With new, network, cable and streaming shows premiering this month of September, the good folks at Hamilton’s CHCH — including Morning Live co-host Annette Hamm — had me in to recommend some shows worth watching.
It’s not a deep list this season. Where once there would be 30 or so to choose from, there’s barely 20 this fall. Things have changed with Netflix and other streamers cranking out content every month. Picking the best network shows this September is sort of like recommending the best vaudeville acts of 1966.
Canadian private network buyers, looking to jam their schedules full of American content, generally count on importing 30 or so rookie shows each fall. Most U.S. networks, however, are standing pat, renewing shows they might normally cancel. As a result, CTV is down to promoting the hell out of The Masked Singer, a stunt reality show that made some noise on Fox last January. Nobody in Canada bought it then; now CTV is telling us it is Must See TV.
CTV also took an American cable show they had earmarked for Bravo, LA’s Finest, and put it right on its main network schedule. Not that there’s anything especially wrong with LA’s Finest, which stars Gabrielle Union and Jessica Alba as a pair of rather striking Los Angeles police officers, but reaching from the basic cable bin would not have been necessary in year’s past.
I do make three or four recommendations, however, including one show where I didn’t particularly like the pilot. Carol’s Second Act is clearly built around TV veteran Patricia Heaton, with the three-time Emmy winner back as a retired teacher who decides to make a mid-life switch to medicine. Heaton plays an intern surrounded by other med students who could easily be her children. All the sitcom tropes are there: an uptight boss (Ito Aghayere plays the chief resident), a “funny” co-worker (Kyle MacLachlan as Dr. Frost) An adult offspring who thinks mom has flipper her lid (Ashley Tisdale).
Also in the cast is Toronto stand-up comedian Sabrina Jalees, who plays one of the other interns. Jalees started out as a writer on the show and wound up on screen. She steps right up and runs with the part.
It is Heaton, who enjoyed nine season runs on both Everybody Loves Raymond and The Middle, who makes me think this series could grow into something better. She brings warmth and smarts to the pilot, as well as the funny.
Watch the above video for a few other picks for fall: The Politician, Ryan Murphy’s first show as part of his $300 million deal for Netflix, Stumptown, a Fox action-drama starring Vancouver native Coby Smulders, the new CBC sketch comedy series Tallboyz, executive produced by Kids in the Hall‘s Bruce McColloch and The Morning Show, Apple’ Plus new streaming series starring Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon.