What is worth watching?

Yes, it is taking me so long to catch up with new shows that I had to change the title of this post [It was previously plain "New Shows' Reviews"]. You know… life gets in the way, must finish re-watching Veronica Mars in the next two weeks and unfortunately watching TV doesn't pay my bills [yet].

It may take me long, but I eventually get around to watching pretty much all the new shows and, when I do, I feel compelled to share my opinion. If you still care about my first impressions and/or are an untimely viewer like me, keep reading:


Premise: A by-the-book detective and his unstable partner investigate a murder which is revisited 17 years later.

Verdict: This is one intense show and deserves all the hype it is getting. If I had to describe it in one word it would be: “Intriguing”.
Imagine if Bryan Fuller’s Hannibal met Top of the Lake… That is exactly what True Detective looks/feels like, which is hardly a bad thing. I know I am super late to this party and as I finished watching the pilot, I found out that Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey won’t return for S2, which is a bummer. But… if you are being a bad TV fan like me and haven’t seen S1 of True Detectitve, it certainly looks worth it. It is a solid concept with an intriguing tone. I can’t wait to catch up!

Should you watch it? Yes! That’s all. 


Premise: Greg Kinnear is a morally questionable lawyer with a sassy assistant and a lovable best friend. [Not the most revolutionary concept, I know… but it’s broadcast TV, what do you expect?]

Verdict: Not nearly as bad as I expected.

For some reason, I thought this was going to be a major disaster and as I started watching I got ready to complain about the “wasted talent” of the great cast. It really wasn’t bad, I actually enjoyed watching the pilot; it was fun, made me laugh and I was curious about what was going to happen to the case of the week [guest criminal Peter Stormare helped on that; Abruzzi!]. However… that’s all I can say on Rake’s behalf. It just didn’t take it far enough. They wanted to have a morally ambiguous lawyer [not the rarest kind] and Greg Kinnear is absolutely perfect. His character was really interesting, but it felt like a watered down version of Harvey Specter or Alan Shore. The script had good enough lines, it had a couple of original ideas [the one night stand, the prostitute on the clock, the fish, etc.], but I think what bothered me is that they tried to incorporate a “family” element. A big part of the episode was the family of the leading character’s best friend… yeah not even his family. I think the family dynamic cancelled out the “edge” of the show. You either make a show about a character with no morals or you make a family show… Rake is somewhere there in the undefined middle… I think I could like it better if they decided to go to one or other extreme. 

Should you watch it? If you are looking for a good lawyer show I suggest you head over to USA and watch Suits or buy DVDs for any David E. Kelley show [Boston Legal, The Practice, Ally McBeal… hell even Harry’s Law]. On the other hand… if you really like Greg Kinnear [like I do] it is good enough to watch. In other words, it’s enjoyable but not extraordinary. 


Premise: A group of scientists have a secret base where they conduct experiments… That ‘always’ ends well… Secluded location, death monkeys, behavior changing virus… you get the picture.

Verdict: Not my usual gooey cup of tea… but I thought it was pretty good, all things considered.

First of all, yes, I am still watching the new shows and posting my unfiltered first impressions… it’s just taking me longer than usual, you know… real life commitments blah blah… But nothing can keep me away from TV for too long…

Anyway, let’s get down to the spooky business of Helix. This is definitely not a genre I usually watch. I like sci-fi, I like thrillers but I am not big on horror and gore. I think Helix is right on the line between sci-fi thriller and gory horror show. If we ignore the gory part [which wasn’t that bad], I thought, story-wise, it was pretty decent. I especially enjoyed the almost ironic use of music [throwback hits in the middle of scary scenes e.g.], I was intrigued by the mysteries, I found the characters compelling [and layered] and, for the most part, I liked the cast [except for that girl that reminded me of Tori from BATB so I, unfairly, hated her immediately. Sorry can’t help it]. I like the “contained-thriller” vibe it has going on [they even had a Die-hard reference, which was sort of cool]. I would describe it as BSG meets Resident Evil, which isn’t bad at all. It also reminded me a little of the short-lived show The Event [which I always thought had potential]. I thought I was going to watch one ep and be done, but I am intrigued enough to keep watching.

Should you watch it? Depends on your taste, if you like Alien virus/zombie attack type shows and movies go for it. If not… you might want to give it a try as I did. 


Premise: You know… Athos, Porthos and the third one the guy from “Slumdog Millionaire” couldn’t remember. In this version, the young Dartagnan witnesses the murder of his father to the hands of a man claiming to be Athos. While trying to avenge him, he discovers the murderer was an impostor and becomes the musketeers’ new protégé instead. There are also a number of female characters: strong ladies, slutty ladies and devious ladies.

Verdict: Not ground-breaking but better than most
I've decided to include shows from across the pond in my “winter review” [well, the one I've watched so far anyway]. By some miracle, I had a couple of hours of free time to watch TV last Sunday. This show was on, so I was like “Yeah, I’ll watch that”. The thing is… I really really like Alexandre Dumas [and we also happen to share a name]. I started reading his books when I was about 12 or younger and I still believe he was a master of the action/adventure genre. Love all the musketeers’ books and I think The Count of Monte-Cristo is one of the coolest premises for a story ever [who doesn't want to go back to the place where you grew up and take revenge from the people who wronged you? Emily Thorne does it every week]. However, as much as I love Dumas, I am rarely pleased with the adaptations of his books. I actually love the Jim Caviezel/Guy Pearce “Monte-Cristo” movie and The Man in the Iron Mask was neatly done [and had an amazing cast]; but I can’t think of one adaptation of the early musketeers’ years that I enjoyed. Yet… I am still drawn to whatever new movie/TV show they do about it… and you know what? I am actually quite pleased with this new BBC series. I believe they captured the care-free spirit of the characters and the books. Granted, I read the books a LONG time ago, so I might be completely mistaken… but… it is an action/adventure show, fun to watch and it actually had a decent “intrigue in court” plot. I am not 100% sure about casting choices… except for Santiago Cabrera which was a brilliant idea [and Howard Charles as Porthos was pretty great too… OK, maybe I am OK with casting choices now that I think about it]. So… well-cast for the most part, it has action [the cute old-school kind, not the guts-spilling kind], adventure and royal intrigue. I think that is more than enough to make it something worth watching if you are a Dumas fan.
Should you watch it? Yeah, why not? I am not going to say this is the event television show of the decade or that is a new revolutionary take on a known classic, but I thought it was fun. If you enjoy the genre and love the stories, I think you will be entertained.

*This show will premiere in the US in the spring on BBC America


Premise: Remember the crooked cop from Chicago Fire? Remember Gaby’s brother and his new partner? Remember the firemen-owned bar Molly’s? Well they are all there plus a former One Tree Hill star… which I REALLY don’t get.

Verdict: It’s a solid spin-off

Chicago P.D. is everything you would expect from a Dick Wolf show: It is a character driven, serious drama. It focuses on a group of “real” people with a high pressure job that have to deal with their personal conflicts as well as the corruption and challenges of the system. It is classic television drama; but here is the thing… this kind of show doesn’t really excite me. I am not saying there is anything wrong Dick Wolf’s shows; they are always very well written and they have a realistic and deep approach to human condition. Chicago P.D. is no exception and I am sure the character development will be great and the issues that will be explored will be poignant… and if this was the 90s… I would be cheering. However, I find it hard to “love” this show in a post-Breaking Bad world. For me TV drama has become so “edgy” and mind-blowing, with shows like The Sopranos, Breaking Bad, Orphan Black, Dexter, Game of Thrones and Banshee just to name a few; I am just not fulfilled by “classic” drama anymore. But that is absolutely a matter of personal taste and in my experience most people do enjoy this type of show.

Should you watch it? Yes, especially if you love Chicago Fire and Law & Order; but if you are not a fan of those shows it won’t be the end of the world to skip it either. I personally rather watch an episode of Rookie Blue which is SO MUCH LESS realistic and has a lighter tone, but… what do you know? I guess I like to suspend disbelief and tune off from the real world a little when I watch TV. 


Premise: As part of his punishment an elite soldier is downgraded to a base in Florida where his two younger brothers serve.

Verdict: I guess it could be worse.

Mmmm yeah… this is not the next great sitcom for sure, but it’s not the worst I’d seen on TV either. Enlisted had a moderate amount of charm and it did make me laugh a couple of times, but I can’t say much more than that. I was hoping this comedy could become an underrated hit… but not really. I think the problem with Enlisted is that it is not “mainstream” enough to appeal to a mass audience, but it is not edgy or quirky enough to be considered something like Community. So, it is stuck somewhere in no-man’s-comedy land. I think… it is possible it will grow into a more defined show [quirkier and better]… it does have potential, but I wouldn’t get my hopes up. It is most likely heading towards cancellation-ville anyway...

Should you watch it? If you have nothing else to do on a Friday, it’s an OK half hour of mindless entertainment… so… why not? But it is not must watch TV.


Premise: A female Texas Ranger solves crimes… yep that’s it.

Verdict: How the hell is this on TV?

This show had “disaster” written all over it, but part of me thought that it could turn out to be soapy/crazy and become a guilty pleasure… kind of like Devious Maids [both are based on telenovelas after all…]; but there was nothing pleasurable about this show.

The show has a boring premise; we have literally a million shows about cops, marshals, sheriffs and detectives and the fact that this one is a woman is not “edgy” enough nowadays. I think the show had the potential to just go ridiculously soapy, but they don’t even go there. They have a lot of soapiness… but I think they were actually going for “serious drama” which is just sad. Furthermore, the leading character played by Tricia Helfer (Battlestar Galactica) was just SO BORING! There was literally nothing intriguing about her and they seemed to think making her a part-time trumpet player was adding layers to the character! The pilot was just SO BADLY WRITTEN. It had ENDLESS exposition; the characters were just spilling out their guts to random strangers in a sad attempt to gain sympathy from the audience or something… It was one painful hour of television.

Should you watch it? Hell no! Just… don’t. Go watch BSG on Netflix if you want to see Tricia on the screen. 


Premise: Sawyer and Red Riding Hood solve crimes with the aid of a computer inside Sawyer’s brain… or whatever his name is on the show. Let’s be real… we are all going to keep calling him “Sawyer”.

Verdict: Not as “intelligent” as I was hoping…

I am a fan of this type of science fiction shows, and I was impressed CBS was going there instead of producing a new run of the mill cop show. But… it’s still CBS, and   they don’t gamble at CBS… so this isn’t the edgy cool show I think it could have been.

But, even ignoring that the show was “CBS-tified”, I think it had issues. The main problem was that Intelligence promised to be original and cutting edge, but they didn’t show anything that hadn’t been done before. The “computer inside the brain” concept is immediately associated with Chuck and they are doing it wonderfully on Almost Human [with a robot] and on Continuum [with a human]. Hell… even Sherlock does a similar thing [sans computer] with cool special effects and everything. So… their premise isn’t all that great… as far as sci-fi premises go. Still… the show could have some other original, interesting aspects, right? Wrong… it’s a cop show… not a bad one and I like the cast… the case of the week was interesting enough and there were some funny lines. But at the end of the day… it is a cop show [with a less than stellar sci-fi hook].

I really like Josh Holloway, but his character on this show paled in comparison to the depth and mystery of Sawyer. The chemistry with Meghan Ory was good, so there might be something there… In summary, we have another CBS show with a former soldier who has a computer in his head. He can “see” all sorts of facts (like a computer), but the question is… Does he know Kung-fu?

Should you watch it? I plan to keep watching, mostly because I like the cast and didn’t think it was awful. But I doubt I’ll be jumping up and down with excitement when I tune in. Furthermore, I know it is too soon to tell and the ratings were good… but, for some reason; I have the feeling it will get cancelled and we will be seeing Red back in Storybrooke in no time.

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Alejandra spends her days watching TV, writing for TV, writing about TV. Hopefully, one day, she will get substantially paid for all three. Follow her on twitter @azannier

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