Fall is here, and there’s a chill in the air. Take that pumpkin spice latte or seasonal beer to your couch and catch up on this month’s TV viewing checklist from Media Manda.
By Amanda Thornton (aka Media Manda)
Unscripted Series to Watch for the Month
Master of Arms – Discovery, premieres November 2
In each episode, three builders face-off in two historical challenges that call upon era-specific weaponry, from the firearms of the frontier to the blades of the Vikings. A former Army Special Operations Sniper will determine each weapon’s velocity, accuracy, and durability in the armory and in the field, and a panel of expert Judges will score each build. There’s also an elimination portion after each challenge, each week, only one weapon smith walks away with $10,000 and the title of “Master of Arms.”
REVIEW: At first glance, this show seems similar to History Channel’s Forged in Fire series. It will be interesting to see how Discovery puts their own spin on a competition series like this. I’m excited to see the historical era-specific artifacts brought to life by contestants in the show. Hopefully, we can all learn a thing or two from the different artifacts they recreate and showcase.
Enemies: The President, Justice & The FBI – Showtime, premieres November 18
This four-part documentary series from Academy Award winner Alex Gibney presents the long, complex history of presidents testing the rule of law and the FBI’s job to enforce it. It tells the story of the epic confrontations between the President and the FBI. From Nixon and Hoover to Trump and Comey, each battle illuminates a different facet of our democracy and the law. Using the present as a prism, we look back to see which lessons held up, which didn’t and how the current investigation of the Trump administration might turn out.
REVIEW: Alex Gibney is great at whatever show he does. This series is based on a book that was released in 2012, although the book’s title is Enemies: A History of the FBI and focused more broadly on the FBI’s “hundred-year war against terrorists, spies, and anyone it deemed subversive—including even American presidents.” I’ve noticed that there are a lot more series like this one being released in the Trump era now that the source material is more relevant than before. Overall, this looks like an interesting series.
Buying It Blind – Bravo, premieres November 2
It follows six couples as they journey out into the world looking for a new place to live. And they’ll have to decide on which property to call home — all without ever stepping foot inside. These couples will surrender complete financial and creative control to a team of experts. The team will set out to legally buy a home for the couple, without them ever seeing it but taking into account their wants and needs. Then, they will renovate and transform the property to suit the buyers’ dream. When it’s all said and done, and deed is in hand, the real question is: Will these new homeowners love their new abodes or will it cause them more distress?
REVIEW: I also hate looking at houses and would love it if someone would just pick one for me and renovate it so I don’t have to go through all of the drawn-out trouble. The best part about this show is when the experts renovate the house and then we get to see the reactions of the homeowners who trusted these strangers to get their tastes in design right.
Kentucky Ayahuasca– Viceland, premieres November 28
The show follows Steve Hupp, a former serial bank robber whose life was changed when a robbery went wrong and he found himself sharing a prison cell with a Peruvian shaman named Guadalupe who upon release, introduced him to the healing potential of Ayahuasca. Now, Hupp and his family have opened a retreat deep in the Bible Belt of Kentucky, attracting people from far and wide seeking enlightenment, salvation or healing from any number of afflictions from depression and PTSD, to recovery from emotional or physical abuse and addictions of all kinds.
REVIEW: This show sounds too crazy to be real so of course I’m going to tune in. Instead of a reality show, this guy may need his own movie about his life, but this will do until then. Overall, this show sounds perfect for Viceland.
Scripted Series to Watch for the Month
Homecoming – Amazon, premieres November 2
Heidi Bergman (Julia Roberts) is a caseworker at Homecoming, a Geist Group facility helping soldiers transition to civilian life. Years later she has started a new life, living with her mother and working as a waitress, when a Department of Defense auditor questions why she left the Homecoming facility. Heidi quickly realizes that there’s a whole other story behind the story she’s been telling herself. Mr. Robot’s Sam Esmail directs the series.
REVIEW: This show looks very intriguing. Knowing how Mr. Robot was great the first season and then slowly declined in quality, I hope that this series doesn’t do the same. This series is also based on a podcast of the same name. Critics are already calling it “must-see mystery-box TV.” All in all, this series sounds like it’ll definitely be an interesting one to check out and hey, Julia Roberts is on TV now!