Sunday, October 12, 2014

Returning show roundup

And now for some thoughts on returning fall shows and where I'm at with them.

American Horror Story: Freak Show -- I am aware of just how much of a mess this show can be.  The first season was very mixed bag, although I mostly enjoyed it.  The second season was definitely the peak for me.  It had some iffy bits sprinkled throughout, but on the whole, I thought it was quite excellent and the ending was very good.  That third season, though.  Coven had all the elements for awesome and it just...fizzled.  There were a lot of great moments, but nothing cohesive.  Not that cohesion is really a thing with Ryan Murphy shows.  But I was all set to watch a fourth season and see what he'd cook up.
And...I dunno.  There were things I liked about the first episode.  That scary clown?  OMG.  That's one to haunt your nightmares, for sure.  Jessica Lange in Marlene Dietrich drag singing Bowie's "Life on Mars?"  OMG, yaaaas.  The rest?  Meh.  After a while it all blurs.  Things that are supposed to be shocking are just old hat by now.  We know all of Murphy's tricks now and nothing is shocking anymore.
The verdict?  I will probably watch another few episodes.  If something doesn't grab me soon, I'll be out.

Scandal -- Season three kinda lost me.  I almost stopped watching but I went back and finished the season.  And I was okay with it.  Not excited for season four, but not dreading it either.  But I watched the premiere and was just...done.  If I could watch the show for the five or ten minutes with Mellie, I would.  But Olivia and Fitz?  They're just gross and horrible and I just can't.  Send them off to Vermont so they can make jam and fuck all they want.  Quinn and Huck, JUST NO. 
The verdict?  I'm out.  I'll keep an eye peeled for good Mellie gifs, but that's it.

Sons of Anarchy -- This show is just mentally and emotionally exhausting.  I already had some thoughts on the season premiere, so I won't re-hash that.  But I'm three episodes behind right now because I just can't deal with these characters anymore.  I hate them all and I don't care what happens to them. 
The verdict?  I'm mostly out.  I will continue to read Zack Handlen's excellent reviews at the AV Club so I know what's going on, and I will watch the finale, but I doubt I'll watch the other episodes now or ever.  I've invested enough time in this story that I want to know how it ends, but that's it.

The Vampire Diaries -- This show.  I didn't watch the first season but then I Netflix'd it and watched it up in time for the second, and man, did I love this show.  There was a lot to like.  And then last season, it just all fell apart.  Partly to blame is the continued existence of Bonnie.  She was a fine character but they never really gave her anything good to do and she'd just show up and do one thing and save everyone but then go away again.  And I suppose that was fine, if boring.  But then they killed her off and I was so happy except then she was an annoying ghost and I started hating her more than I loved the show around her.  And then there's Caroline, who at one point was my favorite character but then it was like they didn't know what to do with her anymore.  Caroline should NEVER be boring, goddammit. 
The verdict?  I'm out.  I didn't watch the fifth season premiere and I likely won't keep up with the show unless someone tells me it gets better. 

New show roundup

Some quick thoughts on new teevee shows and whether or not I will stick with them.

The Flash -- I quite enjoyed this pilot.  I think it will make a nice companion to Arrow and the fact that it feels like it might embrace its own silliness a bit more makes it not just a copy of Arrow with different characters.  I love Arrow but considering how silly a lot of it is, it's a rather serious show at times.  Oliver is more of the "tortured hero" and I think Barry Allen (partly because he's younger) will be a bit more fun.
Likelihood of watching a full season: Most definitely.  Unless the quality dips considerably, I'll be sticking with this one.

Gotham -- When I first heard about this one, I was in.  A show about a young Commissioner Gordon?  Yes, please.  But then I watched the pilot and while I mostly enjoyed it, I wasn't completely certain about it.  The problem is that it starts out with the familiar killing of Bruce Wayne's parents.  I'm just not sure we need to have a young Bruce Wayne in this show every week (although Sean Pertwee as Alfred is ACES).  There's no chance we'll ever actually see him as Batman and I'd rather have him be a very minor character, if he has to be there at all.  And my initial thoughts about the pilot had me loving Ben McKenzie as Gordon and Donal Logue as his usual awesome self.  However, after 3 episodes, I'm not loving McKenzie quite as much.  I'm not sure if it's the writing or the acting, but I'm not seeing a lot of range there.  Plus, all the women (with the exception of Jada Pinkett Smith, who is a HOOT) are BORING AS FUCK.  Well, young Selina Kyle is all right, but she's not a woman.  Also, that third episode had the most awful scene at the end where I was just laughing my ass off at how bad the dialogue was.  Not good.
Likelihood of watching a full season: At this point, it's not looking as likely as it was before that third episode.  I'll give it at least one more, but if there's no real improvement or reason to keep going, I'll just stop watching and wait for people to tell me whether it gets better or not.

How to Get Away With Murder -- I wasn't sure about this show when I first started watching the pilot.  It looked like it would just be a case-of-the-week show, which I tend to get bored with after about 2 seasons (see: Castle, Elementary).  But after three episodes, it's clear that while there will be a case-of-the-week, there are also a few sub-plots that will likely be running through the entire season.  And those sub-plots are intriguing enough that I'll probably keep watching. 
Likelihood of watching a full season: Fairly likely, as long as Viola Davis continues to be a compelling character.  The other cast around her are fairly dull, with the exception of the blonde lady whose name I don't know (I am terrible with large casts in the early goings of shows).  The others are fairly generic. 

Black-ish -- I liked the first two episodes this show but actually stopped halfway through the third.  I just don't really like family shows.  I had the same problem with Trophy Wife.  I enjoyed it for the most part, but just didn't really care enough to keep watching. 
Likelihood of watching a full season: Not a lot.  It's possible I'll revisit it if there's a guest star I'd like to see, but I won't be watching it on a regular basis.

Selfie -- I actually thought the pilot had potential.  It was problematic, and I didn't much like Amy Pond having an American accent, but I liked John Cho and I thought the two of them had interesting chemistry.  However, I only got through about 8 minutes of the second episode before saying, "Nope." 
Likelihood of watching a full season: The thing is, I still think this one has potential.  Comedies are just difficult.  They sometimes take a while to percolate before they become something good. So if this one sticks around and people tell me it's gotten better, I may go back and revisit it.