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SpoilerTV's Weekly Round Table: Special Holiday Edition

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Hello everyone! Welcome to this week's special holiday edition of the SpoilerTV Weekly Round Table where Ellys Cartin (EC), Cecile, Katherine Meusey, Jamie Coudeville, Mads, Max Conte, Laura B, Zoé Fleury, Joey Hedrick, Giulia Del Buono, Donna Cromeans, Claire Serowinski, and Beth Whitley discuss which networks are on their naughty and nice lists, the best presents they've gotten this year, made-for-television holiday movies and the diversity (or lack of) in them. Please enjoy this discussion and feel free to add your own thoughts in the comment section below.

With the plethora of renewals and cancellations we’ve faced so far, what networks and streaming services made it on your naughty or nice list this year and why?

Ellys: Netflix had some very naughty moments when they cancelled Daredevil and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. But it's hard to lump them in the negative column with all the amazing stuff they have going on. On the Nice side, they dropped my favorite show of the year The Haunting of Hill House. But then again, aren't they naughty for making too much interesting stuff at once? Won't some of their good shows crowd some of their other good shows out and result in them being prematurely cancelled because we haven't made it through our own Netflix lists?! Or is it just time for me to recognize that Netflix is like Planet Earth? I will probably never travel to every fascinating spot on it, and it's useless to try?!

I think we can all agree that CBS has been very, very bad. Less than a handful of good shows (Mom is still amazing) doesn't make up for everything else being blah or the toxicity that is oozing around so many of their other shows.

I do want to send Hulu a big bouquet of poinsettias for renewing Harlots.

Cecile: I've been lucky this year in that barely any of the shows I cared about got cancelled. That said, I did NOT care for Netflix putting an end to American Vandal. It's such a unique show, and it's the only one that feels realistic when it comes to representing high school on TV. I was hoping another network would pick it up but it doesn't look likely.

Jamie: Fox and Netflix are on my naughty list. Fox canceled a lot of my shows. Luckily some got picked up again (but that wasn't because of them so they get no credit). As for Netflix, I still haven't forgiven them for cancelling Sense8 during Pride but that wasn't this year (though the finale did bring back some resentment towards them for that) but it's their brutal cancellations of the Marvel shows that has pissed me off this year. Mostly because it's probably due to their feud with Disney, which the fans shouldn't get punished for.

Mads: The CW always makes my nice list because they renew everything. I don’t think many of my favorites have been cancelled this year though that I can think of. Fox is probably the one on my naughty list due to the B99 and Lucifer cancellations.

Max: I haven’t really lost any shows that I love this year (which is odd, considering I watch so much damn TV) so I can’t say I’m particularly annoyed with any network or streamer on that front. It’s maybe a bit off topic, but one of the weirdest moves of the year, to me, just happened: ABC separating Grey’s Anatomy and Station 19 until March. Station 19 is their #3 drama and, in a last-ditch effort to save A Million Little Things, they’re basically throwing S19 under the bus. Not only will it throw off the timeline of storylines taking place on both shows (the storm, Bailey and Ben’s marriage, etc.) but it’s also going to keep S19 off the air for over 3 months, totally killing its momentum. It seems like a strange move to sabotage one of the few dramas that is actually working at the moment. For that, I’d throw ABC on my naughty kiss.

Laura B: Netflix has kind of gone back and forth with my Holiday sugar rush. One one hand they have added some really great shows like Haunting of Hill House & The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, while also saving Lucifer. On the other hand they have been picking up so many other shows to develop that I can't keep track and I fear for quality control, especially now that Netflix seems more than ok with canceling some of their niche shows. Daredevil too came as a surprise, but I do suspect that has to do with Disney wanting to launch their streaming service and now that they also have X-Men property back, can also relaunch or massively expand their whole marvel MCU! Speaking of Disney+ that too seems to be a mixed blessing. Looking forward to some of the Star Wars projects and maybe Lady and the Tramp, but so far it remains to be how well they do here. The Madalorain in particular surely has my interest, but not sure what they are thinking with the pre-Rogue One series, unless they pick up a lot of Solo characters and/or more unique/diverse new characters, but so far I'm not that intrigued. I guess you can say I'm on the fence.

Zoé: Fox is on my naughty list for all those cancellations. I keep going back and forth with NBC...they may have brought back Brooklyn Nine Nine, but they also cancelled Timeless (again). As for streaming services, I am rather happy with Netflix. A lot of people are angry at them over the cancellation of all those Marvel shows, but I can't blame them. Netflix wasn't the one who wanted to cancel the shows, Disney was. It's all because of Disney+. Yet, I can't say Disney+ is on my naughty list because of all those delicious new Marvel movies.

Joey: Netflix is at the very top of my naughty list. Or is it bottom? Whichever position says that they're the worst. Iron Fist I understood and begrudgingly accepted. Luke Cage hurt me pretty good, but I was beginning to accept it. AND THEN DAREDEVIL. How dare they! Not pleased at all. They should have fought Disney + harder! Or at least publicly put the blame on them, because we all know whose fault this is. NBC is on my nice list, though, because Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

Giulia: I think I will never get over AMC cancelling "Dietland". It was sharp. funny, timely, the cast and the storylines were absolutely amazing. I'm sad I'm never going to see Julianna Margulies as Kitty Montgomery, she became an iconic character right away. But I have to be honest, I'm glad it put the spotlight on Joy Nash, a true revelation.

Claire: I was especially disappointed in ABC for not following through on The Middle spin-off Sue Sue In The City. I felt that it looked and sounded promising. I liked the premise of Sue facing life on her own, without Sean or her family, after college. And the casting seemed on-point with plenty of diversity. They were also bringing back Sue’s bestie, Brad. I hope this pilot gets picked up somewhere else.

Beth: Netflix is most certainly on my naughty list for cancelling Daredevil. It is just insane to me that it happened and then they paid a huge amount to keep FRIENDS on their platform which added salt to the wound. They couldn't even give the show that helped buoy them into a more popular place for original content a final season! Yes, I know Disney played a part in this, but still, the show should have gotten a farewell season. On my nice list is NBC for saving Brooklyn 99 and treating it like the gem it is. They've promoted the heck out of it and it seems they are overjoyed to have it there.

Donna: The CW had been on my nice list, up until the airing of their weak and poorly written Elseworlds crossover wherein they acted as most fans of one of the shows predicted they would. What the network and specifically the producers and writers of Supergirl did right was a refocus that currently has the show enjoying what is easily their strongest season in terms of story-telling and character development.

What is the best present the TV gods have bestowed upon you this year?

Ellys: So I already mentioned that Harlots renewal......mwah mwah!!! Also, Killing Eve and Trial and Error and The Haunting of Hill House and Katie delivering Vivian's baby at a children's Halloween party on American Housewife! Also, solid YA like Siren and Elite.

Cecile: Sharp Objects and Killing Eve! I didn't like Gone Girl (book or movie) so I wasn't sure what to expect from Sharp Objects but it was incredible. I was always going to watch Killing Eve because of Sandra Oh and Phoebe Waller-Bridge (and Jodie Comer too, really, she was great in My Mad Fat Diary), but it turned out so much more addictive than I'd expected. Also (finally!) the third season of Lovesick.

Katherine: The Haunting of Hill House. I love a good scary tale, and this one delivers. It strays quite a bit from the book but was a great story in an of itself. Also, Sabrina, although I'd prefer a bit more magic. Thow in Killing Eve and we have a pretty decent haul.

Jamie: Well, when it comes to shows I'd have to go with Killing Eve and the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. But the best gift this year was the double renewal for Agents of Shield. Thank you ABC.

Mads: Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and Haunting of Hill House.

Max: So much content! A lot of my favourite shows this year were new additions in 2018: Killing Eve, Bodyguard, Barry, Pose. Plus, continuing it’s streak from the back-half of 2017, Grey’s had some of the strongest episodes of it’s entire run in early 2018 (“Personal Jesus”, “One Day Like This”). Also, my favourite guilty pleasure returned this year, and I'm not afraid to admit it. Jersey Shore: Family Vacation was appointment TV viewing for me!

Laura B: Sharp Objects was definitely one of the best things to come out this past year, but I also thoroughly enjoyed Star Trek: Discovery, Haunting of Hill House, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, and Castle Rock as some really wonderful new additions to the TV world. As for the shows already here, Westworld, The Man in the High Castle, The Americans final season, The Good Fight, Ozark, 12 Monkey's finale season, and Better Call Saul really upped their games or ended pretty well. It's a been a great year!

Zoé: The Timeless movie was something I didn't expect after the cancellation and it pleasantly surprised me. This show keeps getting saved miraculously, so I think that show has been blessed by the TV gods. Now to give it a season 3! Not to mention, all the shows that came back after a 2017 break.

Joey: The TV Gods have given a few great gifts this year. My favorite, I'd have to say, is the saving of Brooklyn Nine-Nine. The Timeless movie is a close second though. Thank you, TV Gods!

Giulia: "Chilling Adventures of Sabrina", "Pose", "Murphy Brown" and "Sorry For Your Loss."
"Sabrina" turned out to be one of the best shows of the year. I've always thought that Kiernan Shipka was amazing. Don't let me start talking about Miranda Otto, I may never stop. I stan a true Queen! I mean, that entire cast is a blessing;

"Pose" had the best storylines, for me. This show has so much heart. It is so pure and we need more stories like that. I'm glad it gave the chance to appreciate Billy Porter even more and to get to know two powerhouses like MJ Rodriguez and Indya Moore;

"Murphy Brown" is a much needed show right now. What can I say? I just love Candice Bergen. She is a legend;

"Sorry For Your Loss" was such a pleasant surprise. The way the show deals with grief is so real and human that I related with almost everything Leigh goes through. Elizabeth Olsen is outstanding.

Claire: The best gift was HBO’s Castlerock. I was on the edge of my seat every week; just some terrific writing and acting. And Sissy Spacek, already a favorite of mine, simply blew me away; stunning.

Beth: The TV gods bestowed upon Mayans MC in the new show department and it completely owns me now. I knew I would watch because of SOA but I love that it is its own story and grabs me just like Sons did. Mayans also produced my favorite new character of the season, Angel Reyes! The most unexpected gift was the early renewal of Agents of Shield, now the season can be watched without any cancellation anxiety.

Donna: The TV gods have given me several presents this season, first is the return of focus of Supergirl to its core strength, the Danvers Sisters and the solidification of another strong pillar of the show the “Space Family” of Kara, Alex and J’onn. In doing this they’ve given the shows strongest performers Melissa Benoist, Chyler Leigh and David Harewood the opportunity to shine with the solid promise of more to come.

My second gift was the mesmerizing Killing Eve, which grabbed me from the start and kept me enthralled. The show featured brilliant writing, a story filled with twists that surprised at every turn and award-worthy performances from Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer. The upcoming second season is sure to be just as compelling.

A third gift came in the form of the long-awaited debut of the first female Doctor Who. Jodie Whitaker has more than lived up to the challenge of being the first woman Doctor and quickly made the role her own.

A last but not least, NBC has given me the gift of New Amsterdam and introduced me to this great character played by Ryan Eggold and a stellar cast with heart touching stories.

Made-for-television and made-for-streaming holiday movies seem to be more popular this year than ever before, especially with Netflix joining in on the trend. Are you a fan of them or not?

Ellys: This time of year I always watch a few more TV movies than usual. Year round, I just don't watch movies on streaming for the most part. I have started several but I haven't finished a single one, not on Hulu or HBO or Amazon or's odd but they just don't hold my attention....I can watch 2 episodes in a row of a TV show but not one movie the same length. Can't really explain it, but I think that I'm more likely to watch movies in theaters to get the whole experience. I'd rather invest my time in longer stories and characters which I will spend longer with. Movies are like really short TV shows. It's hard to get invested, so I watch more for the spectacle. Speaking to holiday TV movies, I've always loved Hallmark movies but they always make just a few actually good ones each year. They number of good ones hasn't gone up, even though they make more overall. Their original TV shows are much stronger.

Cecile: It seems like a good idea in theory, if the quality is there. But I rarely if ever watch made-for-TV/streaming holiday-themed movies, because most of the time, they're just not good. I do like the idea of holiday specials that some shows are launching though, like Sabrina or Schitt's Creek. It makes the wait till the upcoming season a little shorter.

Katherine: Not a fan of Christmas made-for-tv movies, although I used to be. Now they just seem the same ION/Hallmark story with different people and sets thrown in. If there's going to be a holiday movie, I'd rather it be about a particular as opposed to a one-off, as I've never seen one that I like.

Jamie: Nope, not a fan. They're all the same with their white, straight boring plots. Plus, usually there's also a ton of cliches. Not my thing. However, if someone makes a LGBT christmas rom com with not only white actors, I will watch the hell out of that.

Mads: Yep! Love holiday movies, they’re cute and fun though many are also dull. The Christmas Chronicles on Netflix was a super pleasant surprise.

Max: I’m not really a fan, but they’re good for the occasional laugh when there’s nothing else on. You can make a pretty entertaining drinking game out of them.

Laura B: Well, I have yet to see any yet and admit to not ever really watching Hallmark anything, but The Christmas Chronicles on Netflix (starting Kurt Russell and Darby Camp) looks like it could easily become a classic! I hope to check it out before Christmas Day! Overall I think it's a great way to get some Christmas stuff out there for the people who love that sort of thing!

Zoé: I wouldn't say I'm a fan of them, but I will watch some holiday movies occasionally. When I'm bored, I'll browse through a couple and if I recognize an actor/actress, I'll give it a try. They're cheesy and not my usual thing, but it's a good way to fill the holiday time.

Joey: I don't have a strong opinion, but I suppose I'd lean a bit towards not being a fan. I don't watch a lot of them, but there's a few good gems in the mix. Most of the ones I watch, however, are just cheap, cheesy, Christmas nonsense that only exist for the sake of existing. But they can be fun sometimes. So I'm right in the middle on this decision.

Beth: I do like them as an escape. You know exactly what you're getting in to and that is comforting. My two favorites this year were The Christmas Contract and No Sleep Till Christmas. Both were cute and fun.

Donna: I love holiday movies! They are a wonderful respite from the intense dramas normally on my schedule and help remind us of the best time of year. Netflix made a great entry into the genre this season with the highly original and delightful The Christmas Chronicles which featured Kurt Russel in a terrific performance as Santa Claus.

In tandem with question three, networks have been criticized in the past for not being diverse enough with their holiday movies. Hallmark said that it was important for them to become more diverse with the holiday movies they release in 2018. Have you found that they have?

Ellys: Hallmark broke their diversity records this season. Their record was basically zero before, but they've had multiple movies with non-sugar cookie white people in the lead this season. Jerrika Hinton (formerly of Greys Anatomy) was an especial delight in hers. NCIS's Duane Henry starred in one this Sunday that I look forward to watching. Speaking to other kinds of diversity, they also had some movies that didn't bash urban residency. City dwellers can have Christmas too!

Mads: Call me when Hallmark includes LGBT couples, particularly involving nonwhite actors and then we can talk about their diversity slate. Yes they’ve made some improvements but I’d consider it the bare minimum. It’d be nice to get more representation from all walks of life.

Zoé: I think it's a step in the right direction.

Joey: I haven't actually watched any this year, but based on commercials, it looks like they're at least trying, which is more than some other networks, so good on them.

Giulia: It is a long way to go. There have been improvements in terms of representation, sure. I'm with Mads on the LGBTQ storylines, we need more of those, too.

Donna: They have absolutely been more diverse this year and from what I’ve read, there are plans to expand that diversity next year.

That's it for this special holiday edition. Jump into the discussion below to add your thoughts. Happy holidays, everybody! Until we read again ...

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