As I said in my last post about what I was watching on TV, the past year has seen me go through phases of not wanting to watch many shows outside of work. Maybe it’s because the big shows I usually cover, This Is Us and The Bachelor, are in between seasons now and new TV is winding down for the summer, but I’ve become way better in keeping up with my other shows and starting ones I’ve always meant to watch. So, while I’m more than ready for The Bachelorette to premiere and take over my Monday nights again, I’ve loved having the freedom to just watch whatever TV I’d like at night the past few weeks!
The past month has also brought me amazing work opportunities allowing me to watch new content, dust off my English major’s analyzing skills, interview interesting people, and produce features that I’m very proud of. Read on to hear more about these experiences and how they affected my recent TV viewing, plus thoughts on what shows I’ve been loving lately!
Okay, guys, I know I’m like two years late on this, but I was on the fence about starting Stranger Things for a long time. Sci-fi has never been my thing, so I was very skeptical about whether I’d enjoy the show. I finally figured that in the immediate lead-up to Season 3, I would inevitably have to work on Stranger Things content, and it sounded like the type of the show I’d rather not just rely on online summaries in order to write about. So, admittedly after discovering David Harbour and developing a bit of a crush, I caved, and now I’m about halfway through Season 1. I don’t love it so far, but I’m definitely invested and have enjoyed each episode. Also, the slimy, breathing substance in the Hawkins lab never ceases to remind me of “The Beast Below” episode of Doctor Who.
The final season of The Middle
The last TV show that I was caught up with in time for the series finale was How I Met Your Mother, but I have to say that watching the very end of The Middle will be even sadder (and hopefully less traumatizing) than the HIMYM finale. If you combined the families of The Middle and Everybody Loves Raymond, you basically have my family. Axl’s age on the show always aligned with my age and school year at that time, and there were always other quirks and experiences among all of the characters that paralleled with myself and my family members. The Middle is the only show my parents, siblings, and I have all watched continuously throughout its entire run, and it’ll be so hard to see it go on May 22. Season 9 hasn’t been the greatest, but I still find it satisfying, snarky, and perfectly sentimental.
I know DVD box sets are becoming a thing of the past, but I totally see myself buying a Middle box set one day. Other than Friends, it’s definitely one of my top TV comfort watches, and I’m so grateful that we’ve had nine years of it and the creators get to end the series on their own terms.
After achieving the impossible and getting renewed for Season 2 after being cancelled, Timeless has gone beyond my expectations this season. The show covered true but little-known historical events, shook up Season 1’s typical format of the same three people traveling back in time, delivered completely unexpected twists, and made me fall even more in love with the main characters. And the season finale is going to be two hours?! Um, sign me up.
Unfortunately, Timeless is on on the bubble for cancellation again, but NBC has finally given the show a bone by bumping up its time slot for the finale. Compared to some of the network’s other at-risk shows, I think Timeless has more than proven its ability to make consistently strong episodes, but viewership can make or break a show. Fingers crossed for a renewal!
I actually got to attend a Sweetbitter press junket in New York prior to the first episode’s Tribeca Film Festival premiere, speaking with the entire main cast, the showrunner/executive producer Stu Zicherman, and Sweetbitter‘s original author Stephanie Danler. Members of the press were given screeners of all six episodes before the junket, so even though the series only premiered on STARZ last week, I’ve already seen all of Season 1. Because I don’t have regular access to STARZ, I definitely wouldn’t have caught the series otherwise, and parts of it felt extremely relevant to my current stage of life. The main character, Tess, is a recent college grad who moves to New York with no prospects or personal connections, but she somehow lands a job at one of Manhattan’s finest restaurants, getting sucked into the staff hierarchy and its drama. My next move is to finally read the book it’s based on, which we all received free copies of at the junket!
You can read the piece I wrote about the series here. Getting to attend the junket and participate in a roundtable discussion with the cast and two other journalists was a big moment for me, reminding me why I’ve always loved the storytelling element of TV and why I chased down this particular field.
Call the Midwife & Little Women
For a long time, I thought Call the Midwife was incapable of falling victim to the curse of long-running shows losing a spark of creativity and dealing with one too many cast members leaving. After watching Season 7 this year, I still think it does a better job with its longevity than, say, Downton Abbey did, but this season just felt…tired? A pet peeve I have with the show is how it’ll either make a big deal about characters’ exits or just never mention someone’s existence again after the actress inexplicably leaves (where is Chummy?!). Barbara getting Season 7’s Big Deal Exit just made me feel “meh,” but I appreciated how Sister Monica Joan and Phyllis received special attention this year. What with Trixie’s absence from most of the season, those two, Fred, and Reggie have honestly become my favorite characters. But seriously, can Chummy and Sergeant Noakes come back soon?
On the other hand, Call the Midwife creator Heidi Thomas remains one of my professional heroes, and I totally fangirled when I got to go to the Tribeca premiere of Part 1 of PBS’s upcoming Little Women miniseries, which Thomas adapted. Along with two producers and cast members Maya Hawke and Kathryn Newton, Thomas spoke in the panel discussion after the screening, and she is everything I’ve imagined and more! She’s so well-spoken and just gets literature and the importance of Little Women. The conversation among that group was so inspirational and definitely the most enjoyable panel I’ve sat through at an industry event.
Plus, Hawke’s parents are Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke, and the screening was so low-key that I was honestly about a foot away from her when she hugged her mom in the audience after the panel. Uma Thurman rocks the messy bun and casual blazer look as well as you’d expect. Apparently Ethan Hawke was also there supporting Maya, but I sadly didn’t spot him. The Dead Poets Society fan in me may have gotten a little weepy if I did.
Part 1 of the new adaptation made me so happy, and I can’t wait to watch it again this Sunday and then see the continuation the following week. I also wrote about this screening, and in case that isn’t enough persuasion, I definitely recommend checking out the miniseries in the next few weeks!
What about you? What are you watching?