Sunday, April 13, 2014

TV Series I've Been Watching, part 18

Time for another TV series watch list. Let's see what has changed in the last four months!



  • The Good Wife - This is a show that I watch with my wife, so I had to wait for her to watch it with me, but, after a short break, The Good Wife is back again. Pardon the pun, couldn't help myself. Towards the end of the season we see a very important character die off. I don't want to spoil it, but it is interesting to see how it will continue from here.
  • The Walking Dead - The new formula of the show is that, after running from the other group of humans and a lot of zombies, the group has split. So each episode we see what stupid people do when they are all alone. Well, stupid things, of course. They did go for the shock value with one of the characters going all psychotic and killing another, but it is still stupid. How can they maintain the idea of the zombie threat, when they are just slow, moaning corpses, that walk in small groups? What happened with the migrating hordes? The end of the season finds everyone reunited, but facing another threat.
  • Arrow - Manu Bennet's character comes to the foreground, as well as a lot of others, that are less interesting. I really like Manu Bennet, but his character lacks consistency.
  • Elementary - After defeating Moriarty and making a complete ass out of inspector Lestrade and after they showed the human side of Sherlock, it's kind of hard to distinguish Elementary from all the other police procedurals out there. They are trying to let Lucy Liu's character get more of the spotlight, which goes to further erode the mythos that makes Sherlock... well, Sherlock! A mysterious story arch regarding his brother seems to be looming, too, which probably means that when we will see Sherlock's dad appear, we will know the show is close to an end.
  • The Tomorrow People (2013) - after a direct confrontation between the main character and his evil uncle, right after finding out his mother also has superpowers, we get to see The Founder in a different light, only for him to suddenly assert control and play the nice guy. A lot of melodrama in this show about people with superpowers who can't seem to be able to leave their country and live happily in a tropical island somewhere.
  • The Originals - Out of boredom I continue to watch this on fast forward. Petty feudal schemes and plots, brotherly love and infighting, a lot of posturing. Each episode has about 5 minutes of interesting material, if you discount the beautiful girls, and that is what I am watching.
  • Marvel's agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - They finally find the secret of agent Coulson's survival and start a new arch of searching for the origin of the alien corpse with magical blood. Meanwhile, they save Sky by using the same procedure. I can't wait for her to turn blue or something. The Hydra enters the equation and we find the identity of The Clairvoyant, while a member of the team is suddenly revealed to be a sleeper agent.
  • Killer Women - Last blog entry I wrote about this suggested the show would quickly be cancelled, because Hollywood doesn't know how to make non pornographic shows around female characters. I also think the public (especially in the US) doesn't really like women in positions of power in their fantasies. I was right. The show is gone.
  • Ripper Street - The show might still have a chance. According to news, the series might be continued on Amazon.
  • Sherlock - I don't really know what this show is about anymore. Sherlock is unhinged, probably psychotic, his friend has some real issues being friends with this guy and Sherlock's brother is probably the worse of them all, including Moriarty. Who, BTW, didn't die either.
  • Babylon - A new British series, codirected and produced by Danny Boyle, about a woman PR person trying to direct and improve communication from the police department to the public. The premise is not that great, but I really like the main actress, Brit Marling, and the show could become a lot more.
  • Banshee - A new season with a lot of people dying. Lots! The show continues to keep one viscerally on the edge, even if what happens doesn't make a lot of sense. It's like the Smells Like Teen Spirit of TV shows. I love it, I just don't know why. Funny enough, my father, the man who is always making fun of my choice of entertainment, also likes it!
  • Bitten - The incredibly beautiful Laura Vandervoort is a werewolf. Unfortunately, she is not the only one. She is part of a pack of pompous asses who are being harassed by a pack of psychopath werewolves. I mean that literally: someone turns psychopaths into werewolves in order to exact their revenge on said pack. The series is incredibly boring. Not even Laura's naked shots can't save this show. Wooden acting, bad premise, inconsistencies at every step. Ugh!
  • Black Sails - It's pirate season! A show about pirates that has some very interesting characters and some cool ideas, not with cliched drunkards spouting "Arghh" every sentence. Unfortunately it really drags on. It might pick up the pace soon, though. Without the need for additional artificial drama, hopefully.
  • Dilbert - I watched the Dilbert animated cartoons until I couldn't anymore. Some episodes are really funny, but I don't think the show makes justice to the comic strip. But if you are an engineer in some corporation, it should be very therapeutic :)
  • Fat Tony and Co - An Australian drama about a real drug lord that the police tried to catch. It is kind of boring, though. The guy is just a businessman who happens to deal in drugs. Other than that he is a normal bloke. His family and mates are the same. The police people are normal people, too. It kind of makes them all alike and their conflict meaningless.
  • Flemming, the Man Who Would Be Bond - A four episode British miniseries about the life of Ian Flemming, the writer of the James Bond books. Charismatic characters and a good show. You should see it, especially if you liked the James Bond books and/or movies.
  • From Dusk Till Dawn - Yes! The series version of the film with the same name has finally come to life. A vampiric cult of people believing in strange gods, bank robbers on the run, a disillusioned priest on a journey of rediscovery with his annoying adolescent kids, an angry ranger set on revenge, there are a lot of interesting characters. The story, though, kind of drags on, with no relief in sight. This might have worked for a movie, but for a series, you have to give something in every episode, you can't just finalize every story arch at the end of a season
  • Helix - Oh, man! How can you make a show about viral outbreaks in an Antarctic station and mess it up so completely?! To borrow a page from the Romanian comic Pidjin, I think SyFy are hard at work making science-fiction fiction. I can't think of anything good about this show, except the Japanese actor, Hiroyuki Sanada, who is always good, but who I think made a horrible career move agreeing to play in this shit.
  • Hinterland - Welsh police procedural. Dark, centered around small communities and their secrets. A kind of desolate cross between Midsommer Murders and Broadchurch. I like it.
  • House of Cards - Season 2 is out. Haven't watched it yet, as this is also a show that I watch with my wife, but I can't imagine Kevin Spacey messing up.
  • Intelligence - Another US government agency is saving the world. This time is Cyber Command. They implanted a chip in the head of the only guy from Lost who wasn't too annoying and now he can hack things instantly, connect to databases, etc., while also keeping his Special Forces skills and macho charm. I like the show, even if it is kind of stupid, mostly because of the charisma of the main actor, Josh Holloway, and that of John Billingsley, who plays the scientist. The condescending bitch that is the partner and protector of the headchip guy, a good looking girl who acts like a log, is subtracting points out of it all, no matter how tight her pants are.
  • Looking - A show about gay men who was touted as being not stereotypical and actually showing real gay life. I watched the first episode and, if that is real gay life then it is really... errr.. gay! As in boring. Imagine trying to be interested in Sex in the City starring hairy men. Ugh! Also, it looked really filled with gay clichees to me. But maybe I just don't know what I am talking about. I didn't like the show at all.
  • Ressurection - Remember when I recommended you a nice French series about dead people suddenly appearing live and well in their hometown? The Americans cloned Les Revenants into their own version. The script is not exactly the same, though, it's a real adaptation. All I can say is that what made me feel curious and connected to the characters in Les Revenants is missing in Ressurection. And why did they have to center it all around an FBI agent? Not enough cop shows? It may be too early to tell if the show is going to get better or not, so I will keep the watch.
  • Star Crossed - Oooh, another sci-fi show! This one is about an alien race that crashlands on Earth and we decide to keep them all in a concentration camp while haters roam free and try to kill them. Then an integration program is born, where Atrian teenagers are accepted into a human high school. Then it turns into a sort of Twilight meets Defiance via the Black liberation movement. It's not horrible, but it is certainly bad.
  • The 100 - Yet another sci-fi show about adolescents. But this one started nice enough. People live in a giant space station because they nuked the Earth. The series starts with 100 teenager death row convicts sent to the planet to ascertain if it is survivable. Lord of the Flies meets Elysium, maybe? The first episodes are intriguing, even if they already showed crass leaps in logic. I hope this one will be good, although I remember hoping the same about Lost and look how it turned out.
  • The After - And another sci-fi. Or so I thought. Something bad happens and some people get trapped in a building parking. They manage to escape and reach the house of one of them. Then it gets freaky when they realize they are all born on the seven of March and meet a demon like creature with a tatooed body that encompasses the individual tattoos of all of the people in the group. Also the prostitute said something about the book of Revelations, so I think it is actually a bad religious apocalypse show. Let's see where it goes.
  • The Assets - I first thought it was an alternative to The Americans, a show about the CIA agent Aldrich Ames, who willingly became a double agent for the KGB. The show was nice, no special effects, no artificial drama, but from the beginning it didn't seem like the TV network wanted the show to begin with. After just two episodes they cancelled it. I can't say I loved it, but it was certainly better than a lot of crap that keeps sticking to the TV screens these days.
  • The Americans - The second season had begun. I like the show a lot. Both main characters are fantastic in their roles and make it all believable. Their annoying daughter started to suspect things and someone just killed some undercover KGB agents and no one knows who. Keri Russell does a very good job jumping from Felicity to KGB agent, while Matthew Rhys comes out very well as a chameleon capable of impersonating just about anyone.
  • The Musketeers - You can't have pirates and not have musketeers. Loosely based on the Dumas books, this is a show about D'Artagnan being the coolest guy that ever lived and everybody taking an interest in him. Peter Capaldi is cardinal Richelieu. Strange choice, considering he is also Doctor Who, but very befitting the role. The show is not bad, but it feels so incredibly fake. I hope it will get better soon.
  • The Red Road - Jason Momoa plays in this as a bad ass native American who blackmails a cop in order to maintain his drug running operation. He plays well the role, looking all angry and violent and remorseless, but the movie subject is terribly boring. It feels like the type of show that gets cancelled and I personally have decided not to watch it anymore.
  • True Detective - An HBO project that features Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey as cops in a God forsaken region of the US where religious fanatics and child rapists (sometimes the same person) roam free. Complex characters, eight episode seasons, very good acting and an interesting story make this one of the best shows around. It's not all rosy, though. In the first season more than three quarters was suspense and exposition. You always feel something will be going on, but it takes entire episodes before something does. It will be interesting to see if they continue with other seasons and, if they do, will they retain the same actors. The story arch has pretty much ended with the last episode of the first season.
  • Vikings - Season 2 has begun. Political intrigue, a new wife, backstabbing and a king of Britain who doesn't run with his tail between his legs at the sight of vikings. This season certainly keeps things interesting.
  • Suits - The series has never been about the law, not really, but about ritual. It was fun for a while, but every ritual, no matter how bizarre or exaggerated for dramatic purposes, can maintain outside interest only for so long. And the few law related references that made it interesting to me now are almost gone, together with the cowboyish feel of the show that made it seem less serious and more fun. Perhaps because all male characters in the series got hitched and their wings properly clipped off.
  • Continuum - Weird new direction of the third season of the series, with collapsing timelines, people meeting themselves and "the freelancers" being a cult like do gooder agency that protects time. I don't know yet if I like it, but it feels more confusing and less fun and sci-fi.
  • Crisis - A bunch of rich kids, including the son of the US president, are taken hostage by a shadowy mastermind who has thought of all possible outcomes before long before the actual execution and then uses the parents to achieve his goals, including more kidnapping of kids, I guess. Then there is this ex-cop Secret Service rookie black man who is set on finding the kids. So it's a kind of Die Hard, if you think about it. However the shadowy mastermind seems to have some moral agenda, revealing the evils of CIA, while the poor investigative agents are torn between their duty, their sympathy for the kids and their parents and the incredible stupid decisions people take in the name of their kids. I know Americans have this cult of parenthood and the need to do anything for your children, but too much is too much!
  • Da Vinci's Demons - The Pazzi's are trying to wrestle control of Florence from the Medici's, with Rome's involvement. That leads to some deaths, rearranging of loyalties and now both Da Vinci and Reario are heading towards the Americas on different ships, using a map of the location, only 40 years before Columbus blindly went to find the continent and with the help of none other than Amerigo Vespucci, who wasn't born yet. Nor was Da Vinci's friend, Nicolo Machiavelli, for that matter. Confusing? Only if you try to align the series with history.
  • Turn - This is a show about the first American spy ring, during the Revolutionary War. The first episode was rather slow, but it needed to set up the story and it showed good production values. Due to the actual nationality of the first Americans, most of the actors are British or Scottish, even if it is an AMC series. British acting with American money sounds good to me.
  • The Crimson Field - A six episode British miniseries about nurses in the war. The main action happens in a field hospital where four new volunteer nurses came to help out. It seems pretty decent and I already eagerly await the second episode.
  • Silicon Valley - An American sitcom about Silicon Valley, created by Mike Judge. Six programmers live in the same house when one of them invents an ingenious algorithm. Being an HBO series, with only eight episodes in the first season and created by Judge, I have high expectations from it.

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