The midseason is when television really kicks into gear. Year-long TV shows enter their second halves, which are often better than their first halves, like with Black-ish‘s election episode. It’s also when the TV shows networks have figured out don’t work are done, and the ones they have on the bench get their chance to prove themselves. Midseason TV also has Sweeps going for it, so that’s the real reason it’s the best half. Yes, Sweeps is still a thing.
So here’s a preview of what to pay attention to in the second half of the TV year.
Man Seeking Woman: Wednesday, January 4th, FXX
Simon Rich’s absurdist, fantastical, out of place misfit of a new-millennium sitcom is back for its third season, one in which it finally appears that Josh, our protagonist played by Jay Baruchel, has a girlfriend, which means that Rich and everyone behind the show will be looking to that absurd part of life now. Lucy, played by Katie Findlay, is credited as being in 10 episodes, so it appears like she’ll be with Josh at least through the end of the season.
The bad news is, Man is no longer seeking Woman. It is yet to be determined if that means the end of the show, or if the two will break up this season, but it would be interesting to see Man Seeking Woman transition into the dating world after looking at the single life for two years. I think there’s a lot to be seen of the dating world, even in television, and with Man Seeking Woman‘s brand of humor, it would provide an entertaining look into that realm.
According to Yahoo TV, this is the show’s first fully serialized season, which means that the episodic gimmicks and woman of the week format will be replaced by a longer season arch, still with some episodic gimmicks. This is Man Seeking Woman and Simon Rich we’re talking about, they’re going to do some weird ass stuff, like they’ve done already with Tom, Josh’s step-father, de-knee capping himself in last week’s episode.
Taboo: Tuesday, January 10th FX
Tom Hardy (Mad Max: Fury Road, The Dark Knight Rises) stars and executive produces this show from FX, and it just looks like the weirdest show ever. The premiere episode is already out, and it’s about the chronicles of an Englishman who inherits a trading company from his father after traveling through Africa. So that’s where the weird shots come from, but still, it just strikes me as a very weird series, and I kind of like that.
The pilot focuses on the return of Hardy’s James Delaney to London, where he was born and raised, and is now widely hated. Jonathon Pryce and Mark Gatiss also play large roles in this series, which means that Hardy, already impressive, is joined by some heavy hitters. This series should be really good but it’s going to be really odd and hard to follow to. So think of it like The Wire meets one of the better seasons of American Horror Story.
Full Frontal: Wednesday, January 11th, TBS
After becoming one of the most dominant forces in the late night game over the last year, Sam Bee is back to tackle the first year (and the first 100 days, the first six months, everything important) of the Trump administration. It’ll be interesting to see how forceful Sam Bee will get this season, as the only female voice in late night.
I think her perspective will be one of the most important going forward, and it will be especially needed in a world with defunded Planned Parenthood and less empathy for women’s rights from the government. Even our FLOTUS sucks now. At least we still have our FLOTUS of Late Night.
A Series of Unfortunate Events: Friday, January 13th, Netflix
Neil Patrick Harris plays a role that Jim Carrey controversially played in 2003. That’s the biggest part of Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events for me. Not that NPH played the part poorly, he’s a terrific villain – look at his performance in Dr. Horrible – but I liked Jim Carrey’s Olaf and I like Neil Patrick Harris’s. To me, they come off as two different characters and that helps to establish the two different worlds.
There’s also the aesthetics beautifully done by Barry Sonnenfeld and his creative team, as well as the diversity of casting, unlike in 2003’s version. Asif Mandvi is terrific as Dr. Montgomery Montgomery and I’ve loved Alfre Woodard since Luke Cage (also by Netflix. Would not mind seeing Woodard become one of Netflix’s ‘go-to’s). The three Baudelaires are also portrayed wonderfully, but heed the warning from Lemony Snicket (Patrick Warburton), this is not a happy tale. Don’t fall for any tricks that may lead you astray from that message.
The Young Pope: Sunday, January 15th HBO
This series looks intense. Jude Law is playing the first American-born Pope, Pope Pius. He’s also aware, a little too much, of how much power the Pope holds in the world, and he’s all-too-comfortable wielding it. Even against the people who took care of him and brought him into the church like the nun played by Diane Keaton.
HBO’s been hitting it out of the park with shows like Westworld, Insecure, and High Maintenence recently, so you’ve kind of got to give them leeway and see where this series goes. Plus, it’ll likely end around the same time as Game of Thrones (or at the very least Twin Peaks) starts, so this will be another stop-gap in HBO’s calendar year that isn’t dominated completely by GoT.
Victoria: Sunday, January 15th PBS
Airing in the same time slot and same day as The Young Pope, Victoria stars former Who-vian Jenna Coleman as the former Queen of England as she takes the throne. Yes, by this time the position was all but meaningless, but that factors into the show because there is an important event in the time of Queen Victoria: she was the last sitting royal to dismiss an English government, a power still held by the royalty today.
That’ll be one of the interesting things this show has the potential to look at: though convention reigns in England and the royalty is expected to sit back, relax, and let the government do the work, they do have the power to stop bills they don’t like (through royal assent) and to control the government. That’s why the Queen still addresses her courts annually, because she has both the power and convention to do so, though her power is stronger in places like Canada (which is ridiculous) and New Zealand (the vast distance makes this somewhat even more ridiculous).
Throwing Shade: Tuesday, January 17th TV Land
I’ve been a subscriber to Throwing Shade since my early high school days as co-hosts Bryan Safi and Erin Gibson started out doing their podcast with simultaneous video put out on Funny or Die. Though those days are largely gone, the show has continued as one of the better podcasts and has now branched out to the television world.
The show is advertised much like their podcast: each week, Bryan and Erin take a look at the world through their perspectives as a gay man and a woman. Especially in the next four years, those, as I said about Full Frontal, will be especially important perspectives. The world needs to hear from a vast variety of perspectives in the next four years, so these two getting their own thing going and hopefully getting bigger and bigger will be a leg up for the world.
The Flash: Tuesday, January 24th, CW
The best CW Superhero series, The Flash ended with a pretty big bang, as it is revealed that Iris might die this season, that another teammate will betray the gang, and that another (presumably Barry) will suffer a fate worth than death (being powerless to stop the death of Iris in front of him). Their midseason premiere will have a lot to pick back up with, including Wally becoming Kid Flash and the fact that deep within her Caitlyn still has Killer Frost buried.
If that paragraph didn’t make sense to you, please, you really gotta watch the Flash. It’s a great show.
Riverdale: Thursday, January 26th, CW
The first attempt at an Archie Comics TV show in at least 25 years, Riverdale is a gritty, teen soapy version of the beloved adventures of high schooler Archie, his two love interests Betty and Veronica, and his best friend Jughead. Weirdly, Jughead is seen throwing punches in the trailer for the show, which means that a bromance may be in the middle of conflict, a weird way to start an Archie TV show considering Jughead is with Archie from the very beginning to the very end.
If you’re not interested in Archie but you’ve fallen in love with a few of the CW’s other shows, I’d recommend taking a leap of faith on this show, because it looks like the CW will be doing it’s thing that it’s perfected in shows like Jane the Virgin and Supernatural, both of which have been picked up for more seasons. If not, well, hey. It’s a teen pop soap opera. You’re not likely to miss out.
Santa Clarita Diet: Friday, February 3rd, Netflix
This one I’m really intrigued by. Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant star as a married couple of realtors living in the suburbs who, through some course of action, become cannibals. It’s very Dexter meets sitcom-y, and it just looks dope. I mean, watch the trailer for it.
You can just immediately tell that something’s up with Barrymore by just looking into her pale-r than usual eyes. Hopefully this doesn’t spark a Cannibalism trend in America, but if it’s against certain people in this country (and if you’ve read any of my political stuff you know who I’m talking about), hey, you gotta eat something.
Last Week Tonight : February 12th, HBO
Picking up well into the Trump administration’s first 100 days, John Oliver in his first few episodes back is going to have to tackle a lot. Full Frontal priemeres a full month in advance and they’re already having to deal with a ton of bullshit. It’ll be interesting to see how Oliver deals with the mess that will be 2017, considering the fact that he literally burned 2016 to the ground to cap off his last year. Hey, at least we only have 5 months (maybe not even) before Republicans start having to run for office again and stop trying to destroy America.
It’ll also be an interesting time because unlike other late night hosts (*cough* *cough* that bastard Fallon) Oliver tried to stay away from Trump as long as he can, wishing not to fall into the trap of giving the now-President-Elect free media, which is how Trump won the election. It was a wise strategy for a long time, but eventually, even the greats succumb to pressure.
iZombie: Tuesday, April 4th, CW
iZombie has been gone for a while. Long enough that people who were once fans of the show might be tempted to forget about it, but I’m not going to allow that to happen, because this show, through it’s run, has been just too good. iZombie is not your typical show – I say that because it’s kind of genre-less. There’s not enough romance in it for it to be a rom-com, there’s not enough violence for it to be action, it’s too serialized to be a procedural, and it’s too grounded to be a sci-fi or fantasy series.
What iZombie is is an opposite to shows like The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones which depict their zombies to be brainless, heartless killing machines. In iZombie‘s reality, they have to go without feeding for a long time to reach that stage. Instead, most zombies are caring, and were turned into zombies on accident without wish to harm others and seriously wanting not to infect them. So much so that before the show even starts its protagonist, Liv Moore (get it) has broken up with the love of her life because she doesn’t want him to be hurt by the disease.
Yep, so that’s what to look out for in Midseason TV. I’ll have a summer article out about April for shows like Twin Peaks and Game of Thrones and more, so stay tuned for that in many months.