Autumn Refreshes the Small Screen


The second season of “Stranger Things” lived up to the hype. (COURTESY OF NETFLIX)


Fall is here, but so are Netflix, HBO, Hulu and other popular cable networks, all restocked with the newest installments of streamable television. Just in case you have not had the chance to indulge in autumn binge watching, the following reviews are spoiler free.



The highly anticipated second season of the Netflix original series “Stranger Things” was released on Oct. 27, and it is every bit as thrilling as its predecessor. The interdimensional troubles that plagued the small town of Hawkins, Indiana in the first season are back with a vengeance.  Fortunately for viewers, the woes of Hawkins translate to a nostalgic and remarkable story of science-fiction.  From the dramatic Winona Ryder (Joyce Byers) to youth actors such as Millie Bobby Brown, who plays Eleven and Finn Wolfhard, who plays Mike, the “Stranger Things” cast proves itself to be an enthralling team with clear chemistry.

Cinematically, the show’s production crew and editors outdid themselves.  The visual quality of each episode is akin to a blockbuster movie.  Furthermore, there are carefully crafted peaks in tension that last long enough to exhaust even the most athletic viewer, but this piece of television is not only an action-packed adventure.  There is a fair amount of horror and mystery that will keep you on the edge of your seat.  The overall climate of “Stranger Things” is truly eerie, an atmosphere most horror movies fail to produce.  Unlike these films, “Stranger Things” does not resort to cliché jump scares to capture the attention of its audience. In just a few episodes, you will feel personally attached to each character, which is what makes the shows one of the most enjoyable small screen viewing experiences of the year.



Created by Seth MacFarlane, the brains behind “Family Guy,” “The Orville” is a dramatic comedy inspired by the hit ‘60s show “Star Trek.”  In the 25th century, officer Ed Mercer, played by MacFarlane, is assigned to captain the Orville, an exploratory space vessel of the Planetary Union.  Mercer is excited with this new opportunity, but his mood quickly changes when he learns his ex-wife will be his First Officer.  From the provocative score, which is played by a 75-piece orchestra, to the thought-provoking, deep space visuals, the influences of “Star Trek” are clear.  

Although “The Orville” is anything but serious, it does not focus entirely on being a comedy, which is why the passengers of the U.S.S. Orville are not the only ones who will be encountering uncharted territory this fall.  A departure from the ridiculous is far and away from Seth MacFarlane’s earlier works such as “Family Guy” and “The Cleveland Show.”  The science-fiction aspect of “The Orville” is what sets it apart from anything else MacFarlane has done.  This show manages to provide an otherworldly perspective of modern social issues while simultaneously entertaining its audience.  Seth MacFarlane’s humor is not for everyone, but if you enjoy creative stories of science fiction and some occasionally indecent comedy, give Captain Mercer and his crew the light of day.  “The Orville” can be streamed on Hulu or screened on FOX at 9 p.m. Thursday nights.



“The Big Bang Theory” on TBS introduced the world to the obsessive compulsive genius known as Sheldon Cooper, but until now we have only heard stories of his childhood.  The pilot of “Young Sheldon”, a spinoff of the highly successful series, hit the airwaves on Sept. 25. The series tells the  the story of Sheldon’s struggles to fit into his small Texas town; although Sheldon has no trouble understanding theoretical physics, he cannot grasp the concept of societal norms.

Despite the wholesome feel of “Young Sheldon,” the audience is left with nothing but pity for the young scholar.I often found myself cringing at the narrations of Jim Parsons, the original actor who plays an adult Sheldon Cooper, and unable to find humor in the boy’s situations. “The Big Bang Theory” manages to make Sheldon’s condescending attitude lighthearted and amusing. Thus far, his youthful counterpart is not as charming. Although, “Young Sheldon” is still… young.  The second episode of the show  finally premiered on Nov. 2, so be sure to catch each of the upcoming 22 episodes Thursday nights on CBS.


The stress of daily life may be intensifying as we anxiously await Thanksgiving break, so do not be afraid to relax. There is certainly a show for everyone, as there is much more new television than there is time to write reviews. That being said, if you desire a day of pre-winter hibernation, with the help of your favorite streaming services and cable networks, there are countless hours of television to keep you company.