The 2015-2016 TV Superlatives!

The time has come, my friends. The moment that maybe one person ALL OF YOU have been waiting for: the 2015-2016 TV Superlatives.

Rules are basically the same as last year, with a few little tweaks. To be eligible for these super duper prestigious awards, a show must have begun its season sometime between June 1st, 2015 and May 25th, 2016. This means that the first seasons of shows like Killjoys and Dark Matter (which came out last summer) are actually eligible for this year’s awards, as is the most recent season of Game of Thrones. Shows like Preacher, meanwhile, didn’t begun until after May 25th, so they won’t be eligible until next year. The only other shows outside this timeline that will be considered are shows that were completely unavailable to me prior to June 1st, 2015: Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, for example.

I’m gonna be honest with you, guys: I could have done a better job of keeping track of these things over the course of the last year. There’s been a lot of frantic scrambling over the past few weeks to try and remember things like, “Shit, who had good season premieres again? SEPTEMBER WAS SO LONG AGO.” I am dedicated to creating a better system for myself next year. (But I’m pretty sure I said the exact same thing last year, so. We’ll see.)

For those of you who–like me–primarily watch genre shows that never get nominated for shit: well, my friends, these are for you.

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Season Finale Round Up: May 8th-May 20th

I’ve just been awful at keeping up with/updating TV stuff on this blog lately. I won’t be able to discuss the season finale of The 100, for instance, because I’m still three episodes behind. And Supergirl: how did I not write up something on Supergirl and its take-a-shot-every-time-someone-says-hope-but-not-really-because-then-you’d-be-dead finale? I am happy that the show got renewed, because there’s a lot to like and the potential is there (except . . . except . . . I NEED Cat Grant, like, ALL THE TIME, damn it, CW), but I also often find it vastly underwhelming, too. And that finale sort of summed up a lot of my problems with the show itself.

But Supergirl was weeks and weeks ago now. Let us discuss more recent (or recent-ish) TV events, many of which I found, well. Not entirely up to snuff.

SPOILERS AHOY, MATEY. YOU’VE BEEN WARNED.

Agents of Shield

daisy

So, this wasn’t bad–it definitely had some fun moments–but it also wasn’t nearly as explosive (figuratively, anyway) and awesome as last year’s finale. I feel like the last few minutes were supposed to have me going, “Wait, WHAT? OMG, what’s happened in six months?” But my reaction was more like: “Huh. That’s kind of interesting, I guess.”

I think I found the finale slightly underwhelming for a few different reasons. One of the big ones, I’m sure, is because I was actively voting for Lincoln to die for most of the year. The idea of his arc (with him essentially using his love for Daisy as just another drug to fill the hole that Afterlife–and alcohol–could no longer fill) might have worked for me if I thought it had played that way throughout; unfortunately, that idea felt tacked on too little and too late for my liking. Daisy and Lincoln’s romance felt incredibly rushed and did absolutely nothing for me at all, so while the actors sold it as best they could in their faux Captain America/Peggy Carter (or George Kirk/Winona Kirk) scene, I really could only feel relief that Lincoln was dying instead of anyone I actually cared about. (Especially Mack, Elena, or Fitz, who seemed to be the other frontrunners for the chopping block.) I did have fun watching the Cross of DOOM shell game, and the show did successfully manage to make it seem like multiple characters were in danger of dying (which is always a plus), but once we figured out that Lincoln was the true sacrifice, my sister and I literally high-fived. I suspect that was not the emotion the show runners were going for.

Also, Hive was an okay villain, but I don’t think he was used to his full potential. Overloading his brain so that all his swallowed souls, so to speak, started talking at once was pretty awesome . . . but it would have been a lot more awesome if we’d gotten more glimpses of the people he used to be throughout the back half of the season. Hive was at his most intriguing during the Powers Boothe flashback episode, when you really saw Nathaniel Malick’s wrath and sense of betrayal shine through Hive. That was fascinating . . . but then the show really never capitalized on that, preferring to keep him that blank-faced supposed-savior-of-all-mankind villain, which, bleh. This seems like it might finally be the actual end of Brett Dalton’s career on Agents of SHIELD, and while I definitely think it’s time, I’m still a little sad to see him go.

On the upside:

Solid action and fight scenes. Humor, too. The episode was totally entertaining, even if it didn’t fully resonate with me emotionally the way I wanted it to.

Mack and Elena are the best. I ship them more than anyone else on the show. They must never die.

Fitz killing Giyera? BADASS.

I’m pretty glad John Hannah’s character didn’t bite it. I found him pretty delightful during this episode. Untrustworthy, sure, but delightful . . . which, come to think of it, is pretty much John Hannah’s acting MO, isn’t it? Anyway, “I can tell by your mustache” and “science hunch” and the whole scene with him and Coulson’s hand . . . I’m just saying, this guy can stick around. (Annoying Fire Boy, however, cannot. Did he die? I honestly don’t remember now. Hopefully he died.)

Daisy’s new look in the flash forward? I’M INTO IT.

Coulson with the Star Wars reference FTW.

FINALE GRADE: B+
SEASON GRADE: B

Elementary

joan has no time for bs

So, that was disappointing.

I’ve been really into this season so far–Joan and Sherlock continue to have the most amazing relationship, and overplayed as daddy issues are, I’ll admit I’m something of a sucker for them, especially when you have actors like Jonny Lee Miller and John Noble squaring off against one another. I have been looking forward to watching Elementary all week every week . . . but this episode, unfortunately, was pretty underwhelming. I did like the discovery that Holmes Senior was originally targeted because of his potential candidacy to lead Moriarty’s Shadow Organization, and I also loved the moment where Joan matter-of-factly dismisses Sherlock’s silly attempts at disbanding their partnership out of fear for her safety. Joan has no time for that bullshit because she is, forever, the best.

But for some reason, Holmes Senior accepting the offer and becoming New Moriarty didn’t feel very exciting, maybe because it didn’t seem so much like an interesting story development (will Sherlock and Morland be actual enemies now, etc.) but rather a convenient way to get John Noble off the show after a one-season contract. The twist that he had accepted the offer seemed pretty obvious to me, so the episode’s attempt at fake-out death tension fell flat. And I’d kind of hoped for Joan to have more to do. I know the show’s been sort of flirting with her dark side all season, but the fact that she was so quickly on board with Sherlock’s plan to frame Tony Curran seemed really weird to me. At the very least, I feel like there should have been a discussion.

Of course, one poor finale won’t stop me from continuing on next season. A lot of shows really seem to struggle around Season 4, but Elementary wasn’t one of them, at least, not for me. This was probably my favorite season since Season 1, actually. But I’ll admit to hoping for a few things for Season 5:

A)  A bigger story arc for Joan.

B) A little more time with Sherlock’s recovery, since that was weirdly waved away this season.

C.) More time with Gregson and Bell, who deserve so much more screen time than they get.

D) More Alfredo. Only one episode, guys? This is unacceptable.

It would also be nice if the show would move back to Thursdays, since I work every Sunday night and have to wait until the following day to watch it . . . but, sadly, this seems almost as unlikely as Aidan Quinn and Jon Michael Hill having more screentime.

FINALE GRADE: C+
SEASON GRADE: A-

Legends of Tomorrow

useless hawk people

Also underwhelming. But unlike Elementary, that’s been pretty par for the course all season with Legends, a show that has squandered an unbelievable amount of potential and goodwill. The team dynamic has lurched inconsistently all over the place. The supposed grand epic romance (and the half-assed love triangle it became) failed on a massive scale, and Vandal Savage ended up being the most lackluster TV villain I’ve seen in some time, like, I preferred Ra’s Al Ghul to him. Do you know how much I didn’t like Ra’s Al Ghul? A LOT, people. A lot.

Thankfully, Vandal was finally killed (three times, even). His death(s) were as anticlimactic as everything else about him, though. And though everyone has said, repeatedly, ALL SEASON, that only Kendra or Carter could kill Vandal . . . well, they changed that at the last minute, and in the end, neither of them struck the killing blow. I mean, Kendra, kind of. But then Rip, like, really killed him, and I know Rip had to have his revenge and all, but come on, dudes: there were three different Vandals to choose from. Why didn’t Kendra kill one, Carter kill the second, and Rip kill the third?

Also, Rip’s whole plan to fly his time ship into the sun is all very noble . . . until you realize that he never asked Gideon’s opinion on the matter. Seriously, here I am, sitting on my couch and watching Rip bravely stare into the sun, and I’m like, “Uh, Rip? Did you happen to run your suicide mission by the AI who, not coincidentally, will also die if you go through with this?” Well, apparently not: Gideon finally mentions that she’s not ready to buy the farm, and while Rip agrees–because he’s regained the Will to Live after a vision of hugging it out with his dead fam–that’s kind of not the point. Rip, you’re an asshole.

I feel it’s worth mentioning that for a show about time travel, Legends of Tomorrow is pretty terrible about setting things up. Like is it neat that Firestorm can transmute objects? Sure! Should that exciting new power have happened at least once before the season finale when it was urgently needed to help save the day? Probably! And if that one soldier dude’s helmet has been displayed prominently or discussed on the show before, that’s great . . . but I can’t say I remember it, and I sure don’t remember a previous explanation on how shifts in time can change where an object is stored in a room. On Legends, things never seem to exist until the show needs them too, and that’s a problem for me. (Also, Kendra totally got that soldier killed. Kendra, you’re an asshole too.)

Let’s see, what else . . . well, on the upside, Sara Lance finally found out what happened to her sister. (And we found out what Lance was up to in the Arrow Cave Wednesday night! I’m actually glad about that–I thought it was totally weird how he just dropped out of the episode.) Admittedly, I’m glad Sara is sticking around because she’s easily one of the best things this show has going for it (her delivery of “a time master is never late” was badass, just like Gandalf, if Gandalf also happened to be in the League of Assassins . . . ooh, fanfiction), but I totally don’t buy that she’d choose to leave before Damien Darhk was handled. If there had been some kind of imminent crisis, sure, but seriously: a non-urgent job dealing with time travel couldn’t wait a week? Screw you, show. You’re a liar.

Also, it appears that Carter and Kendra might be gone for good?! Or, at the very least, won’t be on the team permanently anymore? YES. YES YES YES YES YES YES. Mekaela and I have been praying for this for weeks. They are the worst. They are the worst ever. Unfortunately, Snart is still currently dead and that’s depressing, because I have fully come around on Wentworth Miller’s ridiculous Drawl of Evil, and I miss him already. (I’ve read that he’s going to come back in some capacity, though, so maybe Rory will keep coming back to the bar for random chats, or maybe we’ll figure out some way to save him, the way time travel has entirely failed to save anyone else the crew cares about.)

Small bright spots aside, this was an anticlimactic finale, and the show has some serious, serious kinks to work out before next season. If Legends wasn’t connected to the other CW superhero shows, I’d have dumped it by now, and even then . . . I’m still considering it. Even Victor Garber might not be enough to save this thing. That’s pretty bad.

FINALE GRADE: C-
SEASON GRADE: C

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

2014 Fall Premieres: The October Issue

In the interest of saving time, I usually do not post an individual recap for each season premiere that I watch. Instead, I briefly (well, somewhat briefly) summarize my initial impressions for all the shows that air in the same month. Then I lump these impressions together into a single post. It’s all simple and orderly, see?

The problem, I’ve discovered, with this approach is that it doesn’t matter if the greater majority of your shows began during the first week  of October; you still have to wait for asshole shows like Elementary to come back on October 30th. So by the time you finally do post your season premiere thoughts, many of these shows are already four or five episodes in, and you’ve suddenly become that writer who’s dated their timeless work of love and self-discovery with references to beepers and “MMMBop.”

With that in my mind, here’s what I’ve got for the October shows.

SPOILERS AHEAD.

The Walking Dead

carol

I don’t have very much to say about this episode, other than it was awesome. Carol is such a badass. I love Carol. Please don’t kill Carol!

Seriously, I’m trying to come up with things to say that don’t involve how awesome Carol is saving the day. I was a little surprised, though not displeased, that nobody important died. Well, Penguin. Yes. Funny thing: I remember thinking, you know, this actor looks a little like Robin Lord Taylor, but I didn’t actually think it was him until I checked IMDb later. But everyone else is alive . . . for now. Even Morgan’s alive, tracking the group’s movements after the end credits. (I totally would’ve missed that scene, if I hadn’t gone looking for it because I’d been spoiled for Lennie James’s cameo. Are there regularly scenes after the credits? Am I consistently missing shit?) Also, Rick, Carl, and Baby Judith reunite, which is kind of cool, I guess, but far more importantly, Carol and Daryl reunite. I heart that scene so much. They are the best.

In fact, I think the only thing I didn’t like about this premiere was that very last flashback when the cannibals decided to become the butchers instead of the cattle, or whatever. Other than telling us that the giant dude was originally one of their captors, I felt like that scene gave me nothing I didn’t already know, and it felt like a weird note to end the episode on. But this is a pretty minor nitpick.

For an episode of The Walking Dead, this premiere was basically an upper. I fear for the rest of the season.

FAVORITE PART:

Carol and Daryl reuniting. But a close second place goes to Carol blowing up that propane tank.

TENTATIVE GRADE:

A

The Flash

flash

For the most part, I had a pretty good time watching this. Even with the mandatory CW pilot voiceover. (To my shock, the VO was actually funny for once. I could potentially deal with more of this.) Grant Gustin is very enjoyable as Barry Allen, and I look forward to seeing him in all of his CSI Jr. adventures. (Seriously, I know they’re skewing to a younger demographic than Arrow, but damn. Between him and Emotionless Science Girl and Surfer Dude Science Boy, I feel like all the superhero progress will have to stop for juice and snack breaks.) It was nice to see the “run, Barry, run” line finally, since that’s made me crack up through multiple promos. The ending was a solid twist, and I really like Jesse L. Martin a lot. At least, when he isn’t talking to or about his daughter.

Because, yes, my biggest concern about The Flash is the female characters, specifically, Barry’s unrequited love interest, Iris. (Who, shockingly, is dating Schmucky Cop.) I was actually liking Iris pretty well, until she made an impatient hand gesture for Barry to go chase after the guy who took her purse, presumably because this is a MAN’s job and never mind the fact that Gustin is as big around as my wrist. Real men run after purse-snatchers, whether they would be physically capable of stopping them or not.

And then Detective West (Martin) reminds his daughter that she isn’t a cop, and she’s all, “Because you wouldn’t let me,” and I’m like, “EXCUSE me? Are you a grown ass woman? What century are we in, you two?” This is made even worse when West tells Barry that he can’t tell Iris about his super abilities because he wants to keep her safe, which, how is this keeping her safe, exactly? Yeah, it’s not, so thanks for that fully unnecessary complication, West. (On the plus side, I was pleasantly surprised that he discovered Barry’s abilities so early.)

I’ll have to wait and see about Emotionless Science Girl. I actually didn’t mind her little speech, and I’d much rather her Lack of Giggles come from an emotional trauma, rather than any I-Don’t-Understand-Feelings-Because-I-Do-Science nonsense. Still, I’m not quite sold yet, either. And that’s about it for female characters thus far, unless we’re counting the protagonist’s tragically dead mother.

But this may improve with time. I hope so, anyway. This was a pretty fun premiere, and I have hope for this series. (Especially if there are more Flash/Arrow crossovers. That should happen, like, all the time.)

FAVORITE PART:

Oh, I can’t decide. It’s between Barry asking, “Lightning gave me abs?” and West saying, “Shut the hell up.” Although I did also like this: “Why the hell would God need to rob banks?”

TENTATIVE GRADE:

A-

Elementary

watson

When I initially read the setup for this season — with Sherlock coming back to New York with a new protégé in tow — I was not particularly interested. For me, this show is entirely about Sherlock and Watson’s relationship, and I wasn’t real excited to see a new player get in the middle of it, particularly if she and Watson were going to have awful cat fight friction.

However, I actually enjoyed this premiere quite a bit. I love that Watson is a competent detective in her own right, and that she has her own nemesis now. (I just assume Gina Gershon will come back at some point, despite going to jail at the end of the episode.) I like that Watson doesn’t automatically forgive Holmes for the bullshit way he left, but that by the end of the episode they’ve worked their way to some kind of (very tentative) middle ground. I didn’t hate Kitty like I feared I would, and while I’m not particularly interested in her backstory right now, I might eventually become so. And I like that Watson and Kitty had a nice moment, too, giving me hope that their relationship will not be all bitter and annoying.

FAVORITE PART:

Hard to say. I did enjoy the baton fighting, but I think I’m leaning toward the scene where Gregson interrupts Sherlock’s carefully crafted apology to tell him, in no uncertain terms, that they aren’t friends. There was something kind of awesome about that.

TENTATIVE GRADE:

A-

Arrow

arrow

Ah, Arrow. Right back to wildly entertaining me and wildly pissing me off, all in the very same hour. It’s really almost impressive, how easily you do this.

Why don’t I just break this down into The Good, The Ambivalent, and the Downright Sucky:

THE GOOD:

Non-Island Flashbacks. A welcome change of pace.

The whole city loves Arrow! I wonder how long this can possibly last.

Ollie and Felicity are openly acknowledging Feelings! Seriously, I wonder how long this can . . . oh, really, not that long, huh? (See also: The Downright Sucky)

People are moving out of Starling City because they’re tired of dying in crazy supervillain terrorist attacks. LOVE THIS.

Pretty much everything about Brandon Routh. He was ridiculously energetic and kind of delightful in his smarm. I look forward to seeing more of him.

THE AMBIVALENT:

Dear God, Ollie got dosed with vertigo AGAIN? If it happens one more time before Christmas, does he get a prize?

Why isn’t Felicity working at Queen Consolidated anymore? I don’t see why she had to leave the company just because Oliver’s out, unless she chose to step down to help out at the Arrow Cave or was fired due to rumors of her sleeping with the boss. Waiting to see if this is addressed.

Sara’s death: on one hand, I actually really like the shot of her falling, and I’ll admit, that’s one hell of a way to end your premiere and set up your season. On the other hand, godamnit, I liked Sara. After she survived second season, I actually thought she had a chance. And is there anyone in the world, ANYONE, who wants to see Laurel become Black Canary? Because I’m pretty sure that’s where this story is going, and at this point, I think I’d be happier if Felicity became Black Canary, and that doesn’t even make sense. (Actually, Thea would be pretty cool, assuming Thea isn’t the one who shot her in the first place.)

THE BAD:

Sweet Christ, it’s like Ollie can’t learn shit for more than twenty minutes at a time. One explosion, and that’s it? That’s all it takes for Ollie to be like, “Nope, I’m out. If wasn’t so busy HAVING FEELINGS, I totally would have seen this tracker.” Good lord, people. Must I quote Teen Wolf at you? Apparently, I must: “This whole women are a weakness thing is a little too Spartan warrior for me.” Ollie, you’re an asshole.

Also, Ollie overcomes the psychotropic drug simply by denying love. Which I guess would be an interesting inversion of the Power of Love, if I wasn’t so annoyed the above.

And I am SO NOT OKAY with Diggle basically saying, “Yeah, thanks for making this decision for me, Oliver. Before I was angry because I felt like hey, I’m a grown up, I should be able to make my own big life decisions, but now that I’ve seen this baby, I’ve decided that the white man was right all along. I can’t possibly have children and be a hero any longer.” Ugh.

FAVORITE PART:

Hm. Porcupine flatulence?

TENTATIVE GRADE:

B

The Vampire Diaries

alaric

I only watched maybe a quarter of Season Five before I got bored with all the convoluted drama, but I found out what happened in the finale (Alaric came back!) and thought I’d try out Season Six fresh. And so far . . . it’s okay. I’m not real crazy about drug addict Elena — and it drives me nuts that losing Bonnie doesn’t seem to really bother her — but I did love that her big goodbye speech where she decides to let go of Damon doesn’t work at all. Jeremy’s predictably boring. I’ll probably be more interested in Stefan’s storyline when he inevitably returns to Mystic Falls. Tyler’s pairing with this witch girl seems really forced to me, but maybe they set that up last season in all the episodes I didn’t watch? Their chemistry just seems really artificial to me, especially in comparison to the chemistry he had with Caroline. Not that it matters, really. We all know that Tyler will be gone in a month or two anyway to do some BS thing for half the season, like he always does.

The very last scene with Damon and Bonnie and vampire pancakes is pretty awesome. And of course, Alaric. He is the best. He has so many awesome lines. I’m so glad he’s back — although I rolled my eyes pretty hard at the fact that he’s teaching at the college now. Of course he is. This is like Mr. Feeny all over.

I have this feeling I’ll eventually end up dropping The Vampire Diaries, but this was decent enough that I’ll keep up for now. (But seriously, can we lose Mopey Pants Jeremy? He is so boring.)

FAVORITE PART:

Probably the pancakes. It was hilarious, and that whole scene was a great way to end the episode. But I also liked this: “Okay, so when I lost my human nature, I also lost my game.”

TENTATIVE GRADE:

B

American Horror Story: Freak Show

clown

Oh, this show. I really feel like I need to give a full season of American Horror Story a try, and I figured evil circuses would be the time to do it, but . . . I don’t know.

There are some really cool things about the premiere. I like the opener, although obviously it’d be a lot more effective if we didn’t already know that Sarah Paulson was playing conjoined twins. The opening credits are pretty cool. And I really like the split screen from the POV of the sisters, when one is looking in one direction, and the other is looking somewhere else. I thought that was pretty clever. I’m less into them being randomly psychic, but it’s not a big thing. I just rolled my eyes.

The clown is admittedly pretty creepy, too. Not subtle — American Horror Story is many things, but subtle is decidedly not one of them. Good God. The music cues, alone. (While I’m thinking about music: I didn’t actually recognize David Bowie’s “Life On Mars” when Norma Desmond Elsa started singing it — sue me — but I started laughing hysterically when Fiona Apple’s “Criminal” came up in the preview.) But I can deal with not subtle. What doesn’t work as well — and has been a problem for me with past iterations of AHS — mostly has to do with weird sex stuff. I’m well aware there’s no way to say that without making me sound like a prude, and hey, maybe I am one. But the scene with Evan Peters satisfying women with his lobster hands . . . it feels cheaply artificial to me, like it was added purely so that the shock value might convince me that this show is so daring and bold and breaks down all kinds of barriers, and I’m like, Uh, yay? AHS has always struck me as incredibly satisfied with itself, and I’ve yet to become entranced by it the way it clearly wants me to. And don’t even get me started on the it’s-not-gang-rape-if-I-enjoyed-it-while-stoned-off-my-ass subplot.

I’ve set the series on record, but we’ll see. It would hardly be the first season I’ve let rot on my DVD for several months before deleting it, unwatched.

FAVORITE PART:

I’ve never been very seriously coulrophobic, but that clown was fucking creepy.

TENTATIVE GRADE:

B-

Constantine

constantine

First: I have not read the comics. I have seen the Keanu Reeves movie, and I enjoy it for the guilty pleasure that it is, but I wasn’t looking for this show to be that. Actually, I don’t know exactly what I was looking for, but this pilot? Wasn’t it.

Look, pilots are often rough. I’m not giving up on Constantine immediately. I’ll give it a little more time to find itself — but I’ll probably give it on this well before I give up on Gotham, partly because I’m a Batman nerd and partly because I think Gotham’s pilot showed a lot more potential. (It’s not an entirely fair comparison, though, because Gotham is already starting to slowly improve, particularly with “Spirit of the Goat,” which was actually pretty great.) On the positive side, Matt Ryan seemed decent enough and I’m curious to learn more about the monosyllabic, very-not-Shia-LeBeouff Chas, who manages to survive his skewering with very little difficulty.

But oh my God, the pacing of this episode was ridiculously rushed. And there are a lot of benefits to fast paced shows when they’re done well (the earlier seasons of The Vampire Diaries, the first season of Sleepy Hollow), but this was so stupid fast that I just couldn’t engage with any of it. Certainly not the main girl, who the show sets up as super important, only to replace her in the very second episode. (I haven’t actually watched it yet, but I know that’s what happens. Hopefully, this one won’t react to giant sinkholes by threatening to mace the first guy she sees, as if she thinks he caused the sinkhole in the first place.) I’m also not really feeling the angel, despite the fact that I generally like Harold Perrineau. He may become more intriguing over time, but right now his constant smirk is only getting on my nerves. It’s like his one facial expression. Oy. Where is Tilda Swinton when you need her?

FAVORITE PART:

The initial setup at the mental institution was kind of cool. Unfortunately, it just all went downhill from there.

TENTATIVE GRADE:

C

Casting the Expendabelles

After the success of The Expendables and The Expendables II (as well as the likely success of the upcoming Expendables III), there’s been some talk about making an all-female spin-off to the series called, rather unfortunately, Expendabelles. The title is not my only concern — the director and writers who are currently attached have a resume made up primarily of bad romantic comedies, rather than badass action movies. I desperately don’t want this to be a cheesy romp full of nothing but cleavage shots and terrible girl power jokes . . . but if this movie could be done well? Shit, how AWESOME would that be, amirite?

With that in mind, Mekaela and I came up with a cast wish list — twelve actresses who we’d like to see in a movie about kickass female mercenaries beating the shit out of one another. Some of these actresses are action and/or B movie veterans — keeping in line with the Expendables franchise — but we did pick a couple of lesser known actresses from TV as well who we think could fit right in.

Let’s first discuss our heroes. (Oh, yeah. We totally divided our good guys and bad guys.)

HEROES:

Sigourney Weaver

(Okay, this isn’t the best quality, but desperate times, right? I had to have the power loader scene.)

We didn’t bother coming up with any kind of character roles for most of our cast, but it is absolutely imperative that Ripley plays the head honcho of our good guys. IMPERATIVE.

Action Resume: Alien franchise

Michelle Rodriguez

This is, admittedly, probably not the movie that would break Michelle Rodriguez out of the same role she always plays . . . but how could we not include her? On the plus side, if she’s on the hero team, she has a much better chance of survival than usual.

Action Resume: Resident Evil franchise; The Fast and the Furious franchise; SWAT; Girlfight; Avatar; Machete; Machete Kills

Claudia Black

Because Aeryn Sun is one of my favorite badasses of all time, and really, that’s all there is to it.

Action Resume: Farscape

Sarah Shahi

Sarah Shahi might be the least well known actress on this list, but I love her as Shaw so much on PoI that I’d really like to see her do more, especially if that more includes kicking the shit out of people. Cause she seems to be pretty good at that.

Action Resume: Person of Interest

Lucy Liu

Cause, dude. LUCY LIU. I love Lucy Liu. Do I really have to say anything else?

Action Resume: Kill Bill; Charlie’s Angels; Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle; Ballistic: Ecks vs Sever

Gina Torres

Okay, Youtube? You have failed me. How are there not more clips of Gina Torres online? I’m aware she’s another actress primarily known for her work in television, but still. I was going to upload a Firefly clip, but there are so few available that I picked one from a show I completely gave up on instead because I wanted a scene where she actually had lines.

Anyway. A lot of nerds might have picked Summer Glau — who I do like and was definitely on the shortlist — but if I have to recruit only one Firefly/Serenity badass, I’m actually going to go with Zoe. Cause, you know. Big damn hero, and all that.

Action Resume: Firefly, Serenity, Alias

Zoe Saldana

HA! I’ve never actually seen Colombiana before, but dude — SPOILER ALERT — she kills someone with sharks. That’s HILARIOUS.

So, yes. For our final team member in this band of heroes, we’re definitely going Zoe Saldana. She’s a pretty great actress, one of the main go-to girls for science fiction action right now, and again, kills people with sharks. That’s a winner right there.

Action Resume: Star Trek; Star Trek Into Darkness; Avatar; The Losers; Colombiana; Guardians of the Galaxy. (Okay, that one’s upcoming. Still.)

VILLAINS:

Linda Hamilton

Because you know you want Sarah Connor to be the leader of the bad guys. Come on. And she and Sigourney Weaver have to square off in a climactic battle. Obviously.

Action Resume: Terminator 2: Judgment Day

Katee Sackhoff

Cause Katee Sackhoff would make an amazing villain. I remember when they tried doing a Bionic Woman remake on TV however many years ago, and it was pretty terrible, except Katee Sackhoff was so AWESOME as the bad guy. I think she would be an awful lot of fun here.

Action Resume: Battlestar Galactica; Riddick

Michelle Yeoh

Honestly, I haven’t seen Michelle Yeoh in quite some time, but I like her, and Mek and I both thought she could be a pretty fun addition to the cast. Especially since I’m mostly used to seeing her play good guys. It might be fun to see her as someone evil.

Action Resume: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; Tomorrow Never Dies

Milla Jovovich

Speaking of someone who almost always plays good guys . . . Milla Jovovich is like the B-movie action queen. I definitely want her on the side of the villains. (Is it too much if Michelle Rodriguez is the one to take her down? Cause I kind of think that’d be fun.)

Action Resume: The Fifth Element; Resident Evil movies; Ultraviolet; The Three Musketeers

Lucy Lawless

(Man, I love these opening credits. “A mighty princess forged in the heat of battle!” LOVE IT. Also, I totally forgot Karl Urban guest starred on this show. I am so happy right now!)

Anyway, who better to play our last villain than Xena, Warrior Princess. (Although, in all honesty, I was really thinking of a guest spot she did on Burn Notice when I casted her here. Like Katee Sackhoff, Lucy Lawless could be a lot of fun as a villain. She’s got a particularly great smile, and I think the best villains are the ones that grin like madmen and trickster gods.)

Action Resume: Xena: Warrior Princess, Battlestar Galactica

There are, of course, a ton of great actresses that didn’t quite make the cut for our list. If you have any or your own suggestions, though, I’d love to hear them.

2013 Fall TV Premieres – The September Issue

Once upon a time, it seemed like every TV show began in the same calendar week. Well, no longer. As such, I’ve decided to break up my pilots/premieres coverage month by month. Shows like The Walking Dead (October) and Almost Human (fucking NOVEMBER) will just have to wait.

Sleepy Hollow

sleepy hollow

I watched a trailer for Sleepy Hollow earlier this year and laughed my ass off. The whole premise was so stupidly ridiculous. I figured, I’d have to watch the pilot and mock the holy hell out of it. But then a strange thing happened — I started reading a ton of positive early reviews. Everyone seemed to really love the show, so I said to Mekaela, “Mekaela? This one might actually be good.” And what do you know — it is.

I’m sorry, FOX, for doubting you. Just this once, mind.

So, the plot is utterly ridiculous — like the Headless Horsemen is one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse ridiculous — but it’s really entertaining. This is almost entirely due to the show’s fantastic leads: Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison) and Lt. Abbie Mills (Nicole Beharie). Tom Mison is attractive and English and Englishly attractive, but more than that, he’s funny. This Ichabod is considerably sharper and crankier than past iterations I’ve seen, and I love it. Beharie is also funny — she’s got great comedic timing — and she and Mison have good chemistry together. More importantly, she seems totally competent so far, and yet her character has, like, feelings and expressions. She shrieks at a moment where it’s totally justifiable to shriek, yet she doesn’t just stand around, flailing her arms and crying all the time. I’m . . . confused. A realistic female character? Surely not.

There are definitely things to mock in this pilot — glowy-eyed horses, miracle sunrises, Ichabod getting arrested for . . . being dirty? But I definitely had a good time watching this. I am grading it down for saying Book of Revelations, though. Come on, people. Don’t we all know better than this by now? It’s Revelation. No plural, please.

FAVORITE QUOTE:

“It can’t be mere coincidence that he and I arrive in the same place at exactly the same time.”
“That isn’t possible.”
“Oh, really? Oh, well, that’s wonderful news. Thank you for the clarification. Here I thought I’d actually awoken in the future and my wife had been dead for 250 years. I’m glad everything I’m seeing and hearing and touching is impossible, because that means it isn’t actually happening.”
“I have orders to take you to a mental institution.”
“Excellent. This day continues to bear gifts.”

GRADE:

B+

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

shield

I don’t know if Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was the most amazing pilot I’ve ever seen — it’s no “Serenity,” is what I’m saying —  but it’s solid and entertaining, and I enjoyed watching it. I love Coulson (Clark Gregg), obviously, and I’m naturally intrigued by the mystery of his resurrection, especially since Coulson himself seems to be in the dark about it. Although I must say, I’ve been reading a lot of fan speculation that Coulson is, in fact, a robot or a Life Model Decoy or something of that nature, and if that’s actually the case, Whedon’s going to have to do a lot of work to sell me on it. (Because I’m sure Joss Whedon — and Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen too — are highly concerned with what I think about this program. Stop laughing. Of course they are.)

I like some of the tie-ins to previous Marvel movies (like Extremis from Iron Man 3), and I’m relieved that Skye doesn’t seem nearly as annoying as she came off in the promos. Mostly, I’m just waiting around for the actual character development. Weirdly, I’m most concerned about Fitz and Simmons — they’re cute and, you know, accents! But I wish I could have seen anything to them besides cute and accents. I mean, it’s a pilot. A lot of pilots are too busy setting up the universe to get into any real character building, and that’s cool. It’s just . . . this is Joss Whedon, and I’ve come to sort of expect better from him. But hey, I’m still excited. COULSON LIVES!

FAVORITE QUOTE:

“It’s a diaster.”
“No, it’s an origin story.

GRADE:

B+

Person of Interest

poi2

The actual case in Person of Interest was just sort of blah, and I was a tiny bit disappointed by the lack of awesome Finch (Michael Emerson) moments, just because I love Finch. But the women in this episode . . . the women owned.

Sarah Shahi is immensely badass as Shaw. I loved every moment she was on screen — I would totally watch an action movie starring her. And Root (Amy Acker), always awesome, is currently stuck in an insane asylum arguing with the Machine on the pros and cons of murdering her skeezy psychologist? Yes, please. And then somewhere between getting demoted, hiding out Elias (Enrico Colantoni) and keeping a Secret Crazy Vengeance Wall in her closet — Carter (Taraji P. Henson) got a lot more interesting. Also, Reese is right. She does look pretty badass in that uniform.

My only thing — the part where Reese abandons Fusco alone to deactive the bomb, and the false tension that arrives when he might not have defused it in time? Eh. I know it’s supposed to be funny, but it just made such little sense for John (Jim Caviezel) to actually do this that I couldn’t get into the humor. It felt way too contrived for me.

QUOTE:

“The truth is God is eleven years old.”

GRADE: 

B

Elementary

elementary

I drifted away from this show last year but after hearing positive reviews and a few surprising developments, I decided to check out the second season premiere because, hey, I like Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu quite a bit, so why not? And kind of like Person of Interest — I wasn’t exactly wowed by the case, but I enjoyed the episode well enough. It’s fun. I really like that I can already see how Sherlock has grown as a character from the last time I watched this show — one of my big problems with actual Sherlock adaptations or shows with Sherlock-esque characters (i.e., House) is that their super-observational powers coupled with their near-to-total lack of people skills starts feeling stagnant after a while, and I tend to turn against the character. You know, I don’t want them to become bright, shiny, happy people all the time, but if characters refuse to have any kind of actual growth . . . you know, I get bored.

I also enjoyed seeing Sean Pertwee as Lestrade, mostly because I like his gravelly voice, and Rhys Ifans as Mycroft. The scene on the bench? Awesome. I will gladly come back to watch this show if there continue to be more scenes like that.

FAVORITE QUOTE:

“Our relationship is entirely genetic.”

GRADE:

B