So, the 2016-2017 Fall TV Season has begun. Lots of new and returning shows have already started, and I haven’t watched even half of them, because it’s been a bit busy for me lately, and also because I didn’t want to. Still, I’ve checked out about five shows so far. Here are my general impressions:
DISCLAIMERS: MILD TO SERIOUS SPOILERS INVOLVED. DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVEN’T YET WATCHED. THIS MEANS YOU, MEKAELA ST. GEORGE.
I have to catch up on this show (we’re like six episodes in or something?) but I just watched the first two, and so far I’m liking it. I find that I have to crank up my volume like I’m listening to Comedy Central, or British people, but other than that, it’s interesting.
There are far, far better people than a white girl from small town California to talk about why this show is important, and have, so I’m not going to try. What I will say is that I generally find the characters likable or interesting, which is especially helpful in Earn’s case, since male protagonists who are always asking their parents for money and not helping ladies out much on the rent . . . not typically my favorite. But nobody does anything so horrible I can’t stand them; actually, I like all three main characters quite a bit. Paper Boi has some nice scenes, and of course Keith Stanfield is pretty hilarious. There are a lot of moments of quiet humor and a fair amount of WTF humor, too. I do find myself hoping that Earn’s girlfriend will get to do something other than, you know, be a girlfriend. Like, it’d be nice for her to have a storyline that didn’t entirely revolve around wanting Earn to make money or get out, especially because the show’s feeling a bit dude heavy for my tastes at the moment.
Atlanta is, as everyone and their mothers have said, a tonally strange show, bouncing seamlessly between scenes of, say, stoner humor and very abrupt, difficult-to-watch scenes of police brutality. It doesn’t quite feel like anything else on TV, and that, along with a soft spot for Donald Glover, makes me think I’ll probably watch it at least a full season, if not more.
The Good Place
So, that was fun. I went back and forth on if I wanted to check this show out or not, but a good review on io9, my love for Kristen Bell, and a need for a little bit of levity in my life tipped me towards the Check It Out side, and I’m glad I did. I’m not sure I’m going to keep up with it forever–I worry that it will become a bit repetitive–but I’d like to try for now. I laughed out loud a lot, even at some of the moments I knew were coming, and that’s always a big plus. I’m trying to remember which jokes made me laugh the hardest: the dog, certainly, was up there. Also, Kristen Bell’s offhand line about the purse, the reminder that Africa is a continent, not a country, and Michael’s clear inability to understand the mass appeal of froyo.
William Jackson Harper is an awesome straight man, and he and Kristen Bell have great chemistry, like, that’s half the show right there. Ted Danson is also a lot of fun, and I pretty much adore D’Arcy Carden as Janet. Also, I didn’t expect the cracktastic karmic consequences for whenever Eleanor screws up, and I’m excited that there’s a bit of a mystery involved, too. Who knows that Eleanor doesn’t belong there? Will we meet God (or whoever) at some point? And what exactly is God’s criteria system, like, I’m pretty interested in what’s going on behind the scenes when Florence Nightingale didn’t merit a spot in the Good Place, but someone like Tahani–who is all charitable action with somewhat questionable intent–did.
There’s possible room to grow here. If the show does, and continues highlighting the Eleanor/Chidi dynamic duo, I could definitely enjoy it.
Agents of SHIELD
So, I’m partially invested in this. Theoretically, I like the idea of breaking up the team: it adds a layer of complication, giving our players secrets and hidden alliances that could be kind of interesting. It also shifts around the power dynamic, like, I’m into Jemma having a bigger position of power than either May or even Coulson in some respects. At the same time, though, I already miss the team, you know, as a team, and the idea of a whole season getting the band back together sounds vaguely exhausting. I’m also a little less interested in Daisy being the vigilante, even though her scenes aren’t bad, and I’m not a Daisy hater by any means. I just would have been more interested if virtually any other character had been playing it solo. I kind of think a Daisy-lite season might do the show some good, although in fairness to AoS, it’s looking like everyone’s going to have stuff to do.
On a more positive note: Ghost Rider is potentially interesting (although the scene with the brother and the surge of inspirational music that followed didn’t quite work for me), I’m totally into the Life Model Decoy (and hey, it’s Madalena from Galavant! YAY!), I’m excited to see that Yo-Yo’s back (YO-YO!), and OOOOH, May has apparently contracted the weird ghost sickness. See, now that I’m fully invested in.
How To Get Away With Murder
After an occasionally awesome but somewhat shaky second season, I’d say “We’re Good People Now” is relatively solid ‘B’ fun, with some drama that I don’t care about and one damn sweet hook. The worst part, easily, was that beginning; please tell me that there are other people out there besides me and my sister who watched that whole Scream Our Fury Into The Night Sky scene and laughed their asses off. I mean, I get the idea, and those kind of moments can totally work, but boy, did I not buy it here, like, at all.
Also, any Wes/Laurel drama is automatically a snoozefest on every level. I am very definitively not a shipper because Laurel is far too interesting for him, and besides, Wes’s whole “I can’t talk to you because when I look at you, all I see is your shitty ex-boyfriend” thing, I mean, that’s such total bullshit. (Don’t get me wrong; Laurel will probably still end up being involved with Frank somehow because TWISTS, but at this point, for all Wes knows? Yeah, this is a shitty way to treat her.) Oh, and new douchebag student guy? Can he die, like, super quickly? I am deeply not interested in spending any time with this guy.
Let’s see, what else . . . oh, right, my favorite goddamn ship has broken up. This is not my happy face, show. Actually, I find that I’m not quite as upset as I thought I’d be, mostly because I don’t think this is the end of Oliver/Connor at all. Also, I’ve gotta say . . . look, Oliver’s totally right that Connor’s reaction (or lack thereof) is just completely wrong and may not say necessarily great things about their relationship–but then, that’s why you go to counseling or something. What you don’t do is make Connor’s saintlike reaction to your pretty atrocious treachery somehow all about you and not understanding who you are as a person anymore and so you have to break up so you can rediscover yourself on your own because, seriously, WHAT?
Away from that total nonsense. I genuinely like that after a year of murder and hacking up bodies and shootings and framings and everything else you could possibly imagine, the Keating Five aren’t actually doing so hot in school, like, that makes complete sense. I enjoyed seeing Annalise visiting everyone over the summer, and also the show getting back to its initial procedural format. I think it actually needs that along with the twisty soapy murdery goodness. It was also pretty hilarious to see Nate giving Annalise a foot rub because–shamelessly, utterly shamelessly–he’s shirtless as he’s doing so; thus we witness a few of Billy Brown’s 680 ridiculously sculpted muscles actually moving as he rubs her feet.
But of course this episode’s really all about those last few minutes and our new mystery: WHO IS DEAD? Like I said before, it’s a pretty great hook, especially since every episode we’ll be eliminating at least one person who isn’t dead. (If Connor or Oliver die, I walk, people.) If you take the scene at face value, then the most likely people are Bonnie, Wes, or Nate, based on Annalise’s grief-stricken reaction. But since anyone who’s still watching this show in the third season knows not to take shit at face value . . . it really could be anyone because, for all we know, Annalise killed them herself and is just putting on a big show for the cops. (Currently, I’m putting early money on Frank dying after somehow managing to impossibly redeem himself to Annalise over the course of the season, but early money isn’t much, like, I’m wagering maybe four pennies here.)
Finally, two more important things to note: a) Meggy is adorable, so either she’s secretly evil or she’s gonna die, and b) Frank shaved his beard and head. NOOOOOOOOOO.
Here’s another show I was on the fence about checking out. But I finally did, and it’s . . . okay? Should we pro/con/whatever it?
Clayne Crawford is actually pretty good as Riggs. I especially like some of his quieter, matter-of-fact moments later on in the episode. Right now, at least, I think his performance is carrying the show. (He and Damon Wayans also have decent enough chemistry, though, which helps.)
Still, when my spellcheck tried to make ‘Clayne’ ‘Claire’ and I thought to myself, man, how awesome would it have been to have seen Marti Riggs instead? Yeah, I’m still bummed we didn’t get it. Cause the thing is Lethal Weapon isn’t anything new or fresh, and while the women thus far are at least likable–I enjoy Murtaugh’s wife, and Jordana Brewster’s counselor appears so far to be playing a more effective and less overtly antagonistic version of Mary Ellen Trainor’s original character–they also don’t have much to do. (Besides, Brewster will probably just end up Riggs’s love interest, anyway.) A gender-flipped version of this show could at least have been interesting.
Especially since they only double down on the Refrigerated Wife backstory by adding a dead unborn baby, too. Sigh.
While it’s nice to see someone who isn’t freaking out at the first hint of a contraction, woman, call yourself a cab, Jesus. Seriously, ladies, this is your public service announcement from someone who totally isn’t a medical professional but works around a lot of them: if you think you are going into active labor, PLEASE don’t drive yourself to the hospital because this is not safe, and also because if you can drive more than three minutes to the hospital without having debilitating contractions, you very possibly aren’t far enough along yet to be coming to the hospital anyway. (Well, okay, women whose water has broken still need to come in regardless of whether they’re having contractions or not–but never mind, you get the point. In general, call a friend, an ambulance, or Uber, okay?)
I am tired of seeing the same accident over and over and over, TV. Anytime I see a driver’s profile, I just sit back and start counting seconds until a truck comes through and T-bones them.
Bad guys are killed like crazy in this show. Like, no one cares even a little bit about offing criminals, so long as car races aren’t interrupted and the city doesn’t suffer too much financial damage. (Seriously, the Grand Prix scene is more than a little silly, and I could easily have done without it.)
Hey, I forgot Kevin Rahm is in this! And he has a pocket square! Man, I haven’t seen that guy in forever.
Murtaugh is like the most oblivious person ever and probably shouldn’t be a detective. How is he the only person at the dinner table to miss out on the obvious clues that Riggs’s wife is dead? Good Lord, Murtaugh.
Instead of just being old, Murtaugh is going back to work after suffering a heart attack and open heart surgery. I feel like they’re just going to use that as an easy joke, as it’s mostly treated comedically here, but this actually has real potential to be a serious ongoing storyline, like, Murtaugh being afraid to die is a perfectly valid thing. Since most of the pathos goes to Riggs, this could be an interesting thing for his partner to explore. Instead, I suspect Murtaugh will mostly have serious drama whenever one of his family members inevitably ends up in danger.
The clear MVP of this story is not Murtaugh or even Riggs but Murtaugh’s ridiculously cute baby girl. She is the most adorable thing ever and needs to be featured in every single episode. Make it happen, Fox.