Monthly Archives: November 2013

Fall TV Shows

In addition to the movies, I have a tendency to keep up with quite a few TV shows. On occasion, I have been moved to write about them, and send the summaries to friends as emails. This series of posts is an adaptation of those emails, dated when they were originally written. Enjoy!

So; as you know, I tend to pretty much watch everything that airs (at least, I watch a lot of shows, both new and old); and whether you really consider my opinions or not, every now and again, I feel a need to pass them along. So while I’m not sure what shows you might be following, or might have thought about beginning, I figured I’d send my thoughts your way:

The Crazy Ones – Robin Williams NOT overacting, Sarah Michelle Gellar showing much more maturity than anything else I’ve seen her in (i.e. Buffy), and an entire leading cast that I recognize (Bob from Mad Men, Jerry Dantana from The Newsroom, and Shauna from The Mindy Project) overall make for a show that is much more subdued, and funnier, than anything I had expected from them. I’ve only seen the first four or five episodes, but this is one you should at the least look into.

Back in the Game – I have no love of baseball (or sports) whatsoever, but there’s something about this one that gives it a place of honor in my list; a combination of middle school and adult hijinks, combined with the fact that it’s got the father of Hawaii Five-0‘s Danny (aka James Caan), mean that I’ll keep up with it, at least through season 1.

Mom – I really appreciated the retro-ish sitcom feel, as well as well-balanced between crazy sitcom situations and entirely serious life situations; however, much though I love all things West Wing (in this case, Allison Janney), I found I couldn’t keep interest in it after three or four episodes, and would suggest/recommend you don’t waste your time here.

Trophy Wife – another on the West Wing comeback tour (seriously; there’s this with Bradley Whitford and Mom, and it’s kinda freakin’ me out this season), this one definitely struck a chord, if only because of the ridiculousness of the characters. The acting is pretty much spot-on, as well.

Sleepy Hollow – the idea of a dashing, highly intelligent male consultant assisting a female police detective has essentially become its own genre at this point (see Castle, Perception, or The Mentalist for other examples), almost to the point of cliche; and yet, the infusion of Christian mythology, couple with a definite commitment to the horror/creepy side of things, makes this one worth keeping looking into, in my estimation. To be completely honest, they do a pretty bang-up job at doing horror right.

Dracula – I’ve only seen the first (of two) episodes so far, but it has a lot of promise; we’ll have to see how it develops, but it could definitely make my list of recommended viewing.

Peaky Blinders – again, I haven’t kept up (I’ve watched episode 1, but no more just yet), but I’ve gotta say, this strikes me as Boardwalk Empire meets Copper, and even if I’m wrong, it is probably one of the strongest shows airing this fall. Plus, it’s got Cillian Murphy, a creepy-ass mo-fo if ever there was one.

Low Winter Sun – I’ve only seen the first episode, but I’ve gotta say, don’t waste your time; from what I’ve seen so far, it adds nothing to the genre, and it stars a white guy as the hero in Detroit, of all places; there are better shows that I’m listing here, even if it picks up in later episodes.

Ray Donovan – not exactly on the fall lineup, but airing not too much before the fall season began; definitely quality, definitely compelling, but, in my opinion, very heavy. It’s good, so long as you’re prepared for intensity without much reprieve. Worth watching, but it might be better to wait ’til it’s done, or at least until more of it’s aired, to be paced as you see fit.

Hello Ladies – you like awkward, excruciatingly uncomfortable humor, right? Then watch this show, right now. It’s only half-hour episodes, and each one makes me cringe at the assholeishness of the main character which, as far as I can tell, is essentially the point of the show. It’s well-done, kind of make you hate Hollywood a little bit more, and has Kevin Weisman (from Alias) as a supporting actor, which basically should, by itself, convince you to watch this show. If you don’t have time (I know you’re busy) it can wait – it’s definitely no Utopia – but, especially if it’s on your radar, you should move it up on the list to just below the shows you need to watch immediately; it is probably better watched in a chunk (though I wouldn’t know, as I’ve been keeping up with it per week).

The Blacklist – definitely fun, definitely an interesting take on the standard idea of criminal helping police, and definitely nothing special. If you’re looking for a fairly mindless but entertaining police procedural, then stop looking and watch this; if you want engaging characters and plot, it might be better to look elsewhere, as this one is pretty much par for the course.

The Last Witch – I’ve only managed to catch the first episode, but it has a lot of promise (for some reason, the British seem to do things right); I’ll need to reserve judgement until I have seen more, however.

The Psychopath Next Door – another British show I’ve only seen the first episode of, I would recommend watching this now; seeing the sadism of the titular psychopath is almost exquisite, and the overall analysis definitely puts it in the “well done” category.

Hostages – it’s got an interesting premise, and so far, I’ve only seen the first episode; on the other hand, I’ve only seen the first episode (i.e., the first wasn’t enough to convince me to watch the rest as they air). It’s an interesting idea, and there’s a lot of potential, but I didn’t see much in the way of results in the premiere, and there’s a good chance it will fall into the pit of mediocrity.

By Any Means – the last of the British shows, this one is entertaining, but not engaging. I saw the first three or so episodes, and would be fine leaving it at that (though I’ll watch the rest, because I’m me); it doesn’t seem to add much to the genre, and I can’t really suggest you spend your time here, especially in light of the rest of the list.

Serangoon Road – first, let me just say that this show takes place in Singapore, but stars an incredibly white Australian. If that isn’t bad enough, the character (or, I suppose, potentially the actor) has essentially no engagement with the audience (or at least not with me), instead being fairly subdued and difficult to enthuse about. However, the fact that it’s a period piece set in the 1960s definitely lends it an interesting and enticing cache. On the other hand, the main reason I have for continuing to watch it is the “next episode” teasers, which, for whatever reason, continue to draw me in.

I think that pretty much covers what I’ve started or kept up with for the fall; obviously, I’ve watched a lot, but I’ve also only seen the first or first two or three episodes of several of these shows. Let me know if any of them stand out as things you think you will watch, or if you have any other questions. And obviously, I don’t know how I’ll feel as some of these shows continue; but it should be a good place to begin.

And I know that you’re busy, making your incredible movies (rating the carpet at each of the comic stands was, in my opinion, genius), but I wanted to pass this along for your fleeting spare time; as always, let me know if you have any questions, about this email or any others.