I did it! I survived the summer of reruns and, at last, there is fresh food in the TV world! (Okay, so my excitement is a little extreme, but give me the remote, and nobody gets hurt.) So far I’ve seen both new (Secret Circle, Ringer, Whitney) and old (NCIS, NCIS: LA, and How I Met Your Mother). And of course, don’t forget — SPOILER ALERT. This is your only warning.
Last week, The Secret Circle and The Ringer debuted ahead of the main pack of shows that are all debuting this week. The Ringer is one of two “identical twin” shows this season (the other one, The Lying Game, doesn’t appear to be on regular channels in my market, so have no idea how it is), and the big buzz for this one is that it is Buffy! I mean, Sarah Michelle Gellar! Returning to TV after a series of lackluster movie roles, some home time, and oh, yeah, the desire to make money kicking her ego to the TV curb. And we waited so long, why not give us twice the fun with twins? The twins she plays have been separated for the last six years. The rich powerful twin, Siobhan, hasn’t wanted to see her and moved on with her life — new hubby, lots of money, and lots of toys to play with (gadgets, houses, boats and other women’s husbands). Bridget, by contrast, is an addict who witnessed a brutal murder (she bails on testifying at his trial and instead runs away).
In Episode 1, she runs to Siobhan who takes her in, they go for a boat ride, Siobhan apparently commits suicide, and Bridget tries to take her place. Only to find that Siobhan’s hubby doesn’t like Siobhan, she’s cheating on her best friend with her husband, a step-daughter comes out of nowhere that really doesn’t like her, etc. Meanwhile, people are looking for Bridget (police, FBI, killers, etc.). Sound complicated? It is. And not terribly well done. It looks like a TV movie of the week, complete with soap opera-style “identical twins that are really different”. About 20 minutes in, I started to remember the episodes where Buffy wasn’t killing things and SMG was trying to emote. Most of the time it didn’t work, and I wasn’t that impressed here either. But here’s the weird part…I knew Siobhan wasn’t dead, I knew she was up to something, and at the end of the episode, you find out indeed she is. A few episodes in and you’ll find out she’s getting revenge too on Bridget as some kid (likely Siobhan’s son, maybe a little brother, unlikely to be Bridget’s kid) died as a result of Bridget’s behaviour (likely to be drugs or alcohol related). Siobhan will still blame Bridget, Bridget and her will eventually have tearful reunion, blah blah blah. It’s okay for a season, but where the hell will you go for season 2? Guess I’ll find out. I’ll give it a C for now, and probably try a few more episodes to see if the mystery plot picks up (I know the acting won’t).
The Secret Circle, by contrast, was pitch-perfect. Girl has to move to live with Grandma in small town (think Twilight-like) where weird things happen. Magical things. Because, oh, yeah, she’s a witch and didn’t know it. And she’s the descendant of one of six witch families in the area whose power amplifies around each other. Of course, she moves there cuz an adult witch kills her mother at the start of the episode, so you know it’s not just going to be Charmed with kids. There is definitely murder and mayhem afoot. Plus romance, with one of the other young witches, played by Thomas Dekker (previously John Connor in the Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles). I like him as an actor, and the lead actress (Britt Robertson) seems solid. I can only hope that the writers remember it is called The Secret Circle i.e. “of magic”, not the Gossip Circle 90210. Amp the magic, keep the teen romantic angst to a minimum at the start. Not everyone watching is 14. I’ll give it an A for a solid opening, with some fun little twists and turns as they introduce who the characters are (particularly the parents).
Whitney is the new sitcom starring Whitney Cummings. She’s brash, she’s biting, she can’t act her way out of a wet T-shirt contest? Okay, if you’ve read any of my previous TV posts, you know I’m pretty harsh on sitcoms. The only two I watch regularly are The Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother (sometimes only sporadically). After that, I watch the writers / pitchers die slow deaths each week — Hey, Fat People are Funny, right? (Mike and Molly) Cantankerous People? (**** my father says, anyone?) Coloured people, funny speaking people, unemployed people, people living with their families, whores, virgins, aliens from other planets? All have to be funny, right??? Umm, no. Most suck canal water. Don’t even get me started on the stupidity of shows like Corner Gas. I’d rather have root canal surgery. Daily. Now, Whitney isn’t THAT bad, and there are some REALLY funny one liners from the drunk single friend or the lovestruck married friend, but not enough to really anchor their characters. They were barely even introduced, except as single note caricatures. And then there’s the big climax scene for the episode where Whitney pores out her epiphany in fear, and then when it doesn’t happen, says “Oh, thank god.” Except, there’s no tension or excitement in the scene — so no “drop” when she’s relieved. Just all the same mono-emo for the scene. Ho hum. I’ll give it another episode, maybe it’ll pick up, and the one liners were good, but man cannot live on one liners alone. D for a rating so far.
How I Met Your Mother kicked off the season with back-to-back episodes to confirm Barney will get married at the end of the season (wife unknown), Robyn’s pining for Barney, Marshall has a new environmental law job working for Martin Short, Lily is pregnant, and we still have no idea who the Mother in the title is. Not much else going on, although the episodes were okay. Give it a C, probably only sporadic watching this season too.
NCIS: Los Angeles picked up where the last season ended — finding out all about G. Callan’s past as a young Romanian. Hety was missing, held hostage by a Romanian family, etc. We find out in the new episode that he’s the son of a family involved in a long-time family feud, Hety knew his mother, there are intrigues upon intrigues going on, etc. It’s rare that I want a procedural-based show to go back to the procedurals, but this show spent way too much time navel-gazing at Callan’s past. Show is still a solid B, and I’m in for the duration at this point.
NCIS is getting long in the tooth, but the season opener was one of the best episodes I’ve seen. I thought it would suck when it became evident that the whole episode would be slow flashbacks. But it was expertly done, and the choice of scenes almost perfect. A little weak on one part near the end, and totally unclear where Gibbs gets a certain file from, but otherwise solid. A good A for Awesome, and I’m re-hooked.
I’ll post my previous ratings below and update as we go…I’m looking forward to watching a taped version of the Castle premiere tonight!
|A||Covert Affairs||Returning||Ben Mercer plot is dormant, good to see Annie finding home roots and figuring out her life. Wicked line this past week by adulterous journalist to Joan.|
|A||Suits||New||Love the new show, with premise being brilliant Good-Will-Hunting-like student who never went to law school being hired by high-end lawyer as fake associate.|
|B||Lost Girl||Returning||I like the new politically active “Ash” but the soap opera of Bo and Dyson is thin.|
|D||Warehouse 13||Returning||Too campy for my tastes.|
|D||Franklin & Bash||New||Too much suspension of disbelief for smart-alecky rather than smart writing.|
|D||Alphas||New||Just not coming together — is it a show about mutants or a show about mutant terrorists? The characters need more backstory.|
|A||The Glades||Season completed||Nice ending, no cliffhanger, good but somewhat obvious mystery in last episode. And all ends well for Callie and Jim.|
|B||In Plain Sight||Season completed||Cliff-hanger ending (ooh, the baby is coming!) but liked the twist that the wedding didn’t happen.|
|B||Torchwood: Miracle Day||Mini-series|
|Decent storyline, but should have been a lot shorter or tighter. Ending was worth it, but took a long time to get there.|
|C||Rookie Blue||Season completed||Too much soap opera, not enough police work.|