2014 Fall Premieres – The September Issue

The 2014-2015 Fall TV Season has begun. Sadly, many of the new shows I’m interested in won’t actually begin until after the new year (I haven’t forgotten about you, Galavant!), but I did get to see one pilot this week, along with a few returning favorites.

Here is my report card for the September premieres. SPOILERS ABOUND, PEOPLE.

Agents of SHIELD

shield

The second season premiere of SHIELD had at a lot going for it, I thought. Flashback Peggy, Dum Dum, and Fresno, for starters. (I’m sure this guy has an actual name, but I will always remember him as Fresno. I would be SO HAPPY if Fresno and Dum Dum ended up as regulars on Agent Carter.) Also Reed Diamond, who shockingly — shockingly — is playing a bad guy. And Clark Gregg facing off against Adrian Pasdar. (No, autocorrect, I do not mean Adrian Persuader. The hell?) And even Ward fulfilling the role of Skeevy Hannibal Lecter, complete with sexy Angst Beard! (Obviously a must have.)

Honestly, I thought this was a pretty good setup for the season. We’ve introduced some new bad guys and set up some new mysteries. I totally didn’t catch that Jemma was a hallucination, and that’s an awfully tricky stunt to pull. (I’m hopeful that they’ll also provide an explanation on why Jemma thought leaving would somehow help Fitz, since that seems like a spectacularly bad plan at this point. Poor Fitz. I sort of expect he’ll be magically fixed by the end of the season, but I kind of hope it isn’t quite that easy. I think it’d be fascinating to have a main character who has to actually live with his traumatic brain injury.) I’ll admit to being a bit bummed that Lucy Lawless died so fast, but I am always happy to see Lucy Lawless, even briefly. And I guess I have Attractive Accent Guy to take her place?

I know a lot of people are nervous about this sophomore season, but I thought this was a pretty good start and I have decently high hopes for what’s next to come.

FAVORITE PART:

Patton Oswalt mouthing, “What?” as Coulson badly pretends to be General Talbot over the phone

EPISODE GRADE:

A

Person of Interest

poi2

All right, time for the show to start, and it’s . . . hey, Frederick Weller! Man, I haven’t you seen you since In Plain Sight! I’ve missed you! Are you going to — oh, no, you’re about to die in three, two, one — yep, there you go. Oh well. Bye, Frederick Weller!

Of all my returning shows, I was probably looking forward to Person of Interest the most, and all in all, I think this was a pretty solid season premiere. I feel bad that Shaw has to sell makeup while John gets to be a cop (and the asshole even whines about it, that loser), but I assume a master plan will emerge from this eventually. I love that John ultimately takes Carter’s place as Fusco’s partner, and I’m ecstatic that he hired Elias to do his dirty work. Please, show, please keep bringing back Enrico Colantoni. I love him in this so much.

I’m really interested to see how this season plays out with Samaritan hunting them down. (Although if they keep being idiots and refusing to come up with codewords or code phrases for the phone, I can only assume they’ll die by November sweeps. Seriously, John and Shaw. No wonder Finch doesn’t want anything to do with you two.)

FAVORITE PART:

I’m not sure. Possibly Enrico Colantoni’s facial expression when John offers to hire him.

EPISODE GRADE:

A-

Key + Peele

key & peele

I don’t know if I have anything deep or insightful to say about this because I’m better at analyzing shows with ongoing plot and character arcs than I am at sketch shows, but I’m so happy Key & Peele is back on the air. And I’m kind of liking this new setup where the skits are connected by two guys on a road trip somewhere, instead of the usual standup clips. Mek and I were wondering if they were going to arrive somewhere at the end of the season, and if so, where? Personally, I think it should be Walley World.

FAVORITE SKETCH:

Probably the aliens one, but the singing soldiers and liberal rednecks were up there too.

EPISODE GRADE:

A-

Gotham

gotham1

I’m only interested in two new shows this fall, and they’re both comic book shows. Overall, I thought Gotham was a fairly decent pilot with a good amount of potential but also some stuff that didn’t work for me. Like, dialogue. Good God. I read some early reviews calling Ben McKenzie flat, but I actually thought he did a pretty decent job with some of the lines he was given. That scene where he’s talking to recently orphaned Bruce Wayne about how there will be Light? No. That is shit dialogue. (Although I don’t know if anything made me groan as hard as that one Major Crimes guy telling Gordon and Bullock to “stay frosty.” Ugh. Guys, we have to retire “stay frosty.”) I’m also not entirely feeling Barbara Gordon at this point, although maybe her mysterious past with Renee Montoya will make her more interesting.

On the other hand, I’m interested in the setup. I think primarily focusing on the cops in Gotham is an interesting way of looking at the city, although I still wish this was taking place during Grown Up Batman time where Batman himself occasionally reoccurs as a guest character. (Which is apparently the whole plot of a comic, Gotham Central, that I only found out about last week and now have to read.) Donal Logue is AWESOME as Harvey Bullock, and I really liked that scene with him and Gordon both hanging upside down in the freezer, all, well this could have gone better. I’m looking forward to seeing how their partnership unfolds. I enjoyed Jada Pinkett Smith as Fish Mooney, although I don’t anticipate her surviving past first season, and I thought Robin Lord Taylor was a pretty convincing and creeptastic Penguin. (The only other thing I’ve ever seen Taylor in was Would You Rather, where he was also a psychopathic little shit. I wonder if typecasting is going to be an issue for him.) And while I doubt anyone else cares, I kind of like that the show opened with Little Catwoman in what’s typically a very Batman shot. I’m curious to see what kind of relationship she and Little Bruce are going to form.

All in all, I think there’s material to work with here. We’ll have to see how it goes, but I’m hopeful this show can work out its kinks. Like the super clunky dialogue. Or the weird chase sequence action-cam.

FAVORITE PART:

Definitely Gordon and Bullock, waiting to be gutted. Although I was also impressed with Little Bruce screaming after his parents died — I was very happy it was a high-pitched, childish scream instead of some ridiculous Angry Roar that I would’ve laughed at.

EPISODE GRADE:

B

Sleepy Hollow

abbie1

This episode was decent, although I wasn’t particularly excited by it. As a season opener, I didn’t really feel like it accomplished as much as I wanted it to, although it did have a few pretty amazing LOL moments:

1. Headless Horseman firing a shotgun (because it will never stop being funny)

2. Realizing that Naked Benjamin Franklin is none other than Danny Concannon from The West Wing

3. The Shirtless Headless Horseman. I mean, holy shit.

I was also happy to see our weird subtitles back — how I have missed you, totally strange font. John Cho made a cameo appearance, which, YES! (Can Selfie get cancelled yet? I want him back.) And I’m always up for a good “there’s a storm coming” line. I mean, that will always make me happy. But I was really disappointed that they just got rid of the creepy Purgatory dollhouse, like that actually kind of bugged me. And oh my GOD, Katrina is a prisoner AGAIN? I was really hoping, after all this time off, Sleepy Hollow would have figured out a way to make Katrina interesting. Really, I would have settled for her simply pointing out to Asshole Abraham that she is not a thing that can be stolen. Instead, she remains the least interesting, useless, and most victimized character on this show, and my patience is wearing a little thin.

Since I’m losing hope that they’ll ever actually fix Katrina, I can only hope that they’ll remember they still need to save Orlando Jones next episode.

FAVORITE PART:

Probably the part where Ichabod realized his deathbed confession to Abbie didn’t record. Although I also loved the scene where she just straight up decapitated the thing pretending to be Ichabod because he said, “Lieutenant,” instead of ‘leftenant’. Jesus. I’m glad you didn’t just hear him wrong or anything, Abbie. I’m saying, if I decapitated somebody every time I misheard what they’d said, we’d have a LOT less people in Northern California. And I’d probably be in jail as a convicted serial killer.

EPISODE GRADE:

B

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12 Responses to 2014 Fall Premieres – The September Issue

  1. Bryan says:

    I think Fitz has a good chance of having to live with his injury, a chance that increases as Whedon’s involvement with the show increases. River and Topher didn’t get miracle cures. (I also don’t think Lawless is done on the show, from something she said in an interview. Either she’s going to be there in flashbacks, or the Obelisk is going to make her somehow not dead, or something.) I’m glad this show has gotten good. It’s a good watch on the treadmill, if nothing else.

    • I think it’s possible you’re right, although I also think they’re slightly different cases. River was introduced to us as damaged. We didn’t know her for a full season before someone fucked around with her brain. Topher would be closer, I think, but Topher was only traumatized for a few episodes, right? (It’s been a while since I watched Dollhouse, and I actually never saw the last few episodes, though I unfortunately know some of what happens. Anyway, correct me if I’m misremembering.) I don’t think it’s quite the same as introducing us to a healthy, adorable character for one season and then giving him a life-altering traumatic brain injury, maintaining his difficulties with perception and communication for multiple seasons. I think that’s a much bolder thing to do. (Not a criticism of the other shows. Just saying, permanent consequences can be hard to find on TV sometimes.)

      As far as Lawless — quite possibly. Some people — not you — are saying she has to come back simply because she’s Lucy Lawless, but killing off a big genre player in a season premiere isn’t that shocking because, well, that’s why you cast a big genre player in the first place. To surprise people when you kill her off. But I think more appearances due to flashbacks or Hey-I’m-Not-Quite-Dead-Thanks-Handy-Obelisk subplots are also possible.

      I still don’t think Agents of Shield was ever as bad as some people said, but I’m definitely glad it’s improved. Between this and Person of Interest, Tuesday is currently my favorite television night. (Since I actually tend to watch shows when they air, like the fossil I am. 🙂

      • Teacups says:

        Topher was crazy in two episodes; the post-apocalyptic ones.

        I’d be down with Fitz having to live with his injury or getting better – so long as it happens slowly and realistically. No magical sci-fi cures, please, just normal medical rehabilitation. Although I don’t know if that’s the kind of injury that realistically ever would be completely healed? I’m not a neurologist.

        I was thinking though, one reasonable explanation for Simmons leaving would be her searching for a magical sci-fi cure, which she hopefully will not find. Except I don’t know why she would’ve said that he’d be better without her there. Pfft.

        • Agreed. I don’t mind if he gets better. I just prefer it takes time. I am also not a neurologist, and nothing I do at the hospital even kind of qualifies me for pretending I can speak with authority on a brain injury. But I’d GUESS it would just depend on how much trauma there was and to what areas of the brain. I could be okay with near-total recovery if it took a credible amount of time and rehab.

          I think your idea on Simmons makes sense. I will also hope she doesn’t find a magic cure.

      • Teacups says:

        Well, now we know where Simmons has been, at least. Which I think they were foreshadowing last season, actually – there were a couple of moments which were making people theorize that Simmons was HYDRA. I’m a little surprised that the show would think ahead like that.

        Fitz seems to think she went to get away from him and his feeeelings, although I doubt that. Imagine that conversation.

        Simmons: Sir, Fitz confessed his unrequited love for me right before saving my life, and now it’s awkward. Can I go on an assignment to get away from him?
        Coulson: Sure thing, non-spy non-combatant person who’s notoriously terrible at going undercover. How ’bout I send you in alone as a double agent with HYDRA, our terrifying, brainwashy, Nazi nemesis organization?
        Simmons: …Thanks?

        I’m still thinking she could’ve volunteered to go in, hoping to find something HYDRA had which could cure Fitz.

        • That’s interesting. I actually didn’t think that about Simmons at all, though I’m very relieved she’s not actually a Hydra. I mean, I wasn’t that worried about it, but I’m still glad. I think one original cast member as a traitor is enough. Two just seems like you’re trying too hard to be really, REALLY shocking. And Ward’s reveal was so awesome as is.

          Yeah, I agree: that seems like an unlikely conversation. Though I’d pay good money to have the actors film it and add it as a Special Feature on the eventual Season 2 DVD. Also, I’m really enjoying the hell out of Fitz this season. I definitely warmed up to him last season, but I’m actively interested in his story lines now. (I’m also trying to remember if they’ve ever said if he has a family or not. If he does, it makes me wonder if they know about what’s happened to him. Oh, fanfiction.)

      • Teacups says:

        Fuck, I forgot to say – I desperately hope Simmons tranqing Sitwell that one time came up during her Evil Scientist job interview, given he was a HYDRA mole. It seems like something that should’ve been brought up before hiring her. Assuming they knew about it. I also hope Sitwell had to explain what happened to his superiors. I wonder if there’s any fanfic about this?

      • Teacups says:

        I couldn’t find any.

        You wouldn’t happen to know who Sitwell’s HYDRA boss would’ve been, would you? I don’t know if that information is out there, but if it is, I wouldn’t want to get it wrong in this fanfic I might someday write. 🙂

  2. Teacups says:

    This isn’t about the premiere, but it is about Sleepy Hollow. Close enough.

    I don’t know if you’ve heard about this already, but you know that video of the journalist being beheaded that got released about a month ago? Well, the same day, Sleepy Hollow came out with their DVD marketing campaign. It consisted of a playful email sent to a bunch of journalists wishing them a happy “National Beheading Day,” and “Headless Day.” There were also a bunch of commemorative cards featuring the characters making puns about beheadings.

    I may be going to hell, but I find this extremely hilarious. I laughed for several straight minutes when I heard, trying to shut up the whole time for fear of waking my housemates.

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