The new fall TV season has started and quite frankly, there are just too many shows on now. I can only watch so many in any one week and I’m almost certain half of these shows will be kicked to the curb within the first 6-8 weeks, but for now here are my thoughts on a few of the new additions to the fall TV line-up.
Probably the series I enjoyed more than anything else I’ve watched thus far, this is the continuation of the 2011 movie starring Bradley Cooper, who also makes a cameo appearance. Not to get too long in the tooth in this mini-review, but I felt that it had established a pretty good place to jump off from. You have the reason, the how and soon the what of the story. Meaning, we’ve established that Brian Finch had a valid reason for taking the NZT drug that gave him his super intelligence. We know that due to his super intelligence he’ll be working with the FBI to solve a string of high-profile cases over the season. However, we don’t know who is supplying the NZT nor what the overall arc of the show will be outside of the mystery supplier. So, now Senator Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper) is enlisting Brian to do be his eyes, ears and hands to do – something – for him. So, the mystery is afoot. It’s an arms race in the “intelligence” market and I’ll be sticking around to find out what happens.
Heroes Reborn (NBC)
No. Heroes isn’t really reborn. This first episode of a terribly lopsided series didn’t hit any of the right chords for me personally. It had a few narrative elements that reminded me of the pilot episode of season 1, but had too many elements that reminded me of the worst of seasons 2 and 3. Many of the issues with season 2 through 3 were that had too many characters that were extremely powerful but completely underutilized, but also characters where they they had archetype powers like super speed, telekinesis or telepathy but were used in often times silly and uncharacteristic ways. As it is, Tim Kring still has no idea what an “empath” is or he would never called Peter one (a small first series gripe). On top of the fact that the witting got REALLY lazy, it just became almost a train wreck I couldn’t turn away from. It wasn’t until season 4 that some life came back into the series, but by then it was just too little too late. Tim Kring may love super heroes, but he tells their stories is horribly derivative and amateur-hour ways. In an era where there are SO MANY better and more well-developed series on TV, Heroes Reborn brings home the nostalgia but not the substance that it helped create. Even from the beginning, we know that Hayden Panettiere isn’t coming back to the series, but how they “killed” her off was a bit stupid. It was established that she can only really be killed a certain way and this episode didn’t really give any satisfaction that the writers remembered that at all. With all that said and done, I will watch the series but like season 2 and 3, begrudgingly so.
One last thing… this one above… her powers… pointless. Looks cool… pointless.
Minority Report (FOX)
There’s a lot to love and hate about what the pilot episode presented. What I liked was that it was a direct continuation of the 2002 movie and continues the ramifications leveled on a world where PreCrime is no more because the Precogs escaped captivity. So now crimes have to be solved the old fashion way, using hard evidence, deductive reasoning, human intelligence and crime scene generating, virtual reality implants. Which leads me to the other thing I liked about the series, unlike Almost Human (FOX) to an extent, it really embraces future tech and the fact that it is a future world. Additionally, I’m kind of digging the the overall arc of the series. There’s a larger event that Agatha sees unfolding and the Precogs may have at one point been the victims, but they may soon be the world’s biggest threat. The weakness in the series is quite frankly – its actors. Meagan Good for all her beauty and delicious curves is as wooden an actress as January Jones (Mad Men). Add in Wilmer Valderrama (Fez from That 80’s Show) and you are already off to a wrong start. Maybe it’s a speech impediment, but he’s about as silky smooth as sand paper and about as charming as Paul Blart: Mall Cop. I doubt this series makes it past 13 episodes, but if it does they need may need to retool the show another way. As of right now, even I can see the future of this series.
I think once I got over the fact that this wasn’t really going to be faithful to the Batman lore, but is an Elseworlds styled series that has shades of Batman lore in it, I’ve been okay with what I’ve seen. It’s not a good show. It just isn’t, but it’s entertaining and now that they’ve embraced the crazy, let the races begin. Like Volume 3 of Heroes entitled “Villains”, season 2 of Gotham is just about that – the villains. Now, I’m not sure how this differs much from season 1 in that the only really interesting stories were the ones surrounding the villains. In fact, they could have left the intro scene of season 1 as is with young Bruce Wayne’s parents being murdered, but center the series on just the villains with a little Bruce Wayne and Jim Gordon thrown in occasionally to tie into some loose threads. We’ve already been introduced to the character that will most likely become The Joker at some point and The Court of Owls is scheduled to appear at some point this season. Barabra Kean is a nut job and we’ve been introduced to two new masterminds in the series Theo (James Frain) and Tabitha Galavan (Jessica Lucas). Tabitha is this series version of the villain Tigress who is the enforcer to her billionaire brother Theo, who is more reminiscent of Marvel’s Kingpin and has no counterpart in DC comics like Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett) from season 1. I have no idea where they’re going this season, but – it should be an interesting ride.
If John Doe (FOX/2002-2003), Person of Interest (CBS/2011 – Present) and Blacklist (NBC/2013 – Present) had a menage trois, it would be Blindspot. Dropped off in the middle of Times Square in a duffle bag, Jane Doe (Jamie Alexander) is a mysteriously dangerous woman without a past. However, about halfway into the episode we get glimpses of her past and know that whatever the deal is, she’s not only a piece in the puzzle – she may have also been an architect of the puzzle. Who knows. What we don’t know is why and why she or someone else had her tattooed from head to toe with these cryptic symbols and writings. Based on what we know for sure, the tattoos are clues to mysteries, crimes or soon-to-be events that she instinctively seems to uncover. I’m not saying it was a bad show, just that it did nothing for me. It was a “paint by the numbers” series amongst a crop of much better series that have similar narratives. Maybe the star-appeal of Jamie may keep this show on for a while, but as far as I’m concerned, unless they really give me some meat in the next 4-6 episodes, this series will be out of focus for me.
The Muppets (ABC)
I have to say, this isn’t what I was expecting. I say that in a good and bad way. Good in the sense that this faux-reality TV styled series made me laugh more than I thought it would. Taking a much more adult and darker tone than I could possibly estimated, this series is not really for children. Maybe older kids in the their teens, but I can’t really sit down with my 3 through 8 year old kids and comfortably watch this series. I think the tone is too dark, the jokes a little too grown and the candor a little too frank for that demographic. However, that’s my personal choice as a parent, do what you will with yours. I sort of get why some parents a little upset that after 40+ years and multiple movies, one released just last year, that suddenly this VERY kid-friendly series isn’t anymore. So, being a fan of dark humor it appeals to me, but I won’t expose my kids to it. Kermit is now the executive producer of the show, “Up Late with Miss Piggy” with host Fozzy Bear. The first episode deals with the ramifications of Kermit and Piggy’s breakup and how that is affecting their on and off stage dealings. It also slyly takes on social issues in an “under the table” manner as Fozzy is trying to impress his new girlfriend’s parents who don’t approve of their daughter’s lifestyle of dating “out of the species”. It was one of the few scenes that actually made me guffaw loudly. I guess if I had a bad thing to really say about this series is that the faux reality TV format of the series doesn’t do anything for me. I’m not a fan of those types of series (Modern Family, Parks & Rec, etc.) or shooting style. I get why they did it – to make it more modern and appeal to a wider and more youthful base, but I wouldn’t be surprised that if this suddenly fell of my DVR list – I don’t think I’d notice and if I did, I may not be inclined to schedule it again. We’ll see.
I still have a few more show to catch up on, like “The Player”, “Scream Queens” and “The Bastard Executioner”, but I’m currently binge-watching the first season of “The Blacklist” and that’s eating up a lot of my time.
Until next time.