How to Cope with TV Haituses

Ah, December. The time for friends and family get together to celebrate the holidays watch the winter finales of their favorite shows. This time of year is already stressful with buying gifts, forced holiday parties, and spending too much time with family members you may not care for. But on top of that, TV fans have to gear up for a winter of no new episodes until the next year.

To help you cope with your addictions, I (myself an addict) have compiled a list of shows you should watch during the next few weeks (or months in some cases) until your faves come back on air. For example, last year, I watched all seven seasons of The West Wing in about 26 days. I realize how ridiculous that sounds, but hey, it helped distract me from the cliffhanger of Nashville. I’m only here to help, y’all.

Happy watching!

If you like:

Scandal

You might like:

The West Wing

Speaking of The West Wing… All 7 seasons are on Netflix, so you have no excuse (unless you don’t have Netflix). Scandal is probably the most difficult show to ween yourself off of, especially if you’re a #Gladiator who live tweets and doesn’t miss a single episode. Not to mention, it doesn’t come back until February 27th! So if you enjoy the political side of Scandal, excellent writing, the invention of the ‘walk and talk’ and most importantly, the never sarcastic Josh Malina/David Rosen, who plays Will Bailey from season 3 on, you’ll certainly enjoy this Emmy-winning series that went off the air seven years ago. Warning: there’s certainly not as much sex on this show – but there’s Rob Lowe and a ‘Will they- Won’t they’ situation between Deputy Chief of Staff Josh Lyman (Bradley Whitford) and his assistant Donna Moss (Janel Maloney).

If you like:

Parks and Recreation

You might like:

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

BROOKLYN-NINE-NINE-CAST-570

One name: Mike Schur. If you don’t know who he is and you’re a fan of Parks and Rec and/or The Office, you can revoke your fan privileges right now. Mike used to be a writer on The Office (and also played Dwight’s weird cousin Mose), but left the show to create Parks with Office creator Greg Daniels. Mike decided his one amazing show on NBC wasn’t enough, so he and Dan Goor, also from Parks, created Brooklyn Nine-Nine. The show is hilarious and has the same kind of ensemble quality that both Parks and The Office had. In addition, you can’t go wrong with Andy Samberg as a quirky cop. And don’t forget the fact that both the show and Andy just got nominated for Golden Globes? Congrats Mike Schur.

If you like:

Modern Family

You might like:

Trophy Wife

I’ve talked about my love for Trophy Wife before, and it certainly has not waned since then. This show just keeps getting better and better. A non-traditional family with traditional support and love for each other is exactly the type of foundation Modern Family was built on, and this show is just a different take on it. Make sure you watch the Christmas episode – probably the best of the season so far.

If you like:

Grey’s Anatomy

You might like:

Chicago Fire

Common workplace? Check. Major problem (medical mystery/kid stuck in a burning building)? Check. Hot guys? Check. Lesbians? Check. On-again, off-again/love triangles? Check. Did I mention hot guys? Check. I mean, what are you waiting for?

If you like:

Mad Men

You might like:

Masters of Sex

Okay, this is kind of not following my previous template since Mad Men hasn’t been on since the spring and is coming back in March, but it’s the closest thing to Masters of Sex. This Showtime series just wrapped its first season, and only got better as the season went on. Just like Mad Men, it’s a period drama set in the 1950s centered on (real people) Dr. William Masters (Michael Sheen) and Virginia Johnson (Lizzy Caplan), who were pioneering researchers of human sexuality. Clearly, there’s plenty of sex and nudity happening on this show. But unlike Mad Men where affairs run rampant, the sex mainly happens in the context of their research. Of course both Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan do an amazing job, but the supporting characters like Beau Bridges and his wife Allison Janney (Allison Janney! From The West Wing!!!) are just as outstanding. It’s only 12 episodes you guys!

If you like:

Homeland

You might like:

Homeland Season 1 & 2

No (major?) spoilers if you haven’t seen the season three finale yet, but UGHHH. It will be interesting to see where they go from here. That being said, season three was like a roller coaster and you had no idea where it was going, how it was going to end, or if you even liked it, but you still rode it anyways. If you liked season three, you should probably watch the first two seasons again to remind you how good the show used to be.

Show You Should Be Watching If You Aren’t Already: Trophy Wife

Well folks, we’re about a month into the new fall season and unfortunately, a few shows have already gotten the axe (See ya Lucky 7. You were DOA).

But there’s one show that luckily hasn’t received the same fate and that is Trophy Wife. While it has been picked up for additional scripts (yay!) I’m writing this in hopes that more people will watch to keep it alive for at least a whole season (and obviously more!).

Trophy-Wife-ABC

Trophy Wife was one of the comedies I put on the shortlist of promising shows this season and it has (yet) to disappoint. So let’s keep it that way, shall we?

Storyline:

“A reformed party girl finds herself an insta-family after falling in love with a man with 3 manipulative children and two judgmental ex-wives”

Clearly since the show is only a few episodes in, this plot description holds true, but I feel like as time goes on, it will feel more like a Modern Family-esque show that is a sitcom at its core, but still has a lot of heart – that may or may not make you shed a tear by the end of the episode.

The above chart is really what you need to know in terms of relationships, it’s pretty simple.

5 Reasons to Watch

5) The Ex-Wives

Academy Award winner Marcia Gay Harden plays ex-wife number one, Diane. She’s a doctor, which means she’s totally type A personality and can be the bitch of the group when need be. She’s protective of her two teen kids, so much so that she did a little ‘light catfishing’ in order to keep track of them.


Ex-SNL performer Michaela Watkins plays Jackie, ex-wife #2. Completely different than Diane, Jackie is a total granola, hippie, Whole Foods going lady. Put the two of them together and you’ll see why Pete decided to marry Kate after being with these two.

4) The Writing & Brains behind the show

The show was created by Emily Halpern and Sarah Haskins. Emily comes from Shondaland – Private Practice to be more accurate – and Sarah is a comedian who loosely based the lead character of Kate around her own life. She married someone who is almost 20 years her senior (and the stepson of Julie Andrews!?), and also had to learn how to co-parent his nine and 19 year old kids. You can tell that there’s an honesty on the show that’s not pretentious or stereotypical, especially when it comes to Kate.

Not to mention, a few of my favorite former The Office writers are producers/scribes on the show, including Danny Chun, Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg. Okay, writer nerd ends here.

3) The Kids (read: BERT)

The teens from wife #1, Warren and Hillary are played by accomplished actors, who have been in This is 40 (Melissa McCarthy’s kid) and Disney Channel hit Wizards of Waverly Place (she played ‘Maxine’ aka Max in girl form). Luckily Bailee comes into the show with fans already – she was on WoWP after all – and they do a great job of being kids without looking like they’re acting.

But listen, one of the greatest parts of this show is Bert. Played by Albert Tsai (his name is like an 85 year old Chinese man who does Tai Chi in the park), Bert is the adopted son of Pete and Jackie. And good LORD is he hilarious. Not only are his lines to die, but his delivery is spot on.

2) Bradley Whitford

I may have been a few years late, but I am still a West Wing fan. Well, If we’re talking Brad, I was a fan of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip prior to his excellent work on TWW, so basically, I’m just a Bradley Whitford fan in general.

As Josh Lyman, he played a suited-up Deputy Chief of Staff (who made us swoon with his will they/won’t they with Donna), in Studio 60 he played a suited-up co-executive producer of a SNL like show (who made us swoon with his unconditional love for Jordan), and in Trophy Wife he plays a suited-up lawyer (who makes us swoon. period).

BDubs handles the role effortlessly, and doesn’t play Pete as someone we dislike for marrying a former party girl way younger than him. He plays the perfect role – a dad.

^Taken from that same ‘Catfishing’ ep!^

Not to mention he JUST started a Twitter account and has posted stuff that is exactly what I would assume Bradley Whitford to post.

1) Family Dynamic

Here’s the thing. ABC is really banking on its ‘family shows’ theme. With Modern Family, The Goldbergs, The Middle, Suburgatory, etc., they’ve created a niche that totally works for them. And with Trophy Wife, it fits right in. Just like Modern Family, Trophy Wife shows what a lot of families in America look like these days. Not everyone comes from a nuclear family anymore – this is The New Normal, if you will (RIP The New Normal).

RYAN LEE, BAILEE MADISON, MARCIA GAY HARDEN, BRADLEY WHITFORD, MALIN AKERMAN, NATALIE MORALES, MICHAELA WATKINS, ALBERT TSAI

No matter what your family may look like, no matter how many ex-wives may be involved, at the end of the day, they’re still a family. I appreciate that at the end of every episode, whatever ridic conflict occurs is eventually resolved at the end and the one thing that matters is that they still have each other.

And hopefully we’ll be there for them too.

Trophy Wife is on ABC, Tuesdays @ 9:30pm

A Fall TV Guide To Non-Crappy Shows

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! No, I’m not talking about Christmas, it’s the glorious return of television after the fall hiatus! While our favorite shows are returning, lest we forget there is a whole new crop of shows just dying to be kept alive by network execs.

In television history, this time of year determines who will have a job at the end of the season and who will not. Some are bad, some are great, some are bad but go on for multiple seasons (Two and a Half Men), some are great but only live on for half a season (RIP Ben and Kate).

But have no fear. We are here to help guide you to the land of good television. Who knows if these shows will be the last ones standing, but at least you’ll waste your time on good shows instead of the bad ones. Do you have any favorites that are missing from this list?

The Dramas

The Blacklist

Premieres: Monday, September 23rd – NBC – 10pm

Starring: James Spader (Boston Legal, The Office, all around 80s icon), Diego Klattenhoff (Uncle Mike from Homeland, Shane Omen from Mean Girls)

Plot: James Spader plays Red Reddington, one of the FBI’s most wanted. He surprisingly turns himself in and offers to help catch a long-thought-dead terrorist, but he’ll only work with new FBI profiler Liz Keen, played by Megan Boone. This terrorist guy isn’t the only criminal Red can help put behind bars, he has a massive list – a ‘blacklist’ if you will – of other wanted politicians, mobsters, spies and terrorists, but will only help the FBI if Liz continues as his partner.

Why You Should Give It a Shot: Out of all the network shows debuting this fall, The Blacklist tested better than all other 125 NBC drama pilots in the past decade. Better than ER? So this has to be good. Or the pilot, at least.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D

Premieres: Tuesday, September 24th – ABC – 8pm

Starring: Clark Gregg (duh, Agent Coulson), Ming-Na Wen (ER, the greatest Disney classic Mulan)

Plot: You may remember Agent Coulson from the Marvel superhero movie franchise, and now he’s getting his on show. Coulson puts together a task force to investigate the growing number of people with superpowers, and that’s pretty much it.

Why You Should Give It a Shot: Because it’s supposed to be the biggest new show this season, and you don’t want to be the guy who has nothing to say around the watercooler the following day. Do people still go to watercoolers?

Masters of Sex

Premieres: Sunday, September 29th – Showtime – 10pm

Starring: Michael Sheen (Frost/Nixon, Wesley Snipes on 30 Rock, ex-boyfriend of Rachel McAdams), Lizzy Caplan (Party Down, Cloverfield, ex-costar of Rachel McAdams)

Plot: Set in the 1950s, this drama centers around William Masters (Sheen) and Virginia Johnson (Caplan) as they take on the risque study of researching the medical side of sex.

Why You Should Give It a Shot: This is the only non-network show on the list, but it seems too good to leave it off. Shows that push the button are always poised to be good TV, but with a cast like this and the perfect mix of drama and comedy, this is definitely one to look out for come awards season.

The Comedies

Trophy Wife

Premieres: Tuesday, September 24th – ABC – 9:30pm

Starring: Bradley Whitford (The West Wing, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, often the center of my dreams), Malin Ackerman (Couples Retreat, Rock of Ages), Marcia Gay Harden (Mystic River, season two resident lawyer on The Newsroom), Michaela Watkins (former SNL cast member)

Plot: Bradley Whitford is on his third wife – the young, reformed party girl Kate (Ackerman). She is thrown into an unconventional family, which includes his first ex-wife Diane (Harden), the hardass doctor with whom he has two teenage kids, and second ex-wife Jackie, a granola/hippie mom with whom he adopted a spunky Asian kid.

Why You Should Give It a Shot: Because Bradley Whitford needs to be on a TV series that is successful again. Also it’s funny. Don’t trust me? (rude) You can watch the pilot on Hulu before it comes on the small screen!

Brooklyn Nine Nine
Premieres: Tuesday, September 17th – FOX- 8:30pm

Starring: Andy Samberg (SNL, Celeste and Jesse Forever, often has Dick in a Box), Andre Braugher (Homicide: Life on the Street), Chelsea Peretti (former Parks & Rec writer, stand up comic, Twitter life ruiner)

Plot: A police workplace comedy featuring carefree cop Jake Peralta (Samberg) who has to work under a new no nonsense boss in Captain Ray Holt (Braugher).

Why You Should Give It a Shot: A show created by Parks and Rec mastermind and The Office’s Mose, Michael Schur and another Parks writer Dan Goor, it’s sure to have a few LOL moments. Basically Schur’s TV forte is getting former SNL cast members and making them stars of their own comedies. It helps that he used to write for SNL too.

Super Fun Night
Premieres: Wednesday, October 2nd – ABC – 9:30pm

Starring: Rebel Wilson (Bridesmaids, Pitch Perfect, all-around hilarious lady), Liz Lapira (Crazy Stupid Love, Don’t Trust The B-, Traffic Light aka shows only I watched)

Plot: Kimmie Boubier (Wilson) is a junior attorney who has had a standing date every Friday with her best friends for the past 13 years. Their motto is “Always together! Always inside!”, which makes me feel like we’re soulmates. But now because of a cute British co-worker and networking opportunities, Kimmie feels the need to actually go out and meet people for once.

Why You Should Give It a Shot: Rebel Wilson. Executive produced by Conan O’Brien. Theoretically this show should be a hit.