I didn’t have the chance to catch up last week, so my apologies for the delay in this column. But something rotten is in the air now because the new fall series are dropping like flies from my record list. I also checked out two series I hadn’t been following yet, the Michael J. Fox Show and Betrayal. One had much better results than the other…
The Crazy Ones: Two episodes consumed this week. In “Bad Dad,” I was finally sold on the family dynamics between Simon and Sydney. The opening bit where Simon couldn’t help but insult his daughter repeatedly with a face that showed only sentimentality set the stage for an episode focusing on a father who doesn’t realize how badly he treats his children. I didn’t need an episode to establish that Sydney didn’t resent her father, though. I figured that out in Episode 1. She’s never been angry, just a little embarrassed by him. But I appreciated getting to see them interact alone. That episode and the next one weren’t nearly as funny as the first few, but I was cheering on the team’s cardigan bonfire anyhow.
The characters feel like they’re getting fleshed out and developing connections, and I’m happy to see it. I think that means the Crazy Ones has officially graduated to my regular rotation and off of this column. ADDED TO THE DVR.
The Trophy Wife: The fourth and fifth episodes of this show only increased my boredom with it. As suspected, the cuteness factor of Malin Akerman has worn off, and I’m left with another sitcom about family dynamics that I’ve seen countless times over my 33 years. How many times have teenagers outsmarted adults to steal away to a party on television? How many times have the adults found out and embarrassed them later?
Even worse, none of the children are interesting, and I want to see Kate fail in her parenting attempts. I should be rooting for her to become an awesome stepmother, but she’s already having crises about losing her youth and freedom. Game Over.
Sleepy Hollow: Ugh, I just don’t know about this show. I’m getting Once Upon a Time feels from it, and for me, that’s a bad thing. I gave up on and returned to Once Upon a Time three separate times during its first season before giving it up in the second. My reasons were that the show had so much potential, but there was so little actual plot movement. At least Sleepy Hollow has wittier dialogue. Also contributing to my waning interest, however, is that I spent some time at the Lost Colony this summer.
Reproduction of Lost Colony ruins.
Front left = Hot dancer in the Lost Colony musical.
Everyone has their moment when they can no longer suspend their disbelief, and I fear “John Doe” was that episode for me. I much prefer the theory that the lost colonists intermarried with the Native Americans for survival to the idea that they’ve been living in magical isolation while infected with a plague.
Overall, the show has too much investigating and too few horsemen for me as well. But it’s only a 13-episode season and I’m already halfway there. What do I do? Remember that John Noble’s in the next episode, that’s what. Proceed to Episode 6.
The Michael J. Fox Show: I expected to find this show really uncreative. I’d read a few reviews of how it made fun of having Parkinson’s, so I thought cheap humor was in store. But the first episode’s jokes didn’t strike me as offensive at all. Rather, I found them an intelligent and fun way of dealing with a disease through humor. In that episode, the only thing that turned me off was that I was supposed to believe the daughter’s revised film was better than her first one. The first one may have been farce, but it was much more entertaining. As Mike’s boss Harris could confirm for Eve’s teacher, cheap sentimentality sells! I loved that he went ahead and sold Mike’s return to the news as triumphant. I dig how jaded all the characters are: Mike and Annie have no problem making fun of their children’s flaws, Aunt Leigh is refreshingly self-centered and just plain weird, and they all share clear affection without hitting us over the head with it.
I’m not sold on the youngest child, though. Why do so many family sitcoms aim for three children and then make the youngest one far younger than everyone else? Are we supposed to find their antics cute? Because they’re just annoying. I’m still working out my thoughts about the newscast portion of the show as well. It’s not quite fleshed out yet, but I think it’ll get there. Dear lawd, though, I don’t need another Thursday night show. The Michael J. Fox Show makes four! Proceed to Fifth Episode.
Betrayal: I would define this show as SLOW. Slow music played throughout the first episode, which opened slowly at an art gallery showing that led to a slow build between two characters’ who talked about how they had a simmering connection, which I found much closer to a slow boil that never reached its peak. Those same people were married to other people. And that seemed to be the whole plot besides something-something-someone embezzling from James Cromwell? And one of his family members ending up dead in the water? I don’t know and I don’t care. Nothing enticed me to keep watching what I hereby dub the whitest show on television this fall.
Hostages: This is the moment when I stopped watching Hostages.
It wasn’t that moment for any particular reason beyond looking up from my laptop screen and realizing I didn’t care about Dylan McDermott’s desperation because it’s been weeks in real-time since the supposed plot to kill the president fell through. Weeks, and Ellen Sanders is trying to work her way back in as the president’s surgeon. Weeks, and I’m supposed to buy the tension at all? It worked on 24, but unfortunately it has not worked for Hostages. This would have been an amazing TV movie, but as a series, the concept doesn’t hold up. Game Over.
My regular shows were pretty run-of-the-mill this week. Nashville moved at a snail’s pace without enough singing. Cam and Mitchell’s fight over outfits was fun on Modern Family, especially Mitchell holding out on admitting he shook the can until the last second. But I miss Grimm. And Community. I really want them back soon, please. Keeping my fingers crossed I will have watched Broadchurch and American Horror Story: Coven by next week’s column, though.
My newest short story is in issue #131 of Beneath Ceaseless Skies, available here for $0.99! Follow me on Twitter , Facebook, or where I’m just getting started on Tumblr. Learn where you can read my fantasy, romance, and horror fiction at my website.