The Fall television season

Every season I try to take inventory of the new shows. If nothing else, it provides another barometer on my tastes and a chance to point out interesting shows that may get missed, or thrash the real dogs.

I am harsh on what I’ll pick up as I watch too many shows already and, frankly, I’d rather spend more time on films. The more shows you pick up, the more the upkeep on them grows in terms of your hours/week. This is especially true with the number of hour-long dramas that have been coming out. So I’ve got to be wowed to add a new one to my list. There are precious few this round… and I’m not sad to say that.

As to the timing of this post, I’d been delaying publishing this until I’d gotten past most, if not all, the new launches. I’d also been travelling for several weeks, so it took some time to catch back up. Lesson: Never book a multi-week overseas trip during premier week; takes forever to clear your DVR.

In

Forever: Good mysteries. Sense of humor. Interesting story. Gruffudd and Hirsch have a great chemistry in a complex relationship and Garza plays her part as foil well. The story is somewhat rehash and derivative, sure, but almost everything is… when it is done well, it can still work. For now, this one is maintaining quality and my interest.

Bubble

Flash: I’d dropped out of Arrow last season without even intending to. I just missed a couple weeks and realized I didn’t care and so didn’t go back. I did drop back in to see the Flash set-up, which got me to check out the launch. It has a good sense of humor but risks over-complicated plots and repeating too many Flash stories recently out there (Flashpoint Paradox, for example).  But there is potential. As a side note, I loved the earlier version of this with Pays and Shipp. It was a great touch to have Shipp return for this version in a significant role. I’ll keep coming back for a while. We’ll see if I stay.

Constantine: Yes, this one is a guilty pleasure at the moment. Not great, but not awful. Has a big world, some complex mythos, a quipping anti-hero, and high stakes. Reminds me a bit of Brimstone, which was cancelled far before its time. No idea if I’ll stick with it at this point, but it gets a couple more chances despite its often clunky writing and slightly unbelievable lead.

Out

Selfie: Way overloaded and over the top for the pilot, but the underlying thread of recreating Pygmalion for a modern audience, and its brief moments of good dialogue, had me sticking around for a few episodes. But it quickly devolved and ran out of ideas. I gave it a chance, for Gillan and Cho, but ultimately the characters weren’t credible enough in the situation for me to continue. Why something like The IT Crowd can work and this didn’t for me, I’m not sure, but I think it is because there was just no basis for the situation–no chance that those people could have been in the positions they were.

Gotham: Too earnest by half and far too many changes to the established myths for me to buy in. It isn’t that it didn’t have potential, it just was unable to deliver. Never made it past the first episode and have no desire to go back.

How to Get Away with Murder: Some really good performances and possibilities. Lost me with the bad research mistakes for the courtroom and procedural parts. Also, the combo of soap opera and police procedural did not really live comfortably with each other. It is brilliantly constructed to keep you coming back, but without some good pay off early, it was easy to walk away from. I took a two week break and found I just no longer cared.

Red Band Society: I didn’t want to like this, but there was just enough good writing and humor to keep bringing me back for a few weeks. I could see it devolving into high school soap opera (that is its focus, so I couldn’t blame it) which would have quickly lost me anyway. As it turns out, despite the stories having enough broad appeal and reflection, I just didn’t need to lose the hour every week.

Mysteries of Laura: after a promising set-up, it blew it in the last few seconds of the pilot. Just poorly researched writing and premise.

Scorpion: Interesting premise, but too rushed and without credibility despite some nice performances and moments of good dialogue. Just wasn’t enough to make me want to waste an hour a week.

 

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