A Pastiche of Pixelated Drama (aka more TV)

So here’s that next round of TV this winter that I promised. Actually, some of them were worth the wait, though none are a runaway must-see.

Equalizer
This one really surprised me. The writing and chemistry are there right out of the gate. The rhythm needs some work, but the creative team is doing justice to the core of the original story while updating it for the current times. Queen Latifah (Ice Age: Collision Course) is a force to be reckoned with, but with the heart that made the first iteration of this story work so well. And it’s already been renewed for a second season.

Resident Alien
Alan Tudyk (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) is just fun to watch, even when the scripts aren’t entirely up to snuff. But though the show sort of stumbles out of the gate, it is quickly finding its feet with the help of Sara Tomko and Elizabeth Bowen (Upload). It may never be a classic, but it tackles some unexpected storylines and keeps it all fun, if improbable and, at times, predictable.

Clarice
Rebecca Breeds nails Clarice at the early point in her career, just post Buffalo Bill. The show embraces the Silence of the Lambs plot (though closer to the movie than the book) and spins it out to show us Clarice in the years between that story and the follow-on Hannibal. It seems only fair as Harris wrote up Hannibal’s whole journey eventually. It’s time to see Clarice’s. Helping her along are Lucca De Oliveira and Caitlin Stryker, both of whom add nice emotional and occupational support to the struggling Clarice. To be fair, they’ve diminished Clarice more than a little for their own dramatic purpose, but the core of her is still there. If there is a weakness in this show it is down to the insufferable boss character created by Michael Cudlitz. That isn’t Cudlitz’s fault, but the show’s. Unless he becomes and remains a bit more competent and human, I’m out. That dynamic just isn’t interesting to me.

Debris
A strong, if somewhat handwavy start to the series sets up an X-Files vibe with a bit more emotional touchpoints. It will remain to be seen if they maintain the interesting plots and overall arc without it getting either silly, stupid, or too outrageous to support. At least the production values are pretty good and Riann Steele (Crazyhead) and Jonathan Tucker (Charlie’s Angels) make for an interesting combination.

Young Rock
There is little doubt what Dwayne Johnson (Jumanji: The Next Chapter) is attempting to do with this show; he tells you up front. But political ambitions aside, the question is whether it’s a good show. The answer is mixed. The story is amusing and touching, and it opens a world that the greatest majority of the audience will have no connection to, making it interesting. However, the structure is odd and I can’t quite see how it will sustained for more than a few episodes. That said, the cast is solid and it is certainly something different and new. I’m giving it a couple more episodes to see if it can find its legs and keep me interested.

Superman & Lois
I’ll give them credit, they found a new story to tell rather than rehashing what we’ve seen before a million times. And the casting was done well too with Tyler Hoechlin (Palm Springs) and Elizabeth Tulloch (Grimm) in the title roles. But, like most DC and all CW shows, I can already see my boredom kicking in. The melodrama and the predictability, even with the new twists expanding on the set-ups from the tie-in shows, is beginning to weigh heavily from the 3rd episode. I suspect I’m out in one or two more unless I see something to really invest in. I know I’m going to be in the minority here, but I’ve struggled with the DCU TV shows for years now. Very few manage to tickle my fancy. But I’ll try to keep an open mind and give it at least a little more of a chance.

Snowpiercer (series 2)
Well, damn them. At the end of season one I was ready to walk away, but I wanted to see where they would go. And, as it turns out, they managed to avoid the obvious and boring track they appeared to be on. By the second episode, everything shifts and new possibilities make it all much more interesting. And, it has to be noted, Sean Bean (Wolfwalkers) has created one of the creepiest characters I’ve seen in a long time. Jennifer Connelly (Alita: Battle Angel) continues to deliver a nicely shaded performance, and the addition of the very capable Rowan Blanchard (A Wrinkle in Time) adds some good tensions. Alison Wright (The Accountant) is also getting to do a lot more this round, deepening her character and bringing a sort of redemption to her story.

Pretty Hard Cases
A Canadian comedy detective show in the vein of 911. If you enjoy The Baroness Von Sketch series, this one’s for you. If you are at all middling about broad comedy, it isn’t.

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