fall 2014 TV roundup: Wednesday family comedies… and Nashville

Another week, another chance to look at fall TV! I’ve covered Monday and Tuesday and now it’s Wednesday’s turn. Let’s do this.

wednesday

ABC domination. This is one of the nights where I do not change the channel. I think that ABC’s Wednesday night line-up is one of the strongest on TV, starting with a show that’s always been kind of under the radar: The Middle. As someone who lives in the Midwest, this show is often very on point. Their house looks kind of like my mom’s house. The kids look like kids I grew up with. While the show hits a lot of the same beats over and over again, I like the characters (who are big without being overly cartoonish) and I root for the family. I rarely watch this show live but it’s a staple on my DVR.

I didn’t watch The Goldbergs when it premiered last season – the ads were too much Jeff Garlin yelling and I just wasn’t interested. But over the summer, I caught some reruns of the show and found it charming. It’s not a must-see for me but if I’m watching TV live Wednesdays, I will watch it or I will marathon a few episodes On Demand or on Hulu if I’m looking for something light.

I still love Modern Family, even though it’s lost some shine over the years. I consistently enjoy watching it every week, I like the cast and I think this season has been strong so far. I like the new neighbors too. I have a soft spot for Steve Zahn, though. That Thing You Do is the best.

I LOVE Black-ish! I’m going to gush about this show for a little bit. When I heard the title of this show over the summer before the fall premieres, my guard was up. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was afraid it would be one note, it would be divisive, it wouldn’t be inclusive. But from the pilot on, I was hooked. This show is hilarious. This is not a show all about race, despite what the title suggests. This is a funny, sweet, modern family sitcom. Plain and simple. Huge step up from Hang Time and Kangaroo Jack, Anthony Anderson.

TNBC flashback.

I love the dynamic between the characters and the inter-generational relationships. I think it addresses some hot button issues (spanking, for example) in a fair and funny way. They all genuinely seem to like each other, which is a complaint I’ve had about some seasons of Modern Family. And I laugh out loud every single week. It’s like a less preachy, updated Cosby Show. I totally agree with this recent article on EW.com, calling Black-ish “the sitcom we’ve needed” and listing five reasons to start watching. If you haven’t tried it, I really do recommend it.

And then there’s Nashville at 10. One of these things is not like the other, right? Not like ABC has a family drama to cap off the night – Nashville is a much better option for Wednesday than Revenge, How To Get Away with Murder, Castle or Forever. Now, if Parenthood was on ABC instead of NBC, that would be a nice fit, I think. Family themed evening of programming.

Anyway, I am hooked on the soapy nonsense of Nashville. It’s just bananas. Not as bonkers as Revenge – that’s the absolute top of the crazy chain. But even though I wouldn’t classify myself as a big country music fan, the music on this show is incredible and has expanded my tastes a bit to exploring more country artists. (Kacey Musgraves is pretty great, btw.) It’s campy fun – lots of hookups and back stabbing and emotional crying,

… although I find that there are way too many characters to keep track of and a lot of them look pretty similar. I usually DVR this and catch up later or just read the recaps on Vulture. It’s not a watch live option because 10 PM is when my husband and I flip to cable and watch The Soup and The League. Andy is not a fan of Nashville.

In the category of non-ABC Wednesday shows I tried but didn’t stick with me enough to actually keep watching: Red Band Society on Fox. I thought it was a somewhat interesting premise and the first two episodes were okay but I felt like it was Glee without singing or “What if The Fault in our Stars took place entirely in a hospital?” It was just … fine. I could see where some people would really like it but I wasn’t hooked.

Another piece to the puzzle of why I struggled with Red Band Society is the personal aspect. My husband’s brother passed away way too young from osteosarcoma several years ago and the main characters on this show include two teenage boys with the same type of cancer… maybe it’s a little too real? I don’t know. It’s different watching movies and TV shows that use cancer as a plot line when you’ve been through that in real life so for Andy’s sake, I try to steer away from those things where possible.

Another Wednesday night no-go show: The Mysteries of Laura aka Momcop/Copmom. The pilot was really painful for me. It made me miss Smash. I’d much rather have Debra Messing, draped in boatloads of scarves, than this mess. Apparently people like it though, it seems to be getting decent ratings. Shrug. But you should listen to Copmom/Momcop theme song courtesy of NPR’s Linda Holmes.

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