2013 Fall Television – Revisited

A few weeks back, I wrote a way-too-long-blog-post about the Fall television shows I was into, both new stuff and returning. Feel like now is a good time to revisit those particular programs, since we’re getting on towards Thanksgiving and there will be a whole new crop of television shows come the spring.

NEW SHOWS

Almost Human (Premieres Nov. 17)
Almost Human’s television premiere was delayed by two weeks so Fox could better roll out the show. Still on my list; looking forward its bow next weekend.

The Crazy Ones (Premiered Sept. 26)
What I wrote then:
“Here’s a formula for a comedy: hire Robin Williams, and basically let him riff for 30 minutes. Give him a veteran television actor to play straight man and daughter (Sarah Michelle Gellar, a.k.a. “Buffy”) and situation that allows for a lot of guest stars (man at an ad agency).”

What I think now:
I am very surprised at how strong the supporting cast is; both James Wolk (Zach) and Hamish Linklater (Andrew) can hold their own with Robin Williams’ riffing style of comedy, and Sarah Michelle Gellar has really found herself as the straight man of the series. Though the show’s strength is Williams and his randomness, it does need to take care to keep it to a minimum – too much, and the television show starts to feel sloppy. 3/4 stars.

Hostages (Premiered Sept. 23)
What I wrote then:
“The second of CBS’ new wave serial programs, Hostages is a high-concept plot surrounding an attempted assassination of the President of the United States by a doctor who is treating him. The doctor’s family is held hostage while this happens to ensure her compliance. This is just the pilot, and sounds more like a movie than a series. I’m intrigued enough to watch, but not sure where this goes.”

What I think now:
This, unfortunately, is a silly television show, with fully unbelievable plot-twists, way too much drama for a single family (even before they were taken hostage) and not enough movement in the primary plot line. It’s likely not to get past Episode 13, so I’m sticking with it for a few more, because I’m curious to see where they’re trying to get to. Right now, though, it feels like the episodes are filler. 2/4 stars.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Premiered Sept. 24)
What I wrote then:
“Basically, if you like The Avengers and Iron Man, you’ll probably be down with this show. Developed and overseen by the writer/director of The Avengers (and its upcoming 2015 sequel), Joss Whedon, this show covers the less high-profile cases of S.H.I.E.L.D. (which is really annoying to type, btw). Whedon, as some of you know (but, judging by their track records, most of your don’t), was the mastermind behind shows like Firefly, Dollhouse and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. So look for that typical Whedon witty dialogue and humor and Marvel’s action.”

What I think now:
Despite strong ratings, the show had a bit of a rocky start. The pilot packed two hours worth of story into one, which gave the show a disjointed feel to start with. The next few episodes seem to have a hard time finding the right balance, and it seems like the cast hasn’t found a strong chemistry yet. However, the show is getting progressively better, and a tie-in from Thor: The Dark World couldn’t hurt. 2.5/4 stars.

The Michael J. Fox Show (Premiered Sept. 26)
What I wrote then:
“Michael J. Fox has Parkinson’s; we all pretty much knew that. He had to retire from every day acting 12 years ago because of the affliction. But recent guest stints on other shows have convinced him to return to acting full-time in his new comedy – about a guy with Parkinson’s going back to work full-time. The preview looks like typical Fox: good-hearted humor. Certainly worth supporting.”

What I think now:
I was sad to do it, but I stopped watching 10 minutes in. I wanted to like the show, but the jokes fell flat and it just didn’t hold my attention. I sincerely hope it makes it though – I have a hard time with sitcoms, in general. Incomplete grade.

Sleepy Hollow (Premiered Sept. 16)
What I wrote then:
“This show was developed and produced by two of my screenwriting heroes Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman (Star Trek, Fringe and more), so that alone would get me to watch. But the trailer is intriguing (even if the premise sounds strange). Basically, Ichabod Crane somehow winds up in Sleepy Hollow in the 21st century, and is working with police to solve strange occurrences. Chief among them: the appearance of a headless horseman – who may or may not be one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse.”

What I think now:
I really wanted to like this show. The American revolution, the four horsemen, the end of the world – usually stuff I’m into. But the procedural nature turned me off – the “weird shit of the week” grated on me after a few episodes. Also, its tone was an issue – its subject matter was dark, but it never felt that way when watching it. Finally, Tom Mison was terrific as Crane, but the rest of the cast never seemed to settle in. 2/4 stars.

RETURNING SHOWS

Hawaii Five-0 (Premiered Sept. 27)
It’s pretty much the same as it always was, and I’m sticking with it (watching it right now actually). The “fan built” episode concept is annoying me, though.

Homeland (Premiered Sept. 29)
Love where they’ve gone this season. Wish there was a way to work in more Brody, but hope we’ll see more in the coming weeks.

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (Premiered Sept. 4)
Season just ended this week, and it was better than it was in years. Still feel like they’re holding back just a bit though from where they were earlier on.

The League (Premiered Sept. 4)
It has its moments, but not as many as it had in Seasons 1-3.

The Middle (Premiered Sept. 25)
Still great, even in Season 5.

Modern Family (Premiered Sept. 25)
Gave this one up; just didn’t enjoy it anymore.

Nashville (Premiered Sept. 25)
The music, if anything, is better this year. The stories are soapier, but not overly so. Can’t afford too much more foam, though.

Once Upon a Time (Premiered Sept. 29)
Said goodbye after the Season Premiere. Some of the performers are among my personal favorites, but the story didn’t hold my interest.

Parenthood (Premiered Sept. 26)
As good as ever, the chemistry among the cast is still the best on television. I know NBC is moving in another direction, and the ratings aren’t stellar, so hopefully if it won’t be renewed, the Peacock will allow it proper time to say goodbye.

Parks and Recreation (Premiered Sept. 26)
A bit more hit and miss than it used to be, and was forced into hiatus before it was scheduled to be. Yeah…this won’t make it past this year.

Person of Interest (Premiered Sept. 24)
Really wish Person of Interest would break out of its procedural mode; feel frustrated by the lack of attention to the on-going storylines, which are way more interesting than the week to week.

Revolution (Premiered Sept. 25)
I predicted Revolution could really take off this year, and it has met expectations and more. Darker and deeper than it was when it bowed in 2012, Revolution has fully hit its stride, finding a great balance between its constantly conflicted characters and a new bad guy this fall.

Sons of Anarchy (Premiered Sept. 10)
Probably the only show on television that goes at least 75 and usually 90 minutes, but the stories are worth it. Getting grimier than more brutal as it prepares to turn the last corner and head for the finish line in 2014.

The Walking Dead (Premiered Oct. 13)
The Walking Dead was always at its best when it focused on the cost of living in the post-apocalyptic zombieland, and it’s gotten back to its roots in Season 4.