THE UNTIMELY VIEWER GUIDE TO SPRING SHOWS

What is worth getting into, even if it’s late


GANG RELATED


Premise: A kid from the wrong side of the tracks becomes a gang leader’s protégé. When he grows up he is instructed to become a cop and be the “man on the inside”. It is basically The Departed with Latinos instead of Irish and Italians. But no discrimination on this show, they have criminals from all races. Latinos, African Americans, Asian ... what about the white gangs?  Can’t they throw in some skin-heads or something? Maybe they will…

Verdict: I REALLY love Terry O’Quinn

Gang Related is a show with a lot of [still unrealized] potential. It could become a show that explores interesting issues and tells controversial stories. Much like ABC’s American Crime is promising. Will Gang Related deliver? I am not so sure...  The pilot wasn’t bad, but it was just a tinsy bit underwhelming. However, they had a lot to do… they had to introduce the characters, the backstory, the relationships and all the gangs. As you can see, that’s a lot of information to get across in one ep. So I think judging this show after watching only one [not so impressive] episode is premature. I do love Terry O’Quinn…a lot… and however this ends up going, I think I will watch it just for him. It’s just a joy to have him back on TV. The rest of the cast was so so for me. I think Jay Hernandez should have played the leading role, he could have [maybe] pulled it off [perhaps he was too short?]… The leading actor (Ramon Rodriguez) doesn’t have the necessary gravitas, in my opinion. There’s got to be a million young Latino actors to choose from in LA … Was he really the best? [Again though, one ep… too soon to judge].

So, casting wasn’t the best, but nothing I can’t live with either. My big issue with the show was that I kept getting this “I’ve seen this before” feeling. I must be too dense or tired or both because I finished the entire episode and I couldn’t quite place my feeling of déjà vu. Then it finally hit me [and it was blatantly obvious]: Sons of Anarchy! At this point SOA has masterfully tackled every gang related issue there is. It’s hard to imagine Gang Related could do the same [being on broadcast and not having Kurt Sutter]... so… I don’t know. I am still going to give it a few more eps.

Should you watch it? It may be worth checking out… but I don’t feel confident making recommendations yet. However, if you find the idea fascinating but aren’t quite sure about the show… Go Netflix Sons of Anarchy now! That one I feel 100% confident about recommending.

THE 100


Premise: The last human survivors in space send their underage criminals to Earth to see if it is habitable again. In other words:  a bunch of teenagers from the future try to survive in the wild wild Earth.

You have your usual characters. The know-it-all self-righteous heroine, the rebel guy, the stand-up good guy [all three in a love triangle of course]; there is a wild girl, a couple of nerds and the evil kid who just wants to get rid of the adults and have a new teen colony on Earth or something like that… Back at the Space station called “The Ark” [how biblical], you have… Desmond (Henry Ian Cusick)! OK, he has a different name [but he will always be Desmond to me], and he is evil and he is not pushing a button. Dr. Burke (Isaiah Washington)  is there too. The conflict? The Ark is dying, some just want to kill people, and some want to find a solution. Politics ensue… but not to Battlestar Galactica levels.

Verdict: I may be getting too old to watch shows with primarily teen casts

Since The 100 is officially not going anywhere and I can stop irrationally TV hating CW shows [for now], I decided to give it a go. I find the premise interesting, I like the [adult]cast and I will probably keep watching, but I don’t think it is the new Lost or anything like that. It’s a cool teen show and I might be getting too old for that. It’s probably a sign that you are too old when you care more about the parents [and think the dads are hotter than the kids]. I’ve watched a couple of episodes now and I keep wishing they would spend more time with the adults on The Ark than the kids on the ground, but that really is not the point of the show. In any case, I thought it was a cool enough show, could get interesting or it could get repetitive. I’ll just have to wait and see.

Should you watch it? Depends on how old you are, I think… or how much you like teen drama. I also think you should watch it if you are a fan of post-apocalyptic action/adventure shows and movies like: Jericho, Revolution and The Hunger Games. Lost fans may enjoy seeing Henry Ian Cusick. If you are not watching… I wouldn’t say you are missing out either. 

RESURRECTION


Premise: A missing boy reappears after 30 years, only he hasn't aged a day… oh, and other dead people start popping up as well. It’s like the Sixth Sense… except everyone sees dead people… Anyway, the dad from That 70s Show is there… and so is Dr. Foreman from House… but he is a cop now.

Verdict: There is something not clicking with this show

Whenever I review a show, I try to make a distinction between the theme and the execution. This particular theme does not interest me much. I don’t like resurrection/reincarnation stories; they have too many religious connotations for my taste and, to be perfectly honest, they freak me out a little [I found that Nicole Kidman movie with the little boy very disturbing!]. I wouldn't say the show was “bad”. I don’t think the writing was bad, it wasn't on the nose or anything like that and the cast was great. I just wasn't engaged. It’s hard for me to say if it was only about the [not so interesting to me] subject matter or if the show just wasn't interesting enough. From the get go I wanted to know WHY people were being resurrected but I don’t think they’ll ever explain it. You kind of have to watch it with “faith”. I am the kind of person who obsesses about the “why” of everything, so watching this was making me insane! People are coming back from the dead, but there is no government conspiracy behind this or some sort of explanation that involves parallel universes? Meh… I am out.

Should you watch it? I think some people may like it, but if your TV taste skews more to the sci-fi/cerebral type of show don’t watch it. By the way, ABC renewed this show so at least you know there will be a second season. 


SURVIVING JACK

Premise: A teenage son, a rebel daughter, a great mom and a clueless/overbearing dad… sounds like every other family comedy out there, right? The twist: it’s set in the 90s

Verdict: Er… I am really not sure what to say

So… it’s a comedy. It was decent. It wasn’t that funny. It wasn’t particularly bad either. Good cast. Why is it set in the 90s? I have no idea. Looks like they were trying to write about life before the internet, but it is not a major theme so I really don’t see the reason why it couldn’t be set in the present. I guess they were trying to be original… because otherwise it would be a show you have seen a thousand times. It still feels like a show you’ve seen a thousand times. There wasn’t anything terrible about it but… nothing exciting either. It’s your basic, parents trying to do their best while teenagers try to survive high school… without cell phones and computers that is… I think I need to watch a couple more episodes to have a better opinion on it.

Should you watch it? Maybe… if you are craving some mindless entertainment and/or are a huge Christopher Meloni fan.

FARGO


Premise: Small town, big crime, dead cold.

Verdict: An hour of Coen-cian “fun”

Full disclosure I have not seen the movie. I know… what a shame. However, I am aware of it and its great cast and dark-funny tone. The movie had three of my favourite actors: William H. Macy, Peter Stormare (Prison Break) and Steve Buscemi (Boardwalk Empire) [I am sure they were awesome and yes, I will watch the movie as soon as I can, I promise!]. It must have been hard to find a cast as awesome as the one from the movie but I think they absolutely did! Fargo, the TV show, has an incredible cast: Martin Freeman, Billy Bob Thornton, Colin Hanks and Bob Odendrick [Better call Saul!] among others. I’ve seen the first two episodes and I am absolutely enjoying the dry dark comedy. The tone is spot on and all the actors just nail it. Only problem was, I was SO distracted by Martin Freeman not sounding British I barely paid attention to anything he said! With all the snow and “accidental murders”, Fargo reminded me a lot of LilyHammer [which was probably influenced by the movie Fargo in the first place!]. I have to go watch the movie ASAP so I can make a better comparison. What do you think? Does the show live up to the movie?

Should you watch it? If you like edgy dark comedies this is your show. Also your show if you are a Sherlock/The Hobbit fan I guess…


ABOUT A BOY


Premise: A single guy with commitment issues befriends his kid neighbor and learns to care for someone other than himself.

Verdict: Charming but not sure how much of a future it has.
Sitcoms are not really my thing. Whenever I watch comedy I watch shows like Arrested Development and Community. Sitcom + Midseason is just a recipe for disaster according to me. Nevertheless, I vaguely remembered enjoying the Hugh Grant movie well enough so I decided to give this a try. In addition I've always liked Minnie Driver and can’t understand why David Walton hasn't had a hit show yet. I was expecting it to be a sappy show, to be honest, which it kind of is… but it has some sweet charm about it. In summary, I enjoyed it. Not the edgy type of comedy I usually like… it’s more of an old-fashion family oriented type of comedy and it is actually funny. I am not entirely sure of how many episodes I could watch before getting bored though…


Should you watch it? I guess it depends on your mood… if you want some heart-warming light entertainment it is worth to give it a shot. But don’t expect it to fulfill all your TV needs… that’s what we have HBO for. 

CRISIS


Premise: An ex-CIA analyst (Dermot Mulroney) elaborates a plan to kidnap a group of over-privileged kids for unknown purposes… He may be crazy, and he has a notebook.

Verdict: Surprisingly effective

I rarely get excited about midseason shows because they tend to get cancelled before I get a chance to watch them. I don’t even watch trailers or read much about them. For this reason I was surprised to see the top notch cast on this show including Dermot Mulroney [most shocking is the fact that he DOES NOT look hot] and Gillian Anderson. The pilot was not perfect and there were probably too many storylines they were trying to throw at us, but overall I was very interested in it. When you watch a lot of TV shows, you develop the ability to predict most plot twists. However the first episode of Crisis had me saying “I did not see that coming” and “OK, that was new and shocking” more than a few times, which is refreshing. Not ground-breaking, but much better than what we expect from a midseason show. Unfortunately, that does not mean it will get renewed.



Should you watch it? Mmmm yes…  it is one interesting hour of television. And you need something to watch on Sundays after Game of Thrones, right? 

This is where I post my thoughts on the new spring shows when I get a chance to watch them. The title should be enough warning that sometimes it takes me a long time to watch them, but eventually I get there.

BELIEVE


Premise: A little girl with special abilities must escape the FBI dude from Twin Peaks with the help of an escaped convict and the cool multiracial gang.

Verdict: This could turn out to be really great

A lot of people have been asking me about Believe on twitter and whether or not it is worth getting into. The short answer is: Yes, but I felt I needed more ‘characters’ to fully explain my views about it.

Here is one thing you need to know about me first: I watch anything J.J. Abrams is involved with. And yes, I do realize he doesn’t actually “write” the episodes as he used to in the Alias/Felicity days; however it is not only about JJ… it’s also about the people he works with. These JJ “associates” have brought us some of the best TV shows of the last decade: Lost (Lindeloff & Cuse), Fringe (Pinkner & Wyman), Once Upon a Time (Kitsis & Horowitz) and this year’s Almost Human (Wyman) and Sleepy Hollow (Kurtzman & Orci).

But enough about this, what do I think about Believe? I thoroughly enjoyed the first two episodes. I thought the plot was intriguing, it had the right amount of action, layered characters and a great cast [standouts for me: Kyle MacLachlan, Jamie Chung and Delroy Lindo]. I used the following sentence on twitter to describe it: “It is something like Fringe meets Touch, with some elements of Dark Angel and the general tone of Alias”. Hardly a bad thing. The show definitely has that “Bad Robot” influence I love, it is almost an improved version of Kiefer Sutherland’s Touch.  I really hope this goes the way I think it could go, because it has the potential to become one of my favorite shows. My only concern is they are walking too close to the “virtuous-and -moralistic-story” line. Granted, I don’t think those “moralizing” tales have taken over the show (they were only a small part of the episodes), but they were my least favorite part. I hope they focus more on the conspiracy and the Tate/Bo/Milton-gang relationships rather than “helping strangers along the way”. Leave the moralizing road trip tales to Touched by an Angel- type shows, and give us an intriguing kick ass show!

Update 05/04/2014 I am on episode 4 right now and the "touched by an angel case of the week" is NOT going away which is seriously annoying me. I think I will continue watching because I am intrigued enough by the central story but I am disappointed about them holding on to a subpar procedural structure. It could be so much more interesting if they just turned it into a serialized show, no case of the week... I still have some hope.

Should you watch it? Yes, it is a great show to watch with the family without being too “PG”


Share on Google Plus

TVEmpress

The TV Empress is a Media Management graduate, screenwriter in the making (and financial engineer in the meantime). She has serious plans to take over global television. You can follow the TVEmpress on twitter @TVRepublik

    Blogger Comment
    Facebook Comment

2 comments:

  1. As I said on twitter, I loved the first 2 episodes too. I didn't think Bo was bratty at all, it was just her character acting on impulses she doesn't even understand. I think she is a really cool kid dealing with something that makes her VERY different. What I wonder about is where they can go with the story. Is every episode just going to be them on the run from Orson (Sorry but Kyle M will always Orson from DH to me!) and having the good guys save them? It's almost like BATB in that aspect - always running from someone who's after them. But I will certainly tune in to find out!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. haha yeah OK, mb being too hard on Bo... I think they are just trying to portray her as a 'normal' realistic kid, which is good. I do think of Kyle as Orson/Agent Cooper too hehe, Maybe I can start calling him "Agent Orson" and yeah... I am going to guess it will be "people on the run" for a while then big reveal, game change, on the offensive for a while, big event, on the run again... and so on... great potential, as I said... And yep, the running part is like BatB but on the other hand is nice to have a show where the main "relationship" is not a couple. Love parent/kid dynamics when they are well-written. (Fringe being a great example of that). [Not saying BatB should get rid of the couple and make it about Catherine and her dad BTW LOL... thought I should CLARIFY that, just in case].

      Delete

Add your Comment Here