You may have heard once or twice that we live in a golden age of TV. Cable has become the home of peak TV, with shows like “Game of Thrones,” “The Walking Dead,” “Queen Sugar” and “American Crime Story: The People vs. OJ Simpson” drawing big audiences and critical acclaim, while challenging the way viewers think and watch. Likewise, broadcast networks have upped their game in recent years to offer smarter programming like “Pitch,” “The Good Place” and “American Crime,” trying to benefit from an increasingly picky TV viewer.
Sometimes though, those types of shows can be a bit much to handle. While you may love “Walking Dead” and how it crushes your soul every week, or you can’t get enough studying the intricate world constructed by “Game of Thrones,” maybe you just want a break.
There are times when you just want TV to entertain: Maybe you missed an episode, or don’t want to give a show all of your attention, or perhaps you just want a good dose of action to get your adrenaline pumping. That’s where the new breed, shows like “Lethal Weapon” and “MacGyver,” comes in.
When the time comes that your peak TV viewing becomes too much of a burden and you need an escape from your escape, these are those shows. They’re big, they’re exciting, they’re engaging. They don’t necessarily demand all of your brain power, though.
Instead, these shows -- both based on beloved '80s franchises -- rely on being fun. And sometimes that's exactly what you need. They're big on explosions, buddy cop scenarios, adrenaline-pumping action moments and jokes -- exactly the things that made their original incarnations so popular in the first place.
And leaning into fun is not a slight against these shows: Ahead of their premieres, many assumed both "Lethal Weapon" and "MacGyver" would be duds. Instead, they've carved out their own little space in a landscape dominated by either demanding TV, or truly brainless consumer boilerplate, as the place to go when you need a break. They tell good stories with engaging characters and manage to have stories that pull you in. And they manage to do it without leaving you down in the dumps like a lot of shows might.
Additionally, missing an episode here or there won't hurt. When you tune in though, get ready to kick back and enjoy yourself. Shows like these are the comfort food of TV and they're not alone. "Modern Family" and "Law & Order: SVU" are a pair of long-running examples -- sometimes the best TV concentrates on being enough to entertain you.
After all, there's a reason there's a marathon of "SVU" episodes on somewhere at any given moment in a day. These are the shows that help us unwind when we want to watch something without overthinking it. Without shows like these, TV would become a lot harder to take.
So the next time you are looking for something to turn your brain off to and you're in the mood for something new, do yourself a favor and check out an episode of "MacGyver" or "Lethal Weapon." You won't be disappointed. In fact, you might find a new favorite show.
"Lethal Weapon" airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Fox, and "MacGyver" Fridays at 8 p.m. on CBS.