John’s top 10 TV shows of 2017

We’re living in a historical transitional period for TV, as streaming services compete with traditional networks and cable/satellite channels for our entertainment dollar. As such, television has never been better, regardless of how it gets to us. Appropriately, my list of the year’s best shows consists of half network shows and half others, and kicks off with a streaming series.

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Fall TV 2017: 1 new show and 5 returning shows John is looking forward to (Commentary)

There are more good TV shows than ever before – so much so that TV overload has become an issue for even the biggest TV geeks – but they premiere throughout the calendar year now. As such, Fall TV ain’t what it used to be. Still, there’s something traditional and nostalgic about getting that Entertainment Weekly Fall TV Preview in the mail. Not willing to wait any longer for mine to arrive so I can research the offerings, here are my picks for one new show and five returning shows to watch (all times Eastern):

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Exorcising the past: ‘Legion’ (1983) (Book review)

In this series, I look back at past entries in the “Exorcist” saga as we await word of the renewal or cancellation of the Fox TV series that continues the movie saga into modern day.

William Peter Blatty obliquely returns to the world of “The Exorcist” in “Legion” (1983), which was later adapted into the movie “Exorcist III.” Although the MacNeils are not in the novel (or even directly mentioned), Lieutenant Kinderman returns – this time as the main character – and there are other surprise tie-ins to the 1971 novel.

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Exorcising the past: ‘The Exorcist’ (1971) (Book review)

In this series, I look back at past entries in the “Exorcist” saga as we await word of the renewal or cancellation of the Fox TV series that continues the movie saga into modern day.

I was inspired by last fall’s “Exorcist” TV series to look back at early material in the franchise. First up, of course, is “The Exorcist” novel (1971) by William Peter Blatty, who died in January at age 89 shortly after the TV series wrapped its first season. I had read this book before, on an “Exorcist” kick for the 2000 theatrical re-release, but remembered only that it was a good read. From the library I picked up the 40th anniversary edition (2011), which includes new material, but I’m not familiar enough with the original to notice the differences. (The web tells me Father Karras’ dream sequence is the most notable new scene. Most of the 40 additional pages of material comes from added dialog for the sake of pacing. Blatty never got a chance to write a second draft of the original publication, and he always felt it could use a polish.)

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I owe an apology to the Fall TV season: It’s been pretty great (Commentary)

When I saw the lineup of new Fall TV shows, I thought it looked like the worst selection in recent memory: Lots of unnecessary remakes along with tired new shows that didn’t have hooks. I owe the Fall TV season an apology, because it has turned out to be the best in the past 10 years. Here’s a look at six standout freshman shows, in alphabetical order:

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First episode impressions: ‘The Exorcist’ (TV review)

It’s hard to imagine what new ground can be broken in the “Exorcist” universe, which has spawned five movies and two William Peter Blatty novels. But creator Jeremy Slater, who penned last year’s solid horror movie “The Lazarus Effect,” is giving it a shot anyway with a TV series version of “The Exorcist” (9 p.m. Fridays on Fox). While there’s no sign after one episode of what that new ground will be, the pilot itself is enjoyable for what it is.

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Fall TV 2016: 8 new and returning shows to watch among the minefield of remakes (Commentary)

The Fall 2016 season is Exhibit A in the case that TV is running low on original ideas: “MacGyver”(8 p.m. Fridays, CBS, Sept. 23) is a straight-up relaunch with a new cast, hoping to capture some of the popularity of the ’80s hit. Even though the movie franchise petered to a close 18 years ago with the fourth entry, “Lethal Weapon” (8 p.m. Wednesdays, Fox, Sept. 21) is coming to TV, complete with the movie’s logo flashed across the trailer every few seconds, apparently to bring up warm thoughts of the films.

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