Fall 2015 TV

It’s that time of year again, when the various networks (large and small) roll out their new offerings. I have to admit, I’m being a bit harsher and more judgmental this year. I just can’t afford to watch weak television when I’ve so much to do and so many more films to see. A show has to really have promise to make me hang out. With that said, I even filtered which I gave a shot this year as I don’t need another standard hospital drama or police procedural. I want something new and different. I may update this post as late-starting shows hit the small screen or as my opinion is won or lost. But, so far, it has been a disappointing set of offerings …

Sticking with for now

Limitless: The best written of the new releases that I’ve seen so far. It took the original movie material, capturing that energy and humor, and created something just new enough not make it a retread. Having Jennifer Carpenter basically reprising her Dexter role as a bit more put together agent, was a great surprise. She works well with Jake McDorman (Live Free or Die Hard), who really carries the show. This one has legs and some long-term potential if they’re careful.

Heroes: Reborn: The original series was a wonderful surprise on TV. It got destroyed by the writer’s strike and a few other unfortunate timing problems. This reboot has all the magic of the original’s first series and some nice additions as well, updating it in great ways and tackling it all on a global scale, a la Sense8 but with some solid continuity for previous fans. The huge conspiracy aspects are still in play, and that will either work or not, but it isn’t relying only on the mystery to keep up the energy; it is also building (and rebuilding) a set of characters that you can invest in. I’m hopeful this round that Kring will get to realize his whole vision for the show, and I’m willing to hang around to find out.

Gone and best forgotten

Blindspot: While it had a strong start, the weight of the uber-conspiracy was dragging it down quickly for me. That said, I really like the female lead, Jamie Alexander (Thor). She manages to both kick butt and remain believably confused. However, the writing and the rest of the cast is uneven, though trending more to good. I just didn’t care enough to invest an hour a week to watch them drag out the surprises and reasons. This was especially true when they dangled some clues up front only to rip them away with no real movement forward in the first couple episodes. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t quite good enough… though, I admit, it was close.

Quantico: Another strong start, but with a final setup at the end of the pilot that indicated it could easily become tiresome given what seemed as obvious aspects to the plot that will be revealed. And, after a second episode, it was pretty obvious it would be tiresome as it dragged out secret after secret while we barely make headway through the main day (not to mention some very questionable plot along with it). Shades of Lost! Again, some good performances and some (I stress “some” here) unembarrassing writing, but nothing brilliant. It had to survive on its cleverness, and I didn’t see a path for that given the main focus (the single day’s attack) appears to be the only point of the season (and then what?).

Minority Report: This movie adaptation had a shaky start as a series. The design is really nice and the ideas are somewhat solid, but the writing is clunky and there is just no chemistry in the cast. I gave it two shots before I gave up. The lead is a cheap man’s Domhall Gleeson (Ex Machina) and is even being directed that way. The lead detective is riffing on Taraji Henson (Person of Interest), and not well.  And Wilmer Vanderrama is just utterly devoid of believability. They’re all trying, but they had no meat to really work with. And, though there is a larger arc in play, it wasn’t enough to carry the show forward. The show owes a lot to Almost Human, but it didn’t build on or learn from the failure of that show with the public; it is making all the same mistakes.

The Muppets: Well, it isn’t quite the original, and it has some bite, just not enough chew. As a short distraction that has been updated to newer sensibilities it may be good for some folks. However, the update is to bring it more to reality series/soap opera format, which just bores me. I like the the behind the scenes fun, but that isn’t really the focus. After 1.5 shows, they lost me. Also, for those that knew the originals, the voices aren’t quite what we we’re used to either.

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