Best New TV Shows of 2021

*I apologize for the delay in posting. I should have written this before New Year’s Eve.

  1. Loki: Tom Hiddleston shines once more as Loki, the complicated immortal who has become much more than the standard antagonist. Forced into new circumstances, he goes on a journey that forever changes him.
  2. The Wonder Years: This reboot of the beloved 1980’s/1990’s series is just as poignant as its predecessor. The choice of making the main character and his family African-American only adds to its relevancy.
  3. Law & Order: Organized Crime: This spinoff of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit starring Chris Meloni as returning Detective Elliot Stabler is a thrilling and spine tingling hour of television.
  4. Ordinary Joe: This new NBC series is the story of one man and three distinct life paths before him. Told concurrently and using different colors for each decision, is is a reminder of how one choice can affect the rest of our lives.
  5. Impeachment: American Crime Story: The latest chapter of this long running F/X series focuses on the affair between Monica Lewinsky (Beanie Feldstein) and former President Clinton (Clive Owen) and the impeachment trial that followed. Instead of focusing on Clinton, the story is about the women who were directly affected by his less than honorable actions.
  6. WandaVision: This first foray by the MCU via DisneyPlus is everything it promised to be. Wanda Maxmioff and Vision (Elisabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany) are living in family sitcom wedded bliss. But it not what it seems to be. With a star making turn by Kathryn Hahn as Agatha Harkness, this series is a must see.
  7. All Creatures Great and Small: Ths unexpectedly Masterpeice/PBS series is adorable and charming. A rookie vetenarian starts his career in rural Yorkshire in the 1930’s and grows in unexpected ways. The new season starts tonight at 9PM ET/ 8PM CT.
  8. Atlantic Crossing: This second Masterpeice/PBS series tells the story of the friendship/supposed affair between Franklin Delanor Roosevelt and Crown Princess Martha of Sweden during World War II. Forgotten for nearly a century, this tale of one woman’s drive to save her nation is truly worth watching.
  9. The Book of Boba Fett: This latest entry into the Star Wars universe from DisneyPlus just premiered on December 29th. Though only two episodes have been released, it is already asking questions that are begging for answers.
  10. Behind Her Eyes: Based on the book by Sarah Pinborough, this six part Netflix series about a married man’s affair with his secretary has a delicious ending that is jaw dropping and completely out of left field. Few endings have wowed me as this did.
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The Wonder Years Review

The Wonder Years is one of the most beloved television series of the modern era. The story of growing up from the perspective of Kevin Arnold (Fred Savage) speaks to the 12 year old in all of us.

The reboot of the series premiered on Tuesday on ABC. As in the original program, the story is set in 1968, but in Montgomery, Alabama. Our protagonist is 12 year old Dean Williams (Elisha Williams). Narrating the story from decades in the future as the adult Dean is Don Cheadle. As Dean starts on his journey from childhood to adulthood, the Civil Right movement plays on in the background affecting everything and everyone around him.

The Wonder Years is one of the best new series of the fall. It has the charm and nostalgia of its predecessor, while feeling relevant with the issues that African-Americans and other people of color are still dealing with. It hits both the heart and the head, making the viewer think while reminding us of the joys and perils of being on the precipice of our teenage years.

Do I recommend it? Yes

The Wonder Years airs on ABC on Tuesday at 8:30 PM.

Thoughts On The 30th Anniversary Of The Wonder Years

Looking back, adolescence is the defining era in our lives. It the stage that starts us on the path, for better or for worse, to adulthood.

The Wonder Years, premiered 30 years ago today.  In the late 1960’s, Kevin Arnold (Fred Savage) is on the verge of his teenage years. Layered into the narrative is the memories of Kevin as adult (Daniel Stern) told via voice over. As Kevin grows up and the late 1960’s turns into early 1970’s, he experiences the joys and heartaches of young adulthood with his best friends Paul (Josh Saviano) and Winnie (Danica McKellar), who is his first crush/first kiss/first romantic everything.

What makes The Wonder Years stand out and still holds a place in the hearts of the television audience thirty years later is that Kevin’s experience is incredibly universal. Everything he went through, we all have gone through or will through. That is why we are still talking about this show 30 years later.


Flashback Friday-Television Edition-Jack and Bobby (2004-2005)

History, especially the personal history of our politicians, at least to me, is an interesting topic. What were these future politicians like when they were young and what events put them on the path to politics?

In the short-lived television series, Jack and Bobby (2004-2005), it is the year 2049, President Bobby McCallister had just completed his second term in office as President Of The United States. Commemorating his time as President, a documentary is released about President McCallister. Included in the documentary is footage of the President when he was a young man living with his older brother and single mother. Playing the McCallister family in past tense is Grace (Christine Lahti), Jack (Matt Long) and Bobby (Logan Lerman).

Jack and Bobby was a hybrid of The West Wing and The Wonder Years. While the concept of the was interesting, unfortunately, the concept did not meet reality.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

Throwback Thursday- Brooklyn Bridge (1991-1993)

For many, the 1950’s are seen through the view of rose-colored glasses. It was a simpler time, free of the complications and grey areas that we deal with today.

Between 1991 and 1993, television audiences saw the world through the eyes of Alan Silver (Danny Gerard) in Brooklyn Bridge. A young man growing in a Jewish family in early 1950’s Brooklyn,NY, it was the story of not just this young man and his life, but it is also a world that has retreated into memory. With Marion Ross of Happy Days fame playing Alan’s grandmother and Art Garfunkel singing the show’s theme song, it was a trip back in the time for those who lived in that world and for those who didn’t, it added to the warm and fuzzy nostalgia that is associated with the period.

What I find very interesting about Brooklyn Bridge is that it used the same nostalgia factor that made The Wonder Years a hit. Unfortunately, while The Wonder Years lasted five years, Brooklyn Bridge only stayed on the air for two years.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Early Throwback Thursday Post-State Of Grace (2001-2002)

Outside of our families, our friends are often closest to our hearts. When we are young, our friends will shape our world and our world view as much as our families

In the short-lived television series State Of Grace (2001-2002), two young women have become friends in the mid 1960’s.

Emma Grace McKee (Mae Whitman) and Hannah Rayburn (Alia Shawkat) are best friends. Emma is Catholic and Hannah is Jewish. Against the changes that the world is experiencing in the mid 1960’s and the individual changes that we all go through during our preteen years, Emma and Hannah will face the world together.

This show, like many, did not last. While the idea of the show was interesting and used The Wonder Years as a model for storytelling, it was simply ok.

Do I recommend it? I would like to say yes, but I am more inclined toward maybe.

Flashback Friday- The Wonder Years (1988)

There is something universal about being 12 years old. It is an age where we start to grow up, but we are still very much children.

The Wonder Years (1988-1993) is the story of Kevin Arnold (Fred Savage), a boy growing up in the 1960’s and 70’s. Narrated by the adult Kevin (Daniel Stern) remembering his preteen and teen years, The Wonder Years stands out in the landscape of television.

Kevin’s family consists of his parents, Jack and Norma ( Dan Laura and Alley Mills), his hippie older sister Karen (Olivia d’Abo) and his tormentor/older brother, Wayne (Jason Hervey). His best friend Paul Pfeiffer (Josh Saviano) and his on and off girlfriend, Winnie Cooper (Danica McKellar) were regulars in Kevin’s life during those very interesting and life altering years.

With the release of the series on DVD and the cast reunion, this show harkens back to a simpler time when the biggest dilemma was if the boy or girl next door knew you had a crush on them or the thrill of victory when you earned the A on the very difficult math quiz.

I recommend this show.

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