So, as I take a slight brain break between phases of my work-in-progress, I’ve been watching brand new TV shows and asking myself why I’ve stuck with some slightly less new shows through their freshmen seasons. Okay, so not a brain break, really, but what can I say? I’m a writer. We never stop thinking about stories in some form or fashion.
First up, the brand new shows:
Almost Human – This is one of Fox’s new(er) dramas. It started back in November. I went into the show with a lot of mixed emotions, especially since it displaced Bones, a perennial favorite of mine. But given that Karl Urban was in it, my inner-romance writer couldn’t say no (What, he’s smokin’).
Maybe it was the timing with the show starting just as I started to read J.D. Robb’s “In Death” series, but I’m really starting to dig this futuristic cop drama. The premise is a little overdone–scarred but heroic cop teams up with new partner that messes with his world order–, but the interesting take on cyborgs and the impact the evolution of technology will have on society as a whole make up for the dated set up. Minka Kelly is a little annoying as the love interest for the hero, but I’m hopeful that her character will have the chance to demonstrate some backbone.
Intelligence – CBS’s new drama that started just this week (so it’s not hard to catch up on) is surprisingly intriguing. Again, the set up is a little overdone– off-beat, but devastatingly handsome hero in the midst of a search for his missing wife is paired with attractive, hardcore, no-nonsense beauty. I know, I know, there are only 13 original storylines in the world or something like that, but a little variety would be nice.
Luckily, the meat around the frame is different enough to stick. Josh Holloway’s character has had a computer chip implanted his head that lets him access any sort of electronic data. Meghan Ory is a Secret Service Agent who kicks some serious ass and has some shadows about her that I think will give things a little variety. I’m looking to see if she can carry a show as the lead. I loved her as Ruby in Once Upon A Time (and part of me wants to see her back on that show), but I think with an episode or two she can develop into a leading lady with potential.
Killer Women – As a writer, it makes me really happy to see ABC looking towards scripted mini-series a la the Brits rather than bringing in silly reality shows to fill time when their full length tv series are on hiatus. This show about one of the only female Texas Rangers looks like it will be fun if you like crime dramas led by strong, sassy females. The unique settings are a nice change of pace.
My hope for this is that they take the time to grow the main character, Molly Parker, to have some dimensions. Right now, she fits into the mold forged by Kiera Sedgewick and Glenn Close in their crime dramas. They showed glimmers of making her a little different at the end of the episode (who would have thought to have her play a trumpet?), but I’m waiting to see what they can do in the remaining seven episodes.
Now for the less new-new shows (no, it’s not like New New York):
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – I’ve gotten a lot of flack for sticking with this show, but my love of comic book worlds and anything created by Joss Whedon and his cohorts. It is getting a slow start, but unlike other comic book shows like Arrow and Smallville, SHIELD hasn’t had the same canonical source material to help drive the plot and pull fans in. Now that the second half of the season has started, I see them starting to take steps towards the potential that started to pick through in earlier episodes. The character stereotypes are beginning to be tested in true Whendon-esque fashion. While they’re not Buffy, Xander, and Willow, the main team has a dynamic that keeps me coming back and Clark Gregg’s quiet charm as Phil Coulson thoroughly justifies the hype that led up to the show.
Once Upon A Time in Wonderland – In all honesty, I don’t know why I’ve stuck with this show. I think the writer in me is intrigued by the twisting of well-known stories and characters into a cohesive storyline that continues to surprise me. The same goes for its parent show. Alice being a badass is kind of awesome, and I really like the Knave of Hearts. None of the characters are one dimensional (except maybe Cyrus, but I think he’ll grow now that he’s not in a cage). Everyone, even the characters you think of as “all bad” like Jafar have different sides of shadow and light that make the story compelling. It’s a testament to character and innovation trumping the formulaic every time.
Downton Abbey – Wait, you say, Downton Abbey isn’t a new show. Well, no, not in the sense of seasons aired. BUT, as devastating as last season was, it essentially gave Julian Fellowes a chance to reboot the show. We’re comfortable with the characters, but it’s like starting a new book in a familiar saga. The balance has changed.
Branson is now the young male lead and having to take on a lot of the roles that come with being the son of the house, while still being in the limbo-land of him being the former chauffeur. Mary is starting over with the knowledge that the role she prepared herself for all her life is hers and yet not. Both are dealing with being single parents. Robert, Cora, Violet, and Isobel are all searching to fill the voids left by lost loved ones, while also being thrust forward into the Roaring Twenties by newcomer Rose. Even Edith is somewhat likable this year. The only part of the season premiere I didn’t like was the new ladies’ maid. My response: really, Julian Fellowes? Really?
What about you? What shows are you loving this year? I’m sure I’ve missed some that I’m keeping up with but there are far too many.