These were my 10 favorite TV series of 2019, a year that saw the continued dominance of streaming services and the rise to prominence of standalone miniseries, but also a few stalwart network favorites:
In this age of easily accessible TV, there’s no such thing as timeslot battles anymore, but for the sake of fun, let’s pit “The Unicorn” (CBS) against “Perfect Harmony” (NBC). The half-hour sitcoms air at the same time on Thursdays.
Evil” (Thursdays, CBS) can be added to the grand collection of post-“X-Files” shows, so I have a soft spot for it. But this is an era when “The X-Files” itself gives us new episodes every few years, so I don’t need to be so lenient as when I reviewed “X-Files” Lite shows from the dark years of 2003-15. Katja Herbers, as Kristen, and Mike Colter (“Luke Cage”), as David, are excellent as the skeptic and believer, and there are nice touches such as Kristen’s home under the train tracks that she shares with her four young daughters. But the possession-of-the-week story is weak, and if this is the one creators Robert and Michelle King (“The Good Wife”) chose for the pilot, it doesn’t bode well for the series.
Iwatched 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:
It’s not as bad as the case of the old “Doctor Who” episodes that were intentionally destroyed after their broadcast, but in this age where it’s easy for a streaming service to make something available to its subscribers, there are still a lot of TV shows you simply can’t see.
Ayear ago, I didn’t give a glowing review to ABC’s “Kevin (Probably) Saves the World,” but I did like it enough to keep watching. Even though I almost canceled it from my DVR a few times, I watched the whole season (which turned out to be the whole series). It wasn’t good, per se, but there was a warmth to the interactions between Kevin, Amy, Reese, Tyler, Kristin and Nate in that small Texas town that I now find myself missing.
CBS adds to its stable of modernized nostalgia-driven shows (see also “Hawaii Five-0” and “MacGyver”) with “Magnum P.I.” (9 p.m. Eastern Mondays), which drops the comma and trades Tom Selleck’s ‘stache for Jay Hernandez’s goatee, but retains most other elements of the 1980s action/detective classic. I’m guessing old-school fans aren’t as enthusiastic about the update as Magnum is about crashing Porsches in pursuit of bad guys, because it rates a mere 4.6 on IMDB.
There are more good shows on TV than ever, but the traditional fall season has become the dumping ground for the least exciting new series – perhaps because they need the extra buzz of Fall TV Previews more than something with the cachet of an “Atlanta” or a “Fargo.” Still, some quality series rise to the surface: Recent years have given us “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” and “This Is Us,” along with glitzy franchise entries like “The Gifted” and assorted MCU efforts (“Iron Fist” and “Daredevil” boast new seasons this fall).
“Love Monkey” (2006, CBS) – Sorry, “Ed” fans, but this was the role Tom Cavanagh was born to play: a youthful-looking yet experienced record company executive who trolls New York looking for talent (he finds Teddy Geiger – I mean “Wayne” – in the first episode) and trades quips with his friends. It’s a perplexing shame that music-themed shows never catch on with the masses, even if it boasts random celebrity pop-ins like James Blunt, Aimee Mann and John Mellencamp. Maybe CBS should’ve called it “CSI: Love Monkey” (Thanks to Dispatch Interactive pollster Marla Singer for the joke).
– John Hansen, “Five shows that’ll be missed,” Brainerd Dispatch, May 25, 2006
“Ghost Whisperer” Season 1 (2005-06, CBS), episodes 1-5 – At about the half-hour mark of every episode of “Ghost Whisperer” (7 p.m. Fridays on CBS), Melinda (Jennifer Love Hewitt) must explain to survivors of the recently and tragically deceased that, as hard as it may be to believe, she can talk to people who are dead but haven’t yet moved on to the Pearly Gates. Usually, Melinda gets a door slammed in her face.