We here at ALNM take full advantage of our DVRs. Weekends are often spent catching up on our favorite shows as we slowly recover from a long work week. But there are those certain shows we find ourselves chugging a warm latte in order to stay awake for each night. Are you trying to decide what to spend your precious nights watching? Here are our choices:
Christina: Madam Secretary. This show seems to take place in some near future where the next president hasn’t resolved many of the issues we are currently facing. Or maybe this is supposed to be the next president? Regardless, this show never fails to entertain me with its mix of drama and comedy. If you are looking for in depth political analysis or a successor to The West Wing, this isn’t it. But if you are looking to escape to a world with a politician you can trust to do the right ethical thing regardless of poll numbers, spend your nights with Secretary McCord.
Kelly: Once Upon A Time. This show is perfect for the Disney nerd in all of us. Currently in it’s fifth season, OUAT is quickly becoming a fandom staple. Not only does it have some of the most enthusiastic shippers in fandom (SwanQueen, Captain Swan, and Outlaw Queen, just to name a few), it also has a real life fairytale behind the scenes when Ginnifer Goodwin (who plays Snow White) and Josh Dallas (who plays Prince Charming) met, fell in love, and started a family, all within the last five years. OUAT has brought us to so many places from Disney and literary tales like Arendelle, Camelot, and Neverland. This is a show that I never miss on a Sunday night and each season just seems to be getting better and better.
Christina: Minority Report. Continuing with my trend of liking shows on the bubble of renewal, I have to say I like this show despite its flaws. It hasn’t yet reached the philosophical quality of the films regarding the future and whether or not we can change our destiny, but it does have an engaging cast that shows effortless chemistry. Stark Sands’ and Nick Zano’s performances as the twin precogs stood out in early episodes and Meagan Good seems to be finding her footing as police officer Lara Vega. The visuals are fun without being overwhelming, but I fear people passing it off as “another cop show” could be its downfall. Hopefully it will catch up to its potential and stray away from the case of the week format by season’s end.
Kelly: Switched at Birth. Stop laughing. I started watching this show when it first aired because it starred Lucas Grabeel of Disney Channel fame and I have a weird sort of love for him. While it starts out being a little on the strange side, this show (which is done partly in American Sign Language) has tackled topics like child abuse, discrimination, date rape, and so many other things in its four year run. While the show can be cheesy at times, I have found that the characters really begin to grow on you and you want to see them succeed. Most recently, the show has taken on the stigma that is attached to children with Down’s Syndrome. If you need one more reason to watch it, current America’s Next Top Model contestant Nyle DiMarco has had a semi-recurring role this season. While it ends the fourth season this Monday, I’m hoping it will return for a fifth season come this January.
Christina: Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Admittedly Tuesday nights are pretty sparse TV watching for me. This is the most likely night to see me call it an early one after walking my dog. I am invested in this show however to see how the Marvel Cinematic Universe will progress to next year’s Civil War. That’s enough to keep me hanging on in the hopes I’ll get drawn in by the storyline again.
Kelly: The Flash. This is basically the only show I watch on Tuesday nights now that I’ve fallen so far behind on Christina’s Tuesday choice. As a fan of Arrow and Grant Gustin from his brief stint on Glee, I knew that I had to give this show a try last season. With stars like Grant Gustin and Jesse L. Martin on the cast and guest stars like Victor Garber, Wentworth Miller, and Mark Hamill, it was pretty much a safe bet that I would get roped into this show. The crossover episodes with Arrow have made it even more successful and I’m sure we’ll be seeing much more of that when Legends of Tomorrow begins on The CW. Catch up while you can because this exciting show is definitely one of my favorites right now.
Christina: Expedition Unknown. I loved Josh Gates’ old show on SyFy Channel (Destination Unknown). This one is a little more grounded in terms of what they investigate, and being on Travel Channel you know you’ll get to see some pretty interesting locations. Even when there’s little evidence to be found they’re good at providing an entertaining and educational hour of television. If you have time you should definitely track down an episode searching for something you’re already interested in as a gateway to the show.
Kelly: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. What season is this show in? Who cares! SVU is an awesome show. I can’t even tell you how long I’ve been watching this. My sister and I have a joke that even when they show marathons on USA Network, it is rare that we haven’t seen this episode. Currently in its 17th (!) season, this procedural drama is the only spinoff of the Law & Order franchise that is left and there’s a good reason why. Every week, the detectives take on a new case that’s usually been seen on the recent news; “ripped from the headlines”, as they put it. Though detectives have come and gone in the past 17 years, Ice-T and Mariska Hargitay have held on this whole time and their characters have continued to grow. SVU is not only the perfect show to binge watch, but it’s the perfect show to unwind with on a Wednesday night.
Christina: Sleepy Hollow. The show seems to be quickly finding its footing after last season’s finale, which was built to act as a series finale due to grumblings that FOX would not be picking it up for the Fall 2015 season. I also can’t think of many shows on TV today where four of the five leads are women. The Pandora storyline was strange at first but is now weaving itself smoothly into the narrative of the show. Nicole Beharie and Tom Mison have as much chemistry as ever (and adorable new haircuts!). They are a delight to watch. And I can’t wait to see how the crossover with Bones turns out.
Kelly: The Vampire Diaries. I don’t know who doesn’t make fun of me for being obsessed with this show. While I’ve never really gotten into the shipping and fandom aspect of TVD, the show that started out like “Your Weekly Dose of Twilight” has become one of my favorite shows. Though they lost their star Nina Dobrev last season, I have high hopes for the show’s seventh season. It’ll be like when Chad Michael Murray finally left One Tree Hill and the show actually got better. This season, the focus is back on the two Salvatore brothers Stefan and Damon (played by Paul Wesley and Ian Somerhalder) and that was always the root of the show. Though it is based on a book series by L.J. Smith, the showrunners have really taken the characters she created and run with them, making them into strong, independent men and women who know what they’re fighting for and that’s one of the reasons why I love this show so much.
Christina: Hawaii Five-0. Let’s be real for a minute here. The best character on the show is Hawaii itself. It gives the show a look unlike any other on television, especially since they film on location and it’s not another place acting as a double. I’m looking at you half of the shows that take place in New York. The rest of the cast is also fantastic enough to make it stand out from a lot of the other crime dramas you could spend your time watching. It is also one of the rare crime dramas I find myself binge watching old episodes of on Netflix. Fans of Lost and Heroes might also enjoy seeing some familiar faces.
Kelly: Reign. I have to admit, I binge-watched the first two seasons on Netflix this summer and became obsessed with this show. While I was disappointed that Teen Wolf lost Adelaide Kane to this show, she is perfect as Mary, Queen of Scots. Let’s get one thing straight: this show is definitely historical fiction, so if you’re a history buff looking for a show that follows what you know, don’t watch this show. It takes many liberties with the historical timeline. One of my friends described it as Gossip Girl with a historical element to it. The costumes and scenery of this show are so beautiful, a strong point of the show. If you’re looking to get swept away by stories involving kings, queens, love, and politics in 16th century Europe, this is the show you shouldn’t be missing.
Christina: Doctor Who. I used to love Doctor Who. I used to seriously be obsessed with Doctor Who. I haven’t enjoyed the writing and the character development nearly as much since the departure of Russell T Davies left, and the Christmas special that saw the departure of Matt Smith was an exceptionally low point for me as a fan. But I can say I am a big fan of Peter Capaldi’s work as The Doctor. He uses the right balance of wisdom and whimsy in the role, and you know he understands the weight of playing The Doctor having been a fan since he was a child. There was a moment last week that at the time made my jaw drop, but it also reminded me how much of the history of the show has been largely ignored in recent years. I’m curious to see how they will deal with the departure of Jenna Coleman and am willing to hold out hope for an upward trend in quality in the future.
Kelly: Saturday Night Live. I have to be honest, I don’t really have a show that I love to watch on Saturday nights, but over the years, SNL has had so many great comedians. From Steve Martin and Eddie Murphy to Tina Fey and Jimmy Fallon, SNL is comedic genius. With so many great sketches and segments, my favorites in the recent years have been Andy Samberg’s Digital Shorts and, of course, Weekend Update. This show is an entertainment staple. It’s currently in its 41st season and has ushered some of the most famous comedians to the forefront of pop culture. Current cast members like Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, Colin Jost, Michael Che, and Pete Davidson are already huge names in comedy after only one season on the show. We all know that this show will continue on for years to come and we look forward to seeing more comedians get their starts on SNL.
Special mentions: Blue Bloods, Criminal Minds, Empire, How To Get Away With Murder, The Last Kingdom, Grey's Anatomy, Jane the Virgin, Arrow, Chicago P.D.