Pop culture pairings: What to watch this fall

    With every nice meal, there’s a beautifully calculated wine pairing that can elevate the senses and further induce the appetite. There are certain norms and guidelines that absolutely must be followed. For instance, it is indeed a sin to pair a rich and slightly spicy cabernet with fish and you should never sip an off-dry Riesling with a hearty slab of steak. I would like to think pop culture has rules along the same lines given certain personalities and entertainment tendencies. 

    In the midst of that glorious time of the year where television pilots are released, movie blockbusters are watched, glorified albums are dropped and new Netflix arrivals are binge-watched, knowing what to consume can be overwhelming. I’ve decided to play sommelier, and created this fall guide to pop culture in hopes of bringing you over from the dark side where sites like Rotten Tomatoes and Vulture run your life. Lucky for us, Northwestern is paired with Xfinity, so that entitles all NU students to the new fall drama-musical-horrific comedies that are right at our fingertips. So, sit back, relax and fill your fall quarter with the best of entertainment.

    Watch it if you consider yourself…

    A person who would love a life filled with impromptu musical numbers and good laughs:

    Angel From Hell - CBS Thursday, November 5

    Glee is officially over and some may say, “Thank god," but an actress we all know and love is back and at it again in this oddball comedy. Jane Lynch plays a guardian angel – or a person that thinks she is a guardian angel. Confused already? Same. But if you miss the strong witty humor of Lynch like me, you’ll make some time on typically Shonda-filled Thursdays for this little ol’ sitcom.

    Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris - NBC Tuesday, September 15

    NPH is in the title, so you know it’s going to be good. If you aren’t a firm believer in the comical talents of Neil Patrick Harris, watch this promo, and maybe you’ll change your mind. Dear God, I hope so. And if you haven’t watched How I Met Your Mother, that probably takes priority over your so-called Russian Literature homework. 

    Crazy Ex-Girlfriend - CW Monday, October 19

    The CW may have given us some flops in the past (think Melrose Place, Runaway and The L.A. Complex), but I have always been impressed by some of their sleeper hits. Television shows with musical attributes can do really well and run for multiple seasons, like Glee. Or they can be cancelled after a measly two seasons like Smash. This hour-long comedy focuses on the life of a law partner turned crazy ex-girlfriend. And who doesn’t love a great musical number?

    Grandfathered - FOX Tuesday, September 29

    John Stamos and Josh Peck? Father and son comedy? Genius. Playing to the Millennial Generation with these past Full House and Drake & Josh actors is sure to bring in hordes of viewers. Myself included.

    The Grinder - FOX Tuesday, September 29

    I’m sure we’re all still crying over the ingenious and endearing series finale of one of the most clever shows to reach television, Parks and Recreation. However good news is on the way – Rob Lowe, who played the happy-go-lucky and health-obsessed Chris Traeger alongside the great Leslie Knope, is back and better than ever. Lowe headlines as an actor from a popular legal drama turned real-life lawyer. From his years as an onscreen lawyer, he believes in his skill set and I think we should too. 

    A person who thinks it’s okay to “have a good cry” every once in awhile:

    Chicago Med - NBC Tuesday, November 17

    Take your anger out on Shonda Rhimes for (spoiler!) ruining your life with the demise of McDreamy on Grey’s Anatomy by turning your attention to this new attractive doctor-filled medical series. Being part of the Chicago franchise, you know it’s going to slam you with immediate drama and gore – but I think we all secretly crave those. Like any good show with a hospital setting, tragedies will strike and the tears will come.

    Code Black - CBS Wednesday, September 30

    This L.A. emergency room drama is based on Ryan McGarry’s award-winning documentary, so you know it’s going to be good. Whenever anything is previewed with “based on a true story” the characters come alive in ways you never thought by pulling on those heart strings.  After all, it’s much harder to watch a distressed medical professional performing an open-heart surgery on their secret lover when you know the storyline could have actually happened.

    The Muppets - ABC Tuesday, September 22

    This may seem like the odd one out in the emotional/tear-jerker group, but don’t brush this one off just quite yet. Like any good thing from childhood, this puppet-filled potential masterpiece will bring back happy memories enticing happy tears. This so-called “adult” version of the original puppet crew is styled in a documentary form focusing on the professional and personal lives of Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy and company. It has the potential to remind you of less stressful days. That should be enough to bring some tears into your eyes.

    A person who thinks it would be fun to sell his or her soul to a haunted house like this:

    The Bastard Executioner - FX Tuesday, September 15

    Kurt Sutter, writer of Sons of Anarchy, brings this new bloody period drama to the small screen. So for those of you who love a good knight in shining armor but secretly can’t wait until someone gets beheaded, this one is for you. You can expect violence, you can expect blood and you can expect to be immediately hooked. The main character is a bedraggled knight turned king’s executioner, so let the plot twists begin.

    Scream Queens - FOX Tuesday, September 22

    As probably one of the most talked about shows of the whole season, Scream Queens is out to make big bucks with its killer cast: Emma Roberts, Jamie Lee Curtis, Nick Jonas, Lea Michele, Ariana Grande, Keke Palmer and Nasim Pedrad, to name just a few. The show basically sells itself. Besides a beautifully multi-talented cast, the plot line of a serial killer wreaking havoc within a racially insensitive stuck-up college sorority house is sure to entice. It’s been rumored that only five characters survive — you’ll have to ditch Tuesday night Cycle Challenge at SPAC to find out!

    A person who watches TV for the sole purpose of watching beautifully sculpted human beings interact with one another:

    Blood & Oil - ABC Sunday, September 27

    Everybody needs a little Nate Archibald in their life. The former Gossip Girl heartthrob is back, but with a little less high school drama and lot less of those Upper East Side cutthroat tendencies. In these circumstances, Crawford is married and ambitiously hoping to snag a bit of success from an all-encompassing oil boom. It takes place in North Dakota which is so rare for a television show that you may have to watch it just for that geographical effect. 

    Quantico - ABC Sunday, September 27

    An obvious choice as this cast blows everyone else out of the water. I can honestly say I’ve never seen so many heartbreakers in one single television promo before. If that doesn’t interest you, then maybe the fact that they’re all training to join the FBI and that one of them has committed the greatest domestic terror attack since 9/11 will. It’s filled with betrayal, secrets and inevitable romance — so it’s sure to be a winner.

    Wicked City - ABC Sunday, October 27

    I hate to sound like a Gossip Girl fiend, but, in this case, it’s necessary. The legendary Chuck Bass (Ed Westwick) returns to television, leaving behind his real estate monopoly for some intense serial killing in this thrilling period piece. On the other hand, Westwick’s character preys on young women, so maybe his new character isn't so different fromt the Chuck Bass character after all.


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