Season Premieres & Finales – March 2016

Ugh, I’m so far behind on things. I really should just wait until later tonight when I can discuss the season premiere of Daredevil, but that means I’d have to, you know, actually stop watching Daredevil long enough to write about it. Which, ha. I’m only going to stop watching Daredevil when my sister needs to sleep. (Damn her. Damn her to hell.)

So. We’re just going to do a combo post today, two birds, one stone, you get the idea. As always, SPOILERS ahead.

SEASON PREMIERES

Hap & Leonard

hap leonard

For the most part, I enjoyed this. I read the first two books in the series a long time ago, and the show seems to have stuck pretty well to the novel’s 80’s, offbeat, country noir tone. (I actually still own the first book, but I’m waiting for the season to wrap up before I look it over.)

The show has a fantastic cast. I like Hap (James Purefoy) and Leonard (Michael K. Williams) and I’m interested in their friendship, specifically those ominous looking flashbacks. Christina Hendricks appears to be a hippie femme fatale, so that’s fun, and I see Jimmi Simpson is continuing his career path of Total Weirdo Character Roles. (It’s not a complaint, mind. I always enjoy seeing him.)

The only one I’m not currently feeling is Chubs, not because the actor is bad, but because I suspect he’s going to lead to six episodes of fat jokes, and boy, is that something I’m not looking forward to. But otherwise, I’m interested in the show. It’s not quite filling the hole in my heart that Justified left behind, but to be fair, that’s a pretty significant hole.

TENTATIVE GRADE:

B+

Damien

damien

Oh, wow. Oh, man. That was terrible. Like, on a level even I wasn’t anticipating. Maybe not in the realm of 2 Broke Girls or 10th season X-Files terrible, but yeah. I won’t be coming back for more.

Look, the concept of Damien is kind of interesting. I’m all about fated characters potentially breaking away from destiny, especially if their destiny is to be evil. (Good Omens, for example? Totally my thing.) So the idea of Damien as this protagonist dude who has all these repressed memories and has to come to grips with the fact that he’s the Antichrist is somewhat intriguing to me. Especially if you consider what his infamous birthday day party would have been like for a kid who doesn’t know he’s the son of Satan. Like, holy shit, that’s the most traumatic birthday party ever! There are potentially interesting ideas here.

But oh my God, the is writing terrible. The show gives us an okay teaser, but as soon as the hilarious opening credits roll, we jump into an exposition nightmare. It’s bad. It’s so, so bad. It kind of reminds me of the Supernatural pilot, but even worse. The ex-girlfriend, Kelly, jumps on the Something Biblical is Happening train ridiculously fast, and that’s not even getting into the scene where Damien’s trying to deny that anything strange is going on . . . until five seconds later, in the same scene, when he and Kelly wildly reverse positions. I’d like to say that Kelly’s death is a surprise but unfortunately it isn’t, although to be fair, that’s very possibly because I was already familiar with Megalyn Echikunwoke, the actress who’d been cast as her sister, and I was like, “Show, you’re not fooling me. I know this is your actual leading lady.” (And as a side note . . . um . . . why the hell are Damien, Damien’s Friend, and Kelly’s Sister all riding alone in the backseat of the ambulance with Kelly’s body in an unzipped body bag? Like, is that normal? That totally doesn’t feel normal.)

On the positive side . . . well . . . they actually say Book of Revelation instead of Revelations! So, that’s cool! Barbara Hershey seems wonderfully creepy. And there’s a shot of an upset Damien touching a huge statue of Jesus Christ and making it crumble to pieces. That’s actually kind of neat, or could have been. But the show overplays its hand trying to be ominous, especially in the scene where some Rottweilers hellhounds kill that old guy. It wants to be scary and tense, like SO HARD, but really, it’s just various shots of religious iconography set to the movie’s Oscar-winning theme music, and admittedly, that music is amazing, but you know, you can’t just pair it with anything and call it a day. The whole show just feels kind of lazy.

I eagerly await your cancellation, Damien, so I can go watch Bradley James in something more worthy of his talent. (Also, maybe we can get that Vixen live action TV show? Or Echikunwoke could at least join Legends of Tomorrow and liven things up a bit.)

TENTATIVE GRADE:

D

SEASON FINALES

Agent Carter

ac

Overall, a pretty solid conclusion to a very enjoyable second (and possibly last) season. (Please come back, show. PLEASE COME BACK.) I did feel like Whitney Frost went down a little too easily, like, the fact that she didn’t notice the giant cannon thing behind her was hilarious, but I probably could have let it go if there had been more complications or a fight involved or something. Unfortunately, the Big Threat seemed to be dispatched awfully quickly, and I feel like Whitney deserved better because she was a fantastic villain.

On the upside, I’m relieved that Sousa didn’t die in the vacuum like I totally assumed he was going to. Seriously, I so had this guy marked for dead, and I’m glad to have been wrong. (It’s nice that Peggy has her own Man in a Refrigerator, but I didn’t really want her to have another one, at least, not so soon.) And I’m happy that Sousa and Peggy got together, although I feel like the storyline with Sousa’s fiancee this season was an unnecessary and dumb complication that should have just been written out entirely. (Again, I assumed she’d come back and play some kind of role. For her to just disappear like she did, meh. Why even have her?) I did like how Peggy and Wilkes ended things, though, and I’m excited about her staying in LA. More sunshine! More Rose!

I’m a little surprised that everyone seems to assume Jack is unequivocally dead. He could be, of course, but he didn’t get shot in the head or anything, and he wasn’t making Dead Face. I guess we’ll find out if, mercifully, Agent Carter comes back for a third season. (Seriously, show. COME BACK TO ME.)

FINALE GRADE:

B+

SEASON GRADE:

A-

How to Get Away With Murder

ct

Oh, this show. I fell mad in love with HtGAWM last fall, but second season has been a little off-balance for some time now. I still enjoy it, but I’m also deeply relieved to say goodbye to this season and move onto the next, like, I don’t even care how ridiculously quick the Hapstall murder mystery was taken care of; I was just thrilled it was DONE.

The season finale was, you know, okay. Cicely Tyson is always a delight to watch, and I’m happy that Annalise seems like she might kinda, sorta be on the emotional mend? Like, I’m all for her being a damaged, flawed character–Viola Davis is, quite obviously, a powerhouse, and I expect her to get the meatiest material to work with–but after a while, self-destruction actually gets a little repetitive, and I’m desperate to see the show focus a little more on her as the cool, hard-as-nails badass she used to be. It’s rare that I say this, but I actually think the show might do a little better to focus on weekly cases again. I miss those from first season. They gave it a sense of structure.

The very sudden demise of Adam Arkin was great, too, although I’m not gonna lie: I’d have been happier if they’d killed Wes instead. (Yeah, I know it’s not going to happen. I can still dream. I find Wes incredibly annoying. Sorry, Dean Thomas.) And Oliver’s deception is interesting, and by interesting, I mean holy shit, what a dick move. I really need this to be about something more than the fact that Oliver doesn’t want to move to California. Like, if he’s involved in some secret conspiracy or mystery, awesome, but if it’s just because he wants to continue hanging out with Annalise’s crew to provide some thrills? Please, no. I kind of need a halfway decent character to root for in the bunch, and that person should be Oliver. Connor and Oliver are, like, one of my favorite ships ever. Please don’t make me hate them.

Here’s what I need to see from Season 3:

A. Less Annalise damage, and more focus on the other characters. Seriously, Viola Davis is amazing, but the rest of the cast is pretty great, too, and we’re really underutilizing them at this point. Especially Michaela. Please give Michaela a better storyline. In fact, please give Michaela a storyline that doesn’t mostly revolve around a man. Even if that man is Asher. (I, uh, have not made up my mind about this ship yet.)

B. Also, we should probably really delve into Laurel’s family stuff now, instead of just skirting around the edges as we’ve been doing.

C. More Connor/Oliver time. Feel free to include Oliver being cute, remembering that he once wore glasses, and finding out that he’s hanging with a bunch of murderers and dead body-disposers. Connor, meanwhile, can feel free to take off his shirt, tightly hold onto a pillow, and/or have more nervous breakdowns that may or may not include manically singing.

D. No more about the Hapstalls. Seriously. For the love of GOD, let that be the end.

E. Maybe a scene that’s actually in law school?

F. MORE CRAZY MURDER. Always.

FINALE GRADE:

B

SEASON GRADE:

B

The Shannara Chronicles

sc

So, that . . . kind of sucked? Like, okay, this show wasn’t amazing, but I thought it had some potential in the beginning. Unfortunately, I didn’t really like where it went at all.

The idea of Amberle becoming the tree was kind of cool, and I’m happy that she wasn’t immediately all like, “Well, if that’s my duty, then of course I’ll do it!” But that she only became ready after having sex with our boring half-elf hero? Please. More importantly, I’m seriously annoyed that her fear of, you know, becoming a tree for the rest of her life was somehow all about Will. Like, come on. Even if these two had chemistry (which they don’t) or had been together a long time (which they haven’t), this would drive me crazy. Also, the L-word? Nope. Not having it. This show’s romantic relationships are the very definition of bland.

Interesting to note: there are a lot of women sacrificing themselves in this finale. (The men, you’ll notice, don’t sacrifice shit.) Eretria staying behind so the others can escape works for me, and Amberle becoming a tree (theoretically) does too, but Commander Tilton, the badass warrior elf? She doesn’t even die doing something important; she is literally only killed for Ander’s epic man pain, and guys, this dude already lost his dad and his brother in this season alone, not to mention his other brother in the past and is about to lose his niece. Tilton’s death is some serious bullshit. (Also, did Zombie Arion feel totally random to everyone else? Have there been other zombies running around before?)

Also, the whole story with Bandon felt pretty mishandled to me. I really wanted to care about him, but everything was so poorly plotted that I just couldn’t bring myself to. It sucked for Catania, too, who showed such promise in the pilot and then just become Bandon’s Totally Insignificant Love Interest. Frankly, I’m slightly surprised she didn’t sacrifice herself as well.

ALSO, shouldn’t Will suffer something for using magic to bring Eretria back to life? That’s how big deal magic works in this verse, right, that there’s pain and consequence for spell craft? (Like how Will’s Daddy’s life turned out totally sucky?) If this is coming in second season, well, I won’t be around to see it. Despite the show ending on something of a cliffhanger, I was so utterly disinterested by the last few episodes that I have no desire to continue watching the show. I’d love to see MTV take on YA epic fantasy, but this one is far too generic for me.

FINALE GRADE:

C-

SEASON GRADE:

C

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