Sunday, January 12, 2014

Angie's Broadcast TV Returning Shows

(Angie's preview may not mention Mad Men, as it only tonight announced it's return date. But the show is relevant to this post and certainly relevant to her TV likes. So, I use it as the illustration here. credit: insidetv.ew.com)

[Editor's note: I've been writing this Why Won't You Grow?! blog, off and on--mostly off these years to be sure, for almost a decade. And if there is one thing I've learned, it's that when you can get someone else to do the work for you--especially if that person has more people willing to read their writing . . . you go for it. And so, I embrace the guest blogger technique whenever the chance arrives. Earlier this week, I let Dean provide another of his reviews of Cable TV offerings. As usual, it got some traffic and generated a few comments. Another of my friends indicated a desire to write about TV and the returning slate of episodes coming back after the extended Christmas break. Some of these I covered back in my own Fall Preview posts. But others I did not. And besides, this is Angie's point of view, not my own. So . . . Angie, take it away.]

This is my first attempt at writing for Dave’s blog. I have my own, but I don’t write in it much and when I do, it’s about sewing. Writing about what’s hot and happenin’ on broadcast TV is much better.
For those who don’t know me, I’m a friend and former co-worker of Dave’s and I have followed his blog for some time. His massive powers of Internet persuasion enticed me to write up the Broadcast TV Preview for the Winter/Spring shows that are coming up or coming back. [Ed. note: If by massive powers of persuasion, you mean asking nicely on Facebook . . . well, then I guess you are right.]

A few things to note:
1) While I appreciate the success of the ½ hour comedies like Modern Family, The Big Bang Theory, and Parks and Recreation, I don’t watch those. I’m an hour long format gal.

2) I don’t watch reality TV. There will be no updates about The Bachelor, Dancing with whatever XFactor on whatever American blahblahblah. I apologize.

3) These are shows I primarily watch and enjoy so I can speak on them with knowledge. Dave may edit this and throw some other stuff in.

I’m gonna start off with a show I feel most people should be watching. If they are not, they are missing out on some of the best television produced currently. 

Sherlock Series 3 – PBS Masterpiece Mystery Sunday (1/19 US air date)  Sherlock is, quite possibly, the best thing to come out of BBC programming since the Doctor Who reboot. I know I’m gonna possibly spark some controversy (what about current Who, Downton Abbey, etc) but this is what I watch and this is my personal opinion. [The only way I would argue is that Who produces more shows per season. If Sherlock did more than three at a time, it would be unstoppable.]

Mark Gatiss and Stephen Moffat, the show’s creators/writers/directors and actors (Gatiss plays Mycroft, Sherlock’s brother) are fanboys of Holmes and Doyle. This show is very much a love letter to Doyle, Holmes, and all the fans of the consulting detective.  They know the stories and have taken the time to adapt these classic mystery tales to the modern world.  This adaptation allows for fresh perspective on the storytelling and humorous interactions between the uptight, logical Sherlock and the rest of the world.

The modernity of Sherlock is blended with the detective's classic look by Benedict Cumberbatch, an English actor with a bright and blooming career. In his slick, tight modern suits, and his tailored wool coat, Cumberbatch captures Sherlock’s isolation in his intelligence with flawless ease. He plays him on the point of manic, and is a joy to watch. His companion is Watson – as usual – and is played well by Martin Freeman. Freeman has the dual job of being not only Sherlock’s foil and sounding board, but he is also the audience’s voice. Watson's love, yet exasperation, for his dear friend is palpable and it’s endearing when Watson is quick to point out Holmes’s personal flaws that he can’t deduce. [Because it is such an iconic thing, Moffat played around with the deerstalker cap in a previous episode. But it looks anachronistic in this new version. And rightly so.]

Now, this is Series 3 – and you need to watch Series 1 and 2 before 3. Netflix has 1 and 2 so you can be prepared before 1/19. I’ve already seen the first two episodes of Series 3 and it does not disappoint, especially after a long hiatus (no more Hobbit movies – Freeman/Cumberbatch…this is for you…).
Go…watch…watch now….you could stop reading if you wanted… [Oh, don't stop reading yet. We just got started.]

With that said, let’s get to shows that have already kicked off!

Already Aired

Dracula – NBC Fridays at 10pm  Dracula, played in this “modern” fantasy adaptation by Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, returned in all his undead hotness on  1/3. I say “modern” because the show is set in the late 1800 – early 1900’s but Rhys-Meyers’ Drac has modern sensibilities. The show is also lush and dark, rich with counterplots along with the traditional love story. I have a love of supernatural and preternatural entertainment, so I latched on to this show very fast. The audience, however, has not stayed so loyal, as the show has sunk in the ratings and its fate does not look to be promising. I still think you should watch it for its vibrant art design, its deliberate plot and pacing, and its sensuality. You might find yourself under Dracula’s spell.

Airing Soon and with Finales

Almost Human – FOX Mondays at 8pm  With its Blade Runnery and I,Roboty feel, Almost Human is making a great attempt at a serialized Sci-Fi show. Usually, these ring false with me, but Almost Human is hitting all the right notes. It’s funny, charming, and filled with action and enough sci-fi to bring out the nerd in all of us. It might struggle further down the line because it does echo great movies and shows of the past, and while making it fresh for new audiences, there is a risk that it can become a mimic. With only 6 shows under its belt, we’ll have to wait and see whether FOX has another success like Fringe with Almost Human. [I also heartily endorse this show. The chemistry between Det. Kinnex and Dorien the android is great. Plus the police captain is played by the actress that was Lloyd Dobbler's friend in Say Anything. I don't have much of an opinion on Minka Kelly yet.]

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – ABC Tuesdays at 8pm  I want to like this show. I really do. I’ve watched every episode and I’ve been hoping they get better. But this show is the definition of diminishing returns. The plots are weak, the characters dry, and there are not enough superhero interactions (I’m not talking big guns, but living with the “B” crew gets old without a little spice). I will watch until the finale, but it’s probably not going to be on my radar next year. Sorry, Coulson. [I may be the only person still watching this show.]

Bones – FOX Fridays at 8pm  I’m gonna put it out there… my interest in this show has waned drastically since Booth/Bones got married this season [sorry for the spoiler]. The audience spent nine years waiting for that pay off and we got it – so…now what? Let’s rehash a tired villain that’s been around for 1.5 seasons! Bones is a formulaic procedural that succeeds because of the humor of the cast, the gore (let’s be honest) of the case, and the tension between hip/cool Booth and stodgy Brennan. Being moved to Fridays might cause the show to flounder, but it’s been a stable of FOX’s lineup for a long time and is still worth the watch. Check it out on 1/10.

Sleepy Hollow – FOX Mondays at 9pm  Sleepy FRICKIN’ Hollow – the Dark Horse. The Late Bloomer. Now – a highlight of my Monday nights! This show started off slow for me. I had trouble buying the premise but as soon as I began to acknowledge that the legend is being subverted, I began to embrace this show. The chemistry between Abby and Ichabod is fantastic, the plot is enjoyably escapist, and what makes the show really great?? It KNOWS its irreverent. It’s not trying to convince you of anything… it lets you escape for an hour and fall into this world of fantasy, witchcraft, and apocalypsey, demony goodness. It also doesn't hurt that the gentleman playing Ichabod is what might be deemed “steamy” or bodice-ripping hot…that could work too. You only get two episodes left of this show, starting 1/13, until next season, and the season finale is 2 hours long! Not bad for a freshman show! [Everyone loves Sleepy Hollow! Even me, who was terrified of the Headless Horseman as a child.]

The Blacklist – NBC Mondays at 10pm  As you can see, my Monday nights are solidly booked! The Blacklist is – without question – the best show on broadcast TV right now. It’s gritty, fast, dark, action packed, funny, and riveting. You cannot turn away for 60 straight minutes – you run to do things during commercial breaks. James Spader is fascinating as Raymond Reddington and at his best since Boston Legal. This show is why NBC needs to bring back the slogan “Must See TV”. The Blacklist starts up again on 1/13 and will not let you go until the last second of the finale and when it does, you’ll scream at your TV, desperately wanting more.

Scandal – ABC Thursdays at 9pm I’m late to the Scandal bandwagon, but I binged and caught up quick. This show is nothing more than a juicy novel you can’t put down – and I LOVE IT. It’s sexy, sassy, funny, sharp, dirty, dramatic, and over the top. It’s a guilty pleasure, much like Olivia Pope’s wine and popcorn. I’ll drink it up right along with her when the show returns on 2/27!

The Once Upon a Time Shows – ABC Thursday and Sunday at 8pm These show don’t come back until after the winter Olympics. I don’t know how much I’ll miss them. The sap is starting to run dry and Wonderland leaves me dizzy with its too much color and bad CGI. I liked Pan as the villain in this last season, but they are introducing the Wicked Witch of the West in March. I hope they do it well… and cut back on the cheese a bit. 3/6 is the date to fall down the rabbit hole again and 3/9 to return to Storybrooke.

New Show Seasons Starting!

Downton Abbey: Season 2 – PBS Sundays at 9pm  I must confess, I am a season behind in keeping up with the Crawleys. However, because the Internet doesn't know the meaning of the word spoiler, I know enough about Season 3 to know that Season 4 is going to have some dramatic turns for some cast members. I also know that this show watches like a great book – never dry, never boring, always engaging, and occasionally heartbreaking. If you missed the premiere on 1/5, you can catch up as PBS usually encores their shows and be back for the second episode right quick. 

The Following: Season 2 – FOX Mondays at 9pm When Sleepy Hollow ends, the Following begins. Kevin Bacon leads this gritty drama about a serial killer and his hunt to catch him. The first season was quite riveting and has a similar formula to a nice thriller. Worth the watch. This show starts back Super Bowl Sunday but then finds its regular home on 1/27. [I struggled to keep watching this show during season 1. The gore was a bit off-putting for me and it felt like it wasn't going anywhere. I'll probably give it a try in season 2, but might keep my finger hovering over the DVR's stop button.]

Hannibal: Season 2 – NBC Fridays at 10pm  While I love The Blacklist and Sherlock, I’d have to say Hannibal is in a dead heat for my most anticipated show of the winter. Again, a love letter to the fans of the books and the movies, Bryan Fuller has found a way to incorporate lines of dialogue, music, gestures, and witty subversive dialogue into this dark, manipulative show. Riveting and intoxicating, the art design saturates the eye and leaves you unable to blink. You also can’t blink because you might miss the fantastic portrayal of Hannibal Lecter by Mad Mikkelsen and Will Graham by Hugh Dancy. Just… don’t blink on 2/28.

So… those are the shows that I enjoy watching. I hope you enjoy a few of them and happy watching!

1 comment:

mylifeis said...

Wanted to note:

I didn't bring up MadMen not only because it didn't have a release date as of the time of the writing, but it is a cable show...

I'm glad it's coming back soon, as is Game of Thrones, which is due April 6th!