Season Premiere Review Round-Up – Numero Tres: 10/26 -11/6

Elementary

elementary

Oh, I’ve missed you, show. Admittedly, I’m slightly annoyed with you for casting the excellent John Noble (everyone’s favorite dad for daddy issues) and then only giving him roughly twelve seconds of screen time at the very end of the episode — bastards– but other than that, this was a very solid premiere. (I know, I know, he’s sticking around. You’re still a bunch of damn teases, all of you.)

I will never get tired of watching Sherlock and Joan trying to take care of each other. They have one of my very favorite platonic relationships anywhere on TV, and Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu work really well off one another. I also really liked Sherlock’s moment with Gregson, since I was expecting the latter to be all, “Grrr, argh, you did bad things!” instead of saying, “You’re acting like you did something; something was done to you.” It was a welcome surprise, and maybe, hopefully hinted that Elementary isn’t planning to just let Sherlock recover from what happened in an episode or two? (Elementary is usually pretty good about that sort of thing, actually, which is undoubtedly one of the reasons I enjoy it so much.)

The case itself isn’t anything deeply exciting — I guessed David Zayas was the bad guy just from seeing his name in the credits — but I didn’t mind so much, considering just how much emotional fallout the show had to deal with. And can I just say, that killer dude who shot himself in the head? He was super effectively creepy. I tried to look up the actor to give him kudos, but couldn’t seem to find him. Well, anyway. Kudos, Mystery Actor!

FAVORITE PART:

Not sure. “My compliments to the virgins whose blood you bathe in” was a pretty great line. Also, the scene were Joan threatens to punch Sherlock’s Dad’s Snotty Assistant in the face. That was pretty good for me.

TENTATIVE GRADE:

A-

The Librarians

librarians

I was so happy when The Librarians got renewed — it’s such a silly, fun, enjoyable show — but the two-part season premiere was really just okay for me. It wasn’t bad, exactly; it just felt a little off for some reason. Forced, maybe. Part of it, probably, has to do with Flynn, who I just don’t think fits in all that well with the rest of the team. And I was a big fan of Carter and ER in my day, but I can’t help but feel that Noah Wyle just doesn’t have quite the right amount of manic charm for the role. (I’m sure I’ve said this before, but watching him here mostly makes me yearn for Matt Smith, who could probably do this part blindfolded.)

Worse, the more time we spend with Flynn, the less time we spend with the characters I’d rather be watching, which is literally everyone else in the cast. I feel kind of bad about it, but I’m pretty happy Flynn’s not going to be in every episode because I think the team actually has a more interesting dynamic without him.

Lest it all be negative, I did still have some fun watching “And the Drowned Book” and “And the Broken Staff.” I enjoy the whole idea of the Fictionals and I look forward to their villainous shenanigans. (Although Prospero and Moriarty, while decent enough, kinda make me miss Matt Frewer as the Big Bad. Then again, I’m pretty partial to that guy.) I know Baird made me laugh a few times, although I can’t seem to remember any of her lines now. (I really should start taking notes for these things.) And I was definitely amused by the failed hug-it-out defense against Frankenstein’s monster. I love it when hugs fail because I’m a terrible person.

FAVORITE PART:

Yeah, probably Frankenstein’s monster. (Though I wouldn’t minded if he looked even slightly less silly.) Oh, or Ezekiel’s defense on why he doesn’t know how to use a card catalogue: “It’s the 21st century. I don’t know how to shoe a horse, either.” Word.

TENTATIVE GRADE:

B

Supergirl

supergirl

This show has been getting some serious love online — nerds, critics, presumably some regular people, too — but so far, I’ve gotta be honest: I’m kinda iffy on it. On the upside, I think Melissa Benoist herself has a ridiculous amount of charm, and I really enjoy watching her as Kara. Not everyone can fully rock that whole adorkable vibe, but so far she seems up to the challenge. I also didn’t call that her sister Alex — crap, it’s gonna be really hard not calling her Lexie — was a secret field agent, so that was a pleasant surprise. And Jimmy — crap, it’s gonna be really hard not calling him Eggs — is pleasant enough to look at/listen to. Also on the plus side: casting Dean Cain and Helen Slater as Supergirl’s adopted parents, not to mention pretty much everything about Calista Flockhart.

That all being said . . . look, I don’t mind showcasing more optimistic superhero stories; I really don’t, but guys, some of the dialogue here is painfully earnest. Obvious, too. I don’t want to be able to guess half the things the characters are about to say, especially if they’re going to say supremely stupid things like, “Why, because she’s a girl? That’s exactly what we were counting on!” Sweet Jesus, enough. You could make a drinking game off this pilot; take a shot whenever a character makes it obvious that this is a Female Superhero Show. And don’t get me wrong — I’m not asking for Supergirl to be a show where the superhero just happens to be female, like I’m totally fine with them acknowledging her gender and the bullshit she has to face because of it. But the lack of the subtlety in the dialogue just kills me dead. I want to feel empowered watching Supergirl, not pandered to. Mostly, however, I felt pandered to, and pissed off because of it.

Being fair, though, this is a pilot. There’s plenty of time for improvement in the script . . . but I know that if it doesn’t come in the first season, there’s no way I’m making it to the second. I will also need Friendzone to improve rapidly because I can’t possibly express just how bored I am by that whole tired setup. And while I know Hank Henshaw is supposed to be an ass, could he somehow be, like, less of an annoying ass? Because his dickishness is so one-note at this point that I just want to yawn whenever he opens his mouth.

FAVORITE PART:

Hm. Maybe Kara’s excitement when she saves the plane? It’s always nice seeing someone embrace the powers that you would kill for, rather than treating them like it’s some massive curse.

TENTATIVE GRADE:

B

Advertisements
This entry was posted in TV STUFF and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Season Premiere Review Round-Up – Numero Tres: 10/26 -11/6

  1. Teacups says:

    Supergirl: I don’t LOVE it, but I think most of its issues are just growing pains. I completely agree about their handling of gender and sexism in a superhero universe not exactly being up to Agent Carter standards. The references to Superman is also pretty clumsy. But I think they’re likely to ease off on both issues as TPTB themselves get uised to the show, and stop being self-conscious about writing The First Female Superhero Show In Forever and Supergirl, Who You Might Not Know Very Well But She’s The Cousin Of Superman?

    Which, OH MY GOD was that storyline about being overshadowed by Superman annoying. Most especially, when Kara was happy to just go off and fight this super-tough villain without a plan, and got pissed when James called for backup. I get that she wants to prove herself, but she seemed to have no concept of how dangerous this shit was. If she fights someone she can’t beat, the only options are running away (which she might not be able to do), being rescued, or DYING. James calling in Superman was the only reason she wasn’t fucking beaten to death, because she was running off half-cocked instead of fighting smart.

    I’m hopeful that Kara is NOT going to suddenly realise she has feelings for Friendzone (if he ends up a villain like he was in the comics, can that be his supervillain name?) judging by her fairly horrified look when he kissed her cheek. Thank god; I’d been worrying they were going to do a love triangle between him, Kara, and James. Although now it’s just Kara, James and Lucy instead, even if that is so far less annoying.

    Awkward feminist posturing aside, I am super happy about the female roles in this show. Most prominently, that even if you put Kara aside, the next biggest character is her sister. And the relationship between them is given more prominence on the show than any other, which I was not expecting going into this. I hardly ever see two female main characters unless the show is targeted very hard at a female audience.

    The Big Bad is also a woman, and so far, she isn’t any kind of stereotypical Girl Villain. (Dude, I recently watched Catwoman, wherein Evil Sharon Stone runs a makeup company, and is jealous that her husband’s sleeping with a younger woman, and gets her invulnerability from evil beauty cream? Girl Villain to the max.) Plus, none of them are depicted in a sexualised way, and they generally dress practically. It’s sad that this makes me so happy, but a lot of superhero media is not like that.

    Basically, I think it has a lot of problems, but I’m optimistic that it’ll fix them. In the meantime, I do like Kara and Alex and their relationship a whole lot.

    The Librarians: I wasn’t really feeling the premiere so much either. Although I liked the payoff with the Tree Of Something-That-Isn’t-Knowledge, and teaching Frankenstein to use Tindr, and Cassandra easily getting the Duchess’s number. Although at this juncture it seems like they’re deliberately invoking the Ambiguously Gay/Bi trope, and I’d appreciate them dropping the “ambiguous,” part, if this is going to continue – which I really, really hope it does.

    I am intrigued by the mythology surrounding the fictionals. Question: Could the Librarians fight the Fictionals by summoning Sherlock and having him face off against Moriarty, or summoning a superhero and asking them to kick the shit out of Prospero?

    Anyway, I liked the episodes since then more, generally speaking. Especially the one with Jacob’s dad – Cassandra’s door-opening truths was instantly one of my favourite jokes from the entire show thus far. Both the montage, and the bit where she was happily talking about watching the light go out of someone’s eyes and apparently making choking motions?

    The other thing about that episode that I loved was what happened with Jacob and his dad. I see so many episodes like this, dealing with a main characters’ troubled or distant relationship with their one-episode-guest-star parent, and almost all of them end in reconciliation. Which is fine, you know, if the parent has actually changed, or if both they and the kid caused the problems and they meet one another halfway, or whatever. Like, I had no issues with Supergirl’s rendition of this storyline in the Thanksgiving episode.

    But sometimes the parent were the one who caused most or all of the issues in the relationship, and it seems like they haven’t changed much until the last five minutes of the episode, and yet the right course of action is still supposedly reconciliation? (Also, I just get sick of that always being the conclusion, over and over and over and over.)

    A lot of the time, you’ll get other cast members bugging the parental-issues one to try and patch things up – even if they have no idea of the history there, or even they DO know about the parent’s abusive behaviour. Which on the one hand, is definitely what some people are like, but in these kinds of scenes, they’re usually portrayed as being RIGHT.

    Jacob’s dad came across as a bad person and an even worse father, and didn’t seem interested in admitting his flaws or trying to change them. I was annoyed but unsurprised when we suddenly appeared to be going down the reconciliation route. So the total reversal on that was very satisfying indeed – especially that Jacob basically chose to stop emotionally investing in that relationship, or emotionally investing as much, anyway.

    I think this was the first time I’ve seen one of these episodes end with the main character choosing to distance themselves from the parent, and with this being portrayed as the right choice. Which is insane, because that’s generally what one should do with an abusive relationship? Not that the parents in these episodes always are or were abusive, but yeah. Why do we get so many reconciliation episodes, and none where they extract themselves (or partially extract themselves) from a toxic relationship?

    TL;DR – I have a lot of strong feelings about how troubled parent-child relationships are portrayed in fiction, and this is in no way related to my own parental issues.

    • I’m two episodes behind on Supergirl right now, so things may have improved, but . . . I’m struggling with this one. You’re probably right about the growing pains, and I want to like this show, I do, but the dialogue is just so obvious and terrible ALL THE TIME. And it’s making it hard for me to appreciate stuff that I’m actively trying to appreciate, like Supergirl’s relationship with her sister. I always want more positive sibling relationships and female friendship stories, but I also think Chyler Leigh gets saddled with some of the very worst of the dialogue, which is frustrating. (And man, I hated that scene where Alex easily takes down Kara a couple of times to prove she needs combat training, and Kara gets all hurt and betrayed and is like, “Okay, I get it, I’m useless,” and I’m like, “What? That’s not the lesson at all, you big whiner!”)

      (Oh, have you watched Jessica Jones yet? It’s not perfect, but I liked it a whole lot, and one of my absolute favorite things about it is Jessica’s friendship with BFF Trish, particularly as the series continues. I was like, YES. I want more of this, more of this all the time, please.)

      Also, I predict that, at some point, Kara will totally realize she has feelings for Friendzone, maybe second season. (Ooh, I didn’t know he became a bad guy in the comics. If that’s the case, then maybe not! One lives in hope.) Also, I haven’t seen too much of the Big Bad yet, but I’m glad she hasn’t come across as Girl Villain yet. (I actually have seen Catwoman, and forgot all about that. I’ve forgotten most of it. My brain tries to protect me.)

      The Librarians: I have also liked subsequent episodes better than the premiere (though I’m behind one, currently) and surprisingly, my favorite so far was Cassandra’s at the college. I liked her in that, and I’m interested to see where her magic stuff goes. Also, Stone and Ezekial on the golf cart cracked me up. (I also loved Cassandra’s confessions from the episode before. They were awesome.)

      And oh my God, I HATE it when parent-kid reconciliations are cheap on TV. Do you watch Criminal Minds? Have I complained about this one yet? Cause Reid’s dad abandons him at, like, ten years old with only his loving but seriously mentally ill mother to take care of him, and the takeaway from the episode seems to be that Reid’s dad loved him all along, even though he never contacted him, and that Reid (who pushes his dad as a possible suspect in a murder investigation) should be sorry and forgive all that happened? Ugh, RAGE.

      Sometimes, I thought Jake’s dad was a little bit heavy-handed when it came to being Awful (because it was like every single line out of his mouth, and I was like, “No, show, I really do get it, he totally sucks) but I was also glad that they didn’t actually reconcile. The only other time I can think of offhand is in that season 4 episode of Community where Jeff’s dad finally comes back in, and Jeff leaves by the end of it. That was nice.

      Um. Yes. I also have strong feelings on the subject cause of Reasons.

      • Teacups says:

        I USUALLY don’t notice Alex’s dialogue as being worse that the rest of the show’s (not that that’s much of a compliment) but “You’ve spent more time in the Friend Zone than the Phantom Zone,” would have to be my pick for the worst line so far. It very much sounded like something I would’ve heard on Smallville – and that one is most definitely not a compliment.

        I wish we could get more of Alex combat training Kara in the Krypto-room (Why did they even HAVE that room, by the way? Pre-Supergirl, what was it for?) because as that episode illustrated, knowing martial arts would come in handy now that she’s likely to be going up against other people with superstrength. Obviously the physics of such a fight would be a little different than two regular humans going at it, but still.

        I have seen Jessica Jones, and I love Trish and her friendship with Jessica. I’ve also been imagining what a Jessica Jones/Supergirl crossover would look like, and I mostly imagine Kara being all sunshiney and going “Oh wow, I love superheroing, don’t you? …Wanna be best friends?” as Jessica gets annoyed and edges away. (This is basically the dynamic between my family’s cat and the neighbours’ cat, except presumably Jessica wouldn’t also be afraid of Kara.)

        Yeah, the college episode was been my second favourite of the season thus far – although something about the look of the lake and the way they did Stumpy’s death bothered me, and Lucy being snatched up for egocentrism was awkwardly done. She’d seemed pretty matter-of-fact about her own intelligence, and then suddenly she sounded like a mad scientist making the transition to supervillain.

        But otherwise, there was a lot I liked about the episode. The running gag about the university’s Sunnydale Syndrome, the Ominous Latin cheering (I googled it – it means something like “let the devil of fire appear”) the tentacle monster, the fact that a few regular people have noticed magic exists, the acknowledgement that with the widespread release of magic, chasing down and lying about individual cases of it is only a stopgap solution, the beginning of Cass getting deeper into the world of magic. I’ve been hoping that would happen. And despite my problems with specific scenes, I did like Lucy and Stumpy.

        I also like that there is an entire faction of people who view magic as simply another branch of science – since science is just the study of the universe, that logically would include looking at how magic worked, if it turned out magic existed.

        And oh my god, Jacob and Ezekiel in the golf cart. I love so many things about that. Just the fact that they’re fleeing a portal-travelling tentacle monster is hilarious. But then you’ve got Jacob being forced to go on about how awesome Ezekiel is, which I’m sure pained him greatly, him getting pissed at Ezekiel for not being able to be egocentric spontaneously, and his crappy attempt at an Australian accent, which I need to become a regular thing.

        I don’t watch Criminal Minds, and hadn’t heard about that. I looked it up, and yeah, that seems pretty goddamn terrible – I don’t want to minimize this dude’s trauma, but if he really loved his son that much, he at least would’ve tried to ensure Reid was being cared for properly. Did he pay child support, or anything like that? I’m curious as to whether he was saying his trauma rendered him not only incapable of parenting Reid in person, but also of sending some money now and then.

        I do see what you mean about Jacob’s father. I do think it’s very important to portray abusive parents as people – and a big part of that is that they’re not going to be abusive 100% of the time. (IT had a fantastic passage about this, in regards to Beverley’s dad.) Or even most of the time, usually. I didn’t have this problem with Papa Stone, but I can see how he was kind of pushing it.

        I’d forgotten about that episode of Community. I guess that was the first such episode I’ve seen, not The Librarians’ one. At least as far as I recall.

        • I feel like I remember Alex having more than a few lines I wasn’t a fan of, but now all I remember is that line in the pilot where she was like “Because she’s a girl? That’s EXACTLY what we were counting on.” Anvils.

          I would love to see Jessica Jones giving chipper Kara some serious side eye. I’d pay money for that.

          My now favorite episode of The Librarians is easily the video game one. I loved pretty much everything about that, the plot twist, all the video game references, Stone’s ridiculous and surprising enthusiasm once he realized he was in a video game. (I generally love it whenever Stone turns out to be a bigger nerd than you thought.) Until that episode, I was still pretty ambivalent on Ezekiel Jones, but watching his character development (which I absolutely bought in context) made me really like him a LOT. It finally gave him something to do, and while I was kind of disappointed he lost all of his memories, I’m hopeful that means the show is going to start actually developing him as an actual person in the future. (Not that I don’t enjoy all the sniping between him and Stone, because I absolutely do. The golf cart scene was hilarious. But I’d like him to have an actual arc.)

          Yeah, I never really got the impression Reid’s dad did anything like child support. I suppose he could have been sending money and the show just didn’t say, but I’d be surprised. Honestly, in show I’m not sure they even play it like, “Oh, I had PTSD and I couldn’t handle it anymore.” Like that’s not a big moment or anything. He just goes. It’s pretty awful.

      • Teacups says:

        Huzzah! That last episode was the kind of Alex story I’ve been wanting since the pilot, about what it’s like being the overprotective older sibling to someone so much more invulnerable and physically powerful than she is.

        I’m glad that Winn and Kara’s story has apparently ended, at least for now, with him accepting that they’re just friends. I hope it never undermines that by having Kara develop feelings for him.

        I think Astra’s backstory and motivations are terrific – that she tried to warn everyone about Krypton and she was RIGHT? Great. Regretted and struggled with the violence she committed, but believed it necessary? Awesome. And now she’s trying to stop the same thing from happening on Earth? Love it.

        She should be a great foil to Kara; both refugees from a dead planet, selflessly pouring their lives into trying to save the people of the new planet they happened to land on, risking life and limb in the process. The difference being that Kara views people as a whole very idealistically and believes they will, on the whole, do the right thing given the chance – while Astra has a more cynical outlook, and believes that people en masse need to be forced into doing anything hard, even if it’s to save themselves.

        This is why I find it immensely frustrating that while the flashbacks and the eighth episode give such an impression of her character, most of the time, it seems like she’s just doing this shit because she’s evil and stuff. (Not that this is anything close to the first time this has happened with the well-intentioned extremist trope, but usually that doesn’t come close to being explored in any depth.)

        Like, okay, talking about how the night of the invasion as the night they’ve all been waiting for, and humanity will be brought to its knees, and isn’t that cool? Or Alex being all “You love Kara, so obviously your heart isn’t in this war.” Writers, she shouldn’t be doing this because she wants to – she should be doing it because she believes that she has to in order to ultimately save us. Also, she can be a bad person and still love Kara, Jesus!

        Also frustrated that Kara and the rest of the DEO couldn’t have a non-cryptic conversation with her while she was locked up. As in “What made Krypton explode exactly? Uh huh. And is that what’s going to happen here, or were you just talking about like, climate change? What were you planning on doing to stop it? Alright, fine, you don’t have to tell us your take-over-the-world plans, but what do we need to do to save our planet?”

        Anyway, I was surprised that she died. (But I loved the coldness of Alex running her through with a Krypto-sword. She was a fragile human in an indestructible superhero fight, and Hank was about to be killed – she couldn’t fuck around, no matter how sympathetic a villain Astra was.) I think maybe she’ll come back, because Non just seems so uninteresting and underdeveloped as a character that it doesn’t make sense to me to make him the Big Bad? Possibly they’ll flesh him out more now, IDK.

        I LOVED that Librarian episode’s “It’s a time loop; nope, it’s a video game!” twist. The two are similar enough that combining them is a great idea, but I’ve never heard of anything like it before, so they were able to put in a mountain of foreshadowing without giving the game away.

        I also appreciated getting a video game episode that was written by people who have actually played a video game before, thus the accurate discussions of video game mechanics and such. Especially the slamming of escort missions, heh.

        • Ha! I’ve FINALLY caught up on Supergirl, so I can now actually look at this comment. (So. Behind. On Everything.)

          I, too, am glad that Winn and Kara’s story seems to have ended. At first, I thought they were doing something sort of interesting with him, having legitimate fears of what will happen to him if he bottles everything up. I thought that was a unique way to handle an annoying trope, and I could even sympathize with the idea that he couldn’t pretend not to have those feelings anymore and needed to put distance between them, at least temporarily. But needing distance and being an angry jerk because someone you like doesn’t like you back are two different things, and I think the show could have handled that a bit better. It’s certainly not the worst Friend Zone crap I’ve ever seen, but I’m still relieved it appears to be over.

          I think I agree with you about Astra. I haven’t been hugely impressed with her thus far, but I suspect that’s more execution than concept. Conceptually, she’s a great sympathetic villain. The fact that she was right about the destruction of Krypton is really pretty cool. Still, one of my biggest problems with Supergirl in general is that I feel like their dialogue is often weak and the script has a way of glossing over the most interesting character ambiguity stuff. I like their stories more than I like their scripts, I think. (Also, I’m not sure I ever fully bought the actress in the role. Then again, that could be more what they’re giving her. I’ve really liked Chris Vance in other shows, but I, too, find Non utterly boring and non-charismatic.)

          I was also surprised by Astra’s death, though, and generally liked everything about it. I was pleased to see Alex get such a good moment. I’ve discovered that I really like watching her want to hit people as well. (I’m sure the secret will blow up in her face eventually. But at least this is one secret I understand keeping. Probably should table THAT discussion, though, until I hit the comment thread where we’re talking about Arrow.)

          Re Librarians and the Episode of Awesome: ditto on the twist, video game mechanics, and escort missions. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s