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Fall 2015 Premieres and What to Watch

Chanel #5 (Abigail Breslin, L) and new Sorority Pledges Grace (Skyler Samuels, C) and Zayday (Keke Palmer, R).

It’s the most wonderful time of the year: upfronts. This is like my draft day. It’s like Christmas. This is the week that all major networks release their fall line-ups; new trailers, new faces, and new schedules. After keeping a watchful eye on all the updates, I’m ready to tell you my favorites. Here are the shows I’m most excited about starting this fall.

Grandfathered, FOX

I laughed out loud. I gushed. I had goosebumps. And that was only from the trailer. John Stamos portrays Jimmy, a lifetime bachelor whose life is upended when he discovers he’s a father—and a grandfather. Josh Peck portrays his hopeless, mess of a son. Paget Brewster is his ex-girlfriend.

Reasons to watch: The chemistry between the actors seems to be perfect. John Stomas and Paget Brewster are natural together.

Cast: John Stamos, Josh Peck, Paget Brewster, Christina Milian, Kelly Jenrette, Ravi Patel

Scream Queens, FOX

If you combine Glee, American Horror Story, and Emma Roberts’ resting bitch face (all of my favorite things) you get Scream Queens. The plot hasn’t been fully explained yet and I think that’s why I like it. There’s a little bit of mystery. We know that it’s set on a college campus, there have been a series of murders, and it’s a comedy. I’m intrigued. And I’m not alone judging by the straight to series order.

Reasons to watch: That cast.

Cast: Jamie Lee Curtis, Emma Roberts, Oliver Hudson, Lea Michele, Abigail Breslin, Keke Palmer, Nick Jonas, Ariana Grande, Billie Lourd, Skyler Samuels, Lucien Laviscount, Niecy Nash, Diego Boneta, Glen Powell, Nasim Pedrad

Flesh and Bone, STARZ

This was the first trailer I watched that made me actually giddy with new television excitement. Can we just call it what it is? Center Stage: The Gritty Sequel. I mean, it even has Charlie from Center Stage. CHARLIE! And let’s be real. Center Stage is the BEST movie. It’s that go to movie that you watch to reminisce about how easy it was to be a teen in the early 2000s. I fondly remember days where it played on HBO after school while I pretended to do pirouettes in the kitchen before my parents got home from work.

Anyway, Flesh and Bone follows Claire, a young dancer with a distinctly troubled past as she enters into the American Ballet Company in New York. The eight-hour series has been described as gritty and complex as it navigates Claire’s self-destructive tendencies.

Reasons to watch: Hellooooooooo! Charlie (Sascha Radetsky) is back!

Cast: Sarah Hay as Claire. The cast includes 22 accomplished ballet dancers including former American Ballet Theatre principal dancer Irina Dvorovenko (Kiira), former American Ballet Theatre soloist Sascha Radetsky (Ross), Ballet Arizona company dancer Raychel Diane Weiner (Daphne) and Boardwalk Empire’s Emily Tyra (Mia). Ethan Stiefel, former artistic director of the Royal New Zealand Ballet and a former American Ballet Theatre principal dancer, served as consultant and choreographer. Other cast members include Josh Helman (X-Men: Days of Future Past), Damon Herriman (Justified), Tina Benko (The Good Wife), Ben Daniels (House Of Cards) and Tovah Feldshuh (The Walking Dead).

The Family, ABC

I could not look away while watching this trailer. Joan Allen plays a local politician whose son (The Way, Way Back’s Liam James) returns after being presumed dead following his disappearance a decade earlier. His return has a ripple effect on the rest of his family. And in probably the most interesting twist, is he who he really says he is?

Reasons to watch: The cast. In addition to Joan Allen and Liam James, Andrew McCarthy portrays the wrongly accused neighbor who has been rotting in prison. Zach Gilford (I’ll always love you Saracen!) is the alcoholic, eldest son. Alison Pill is the tightly wound daughter managing her mother’s campaign. That’s a pretty strong list of talent.

Cast: Zach Gilford, Liam James, Margot Bingham, Joan Allen, Alison Pill, Floriana Lima, Madeleine Arthur, Andrew McCarthy, Rarmian Newton, Rupert Graves

The Grinder, FOX

Rob Lowe stars as a beloved TV lawyer known as “The Grinder.” When his long-running hit series comes to an end he decides to return home and join his family’s real-life law firm—despite having no formal education, no bar certification, no license to practice and no experience in an actual courtroom. Fred Savage plays his hopeless brother.

Reasons to watch: Rob Lowe and his ability to deliver fantastic, ‘knock em outta the park’ speeches.

Cast: Rob Lowe, Fred Savage, Mary Elizabeth Ellis, Natalie Morales, William Devane, Hana Hayes, Connor Kalopsis

Wicked City, ABC

It was really only a matter of time before the True Detective format made it’s way to cable. Each season, Wicked City will follow a different case set in an infamous era of L.A.’s history. For it’s debut, Wicked City is focusing on the Sunset Strip circa 1982. However, it seems this show will focus more on the criminals than the detectives as Erika Christensen’s and Ed Westwick’s Bonnie & Clyde-esque characters take center stage. I’m pretty sure Ed Westwick was destined to stab people in the back of the head.

Reasons to watch: It’ll be a character-driven, true-crime procedural that explores sex and pop culture in L.A. Need I say more?

Cast: Taissa Farmiga, Erika Christensen, Ed Westwick, Darrell Britt-Gibson, Karolina Wydra, Adam Rothenberg, Holley Fain, Anne Winters, Gabriel Luna

Supergirl, CBS

I dunno. I’m not totally sold on this. Even though I’m an avid comic book fan and movie buff, I’ve never been too excited about a comic book as a television series. I’ve passed on The Flash, Arrow, and The Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. but I’m not uninterested in Supergirl. Melissa Benoist plays Superman’s famous cousin who decides to embrace her superhuman abilities and be the hero she was destined to be. Jimmy Olsen makes an appearance, Jeremy Jordan is her trusty sidekick, and Calista Flockhart is her nasty boss.

Reasons to watch: Girl power?

Cast: Melissa Benoist, Mehcad Brooks, Calista Flockhart, Chyler Leigh, David Harewood, Laura Benanti, Dean Cain, Helen Slater, Jeremy Jordan, Malina Weissman

Blindspot, NBC

A woman (Jaimie Alexander) with no memories of her past is found naked in Times Square with her body fully covered in intricate tattoos. Why? What happened? Who is she? And we’re off…

Reasons to watch: If you like developing theories, pouring over recaps, and searching for clues then this show is for you.

Cast: Jaimie Alexander, Sullivan Stapleton, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Ashley Johnson, Rob Brown, Audrey Esparza, Ukweli Roach


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Glee “Love Love Love” The Morning After

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Did anyone else feel really uncomfortable during this episode last night?

Last night, ‘Glee’ began its fifth season with the first half of a two-episode Beatles tribute that fell pretty flat.  The episode overall was very happy and bright and colorful, and I’m not just talking about Blaine’s proposal to Kurt.  I’m talking about the efforts to mask the big ol’ elephant in the choir room:  Cory Monteith is dead.  We will never see Finn Hudson again.  It felt weird.

I couldn’t enjoy the Beatles’ songs because when Rachel sang ‘Yesterday’ at the start of the hour all I could think about was Lea Michele missing Cory.  I couldn’t be happy during the proposal because I was too distracted thinking Finn should be there, next to Mercedes.  I don’t care about the high schoolers going to a carnival and being all happy-go-lucky in their bumper cars because, in reality, the actors are probably really sad and it just seemed kind of cruel.

And I wasn’t the only one, ‘Glee’ delivered a 2.0 adults 18-49 rating, which represents a significant decline from the 3.3 preliminary (and 3.1 final) rating for last season’s premiere. The hourlong telecast averaged 5.17 million viewers.

Next week, ‘Glee’ wraps up the Beatles tribute.  The third episode of the season will be about saying goodbye to Cory/Finn.  Ryan Murphy released the following photo via Twitter last night.

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That means we have to sit through another episode filled with tensions and unease.  The third episode airing October 10th is titled ‘The Quarterback’ and will address the death of Finn Hudson.  The episode will not focus on the exact details of Finn’s death, but instead of how his sudden departure affects the other characters through varying perspectives. “We’ve mourned Cory, but now we’re mourning Finn. So it’s kind of like two people in that one person,” says Matthew Morrison.  A series of public service announcements dealing with the topic of drug addiction will air during the episode.  Several recurring cast members will return to say goodbye to Finn Hudson including Mercedes Jones (Amber Riley), Noah “Puck” Puckerman (Mark Salling) and Mike Chang (Harry Shum, Jr.), Finn’s mother Carole Hudson-Hummel (Romy Rosemont) and stepfather Burt Hummel (Mike O’Malley), McKinley guidance counselor Emma Pillsbury (Jayma Mays), and football coach Shannon Beiste (Dot-Marie Jones).

Other plot notes from ‘Love Love Love’

  • Artie and Kitty are a couple and it’s actually kind of sweet.  They also had my favorite performance of the night, a very literal “You’ve Got To Hide Your Life Away” duet.
  • Rachel hasn’t gotten the ‘Funny Girl’ role yet but Peter Facinelli plays the director.
  • Rachel and Santana now work at the Spotlight Diner (clearly an homage to Ellen’s Stardust Diner and their singing waitstaff).  To impress the director they performed a rendition of ‘Hard Day’s Night’ while he was dining with the male star.  For a second, I thought they might go for Santana instead of Rachel.  That would be awkward.
  • Kurt said ‘yes’ to Blaine.
  • Burt Hummel, you give the best advice.  Even though Finn hasn’t been addressed, his speech about not wasting a moment and spending every second with the one you love made me very emotional.
  • Blaine’s proposal:  “My soul knew something that my body and my mind didn’t know. It knew that our hands were meant to hold each other fearlessly and forever. Which is why it’s never really felt like I was getting to know you, it’s always felt like I was remembering you from something. As if in every lifetime you and I have ever lived we’ve chosen to come back and find each other and fall in love all over again, over and over again for all eternity. And I just feel so lucky that I’ve found you so soon in this lifetime because all I want to do, all I’ve ever wanted to do, is spend my life loving you. So, Kurt Hummel, my amazing friend, my one true love, Will you marry me?”  God, kill me now.
  • Best homage to the Beatles:  ‘I Saw Her Standing There’ performed by Ryder, Sam, Jake, and Blaine in black and white and fake British accents.
  • Worst performance:  ‘Drive My Car’ too awkward, no thanks.


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Remembering Cory Monteith

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I’m a Glee fan.  It took me a while to admit that.  At first, I just tuned in for the music but as the show progressed I found myself smitten with Finn and Rachel, crying when Kurt was bullied, and cheering when Burt and Carole got married.  Today, I’m crying for another reason.  Cory Monteith was the heart and soul of Glee.  The “was” in that sentence feels very strange.  As Finn Hudson, he was the show’s leading man, the troubled hero, and the lost boy.  His character captured our hearts and that would not have been possible without the earnest performance by Cory Monteith.  He will be missed.  The world has lost a great young talent.  Our thoughts are with the members of the Glee cast, Lea Michele, and Monteith’s family and friends.  In celebration of his life, we are counting down our favorite Finn Hudson performances.

1.  Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

2.  Just the Way You Are

3.  I’ll Stand By You

4.  I Just Can’t Stop Loving You

5.  Scientist

6.  Faithfully (Journey Medley)

7.  Paradise by the Dashboard Light (Nationals Medley)

8.  We’ve Got Tonight

9. Glory Days

10.  Somebody to Love