Rants tag

Rants, ruminations, and rambling remarks from my mad, muddled, meandering mind.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Fall TV Schedule: What I'm Watching

I was thinking about mentioning what I did last night, which wasn't gaming, when I came into a conversation on Twitter between Sig, Jae Jae, and MangleMichael chimed in after. The conversation was about TV shows, and doing other activities, like phone-gaming, while watching. More and more with each passing year, a show has to be pretty special for me to even turn on the TV. So that's where I focus. That's not to say I leave the room if someone else in the family is watching a show, but there's a good chance it's just background noise to me if I am playing on my phone or computer. Having "cut the Cable," we watch shows through Hulu or Netflix, and occasionally on the network websites. Shows don't automatically bleed from one to the next throughout the evening because no one is really paying attention. Anyway, here are the shows I am making a point to keep track of this season:

Three episodes so far. Also, the most talked-about show on my Twitter feed, probably because of the geek/comic book connection.
Premise: Young Bruce Wayne's parents were just murdered, and Detective Jim Gordon is going to find out whodunnit.
Assessment: I like it. But if not for the setting, this would be a fairly pedestrian police drama. On the other hand, it is not Smallville, or even Arrow. There doesn't seem to be the young adult angst those shows exude. Of course, there are a bunch of "stunt" characterizations, like the Poison Ivy cameo and a barely-there Edward Nygma. Some folks think there was a Joker cameo in the pilot, but I'm not so sure. Other colorful villains are a little more central to the plot (Penguin and Catwoman), but it's mostly about organized crime and corruption in Gotham. Robin Lord Taylor stands out as Oswald Cobblepot. I'm glad the main villain is not the Joker, who seems overdone. Taylor does a great job with the weasely, murderous Penguin. I got into a discussion on Twitter regarding this Penguin's similarity (or not) to that of Danny DeVito; regardless, I prefer Taylor's rendition. Jada Pinkett Smith is sultry and menacing as mob sub-boss Fish Mooney.

How to Get Away With Murder
Two episodes so far.
Premise: A group of law students intern under a criminal law professor who is also a practicing defense attorney.
Assessment: Intriguing. Viola Davis will probably get an Emmy nod, assuming the show gets a full season run (and there's no reason to think it won't). The show mixes a episodic bit of House in the courtroom with a presumably season-long murder conspiracy arc that keep you guessing.  Slightly annoying: Quick flashes of key events near the end of the episode, just in case you missed an important clue. I suppose this would be more helpful and less annoying if I hadn't picked up on things earlier in the episode. But it shows an underestimation of the audience, IMHO.

The Blacklist
Three episodes into the second season. The only show I stuck with last year. You can catch all of Season 1 on Netflix if you are so inclined.
Premise: Raymond "Red" Reddington has enemies. And the FBI is helping him eliminate them.
Assessment: Amazing. James Spader is pitch perfect as the likable, yet menacing "Concierge of Crime," and Megan Boone leads the rest of the cast giving solid performances. More than the case-of-the-week in "Murder" above, each villain-of-the-week on Red's blacklist ties into the larger story arc. Plus, each episode raises questions even as it answers others. I just hope the writers know where they're headed, unlike some other twisty-turny mystery shows. *cough*Lost*cough* I'm not sure what more to say here, except that I highly recommend the Blacklist to anyone who wants awesome television.
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  1. I don't do a lot of TV shows. Now that Masters of Sex and Penny Dreadful are over, I'm kinda in limbo. I may go back and try Blacklist since it survived the first season (that's my litmus test, half the shows I think are interesting premises are down after a season or less).

    1. Well, I don't know your tastes, but I really like it.

    2. I don't think I know my tastes either, that may be part of the problem. (-: Penny Dreadful's "myths come alive" aspect was appealing (a darker version of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen), and Masters of Sex was interesting from the historical angle (I'm reading the biography its based on now).