What I’m Watching This Fall 2016

After a one year absence I’ll once again post the TV shows I’ll be watching as the new fall season starts. This list is really just the stuff that’s scheduled to be DVR’d in our front room. Trish and I have other shows we DVR in the back room, but those have either not started yet are on a rotating schedule with other stuff.

The times I mention are Eastern time, so if you don’t live in the Boston/New York time zone you’ll need to check your listings for starting times in your area. With that said…

On Monday’s it’s just Scorpion at 10pm on CBS. I have tabbed this show “What else can go wrong?” as the entire run of episodes follows the same exact formula of bigger hurdles following smaller hurdles until one of the characters, usually Walter O’Brien (played by Elyes Gabel), comes up with an implausible solution that always saves the day. Trish and I watch it for the pure silliness of it.

Tuesday is the only program I try to watch as it airs, NCIS. Been watching it since it spun off from JAG and it’s easily my favorite show. Its 8pm start begins three hours of CBS programming we watch. At 9pm is the new show Bull, staring NCIS alum Michael Weatherly. We saw the premier episode last week and the first half wasn’t really that good, but the second half looks like it might be a tone setter for the series.

At 10pm it’s Trish’s favorite show, NCIS: New Orleans. We were surprised to see Zoe McLellan was not returning to the series, but that doesn’t seem to have done much to hurt the story line so far. They’re using the standard “antagonist joins the cast and will eventually join the team” plot, but it does fit the current story like and they probably didn’t have much choice. Also at 10PM it’s Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Trish and I used to “binge watch” these, but with so many friends talking about episodes after they air we’re going to try to watch them soon after they’re on.

Wednesday it’s Blindspot at 8pn on NBC. It wasn’t what we expected to see when we started watching last fall, but it’s a very well written show and we’re both hooked. We’ve usually liked the shows Marianne Jean-Baptiste (who plays Bethany Mayfair) was on and were surprised at her character arc. Trying to avoid spoilers here, so I’ll just say we’ll keep watching. At 10pm on ABC is new show Designated Survivor staring Kiefer Sutherland as the “designated survivor”, who assumes the presidency after an attack kills the entire line of succession in front of him.

Thursday is just The Blacklist at 10pm on NBC. James Spader is incredible in this series, and while the plot is a bit over the top it is truly “edge of your seat” TV. It’s one of the best shows on TV now, and has a spin off coming called The Blacklist: Redemption. That will be an instant addition to the DVR list.

We originally didn’t have anything on the DVR for Friday, but at the last minute I added MacGyver. No idea if we’ll actually watch it or not.

There’s nothing on Saturday we’re DVR’ing, and on Sunday we’ve got two post-NFL shows on CBS schedule to record. NCIS: Los Angeles moves from Monday nights to Sunday with a scheduled 8pm start, which is usually the kiss of death for a TV show. The series started as a top-10 show on Tuesdays, then in season six moved it to Mondays, and now in season eight it’s Sunday. Next stop is cancelation, which is too bad because it’s a very good show.

Also on Sunday is one of the best written shows on TV, Elementary. It’s another show that looks like it’s not going to survive on Sunday as the ratings plummeted when it was moved there from Thursdays mid-season last year. Jonny Lee Miller (Holmes) and Lucy Liu (Watson) are great in their roles and truly believable in the modern setting for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s character Sherlock Holmes. The show might actually be too smart for network TV.

Spoiler Alert: Some People Never Learn

A couple of years ago I blogged about spoilers, and while it was specifically about a TV show it really is about anything in this digital age. And now with the Olympics winding down the issue of “spoilers” has once again rearing its ugly head. I simply don’t understand how people can’t figure out this one easy rule to follow:

If you don’t want to know about an event (TV, sports, book, whatever) don’t go to websites where that event will likely be discussed.

It truly is that easy. You don’t want to know the results of a sporting event that was streamed live but will be shown on TV later, don’t visit ESPN, Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter, or any of those types of places because the information as to who won will likely be found there. You don’t want to know about a movie, going to websites that review and talk about movies seems like a place you should avoid.

I don’t get the arrogance of people who get angry when they go on social media or forums and find out things they didn’t want to know about. How about you show some willpower and don’t go to those sites. It’s different if you stumble into that information in a place where it probably shouldn’t have been, like someone you follow on Twitter that never talks about sports suddenly starts tweeting results. But to actively go to sites that talk about the very thing you’re trying to avoid is stupidity to the Nth degree.

You have a responsibility to avoid information that will spoil the enjoyment of watching an event, movie, or TV show. People don’t have any responsibility to avoid discussing those things, especially in places where discussions of those topics is what usually takes place. It’s one of the reasons I don’t follow on Twitter or “like” on Facebook many TV shows; they talk about those shows seconds after the episodes air. I tend to DVR stuff, so I need to avoid the places that talk about those shows until I get around to watching them.

Spoiler Alert: It’s so easy to do I never have an issue.

Update: What I’m DVR’ing this fall 2014

So about a month ago I posted what TV shows I’m DVR’ing this fall, and I thought an update might be in order.

Scorpion, a new show on Monday nights on CBS, has been a little on the weak side but I think the program shows some promise. I had one Facebook friend call it one of the worst series of all time, but I could easily name 100 shows that were worse (that I can do that is somewhat troubling if you think about it). I’ll probably be watching for at least this season unles it somehow falls off a cliff story-wise.

Five minutes into the opening episode of The Blacklist my wife and I were hooked again, and it’s almost always the show we sit down to watch at first opportunity. NCIS:LA is usually the second, so that’s obviously still a keeper.

On Tuesday is old favorite NCIS, and while it hasn’t been great this season so far it does have a history of getting better as the season moves along. I’m hoping that holds true this year also. It’s spinoff, NCIS: New Orleans, had a clunky opening episode with a couple scenes that made no sense, but overall it’s just as strong as it’s two counterparts. It’s another keeper. Opposite of NCIS: New Orleans is Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, and it’s continued the hot run it had from the second half of last season. It’s another show my wife and I watch as soon as we can.

Elementary still hasn’t debuted yet, but I can’t see how it won’t be as good as it has been in previous years. Another show not aired yet is NBC’s Constantine. More on that after a few weeks of that show. The Mentalist still awaits a CBS cancelation to be inserted into the fall lineup. I haven’t seen any numbers for shows this fall so I have no idea how close that is to happening.

One show that didn’t make the cut is Sunday’s Madam Secretary. It is possible–heck, likely–that my wife and I will give the show a chance over the summer via on-demand or Netflix. But for now, it’s outta here. Heading on the list, and one I forgot to mention in the first posting, is the short-seasoned HBO show The Newsroom.

My wife’s three shows, Revenge (ABC), Scandal (ABC), and Grimm (NBC) are still on her list. I’m not sure if she’s added any.

What I’m DVR’ing this fall 2014

With the new fall TV season kicking off shortly I’ve got my list compiled of what I’ll be DVRing. When I mention a time it’s the airing time in the Eastern Time zone.

On Monday nights it will be Scorpion (CBS), a new show airing at 9pm that looks interesting, and then The Blacklist (NBC) at 10pm. NCIS:LA (CBS) has been moved from Tuesday nights to Monday, so that’s also a 10pm show I’ll be recording. My wife and I are absolutely hooked on The Blacklist, so we were very happy to see it getting a cult-like following as the show went on. NCIS:LA is another favorite of the two of us, so those probably won’t pile up on the DVR.

Tuesday is the only show I generally watch as it airs, NCIS (CBS) at 8pm, with newcomer NCIS: New Orleans and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC) both airing at 9pm and being recorded. We tend to save up a few of the Marvel episodes and watch them all in a row, but spoilers were hard to avoid last year so we may need to change how we watch that show. My wife loves Scott Bakula so I have to think we may be watching NCIS:NO as it airs too.

There’s nothing on Wednesday I care about so that will likely be the night I catch up with what’s recorded.

Thursday’s will be Elementary (CBS) once Thursday Night Football moves over to the NFL network in mid-October. I make it no secret I’m a huge fan of Lucy Liu, but the series is pretty good so that’s a plus. I still find it funny that in the Elementary “universe” there is no fictional Sherlock Holmes nor apparently a Sir Arthur Conan Doyle unless he existed and just didn’t write any Holmes stores.

Friday is the new show Constantine (NBC) at 10pm. I’m a huge fan of the comic book Hellblazer the show is based on, but unfortunately the DC track record on TV shows isn’t very good. I’m hoping Constantine bucks the trend.

Nothing on Saturday so when there’s no hockey it will be another catch-up night.

On Sunday there’s Madam Secretary (CBS) at 8pm, which means its start time is variable due to NFL games running long. I’m going to give a look-see and if it doesn’t hold me quick it could be a goner.

Waiting in the wings is The Mentalist, which CBS has announced will be a mid-season replacement.

My wife’s DVR has a few things going on it, Revenge (ABC) on Sundays, Scandal (ABC) on Thursday, and Grimm (NBC) on Friday. I’m sure she’ll be adding others, she always does.

There are a few other programs we DVR but their schedules are the usual network ones so we have to be on the lookout for those start times.

Apparently I’m a “binge-watcher”

I was having a discussion the other day about my TV viewing habits, and it seems that the cool kids are calling how I do it “binge-watching”. It must be a thing because it has its own Wikipedia page. According to Wiki binge-watching is defined by most as “watching between 2-6 episodes of the same TV show in one sitting”. I’ve been doing this for years, so I find it funny that it’s supposed to be some sort of new thing because of “on demand” streaming services.

In days of yore when VCRs were the in thing I often recorded shows and then watched them in groups of two or three as my schedule allowed. In most cases you could only get six hour long shows on a tape so being careful that I didn’t miss anything I’d make sure I watched them after the fifth one. Most of those shows I recorded were on opposite of another show I was watching so it was easy to have only one program for each tape. So that, apparently, was the beginning of my binge-watching.

To me binge-watching should be way more than just watching a couple of episodes at a time. You get into the four or five neighborhood in one sitting and that’s really binge-watching. It looks like the cool kids set the bar low so they could be part of the group. After all, who wants to be on the outside looking in on something so trendy?

The first time I remember watching more than that four or five episodes at a time was years ago while The West Wing was on the air. I had missed the first few seasons and was catching reruns on Bravo. The problem was they weren’t showing them in order so I was missing a lot of stuff continuity-wise. After watching what was the first couple of episodes of season two (only I didn’t know at the time where they fit into the continuity) I was very confused because they using flashbacks and I had no idea if that was new material they were showing looking back or inserting old footage to remind viewers of what came before.

I mentioned this at work and long time friend Peter–who also worked with my father for years at Thom McAn–said he had the first season on DVD and would lend it to me. He brought it in on a Friday and I took it home to watch when I got the chance. An early morning thunderstorm woke me up on Saturday and when I couldn’t fall back to sleep I went out to the living room to watch a couple of episodes. I was so hooked I watched 12 that first day, stopping only because my wife and I had dinner plans that evening. On Sunday were the last 10 of the first season. The look on Peter’s face when I brought the DVD back and started talking about the episodes was incredible. I wish I’d taken a picture.

I eventually went out and bought all the season, and every other summer still watch them all. The 154 episodes in a handful of days is the absolute definition of binge-watching.

My wife and now regularly watch TV shows on our DVRs like this. There are a couple shows I watch as they air but for the most part I DVR everything (mostly so I can zap the commercials) and we watch them in groups of two or three. The last show I truly binge-watched was the first season of House of Cards, watching all 13 episodes over a two day period. I haven’t watched season two yet because my wife never saw season one and I think she’d like it. We’ll fix that soon.

Looking at it in a broader perspective watching TV shows in batches is also how I like to read books. When I start an older series I usually run through them non-stop until I hit the latest released book. I just seem to get more out of them doing it that way. I’ll bet good money I’m not the only one doing it that way.

Can “binge-reading” be far behind?

Some random book thoughts for September 2014

Just like my August posting I still have no idea what I’m going to cover in my “random book thoughts”. So we will once again just start typing and see what we come up with.

I bought a handful of books in August with Support and Defend, a Tom Clancy novel by Mark Greaney leading the list. I’ve already finished the book and will have a review up shortly. The others I grabbed were Blood Song by Anthony Ryan, Heirs of the Demon King: Uprising by Sarah Cawkwell, 12.21 by Dustin Thomason, and Mage’s Blood by David Hair. What’s funny about Mage’s Blood is even after noticing the $9.99 price tag I still grabbed it with little thought and yet I still hesitate to buy $8.99 mass market paperbacks. A switch in my buying habits? I guess we’ll see soon.

For the first time in a long while I’m reading books at a pace that’s faster than I’m buying them, even adding that I’m (generally) reviewing each book individually instead of using these “random thoughts” posts. With hockey season about to start I suspect my pace will start to slow, but I do have some books I anticipate as being great reads near the top of my “to read” pile so even with the available time to read being less I should still be ahead of my buying pace. I have managed to clear off one shelf of what was originally my “overflow” bookcase. The original plan was to use that bookcase for other things but my paperbacks took it over. Despite clearing a shelf off I suspect it will begin to fill up again before too long. It always does…

A look at September’s upcoming science fiction/fantasy books shows many interesting hardcovers coming out but not a lot of paperbacks I’m looking for. So the hardcovers head to the “waiting for paperback” list (I don’t really have one, it’s more a mental thing) and it could be another month of looking at some older stuff I didn’t notice the first time around. I still don’t have a good source of upcoming thrillers and mysteries so I catch them as I see them on the rack.

My wife is looking for a couple of books that are trade paperback only, so an Amazon order is likely in the works. When that happens I too have a few trades I’m wanting, so it will a good sized order. It’s funny, back before we bought our house we lived in a neighborhood where I was hesitant to have stuff shipped to our apartment but now that we live in suburbia I figured we’d have tons of stuff ordered online and shipped here. So far, the pace is about the same. Go figure. Old habits are hard to break.

At some point soon we’ll also be heading to a local used book store. My wife wants to reread a couple things she read years ago and paying full price for a book she’s already bought, read, and donated to charity seems like a waste. I usually refrain from buying stuff from second hand shops because the author doesn’t get paid for that sale. Seeing as we already bought it once and my wife continues to buy new stuff from the author I guess it’s OK under those circumstances.

For those wondering my “to read” shelf, and it’s really several book cases, is at 205 books. And that’s down from over 230 at one point earlier this year. Yes, I’m addicted to books.

September also means the new TV season starts, and that too will cut into my reading time. I just yesterday finally watched the remaining programs on my living room DVR, so except for a couple of one-shot things I recorded that’s all set for the fall TV season. My bedroom DVR is full of summer programming that my wife and I will slowly get to over the next few months as time allows. As I usually do, I’ll have a blog post up soon about the shows I’ll be DVRing over the winter.

So once again with no planning I’ve come up with a decent “random thoughts” posting. We’ll find out next month if I can make it three in a row. Until next time…

Spoilers in the information age

This exchange, edited for brevity and language, took place on a forum I visit where on occasion TV shows and movies are discussed. This was in a thread labeled as “NCIS/NCIS:LA”, so it was pretty clear what one would find being discussed should they click on it.

ME: Hey did anyone catch the NCIS that aired Tuesday? The one with the drone hitting the intelligence gala?

#1: Yeah. It was pretty good episode. They’re obviously setting up a big story arc for McGee and getting everyone to know about Eleanor Bishop.

ME: I’m trying to figure out with the explosion that was shown and McGee standing outside the building why he wasn’t more severely injured. I get he’s a main character, but they’re usually pretty good with that stuff and kind of dropped the ball there.

#2 HEY, how about a spoiler warning guys, I haven’t seen that episode yet.

From that point on a bunch of people piled on to #2 for clicking on a thread about a TV show where they weren’t up to date in watching. A second smaller group was supporting #2, and said there should have been a spoiler warning in my first post followed by “spoiler space” (which is several presses of the return button creating a buffer so a person wouldn’t accidentally see a spoiler) because the next episode hadn’t aired yet, even though that’s not the custom on that forum. The fact I posted the question five days after the episode originally aired and there was a blog post about the episode on the site’s main page seemed to be lost on some people.

I simply don’t understand why someone who didn’t want to know about a particular TV program or movie would intentionally go to a place that information was being discussed. There are a couple shows I’m planning on watching over the summer on Netflix. Isn’t it my responsibility to make sure I don’t go places where those shows are talked about it if I don’t want to know what happens? And wouldn’t it be the same with shows I record on my DVR?

To take it to the next step, how long until would it be “safe” to discuss something that contained spoilers? Can I openly talk about The Crying Game or The Sixth Sense now, or because the plot twists in each are essentially the whole movie should I always include a spoiler tag? Should I stop posting “Rosebud is a sled!!!” every time someone talks about spoilers? (Even if I should, I won’t; I love the joke too much).

It’s even more ludicrous in some places. During the World Juniors hockey tournament this season held in Sweden many of the games were shown tape delayed in the US and Canada, but could been seen live on the internet. Two different hockey message boards, both with threads for each individual game, required spoiler tags until the game aired on TV. Those tags hide the posts by changing the font color to the forum background color unless a link is clicked on.

Really? I mean, REALLY? Scores and accounts of sporting events are news, so we need spoiler tags for news events now? And spoiler tags in threads specifically set up to discuss the games?


Really. This is because too many people are self-centered idiots that need help to make sure they don’t accidentally stumble into information they don’t want to know when they click on links that take them to the information they don’t want to know. Which, in the long run, spoils things for the rest of us…

This post is about nothing (and everything)

I was culling through some of my unfinished posts deciding what was worth finishing and what wasn’t and should be deleted. I pretty much deleted them all. Many of them were things I wanted to say about certain subjects that I just never got around to finishing or are no longer news items and posting about them now made little sense.

The one post that I read, edited a little, and then almost posted was about how much it stinks to know you’re reading the last book in a long series. It’s timely for me because I’m doing that right now (King Breaker by Rowena Cory Daniells, the fourth book in her “King Rolen’s Kin” series), but everyone knows the letdown you get when you arrive at the end knowing there won’t be any more. Not really enough there for a blog post other then naming a whole ton of series ending books. Plus, like I said, we’ve all been there so there’s not much more to say.

Another was a follow-up on the shows I was DVR’ing this fall and which new shows I liked, but to be honest the book is still out on most of them. I’ve already given up on Hostages. It’s terrible. The Blacklist is already getting repetitive and we’re only a handful of shows into the season, but NBC has ordered a whole season worth so I’ll probably keep watching. But all in all not a whole lot to post about there either.

I had a pretty good post asking why there are so many people writing reviews for classic novels. I’m sure their thoughts on books like Great Expectations and Moby Dick were wonderful but I questioned why. I decided against posting it because while it was an amusing piece who am I to tell people what they should and shouldn’t blog about. I did save a few of the quips though and will use them for something a little more appropriate.

Both my Red Sox and Patriots had great comebacks last night, but if that was something you cared about you’d already seen the highlights and read enough fan reaction, so even if I were really wanting to blog about it I don’t think I could bring anything new to the events, so I probably won’t bother.

Worthy of a mention is Rachel Aaron, author of the “Eli Monpress” series, has another series starting on November 5th with a book called Fortune’s Pawn. Because the book is so different from the Monpress books she’s writing under the name Rachel Bach. You can preorder through links to the major online retailers on on her official site. I loved the first three books in the “Eli Monpress” series and have the last two on my to read shelf, and as soon as I know I have enough time to finish them both I’ll be starting them.

Maybe next time I’ll find something more specific to blog about…and then will actually finish and post it!

What I’m DVR’ing this fall…

We’re a week into the new fall TV season and already my DVR is getting a workout. I don’t watch many shows, but every one that I do I make sure to DVR it so I won’t have to scramble if I miss an episode.

Monday night I’m recording two shows, both on at 10pm Eastern. The Blacklist, staring James Spader as one of the FBI’s most wanted fugitives who surrenders to help catch other criminals, is on NBC while Hostages runs at the same time on CBS. Hostages is a mini-series that centers on the family of a doctor scheduled to operate on the president. With Hostages running just 13 episodes I’ll likely watch that until the end, but The Blacklist is going to need to keep me interested to keep me watching.

Tuesdays it’s two of my favories, NCIS and NCIS:LA. I’ve been watching them since they’ve been on and haven’t missed an episode yet. While NCIS runs on CBS at 8pm Eastern ABC has Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and that’s “must see” for me. The first episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. didn’t disappoint, and I have high hopes for the series. Its biggest problem is it’s against of the juggernauts of prime time, so we might see ABC move this one to another time slot looking for an audience.

Thursday it’s Elementary because I’m an unapologetic fan of Lucy Liu. The series is pretty good, so that’s a plus. I find it funny that in the Elementary “universe” there is no fictional Sherlock Holmes nor apparently a Sir Arthur Conan Doyle unless he existed and just didn’t write any Holmes stores.

On Sunday it’s The Mentalist, a show that’s pretty bad and yet I’m completely hooked. It’s the same story over and over again and my wife and I refuse to miss an episode.

Gone from last season is Arrow, the CW show about my favorite superhero Green Arrow. Well, it was at least about a character named Green Arrow. The rest was crap. When there were several episodes on the DCV in July it sort of made itself clear I wasn’t watching, so I deleted them and it.

This conversation really did happen

Just had a conversation over Facebook messenger. To avoid embarrassing the other person I will not identify them. And no, they weren’t joking.

It all started with a status I posted on Facebook right after Peter Capaldi was announced as the twelfth actor to play the character Doctor Who…

So it is Peter Capaldi.

Who, you say?


X: So who is Peter Capaldi?
Me: Yes
X: No, that’s Jim Capaldi
Me: Huh?
X: Jim Capaldi. He was in the rock group Yes, right?
Me: No, Jim Capladi was in Traffic with Steve Winwood and Dave Mason.
X: OK, so who is Peter Capaldi?
Me: Yes 😉
X: Some kind of inside joke?
Me: No, the whole world knows.
X: Well, I don’t know.
Me: I told you twice now
X: Told me what?
Me: Who is Peter Capaldi. 🙂
X: Why do I feel like I’m in a bad comedy routine Abbot and Cosell
Me: Costello. Lou Costello
X: Who?
Me: Peter Capaldi
X: I don’t get it.
Me: Google his name.
X: You’re right, it’s Abbott and Costello.
Me: Ummm….
X: So, really. Who is Peter Capaldi?

At this point I felt bad and let him off the hook. If I hadn’t been reading I may have tried to go on all night.