Yesterday was the day that I admitted it to myself – the summer is coming to an end. Public schools here start tomorrow and a fresh television season is right around the corner. Those are the two key items that I use to mark the end of summer. So, for the 800th time since May, once again I have broken out my fall 2015 television grid to try to figure out, once and for all, what I will be watching.
While the advent of DVRs have made things moderately more easy through the years, the selection process is by no means simple and my children getting older has made picking shows that much more complicated. My daughter is now awake for about the first hour of primetime and I’d rather not sequester myself off from her just so I can watch TV she isn’t allowed to see.
To be clear, I do not in any way advocate a television model that insists on family programming being on in the 8pm hour, but I will admit that having things both my daughter and I will like watching on TV does make life easier. Happily, there are a bunch of nights this year where that will work… at least until shows shift around or get cancelled.
Interestingly, in a “the more things change” mode, it’s ABC she’s going to be watching more than anything else, just as it was when I was her age. The network has done a great job developing family friendly comedies for the better part of the last decade. While some of the jokes on “The Middle,” “The Goldbergs,” and “Fresh off the Boat” may make me cringe if my daughter is on the sofa with me, the sitcoms are all relatively good-natured and have characters to which she might be able to relate. It isn’t that the same isn’t true of “Black-ish” or “Modern Family,” but I don’t have to worry about the 9pm hour yet.
Plus, ABC has “The Muppets” at 8pm on Tuesday nights and anyone who is awake at that hour in my house is going to be watching it. It is a requirement of living here.
I don’t mean to suggest that other networks don’t have things for my daughter either. It’s just that somehow ABC’s shows are the highlights of the week. I am not at this moment sure that she’ll be watching anything on The CW or NBC, but both CBS and FOX offer programs for her.
A huge fan of superheroes, CBS’s “Supergirl” is right up my daughter’s alley. She has no familiarity at all with the character or how a television series about a superhero might work, so she comes into that with no expectations whatsoever. The producers can weave whatever story they want, change the history of the character, do just about anything, and she’ll be able to roll with it that in a way that is sometimes difficult for people who come in already invested in the character/mythology.
Finally, FOX has “Masterchef” and “Masterchef Junior,” both of which she’s already watched and both of which she has enjoyed. While seeing those hasn’t turned into her making me delicious five course meals, she’s no schlub with cookies, brownies, and the like. Even so, that’s not exactly the sort of “restaurant quality” beef wellington that will get her through “the dreaded pressure test.” Maybe though another season or two of each will get her there.
You know what the truth of the whole thing is; why I look for these sorts of series? It’s that even if we’re not talking the entire time, my daughter and I sit there together and have a shared experience, one we can then examine later. The insights she offers about a show and the way she see things shaking out on it offer glimpses into her worldview and that’s a pretty valuable thing.
So, even if the summer is ending, there’s a whole lot to look forward to right around the corner.
photo credit: ABC/CBS/FOX