The 2015-2016 television season was populated by many promising new shows from a variety of genres. Below the Talk Nerdy With Us team discusses our favorite series from that lineup and our hopes for their second season.
Lucifer – Jenni
Summary of the plot? Lucifer Morningstar, the owner of the hot L.A. nightclub Lux, is the Devil himself. He decided to take a vacation from Hell and becomes a buddy-sidekick to Detective Chloe Decker. She can’t stand him, but finds that he’s very good at solving crimes. Think “Castle,” only much cheesier. Additional major characters include Lucifer’s demon BFF, Mazikeen; his brother, Amenadiel, his therapist, Dr. Martin; Chloe’s daughter, Trixie, who adores Lucifer; and Chloe’s ex and cop buddy, Dan (or as Lucifer calls him, Detective Douche).
What made season one stand out? How likeable Lucifer could be. Everyone expects the Devil to be evil and manipulative. Well, Lucifer *is* manipulative, but he’s also charming and charismatic. Not to mention how adorable the scenes are with him and Trixie.
Favorite episode from season one? The finale, “Take Me Back to Hell.” Lucifer is accused of a murder and he has to prove his innocence. Amenadiel is fatally wounded, but Maze saves him with Lucifer’s wing feather. Lucifer dies but is resurrected by none other than God himself. Why? He has to find the most dangerous person to break out of Hell: his mother.
Favorite character? Other than Lucifer, I think my favorite character would be Trixie. She’s so adorable and isn’t afraid to speak her mind. She knows what she wants (chocolate cake) and will do whatever it takes to achieve that goal.
Hope to see in season two? Lucifer was given a second season and I can’t wait to see what happens. I want to see Lucifer and Amenadiel’s mother and the how/why she was imprisoned in Hell. I don’t want to see Lucifer and Chloe become an item because that trope is overplayed. They make such a good, platonic team. I also want to learn more about why Lucifer is physically vulnerable whenever he is around Chloe. What is it about her that weakens his immortality?
The Magicians – Arlene
Summary of the plot? The Magicians is based on a series of books by author and series consultant Lev Grossman. The Magicians, simply put, is the story of five young people attending magical college at a university called Brakebills, where every exam is almost always life or death. Quentin, Alice, Penny, Eliot, and Margo are unwillingly thrust together to solve the mystery of the evil beast, whose head is replaced by moths, and who has thus far blinded and crippled the school dean, and killed at least two students and a teacher. There is another group of witches, called Hedgewitches that for some reason or another have been rejected from Brakebills. Quentin’s best friend Julia was not admitted to Brakebills, and thus has hooked up with a rather badass, take no prisoners, 50th level hedgewitch named Margo. Into this mix is stirred Fillory, an imaginary realm similar to Narnia (except as with everything else in the series, deadlier). Quentin and Julia were huge fans of the Fillory book series as children, but Quentin has never outgrown his obsession, and it is looking more and more like Fillory is real, and perhaps the source of the evil being let loose upon Brakebills.
What made season one stand out? The Magicians is a wild ride of a show, and while there is an underlying continuous storyline, each episode is unique unto itself and almost always full of surprises, or horrors, or both. One of the joys of being a viewer is not knowing what to expect when you tune in each week, and just waiting for the “holy crap” or “oh shit” moment! In addition to the storyline and the outstanding plotting, the characters themselves are individually fun to watch, and as a group, often quite hysterical. Quentin is a fanboy through and through, one of the funniest sequences is when Penny, the tough guy/cynic of the series, enters one of Quentin’s dreams, in which Quentin is Indiana Jones, watching Alice and Margo (as Danaerys and Princess Leia in her metal bikini) kiss.
Favorite episode from season one? My favorite episode from Season 1 is “Homecoming” in which Alice takes Quentin home to her parents in order to try to find a way to help Penny, who is stuck in the Netherlands. Turns out there is more than one reason Alice is hesitant about introducing Quentin. Her parents are both into sex magic, and Alice and Quentin walk into Alice’s home while a full-blown Romanesque orgy is taking place. Awkward doesn’t even begin to cover it. As Alice tries to elicit advice and help from her mother, dear old dad is trying to interest Quentin into a little bit of fun. The episode has one of the best one-liners of the show; the next morning, while looking at the leftovers from the night’s orgy, Alice’s dad offers Quentin a goat’s penis (a delicacy!). Quentin puts it on his plate, but then he and Alice are called away (gratefully). Dad calls after the, “But you haven’t even touched your penis!”
Favorite character? My favorite character is Quentin, in large part due to his geekiness, but also because there is a certain air of naiveté and innocence about him. He means well, and he is very bright, but no one tends to take him very seriously, except maybe his on again/off again love interest, Alice (who is my second favorite character). Alice is so bright and magically gifted that she makes Hermione look like a Disney kindergartener.
Hope to see in season two? The show has fortunately been renewed for a second season, which is good news not only because I love the show, but because the season finale left all of our heroes and heroines in dire and deadly circumstances. I really have to hand it to the writers, directors, and actors who have created such a unique and intriguing show, and for a remarkable change, have created visual entertainment that is better than the books the show is based on.
Outsiders – Arlene
Summary of the plot? Outsiders tell the story of the Farrell clan, living off the grid on Shay Mountain in the Appalachians for generations. Down in the valley in the small town of Blackberg, the economy is tanking and most men are out of work. Into this scenario comes Haylie Grimes, publicity officer for a mining company that wants to harvest coal on Shay Mountain, putting people back to work and turning the tide on the sinking economy. It sounds good to most of the townsfolk, but there are some – both in the town and on the mountain – that recall the tragedy that occurred when a mining company sought to take Shay Mountain years ago. There’s strife within on the mountain as well, as prodigal son Asa Farrell returns from journeying in the outside world. There are those who believe he is tainted and that he shouldn’t be let back into the clan; he will only bring trouble. But trouble is already there – Big Foster, eldest son of Lady Ray, expects to be the next clan leader, or “Bren’In,” but Lady Ray has other plans. Asa’s presence also stirs up trouble between Lil Foster and G’winveer, as G’win was once Asa’s lady. Throw a little moonshine into the mix, a grieving Sheriff addicted to Oxycontin, and a forbidden love affair between the naïve, gentle Hasil Farrell and young African-American Sally-Ann, and you have a unique show about an entirely alien way of life, where the clash between the old ways and progress is about to turn deadly.
What made season one stand out? Season one stood out because of its unique subject matter; the fascination with generations of people brought up living off the land and off the grid; the superlative characterizations and their complex relationships. Each episode left a little bit of bait dangling, enticing viewers to keep turning back in. There are double crosses, and triple crosses, and people manipulating both sides against the middle. It ended on a mighty cliffhanger, and it’s going to be a very long summer and fall waiting for the WGN show to return.
Favorite episode from season one? My favorite episode from season one was Episode 6 – the one in which Hasil and Sally-Ann make love. There is such a genuineness and almost an innocence to these two people, who have been so focused on each other they really aren’t aware of the danger closing in on them from both sides, the mountain, and the townsfolk.
Favorite character? My favorite characters are the sweet and romantic (and adorable) Hasil, and strong, determined Sally-Ann (Sasil to us shippers).
Hope to see in season two? The show has already been picked up for season 2, and filming has begun. What we saw in season one was just the tip of the iceberg, a mere hint at the conflict and tragedy to come. Besides, after the season finale’s multiple double and triple crossings, we have to see how that is going to untangle – or get further convoluted! I want to see how Sasil plays out; if G’win has what it takes to hold a broken clan together, and what devious little plots Haylie Grimes has up her sleeve!
Shadowhunters – Sam P.
Summary of the plot? Ordinary girl realizes after the worst birthday ever that she’s been hidden her entire life from the secret Shadow World and an elite race of do-gooder demon hunters she was actually born into. Also, her presumed-dead dad is the Shadow World’s Big Bad. Features sexy, complex supernatural beings you will wish were your real life best friends.
What made season one stand out? The characters. I enjoyed watching these characters struggle and triumph and be brave. They felt like my family. I was very much invested in their wellbeing.
Favorite episode from season one? Probably episode 11 “Blood Calls To Blood”. Emotions were tense in all corners of the show, whether it was Jace being reunited with his dead father, or Clary and Jace trying to figure out what they meant to each other (before the rug was pulled out from beneath them), or Isabelle being on trial for treason, or Alec and Magnus getting angsty about Alec’s impending nuptials. This episode showed how far these characters had come since the pilot, how raw their feelings were, and it was a superb hour of acting for all involved.
Favorite character? Magnus Bane and Alec Lightwood. Magnus was my favorite in the books and Harry Shum Jr. took everything I adored about Magnus and made him into this multi-faceted, complex immortal man who was absolutely dazzling to watch. Alec is a strong, intensely layered and fascinating character that grabbed my attention whenever he graced the screen. I wasn’t a big fan of Alec in the books, but the show writers have made his inner turmoil, his honor, his duty and protection of family, and most importantly his maturity a focal point of who he is and I really felt for him. Matthew Daddario has played him like a caged boy inside a soldier shell all season and it moved me. I appreciated the obvious effort and investment the show creators had in telling the beginnings of these two characters. It’s been a long time coming.
Hope to see in season two? Deeper character development, wider storytelling, happiness that lasts longer than half an episode, more Downworld exploration, more Magnus and his magic and his demon eyes, more Raphael and Simon shenanigans. I’d like to see Alec relaxing further into himself, Clary looking beyond her tunnel vision, Magnus and Alec’s first date and more general getting-to-know-each-other fun, Simon moving on from his friend-crush on Clary and Isabelle finding her own purpose outside of her family ties. I want fiercer, hard-hitting battle scenes, Jace to develop outside of his vengeance and infatuation with Clary, more Parabatai stuff now that they’re Paraba-on-the-right-track, and Valentine actually putting the ‘ill’ in villain. Really make him unnerving to watch, ’cause right now, he’s as scary as a hamster.
Jessica Jones – Lyndsey
Summary of the plot? A woman struggling with anxiety and depression resulting from serial abuse (emotional and physical) confronts her attacker, a serial rapist, to stop him from inflicting more pain upon others. She feels obligated to do so because both of them just so happen to have superpowers.
What made season one stand out? I think what makes Jessica Jones such a standout show is the struggles are grounded in reality. Yes, Jessica has powers, but Jessica is still a human like everyone around her. She has bills to pay and rent money to scrounge up. She works freelance, so sometimes there’s a windfall, other times there’s little work to be had, hence the state of her apartment. She also has a lot of mental health issues, which the show doesn’t shy away from portraying. I’ve seen some people yelling about all the times Jessica could/should stop her abuser from doing some truly terrible things. While yes, she does have the physical strength to do this, the point being made is abusers don’t always disarm a person with physical violence. Words can cut and harm and disable a person just as much as a slap or a punch. The whole season is about her trying to confront the man who caused her a lot of pain in her life to finally put a stop to his destruction.
Favorite episode from season one? Oh gosh, that’s really hard, because I actually watched this season twice. The first viewing was mainlining it in about two days. I was on such pins and needles about what was going to happen, and the actors were just all so compelling in their roles. The second one was a much more measured watch – while there’s a lot I like about most of the season, I think I have to go with “AKA 99 Friends.” It covers a lot of ground; it adds another layer to Kilgrave’s creepy obsession with Jessica, we learn a really startling (and heartbreaking) fact about her neighbor Malcolm. It also ties the show with the greater MCU by featuring a couple who lost family in “The Incident,” the term used to describe the attack on NYC in The Avengers. Also, Jessica trashes this couple’s apartment who try to lure her in to assault her while she’s berating them for holding her responsible for their pain. It’s just really good world building – this is a universe where super-powered beings have been in fights and where cities have been dropped from the sky now. Jessica is trying to stress that while it doesn’t lessen the tragedy of loss, you can’t hold a collective at large responsible, much like how she doesn’t blame every bad driver for the death of her parents. That said, I think my second favorite is Sin Bin for letting Jessica be vengeful and vindictive; until that episode it’s been shown she harbors both intense fear and intense hatred of Kilgrave for what he did to her. To see her in a position of complete power over him and go a little mad with it felt right. Did I agree with her methods? No. But I could understand it. Plus, it’s rare a woman gets to have that kind of flaw and be the main character.
Favorite character? Jessica is honestly my favorite. She’s not a nice person. There’s even a few eps where it’s difficult to call her a completely good person, but that’s why I like her. Trish is great, don’t get me wrong. Claire is also great, and it was nice to see her again (especially since she’s one of my favorites from Daredevil). But Jessica’s kind of a complicated mess who you can see is just trying to do the best she can, and who’s completely self-aware of what kind of an asshole she is. I think it’s really refreshing we’re getting women like her in TV shows now.
Hope to see in season two? Well, for starters, of all the Marvel series, there’s just two that have female main characters. That would be Jessica Jones and Agent Carter, both of which are radically different from each other. Meanwhile, for the guys, they have Daredevil, Iron Fist, Luke Cage, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Movies? We’re getting Captain Marvel, finally. We might get a Black Widow movie. Whereas for the guys we have… Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Avengers, Ant-Man, Guardians of the Galaxy, Black Panther, Doctor Strange. Now, several of those properties DO have prominent female characters who get their own arcs of development, yes, I know. But that’s not the same as being the headliner and we know it. Even in the future show The Defenders, where Jones will appear next to Daredevil, Luke and Iron Fist, she’s going to be the lone female Defender of the team. Much like until Wanda, Natasha was the sole female Avenger. Also, I’m just a fan of this kind of hardscrabble hero – Matt got this mystical spin to his backstory where some guy essentially trained him to be a ninja? As part of some foretold invasion? Like Luke, Jessica is much more stripped down and ordinary. She got her powers from a car accident, she had no tutor in the ways of using them. She just uses her wits and knows how to hit things. Sometimes they’re useful! Sometimes they’re kind of a hindrance, especially when her mental issues get the better of her (like say, threatening someone’s wife). I really like the more mundane struggles and the fact that just because she’s got superpowers doesn’t mean her life and standard of living changed for the better. In fact, arguably, they worsened, because Kilgrave might never have been taken with Jessica were it not for her powers. I hope season two does give some answers to the origin of Jessica’s powers that Trish had begun investigating. I’d also like to see more of her and Luke exploring their relationship, and something of a connection to what’s going on with Matt and company in Hell’s Kitchen.
Jessica Jones – Caitlin
Summary of the plot? Jessica Jones is gritty, rough around the edges, a whiskey-loving private investigator who wants nothing more than to keep to herself and make no friends. She’s a lone wolf, and she’s all sharp edges and sarcasm, and she just wants to be unseen. Invisible. She’s got a past, one that she’s not keen on talking about or revisiting in the slightest, and she’s just trying to move on. And, she has super strength. Unfortunately, her past won’t just stay behind her, when the man–Kilgrave–who mind controlled her for months, taking advantage of her and her body, comes back to the city, taking advantage of another girl much the same as he did Jessica, and making her kill her own family. It starts Jessica on a path to taking Kilgrave down and in the meantime, confronting her own past.
What made season one stand out? Season one of this show stood out for the same reasons Jessica did–it was gritty, dark, and it lacked the corny pizazz of what you think a superhero is, making you confront just how un-super it may be. It had the same feel of Daredevil, but with a lot more kickass ladies in it–Jessica with her boozy sarcasm and super strength, Trish with her unconditional loyalty and determination to be strong, despite not being “super” strong (in some ways making her all the stronger). The pacing was impeccable, and the storylines were seamless–everything fell together really nicely, and the writing was sharp and snarky.
Favorite episode from season one? Episode 9, “AKA Sin Bin” was my favorite. A lot was coming to a head in this episode–they finally had Kilgrave captured, and had a way for him to be controlled, meaning he could not mind control them from inside the cell they had him in. They found his weakness–his parents, who screwed him up in the first place, and they brought them to town. It felt like Jessica and co. finally had the upper hand, and Kilgrave for once didn’t seem like an unstoppable force. Not that it was true–in the end, Kilgrave leaves a blood bath behind him, killing his mother, telling his father to kill himself, telling Trish to put a bullet in her head, etc. It’s dark and bleak, and through an episode that finally felt like #TeamGoodGuys was winning, the end leaves us wondering if they’re worse off than ever, with an escaped and more pissed off than ever Kilgrave on the loose and no more leads, no more moves to make. Everyone was coming together as a team, and it was a gripping episode, especially the end few minutes leaving our hearts in our throats.
Favorite character? Though I’m inclined to say the predictable answer that Jessica Jones is my favorite–she’s just a close second to my first and most favorite character, Trish Walker. Jessica’s long-time best friend (*only friend) who was abused by her own mother growing up, has successfully made a name for herself outside of being a child star (think Hannah Montana) and out of her mother’s grips. And she started practicing Krav Maga, becoming a badass on her own. Jessica has tried to keep a recent distance, and even when they come back together, she’s always trying to keep Trish “safe” and out of the plans–but Trish refuses to be helpless, insisting on being a part of the team, despite no super powers like Jessica. She’s not useless, and she won’t let anyone tell her she is.
Hope to see in season two? In season 2, I’m hoping to see Jessica taking on more of an active hero role. Malcolm and the other victims of Kilgrave have been trying to convince her to come to their group meetings and heal with them, and she’s never been for it–but maybe, just maybe, now with Kilgrave seemingly defeated, she can move on and start connecting with people. And I’m hoping Luke will come back, and maybe he and Jessica can find a way to love each other, despite everything that happened. I want to see a lot more of Jessica and Trish friend moments, and mostly, I just want to see more kicking ass.
Blindspot – Gina
Summary of the plot? NBC’s Blindspot begins when Jane Doe climbs out of a duffel bag in Times Square. Clad head to toe only in tattoos with no memory of how she got there, Jane joins FBI agent Kurt Weller and his team to solve the mysteries her tattoos unlock, including Jane Doe’s real identity.
What made season one stand out? The magic of season one is in the team chemistry and suspense of each episode. The team is passionate about what they do, and they look out for their own. Kurt takes to Jane quickly, and protecting her quickly becomes his number one priority. Each episode focuses on solving the crimes behind Jane’s tattoos. With high stakes come extremely dangerous situations, and the way the team comes together to overcome the obstacles that come their way will keep you on the edge of your seat.
Favorite episode from season one? If you only see one episode from season one, “In the Comet of Us” is the one to watch. An investigation leads the team into the middle of a school shooting. While separated, the team must work together to apprehend the shooter and disarm two bombs planted inside. The episode ends in a heartbreaking crescendo that leaves everyone wide-eyed and emotional.
Favorite character? The standout character of the show’s first season is Jane Doe. Her only memories of life before the Times Square incident consist of intermittent flashbacks. She starts her journey naked, freezing and downright terrified, but develops an admirable sense of fearlessness as the season goes on. Despite the demons from her past that meddle in the later episodes, Jane’s intentions are good and she is courageous in taking each hurdle as it comes.
Hope to see in season two? Season one ends with Kurt and Weller on bad terms. My hope for season two is that they reconcile, and to get more clarification on the unifying message behind her tattoos.
The Path – Tamar
Summary of the plot? In Hulu’s freshman series, The Path, Aaron Paul leads an all-star cast as Eddie Lane, a member of the Meyerist movement. Meyerism is seen as a cult to the outside world, but to those who are committed to climbing its rungs, it is a clear path to enlightenment. Eddie’s life gets complicated when his clarity about the movement begins to blur. Doubting creates a rift between Eddie and his high-ranking wife, Sarah (Michele Monaghan). The show gets more and more intriguing each week as Eddie tries to navigate his growing questions and make sense of the life he leads. Also starring is Hugh Dancy as Cal, a man at the top of the ladder, poised to take over the leadership of the movement, if he can manage to keep his inner demons at bay. Rounding out the cast are Emma Greenwell (Mary), a victim of sexual abuse rescued by the Meyerists after a tornado, and Paul James (Sean), a Meyerist who falls for Mary.
What made season one stand out? The most compelling part of the first season, though, is Eddie’s son, Hawk (Kyle Allen). Hawk is plagued with his own set of doubts about the movement which are brought on by a growing relationship with a non-Meyerist girl, Ashley (Amy Forsyth). Hawk’s feelings for Ashley put everything he’s ever known into question. Ashley, on the other hand, must deal with the repercussions of falling for someone who is involved in such an intense and different lifestyle. It’s a fascinating twist on star-crossed lovers, and it works tremendously well here.
Favorite episode from season one? It takes a little while for The Path to truly get going, though I was a fan from minute one. Episode 7 is a real turning point. The story has been slowly building, carefully laying down its foundation, and in the 7th episode, it all begins to come crumbling down. It is an intense and emotional hour of television and it solidifies The Path as a show worth watching.
Hope to see in season two? I look forward to seeing Eddie’s journey continue as he wrestles not only with the unwanted thoughts in his head but the consequences of his family knowing about them. I’m excited to see how Cal recovers from his transgressions. I’d like to see more exploration of Sean and Mary, their backgrounds, and their experiences. And I hope to see lots more of Hawk and Ashley.
Chicago Med – Monica
Summary of the plot? Dick Wolf’s empire continues to grow with his latest hit, Chicago Med, the second spin-off from Wolf’s first show Chicago Fire. Chicago Med is an emotional thrill ride that follows the lives of ED doctors and medical students as they deal with some of the most explosive and thrilling cases of their lives. Together, they form a bond working off each other’s specialties to figure out some of the most mystifying cases as they race against the clock to save people’s lives. The drama focuses around Dr. Will Halstead, a former plastic surgeon and the emergency departments senior resident born and bred in Chicago, Dr. Natalie Manning a pediatrician from Seattle who is completing her fellowship in emergency medicine while balancing being a new mother and dealing with the loss of her husband at war, Sarah Reese a fourth-year medical student just trying to figure it all out, Dr. Connor Rhodes a trauma surgeon currently studying the specialty of the heart with extreme family drama, Dr. Ethan Choi a United States Navy Reserve dealing with PTSD, who specializes in infectious diseases, Dr. Daniel Charles chief of psychiatry who in himself lies doubt, Maggie Lockwood the charge nurse always going that extra step for the patients, and of course holding the entire ship together is Sharon Goodwin the chief administrator.
What made season one stand out? Some fans were weary hearing about another show from Dick Wolf that would take place in the Chicago universe however, Wolf has been able to integrate Chicago Fire, Chicago PD, and Chicago Med seamlessly. Med is a force to be reckoned with! Each episode usually contains actors from the other shows making cameos which helps build a complete world. Chicago Med is also more that just your typical medical show. Wolf built in-depth characters, storylines, and crazy medical cases that keep you guessing each episode. Some of the topics brought up recently even make you question your morals and ethics as a viewer, making you question what you would do in that same scenario. They’ve tackled everything from home abuse, dementia, wrongful diagnoses, massive wrecks, and doctor-assisted suicide.
Favorite episode from season one? Each main actor has had an episode that’s stood out for their character. For example, Brian Tee in “Disorder” and Nick Gehlfuss in “Withdrawal.” But my favorite episode is still the pilot, “Derailed.” The pilot introduces you to Chicago (in case you have not watched the other shows) and begins with us meeting Dr. Rhodes, played by Colin Donnell. An “L” train that he is on gets derailed filling the emergency room and putting all of the doctors to the test to revive and treat as many patients as possible. It was a great introduction to all of the actors and a true testament to the characters they would be playing. It was hugely emotional, taking you through every scenario of being a doctor within 45 minutes. We saw the death of patients, the fumbling of new medical students, the cockiness of residents, and the hope of survival.
Favorite character? My favorite character changes weekly. Each character has developed so much over the course of the season. I was proud to see Sarah Reese’s growth. She began by struggling to get a line into a patient and now has helped solve cases other doctors would have missed or given up on. I also love Oliver Platt’s character, Dr. Charles. He seems to be the heart of the hospital. He helps and leads all of the other doctors while still dealing with his own emotional issues and self-doubt. If I had to choose a favorite character right now, it would be Dr. Rhodes played by Colin Donnell. Rhodes was introduced into the show as a know-it-all doctor that could do no wrong. Now months later after being in Chicago (back home where he is from) and learning to play well with others, he has become a humbled, more emotional and sensitive doctor. One episode showed him losing a patient and then going into his car and having an emotional breakdown from it, as one would expect. In the finale, Rhodes was pushed to his limits when he was asked by his mentor to help end his life, and his actions during the episode showed Rhodes’ growth.
Hope to see in season two? Since the show has already been renewed, I am looking forward to learning more about these characters and their backstory. It will be great to see the depths the writers are willing to go with current storylines. I am also looking forward to seeing more cases come in where I, like the doctors am trying to guess what is going on, what does the patient have, and what happened. I am sure season two will bring more relationship drama, ethical and moral uncertainties, and cases that will blow my mind.
Mr. Robot – Samantha K
Summary of the plot? Young cyber-security engineer and vigilante hacker by night Elliot Alderson meets a mysterious anarchist known as Mr. Robot who recruits Elliot to join his team of hackers called ‘fsociety’.
What made season one stand out? Rami Malek’s award-winning portrayal of alienated anti-hero Elliot was so bold and complex. Mixed with witty dialogue, insight into capitalism, the show made for a gripping cyber-age thriller.
Favorite episode from season one? While episode 3 sticks out to me in particular with the opening scene of Tyrell Wellick beating up a homeless man after losing out on the CTO position, I have to hand it to the pilot episode. When Elliot walked out of that coffee shop, after busting Ron/Rohit for running a child pornography site, declaring that he doesn’t give “a shit about money” and the theme music starts to play, I got chills. That was the moment I instantly knew Mr. Robot was going to be my new favorite show.
Favorite character? It goes without saying that Malek’s Elliot had me captivated, but there was something about Darlene that piqued my interest. I don’t know whether it was her no-nonsense attitude or her fashion sense that caught my attention, but Carly Chaikin’s hacker and malware programmer really made the season ten times more enjoyable.
Hope to see in season two? I’m hoping that Mr. Robot can keep up its thrill whilst managing to maintain its nihilistic or perhaps realistic view on today’s society. I’m also excited to see what the new additions to the cast like Craig Robinson and Aasif Mandvi will bring to the season.
Poldark – Samantha K
Summary of the plot? In the late 18th Century, Ross Poldark returns home to his Cornish tin mines after fighting in the American Revolutionary War. With his father dead, his estate in ruins and his love Elizabeth engaged to his cousin Francis, Ross must rebuild his life with a new business venture. Along the way, he makes enemies like the greedy and arrogant George Warleggan, but also finds love where he least expects it with the beautiful kitchen maid Demelza.
What made season one stand out? I will do my utmost best to refrain from saying Aidan Turner’s abs…but Aidan Turner’s abs are one of the many highlights of Poldark. They just so happen to the part that’s had the most attention from the media. Besides that, this adaptation of Winston Graham’s novels proved strong casting is everything. From Aidan Turner’s brooding smolder as the wind flows through his luscious black locks to the fiery-haired Eleanor Tomlinson who wins us over with her endearing clumsiness. Everyone on the Poldark cast is truly stellar. Every episode of Poldark is riddled with scenic shots of the Cornwall landscape which are so breathtaking that you’ll be booking a holiday to the location ASAP.
Favorite episode from season one? That episode where Ross did his shirtless scything. Ladies, and some gentlemen, need I say more? Those who haven’t seen the show – give it a Google! You’re welcome. Also, don’t judge me!
Favorite character? There’s something about the way Jack Farthing plays the smarmy and ambitious young banker George Warleggan. There’s just so many layers to George that I can’t wait to explore more in the second season. He’s a villain, but not one without some charm.
Hope to see in season two? Season two can’t come quick enough! Seeing as season one ended on a cliffhanger with Ross getting arrested for murder, I can’t wait to see how that plays out and the fallout it will have on Demelza.
Sense8 – Debbi
Summary of the plot? This Netflix original series is the story of eight people from different parts of the world and different tiers of society who are psychically linked with one another from birth in a Sense8. Season 1 introduces each of the members of the Sense8 and gives some background information on why they are being persecuted, trapped and possibly killed. They become aware of their link in the wake of a tragic death. There is one man, Jonas, who is trying to help and another, Whispers who is trying to destroy them. Both Jonas and Whispers have been a part of a Sense8 and know what the eight are facing. Will, Nomi, Capheus, Sun, Riley, Kala, Wolfgang, and Lito must learn to depend on each other as they race to find answers to why they are linked and who wishes to capture them or worse.
What made season one stand out? The ten tightly packed episodes were filmed entirely on location in Seoul, San Francisco, Mexico City, Chicago, Berlin, London, Iceland, Nairobi and Mumbai. The series is a visual masterpiece as it takes from location to location to experience the awakening of the Sense8s. You can feel their confusion and fear as well as you can see, smell and practically taste their surroundings. Written by Lana and Lilly Wachowski and J. Michael Straczynski the story holds together tightly with both the conspiracy story and the individual character studies having equal time and impact on the viewer. You will find your favorite character changing with each episode as you learn the strengths and weaknesses of each of the Sense8 members.
Favorite episode from season one? This is absolutely the most difficult question for me to answer since I found the cinematographic beauty of all of them breathtaking. However, the stand out for me was Episode 10, “I Can’t Leave Her” in which the Sense8s must work together to save one of their own (Riley) as well as preserve their Sense8.
Hope to see in season two? We will hopefully learn more about the nature of Sense8s, why they occur and what they are intended to do. Additionally, we should learn more about why there are forces trying to break the Sense8 or drive them apart. There many stories woven into one, much like LOST or Straczynski’s own Babylon 5, and season 2 should provide us greater insight into each of the Sense8 members exposing more of both their strengths and weakness as they learn how they can band together to help each other.
Dark Matter – AJ
Summary of the plot? Dark Matter revolves around an amnesiac crew of misfits who must find their true identities before the Galactic Alliance finds them. The worst part of it? They know that one of them is the one who wiped their memories, but none of them can remember who it was—not even the perpetrator! Not even their names are known at first, so they give themselves new designations: each crew member is assigned a number according to the order in which they woke up from hypersleep.
What made season one stand out? Season one of Dark Matter stood out from other shows because of its unique premise and outstanding cast. Marc Bendavid, Melissa O’Neil, Anthony Lemke, Alex Mallari, Jr., Jodelle Ferland, and Roger Cross all shine as the six crew members, each with his or her unique personality still intact despite not having any memories. Zoie Palmer plays the ship’s android who, ironically enough, has to have her memory wiped to stop her from trying to kill the crew. Why was the android trying to kill them? That remains to be seen.
Favorite episode from season one? My favorite episode from season one has to be episode 1.07, where Ruby Rose guest stars as an entertainment android with a secret subprogram. The episode is full of great comedic timing but also shows a softer side to Anthony Lemke’s character when a woman from his past comes to light.
Favorite character? My favorite character on Dark Matter has to be Five (Jodelle Ferland). Five is, as we learn later on in season one, a young stowaway who happened to get herself trapped on the wrong ship at the wrong time. With her bright teal hair and her peppy attitude, she’s a great character who’s very relatable.
Hope to see in season two? I hope that season two brings us more information on the characters, more backstory, and more of that great suspense that kept season one rolling so smoothly. I want to see what’s up with the Galactic Alliance, why they were betrayed by one of their own, and how they’re going to get out of the mess they’re in! Don’t know what I’m talking about? Well, watch the first season before season two starts!
Wynonna Earp – Jackie
Summary of the plot? In Syfy’s breakout supernatural Western, Wynonna Earp, the present-day descendant of the legendary lawman and gunslinger, Wyatt Earp, returns to her hometown of Purgatory in order to take on the burden as Heir of the Earp legacy. In doing so, Wynonna is charged with putting down the resurrected souls of the outlaws Wyatt killed, who return every generation to haunt the Earp family. Backed up by her little sister, Waverly, a federal agent named Xavier Dolls and the immortal Doc Holliday, Wynonna wages a war against not only the Revenants but also other supernatural threats roaming the streets of Purgatory.
What makes season one stand out? Even though the first season hasn’t concluded yet, I can say that there have been several things that have made it stand out already. For starters, the writing is exceptional. Reminiscent of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” the dialogue is littered with memorable, witty one-liners, and the exchanges between the characters is natural, fluid and engrossing. The storyline is also intriguing, and the writers have gone to great lengths to include details which would allow the show to branch out of Purgatory and the Revenants if need be, increasing the show’s likelihood of longevity. Finally, the cast of characters are interesting and complex. Most important of all, they are relatable and appealing to viewers.
Favorite episode from season one so far? My favorite episode from season one would have to be the fourth episode, “The Blade.” In this episode, Wynonna, Dolls, Waverly and Doc attempt to destroy the vengeful spirit of a murderous barber, who is killing people who are harboring deep, dark secrets. In the process, we learn more about Doc’s backstory, including his relationship with Wyatt and the Stone Witch. We also start to see that Wynonna and Waverly’s relationship is far from perfect. I loved this episode because of how it delved into the character’s relationships and pasts while making the audience sit on the edge of their seats.
Favorite character? My favorite character is Doc, played by Tim Rozon because he is a smooth-talking mystery. You can’t really be sure where his allegiance lies or whether he is only helping the Earps out of a desire to seek personal revenge, but, over the course of the season, you start to see that he is a lot more caring than he initially portrayed himself to be. In the long run, he is a valuable ally to the Earps as well as an intriguing character to analyze. Hopefully, he is around for a long time!
Why should it get a second season? While Wynonna Earp has not been renewed for a second season yet, I have confidence that it will be. Already, I think that the show has garnered a passionate fanbase composed of people who are invested in the show. Personally, I hope it gets renewed because I think that it has a lot of potential. If given the time to grow, I see the show becoming a cult classic like “Buffy” or “Charmed,” one which melds the supernatural with real, significant themes with which the audience can relate.
Fuller House – Elisabeth
Summary of the plot? Fuller House is a Netflix spin-off series based on the hit ABC family sitcom Full House (1987-95). D.J. Tanner-Fuller (Candace Cameron-Bure) is a recently widowed mom to 13-year-old Jackson (Michael Campion), 7-year-old Max (Elias Harger), and a newborn son Tommy (Fox and Dashiell Messitt). After her family overhears D.J.’s emotional realization she is unable to cope with the demands of holding a full-time job as a veterinarian in addition to raising three kids, her sister Stephanie (Jodie Sweetin) and childhood best friend Kimmy (Andrea Barber), who is also the mother of a 13-year-old daughter (Soni Bringas), step up and move in to help D.J. take care of her children.
What made season one stand out? As a child of the 90’s and a devout Full House fan, I must say I was relieved to see how incredible of a job the cast and crew did to bring the characters back to life. The stand out for me was seeing how much chemistry the cast still has after a more than 20-year hiatus. There was so much love and comradery amongst the new and old cast that it is impossible not to fall in love with the show all over again.
Favorite episode from season one? This is a tough one, but it is a toss-up between the first episode, “Our Very First Show, Again”, and the last episode, “Love Is in the Air”. For obvious reasons, it was incredible to see the cast together again in “Our Very First Show, Again”. One thing that stuck with me was the dedication at the end of the show to the mothers of Full House leading men Bob Saget, John Stamos, and Dave Coulier — as well as show creator Jeff Franklin — each of whom lost their mothers within a year of each other. The end credits of the Fuller House premiere start with a title card that reads: “In Loving Memory of Arlen Coulier, Carole Franklin, Dolly Saget and Loretta Stamos (They would have loved this).” The last episode, “Love Is In The Air” had a bachelor-esque competition between D.J.’s current love interests Steve (Scott Weinger) and Matt (John Brotherton). I have always loved Steve, but I have got to say, I think I am team Matt now! Regardless of who D.J. ends up with, both leading men are so much fun to watch and I am sure we can expect a lot more screen time for D.J.’s old and new loves.
Favorite character? Hands down my favorite NEW character is Max Fuller (Elias Harger). He is so friggin adorable and every time he delivered a quintessential Full House one liner, our living room was filled with “Awwws!”
Hope to see in season two? Thankfully, Fuller House has been renewed for a second season. I am excited to see more cameos from the original Cast : Danny Tanner (Bob Saget), Uncle Jesse (John Stamos), Uncle Joey (Dave Coulier), Aunt Becky (Lori Laughlin), twins Alex and Nicky Katsopolis ( Dylan and Blake Tuomy-Wilhoit), and hopefully, we will get to see Michelle Tanner (Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen). Seeing either of the Olsen twins reprising the role of Michelle Tanner seems extremely unlikely, however, there were a lot of Michelle references and the occasional homage with references to their clothing line and classic catch phrases.
Master of None – Andrew
Summary of the plot? Aziz Ansari plays Dev, an actor going through the motions of auditioning and working (well, sometimes) in New York City. Episodes run the gamut when it comes to life as an Indian actor living in the US, including being forced to perform with a stereotypical Indian accent and having scenes cut from a major feature film. Of course, Dev’s family life (Ansari’s real-life parents play the roles of his mother and father) and dating mishaps are important stories told during the season as well.
What made season one stand out? Season one is very strong in that it deals with social issues in an entertaining way. The pilot focuses on Dev searching New York for a morning after pill with hookup-turned eventual girlfriend Rachel (adorably played by Noël Wells.) The seriousness of the situation is given humor to it, without taking away the seriousness of the situation. The same can be said for most episodes – Dev spending time with Rachel’s grandmother, an interesting take on 20-somethings connecting with the elderly, and Indians on TV, where he refuses to play a character with an Indian accent. Dev’s female friends tell him about the misogyny they deal with every day in a particularly enlightening episode – especially if you’re a guy – without being overly preachy.
Favorite episode from season one? The episode titled Nashville is a standout in season one as it breaks away from the traditional TV model and allows Dev and Rachel to have a nice time without fear of any major obstacles to overcome. They take a trip together as a lighthearted second first date (if we’re calling the pilot date #1) and explore what the city has to offer, from cowboy boots to honkey tonks. It’s refreshing to witness the two in a relaxed state, and while I was initially on edge and waiting for something terrible to happen, I was eventually able to let my guard down and just enjoy watching the foundation of their relationship continue to build.
Favorite character? Dev’s dad, played by his real-life father Shoukath, is hilarious every time he’s onscreen. There’s something very real about him, perhaps because he’s simply reenacting his actual relationship with his son. He speaks as though he’s trying to be cool and relatable to a younger generation, while still struggling to figure out how his iPad works. Though he’s not featured in every episode, he always steals his scenes in the most entertaining way.
Hope to see in season two? Dev’s relationship with Rachel takes an interesting turn at the end of the season, and because they’re so good together I’m eager to see a season two so that story can play out. His acting career is also in an interesting place and it’s hard to predict what road he’ll take moving forward. Above all else, the show is equal parts funny and poignant, and I can’t get enough. More of this, please!
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend – Caroline
Summary of the plot? Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is a comedic musical that follows Rebecca Bunch and her adventures after she moves to West Covina, CA to pursue her ex-boyfriend, Josh. But the show is so much more than just a story of unrequited love! Each character is well-defined, with their own interesting storylines: Paula dreams up ridiculous plots to ensnare Josh, Darryl finds himself, and Josh comes to terms with his current relationship. The songs are woven seamlessly into the episodes, and are never out of place or awkward — but more importantly, they’re never filler. They always serve a purpose, whether it’s self-realization (“Gettin’ Bi” and “I’m the Villain in My Own Story”), determination to succeed (“Flooded with Justice”), or defense against a nemesis (“JAP Battle”).
What made season one stand out? I’m not a fan of musicals; I generally think they’re sappy, silly, and awkward. But Crazy Ex-Girlfriend uses songs to propel its humor to a whole new level. I’ve never seen a show do that before! Rebecca and the crew burst into songs about realistic plot points and problems — from the cumbersome process of getting ready for a date (“The Sexy Getting Ready Song”) to impressing your romantic interest’s parents (“I Give Good Parent”). Clever lyrics are the key to the show’s success, and what really sets it apart.
Favorite episode from season one? That Text Was Not Meant for Josh was my favorite episode. The hilarity was top-notch and balanced nicely with some touching moments (Paula’s marriage was saved!). The laughs start right after Rebecca sent the text — she’s in an important meeting with clients, yet shows them all the text, and they immediately start freaking out, too. It was nice to see Paula and Scott having a blast fake-breaking into Rebecca’s apartment since we know their marriage has been on the rocks (pun intended). The twist — that Josh realizes the rock came from inside the apartment — is a nice shocker, too! (Bonus: the writers were so clever, Paula and Scott actually repeat the lyrics of the theme song to each other, verbatim, in the episode.)
Favorite character? Paula. Her maternal love for Rebecca is both fascinating (since she seems to pay more attention to Rebecca than her own children) and really touching. It’s also great to see an older, married character in an important role on TV; usually, shows starring 20-somethings have a similarly aged cast. Now, I’m also terrified of her — she did place a tracker on Mrs. Chan’s car and break into Valencia’s online accounts, after all — but the good in her outweighs all of that. …Right?
Hope to see in season two? I want the focus to move away from Josh. Josh is a fine character and all, but we’ve already spent 18 episodes exploring (Rebecca’s pursuit of) him. Now, don’t get me wrong — I want him to stay a main character, because his despondent facial expressions are gold — but I don’t want him to be the object of affection or main focal point. The show needs to rally Rebecca and Paula towards a greater pursuit, larger than just a romantic interest. Maybe the water issue will come back, or some other political cause. I’d like that!
Legends of Tomorrow – Jay
Summary of the plot? Legends of Tomorrow follows a band of superhero/villain misfits after they are recruited by a future, rogue Time Master, Rip Hunter. Together, they travel through time to try and stop an immortal villain, Vandal Savage, who can only be killed by Carter or Kendra, the two he murdered on the night they all become immortal beings.
What made season one stand out? With so many heroes, it was hard for this show not to stand out. The season hasn’t ended yet, the finale is May 19th, but the show has just started to hit its stride. It’s taken time for the legends to advance and become a group, though they still have their issues, but now they’re finally starting to work together and adjust to one another’s weaknesses and strengths.
Favorite episode from season one? Season 1 Episode 9, “Left Behind,” was the best episode of the season. After the team unexpectedly strands Sara, Ray, and Kendra, in the 1950’s, they are left there to build a life for two years, while the team is stranded in time and the Waverider needs to be repaired. No two characters bonded more than Kendra Saunders and Sara Lance did this season: both have been reincarnated, both have a killer rage inside of them, and both are grappling with who they are/who they want to be. This episode shows more of Sara’s past in the League of Assassins, too, for those who aren’t familiar with her from Arrow.
Favorite character? Sara Lance. She started the season as an ex-assassin and has been put in countless situations where she struggled to make a call between life and death. She fought the bloodlust inside of her that took control and forced her to kill. She became a breath of comedic air, an element she was desperately needing on Arrow that Legends allowed her to do. She’s almost a completely different character from being the Canary to the White Canary. She’s truly become the comedic relief, but she also manages to be an adept leader and voice of reason on a team that needs a proper leader so badly.
Hope to see in season two? I hope to see more growth from the heroes that stick around. It’s been announced that the show has been renewed and that they’ll be shaking up the heroes a bit to keep things fresh. The villain should be more of a threat than Vandal Savage, and hopefully, they’ll put an end to the time travel. Not that it isn’t great, I’d just love to see these characters interact with a present threat and present danger to those they hold closest, rather than trying to stop world destruction in the year 2166, when they’re from 2016. It kind of loses the immediate threat level when they can inevitably go back.
Supergirl – Alexis
Summary of the plot? Supergirl is based on the DC character of the same name and is about a young girl named Kara Zor-El. Kara is the cousin to another hugely popular DC hero, Superman. Like her cousin, Kara was sent to Earth due to the destruction of her home planet Krypton. Unfortunately, her pod gets knocked off course and she arrives to Earth late. Her cousin is already grown and has gone off to be the beloved hero, Superman. Kara is adopted by the Danvers family and as the years go by she blends in with society while struggling to keep her powers a secret. Upon an unexpected event that leads Kara to use her powers to save her adoptive sister Alex, Kara exposes herself to the world and as a result becomes Supergirl.
What made season one stand out? Season 1 of Supergirl was a bit of a refresher to watch for the fact that there hasn’t been a stand-alone heroine in a TV series for quite some time. With the superhero TV series being all about the guys seeing a girl step in was very eye-opening because it was unexpected and made me realize that we do indeed more heroines on our television screens. In Supergirl it’s not just Kara who gets to be the hero but also her sister, Alex and Kara’s boss Cat Grant who I believe are some of the best characters on the show because they not only exemplify their strengths as women but because they each help Kara through her struggles both as Supergirl and as Kara Danvers. One of the strengths of the first season was that it put emphasis on how important family and friendships are. The season shows that there is more humanity to a superhero when we recognize that their strength doesn’t come from their otherworldly abilities but through the people who give them the strength to actually be the hero.
Favorite episode from season one? My favorite episode from season 1 would be “Falling” where Kara is put under the influence of Red Kryptonite and slowly goes down a dark path. After seeing a long streak of Kara doing good it was nice to see her go to the dark side for a bit. The best thing about this episode was that it wasn’t cliché or followed the pattern of being the complete opposite of your actual self. You see Kara stand up for herself and give out the cold hard truth that was probably building inside her for a long time. Kara might be able to turn the other cheek and take the high road for a while, but she has frustrations too and to see her being unapologetic and brutally honest was the best thing for her. Yes, she exposed a lot of pain and secrets, but it took the show in a new direction that made the stakes a lot higher. (Plus the reference to Superman III was nothing short of perfection).
Favorite character? My favorite character is Cat Grant. Cat is the founder of CatCo Worldwide Media and while sometimes being a little bitchy she gets things done. In the beginning of the show, I thought she would be a regular boss who stood in the background oblivious to anything that the heroine would be up to, I was wrong. Cat is 100% in the life of not only Kara but also Supergirl. She is smart, funny and gives the best one-liners ever. She runs a company with grace and skill and is also only human and makes mistakes. She is a mother and she exemplifies that instinct through Kara and Supergirl. She always says the right thing and doesn’t give apologies if she is being too harsh because she only wants to help and no doubt probably cares about Kara/Supergirl. Cat believes that Supergirl is a powerful source of good in a not so good world. Cat Grant is the superhero in Kara’s life and that is pretty fantastic.
Hope to see in season two? I hope that in season 2 Kara tells Cat that she is Supergirl (if Cat doesn’t already know). I feel that a superhero’s greatest difficulty is living the double life and keeping secrets from people who the hero cares about, and I hope that one day she will be able to tell Cat the truth. I’m excited to know what Kara will do with her promotion and what will happen to her and the team now that J’onn and Alex are no longer serving the D.E.O. What will Lucy bring to the D.E.O. now that she is in charge? And what’s in store for Winn and James? The crossover with the Flash was amazing so I hope we will see Barry Allen and Kara team up again, along with other D.C. characters (I’m looking at you, Superman).
Quantico – Allie
Summary of the plot? The show follows a class of FBI recruits through their training at Quantico. While simultaneously following the same recruits, now agents, after a terrorist attack in New York six months later.
What made season one stand out? This show stood out to me because of one thing, Priyanka Chopra. Chopra is a beautiful, talented women who I adore.
Favorite episode from season one? I’ve had a hard time picking out a favorite episode. Each one has a twist and turn that you just don’t see coming. But I’m gonna have to say episode 5 ‘Found’. I’d hate to say too much about it and spoil something.
Favorite character? My favorite character is Alex Parrish, played by Chopra. Alex is a tough, strong, stubborn women in a man’s world, who still isn’t afraid of showing her vulnerable side.
Hope to see in season two? I don’t have any specific hopes for season 2, just that they keep us guessing as they have all of season 1.
UnREAL – Allie
Summary of the plot? A scripted show based on the behind the scenes work of a fictional reality show similar to The Bachelor. Producing romance seems to involve endless amounts of betrayal and chaos.
What made season one stand out? I am not a Bachelor or Bachelorette fan, I don’t like that kind of reality show, so I was hesitant to watch UnREAL. What swayed me was the way they portray the reality show.
Favorite episode from season one? My favorite episode of season 1 was episode 5, ‘Truth’. One of the great things about this show is how they talk about issues. This particular episode focused around a female struggling with her sexual identity.
Favorite character? My favorite character is absolutely Rachel, played by Shiri Appleby. Rachel has problems. Is living in a trailer on set. But Rachel is also a fierce, loyal women. I would not want to mess with Rachel.
Hope to see in season two? Season 2 of UnREAL starts on Monday, June 6th! I am excited about this upcoming season because the eligible man is B.J. Britt, a black man. Something The Bachelor has never done.
Rosewood – Allie
Summary of the plot? A pathologist and police detective work together to solve crime in Miami.
What made season one stand out? The chemistry between Morris Chestnut and Jaina Lee Ortiz is phenomenal. Rosewood seems to be the perfect mix of family drama and cop show.
Favorite episode from season one? Episode 15, entitled ‘Atherosclerosis and the Alabama Flim-Flam’ is my absolute favorite episode. Captain Hornstock and his brother in action together make me laugh.
Favorite character? I think my favorite character is Pippy Rosewood, played by Gabrielle Dennis. Pippy is Rosie’s sister, who works with him in his lab. They are very close and Pippy’s relationship to her fiancée TMI is fun to watch.
Hope to see in season two? I just hope to see more of Rosie and Villa having their amazing chemistry. Oh. And more of Pippy singing.