Monday, August 31The CDP 2015-2016 Fall TV Preview.
Don’t call it a comeback; it's that time of year again!
For the 10th GODDAMN YEAR, the CDP is back with the rundown on nearly 60 new, returning and midseason TV shows. These are the shows I will be watching (or at least giving a chance to) throughout the season. All times Central, and the premiere and time slot information is as accurate as I could get. I also stuck mostly with national networks and basic cable, because the CDP is welcoming of those in all tax brackets and considers piracy a crime literally worse than murder (even worse than watching shows on your dumb phone).
And hey, if this preview isn't enough for you, feel free to take a trip in the Wayback Machine to see my 9 other Fall TV Previews:
2005-2006 Preview. (Lost! Malcolm in the Middle! Arrested Development!)
2006-2007 Preview. (King of the Hill! House MD! The Office!)
2007-2008 Preview. (Friday Night Lights! 30 Rock! Heroes!)
2008-2009 Preview. (24! My Name is Earl! Dollhouse!)
2009-2010 Preview. (Parks and Recreation! Modern Family! The Middle!)
2010-2011 Preview. (Community! Bob's Burgers! Louie!)
2011-2012 Preview. (Breaking Bad! The Walking Dead! Adventure Time!)
2013-2014 Preview. (The Goldbergs! Agents of SHIELD! Brooklyn Nine-Nine!)
2014-2015 Preview. (Gotham! Once Upon a Time! The Flash!)
…Yeah, I’ve reviewed a lot of television over the years. No sense in stopping now; let’s do this.
6-7pm America’s Funniest Videos - ABC (10/11)
6:30-7pm Bob’s Burgers - FOX (9/27)
7-7:30pm The Simpsons - FOX (9/27)
7-8pm Once Upon a Time - ABC (9/27)
7:30-8pm Brooklyn Nine-Nine - FOX (9/27)
7:30-10:30pm Sunday Night Football - NBC (9/13)
8-9pm Fear the Walking Dead - AMC (8/23)
8-9pm The Walking Dead - AMC (10/11)
8:30-9pm The Last Man on Earth - FOX (9/27)
9-10pm Talking Dead - AMC (10/11)
THE SKINNY! - Comedy on Sunday night belongs to FOX, with the exceptional Bob's Burgers heading into their 6th season, which leads in to The Simpsons 27th. From there, the very underrated Brooklyn Nine-Nine (which won a Golden Globe for Best Comedy, but wasn't even nominated for an Emmy) sets the table for The Last Man on Earth, the Will Forte-helmed, post-apocalyptic comedy that pretty much needs to be seen to be understood, and I mean that in a good way.
And hey, speaking of post-apocalyptic, Fear The Walking Dead is currently off and running, boasting the largest cable premiere audience in Television history. Following a 6-episode Season 1, we lead into the highly-anticipated premiere of The Walking Dead, with Talking Dead bringing the night to a close with the soothing, dulcet tones of Mr. Chris Hardwick.
BUT I CAN ONLY WATCH ONE SHOW! - If comedy is your thing, Bob's Burgers is about as good as it gets. Otherwise, The Walking Dead is Appointment TV to end all other Appointment TV. And hey, there's always football. Football's fun.
7-8pm Supergirl - CBS (10/26)
7-8pm Gotham - FOX (9/21)
7-10pm Monday Night Raw - USA (Ongoing)
7:30-10:30pm Monday Night Football - ESPN (9/14)
9-10pm Fargo - FX (10/12)
THE SKINNY! - Fargo is one of my favorite movies of all-time, so like most, I was apprehensive when the miniseries version hit FX last year. However, it was spectacular, winning 3 Emmys and being nominated for over a dozen more. Over on CBS, they step into the Superhero market with Supergirl, a visually stunning (yet maybe a bit campy) effort (with Calista Flockhart!). And sticking with the DC Universe, the gritty Gotham returns for Season 2 over on FOX.
If sports (and Sports Entertainment) is more your thing, we have the longtime flagships Monday Night Raw and Monday Night Football on USA and ESPN respectively. WWE programming is more in line with superhero dramas than you may think, and the fact that ESPN's Chris Berman hasn't had a myocardial infarction yet should be a motivational tribute to us all.
BUT I CAN ONLY WATCH ONE SHOW! - Season 1 of Fargo was spectacular, but there are no guarantees the second time around. No chance I'm missing it, though. Gotham lost my attention a bit toward the end of S1, and Supergirl has the opportunity to wow, but I'm not holding my breath.
7-7:30pm The Muppets - ABC (9/22)
7-8pm The Flash - CW (10/6)
7:30-8pm The Grinder - FOX (9/29)
8-9pm Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - ABC (9/29)
8-9pm Scream Queens - FOX (9/29)
THE SKINNY! - I went into Season 1 of The Flash with mediocre hopes, and they ended up surpassing anything I thought was possible for a CW show. When my enthusiasm for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. began to wane somewhat (but not enough to cease watching altogether), The Flash became same-night Appointment TV for yours truly. An action-packed, bright series with incredibly lofty storytelling and a cast that has become better with each episode. I'm a sucker for Time Travel.
Two new shows arrive on FOX with The Grinder (a courtroom comedy starring Fred Savage and Rob Lowe) and Scream Queens (a Glee-meets-American Horror Story satirical horror-comedy I have high hopes for), but come on, what we're really looking forward to is the primetime return of The Muppets. A mockumentary-style sitcom detailing the Muppets' behind-the-scenes efforts to create a late night talk show starring Miss Piggy. I can't wait.
BUT I CAN ONLY WATCH ONE SHOW! - The Flash turned out to be so much better than I ever thought it would be; it's sincerely one of my favorite returning shows of the year. Also, Scream Queens has a ton of potential. But are you really going to skip out on a new Muppets show?
7-7:30pm The Middle - ABC (9/23)
7-8pm Arrow - CW (10/7)
7:30-8pm The Goldbergs - ABC (9/23)
8-8:30pm Modern Family - ABC (9/23)
9-10pm Nashville - ABC (9/23)
9-10pm American Horror Story - FX (10/7)
9-10pm The Ultimate Fighter - SPIKE (9/9)
THE SKINNY! - Wednesday nights on ABC remain comedy strong, with reliable favorites The Middle and Modern Family. Wedged between the two, is the secret weapon known as The Goldbergs, an absolute must-watch for any fan of the 80's and the abundance of Pop Culture nestled within. Funny, well-written, handled with care, nostalgic and Wonder Years-esque, Season 3 of The Goldbergs is an extremely welcome sight.
Arrow should return with a record audience following Stephen Amell's outstanding appearance at this year's Summerslam, and the soapy goodness of Nashville brings Season 4 (and their highest ratings yet) to the 9am slot. American Horror Story: Hotel (and Lady Gaga!) push the envelope in the 5th Season of FX's anthology series, and coaches Conor McGregor and Uriah Faber helm opposing teams of up-and-coming Mixed Martial Artists on Spike TV's The Ultimate Fighter. Wednesday is packed.
BUT I CAN ONLY WATCH ONE SHOW! - You watch The Goldbergs. Then you go back and watch every episode of The Goldbergs that you missed. Then you come back and tell me how awesome you think The Goldbergs is. The Goldbergs.
7-8pm Heroes Reborn - NBC (9/24)
7-9pm Thursday Night Smackdown - SYFY (Ongoing)
7:30-10:30pm Thursday Night Football - CBS (9/17)
9-10pm The Player - NBC (9/24)
THE SKINNY! - Listen, Heroes. We have to talk. I'm convinced that the first season of this show had limitless possibility, and became one of the biggest examples of missed opportunity in the history of television. I have no idea how such a perfect idea could have been bungled so poorly. Nonetheless, we're getting another reboot, and here's hoping they can right past wrongs this time around.
Elsewhere, the NFL and WWE compete in similar timeslots, while the Wesley Snipes-helmed The Player takes on the world of gambling and...wait...Wesley Snipes?
Blade? From Blade?
Okay, I'm in.
BUT I CAN ONLY WATCH ONE SHOW! - Both Heroes Reborn and The Player have the potential to be goofy caricatures of what we expect them to be (or maybe that's what we want them to be). We already gave Heroes a chance though, so I'm checking out The Player and remembering not to take it too seriously.
Last Man Standing - ABC (9/25)
Dr. Ken - ABC (10/2)
The Amazing Race - CBS (9/25)
Hawaii Five 0 - CBS (9/25)
Blue Bloods - CBS (9/25)
Reign - CW (10/9)
MasterChef Junior - FOX (11/6)
Undateable - NBC (10/9)
Truth Be Told - NBC (10/16)
Grimm - NBC (10/30)
THE SKINNY! - Maybe you’re interested in one or more of the shows listed above. I, however, will be watching none of them. Friday is Sushi and Snuggles Night with The Missus.
You got your priorities, I've got mine.
BUT I HAVE TO WATCH ONE SHOW! - I suppose I'd watch Truth Be Told, if only because it's new and stars Zach Morris. NBC's placing of it on Friday isn't a great sign of their faith in its success, though.
8-9pm Ash vs. Evil Dead - STARZ (10/31)
8-9pm Doctor Who - BBCA (9/19)
8:30-9pm Guardians of the Galaxy - DISXD (9/26)
10:30pm-12am Saturday Night Live - NBC (10/3)
11pm-2:30am Toonami* - SWIM (Ongoing)
(*Toonami's current lineup consists of Dragon Ball Z Kai, Akame Ga Kill, Mitchiko and Hatchin, Sword Art Online II, Naruto Shippuden, One Piece and Attack on Titan.)
THE SKINNY! - Saturday, formerly a barren wasteland and guaranteed death blow for any series unfortunate enough to be planted within, is now maybe the most fun night on Television. Late Night brings us 3.5 straight hours of Anime courtesy of Toonami, currently the only Anime block on American Television. Also, we get Season 41 of Saturday Night Live, with Miley Cyrus, Amy Schumer and Tracy Morgan (in an emotional return) handling hosting duties for the first three weeks.
Who knows what direction Disney XD's Guardians of the Galaxy will take, but there's no way I'm missing it. Maybe my favorite superhero movie of all-time (The Dark Knight is close), I don't plan on neglecting myself the chance to see Star Lord, Rocket, Groot, Drax and Gamora on my TV again, even in animated form.
BUT I CAN ONLY WATCH ONE SHOW! - Saturday is all about what your obsession happens to be. Horror? Sci-Fi? Marvel Universe? Sketch Comedy? Anime? Pick your favorite and run with it. It should be fun no matter what...
...watch the trailer for Ash vs. Evil Dead, though. This is gonna be awesome.
8-9pm Better Call Saul - AMC (2016)
7-8pm The X-Files - FOX (1/24)
8-9pm Lucifer - FOX (2016)
THE SKINNY! - Having watched the trailer for Lucifer, I see a lot of Constantine parallels in the storytelling and main character. Not to mention that it looks visually beautiful and will be sure to piss off more than a few Parents Television Council types with too much time on their hands. For that alone, I'm in.
Better Call Saul is as good as TV gets, no question about it. I'm hoping for an Emmy sweep this year, similar to Breaking Bad, and the 13-episode Season 2 arrives in early 2016. Season 1 was a masterfully-crafted origin story of sorts, and I expect S2 to get slightly darker and more murky as Saul slowly continues his transformation from small-time con man to Black Belt slimeball.
Finally, we have the highly-anticipated, highly-hyped, I-cannot-believe-this-is-actually-happening, 6-episode return of The X-Files. One of the greatest shows of the 1990's, and one of the most influential Sci-Fi shows of all-time (particularly regarding bringing Sci-Fi to a mainstream audience), Mulder and Scully return for equal parts overarching mythology and monster-of-the-week adventures. Awesome.
10:30-11:30pm The Late Show w/Stephen Colbert - CBS (9/8)
10-10:30pm The Daily Show with Trevor Noah - COM (9/28)
THE SKINNY! - I didn't know who Trevor Noah was before I heard he was taking over for Jon Stewart at The Daily Show. Then I watched his episode of Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee, and I was absolutely floored with his story, humor and work ethic. The dude is special, and he's going to be a perfect successor to a throne that requires a ton of responsibility and a passion for politcal satire.
...Speaking of taking over the throne of an extremely-respected host, Stephen Colbert will be stepping behind the desk that David Letterman called his home for decades. I'm very much looking forward to seeing an out-of-character Colbert, still willing to be as weird as he wants to be, in the spirit of Letterman and Conan O'Brien before him. I can't say I make it a point to watch Fallon, Kimmel or Seth Meyers on a weekly basis, but I'll definitely be DVR'ing Colbert for at least the first month or so.
10. Glee (FOX)
9. Utopia (FOX)
8. Two and a Half Men (CBS)
7. Resurrection (ABC)
6. The Following (FOX)
5. The Mentalist (CBS)
4. Revenge (ABC)
3. Constantine (NBC)
2. Hannibal (NBC)
1. Parks and Recreation (NBC)
THE SKINNY! - Leading into the 2015-2016 Fall TV season, we said goodbye to a few notable shows, either due to cancellation or mutual Series Finale. Shows like Glee, Two-and-a-Half Men, The Following, The Mentalist and Revenge waned a bit as the seasons piled up, while Utopia, Resurrection, Constantine and Hannibal weren't able to secure a large enough audience early on.
However, Parks and Recreation was able to end on their terms, and rode off into the sunset the same way they arrived: Perfectly. With some of the best comedy writing (and maybe the greatest ensemble cast) in Sitcom History, Parks and Recreation survived a touch-and-go first season to become as good as The Office and 30 Rock before it.
Bye bye, L'il Sebastian.
THE CDP'S WEEKLY DVR SCHEDULE:
Are you like me? Do you want to watch the same exact programs that I do, in the perfect order, every week? Well then, this is for you. What follows is my personal weekly Live and DVR TV schedule, featuring all Prime Time shows included* in my Preview, 4 hours a night, 7 nights a week. I am not responsible for any divorces or losses of friends as a result of following this schedule:
(*Midseason/Nightly/Late Night shows and football not included. Get in where you fit in, yo.)
6-7pm - America’s Funniest Videos (LIVE)
7-7:30pm - Bob’s Burgers (DVR)
7:30-8pm - The Simpsons (DVR)
8-9pm - Fear the Walking Dead/The Walking Dead (LIVE)
9-10pm - Talking Dead (LIVE)
6-6:30pm - Brooklyn Nine-Nine (DVR)
6:30-7pm - The Last Man on Earth (DVR)
7-10pm - Monday Night Raw (LIVE)
6-7pm - Once Upon a Time (DVR)
7-7:30pm - The Muppets (LIVE)
7:30-8pm - The Grinder (LIVE)
8-9pm - The Flash (DVR)
9-10pm - Fargo (DVR)
6-7pm - Supergirl (DVR)
7-8pm - Gotham (DVR)
8-9pm - Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (DVR)
9-10pm - The Ultimate Fighter (LIVE)
6-6:30pm - The Middle (DVR)
6:30-7pm - The Goldbergs (DVR)
7-8pm - Scream Queens (DVR)
8-10pm - Thursday Night Smackdown (DVR)
6-7pm - Arrow (DVR)
7-8pm - Heroes Reborn (DVR)
8-9pm - Nashville (DVR)
9-10pm - American Horror Story (DVR)
7-7:30pm - Modern Family (DVR)
7:30-8:30pm - The Player (DVR)
8:30-9:30pm - Doctor Who (DVR)
9:30-10pm - Guardians of the Galaxy (DVR)
10-11pm - Ash vs. Evil Dead (DVR)
Pow. 30 shows, 28 hours of TV, 7 nights a week, 4 perfect hours a night. It's...gorgeous.
THIS CONCLUDES OUR BROADCASTING DAY
Well, there you have it. The scoop on my personal Fall TV schedule, for the 10th year running. Set your DVRs, sound off in the comments section and enjoy your week. I was gone for a while; it's good to be back.
Don’t forget to tell me the shows you plan on watching on My Twitter and over on My Facebook. And hey, go buy one of my books while you're at it. Thanks much; have a good one.
Friday, August 28200 Channels And Nothing But Cats.
Over 10 years.
Over 600 shows.
Thousands of hours in front of the television.
Enough research and obsession to warrant an intervention.
The CDP returns Monday, August 31 with the 2015-2016 Fall TV Preview.
The scoop on over 60 new and returning shows, for the 10th year running.
Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your weekend.
Friday, January 9The Top 20 CDP Essays (2012-2014).
Here are the Top 20 CDP Essays from 2012 to 2014, in bite-sized form. Click at will and enjoy in moderation.
'The Greatest TV Show Of The Last 25 Years.' (April/May 2014)
Week 1 - Week 2 - Week 3 - Week 4 - Week 5 - Week 6
#20 – 'The Walking Dead Friday.' (Seasons 3/4)
#19 – 'Shining Like A Beacon From Coast To Coast.' (2/25/13)
#18 – 'Stanger Danger.' (11/11/14)
#17 – 'The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective Television Fans.' (9/13/13)
#16 – 'Aren’t You Gonna Smile For Me?' (2/18/13)
#15 – 'Today I Am 30.' (2/1/12)
#14 – 'Time To Meet Your (Sandwich) Maker.' (7/19/13)
#13 – 'Burning For You.' (2/17/14)
#12 – 'Nuclear (Nielsen) Family.' (3/11-15/13)
Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5
#11 – 'Let’s Go To The Hospital.' (4/15/13)
#10 – 'The Funniest Thing I’ve Ever Seen.' (2/7/12)
#9 – 'If Love Is The Answer You’ll Hold, Hold On.' (6/19/13)
#8 – 'Waiting For October.' (10/29/13)
#7 – 'Have A Super Sonic Day.' (9/15/14)
#6 – 'Don’t Call It A Comeback, I’ve Been Here For Years.' (2/11-12/13)
Part 1 - Part 2
#5 – 'It’s Great To Be Eighteen.' (2/6/12)
#4 – 'The Great CD Swap Of 2000.' (5/7/13)
#3 – 'Dad.' (6/14/13)
#2 – 'The UW-Whitewater Swim Team.' (2/8/12)
#1 – 'Eat The Fish Head.' (2/10/14)
Friday, January 2Two Minutes Of 2014.
Here's a thing I wanted to share with you as a kind of final haymaker punch to the frustrating year that was 2014.
There's this app called 1 Second Everyday. You put it on your phone and start shooting video. As much or as little as you want, for as long as you want. After a certain amount of time, 1SE will string all of your clips together into tiny increments, giving you a frantic video patchwork of your last month, year or whatever. It's a cool idea, works like a charm and never crashed on me. I think it costs a dollar.
Near the end of 2013 and deep into 2014, I tried to remind myself to shoot some video everyday for my 1SE project. I'm not the type to capture a lot of photos and video when experiencing something interesting, and sometimes I would just grab a few seconds of me petting the cats, but I did manage to put together about 120 seconds of usable footage. It's mostly sushi, cats and beer, but I cannot think of a more accurate snapshot of how I live my life.
No, seriously. A lot of sushi, cats and beer.
So anyway, here it is (after a few tweaks and adding some music). Take it or leave it; I just couldn't bear to have it sitting on a hard drive. Turn up the sound, watch and enjoy.
So long, 2014. For real. The CDP returns with more new stuff shortly.
Wednesday, December 312014 CDP Year In Review.
What did you do this year? I grew a beard once!
Anyway, here it is; the entirety of 2014, through the eyes of the Communist Dance Party. Click liberally and have fun tonight. I will be at home with a glass of wine, playing Cards Against Humanity with my cats. You're not invited, only because I don't have enough chairs and don't want to put the leaf in the table.
In February, I returned for Season 10 of the CDP by telling a story about who I was, where I've been and where I was going, all brought on by the unholy consumption of a giant shrimp's head at local sushi bar. I also took the time to once again mention that I've been doing this shit for over a decade now, which could mean that I'm suffering from any number of neurological maladies, narcissism being the least of my concerns at this point.
The Winter of 2014 was long and exceptionally bitter, which meant that I needed to fix my fireplace if I were to remain comfy and tastefully romantic with the Missus during the long February evenings. Of course, I know nothing about natural gas or fireplace repair, so the whole thing was more or less like defusing a bomb (Spoiler: I didn't asploded).
If you can believe it, I was still recapping The Walking Dead up through Season 4. Seriously; I had to go back and double check, because I had absolutely no recollection of this whatsoever. Turns out, it was still pretty funny, although I'm pretty sure nobody liked these particular captions but me.
In late March through mid-May, the CDP embarked on one of the biggest Pop Culture meltdowns in history, as 128 television shows fought for your vote to determine the Greatest TV Show Of The Last 25 Years.
As the weeks rolled on, the votes piled up, the upsets were fierce and the debates swept through the comments, Facebook and Twitter like wildfire. I spent most nights tabulating votes right until midnight, when a new round would start and a new slew of votes came rolling in. I had never turned the page over to you peeps like that before, and despite all the bitching, it was a ton of fun.
In the end, I was able to see through an idea I had been kicking around for two years, and despite my perceived grumpiness through it all, it was freaking awesome and I plan on doing a similar tournament sometime in 2015. You've been warned.
After six straight weeks of non-stop updates, I took a month off to pet cats and gain weight, two talents I desperately need to monetize for the good of my future. However, I returned with something I felt was important: A plea to help out my nephew. And after several months of getting the word out and thanking a lot of extremely generous people, I'm happy to say that he raised enough cash to receive his service dog. How cool is that?
August was Rerun Month, as I reheated my Top 100 Simpsons Episodes list in honor of FXX's 2-week-long, 'Every Simpsons Ever' marathon. In the end, I think I DVR'd over 100 episodes.
September was busy, as I kicked things off with my Fall TV Preview, always one of my favorite posts of the year. If that wasn't enough, I had an existential breakdown in the parking lot of a Sonic, and I was also busted having an illicit affair with a younger woman. I never said I was a role model.
Finally, I went full Old Man Mode in my scathing rant on a local news station's uncanny ability to make mistakes during every single nightly broadcast. And to round it all out, you just saw my Best Of 2014 list no less than 24 hours ago.
I can't say I had the time to blog as much as I wanted to in 2014, and I certainly didn't put forth as much stuff as I have in years passed, but I'm aware of it and hope to be a bit more prolific in 2015. Less Social Media, more CDP. That's my motto for...oh, at least the first 10 days of the new year, if I had to guess. That's about as far as I conciliate my resolutions until they melt away in a sea of comic books and Spotted Cow.
Thanks much, and Happy New Year. Sound off in the comments section and let me know what you'll remember most about 2014. The CDP will be back for Season 11 before you know it.
Tuesday, December 30The CDP's Best Of 2014.
Aaugh! I overslept! Quick, before 2014 ends, I have to tell you about all the stuff I liked! Read it before it expires! No time to explain! Go, go, go!
Honorable Mention - Black Mirror (Audience/Netflix)
It didn't premiere in 2014, but it did become legally available in America this year, otherwise it would have been #1 with a bullet. Go watch it immediately.
Honorable Mention - Too Many Cooks (Adult Swim)
It's a shame Too Many Cooks can't be nominated for an Emmy. Or can it? In my opinion, it exists as a love letter to Television; that's all you really need to know.
15. The Simpsons (FOX)
14. Constantine (NBC)
13. Community (NBC/Yahoo!)
12. Adventure Time/Regular Show (CN)
11. Gotham (FOX)
10. American Horror Story: Freak Show (FX)
9. Attack on Titan/Space Dandy (Adult Swim/Toonami)
8. The Flash (CW)
7. The Goldbergs (ABC)
6. Louie (FX)
5. Agents of SHIELD (ABC)
4. Brooklyn Nine-Nine (FOX)
3. Bob's Burgers (FOX)
2. Fargo (FX)
1. The Walking Dead (AMC)
Much like a zombie apocalypse, you cannot stop The Walking Dead; you can merely hope to contain it. The ratings are insane, the cast is on fire, and the show itself is as good as it's ever been.
Guardians of the Galaxy
Hand down, the most fun I've had at the movies all year, and an instant classic from the Marvel Universe. Saw it twice. The Missus saw it 4 times. Bought the soundtrack. Bought the action figures. Bought the comics. Bought in, entirely. Well done, all around.
Honorable Mention - Guardians Of The Galaxy: Awesome Mix, Vol. 1
Honorable Mention - Radio Ready Wisconsin: Lost Power Pop Hits 1979-1982
5. Scott Reynolds - Stupid World
4. Ozma - Boomtown
3. Masked Intruder - M.I.
2. Run The Jewels - Run The Jewels 2
1. Weezer - Everything Will Be Alright In The End
I don't lie when it comes to my music lists. If I didn't listen to it, I won't rank it. Unfortunately, I didn't listen to a whole lot of new records this year, so while I remained honest with myself (I truly liked all of these albums), I fully understand if you don't want to value my opinion anymore when it comes to modern music. In fact, I strongly encourage this behavior. I don't value my opinion, either.
I read no new books in 2014, but probably read about 10-12 total pieces of book-like literature throughout the year. This is going to sound weird, but 2014 was the year I became re-obsessed with the JonBenet Ramsey murder, so I actually read 4 books specifically about that topic:
Foreign Faction - James Kolar
JonBenet - Steve Thomas
Perfect Murder, Perfect Town - Lawrence Schiller
The Cases That Haunt Us - John Douglas
...Yeah, I think I went in a little too deep this Summer. I was having nightmares and stuff. The Missus was concerned. Worse still, I'm not yet 100% sure I know what happened. Shit is maddening. Let me know if you want to theorize about it, because I have about a billion pages of theories for you. Screw Serial; this case is still plenty important.
Mario Kart 8 (Wii U)
I suck at Mario Kart 8. Suck out loud. I can't seem to get any better, either. I still love it to pieces, regardless. The Wii U looks beautiful with its (finally!) HD output. The music, track and cart innovations only add to the playability. Whether I'm good at it or not, Mario Kart 8 remains one of the heaviest hitters in Nintendo's arsenal.
Hey, we made it with time to spare! Sound off in the comments section, Facebook or Twitter, and let me know what your favorites of 2014 are.
Tuesday, November 11Stanger Danger.
A few months ago, the above graphic popped up on my TV screen, causing me to spit out an entire mouthful of Blueberry Morning in a fit of wheezing laughter.
NBC 15 is my local news channel of choice here in Madison. I like the anchors, I like their approach to reporting, and most importantly, my good friend is employed there. I don't bust people on the Internet much for their grammar, but I snapped a 'Stanger Danger' photo so I could text it to my employed friend and engage in some good-natured ribbing regarding the nonexistent proofreading staff of NBC 15. I also joked that I would continue sending him photos like this every time they screwed up, because spelling errors were bad, and he should feel bad, even if he had nothing to do with it.
I was kidding. I don't pay close enough attention to the news to notice this stuff unless it's literally 50 inches across like the one above.
But then, a funny thing happened: They kept screwing up, and I kept noticing.
(On the raod again. I'm convinced this is what began the Milwaukee Brewers' cursed tailspin right out of the Playoffs.)
(Gotta watch out for that wet wather, weather or not you care about the whether.)
It didn't take long for my friend to no longer think this was funny. Perhaps he has a limited Data Plan when it comes to texting; I thought this was hilarious and refused to quit. Besides, I've got nothing better to do.
Now, I watch the news maybe three times a week, and I only pay attention to it about once a week. So by my calculations, considering how many times I was seeing stuff like this, there are approximately 18 thousand errors on NBC 15 every minute of every day.* It felt like every time I looked up at my television, something very wrong was being projected back at me.
(*Your math may vary.)
(Yes, the headline is worrisome and we should be focused on what's important. But I couldn't sit idly by while 'nealy' floated across my TV screen like a turd in a pool. We can worry about the budget later. Or never. Hey, it is Wisconsin after all.)
('Occasional' is a difficult word to spell from memory, I'll admit. Fortunately, Spell Check was invented 30 years ago.)
According to my friend (and from my logical deductions), working at a local news station is a fast-paced, deadline-chasing race against the clock. There sometimes isn't enough time to, you know, look at the monitor before you hit that 'sumbit' button that publishes your work to the airwaves. I get that; but man, the errors just kept on a comin'.
(Sumbit. So you didn't have to, I went to that website. It's available for purchase, as it currently doesn't exist on this or any other planet.)
(I've looked at this one about a dozen times and I still have no idea what message it's supposed to convey. It may, in fact, be a broadcast from another dimension where it snows in August and nothing is what it seems.)
I eventually gave up on snapping a photo every time I saw an error (they certainly haven't stopped). My friend was threatening to bash my skull in with a crescent wrench, and the whole thing began to make me sort of depressed as well.
I mean, look. If you're in the market for a cheap proofreader, NBC 15, I'm your guy. I'm an insomniac with OCD and a valid Driver's License. Just run the copy by me beforehand. It wouldn't take any more than 10 minutes, 15 if I had been drinking the night before.
(HOLY SHIT. LAME-BAU.)
Sound off in the comments section, rightfully call me a hypocrite because of all the grammatical errors I've made over the years, and enjoy the rest of your week.
Monday, September 29Let's Get This Over With.
I never thought this day would come, but my phone got hacked. In order to preemptively cut this whole mess off before it gets out of hand, I wanted to just go ahead and publish the incriminating video here on the CDP, in the hopes that it's never discussed again. I apologize to my wife, friends and family.
Turn up the sound if you must.
Monday, September 15Have A Super Sonic Day.
I left work early a couple of Tuesdays ago. There wasn't a whole lot going on at the office, so I figured I could better utilize my time around the house, watching DVR'd Simpsons episodes and vacuuming the spiderwebs out of my garage. Instead of using several vacation days at a time, I usually opt for the few-hours-at-a-time approach whenever I feel like a Mental Health Afternoon is necessary for my well-being (and the well-being of those within roundhouse kick range of me).
Before I got home, I drove through Sonic for a grilled cheese. This particular Sonic is about a mile from my home, and for the six weeks it's been open, the place has been complete anarchy. The food is suspect at best, ordering mozzarella sticks takes three hours, and they'll be dead in the cold ground before you can special order anything. I once asked for a sundae with chocolate ice cream, and they said they "couldn't do that." Whatever, dude. I stick with the grilled cheese because I'm still pretending to be a vegetarian and it's the one item they screw up the least.
It still took around 10 minutes. Good thing I had nowhere to be.
It was around lunchtime as I sat in my car and waited for my food. As my mind began to wander, I realized that it was also lunchtime for the local school, which functioned as an 'open campus' for the hour. For those who grew up without such a luxury (like me), an 'open campus' allows you to leave the school grounds for lunchtime and eat wherever you want (fast food, gas station, landfill), provided that you're back on time. This meant that Sonic, a restaurant about a block from the school, was crawling with children of all ages.
The Tuesday after Labor Day was also the first day of school, and the energy was in the air. When I had left my house that morning, I saw a group of kids in my subdivision waiting for the bus, and I nearly had a full-blown panic attack. When I think back to my first days of school, every memory is that of pure, unbridled terror. I was a fair student, had plenty of friends and only got my ass kicked when I deserved it, but the PTSD always hangs low in the air. I firmly empathize with any child who was dragged screaming and fear-peeing onto a school bus that morning. I'm at an age where I should be preparing my own child for another year of public school, but in reality, I still connect a lot more with the kid begging to stay home. I feel you, little homies.
On Facebook that day, my News Feed was flooded with friends' photos of their children getting ready for their first day back. Most of the comments were positive and congratulatory, but it's in my nature to privately scoff and scroll ahead as quickly as possible. I hated school, I don't have kids, and I'm not interested in anyone else's. I've...been pretty clear about this.
However, as I was sitting in my car, waiting for my grilled cheese, something happened. Something that had never happened to me before in my life. And frankly, it scared the shit out of me.
I looked out my window and saw an adorable, beaming little girl. Brand new pink shirt. Brand new matching skirt. Crispy pink backpack without a scratch on it. Holding her smiling mother's hand as they both shared a milkshake and walked back to school for the afternoon. The weather was perfect. The sun was shining, and they both seemed extremely happy. I, on the other hand, was getting ready to eat a grilled cheese in front of the TV, and waste away the remainder of this perfect day by watching anime until my wife came home.
In that split second, I felt like my life had literally no purpose because I wasn't the parent of a child, and that I was finally ready to become one. It was a thought I had never let deep enough into my brain to even analyze, so when I did, it shook me like an existential crisis.
Oh, goddamn. I thought about how I was going to explain this change of heart to my wife. I thought about all the plans we were going to have to make. All the plans we were going to have to change. All the money we'd need to start saving. All the money we didn't have and never would have. We'd have to remodel the office, of course. Probably finish the basement. One of us would probably have to quit their job for awhile. We'd have to pick a good school. A great one. How much TV should a kid watch? None? How much should we limit their Internet usage? Who will watch them when we need a sitter? Will I need to throw all the liquor bottles away? Why did I waste all that money on a WiiU? I don't even play it!
In the past, this flood of logistical planning and strategic forecasting would be enough to stop the thought of having a baby dead in its tracks. Whenever I thought about it for longer than a second, I eventually convinced myself that it was a terrible idea, that I wasn't ready and we shouldn't even think about it for another five years. Unfortunately, this didn't work. As I watched this mother and daughter skip happily away, I longed to experience that moment. I wanted it more than anything I have ever wanted in my life. I thought about walking my daughter to school, freshly sporting the supplies we had picked out together the week before, and in the moment it seemed like the most heavenly experience in the world.
"Shit," I said out loud to myself. "I think I want to have a baby."
I was shaking in the car. I felt like I was going to throw up. This was a genuine moment.
I'm not a religious man, but this was a serious precipice in my evolution here, and I sincerely could have used a little guidance from Above. I didn't have any friends or relatives I could call at noon on a Tuesday for perspective, and the drive-thru of a Sonic wasn't exactly the sort of place where a spark of divine intervention would typically shine though. Although I was planning to check my grilled cheese to see if the Virgin Mary's face was visible in the grill marks. Wouldn't hurt, I figured.
But then, it hit me. Inspiration from above, and not a moment too soon.
Off in the distance, atop a pile of decorative landscaping surrounding the perimeter of Sonic, I saw him. A little boy, about 7 or 8. By himself, ruthlessly ripping out the plants, cattails and foliage, and throwing them haphazardly into the street in huge clumps.
He was basically feral. Dirt on his face. Sticky hands. He didn't look like he was headed back to school, or anywhere that didn't involve a padlock and water dish, frankly. He seemed plenty occupied with destroying the plant life like it was his profession. When he would uproot a cattail, he would wield it at passing cars like a samurai sword, kicking up soil with each mighty stomp. He was almost hit and killed a good three or four times. Horns were honking relentlessly. I had to think that one of them called the cops.
He was an asshole. He was unsupervised. He was me, and he was the living embodiment of every reason I've ever talked myself out of having children. That would be the one I get. No question about it.
Finally, his mother emerged from the Sonic with a large soda, which he snapped from her hands without so much as a Thank You. The mother looked like she wanted to scold him, but was too exhausted and busy with the infant she was balancing with her other arm, all while holding more food, a phone and her purse. Once she managed to stuff everything into her undersized car, the boy proceeded to kick the side panel of the passenger seat until she opened the door for him and sped off. He wasn't buckled.
Just then, my grilled cheese arrived, and I decided that I wasn't ready to have a baby just yet. My earlier feelings had dissipated after seeing a far more realistic projection of why my life as a Father would truly entail.
The beaming girl with her mother was the best-case scenario. It was a scenario that could happen to my wife and I, through hard work and a shitload of genetic luck (I can't really tell my sperm what to do). And I would love and cherish her as much as I hypothesized I would...but the boy throwing plants into the street was probably a better snapshot of what my future would hold. The Missus and I were beyond difficult children to deal with, and even though we'd parent the hell out of whatever kid we ended up with, I knew that fate wasn't in our favor.
Win or lose, I've always played the odds when it came to big decisions, and between the Missus and I, we sort of selfishly assumed that there was a fairly good chance we'd have a baby we didn't like and it would ruin our marriage and lives, spiraling us straight into the gutter until one of us shanked the other with the lid of a baby formula can. I know people always say that you're in control of what your child is to become, and you'll love them unconditionally regardless, but I call 100% bullshit to that noise. You're not always in control of what your child is to become. Not even close. That's an argument so ridiculous it isn't worth arguing. Plenty of great parents have awful children, and it's not their fault (unless it is, which also totally happens).
Look, I know that if you want a kid, you'll have a kid and work with whatever you're given; that's what good people do. My wife and I strive to be good people, and when the time comes where we truly feel ready for the responsibility of parenting a child, we will stop at absolutely nothing to push every last chip into the center of the table to ensure their future success (even if it does end up being a boy).
But as I drove from Sonic with a grilled cheese in my hand, I was looking forward to an empty house.
If only for the time being.
Tuesday, September 2The CDP 2014-2015 Fall TV Preview.
For the 9th goddamn year, the CDP is back with the scoop on 50 new, returning and canceled TV shows. These are the shows that I will be watching (or at least giving a chance to) this fall. All times are Central and the time slot information is accurate as of the date this was written. I also stuck with mostly national TV and some basic cable; I did not include premium channels, because the CDP is accommodating to TV fans in all tax brackets and considers piracy a crime literally worse than mass murder.
And hey, if this preview isn't enough for you, feel free to take a trip in the Wayback Machine to see my 8 other Fall Previews:
2005-2006 Preview. (Remember Invasion and Night Stalker?)
2006-2007 Preview. (Remember The Unit and Studio 60?)
2007-2008 Preview. (Remember Kid Nation and Carpoolers?)
2008-2009 Preview. (Remember The Goode Family and Lipstick Jungle?)
2009-2010 Preview. (Remember Time Warp and FlashForward?)
2010-2011 Preview. (Remember Detroit 1-8-7 and Better With You?)
2011-2012 Preview. (Remember Alcatraz and Awake?)
2013-2014 Preview. (Remember Animal Practice and The Neighbors?)
Let's do this, starting from the top.
6-7p - America's Funniest Home Videos (ABC - 10/5)
6:30-7p - Bob's Burgers (FOX - 10/5)
7-7:30p - The Simpsons (FOX - 9/28)
7-8p - Once Upon A Time (ABC - 9/28)
7-10p - Sunday Night Football (NBC - 9/4)
7:30-8p - Brooklyn Nine-Nine (FOX - 9/28)
8-9p - The Walking Dead (AMC - 10/12)
8:30-9p - Mulaney (FOX - 10/5)
9-10p - Talking Dead (AMC - 10/12)
The Skinny! - Timeslot mainstay AFV brings the (scrotal) pain at 6, followed by the best animated series on TV, Bob's Burgers. The Simpsons begins Season 26 on the heels of their record-breaking marathon on FXX, and Once Upon A Time brings their neverending fairytale to ABC at 7. FOX comedies Brooklyn Nine-Nine and newcomer Mulaney have the unenviable task of going up against Sunday Night Football. And where some shows begin to coast and lose their audience after 4 seasons, The Walking Dead only gets bigger, badder and decapitate-ier as we roll into the much-anticipated Season 5.
But I Can Only Watch One Show! - The Walking Dead continues to be a ratings anomaly and is arguably the best show on television. Put the kids to bed and jump on board. Then go back and watch every other episode.
7-8p - Gotham (FOX - 9/22)
7-8p - Antiques Roadshow (PBS - 9/22)
7-10p - Monday Night Raw (USA - Ongoing)
7:30-10:30p - Monday Night Football (ESPN - 9/8)
9-9:30p - Louie (FX - Midseason)
The Skinny! - Please let Gotham be awesome and make me forget that Ben Affleck is now donning the rubber suit. Elsewhere, Antiques Roadshow appraises 2 THE EXTREME at 7, Monday Night Raw holds fast as the most-watched weekly show on cable, and Monday Night Football showers us with concussions, illegal contact penalties and commercials for Hooters. God help me, I love football so much. Finally, Louie returns for a truncated Season 5, which is better than nothing, which is exactly what we received in 2013.
But I Can Only Watch One Show! - If nick-knacks, football, superheroes and wrasslin' aren't for you, there's plenty to be excited for when it comes to Louie.
7-8p - The Flash (CW - 10/7)
8-9p - Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC - 9/23)
8-9p - Agent Carter (ABC - Midseason)
The Skinny! - It's Nerd Night in America, as The Flash, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Marvel spinoff Agent Carter make you forget about how terrible and lonely your life is.
But I Can Only Watch One Show! - Who knows how good Agent Carter and The Flash will turn out to be, but Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. started good and ended better, so they're definitely earning prime space on my DVR.
7-7:30p - The Middle (ABC - 9/24)
7:30-8p - The Goldbergs (ABC - 9/24)
8-8:30p - Modern Family (ABC - 9/24)
8-9p - Mythbusters (DISC - Midseason)
8-9p - Red Band Society (FOX - 9/17)
9-10p - Nashville (ABC - 9/24)
9-10p - The Ultimate Fighter (FS1 - 9/10)
The Skinny! - Wednesday night starts off with solid comedies The Middle, Modern Family and (the exceptional) The Goldbergs on ABC. On cable, Mythbusters returns for another season of putting urban legends to bed, while Red Band Society tries to be Glee in a children's hospital or something (I'm unclear on the details, but it looks cute). The Ultimate Fighter returns with an all-female lineup of terrifying martial artists competing for the UFC's inaugural 115lb. title, and Nashville brings the heartbreak at 9.
But I Can Only Watch One Show! - Modern Family poops emmys and justifiably so, but I wholeheartedly believe that The Goldbergs is one of the best shows on TV right now, especially for children of the 1980's.
6-6:15p - Adventure Time (TOON - Midseason)
6:30-6:45p - Regular Show (TOON - Midseason)
7-7:30p - Parks and Recreation (NBC - Midseason)
7-10p - Thursday Night Football (CBS - 9/11)
8-9p - Gracepoint (FOX - 10/2)
9-9:30p - Maron (IFC - Midseason)
9-10p - Secrets and Lies (ABC - Midseason)
The Skinny! - Adventure Time and Regular Show are the perfect yin and yang of the Cartoon Network (the decriminalization of marijuana only did favors for these shows), while Parks and Recreation begins their 7th and final (sniff) season on NBC. Thursday Night Football premieres on free TV this year, while Gracepoint is a new crime drama starring David Tennant. Maron appears to be getting better with each episode, and Secrets and Lies looks to bring a good old-fashioned murder mystery back to ABC.
But I Can Only Watch One Show! - You watch Parks and Recreation. There's no question about it. It's sincerely one of the greatest NBC comedies ever made, and that's saying something.
7-9p - Friday Night Smackdown (SYFY - Ongoing)
9-10p - Constantine (NBC - 10/24)
The Skinny! - BORK LASER SAY IF YOU NO WATCH SMACKDOWN I KILL YOUR BODY.
But I Can Only Watch One Show! - Constantine is about an enigmatic and irreverent con man-turned-reluctant supernatural detective who is thrust into the role of defending us against dark forces from beyond. So yeah, we're all going to watch that.
But seriously though, Brock Lesnar will find you and kill you.
7-7:30p - Cops (SPIKE - 8/23)
10:30p-5a - Toonami* (TOON - Ongoing)
(*Toonami's lineup currently consists of Attack On Titan, Space Dandy, Bleach, Naruto Shippuden, One Piece, Gurren Lagann, Beware The Batman, Black Lagoon, Naruto, Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Cowboy Bebop, Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Samurai Jack.)
The Skinny! - Look, you should have fun on Saturday. Spend time with your loved ones, have a drink and a few laughs, but be sure to get your ass back to the television by the time Toonami begins. And don't plan on sleeping, either, because it runs all night. As a warm-up, new episodes of Cops continue to air on Spike.
But I Can Only Watch One Show! - You watch the SHIT out of Attack On Titan.
Most of the shows that left our televisions last season wholly deserved to. And let's face it, most of the new shows premiering this year will do the same, if they're lucky enough to even make it through a full episode run. If you noticed, there aren't a lot of new shows that made my list this year. But there are two shows worth noting: One that is moving to the scary new world of online streaming, and one that may go down as the greatest Drama in TV history.
Breaking Bad swept the Emmys for two years in a row, set Guinness records for critical acclaim, and most impressively, won the massive, 128-show, two month long CDP TV 25 Tournament to determine the Greatest TV Show of the Last 25 Years. It deserved everything it got, and it stands to reason that history will be nothing but kind to this one-of-a-kind masterpiece.
The story of Community is astounding. A show so weird it had no business being on NBC, getting cancelled only to be revived due to fan outcry, having their creator fired and then reinstated, and finally being revived for a 6th season on Yahoo! Screen. Wow. This is one of the few web-based shows I will definitely be watching this season; Jeff Winger and company are characters worthy of being followed.
Well, there you have it. The scoop on my personal Fall TV schedule, for the 9th year running. Set your DVR’s, sound off in the comments section and enjoy your week. Don’t forget to tell me the shows you plan on watching on My Twitter and over on My Facebook. And hey, go buy one of my books while you're at it. Thanks much; have a good one.