Pass The Popcorn is a sporadic feature on Pop! Goes The Reader in which I discuss various aspects of some of my favourite films and/or television shows.
2015 saw the conclusion of a great number of my favourite shows. Mad Men. Justified. Parks and Recreation. Revenge. So, with the advent of the new television season upon us, I found myself with a few holes in my viewing schedule just longing to be filled. While I normally have very little luck incorporating new shows into my routine – I dislike most and those I do like are usually cancelled far too soon – I’m nothing if not a glutton for punishment. Without further ado, for your reading (and perhaps viewing?) pleasure, please read on to find a list of the eight new 2015 shows I’ll be trying this television season.
Life In Pieces is a single-camera comedy about one big happy family and their sometimes awkward, often hilarious and ultimately beautiful milestone moments as told by its various members. Of the three siblings, middle child Matt may have just found his true love, his co-worker, Colleen; his coddled youngest brother, Greg, and his wife, Jen, are overwhelmed by the birth of their first child; and the eldest, Heather, and her husband, Tim, are dreading their impending empty nest so much, they’re considering having another baby. Their parents are Joan, the family’s adoring matriarch who would do anything for her kids – as long as she agrees with it – and John, the gregarious patriarch who’s searching for ways to soften the blow of turning 70. As the family’s lives unfold in four short stories each week, they try to savor these little pieces of time that flash by but stay with you forever, because these moments add up to what life’s all about.
Premieres: Monday, September 21 at 8:30pm on CBS
Starring: James Brolin, Dianne Wiest, Colin Hanks, Zoe Lister Jones, et al.
Why I’ll Watch: Damn your sinister attraction, Colin Hanks! Yes, I’ll be watching this show purely because of a casting choice. Or, to be more accurate, two casting choices. I’ve always been a smitten kitten when it comes to James Brolin and Colin Hanks, and I’m curious enough about the show’s format (four short stories per episode) to give it a shot. Sure, it’ll probably be terrible, but there are woefully few comedies in my regularly scheduled programming and I’d love to discover a new favourite to fill this Parks and Recreation-shaped hole in my heart.
The Muppets return to primetime with a contemporary, documentary-style show. For the first time ever, a series will explore the Muppets’ personal lives and relationships, both at home and at work, as well as romances, breakups, achievements, disappointments, wants and desires.
Premieres: Tuesday, September 22 at 8:00pm on ABC
Starring: The Muppets
Why I’ll Watch: It stars The Muppets. As if I need another reason.
The girls of Kappa House are dying for new pledges. Scream Queens is a new killer comedy-horror series from award-winning executive producers Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan. Kappa House, the most sought-after sorority for pledges, is ruled with an iron fist (in a pink glove) by Chanel Oberlin. But when anti-Kappa Dean Cathy Munsch decrees that sorority pledging must be open to all students, and not just the school’s silver-spooned elite, all hell is about to break loose, as a devil-clad killer begins wreaking havoc across the campus. An over-the-top, biting satire, Scream Queens is part black comedy, part slasher flick and a modern take on the classic whodunit, in which every character has a motive for murder…or could easily be the next victim.
Premieres: Tuesday, September 22 at 8:00pm on Fox
Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Emma Roberts, Lea Michele, Abigail Breslin, et al.
Why I’ll Watch: I’m entering into this show with a little bit of skepticism and a whole lot of excitement! While the majority of Ryan Murphy’s vehicles haven’t worked for me, with the exception of Popular, the strength of this trailer alone is enough to recommend it. I love Jamie Lee Curtis. I love horror. I love satire. And I love, love, love this concept. It’s the best of all possible worlds. Plus, with a comparative marketing strategy like “Mean Girls meets Friday The 13th“, how could I not watch it?
From Creator/Executive Producer Tim Kring, who imagined NBC’s original critically acclaimed 2006 Heroes series, comes Heroes Reborn, an epic 13-episode event series that chronicles the lives of ordinary people who discover they possess extraordinary abilities. A year ago, a terrorist attack in Odessa, Texas left the city decimated. Blamed for the tragic event, those with extraordinary abilities are in hiding or on the run from those with nefarious motives.
Premieres: Thursday, September 24 at 8:00pm on NBC
Starring: Jack Coleman, Zachary Levi, Gatlin Green, Ryan Guzman, et al.
Why I’ll Watch: Fool me once? Shame on you. Fool me twice? Shame on me. After the original series reached its absurd and convoluted peak, like Scarlett O’Hara on the hills of Tara, with God as my witness I swore I would never watch Heroes again. Then they cast Zachary Levi. With the return of the vast majority of the original cast and an appearance by one of my favourite television actors (Oh, Chuck Bartowski. Be still my heart.) I simply can’t resist. Let’s just hope I don’t live to regret it. With great power comes great responsibility, Heroes.
A diverse group of recruits has arrived at the FBI Quantico Base for training. They are the best, the brightest and the most vetted, so it seems impossible that one of them is suspected of masterminding the biggest attack on New York City since 9/11.
Premieres: Sunday, September 27 at 10:00pm on ABC
Starring: Priyanka Chopra, Aunjanue Ellis, Jake McLaughlin, Yasmine Al Massri, et al.
Why I’ll Watch: Of all the shows on this list, Quantico is one of the ones I’m looking forward to the most. The wonderful diversity of the cast, coupled with the thrill of discovery as to who is responsible for the terror attack, are enough to have me counting down the days until September 27th. Pitched as “Grey’s Anatomy meets Homeland“, Quantico sounds like just what the doctor ordered.
Starring Emmy Award nominee Rob Lowe and Emmy Award and Golden Globe Award nominee Fred Savage, The Grinder is a new comedy about two brothers: one a spotlight-grabbing actor who plays TV’s most popular lawyer and the other, a real-life, small-town attorney who has yet to find his spotlight. Dean Sanderson Jr. spent eight seasons playing the title role on the hit legal drama “The Grinder.” When his series ends, he decides to move back to his hometown of Boise, Idaho, where his brother, Stewart, is poised to take over the family law firm. Despite having no law degree, no license to practice and no experience in an actual courtroom, Dean’s charisma and flair for the dramatic make him absolutely certain he has something to contribute to the firm. As Dean puts it, “Let’s say you’re at a restaurant and Noah Wyle is two tables down. You go into cardiac arrest. You don’t think Noah Wyle could step in and help?” It doesn’t take long for Dean to start inserting himself into every aspect of Stewart’s life, both in the courtroom and at home, and all to the amusement of Stewart’s wife, Debbie; their two kids, 15-year-old Lizzie and 13-year-old Ethan; Dean and Stewart’s father, the law firm’s head, Dean Sr. and the office’s tough-to-impress counselor, Claire, who remains unfazed by Dean’s celebrity. Dean and Stewart don’t see to eye to eye, but when they stop arguing with each other and start arguing together in court…they make a formidable team. The Grinder is the story of two brothers, who took different paths, but meet again in the middle – for justice…sort of.
Premieres: Tuesday, September 29 at 8:30pm on Fox
Starring: Rob Lowe, Fred Savage, Natalie Morales
Why I’ll Watch: I don’t know, guys. As someone who comes from a family of lawyers, I avoid any series that focuses too heavily upon the law as a rule, but Fred Savage is simply too stinkin’ adorable and charming to resist. Rob Lowe certainly had his moments in Parks and Recreation, though he does tend to straddle the line between obnoxious and funny more often than not. Much like Life In Pieces, I’m desperate to add more comedy to my viewing schedule and am willing to kiss a few frogs in order to find my prince.
Wicked City follows a unique case set in a noteworthy era of L.A. history, starting with a murder case from 1982 centered on the rock ’n’ roll, cocaine-infused revelry of the Sunset Strip. Alliances are formed to solve a serial murder case.
Premieres: Tuesday, October 27 at 10:00pm on ABC
Starring: Ed Westwick, Erika Christensen, Jeremy Sisto, Taissa Farmiga, et al.
Why I’ll Watch: In all honesty, this is the series I’m least looking forward to. While I’m fascinated by the concept, the chosen setting and the show’s choice to focus on a single crime throughout the entirety of the season, Ed Westwick has a tendency to work my last nerve. I barely tolerated his presence in Gossip Girl, and though I adore Erika Christensen, I’m not sure she alone will be enough to counteract his typical smarmy, cheesy self. Here’s hoping I’m proven wrong!
Supergirl is an action-adventure drama based on the DC Comics character Kara Zor-El, Superman’s (Kal-El) cousin who, after 12 years of keeping her powers a secret on Earth, decides to finally embrace her superhuman abilities and be the hero she was always meant to be. Twelve-year-old Kara escaped the doomed planet Krypton with her parents’ help at the same time as the infant Kal-El. Protected and raised on Earth by her foster family, the Danvers, Kara grew up in the shadow of her foster sister, Alex, and learned to conceal the phenomenal powers she shares with her famous cousin in order to keep her identity a secret. Years later at 24, Kara lives in National City assisting media mogul and fierce taskmaster Cat Grant. She works alongside her friend and IT technician Winn Schott and famous photographer James Olsen, who Grant just hired away from the Daily Planet to serve as her new art director. However, Kara’s days of keeping her talents a secret are over when Hank Henshaw, head of a super-secret agency where her sister also works, enlists her to help them protect the citizens of National City from sinister threats. Though Kara will need to find a way to manage her newfound empowerment with her very human relationships, her heart soars as she takes to the skies as Supergirl to fight crime.
Premieres: Monday, October 28 at 8:30pm on CBS
Starring: Melissa Benoist, Mehcad Brooks, David Harewood, Calista Flockhart, Chyler Leigh
Why I’ll Watch: The better question would be: Why wouldn’t I watch this? Girl superhero. Calista Flockhart! Female empowerment. Calista Flockhart! Secret identities. Calista Flockhart! Lexie Grey. And did I mention Calista Flockhart? This former Ally McBeal fan can’t wait.