Next round of new series watching! Two of them reached the end of their run with me, and quite a handful teeter on the brink. I may not be harsh for that first episode, but by the time I’m two or three in, I better be feeling the quality. And a lot of the new shows aren’t bringing it.
Trophy Wife: Still cute. Still lacking in substance, but the cuteness makes up for it. Barely. I feel like Modern Family wrote the book on unconventional families and the travails of bumbling step-parents already.
But I have to admire that kid’s ability to swindle his way out of bedtime because … well … I spent my whole childhood as that kid. I keep the same hours even now. And I always enjoy passive-aggressive parental mind games, so the older children’s fear of their mother and her knowledge of the salsa incident entertained me. For now. Proceed to Third Episode.
Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD (yep, still no periods): The second episode of this show was about bringing the team together, but it just made me want to be far away.
Look at us and our forced bonding!
It doesn’t help that I can’t stand either of the lab technicians. They are both meant to be the quirky smart guy, but they haven’t risen to the caliber of that time-honored tradition. At all. Whiny and drippy are all that come to mind. The only thing worse is Agent Ward making fun of their accents with the very, very tired “Speak English” joke. The conflict of the episode was entirely Choose Your Own Adventure as well; nondescript freedom fighters that could have been from anywhere, anytime, and a location of Vague Ruins, South America, did not appeal. I like the Calvary, though she’d glare at me for calling her that. But she’s as much of a cliché as the rest of them, the strong, silent type who’s all action, not brains. Even a final five seconds of Samuel Jackson couldn’t save it for me. Game Over.
Super Fun Night: I added this show to my schedule with hesitation. The concept didn’t sound funny, but I like Rebel Wilson. She’s a talented actress, and she’s willing to go all out in her roles. But as I learned with New Girl, one person’s quirkiness is not enough to carry a show. And there is nothing else redeeming in this show but Rebel Wilson. Game Over.
Sleepy Hollow: I honestly went into this episode expecting to give up on the show afterward. It’s a fun series, but the action all blurs together and I don’t know hardly anything about Ichabod yet. Where is he staying? How is he adjusting so easily to modern times? Why is nobody suspicious of him? I don’t know who any of the characters are except him and Abbie either, but the introduction of Abbie’s backstory is enough to keep me watching for now. I dug her and her sister’s creepy past in the woods and how being witnesses with a capital W may tie into the overarching apocalypse plot. Plus, the Sandman was horrifying enough to haunt my dreams. Proceed to Fourth Episode.
The Crazy Ones: The second episode opened with one of my current favorite songs playing, “Kangaroo Court,” and the bromance I had sensed between Simon and Zach already on display. But validating the chemistry I felt between those two characters wasn’t enough. The Crazy Ones had to go and make me enjoy the same dynamic with Simon and Andy, too.
Nothing says bonding with your boss like scrubbing duckling anus.
I really like how this cast interacts, and the jokes work for me. The Poprocksalypse Now story was inspired, and the decision to make Windy City Coffee “dangerously good” appealed to my bad-horror-movie love. I have a feeling this one’s a keeper. Proceed to Third Episode.
Hostages: You may remember my fears after last week’s premiere that this show wouldn’t be able to sustain the high stakes of that stellar episode. And it didn’t. How long can a hostage situation plausibly continue with each hostage allowed out into the public again and again? Nothing says thriller like “Make love to your mistress. Remember, I’m listening.”
One phone call to the Secret Service and I feel like they’d already be done with this situation. Do I want to know what the people pulling Dylan McDermott’s strings really want? Sure. It has to be something bigger than killing the president if that’s what the show led with. But I may not be willing to stick around long enough to learn what it is. The acting is great, but the believability is not. One more episode, Show. That’s all you’ve got. Proceed to Third Episode.
We Are Men: The beginning left-at-the-altar diversion was promising, and the first five minutes of the show was stellar, recounting each main character’s romantic failures in short order. I love the cast individually, but I’m not sure they worked well as a unit. Yet I was willing to roll with it … until the lead left his fiancé at the altar to choose having fun with the other guys instead. Leaving her was not the problem, but choosing to spend his time with those particular men was. They come across as sort-of nice guys … and then I remember those sort-of nice guys were all assholes to the women in their lives. Why would I want to watch them ogle other women episode after episode? And how on earth am I supposed to feel bad for them with that pool?
This is Hollywood! How rich are these guys? Episode 1 suffered from a case of Bad Pilotitis from which I doubt it will recover. Game Over.
Two of my favorite shows were back this week. Hooray!
Scandal: I was impressed by how well Olivia’s father schooled her, pulling out that powerful “I am the Hell and the Highwater” line. I loved it! And then this happened.
Olivia blew right past the Hell and Highwater because she’s a grown-ass woman who makes her own decisions and doesn’t cave in to Daddy’s demands. And I loved it more. That’s how Olivia Pope makes a season return! There are always emotionally resonant moments that stick out to me in Scandal, and this week’s was Olivia, Fitz, and Mellie negotiating the terms of what they would tell the public about the affair. It was so moving that Mellie could handle the world knowing Fitz cheated on her but that she couldn’t handle them knowing Fitz was in love with the other woman — lying was preferable to that. Yes, Mellie was planning another move behind their backs, but I think that genuinely conveyed how much it hurt her that Fitz loved Olivia instead and that she wasn’t willing to sacrifice that much pride for the whole truth to come out. But making me think James was dead, even for a second?! Show, I’m going to be upset about that for a while.
Nashville: I expected this season to pick up right in the middle of last season’s crash, but we spent the first few minutes piecing together what had happened instead. And boy did I feel for Rayna’s girls watching her in a coma. Been there, done that, and I wasn’t even in the hospital room like they were. Let’s make sure they get some counseling, okay? I really enjoyed the flashbacks to early Rayna and Deacon and how happy they were when Deacon was sober. Making Deacon appear young didn’t work so well, but I think Rayna was passable for a twenty-something!
Behold, the power of make-up and a swept-up side part.
I am not pleased the mayor’s mistress is pretending to be pregnant, however. That’s a television plot I’m convinced never happens in real life. Yes, Nashville’s a soap, but I don’t like those plots on General Hospital either. Get inventive!
Modern Family: I only pay half-attention when I watch this show anymore, but I do think Cam and Mitchell’s proposal was perfect.
Knees down in the mud after losing a tire to the canyon is so right for a couple that’s already been doing the work of being married for most of a decade. On Glee, Kurt and Blaine’s proposal was pure romance and songbirds, but Cam and Mitchell’s was grounded in the reality of a life together. Nice job.
I still plan on checking out Broadchurch soon, and I’m behind on A Chef’s Life, so those will both make an appearance soon. See you next week!
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