Last week was premiere week for a lot of broadcast network shows. Elle2 and Alice Jester share their thoughts of some of the shows they watched. Are your favorites among the list?
Elle2’s Week in Review
At last, the fall television season has begun. The fall season, like the arrival of spring, is a bittersweet time. While I adore the return of my favorite shows, as well as the anticipated new ones, it also means shorter daylight hours and colder weather. Conversely, springtime’s arrival heralds longer daylight hours and warmer temperatures, but the end of new episodes. Ah, the dilemma.
This year premiere week will occur several times, even into the first full week of November, and that is a very good thing. This first week of the new season gave me back some CBS shows as well as a trial of an NBC show. ABC’s Thursday night lineup powered its way to the top, but is showing some vulnerabilities; still it is the place to be on Thursday nights, even as I do not venture there. As has occurred in the past, ABC remains the channel that I have nothing to watch. All things cycle though; there was a time when I was very heavy into ABC’s lineup, and no doubt one day that will cycle back around.
For this week I caught several shows on CBS and sampled NBC’s new show Blindspot. In fact, Monday and Tuesday were busy for me, with the rest of the week somewhat tame. Come the first week of October though, when the CW bows, well, I’ll have quite a bit to watch. For now I watched the premieres of Scorpion, NCIS:LA, NCIS, and Limitless on CBS and found Blindspot quite interesting, akin to The Blacklist, which is both good and bad.
First up, the CBS shows.
Scorpion has not forgotten who or what it is over the summer hiatus. It is way over the top action but the people are likeable and growing, and that is the heart. It’s good to curl up with a bowl of popcorn and a light mood to kill an hour in the evening. Just don’t expect too much in the realm of believability, but the characters are a lot of fun.
NCIS:LA returned similar to each of its previous seasons, with a good season opener. This show usually does good season premiers, and at times good season finales – it’s what’s in between that is often lacking, such as depth, continuity, growth. I think this is the first time we’ve seen Callen actively searching for answers, rather than passively waiting for a lead to fall into his lap and then actively pursue said lead, but I do not expect much in the way of follow through on the events and even the bit of character growth that occurred. Hetty will still boss everyone around and lie to people, and Callen will still trust her implicitly, despite putting her in a much earned ‘place’ this past episode. At least Kensi and Deeks are not comfortable as a couple and their juvenile antics are hopefully over. Monday nights on CBS, especially once Supergirl arrives, are likely to be a place to settle down for a light-hearted night of campy, silly, over the top shows, with very little substance. I’ll call it cotton candy night. It’s good every once in a while, in small doses. Too much at one time though, and you’ll end up with a tummy ache.
NCIS, a reliable show for CBS, also premiered this week. I caught it via my DVR and skipped a lot of it, mostly because I just feel we’ve covered this ground numerous times already. While much of the luster is off this show for me, I do still enjoy the team moments, and the scene with McGee, Abby, Palmer, and Bishop watching their cell phones on an autopsy table awaiting information on Gibbs’ condition was fun. Also, seeing McGee in MTAC stopping the warhead from being set off was similarly enjoyable. I really like McGee’s character and appreciate when he is shown to be as competent as we know he is. He was allowed to shine in much of this episode, and that is greatly appreciated by me. The best thing going for this show is that the writers understand their characters – even as most of them go through the same motions week in and week out – and write to their strengths. The team dynamic remains crisp and fun, and it’s those moments that I enjoy.
I also gave Limitless a try. I understand it’s from a movie, and thus the characters date back to that movie, but it was still hard to hear a character named Finch and not have it be Michael Emerson brining Harold Finch to my screen. I’m definitely missing Person of Interest this fall. Limitless did its job in the pilot episode: it set the stage. Still, unlike PoI, which immediately grabbed me with the likability of the characters and drew me into wanting to see them embark on their weekly adventures, Limitless has used up its excitement for me. The guy takes a pill and becomes really, really smart. When he’s not taking this magical pill, he’s just average, and very boring. Oh, the pill comes with bad side effects, so he has to get a shot of something to counteract those bad effects, but this comes from people that the FBI do not know about. I predict an episode when he is taken hostage and/or sent far away and can’t get his special medicine and there will be bad side effects. Limitless is not on my watch list going forward.
NBC managed to catch my eye with Monday night’s Blindspot. As I said at the beginning, I put it in the category of The Blacklist. Season 1 of The Blacklist was riveting TV for me, mostly because of James Spader, who continues to be impressive as Red Reddington. Unfortunately that’s all The Blacklist has going for it, and when Spader isn’t on screen, I just don’t care. It’s a procedural with a hint of overall mythology and a cast of characters I don’t find particularly engaging and do not care one iota about, even Reddington. Here’s hoping Blindspot manages to avoid that. I’ve programmed my DVR for the time being to catch this show and we’ll see if Kurt Weller and “Jane” and company remain interesting characters. I’m intrigued, and do like a flashback effect when used to inform the present. Those elements, if used as brilliantly as Person of Interest has used them, can go far in providing a reason to enjoy these characters and keep going. If, however, it simply becomes a weekly case to solve, with characters who are marginally interesting, such as The Blacklist, it will fall away quickly. For now, Blindspot is on my weekly DVR schedule.
That’s all for this week. Next week CSI bows a final time, and with Gil Grissom, a/k/a William Peterson, on my screen, I’ll be watching. Criminal Minds also returns and despite all my efforts to ditch this show, I do still enjoy Thomas Gibson’s turn as Aaron “Hotch” Hotchner, as well as the team dynamic. Most of the rest of the show, as it spends too much time with the unsub and not the more fascinating, to me, elements of actual profiling, is stuff I skim through.
The CW shows are another week away and Grimm and Elementary don’t come until very late in October and early November.
There may not be a weekly review each and every week throughout the season, mostly because work often gets in my way, and I have no idea what shows will be included each and every week, mostly because I try to hit those shows that either had a momentous episode (in this case, a premier) or touch on a scene that really amazed, but we’ll figure this out as we go.
As always, thanks for reading! Elle2
Alice’s Week in Review
I too actually paid attention on premiere week, but I tend to schedule things on the DVR and catch up later. It’s a necessity of my busy lifestyle. It also didn’t help that several of my favorites were missing. The fact that Person of Interest has been relegated to midseason was quite a blow to our household and its absence on Tuesday was very noticeable. We used to sit down as a family and watch together. Also most of my shows are on The CW, which will have their big kick offs in week or so. As a result, there are multiple shows still sitting on the DVR waiting for me to catch up.
Monday, I did check out the premiere of The Big Bang Theory. All in all The Big Bang Theory is still a well oiled but very entertaining machine. I loved how they watched Leonard and Penny’s wedding on TV at Howard and Bernadette’s house while all hell was breaking loose. When it was all over and only Howard and Stuart were around to notice, I died laughing over the “we’ll leave something in the comments” reaction. So well done! I like that there is a big rift in the “Shamy” relationship and I’m looking forward to seeing how that plays out. The key to good comedy is timing and cast interaction, and this premiere wins big.
Tuesday, the must see on our slate was the premiere of The Muppets. Our whole family has been Muppets fans for years, having all The Muppet Show episodes from the late 70’s and early 80’s on DVD. We’ve seen all the films too, except for the latest one. I was very curious to see what this new version was all about, especially after hearing that it was going to follow The Office style mockumentary format. Did I like? Yes, there were a lot of little bits in there I loved, like the quick jokes and the herding cats type environment that Kermit the Frog had to endure to get Miss Piggy’s new late night show running. Overall though, I’m not sure. I felt that the drama between Kermit and Piggy got a little too heavy, especially in the second half of the episode. It’s obvious that the show is catering to adults, especially adults like me who grew up on the Muppets, but I really would like some more silly fun. Would it have been so hard to have Miss Piggy do a karate chop on Kermit after he was an insensitive jerk? I adore the goofiness that’s unique to this brand. I’m still giving the show a chance though since I know something like this will take a bit of fine-tuning to find it’s true voice. It’s a good premise though so I have some hope.
Another anticipated premiere for me was Heroes Reborn, which aired Thursday from 8-10 pm on NBC. I’m one of those that followed Heroes during its first run until the early part of season four, aka when the wheels really fell off the wagon. The “big” twists were implausible and infuriating and I gave up before reaching the merciful end. Was this a franchise worth rebooting? After Thursday I say yes. The series does not move at a barn burning pace, but neither did the original. It’s a Comic book put to the small screen and I found the adaption faithful. The framing and cinematography was gorgeous. A lot went into the look and feel from a visual point of view and I appreciated the detail.
This is a new set of heroes being introduced, their stories separate and scattered again like the original. The main focus on HRG, aka Noah Bennet, makes it feel familiar though, bridging the old and the new. Bennet is the ideal choice since he was the strongest character on the first version. Each story in the premiere was given a chance to play out and I’m interested in each one. Yes, even Katana Girl, who clearly has the most whacked out scenario out of everyone. Her sidekick is adorable, and it reminds me of getting to know Hiro and Ando in the original. Speaking of which, wasn’t Hiro supposed to be back? I know he’ll come back eventually, but I was sad not to see him in the first two hours of this limited series. I also love seeing Zachary Levi play the bad guy. Or it looks like he might be the conflicted guy based on previews. Either way he’s clearly the calm and cool brains of this husband and wife Evo killing pair and that just makes his character more irresistible. Considering Heroes Reborn is only supposed to run for 13 episodes, I think that whatever is thrown at us will be digestible. After the second hour I’m still ready to see what’s next, so that means the two hour premiere did its job.
As a footnote, I have been watching ever since the premiere on September 8th The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. After taking his humor and total sensibility every night since that day, all feels right in my world again. I did watch The Colbert Report (it’s French bitch!) on Comedy Central ever since it’s premiere, but I wasn’t an avid viewer. I usually turned it off after ten minutes. I couldn’t stand his conservative blowhard character myself. I liked it better when he his real persona came out, especially in the comedy bits. The Colbert’s dance party video to “Get Lucky” is one of the best damn bits ever done on TV. Or, there’s also his on camera prostate exam, performed by John Lithgow nonetheless! So to see that character dropped, but everything that makes Colbert extraordinary remain, I feel like I’ve won the lottery. This is especially true after the crushing loss of Jon Stewart on my TV. To see Colbert carry on that sensibility on CBS, I couldn’t be happier. It also makes me happy to see Jon Stewart be an executive producer of the new Late Show. He hasn’t completely gone away. Colbert is the strongest interviewer by far out of any show and it’s something you don’t realize until his interviews are up against other late night hosts. His variety of guests is fantastic and the fact that he can talk so easily to politicians, CEOs, humanitarians and celebrities without missing a beat just makes you appreciate what a gift he is to late night television.
That’s my take on this week in TV. Is there a premiere that you liked? Is there one that you think will result in cancellation rather soon? We’d like to hear from you in the comments.