1998 and gave us some of the best political satire ever captured in 24fps. So why’s the show back now? According to an interview with Bergen, “an election happened.” If the revival’s anything like it used to be, prepare for an intimate look at the fast-paced world of broadcast and a continual roast of the administration. Now this is one of the greats, in my opinion. You’ve got Sofia Vergara, whose comedic timing is always a scene stealer, set among a myriad of characters with one-liners so fast and sharp, you have to rewind a bit to hear the joke that ran while you were laughing your ass off. (“30 Rock” did that, too, and they’re similar in their mockumentary style.) Main players in the show are Cam (Eric Stonestreet) and Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) raising an Asian daughter who’s about as deadpan and unlike her fathers as they come. It made for a slowburn among the more conservative viewers who, if my family is evidence, came around after realizing that not only is the show a riot, but it actually shows the normalcy of broad family dynamics. Sadly, this is the final season. Sci-fi lovers, prepare for takeoff. “The First” is perhaps the most progressive show to hit the airwaves this fall, showing the struggles of a near future in which a queer, black, female astronaut (played by LisaGay Hamilton of “The Practice”) is on a mission to Mars. Tracie Thoms (of “Rent”) plays Hamilton’s love interest as our troubled astronaut butts heads with the powers that be to accept just how important funding for social programs and the environment is. I’m stoked to report that “Shameless” is making its return soon, but also bummed that this is Emmy Rossum’s final season. (She plays Fiona Gallagher, who’s kept a highly dysfunctional family glued together through so many personal sacrifices that she wound up goin’ off the deep end herself. Understandable.) If you’ve ever watched the show, you know it lives up to its name. The stakes keep climbing for every character, whether it’s drug and alcohol addiction, having a child way too early, being a mentally unstable gay veteran dating a transman, or running a bar as an essential hostage to a hot Russian woman who likes to get it on with her interracial underlings, both male and female. Trust: The show has so much going on. Perhaps Rossum’s departure won’t hurt that bad. The writing is solid, so we’ll see how it works. There’s no shortage of sexy in this dark, PNW-oriented take on the classic Archie comics. (I know — Archie, sexy?) But I wouldn’t lie to you! Not only do we have the brooding Jughead (played by a marvelously aged Cole Sprouse), we’ve got Archie as a hot ginger athlete who’s also really sensitive and kind (played by K.J. Apa). Within the noir-genre spin, we’re in a world where murder, mystery, and same-sex relationships abound against a backdrop of a mostly rainy and somewhat sinister town. Though its popularity lies with the younger crowd, I feel this is another slowburner that’ll take root with the 30-somethings, given a chance. Can you hang with a bisexual woman with a side-shave and impeccable suits? Good, because “Madam Secretary” is dropping like a bomb this Fall and it’s bringing some heat. Known for being the longest-running “Dude, if I’m not really black, can somebody please tell my hair and my ass?” This, from our light-skinned female protagonist from which the show’s title originates. (Well, among a few other socio-political nuances, but in general, the sitcom’s pilot established the ribbing at the “ish” of her skin — and had me guffawing the entire way through.) The acting is absolutely fantastic and, at times, has an improvised feel that makes you a fly on the wall of a black family’s home in American suburbia. The camera work is sharp, the writing is gut-busting, and the show’s inclusion of a gay character (real-life lesbian Raven-Symoné) doesn’t feel contrived. Last season got a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Not an easy feat and well deserved.
September 14, 2018