Welcome to Breaking Geek, a column where uber-geek Nick “Dollface” Doll offers commentary and reactions to the most interesting news of the week (or whatever else he wants), using his expansive knowledge of all things geek! This issue is our latest “Breaking Geek Discussion” with input from LRM’s Editor-in-Chief, and my friend, Joseph Jammer Medina, as well as LRM contributors Cam, Seth and Kyle.
We’ve all been so focused at film here at LRM, that is time to take a step forward to look at the smaller screen, home to TV shows from Network TV to Cable To Streaming Services. Today, we will all discuss the returning TV shows we are most looking forward to this fall, even if some have already dropped or recently started.
This way, you’ll know what to do when you aren’t at the movie theater or reading LRM. Because who needs anything else?
Dollface: What’s up, bitches? I was at first hoping we’d all just cover one show, but there are far too many that excite me! So, I’ve limited mine to four (it was the best I could do); It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia Season 13, (September 5 on FXX), South Park Season 22 (September 26 on Comedy Central), Bojack Horseman Season 5 (September 14 on Netflix) and American Vandal Season 2 (also September 14 on Netflix).
Sunny and South Park have been favorites of mine since they started airing — these two shows need no introduction of explanation — and I still can’t get enough after three decades between the two shows. Even though Sunny has lost Glenn Howerton as Dennis Reynolds as a regular, I have high hopes for the season as the past few seasons have gotten better and better as the gang has grown stranger and side characters like Rickety Cricket and Pondy continue to evolve. South Park meanwhile, has had a few rocky seasons, but every it still nails at least 2-3 episodes of the season, even at its worse. I think after experimenting with more serialized storytelling, Trey Parker and Matt Stone are right back where we need them; dissecting the most ridiculous parts of our daily lives in a world on fire.
Netflix is releasing two shows I can’t wait to watch on the same day! Bojack Horseman, the continuing tale of a washed-up, drunk, depressed actor… who happens to be a horse, has been a favorite since the start, thanks to a perfectly melancholy/nihilist tone and the incredible vocal stylings of Will Arnett and Aaron Paul, among others. American Vandal — a brilliant satire of crime documentary series, featuring ridiculous crimes on a highschool level that involve poop and dick jokes — has me a little worried, as though it had a great trailer, sophomore seasons are difficult. Hopefully, it can subvert the crime documentary formula further, so it’s not just more of the same.
Kyle: I am ready for three things this fall: Iron Fist, Shameless, and Hockey. However, the amazingness of Hockey should be discussed in its own venue… but this is most definitely the place to talk Iron Fist and Shameless.
First up is Netflix’s Iron Fist Season 2, which hits your streaming device this week on the 7th. I’ll be the first to tell you that I didn’t hate the first season. Yes it had sloppy fights and Danny wasn’t portrayed very well by Finn Jones, but I liked the main story and thought Colleen was a good character. This sophomore outing looks better though. A new choreographer, who worked on Black Panther, was brought in to help the fights feel and look better. That will fix one of the two major weaknesses in the show. The other weakness, Jones himself, seemed much better as Danny on an episode of Luke Cage earlier this year. He appeared more comfortable as the character and his fights looked better too. This could mean a vastly improved performance from him this season. The idea of Danny filling the shoes of Daredevil, who was put out of commission in The Defenders, could be an interesting story to tell too. I haven’t loved everything from Netflix and Marvel, but I’m hopeful for this and can’t wait to watch it.
Are you f@#!ing kidding me? I have to explain why I’m looking forward to Shameless Season 9? Where the hell have you been these last nine years? Alright listen up asshats because I don’t want to repeat myself… I discovered this gem after Season 5 when I binged it on a streaming service. It reminded me of Californication which I also loved. The characters all have redeeming qualities but can’t get out of their own way, much like Hank Moody on Californication. Season 8 was hilarious and saw our characters grow exponentially more than in most of the show’s past years. I really enjoyed the “St. Francis” story and appreciated Lip’s dedication to his friends who go through some tough s#!%. The end of the season saw one of the Gallagher family in police custody and a seriously unresolved story thread. Season 9 will be the last one for Emmy Rossum who plays Fiona and I have no idea what this show will be like without her. She is the glue of that f#@%ed up family. I’m almost more interested in Season 10 than 9 just too find out. Look for the Gallaghers to return to Showtime on the September 9 at 9pm EST…. 9/9/9… get it?
Jammer: I’m most excited for two shows — one in the fall proper, and one technically in the winter, this December. I’m still counting it, though, because reasons.
The first is The Good Place, whose Season 3 premieres on September 27 at 8/7c on NBC. This gem of a show came out of nowhere last year, but I didn’t even get into it until Season 2 had wrapped up. What I thought would be a standard, cut-and-dry feel-good comedy quickly proved to be much more. In addition to being an interesting and consistent meditation on philosophy, it manages to be a show with strong moral themes, relatable and lovable characters — in spite of their flaws — and a master class in world-building. With its surprisingly large scope (though on a manageable scale so it works on network TV), it ultimately succeeds in becoming, to me, the epitome of what the TV medium is capable of on a network level. Perhaps even more surprising is that this show had me on the edge of my seat consistently once we got past the first couple episodes. I know, if you haven’t seen the show yet, you can’t help but wonder how in the hell something like it keeps you on the edge of your seat…but trust me, it does. And the way things were left at the end of its second season, I can’t wait to see what the writers have in store for us this coming season.
The second show I’m looking forward to is Fox’s The Orville, whose second season premieres on December 30. I’m sure by now, you’ve heard a lot from fans of the show (they are an increasing bunch), but it’s worth reiterating that this isn’t really a comedy. Nope. Seth MacFarlane clearly just wanted to make a Star Trek show and managed to trick Fox into selling it as such. And what we get with The Orville is a space-faring series with a ship traveling across the vast openness of space, solving conflicts and addressing moral issues that plague any society. Each episode is engaging in its own right, but I also found myself growing more and more attached to these characters as time went on. To me, it plays more like a Star Trek series with a few moments of office humor than a real comedy — and as someone who’s always found Trek a bit too dry on TV, it hits that sweet spot for me.
Seth/ McD: ABC’s wonderfully nostalgic show, The Goldbergs, is set to return for its sixth season. For anyone who was born in or grew up in the ’80s the show is a direct path back to the best parts of your childhood. This is enhanced even further if you are a fan of nerd stuff such as (and if you are reading this column, there’s a good chance you are), Star Wars, Indiana Jones, retro video games, and so on.
The show is based around the childhood of Adam F. Goldberg, who is a writer and producer in Hollywood. While the show is set in the ’80s, the exact year is never specified, allowing the writers to jump around through the decade to give us the best content without being restrained by chronology
Many of the show’s episodes are based on real-life experiences of creator Adam Goldberg which brings me to one of my favorite aspects of the show, the end credits. This is where home video footage from the real-life story that inspired the episode is put side-by-side with the footage shot for the show.
All the characters are based of the creator’s real-life family, with one exception. Adam’s brother Eric Goldberg, is changed to Erica Goldberg. I believe this is to give the writers more options to work with when telling stories.
The Season 6 premiere will air on September 26, and will be a tribute to the classic 80s film, Sixteen Candles. The show has done a number of these types of episodes, including another classic John Hughes film, Ferris Bueller, and The Goonies, among others.
Yes, The Goldbergs is a family sitcom, but it is one of the best currently on television. It is also one of the few shows I watch that airs on one of the major networks.
Cam: Hey guys, so I have two shows I am going to talk about this week, the first being Ozark Season 2 which released on Netflix last Friday, August 31. The second is The Man in the High Castle, from Amazon Prime and this releases on October 5.
I have already binge watched Ozark Season 2, as I loved the first season. I feel that Ozark has not really caught on in popularity yet, though almost everyone I have recommended it to has loved Season 1 and in my opinion Season 2 is just as good. Ozark stars Jason Bateman as Marty Byrde, a money laundering genius who works for the Mexican drug Cartel. Marty has an unnatural skill in laundering money and as such is seen as a prized asset for the Cartel whom he desperately wants to escape from. With Marty comes his now very dysfunctional family in his wife Wendy and their children Charlotte and Jonah. While Season 1 was all about Marty for me (Bateman’s best performance in my opinion), Season 2 allows many of the other characters to develop fully and if anything Season 2 is the Season of Wendy Byrde played by Laura Linney. Wendy’s character arcs this season is really strong, and the change in Wendy from Season 1 to the end of Season 2 is dramatic. I would not want to spoil any details of the show and will probably write up a full season review for the site at some point. However, I do recommend this strongly to anyone looking for some real drama in the mold of Breaking Bad.
The Man in the High Castle Season 3 is not out till October as I said above, though luckily for me Amazon has provided LRM with a copy of Season 3 for review, which I am about to start watching. This show won’t be for everyone, because it’s an uncomfortable show which refuses to pull any punches in how it depicts its Universe. The Man in the High Castle, based on a book by Phillip K Dick tells the story of an Earth in which the Axis powers won World War II. The former USA is now split into the Third Reich on the Eastern side and the Pacific States of Japan on the West, with a Neutral Zone in between. Relations between the Axis powers are becoming strained and America is the flashpoint. A young girl living in the Japanese Pacific States gets caught up In a resistance movement who are collecting and delivering rolls of film to ‘The Man in the High Castle’, and these film rolls are also an obsession of Adolf Hitler as they show impossible things, like the Allied Forces winning the war. I love 20th Century history and a story like this just ticks the geek boxes for me. I could say so much more about the intricacies of this show, but instead, I will leave you with a simple, try it. If you make it through the first Season you will be hooked.
What are your thoughts about LRM’s most anticipated Fall TV Shows? What are yours? Let’s discuss!