Fall TV 2020: Relatively thin schedule nonetheless offers some shows worth going bananas for (Commentary)

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he pandemic has wreaked havoc with fall TV scheduling (it’s hard to tell one socially distanced, masked story, let alone fill a slate with them), and also revealed that (no surprise) cable and streaming were better prepared with content in their pipelines than the networks. But while 2020 serves up the thinnest lineup in modern TV history, it’s not a total wash. Here are my thoughts on 13 notable fall premieres, along with a “Go Bananas” Level (on a 10-point scale) of how excited I am for the series. All times Eastern:

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‘Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’ Part 3 is a step backward for the series (TV review)

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fter the first two parts showed a lot of potential and sometimes were quite fun, “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” Part 3 (January, Netflix) is more of a slog to get through, even though it’s eight episodes instead of the usual 10. Or maybe it’s because of the lower episode count but slightly longer episodes. The writers lean into the “Gilmore Girls” approach of telling as much story as they feel like in one sitting, but “Sabrina” should ideally use the “Buffy” approach with an act-based structure.

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First episode impressions: ‘American Horror Story: 1984’ (TV review)

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merican Horror Story: 1984″ (Wednesdays, FX) is an unapologetic, unfettered case of giving people what they want: A straight-up slasher series in the mode of the “Friday the 13th” films, right down to the summer camp setting. The first of the 10 episodes, “Camp Redwood,” slathers on Eighties trappings like freeze-frames and grainy cinematography. We see the POV of a girl lifting her shirt over her head, and when her vision is cleared, her two kissing friends have been stabbed by a giant knife, their faces pinned together. It’s darkly funny — as is certainly intended by writers Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, in their ninth season helming this repertory anthology series — but it’s also cleverly brutal enough that we know “1984” respects its genre.

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Fall TV 2019: After watching the trailers, I’m bananas for some of these shows, not so much for others (Commentary)

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 watched the trailers of some notable fall TV premieres so you don’t have to (but they are embedded here if you want to). Here are my thoughts on each, along with a “Go Bananas” Level (on a 10-point scale) of how excited I am for the series. All times Eastern:

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First episode impressions: ‘The Terror: Infamy’ (TV review)

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he Terror” was one of the most gripping series of 2018, a rare horror TV show that maintains a creepy aura even with the escape provided by commercial breaks. It’s slow-paced, and it doesn’t stick the landing, so it barely missed my end-of-year list. But I’m happy to return for “The Terror: Infamy” (Mondays on AMC).

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First episode impressions: ‘Scream: The TV Series’ Season 3 (Review)

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cream: The TV Series” Season 3, long delayed because of the Weinstein scandal that put the ownership in limbo, isn’t exactly worth the wait, but still, it deserves more attention than it’s getting. It has been dumped onto MTV’s sister station, the celebrity reality show bastion VH1, for a three-night, six-hour airing (continuing at 9 p.m. Eastern Tuesday and Wednesday), at a time when everyone is bingeing and discussing “Stranger Things” Season 3.

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‘What We Do in the Shadows’ makes a hilarious transition to the small screen (TV review)

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 hadn’t seen the 2014 movie “What We Do in the Shadows,” so I wasn’t sure what to expect going into FX’s spinoff series of the same name, but man, this show is hilarious. Basically, it’s like watching “The Office,” but with vampires.

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