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'The DVR Test' and 9 Other Things We Are Thinking About TV This Week

By Ryan McGee | TV | March 8, 2017 |

By Ryan McGee | TV | March 8, 2017 |

The Goldbergs doesn’t get a lot of press, but it’s consistently one of the most comforting half-hours on TV each week. To call it comforting it’s damning it with faint praise: Creating something that evokes such warmth isn’t an easy thing to do, otherwise every show would do it. Part of my love for the show comes from my age (I’m a nerd-child of the ’80s, so yeah, I identify), but also from the consistent way in which the show pivots into emotional third acts while avoiding obvious schmaltz.

One clear sign that The Goldbergs is one of my favorite shows: It has consistently won what I call “The DVR Test.” We all do it: When faced with a mountain of backlogged programs, it’s consistently the one I watch first. I’m sure everyone here has a show like this. Ideally you watch these shows live, of course, but life gets in the way. What’s your DVR Test winner?

It’s a fine line between “groundbreaking” and “going up one’s own butt,” and last week’s Legion leant unfortunately towards the latter. I’m all for formal experimentation and creative storytelling, but this felt like a demo reel rather than a complete episode of TV. I don’t think it fundamentally broke the show or anything, but it did feel like a failed, if noble, experiment.

Without spoiling the finale, I can say that this Wednesday’s finale of Man Seeking Woman solidifies the show’s place in my year-end top ten list. Yes, it’s only March, but I can’t imagine loving ten shows more than this between now and December.

The inability to Fast Forward through commercials while watching On Demand programming is so insidious that I can’t believe it’s not the only way we’re allowed to watch television. I mean that sincerely: If the point is to force our eyeballs to watch ads to ensure revenue to create more programming, and On Demand is the best way to make them unskippable, why are old-fashioned schedules even necessary? I’m all for user convenience, but I’m also willing to chip in to actually fund the shows that provide me entertainment.

The obvious benefit of “old-fashioned schedules” is that it’s easier to plan for the production and collective consumption of content. It’s really easy to build a buzz around Game Of Thrones if you know it airs certain Sundays at a certain time. If episodes dropped like Beyoncé albums, out of the freakin’ blue, then it would be difficult to have a conversation based on shared experiences. (That being said, how crazy would it be if the next GoT season just randomly dropped on HBO GO with little fanfare ahead of time in the middle of a Tuesday afternoon? That would be the thing that would literally break the internet, correct?)

HBO clearly wants more Game of Thrones content, and I think going the Muppet Babies route is the way to go. Who doesn’t want to see Ramsay Bolton throwing sand into the eyes of other kids, or Daenerys Targaryen, Nanny Of Dragons? (In fairness, I think most shows could be improved by applying the Muppet Babies filter on them, so I’m biased.)

My fears over the ickiness of Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton both coaching The Voice while publicly dating have been realized so totally and overwhelmingly that I’m almost impressed by the commitment of everyone involved. The Voice has always been more about the coaches than the contestants, to the point of them constantly pointing out how many seasons THEY have won, but this is a new low. That being said, “Alicia Keys making adorable faces while pushing her button and turning around” continues to give me strength that the world isn’t a total garbage fire, so I guess it’s a wash in the end.

On a scale of 1-10 in terms of believability, the student lounge in Riverdale is somehow a negative 62.

Chicago Justice was so inevitable that I don’t know how it took this long to arrive at its existence. Chicago Transportation, Chicago Zoning, and Chicago Sanitation have probably been announced since the time I originally wrote this piece, as well as one of those online MasterClass sessions in which Dick Wolf teaches twenty-somethings about other public service agencies in which inexplicably hot people could work.

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