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Saturday, 22 of July of 2017

Tag » Series Premiere

Elementary – “Pilot”

I have a confession to make.

I’m not that well-versed in Sherlock Holmes. I’ve never seen any of the “classic” productions of the detective’s tales and I’ve only read two of the stories, and that was so long ago I remember almost nothing about them. My knowledge of Holmes comes about mostly by virtue of cultural osmosis and things like The Great Mouse Detective. It was until recently – through the Sherlock Holmes films and BBC’s Sherlock, that I really became acquainted with “actual” Sherlock productions.

As such, I have no beloved impression of what Sherlock Holmes should be. I can take what I’m given as it’s presented (within reason). That being said, I did have reservations about Elementary. Some of those reservations still stand. But, for the most part, I rather enjoyed the pilot episode.

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Last Resort – “Captain”

“We didn’t ignore anything. We questioned.”

Last Resort is probably the only new drama I’ve been looking forward to this fall. I mean, sure, I’m interested in Elementary, Arrow, and 666 Park Avenue, but if those shows never happened, I wouldn’t have been too disappointed. If Last Resort hadn’t happened, I would’ve been disappointed.

Thankfully, the pilot for Last Resort instills some confidence, even as the premise can seem a little short-lived. But then again, I think we all thought the same thing about Revenge last year, and that show managed to pivot nicely from a “revenge procedural” to a sudsy primetime drama in the vein of The Vampire Diaries in its narrative burn. I don’t mean to suggest that Last Resort will go that way, but I do think there’s likely more than a season in this show (though a well-executed, single season would be perfectly cool with me, too).

But since it’s the pilot, we should take everything with a grain of salt. Adjustments get made, shows find themselves, and given all the balls in the air (or is that missiles?), Last Resort may need some time to get everything properly fleshed out. Read more »


Audition Review: Revolution – “Pilot”

Nick and I have become oddly addicted to these cross-talks (they’re less labor-intensive than full reviews), so expect more of these (but we promise to continue full reviews).

Below, we’ll discuss Revolution in terms of hopes, dreams, stupid teenagers, and why Giancarlo Esposito basically does no wrong. We’re both hopeful for it, and want it do well, but the pilot doesn’t instill confidence. -NK Read more »


Political Animals – “Pilot”

[In Russian] “I will f— your shit up.”

After Dallas squandered my interest by becoming oh-so-very boring (the worst possible thing that can happen to any show, but I feel it’s especially deadly to soapy series), I was pleased that Political Animals stepped up and said, “Oh, you’re unhappy with the other guy? Well, why not vote for us?”

Cast of Political Animals

Who are the Ewings…?

Happily, I will strain this political metaphor to a breaking point: Political Animals isn’t as pitch-perfect as I was hoping, but I’m not disillusioned, and nor do I think it’s an empty suit. It’s not the Tim Pawlenty of my summer TV season (that would probably be  Perception), but if I could liken it to any candidate in recent memory, it’s likely Howard Dean. It’s big, loud, charming, prone to mistakes but not backing off from them, and is likely not to get very far (ratings weren’t great).

But I don’t care, because I really like it.  Read more »


The Newsroom – “We Just Decided To”

“Seriously, though. I have a blog?”

Mackenzie gives hints to Will on what to say next.

It’s not the greatest show in the world —

I’m sure this will all sound glib. But that might be fitting for the subject.

Aaron Sorkin brings another series showcasing the wild, emotional chaos happening beneath a shiny veneer we as a public consume, ripping the facade off something polished and well-oiled to show all the moving parts that makes everything tick, especially if those moving parts are near clinical in self-importance and neuroses. If The Newsroom doesn’t work out, maybe Sorkin will pitch a series about how sausage is made with the most pedantic and fervent meat-handlers Johnsonville has ever put to work.

But he wouldn’t do a show about sausage workers. The shows he wants to do are about higher, shinier offices that have direct and immediate sway over a large swaths of the public. The shows he brings to series all seem to be ones that focus on vanted elements of our society, humanizing the faces and talking heads we tend to detach from the rest of us in order to get over the fact that they rose from our depths. It’s heady stuff.

But does anyone else get the feeling Sorkin churns out shows because he’s still dealing with his disappointment in Sports Night?
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Dallas – “Changing of the Guard” & “Hedging Your Bets”

“Don’t believe me, do you?”
“Excuse me, brother, but no, I don’t.”

Dallas 2012 title cardI’ve never seen a single episode of the original Dallas. I was only six years old when it ended it’s 14 season run in 1991 (plus various TV movies and reunion specials), and the series was never really on my syndication radar (I don’t think I’ve ever seen it in syndication, though it has been syndicated in limited capacities). I’m familiar with it, then, only in reading TV histories, clips of the series in “TV’s best [whatever]…”, and pop culture parody and homage.

Which doesn’t exactly make me the best person to talk about the show since TNT’s Dallas is more of a continuation than a reimagining or reboot of the original series. But that doesn’t mean I don’t recognize its influences. Dallas popularized the use of the season-ending cliffhanger after the “Who shot J.R.?” season finale, and as we’re all aware now, the cliffhanger is pretty much way to end lots of shows, even sitcoms sometimes, these days (his likely explains, by the way, the show’s lack of syndicated presence following its conclusion).

As a result, I’m more likely to discuss ways in which this new Dallas feels a lot like other shows that are, in turn, likely indebted to the original Dallas. If anything, this version of Dallas perhaps represents the final segment of a snake eating itself. Read more »


Bunheads – “Pilot”

“As long as my face doesn’t look like Chris Hansen, your guests will be fine.”

BunheadsSo as you may or may not be aware, Nick and I are huge fans of Gilmore Girls. We find nothing embarrassing about this because Gilmore Girls is a damn fine show. Stop judging us. YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND OUR LOVE.

Anyway.

We were both understandably intrigued by Bunheads when it started circulating given our Amy Sherman-Palladino love (and it didn’t look like Jezebel James, which was a plus). So we both watched it and then discussed it in a small chat session, hence the more conversational tone.  –Noel Read more »


Girls – “Pilot”

“Then I am busy. Trying to become who I am.”

GirlsTitleCard

Nick was fully prepared to do a post about Girls. Noel was going to do a post about Girls for a Facebook group a number of academics on Twitter started (wait, why is it on Facebook then?). They decided to pool their thoughts into this conversation about Girls. So, yes, two guys are now going to discuss Girls. What could possibly go wrong with this arrangement?

(We wanted to ask Karen or Kelly to join us, but our hands were tied and it just wasn’t possible. If we get a second season, we definitely want to include one of them. Maybe both if the aforementioned hand-tier is cool with it. But it may have to wait until season 3.) Read more »


The Legend of Korra – “Welcome to Republic City” & “A Leaf in the Wind”

“This girl is crazy.”

KorraTitleCardI caught up on Avatar: The Last Airbender in a matter of weeks before the series finale. I had caught Toph’s first episode randomly a year or so before, was interested, but never pursued the show until I heard it was ending. I was working at a Blockbuster at the time and used my free rentals to watch the show in 4 episode chunks.

It was a  great experience, though sadly one I wasn’t able to share with people (no Twitter or TV blog at the time). So when folks I follow on Twitter asked for shows to catch up on, I pointed them to Avatar (depending on if they were willing to watch not only animation, but an animated show that was aimed at children). It’s a rich show with strong characters, gorgeous animation, and excellent writing that balances comedy and pathos in equal measure. It’s a show that anyone can watch and enjoy.

So, needless to say, a follow-up series to that show was pretty much the best news possible for me and a lot of other people. As news about the series started to leak out, particularly the first trailer, questions arose about what the show would be as it introduced things like cars, radios, electricity, and more blimps/airships. What role does this technology play in a world with bending? How does it affect the tone of a series that previously used technology sparingly (or in conjunction with bending)?

And those are just questions of setting. What about the characters? What’s Korra like? Who are the supporting characters? Who’s the villain (though, as we know, that’s can be a complicated question for this series)? Was it worth the wait?

The short answer, so far anyway, is an enthusiastic yes.

Read more »


Don’t Trust the B— in Apt 23 – “Pilot” & “Daddy’s Girl…”

“I was arm wrestling Kevin Sorbo in a Canadian production of…”

Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23Don’t Trust the B—- in Apt 23 is a painfully misleading title that really only applies to the pilot episode and is pretty much meaningless by the end of the second episode. This isn’t a criticism precisely, as lots of shows grow away from their premise, but the show’s title, like Cougar Town before it, will probably become a barrier in getting an audience to come to it.

And an audience should seek out Apt. 23. It’s not an absurdly funny show, but I find it rather likable, with a strong central performance from Krysten Ritter (who, I admit, I’ve always liked as a performer). It certainly isn’t going to light the sitcom world on fire, and there are little problems with it, but there’s enough in these first two episodes for a show to grow into something very pleasing. Read more »