Fall TV Intro

It seems as though this has been one of the weaker seasons for fall premieres.  That being said, I have probably watched more network TV pilots this season than I have in years before.  For what it’s worth, here’s my take:

Dramas

Sleepy Hollow (Fox)

The premise is fun but kind of a mess.  Essentially, Ichabod Crane is working with George Washington to prevent the Apocalypse via the famed Four Horseman.  One of these horsemen is beheaded by Crane during the Revolutionary War but for some reason they are both resurrected in present day.  Crane then teams up with the local cop on many supernatural adventures.  The acting is pretty solid but it’s a bit over the top for my liking.  It seems to be doing fairly well in the ratings though.

The Blacklist (NBC)

I only made it through the pilot so I can’t say a whole lot other than it seemed to be exactly what I thought it was.  Predictable plot, weak characters (save for Spader), and nothing really new.  The show is a good example of the difference between what’s going on in network TV vs. cable.  Cable dramas usually have a slow burn to them where we get a chance to get to know the characters and feel some sort of empathy for them while the plot unfolds before us.  The pilot episode of the Blacklist had a kidnap plot resolved, a bomb defused, and finally a plot-twist at the end that would likely have been much more impactful had it happened several episodes down the road.  Spader’s performance alone isn’t enough to keep me around to see what will happen next.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC)

I was interested to see how they would pull this off.  I enjoyed Clark Gregg’s Agent Coulson various appearances in the many Marvel films that have come out in recent years, but I’m not sure building an entire series around he and his character was a good idea.  The show is kind of boring and lifeless.  One thing this show should be is fun and I’m not sure how they messed that up.  I will probably continue to watch as my almost 12-year old son is into the show but I’m not sure he’s really into it either.  Fortunately, he just came upon Fringe on Netflix.

 

Comedies

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

I’m not much for TV comedies (do love me some Community, though) and this is the only one that really piqued my interested.  I have to say that I really enjoy it.  The show comes from the mind of Michael Schur who is responsible for Parks & Rec and The Office (U.S.) when that show was in its early heyday.  You can certainly see his fingerprints on the show as Andy Samberg’s Detective Jake Peralta shares quite a few traits with Michael Scott and Leslie Knope.  That being said, the show may take a while to come into its own just as those did.  Looks like the ratings are struggling so hopefully Fox will give it a chance.

 

Outside of the new shows, there’s not a whole lot going on in the TV world.  My wife and I are watching Top Chef.  Some of you might be watching The Walking Dead which is too bad because that show is awful.  I’m basically just waiting for Justified to come back in January or February.

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13 thoughts on “Fall TV Intro

  1. Sleepy Hollow – Never seen it, haven’t even heard of it.

    The Blacklist – I’m watching this because it has all my fave elements of awesomely bad network crime dramas, plus James Spader–I’d watch him in anything. My son called in like the first 10 seconds that he is the girl’s father.

    Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – Hadn’t heard of this either until a couple days ago–Joss Whedon is involved? Writing it? And it sucks?

    I just discovered the show Homeland. I’ve been watching it, reruns, whatever, all out of order, just because I love to see Claire Danes act. The story is pretty stupid and lame, but I love her.

    Brooklyn Nine-Nine – I’m recording this but really only put it on when I’m doing something else and it’s in the background.

    Other shows we’re watching that are new:

    Chasing Classic Cars – love this show. Follows a guy who deals in high end classic cars (some are a million dollars plus).

    What’s in the Barn? – Follows a guy who runs a motorcycle museum and restores old bikes. I mean really old.

    Duck Dynasty – These guys are so funny and I love how they’re capitalizing on their popularity with all kinds of merchandising. Their faces all over everything. (Who’s gonna sleep on a pillow with a big bearded face on it?) Plus it’s nice to see a popular show about a loving & religious family. I just hope fame doesn’t ruin their lives like it does so many reality show stars.

    The Ultimate Fighter – UFC MMA reality competition show. This season they have girl fighters on along with guys–and the coaches are girl fighters. Girl fights are way more action-packed than guy fights. Way more. They’re scrappier and more energetic.

    Project Runway – can’t believe the finale is this week already. Some decent designers were on this season, but I miss the really unique and outrageous ones like Chris March (who did a line of clothes featuring human hair) and Christian whats his name.

  2. Agents of Shield just isn’t working. I think you nailed it. Agent Coulson just isn’t a leading character. He’s a great supporting character, but he doesn’t have the charisma to convince me he can lead a team. The show needs Nicky Fury, frankly. And the rest of the cast feels really generic to me, with the possible exception of the Ming-Na Wen. It’s ironic that her character, who says the least, is the most interesting.

    The entire series reminds me of Heroes, which ending up being such a disappointment in the end. However, the first season of Heroes blows away what they’ve done on Agents of Shield so far.

    Plus, as a comic book fan, there just is very little connection to the Marvel Universe as a whole at this point. Sure, there are references to the Avengers movie a plenty, but that’s not enough for a geek like me, I guess. One wonders if Marvel is intentionally not integrating a lot of their great characters into the storylines because they want to save them for the world of feature films. Who knows?

  3. I’m actually enjoying SHIELD, although I agree that Agent Coulson currently doesn’t have what it takes to really lead the team. This is Joss Whedon, though, and although this clearly isn’t as good as Firefly, I think there’s a good chance these characters will evolve, like Joss Whedon characters do.

    The main character/lead actor in Sleepy Hollow is great, but the rest of it is kind of lame. Which is a shame, because I love the genre, and there’s so much potential.

    And the Blacklist–meh.

    Given some great TV the last few years, the new shows this season are indeed a disappointment.

  4. By the way, I’m not sure if anyone’s mentioned it here, but Longmire’s a fairly new show that reminds me a bit of Justified, except it takes place in small town Wyoming instead of Kentucky. I’m not saying it’s Justified quality, but it’s still pretty good–and better than any of the dramas mentioned in the post. First season is available on Netflix.

  5. Heroes was, until the season finale when they made some very dumb decisions, fantastic. SHIELD unfortunately makes use of all of Whedon’s worst tendencies. It unfortunately really reminds me of Dollhouse. I remain convinced that Whedon is one of the most overrated directors and writers out there. (Although Toy Story remains a masterpiece I concede) He occasionally has some great witty dialog. But the parts don’t gel into an interesting whole. Worse the characters he has are just plain uninteresting.

    I’m *way* behind in my watching though. I still have 4 episodes of Dexter to go. (Yeah, that was a series that definitely was time to put down) I loved Hannibal from last spring though and eagerly await it’s return. I expected it to be, well on par with what we’re getting from SHIELD. However the show runner (who previously did the first season of Heroes and the fantastic Pushing Daisies) has managed to take a concept run into the ground and making it compelling and interesting.

    Don’t forget about the latest season of Avatar: The Legend of Kora as well. (I haven’t started watching the second season yet but have the episodes built up in auto-downloads to iTunes) And Justified returns after two fairly uneven seasons. I’m hoping this season returns to the greatness that was the first two seasons.

  6. I think Dollhouse was going to lead somewhere interesting but Whedon never had a chance to develop it. Alpha was especially intriguing.

  7. Brooklyn Nine-Nine is the only one of the new shows that has my attention. I really, really want to like Agents of SHIELD, but have to convince myself to keep watching. It’s tedious. They need an interesting multi-episode story arc (perhaps with a compelling villain) to pull it together. Otherwise, it’s just going to fizzle. Other than Coulison, none of the characters are all that great.

  8. Here’s a pretty good write-up on the struggles with Agents of SHIELD. Part of the problem, according the author, is trying to balance the characters and plotting with those from the movies. Thus, they can’t introduce characters and plot-lines that the powers that be want to save for the Avengers, etc.

    http://www.grantland.com/blog/hollywood-prospectus/post/_/id/90040/the-check-in-the-agents-of-s-h-i-e-l-d-are-still-stuck-scooby-dooing-around-the-marvel-universe

  9. “They need an interesting multi-episode story arc (perhaps with a compelling villain) to pull it together.”

    Based on the last episode, I think they have one.

  10. Tim, good to know. I think I’m an episode behind. As others have mentioned, the problem with Agents of SHIELD is that the main team is pretty dull in terms of characters. The macho federal agent is a dud. I don’t like the hacker princess much at all. The lab squints are just perky. Ming Na’s character is a walking cliche. You’d think Whedon could do better, and maybe he will. But so far, this is not a group of folks I’m excited to watch.

  11. Saw the pilot of Sleepy Hollow the other day. Much better than I thought (coming in with extremely low expectatations). Actually kind of fun. I’m willing to stick with it, which is more than I can say for most new serial dramas.

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