SERIES PREMIERE)
9:30 The Mick

WEDNESDAY
8:00 The X-Files (Season Premiere)
9:00 9-1-1 (SERIES PREMIERE)

THURSDAY
8:00 The Four: Battle for Stardom (SERIES PREMIERE)

FRIDAY
8:00 Hell's Kitchen
9:00 9-1-1 (Repeat)

SATURDAY
8:00 The Four: Battle for Stardom (Repeat)

SUNDAY
7:00 NFL Overrun/The OT
8:00 The Simpsons
8:30 Ghosted
9:00 Family Guy
9:30 The Last Man on Earth

CW
The CW is still in holiday mode with only Valor and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend airing new episodes.

MONDAY
8:00 Supergirl (Repeat)
9:00 Valor

TUESDAY
8:00 The Flash (Repeat)
9:00 DC's Legends of Tomorrow (Repeat)

WEDNESDAY
8:00 Riverdale (Repeat)
9:00 Dynasty (Repeat)

THURSDAY
8:00 Supernatural (Repeat)
9:00 Arrow (Repeat)

FRIDAY
8:00 Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
9:00 Penn & Teller: Fool Us (Repeat)

TV NEWS & THOUGHTS
Nothing from this past week but we're sure to get a lot of news soon with the TCA Winter Tour over the next two weeks!

Saturday, December 30, 2017

YEAR IN REVIEW: Top 20 Episodes of 2017

Here is my annual year-end countdown of the best episodes of the year!

Past countdowns: 2016  2015  2014  2013  2012  2011

20. Fresh Off the Boat #57 "The Masters" (ABC/April 18)
In an episode that was a funny take on the "Tiger Mom" stereotype, Jessica learns that Tiger Woods is half Asian and decides to start pushing her kids even more. She runs into resistance from Louis so they use two of their children to test their different parenting styles while teaching golf. The contrast between Louis' fun loving approach and Jessica's intensity led to a funny plot throughout the episode. As with all the best Fresh Off the Boat episodes, it was another great showcase for Constance Wu, easily the best part of the show.


19. Young Sheldon #6 "A Patch, a Modem, and a Zantac" (CBS/November 30)
I am not a fan of The Big Bang Theory, but I am very much enjoying Young Sheldon because it seems like it belongs more with the ABC family sitcoms instead of a Big Bang-like show. My favorite episode so far in its short run involved Sheldon challenging a NASA engineer and then becoming so stressed with trying to become a theoretical physicist that he gives himself an ulcer. In this episode (and all of them so far), young Iain Armitage has done a fantastic job of being endearing without being annoying despite the character. It's enjoyable to see this precocious child show up the big boys of NASA.


18. American Housewife #14 "Time for Love" (ABC/February 14)
If you're a regular watcher of American Housewife, it probably doesn't surprise you that Katy Mixon's Katie doesn't enjoy Valentine's Day. But the Valentine's Day episode was the best of the year of this underrated sitcom. From the frantic attempts by Greg to not do the big romantic gesture he planned for Katie to a very sweet storyline between siblings Oliver and Anna-Kat, I think this show is ABC's true successor to The Middle. It seamlessly blends a cynical and sweet feel in each episode.


17. Brooklyn Nine-Nine #84 "Moo Moo" (FOX/May 2)
Despite being set in a police precinct, Brooklyn Nine-Nine has rarely delved into serious social issues but it did by addressing police profiling with "Moo Moo." Because Nine-Nine is not a message-based show, it made it refreshing. It also handled the topic in a very funny way that didn't take itself too seriously. Terry is stopped by police in his own neighborhood, which leads to some questions about police and race. It also allowed the show to subtly highlight the fact that it has a gay and black captain leading the precinct and that's not something we've seen on TV. A very funny babysitting subplot involving Jake and Amy makes this an all around great episode.

16. The Middle #198 "Thanksgiving IX" (ABC/November 14)
The final season of The Middle has been enjoyable and sad at the same time. Enjoyable because the show is still at the top of its game and sad because everything we see this season is a last. And for a show that always did holiday episodes well, the last Thanksgiving episode was indeed a sentimental one. The Hecks get involved in a traffic jam on their way to Aunt Janet's for Thanksgiving and what initially is one disaster after another turns into making the best of the situation, which The Middle so often does.


15. Mom #75 "Bad Hand and British Royalty" (CBS/January 5)
One of the funniest episodes of the season belonged to Mom and a great guest turn by Bradley Whitford and Nicole Sullivan as Adam's best friends who also turn out to be raging alcoholics and partiers. Mom can sometimes be an issues show but this episode was just hilarious with Whitford easily the standout in an arrogant and outrageous role. It was also funny to see former alcoholics Bonnie and Christy on the exasperated sober side trying to deal with the drunks, especially when they had to go through a drive-through.

14. The Good Doctor #10 "Sacrifice" (ABC/December 4)
My favorite new drama of the year is The Good Doctor, which is a medical drama with something more to it thanks to Freddie Highmore and his dynamic performance as Dr. Shaun Murphy, a doctor with autism. Highmore elevates this show from being an average medical drama to something much more and that was on display in the most recent episode to air. After an episode of growing tensions over Shaun refusing to see a therapist, he has a major meltdown in the hospital lobby. As someone who has worked with children with autism, it all felt very real and that's a credit to the writers and particularly to Highmore.

13. Feud: Bette and Joan #8 "You Mean All This Time We Could Have Been Friends" (FX/April 23)
One of the most interesting shows I watched this year was Feud. I'm still not even sure what I think about it as a whole because I felt like it never quite got where it should have, yet I was weirdly fascinated by it. Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon were captivating in their roles as Joan Crawford and Bette Davis and the finale, with a very apt title, was a wistful look at what could have been with those two actresses even as Joan Crawford faded into dementia. The chilling hallucination scene in Joan's apartment was interesting and sad and a lesson for those who let their egos get the best of them.

12. Master of None #11 "The Thief" (Netflix/May 12)
I have only just started the second season of Master of None and this is the only episode I've watched so there may be better ones to come, but I wanted to give some representation to one of the most interesting shows airing right now. Every time I watch an episode of Master of None, I feel a little unsure of my opinion except to know I enjoyed it and I like that with some shows. The second season premiere, an ode to Italian cinema but with contemporary touches, was another fascinating episode to watch. Filmed entirely in black and white, it seamlessly blended an old fashioned Italian feel with the story of a stolen cell phone. I can't wait to see what the rest of the season has in store.

11. The Middle #178 "Escape Orson" (ABC/January 3)
Some of the best episodes of The Middle throughout its run have involved the entire family in the same place for the duration of the episode. And what better place to keep the family in one place than an escape room? It was part of a small little boom of episodes involving escape rooms on TV but it was the best one with the trademarked Heck bickering as they frantically tried to beat the record set by the perfect Donahues. There were some great family moments including Sue revealing she always cheated at family games and Brick convinced that the random man in the room with them is actually a famous author.

10. New Girl #135 "Socalyalcon VI" (FOX/March 14)
If you've read my blog before, you know that I'm mixed at best about the Nick-Jess relationship on New Girl and I definitely like it better when they are apart. This episode is great because it deals with the Nick-Jess dynamics but in a different way. Despite the fact that Nick is dating Reagan, Jess realizes that she's doing a lot of "girlfriend things" and tries to navigate that, which ultimately leads to a drunken trip by Nick and Jess to Schmidt and Cece's new house and it's many, many points of entry. It's a very funny episode that advances the Nick-Jess storyline in a positive way.

9. Superstore #34 "Grand Reopening" (NBC/September 28)
After a tornado ripped apart the Cloud Nine Superstore at the end of season two, Superstore's stellar third season started with a hilarious episode about the rush to get the store ready for a reopening happening sooner than they were planning for. There were so many funny things in this episode including quick cuts to show a staff furiously trying to get a store ready to Glenn's realization that he has a strange sounding voice. I think Superstore has been the most consistently strong show this season, comedy or drama, and it was apparent from the season premiere.

8. This is Us #24 "The 20s" (NBC/October 31)
The best episode of the second season of This is Us to date is one that took us to a new era for the Big Three: ten years ago when they were in the 20s. We got to meet Randall, Kate, and Kevin in an era of their life we hadn't seen yet (and got a glimpse into how Rebecca and Miguel got together). But the best part of this episode took place in their childhood and a Halloween that wasn't for young Randall. Dressed as Michael Jackson and trying to stick to a schedule, Randall learns about the baby he replaced in the Pearson household in a very touching scene with Mandy Moore's Rebecca. Speaking of Moore, she definitely needs an Emmy nomination this year after her snub last season for her beautiful monologue in the hospital to Randall's baby girl during the glimpse into the 20s.

7. Chicago Fire #114 "My Miracle" (NBC/May 16)
The reason this episode is ranked here is on the merits of the individual episode. I felt as though Chicago Fire cheated a bit when it came back for the next season and revealed that nobody had died in the terrible warehouse fire depicted in this episode. While I never really believed that Casey would die despite his emotional goodbye to Gabby, I did believe that Mouch was in grave danger as he suffered a heart attack while in the warehouse. This kind of show should always be about life and death and these firefighters are in a position where they could lose their lives on any given call. It seemed like Fire was ready to address it head on in this heart pounding episode. I guess you could argue they still addressed that even without losing any cast members.

6. Blue Bloods #156 "Cutting Losses" (CBS/September 29)
Blue Bloods kicked off its eighth season with a very surprising revelation: that Danny's wife Linda had died. Not only was this a great episode and performance by Donnie Wahlberg, but it was very clever how the episode revealed Linda's death. At first, it seemed as though there may have been a divorce or separation. Then it was slowly obvious that Linda had died. Then it was revealed that she died in a tragic rescue helicopter crash. Although Linda was a supporting character, her loss still was felt by longtime fans and with it being a quiet Friday night show, it was able to keep that revelation a secret until the episode aired.

5. The Mick #15 "The Sleepover" (FOX/April 11)
The funniest episode of the year belonged to The Mick and a madcap premise that involved Mickey and Chip having to race against the clock to help someone Chip met at school but who's actually just using his house as a place to be with his girlfriend. I love episodes where characters have to sneak around in a frantic way, those have been funny since the I Love Lucy days, and this was another entry in a long list. But what I really enjoy about The Mick is it doesn't care one bit about being sweet or sentimental. I love my ABC comedies but The Mick is basically an anti-ABC comedy. All the snark and cynicism with absolutely no trace of the sweetness and heart.

4. Black-ish #60 "Lemons" (ABC/January 11)
Black-ish loves to tackle hot button issues. Sometimes it can be done very well. Other times, it feels very forced and heavy handed. "Lemons" was an example of it being done very effectively. The episode was written in direct response to the election of Donald Trump as President and it so accurately captured discussion and debate going on all around the country following the divisive 2016 election. While chances are that most Black-ish viewers were agreeing with the Johnsons' view of Trump, it was still a fair episode that was more about having a dialogue and coming together than it was about taking a side. It was expertly crafted and very timely. Maybe it won't hold up in the long run but it was a very appropriate episode for 2017.


3. Scandal #109 "Day 101" (ABC/October 19)
Scandal spent the first two episodes of its final season focusing on the beginning of the Mellie Grant administration. But the best episode of an uneven final season was one that focused on the Grant who used to occupy the White House. The episode started with a fascinating look into Fitz's lonely life in Vermont and came to a head in a wild argument between Fitz and Marcus. Despite a short visit from Rowan that threatened to spoil the episode, it ended on a very powerful moment with Fitz taking a stand in a local Vermont news story. I've always been fascinated by the post-presidency life and this was a great episode about that very topic. I'll get more into Scandal when its final episode airs but as I said last year with a high charting episode, it's still capable of creating great episodes and moments. It's just a shame that they are much more rare these days.

2. Superstore #40 "Christmas Eve" (NBC/December 5)
Already having a fantastic season, Superstore gave us an instantly classic Christmas episode this year. I'm a big sucker for Christmas episodes which is why one usually appears somewhere on this countdown. This one had all the elements of a great Christmas episode including someone being Scroogey about something (Mateo in this case) and a family (a work family here) being together for the holiday. It also was the episode with the best sight gag of the entire year: Amy, Dina, and Cheyenne riding Cloud 9 carts over to Amy's estranged husband and his new girlfriend. "Christmas Eve" at Superstore provided some laugh out loud and very sweet moments.

1. This is Us #16 "Memphis" (NBC/February 21)
The competition for #1 wasn't even close this year. As soon as I watched "Memphis" back in February, I was pretty sure that the most heart wrenching episode of This is Us would be #1 on this countdown and nothing in the 10 months that followed could come close. I'm not one to cry during TV shows but "Memphis," which centered on the life and death of William had me a teary mess. The episode featured standout performances by Ron Cephas Jones as William, Sterling K. Brown as Randall, and Jermel Nakia as a young William. It was brilliant the way the show managed to show a man's entire life in one episode (including before he was even born), punctuating it with the beautiful song "We Can Always Come Back to This." William didn't have an easy life, it could be argued that his life was one of missed opportunities and questionable decisions but have you ever rooted for a character more? I have saved that episode on my DVR since it first aired but haven't been able to bring myself to watch it again. Honestly, it's making me emotional just thinking back to it as I write this. This is Us will probably run for several more years and have many more great moments. But it's hard for me to imagine it ever reaching the emotional height of "Memphis" again (yes, that includes when they finally get around to Jack's death). I consider "Memphis" to be one of TV's greatest episodes ever, not just in 2017.

Monday, December 25, 2017

THE WEEK AHEAD: December 25-31, 2017

Here's a look at Week #14! The quietest week of the regular season - the week between Christmas and New Year's.

ABC

MONDAY
8:00 NBA Basketball: Houston at Oklahoma City
10:30 Black-ish (Repeat)

TUESDAY
8:00 Happy New Year, Charlie Brown (Special)
9:00 Rudolph's Shiny New Year (Special)
10:00 Kevin (Probably) Saves the World (Repeat)

WEDNESDAY
8:00 The Goldbergs (Repeat)
8:30 Speechless (Repeat)
9:00 Modern Family (Repeat)
9:30 American Housewife (Repeat)
10:00 Match Game (Repeat)

THURSDAY
8:00 To Tell the Truth (Repeat)
9:00 The $100,000 Pyramid (Repeat)
10:00 Match Game (Repeat)

FRIDAY
8:00 Shark Tank (Repeat)
9:00 20/20
10:00 20/20

SATURDAY
8:00 The Bachelor: Countdown to Arie (Special - Repeat)
9:00 Match Game (Repeat)
10:00 Ten Days in the Valley

SUNDAY
7:00 America's Funniest Home Videos (Repeat)
8:00 Dick Clark's Primetime New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest (Special)

CBS

MONDAY
8:00 The Big Bang Theory (Repeat)
8:30 Kevin Can Wait (Repeat)
9:00 Young Sheldon (Repeat)
9:30 Man with a Plan (Repeat)
10:00 Scorpion (Repeat)

TUESDAY
8:00 NCIS (Repeat)
9:00 40th Annual Kennedy Center Honors (Special)

WEDNESDAY
8:00 The Carol Burnett 50th Anniversary Special (Special - Repeat)
10:00 SEAL Team (Repeat)

THURSDAY
8:00 The Big Bang Theory (Repeat)
8:30 Young Sheldon (Repeat)
9:00 The Big Bang Theory (Repeat)
9:30 Mom (Repeat)
10:00 S.W.A.T. (Repeat)

FRIDAY
8:00 MacGyver (Repeat)
9:00 MacGyver (Repeat)
10:00 Blue Bloods (Repeat)

SATURDAY
8:00 Hawaii Five-0 (Repeat)
9:00 48 Hours
10:00 48 Hours

SUNDAY
7:00 NFL Overrun
7:30 60 Minutes
8:30 S.W.A.T. (Repeat)
9:30 SEAL Team (Repeat)
10:30 Bull (Repeat)

NBC

MONDAY
8:00 Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Special)
8:30 Movie: How the Grinch Stole Christmas

TUESDAY
8:00 Ellen's Game of Games (Repeat)
9:00 Better Late Than Never (Repeat)
10:00 Chicago Med (Repeat)

WEDNESDAY
8:00 The Wall
9:00 Movie: Dolly Parton's Christmas of Many Colors - Circle of Love

THURSDAY
8:00 Superstore (Repeat)
8:30 Will & Grace (Repeat)
9:00 Will & Grace (Repeat)
9:30 Great News
10:00 Chicago Fire

FRIDAY
8:00 Law & Order: SVU (Repeat)
9:00 Dateline NBC

SATURDAY
8:00 Dateline NBC
10:00 Saturday Night Live (Repeat)

SUNDAY
7:00 Football Night in America
8:30 Sunday Night Football: Teams TBA

FOX

MONDAY
8:00 Showtime at the Apollo Christmas (Special - Repeat)
9:00 The Gifted (Repeat)

TUESDAY
8:00 Lethal Weapon (Repeat)
9:00 The Mick (Repeat)
9:30 The Mick (Repeat)

WEDNESDAY
8:00 College Football: Foster Farms Bowl

THURSDAY
8:00 Can't Stop, Won't Stop: A Bad Boy Story (Special)

FRIDAY
8:00 Hell's Kitchen (Repeat)
9:00 Hell's Kitchen (Repeat)

SATURDAY
8:00 The Gifted (Repeat)
9:00 Lethal Weapon (Repeat)

SUNDAY
7:00 NFL Overrun/The OT
8:00 Fox's New Year's Eve with Steve Harvey: Live from Time Square (Special)

CW

MONDAY
8:00 iHeartRadio Jingle Ball 2017 (Special)
9:30 Whose Line is it Anyway? (Repeat)

TUESDAY
8:00 The Flash (Repeat)
9:00 DC's Legends of Tomorrow (Repeat)

WEDNESDAY
8:00 EA Madden NFL 18 Challenge (Special)
9:00 Penn & Teller: Fool Us (Repeat)

THURSDAY
8:00 iHeartRadio Music Festival Night 1 (Special)

FRIDAY
8:00 iHeartRadio Music Festival Night 2 (Special)