TV Reviews

Oct. 4th, 2014 07:50 pm
tabbiewolf: (tabbie - fall)
We've reached the new season of television and most of the shows I'm interested in (except Constantine) have had their season premieres, so let's do a review of them. Most if not all of these shows are available on the network's websites. We'll start with the worst first…

Selfie - Starring Karen Gillan (also known as Amy Pond from Doctor Who and Nova from Guardians of the Galaxy) and John Cho (Harold from Harold & Kumar, Sulu from the new Star Trek movies, the token Asian guy in most TV shows these days), this is apparently some weird backwards version of My Fair Lady — instead of a girl learning the proper ways to be a lady, it's an self-/internet-ratings obsessed girl learning to work with the normal world. The main characters even have basically the same names.

The pilot episode sucked. I could not tell if it was a stupid show trying to be clever or a clever show that came off as stupid (on purpose? I'd assume on purpose). Covering your main character in her own vomit in the first five minutes of your series premiere is awful, especially since we haven't developed any love or hate for this character — we don't know how to feel about her because the show just started. It just comes off as gross and sad, and left me feeling uncomfortable and skeevy. The rest of the episode, while less gross, did basically nothing for the character development. The whole show left me feeling absolutely nothing for any of the characters, and again, just generally uncomfortable. Apparently this is a theme with the creator of this show, Emily Kapnek, but I've never seen her other work (Suburgatory) and in all honesty I don't watch TV to feel uncomfortable.

Rating: Would read reviews to see if it improves; no interest in watching it again even though I like both of the main actors (NOT their characters in this, though).

/ scorpion - Take every trope you can find about geeks, blend it with every trope from police procedural shows, mix in a little possible-romance (or is that one of those tropes?) and you have this show. The characters are vaguely interesting — it's basically The Big Bang Theory except they have to save the world every show — but the science was awful…awful enough that I didn't find the need to watch the second episode. It's a weekly popcorn action flick, only it really bends the rules of science/technology and assumes the audience will be none the wiser, and I hate shows that do that.

Rating: Saw one episode and already have predictions on how the rest of the season will go (who's going to double-cross who). Will read reviews, probably will not continue to watch.

The rest of the shows that have just started aren't nearly as awful:

A to Z - This is apparently NBC's version of How I Met Your Mother, a show I've been a fan of for years (that in my opinion would have been way better if it had ended around Season 5…one of those "Stop renewing it, dammit, you're rewriting the characters in a way that contrasts the original plot! WE HAVE NETFLIX NOW, we can see you ret-conning the characters!"). Narrated by Katey Sagal (Leela from Futurama), it explores the relationship of Zelda (Cristin Milioti, the mother from HIMYM) and Andrew (Ben Feldman, an actor I'm not familiar with), which apparently lasts exactly the length of a television season. That's not a spoiler, that's literally how they open the show.

The show is set up pretty spot-on to how How I Met Your Mother was: flashbacks, quirky side characters, pop culture references. The "Meet Cute" of this first episode seems a LITTLE pushed to me, but perhaps it'll be explored more as the season develops and we learn more about the characters. Andrew's roommate is extremely annoying and I hope his jokes get less stupid as the series goes on, because they really are not funny (basically he's Seth Rogen's part in every Judd Apatow movie). But, pilot episode, will give it time.

Rating: Cute, with a definite timeline to follow, which is an interesting concept for a sitcom. Will continue to watch.

Manhattan Love Story - Another romance sitcom (sitromcom?) following a small-town girl named Dana who moves to New York City and is set up by her friends with Peter, an NYC native. Definitely another meet-cute kind of situation here, but I felt for the characters right off — because any girl whose Facebook password is "muggles" is going to pique my interest (because yes, I am that girl. And no, that's not my Facebook password). The interesting aspect of this show is that you can hear both the main character's thoughts — which is one step away from a Woody Allen movie where they break the fourth wall and talk to the audience — and I don't think I've personally seen that used in a sitcom that's not a "this is me telling the story of my life" show before.

The side characters are less annoying then in A to Z — Dana's roommates and Peter's sister and brother (who is one of Dana's roommates and married to her sorority sister, who is her other roommate). They seem much more like the typical New Yorkers you see in every other sitcom, which isn't a bad thing. Some of the jokes are a little dumb (sorority sisters + appletinis = lesbian makeouts, which I suspect will be a running gag if no one stops it), but not too bad for a pilot episode.

Rating: Cute, made me giggle, will continue to watch.

Shows that are not new:

Marvel's Agents of SHIELD - Season 2: two shows in, and we're off with a bang. Most people seem to want this show to be more than what it is, which is a comic book that happens to be a television show. Enjoyable, but probably plays a LOT better when you can watch the whole season in one go…peppering in the Marvel movies, since they are all part of the same universe. THAT is an aspect of the show that I love, the fact that they've turned it into an overarching story. They've done the transition from comic to TV/movie very well, and I enjoy it. Also they seem to be cloning Patton Oswalt, which I'm totally cool with.

I mentioned in my /scorpion review that I'm not fond of shows that bend the rules of science and technology. Marvel, of course, doesn't just bend the rules: they basically make up new ones. I do not feel talked down to by this show, which I think might be the difference?

Rating: It's Marvel. It's comics in TV form. I'll keep watching, picking up the characters and bits from the old comics, and enjoying :)


The Big Bang Theory - Season 8: There will be, at this point, at least 10 years of this show with the current contracts…and it's more of the same. Stereotypical geeks dealing with life, making pop culture references that are obviously written to appeal to those who know a LITTLE bit about geekdom, and to appease us geeks who are amused we've gotten into pop culture enough for a show like this to happen. Leonard and Penny are now engaged, working through their romantic issues; Sheldon is of course overly awkward and basically there to be a punchline; Raj is…actually he isn't seen too much so far, though I think he has a girlfriend now?; and Howard is dealing with Stuart (the former comic book store owner, who is another character that was written to be a punchline, only more downtrodden than Sheldon) in a weird, almost-romantic (but not quite…I think?) relationship with Howard's mother.

As I said: it's more of the same. If you've watched ANY of the show in the past 7 years, you can expect more of that.

Rating: Currently my Old Reliable, since How I Met Your Mother went off the air earlier this year. You know the characters, you can expect the jokes, it's not surprising but that's not a bad thing. *shrug*

Doctor Who - I think is already halfway through its current season and it's got one of those running storyline things that Moffat swore he wasn't going to do anymore of, so finding out the ending to that will probably change my opinion on the whole season. I like Peter Capaldi as the new Doctor a lot (he was instantly "The Doctor" and didn't take getting used to the way Matt Smith did), and I'm interested but mildly annoyed by the running plotline. Further review may occur when that plotline ends.

Rating: Assume if you like Doctor Who, you will probably like what they are currently doing with it =p

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