I find myself at a crossroads as a TV reviewer. What should I write about? Review mainstays from my time at Drunken Thieves are not options, as Game of Thrones is gone until the spring of 2016 and Teen Wolf is gone until January 2016. Picking another show to review is not as easy as it seems, either. After I first started reviewing Game of Thrones, I picked Teen Wolf to review because at the time it was coming off Season 3b, the high point of the show, so I figured it would be a fun show to review. That has proven to be a hit-or-miss experience—the show just isn’t quite as fun when I have to analyze it every week, although I try to keep the reviews on the lighter side compared to Game of Thrones. Last year this experience left me paralyzed, unable to pick another show once Teen Wolf ended. That’s probably for the best, because I was likely to pick Sleepy Hollow, and that would have been truly a depressing experience considering how disappointing Season 2 of that show proved to be. With the launch of Kraken, long term dormancy is no longer an option. The answer finally revealed itself to me: TV Roulette.
There is a lot of television on the air right now, and watching all of it is, from a practical standpoint, impossible. So why not embrace the current unprecedented diversity of shows? Week-to-week reviews are fun, and allow you to follow the growth, stagnation, or regression of a particular show, but it also creates a certain way you have to cover things, and inherently causes you to develop biases about a show the more you write about it. So I began to wonder what it would be like to simply review one episode of a show, and then move into another show the next week. How would I approach the review differently? Would the content of the episode matter more or less? Suddenly, I no longer had to worry about the prospects of, say, covering an entire season of Sleepy Hollow, and feeling like part of my soul is dying each week as a once very good show descended into a shell of its former self. Hypothetically. Instead I could have the fun of analyzing an episode of a show, but be freed from any obligation to write about it week after week.
This just left one question: how would I select the shows I would review? I could have simply said, I watch a lot of TV, so I will just pick a new show I like every week, and go from there. I couldn’t, however, get over the nagging feeling that doing so would be a disservice to our audience, as I would be limiting content possibilities. Too many of the shows I watch are at their core quite similar, so a lot of the same thoughts would just be written over and over again in different contexts. So what if I removed my own biases and interests as a limiting factor in what I review?
Even though roulette is not my gambling game of choice (I’m more of a blackjack and craps kind of guy), I have always found it fascinating. There is just something pure about the idea of putting of watching a ball go round and round until it hits a certain number. While betting strategies can get a bit complex, roulette itself is simple, yet unpredictable. I’ve already tried applying that sort of random system to watching anime with friends, and the result is that we get to see animes that none of us have ever seen before. Some are good, most are quite bad, but the thing I like about this game is that it takes a lot of preconceived notions away from the watching experience. Too often we all tend not to give a show a chance because of bad press we have heard about it, or because it’s about a subject we have little interest in. Sometimes we let a bad marketing campaign sour us on the show before it even airs. No matter the reason, we inevitably don’t give certain shows a chance. That is not to say these pre-existing impressions aren’t sometimes justified, but they can certainly prove limiting to critical thought. TV Roulette is designed to eliminate a lot of this noise, and expand the type of shows this blog will talk about.
To that end, I have compiled as comprehensive list as I can of the shows that are currently on the air or will be airing some time during this season. Of course, this comes with a few caveats:
- 1) This is mainly for “scripted” night time shows, with some exceptions made for a select number of reality competition shows and variety programs. (If you receive an award during the main Emmy ceremony I guess you should get included.) So yes, most of reality television is not on this list, but all that does it makes the list only slightly ridiculous, as opposed to absolutely bonkers.
- 2) I make no claims that I have found everything that could possibly be watched and considered television, even working solely with scripted shows. There is just too much on too many different platforms airing at the moment. Shows come and go all the time, and so like I said, I have done what I can to include as many shows as I can find that have or will premiere in 2015. The list will be updated when 2016 rolls around, and again as more time passes and so forth and so on.
- 3) This will run in cycles. The current cycle is the full TV season, which started September 21st and will finish some time in May. After that, everything will be reset, and if this is still going, either a new list with summer shows will be made, or I will take a break before starting again with the 2016 prime time fall television season (and so forth and so on for as long as I keep this going).
So with those caveats stated, how is this going to work? I have randomized all of the shows on the list. Each week a random number will be picked, and I will review the show that corresponds to that number. Sometimes this means I will get a show that I watch on a regular basis, sometimes this means I will get a show that I have seen before but don’t watch regularly anymore, and sometimes I will get shows I have never seen before and never planned on watching. The opinion of a long-time fan, a sometimes viewer, or a total neophyte—with TV Roulette you’ll never know what you’re going to get.
Before each review I will give some basic information about what show and episode I am watching, how much I have seen of the show in the past, the original air date, etc. Also, considering the random nature of this, I’m sure I’ll take a different approach with each review depending on how familiar I am with the show. Sometimes I’ll be able to engage with the current plot, and sometimes I’ll be totally mystified, dropped randomly into the middle of the action. This hopefully means that each review should be different from the last, especially because no show will be reviewed more than once.
TV Roulette offers a chance for a different type of TV review, and should prove to be a challenging and enjoyable experience. So tune in each week to see how the roulette wheel has spoken, and look below for the continually growing list of covered shows.
Weekly Roulette Post 2.0:
Week of September 25th: Lethal Weapon
Week of October 2nd: Dancing With The Stars
Weekly Roulette Post 1.0:
Week of January 24th: Chicago Med
Week of January 31st: Star Wars Rebels
Week of March 20th: Underground
Week of March 27th: Vinyl
Week of April 10th: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Week of April 17th: Family Guy
Week of May 1st: Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Week of May 8th: The Blacklist
Week of May 15th: The Talking Dead
Weekly Roulette Post 1.0:
Week of October 11: Scream Queens
Week of October 18: FaceOff
Week of October 25: The Originals
Week of November 1: Satisfaction
Week of November 8: Sleepy Hollow
Week of November 15: Blindspot
Week of November 22: The Walking Dead
Week of November 29: South Park
Week of December 6th: iZombie
Week of December 13th: The Goldbergs
Week of December 30: Scorpion