8 Things

8 Baseball Figures…

Major League Baseball playoffs are in full swing (Go, Astros) and, there are not nearly enough shows about baseball, or that even include characters that at least play baseball. Here is my list of players, and really just anyone baseball adjacent (coaches, announcers, etc.). I did not include episodes in which regular characters play a random game of baseball, but I did include guest stars who only appeared in one episode of their particular show.

1. Samuel “Mayday” Malone – Cheers
played by Ted Danson
Sam was a relief pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, but had to retire early due to his alcoholism. Sam now owns a Boston bar. This is still one of my favorite shows of all time.



2. Edmund Gonzales – Necessary Roughness
played by Adam Rodriguez
Eddie is a baseball slugger who suddenly cannot hit, and seeks help from psychotherapist Dr. Dani Santino. The show usually centered around football, but I always enjoyed when they explored other sports.



3. Genevieve “Ginny” Baker – Pitch
played by Kylie Bunbury
Ginny is a pitcher, and the first female player in Major League Baseball. She is a starting pitcher for the San Diego Padres. I am still not over the cancellation of this awesome show.

4. Joe, The New Yankee – Sex and the City
played by Mark Devine
Carrie catches a fly ball at a New York Yankees game, and uses her press pass to score a date with the new Yankee. They go on a few dates but, she ultimately breaks up with Yankee Joe. Considering the show was set in NYC, which is a big sports town, I am actually surprised that the girls did not date any other professional athletes.

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8 Returning Fall Shows…

Summer television is always fun (and if you did not watch The Bold Type, you should get on that), but I am very excited for my Fall shows to return. Here are the ones that I am most excited about.

1. Outlander, season 3 premieres September 10 on Starz, stars Sam Heughan, Caitroina Balfe, Tobias Menzes, Sophie Skelton, and Richard Rankin. At the end of season 2, Jamie was about to head into the Battle of Culloden, so he sent Claire and their unborn child back through the stones, where she was reunited with Frank. I have read the third book, I know what is going to happen (for the most part), and I am still so excited for this to start. Each season the story and performances get better and better.



2. The Good Place, season 2 premieres September 20 on NBC, stars Kristen Bell, Ted Danson, William Jackson Harper, Jameela Jamil, D’Arcy Carden, and Manny Jacinto. If you did not watch the first season of this show, go do it immediately. It is hilarious. I have now watched it three times. I do not want to ruin anything for anyone who has not watched it, but I am very excited to see how they move forward going into season two. I also just need more Janet in my life.



3. Lethal Weapon, season 2 premieres September 26 on Fox, stars Clayne Crawford, Damon Wayans, Keesha Sharp, Kevin Rahm, Michelle Mitchenor, Jordana Brewster, Johnathan Fernandez, Richard Cabral, Dante Brown, and Chandler Kinney. I have to admit, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the first season of this show. I figured it would be a pretty cut and dry cop show, but it was a lot more fun. I am very much looking forward to more adventures with Riggs and Murtaugh.



4. Lucifer, season 3 premieres October 2 on Fox, stars Tom Ellis, Lauren German, Lesley-Ann Brandt, Rachael Harris, Kevin Alejandro, D.B. Woodside, Aimee Garcia, Tricia Helfer, Scarlett Estevez, and Tom Welling. Last season ended with Lucifer waking up alone in the desert having had his wings restored. The new season will pick up right where we left off. Lucifer is trying to figure out how he got his wings back, a human Charlotte is putting her life back together, and newcomer Marcus Pierce shows up as a Lieutenant in the LAPD. One of the reasons that I love this show so much is that it really leans in to the ridiculous premise of a crime-solving demon. What can I say? The Devil is charming and sexy.

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8 New Fall Shows…

I do not get to screen new shows, so my first impressions are usually based on the description, first trailer, and reviews from trusted TV journalists. Sometimes I am completely wrong, and sometimes I find something that I love. It was actually a little harder this year to pick eight new shows because I am not that excited about most of the new Fall line-up, but these are the shows that I am definitely going to check out. There may be a few others that I add, and a few that drop off after the first episode, so keep an eye on my Currently Watching page to see what I stick with.

1. Star Trek: Discovery, premieres September 24th on CBS then moves to CBS All-Access, stars Sonequa Martin-Green, Jason Isaacs, Michelle Yeoh, Rainn Wilson, Terry Serpico, Doug Jones, Shazad Latif, Maulik Pancholy, Anthony Rapp, Kenneth Mitchell, Clare McConnell, Damon Runyan, Rekha Sharma, Sam Vartholomeos, Mary Wiseman, and Wilson Cruz. Ten years before Kirk, Spock and the Enterprise, the USS Discovery explores new worlds and lifeforms as one Starfleet officer learns to understand all things alien. I have never watched any of the other Star Trek series but I enjoy the most recent movies, and I love the cast, so I will give it a try.



2. SEAL Team, premieres September 27th on CBS, stars David Boreanaz, Max Thieriot, Neil Brown Jr., AJ Buckley, Toni Trucks, and Jessica Paré. The lives of the elite Navy SEALs as they train, plan and execute dangerous, high-stakes missions for our country. Deployed on clandestine missions worldwide at a moment’s notice, and knowing the toll it takes on them and their families, this tight-knit SEAL team displays unwavering patriotism and fearless dedication even in the face of overwhelming odds. It looks like it will have a pretty standard procedural format, but I like to mix those kinds of shows in with my more serialized dramas. There are several new military shows coming out this Fall, and I will probably check out most of them, but this is the one that has the most promise.



3. Will & Grace, premieres September 28th on NBC, stars Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, Sean Hayes, and Megan Mullally. This is technically not a new show, but because it has been off the air for ten years, I am counting it as new. In the original series finale, Will and Grace had lost touch as they started new families of their own. However, that ending will be completely ignored when the show returns. Jack and Karen will be back in their original homes, and Will and Grace will have moved back in together. I honestly have not watched this show since it went off the air, but I am excited for it to return.



4. The Gifted, premieres October 2nd on Fox, stars Stephen Moyer, Amy Acker, Sean Teale, Jamie Chung, Coby Bell, Emma Dumont, Blair Redford, Natalie Alyn Lind, and Percy Hynes White. Based on character from Marvel’s X-Men universe, this new series centers around a suburban couple who discover that their children possess mutant powers. They are forced to go on the run, and end up joining an underground network of mutants fighting to survive. There are also several new comic book-based shows coming out this year, and I may give a few of them a try, but this one looks the most interesting. I like the cast, and it has a darker tone, which will hopefully help ground the show a little bit.

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8 Series Finales…

In honor of last weekend’s season finales of Turn: Washington’s Spies and Orphan Black (which were both fantastic), I have made a list of other favorite series finales. Most of these finales are attached to personal memories, and some are just really good episodes of television. All these shows affected me in different ways at different times in my life, but I felt a real sense of loss when they ended. There were a couple great finales this year, but I did not include them because it is likely they will make my list of Best Episodes of 2017. As long as you do not watch the videos, there should not be any big spoilers.

1. Sex and the City: I was in high school when this show started, and I used to watch it at night when my parents were in bed, because my mother would have never approved. When I got to college, it was the show that everyone watched. It ended my junior year in college and I remember watching it with my roommates at our apartment in Elon, North Carolina. I would actually have preferred for Carrie to end up with Aiden, but I was happy with the way the other three women’s stories were wrapped up.



2. Parenthood: Jason Katims knows how to do a series finales, as evidenced by Friday Night Lights also being on this list. I do not like too much ambiguity in my series finales, and this let me know that the Bravermans would all be okay. I watched this finale at the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, Texas surrounded by other Parenthood fans for an ATX Television Festival event. There was something cathartic being in a theater full of people, all of whom were sobbing.



3. Sons of Anarchy: I got into SOA in the middle of season three. I had put off watching it because of the subject matter, but could not ignore the critics raving about it. It also came to me at a time in my life when I needed to just completely lose myself in a world so unlike my own. When I moved to Austin, I bonded with one of my new friends over our love of Charlie Hunnam and the show, and we started watching the episodes together each week at my apartment. Obviously, I wish every character could have had a happy ending, but that is not what this show was about. It was about dealing with the consequences of the life each of them had chosen, and the actions they had taken along the way.



4. Buffy the Vampire Slayer: I do not really have a fun story for where I was when I watched the finale of this show. I actually think I was alone in my parent’s basement, which sounds kind of creepy. I got into this show late, and I don’t think I had even caught up on all the seasons yet, but wanted to watch the finale live. I did not really know what was happening at the time, but have obviously gone back and watched the entire series several times since then. This speech still brings me to tears every time I watch it:

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8 Bye Bye Birdie Dream Castings…

NBC announced last October that they were going to do a live production of one of my all-time favorite musicals, Bye Bye Birdie, with Jennifor Lopez producing and playing Rose Alvarez. Nobody else has been cast yet, so these are some of my dream casting choices for the main singing roles. A few of them may be completely unrealistic, but I am still putting them out into the universe just in case.

1. Zachary Levi as Albert F. Peterson
As soon as I saw him in She Loves Me last summer, I knew that he would be perfect for this role. I grew up watching Dick Van Dyke, and I think that Levi has a lot of that same earnestness and heart.



2. Selena Gomez as Kim McAfee
Not only does Gomez have a great voice, but she has that sweet, innocent quality that embodies Kim. She also has the ability to be a little edgier for Kim’s night out on the town with Conrad.



3. Jeremy Jordan as Conrad Birdie
For Conrad, the hip twitch is very important. I mean, he makes women faint with his hips. For the life of me, I could not find a good clip of Jordan dancing, but he has done plenty of Broadway shows, so I think he can pull it off. If nothing else, he definitely has the sincere bad boy thing down, and an incredible voice. I mean…



4. Grant Gustin as Hugo Peabody
He has that sweet, slightly nerdy quality that Hugo possesses. I am hoping that, for this production, they use the film version of ‘A Lot of Livin’ to Do,’ because Hugo does not sing in the Broadway version of the song.

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8 Returning Summer Shows…

I know you have all been waiting anxiously for this list, so here are the returning shows that I am mostly looking forward to watching this summer.

1. Animal Kingdom, season two premieres May 30th on TNT, stars Scott Speedman, Finn Cole, Shawn Hatosy, Ben Robson, Jake Weary, Molly Gordon, Aamya Deva Keroles, and Ellen Barkin. The Cody family dynamic has flipped in this second season, as the boys start to turn on their mother after a heist goes wrong. Baz, Pope, Craig, and Deran each begin to plan their next moves, while J is stuck in the middle, still trying to figure out where he belongs. I was not sure if I would like this show when it started last summer, but it is dark and gritty, with some humor weaved throughout. It is a fun summer drama.



2. Kingdom, season three premieres May 31st on Audience, stars Matt Lauria, Jonathan Tucker, Nick Jonas, Kiele Sanchez, Joanna Going, Natalie Martinez, Talia Shire, Kirk Acevedo, and Frank Grillo. Alvey and Lisa are still dealing with the loss of their son, while also trying to keep their gym afloat. Nate has finally admitted that he is gay, but is not entirely comfortable in his new relationship. And, as always, Ryan and Jay are sorting through their own demons, with a potential rematch still on the horizon. This show is so fantastic, and I am disappointed that more people are not watching it. The entire cast have continued to blow me away with their performances from episode to episode. As this is, sadly, the final season, I fully expect them to knock us on our asses, and I cannot wait.



3. Orphan Black, season five premieres June 10th on BBC America, stars Tatiana Maslany, Jordan Gavaris, Kristian Bruun, Kevin Hanchard, Ari Millen, Evelyne Brochu, Josh Vokey, Skyler Wexler, and Maria Doyle Kennedy. Another one of my favorite shows is coming to an end this summer, and I am not okay with it. I have been rewatching the entire series to prepare for this final trip, and it gets better and better with each viewing. I continue to be amazed by the cast and, after four seasons, still need to remind myself that Tatiana Maslany plays half of the major roles. I cannot wait to see how they wrap up the story of these sestras, but will be sad to see it go.



4. The Great British Baking Show, season four premieres June 16th on PBS, stars Mary Berry, Paul Hollywood, Sue Perkins, and Mel Giedroyc. I have to admit, I was skeptical of this baking show when I first watched it with my mother while home for Christmas a few years ago, but I was hooked after the very first episode. This aired in the United Kingdom last Fall and is the final season with the original hosts. Bring on the crazy technical challenges and baking puns!

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8 New Summer Shows…

I do not get any screeners ahead of time, and I know that not all of these new series will be winners, but I am interested enough to at least watch the first episode of each.

1. Still Star-Crossed, premieres May 29th on ABC, stars Grant Bowler, Wade Briggs, Torrance Coombs, Dan Hildebrand, Lashana Lynch, Ebonee Noel, Medalion Rahimi, Zuleikha Robinson, Sterling Sulieman, Susan Wooldridge, and Anthony Head. In the wake of Romeo and Juliet’s tragic deaths, the Montague and Capulet rivalry escalates. This has not gotten great reviews, and I have kind of given up on Shondaland shows in general, but I am going to give it a chance.



2. I’m Dying Up Here, premieres June 4th on Showtime, stars Melissa Leo, Ari Graynor, Al Madrigal, Clark Duke, Michael Angarano, RJ Cyler, Andrew Santino, and Erik Griffin. Based on William Knoedelseder’s book of the same name and set in the ’70s, this show is a behind-the-scenes look at a fictional group of stand-up comedians in Los Angeles. It looks fantastic, and I adore Ari Graynor, so I have been waiting for this since it was announced. Let’s hope it lives up to expectations.



3. GLOW, premieres June 23rd on Netflix, stars Alison Brie, Betty Gilpin, Ellen Wong, Britt Baron, Kimmy Gatewood, Rebekka Johnson, Sunita Mani, Laurie Francene Kinzer, Sydelle Noel, Gayle Rankin, Kia Stevens, Jackie Tohn, Britney Young, and Chris Lowell. Gorgeous. Ladies. Of. Wrestling. Enough said. I am all in.



4. Snowfall, premieres July 5th on FX, stars Damson Idris, Sergio Peris-Mencheta, Carter Hudson, and Emily Rios. A look at the early days of the crack cocaine epidemic in Los Angeles during the beginning of the 1980s. I do not know much about this cast, or about the show, but I trust the quality of FX Networks shows, and have been intrigued by the promos.

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8 Musical Moments…

I am very excited for the upcoming Supergirl/The Flash musical crossover, and am especially hoping for a Jeremy Jordan/Jesse L. Martin duet of some kind. In preparation for this episode, I started thinking about some of my other favorite musical television moments.

1. Smash – Don’t Forget Me
There were a lot of great performances in this series, but this one still gives me chills. While I do feel that ultimately Ivy made the better Marilyn, I was rooting for Karen when this finale episode aired and this performance, in particular, really moved me.



2. Buffy the Vampire Slayer – Going Through the Motions??
This is not necessarily my favorite number from this episode, but it is the one that set the tone. A musical demon is making everyone sing their feelings, and sometimes those feelings are things people have been keeping hidden from everyone else. Since Buffy was brought back from the dead, she has been ‘going through the motions’ and she’s finally admitting it out loud.



3. One Tree Hill – Brooklyn
This was really the first show that made music into one of its characters instead of just something to set the mood in certain scenes. Grubbs only stuck around for one season as the bartender at Tric, and was played by Wakey Wakey’s Mike Grubbs. For some reason, his acoustic performance of Brooklyn has always stuck with me. I could not find a clip of the actual scene, but here is another performance of this great song.



4. Eli Stone – Faith
Eli is a San Francisco lawyer and he begins to have visions that encourage him to choose more virtuous cases. In this first episode, he believes that God is speaking to him through George Michael. It was a brilliant, but short-lived, series.

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8 More Mid-Season Shows…

Several more premiere dates have been announced since I made my original lists, and I needed to include some of my favorite shows, as well as a few new shows that I am excited to check out.

1. The Americans, season 5 premieres March 7th on FX, stars Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys, Noah Emmerich, Holly Taylor, Keidrich Sellati, Costa Ronin, Frank Langella, and Margo Martindale. The idea of Russian spies operating within the United States hits a little too close to home these days, but this show is set in the ’80s, so we can still pretend it is mostly fiction, right? This is one of the best shows on television right now, and each season it continues to get better.



2. Hand of God, season 2 will be available March 10th on Amazon, stars Ron Perlman, Andre Royo, Alona Tal, Julian Morris, Garret Dillahunt, Dana Delany, Emayatzy Corinealdi, Cleavon McClendon, Elizabeth McLaughlin, Johnny Ferro, and Maximiliano Hernández. Judge Pernell Harris is facing trial for the murder of a cop. His visions are exposing a conspiracy that is bigger than he could have imagined, but his wife is still not on board. Is God speaking through him? Or is he losing his mind? I really enjoyed the first season of this show. It was not perfect, but it was intriguing, and I am interested to see where it goes.



3. Tangled, the movie Tangled Before Ever After will air March 10th on Disney Channel, Tangled: The Series will premiere March 24th, stars Mandy Moore, Zachary Levi, Clancy Brown, Julie Bowen, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Diedrich Bader, Jonathan Banks, M.C. Gainey, Sean Hayes, Jeremy Jordan, James Monroe Iglehart, Richard Kind, Peter MacNicol, Jeffrey Ross, Jeffrey Tambor, Eden Espinosa, and Paul F. Tompkins. The truth is, I probably will not regularly watch this, because it is on the Disney Channel, and I am not really their target demographic. However, I love that this has been turned into a television show, and I will definitely make sure that my niece watches it, because she already loves the movie.



4. Shots Fired, the series premiere is March 22nd on Fox, stars Sanaa Lathan, Stephan James, Stephen Meyers, Will Patton, Mack Wilds, Aisha Hinds, Clare-Hope Ashitey, Conor Leslie, Dewanda Wise, Richard Dreyfuss, Helen Hunt, and Jill Hennessy. This 10-episode event series takes a look at our criminal justice system and centers around two fatal shootings in a small Southern town. This is extremely topical, and I have been reading some good reviews, so I am interested to see what they do.



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8 Muslim Characters…

This was, unfortunately, a much harder list to put together than my lists of Jewish and Christian characters. While we have started to slowly move away from the stereotype of Muslim characters only being depicted as terrorists, there still are not very many who are lead or recurring characters on mainstream television shows. I will preface this by saying I do not watch all of these shows, so I apologize if my descriptions of any of the characters is wrong.

1. Nasir Khan – The Night Of, played by Riz Ahmed
Nasir is Pakistani-American college student, born and raised in Queens, NY, who is accused of murdering a girl on the Upper West Side. He is denied bail when the District Attorney uses his Pakistani background to claim that he is a “flight risk.”

2. Nimah and Raina Amin – Quantico, played by Yasmine Al Massri
Arab-American twin sisters from Michigan who begin training for the FBI as one person to see if they could do the same while undercover in the field. Raina is the more conservative of the two, and the one that wears a hijab.

3. Arastoo Vaziri – Bones, played by Pej Vahdat
One of the Squinterns working at the Jeffersonian, he is originally from Iran but was exiled for his political views. His family still resides in the country, and Arastoo is allowed to visit Tehran when his brother is diagnosed with a brain tumor.

4. Aliyah Shadeed – American Crime, played by Regina King
The sister of drug addict Carter Nix, who has been accused of murder, she is relentless in trying to prove her brother’s innocence. She is American-born and a convert to Islam.

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