Pop Culture Check Up: New Fall Faves

One of the many things that I love about fall are all of the new shows on TV, along with the return of old favorites. In the past few years television has gotten more diverse (although there is still a lot of progress to be made on that front), and some of the shows that I'm most excited about represent a welcome departure from the typical voices heard on television.

The Good Place (NBC)

I love Kristen Bell, partly because I'm a huge fan of Veronica Mars, partly because she's just that charming and talented. The Good Place is an excellent showcase for her talents. As Eleanor Shellstrop, she's a rude, thoughtless, manipulative (but very funny) person who dies suddenly and finds herself in the, um, good place. Realizing both that she's not supposed to be there, and that she reeeeally doesn't want to go to the bad place, she enlists the help of Chidi, who was an ethics professor, to try and become a better person in order to go undetected.

The good place, as a place, is hilariously detailed, from the prevalence of frozen yogurt joints ("People love frozen yogurt. I don't know what to tell you.") to the filtered swearing to the relentlessly cheerful "informational assistant," Janet. And when things start going wrong - apparently because Eleanor, the interloper, is running amuck - the havoc is incredible. Think flying shrimp, giraffes the size of skyscrapers, and a small dog being punted into the sun.

Along with the beautifully realized universe and great characters, there's also a really intriguing mystery at play. How, exactly, did Eleanor end up in the good place? I'm a couple of episodes in, and I'm, well, dying to know.

Fleabag (Amazon Prime)

If Eleanor Shellstrop is a basic cable anti-heroine, Fleabag is the unfiltered, streaming service version. The unnamed protagonist of the show is a foul-mouthed, perverted, cynical, deeply sad woman, living and working in London and trying to cope with personal tragedy. And yes, it's pretty dark, but it's also one of the funniest shows that I've ever seen. 

If you do nothing else today, please, I beg you, watch this clip. It's the first couple of minutes of the first episode, and I could not stop laughing. Like, if that's what you're going to hit me with right out of the gate, I'm in for the long haul.

And yes, I realize that that probably says something about me as a person, and that's ok.

Luke Cage (Netflix)

Premiering on Netflix today is the show that I'm probably most excited about - Luke Cage! Yes, I know, there's a massive glut of superhero shows and movies out there, but given how much I enjoyed Daredevil and Jessica Jones, I'm couldn't be more excited for Marvel's first black superhero (as the star, anyway) to make his debut.

I haven't had a chance to watch an episode yet, but advance reviews have been overwhelmingly positive, praising Mike Colter and the supporting cast for strong performances, as well as offering a timely message about black culture and the Black Lives Matter movement. If it even comes close to living up to the hype, it could be Marvel's best series yet.

Do you also find yourself looking forward to new fall TV? Any new shows that you're particularly excited for?