The week of premieres continued last week, although I got a bit behind fast in my TV watching with life interfering. I did however manage to watch Castle, Hawaii Five-O, Unforgettable, Revenge, Law and Order: SVU, Big Bang Theory, Charlie’s Angels, Person of Interest, The Mentalist, and Nikita. 😆 Plus another new show, a surprise one.
But as you read on, don’t forget — SPOILER ALERT. This is your upfront warning.
Castle ended last season with a bang — literally. The conspirators behind killing Kate’s mother years earlier came back with a vengeance, killed off Captain Roy Montgomery, and shot Kate at the very end. You find out in the premiere that Kate survived, didn’t want to see Castle and didn’t for three months (she said she’d call, and she didn’t — sound familiar? of course, same deal last year with shoe on other foot), broke up with her boyfriend (except she’s wearing an engagement ring on a chain so you know there’s more to that story), and wants to get back in the saddle chasing the killers. However, a new by-the-book Captain named Yates (oops, Gates — she was Cassidy Yates on Star Trek: DS9 a few years ago) is going to micro-manage every detail. Including assigning her other cases cuz her shooting went cold. You also find out that the mysterious package of files that Montgomery mailed at the end of the season actually went to no one anyone knew — someone completely new who owed Montgomery in the past. So, he’s keeping the files and reached out to Castle to tell him the deal is that Kate remains safe as long as she doesn’t investigate. Which Castle sort of convinces her to do. Which also means, ta da, back to life as a normal procedural. Kind of unfortunate. The only real “twist” was you realize that Kate’s claim that she doesn’t remember “anything” from the day of the shooting was a lie — she remembers everything. Including Castle telling her he loves her. Now, I’m hardly clairvoyant, and even I saw she was lying at the start of the episode. Overall, the episode was confused, unsatisfying, and went nowhere. Loved it anyway! 🙄 I’ll keep it on my A list.
Hawaii Five-O also ended their last season with a bang — the shooting death of the Governor. With McGarrett framed for the murder and arrested. They brought Terry O’Quinn back to Hawaii (sorry, I wasn’t a Lost fanatic) and he is a decent addition to the group so far — he plays McGarrett’s ex-mentor and someone who knew his father. We get a bit more info about McGarrett Sr’s investigation, and of course, we clear McGarett and put the team back together. Richard T. Jones joins the cast as the new Lieutenant Governor, and I used to enjoy it when he was on Terminator, so I hope they give him something to do here. Episode was choppy, too much going on simultaneously, some weird stuff with Danny and his ex-wife. But the only truly game-changing part was the last 30 seconds — big spoiler alert, I suppose, is warranted — when you find out that the CIA analyst who’s helping them is actually a mole for Wo Fat. Whoa! Give it a B overall.
I admit I am extremely pleasantly surprised by Unforgettable. The premise was attractive — ex-cop who has a perfect memory of everything, except the day her sister was killed. Very much like the Mentalist or Lie to Me, maybe even L&O: Criminal Intent — the quirky outsider who brings an unique point of view and skill to criminal investigation. But I was really hesitant because it stars Poppy Montgomery, who was often a good reason NOT to watch the show Without A Trace. Any episode where she starred in the ensemble was usually painful, regardless of the premise. But, I may have misjudged her. I liked her in the pilot, and will give it a go. Not quite sure how it will work in the future though — the pilot was for a crime she more or less witnessed. Won’t be the case for fresh investigations, and I don’t see where it goes after season 1 … presumably you’ll need to see some resolution on the sister’s murder, at least someone caught for it. But I’ll give it a B for now and see if it even makes it that far.
Revenge debuted last week too. Premise is somewhat straightforward, although it didn’t seem as clear in the promo ads. Basic line is that her father was convicted of some massive company fraud, but he was framed by a bunch of rich people who summer at the beach. Fast forward 10 years-ish, and she’s now a young eligible and rich little lady (compliments of her dad’s investment in a huge computer company before he went and died in prison), and she wants revenge on all of them. Emily Van Camp stars as the lead, and is pretty solid. My wife used to watch Brothers and Sisters where she played Rebecca, and she seemed okay in the few scenes I saw here and there. I never watched Everwood but she was apparently good in that too. My big hesitation on this show is actually Madeleine Stowe as Victoria, queen of the group. I didn’t like her in The General’s Daughter, Twelve Monkeys, or Stakeout. And yet she wasn’t quite the same here — more polished, more formal, more reserved. And it relatively worked. Not great, but good. But there’s an inherent problem in the series — the premiere showed how the season ends (with the death of a character), and then flashes back 5 months. Seriously? You show me that’s how it ends? Could have been a twist and it goes awry at the beginning? Could have been faked, hard to say. I’ll give it a B for now and see if it makes it that far.
Law and Order: Special Victim’s Unit is one of those shows, like all the CSIs, that tend to run together for me. I know the Emmies love Mariska Hargitay’s portrayal of Olivia Benson, a daughter born out of rape, but I am not overly excited when she has her emo moments. I like her, but I don’t love her. What I do like is that the writing often introduces more twists and turns, and unlike the other L&O franchises, you have extra cops to carry the investigation load. Last season, though, I hardly watched any of the procedurals regularly, and maybe a handful of SVU episodes at best. But the new season promised change — Stabler has retired, Olivia’s supposed to make Captain (not sure what that means for Kragen), and there’s a new female detective played by Kelli Giddish. I absolutely hated her in the show Chase, but couldn’t decide at the time if it was just her as an actress or her + her character. I only saw her briefly in the SVU premiere, which was modeled on the DSK rape case in NYC, but she seemed watchable so maybe I just didn’t like her previous character. Assuming Olivia becomes Captain, curious to see who Giddish gets as a partner. C for change, I guess.
Those who have read some of my TV posts before know that while I don’t particularly jump on board for sitcoms, I watch The Big Bang Theory religiously. I really enjoy it, partly for the smart talk by the characters who aren’t focused on gossip all the time and actually seem to have productive lives rather than turning into boozefests every day, and partly just to watch Sheldon’s character figure out social mores. It’s kind of like watching Data from Star Trek in a comedy. They rebooted the show at the end of last season, and it was hard to tell if it was a “jump the shark” moment or what it was — Penny apparently slept with Raj and everybody knew. So new season, Penny’s really embarrassed, thinks she’s destroyed her life enough, plans on moving back to Nebraska. Which will devastate Raj cuz he thinks he’s found true love. Big spoiler alert again — they didn’t really do it. Cuz Raj lost his mojo before they started. But they’re saving that news for a drunken revelation to Leonard sometime in the future, probably. Episode was okay, nothing special. But show remains in my A list.
Charlie’s Angels was on Thursday, and I watched it on the weekend. I rarely feel embarrassed by camp shows, I’ll admit to watching just about anything. But this was just plain bad. If you wanted a complete throw-back to the original series, this would be it…same feel, same female worship of the guy on the phone, etc. They even kill off one character to replace her with another in the opening, something vaguely reminiscent of the way Jill Monroe aka Cheryl Ladd was introduced to replace Farrah Fawcett. But here’s the thing — it was watchable for the 1980s, but almost unwatchable now. Sure, they updated the technology, and gave us a kick-ass Bosley. But the rest stayed the same. Yawn. Give it an F, and thanks for freeing up my Thursdays at 8.
Person of Interest also premiered Thursday and I think this is the one I’m most sad about as it has almost no chance of surviving an early cut. It sounded in early descriptions a lot like Minority Report — except that instead of pre-cogs controlling the guilt or innocence of people about to commit a crime, this was going to be some sort of special device. Instead, what you find out is a geeky little guy built a tool that creates probability scenarios for Homeland Security using data from cameras, cell phones, etc. And, when it correlates the data to suggest something “bad” is about to happen, it spits out two sets of people — one set of individuals involved with significant loss of life i.e. terrorists and another set with insignificant people (simple murders, etc.) But the geek built a back door into the system so that he could find the second set of people — people whose lives are about to change forever as a result of being the victim or the perpetrator of a crime. This show feels a lot like Seven Days, Target, The Pretender, or Early Edition, and I liked all of them — basically a show about knowing there’s a problem in someone’s life, but not knowing exactly what the problem is, and the rest of the episode is about figuring it out. If it wasn’t on CBS, but CW/Fox, it might live long enough to grab some low numbers. But this is pretty tech-y, even if the main bodyguard is ex-Delta Force and action oriented. I just don’t see it attracting enough people to hold on unless there’s some glitz coming that I don’t see. I like it, it’ll make my A list, but I doubt it will go beyond a handful of episodes.
The Mentalist premiered last week building off the cliffhanger where Jane shot Red John. Except his gun disappears, and his name and life appear to be completely clean. So Jane is in jail, rest of team is on suspension. Doesn’t stop them from helping Jane prove his innocence. Spoiler alert again — it didn’t stop me from figuring out three major plot points in the show in advance. First, there’s a key on the dead guy’s ring that the wife goes crazy trying to figure out its purpose…which is obvious to me, Jane put on the key ring himself. Second, the dead guy was interested in a missing girl’s investigation earlier, so obviously we’re going to find her (only question being if she is dead or alive) and realize he’s a monster, so the jury can absolve Jane. Third, and this is most critical, it’s obvious the dead guy is far too ordinary to be Red John, so Jane reveals that he pretended to the jury that he was Red John but he knows he wasn’t. So what’s wrong with this picture? All too obvious to the storylines, but each point comes as a surprise to Lisbon. How???? Anyway, I like the show, downgrading it to a B though overall. Starting to get a bit tired.
Nikita also debuted last week, and after an explosive first season with lots of action but little plot, I’m surprised it got renewed. But it’s the CW, and their numbers work very differently. The opening was interesting, as Nikita, Burghoff, and Michael are all together, there’s a new oversight guy running around Division, Amanda’s in charge over there, and Alex seems to be trying to be Nikita, working for Division. Good ending though as Nikita basically showed her that she is NOT at Nikita’s level yet — with Alex ending up with a broken wrist and shot in the leg to keep her down on the farm for awhile. Burghoff has some great new toys though, and the show worked okay with the new format. Perhaps even a bit more streamlined although it runs the risk now of being smash-and-grab rather than finesse to solve spy-like problems. Keep it a C, watch where it goes.
I also seem to have inherited another new show that wasn’t on my radar — Against the Wall. The premise of this show is a young police woman who finally makes detective. But the only available jobs for detectives are in Internal Affairs, so she takes it. She wants to eventually work homicide, but in the short-term, she’s willing to do her time. But IA is not a popular job, as she finds out very quickly from her three cop brothers and cop father. Interesting investigation stuff, and cute secrets as to who she’s sleeping with (her brother’s partner). The lead actress is played by Rachel Carpani and I knew she looked familiar, but couldn’t place her. Thanks to IMDB, I realize now she was on The Glades in the first season as a love interest for Jim. She looks very different here, and far less “annoying”. Partner is good, support cast looks good. Almost like Blue Bloods but with lead being a woman. Really good show so far. Now, if someone can just kill off the mother character played by Kathy Baker. She was big in the 90s in Picket Fences, and I hope she goes back there. She can’t act to save her life, and please no more “I’m a tortured mom caring about my son” storylines. Absolutely awful, and I can’t hit the fast-forward button fast enough. An A overall, I’m really enjoying the show, although I doubt it will last long. Come to think of it, feels a bit like a grittier Cold Case. Maybe it’ll find an audience.
I have another five premieres taped, wish me luck this week!
|A||Covert Affairs||Returning||Ben Mercer’s 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.|
|A||The Secret Circle||New||Pitch-perfect focus on the “magic”, and so long as writing doesn’t turn it into Magic 90210, should be good for at least a season or two.|
|A||NCIS||Returning||Thought it was getting a bit long-in-the-tooth, but opening premiere was first-rate. Count me in.|
|A||Castle||Returning||Not a great premiere, but reboots / resets the drama of last season and a return to focusing (perhaps) on procedural episodes.|
|A||Big Bang Theory||Returning||Cliffhanger of Penny sleeping with Raj was addressed, Penny threatens to leave for Nebraska, and then got an acting gig for the first time.|
|A||Person of Interest||New||Good vibe, but suspect it won’t attract enough viewers very fast. Not fantasy enough for the Fringe-crowd, not mainstream enough for the L&O crowd, not action enough for the remaining groups.|
|A||Against the Wall||New||Chicago policewoman makes detective but only jobs available are in Internal Affairs, which doesn’t sit well with rest of her cop family. Has a “Cold Case” feel to it.|
|B||Lost Girl||Returning||I like the new politically active “Ash” but the soap opera of Bo and Dyson is thin.|
|B||NCIS: LA||Returning||Opening spent way too much time navel-gazing at Callan’s past, time to get back to procedural focus.|
|B||Hawaii Five-O||Returning||Confused return, couple of good additions to cast, we’ll see if they give them anything to do.|
|B||Revenge||New||Decent acting by lead, okay support, and writing intriguing but showing season finale first was odd choice.|
|B||The Mentalist||Returning||Okay premiere, too many obvious pieces though.|
|C||The Ringer||New||Don’t care for Gellar’s acting, but I like the character. No idea whether the writing will hold my interest.|
|C||How I Met Your Mother||Returning||Nothing earth-shattering in first two episodes, starting to feel tired.|
|C||Law & Order: Special Victim’s Unit||Returning||Okay episode, nothing resolved for Olivia yet, and introduced new character to replace her. Wait and see.|
|C||Nikita||Returning||Nice to see the writers mixing it up, changing the base structure, and altering alliances. Could be interesting, as long as it doesn’t become Rambo Part 12.|
|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.|
|D||Whitney||New||Not super-funny comedy, although some funny lines. Maybe another episode or two to see if they can make it an ensemble show.|
|F||Charlie’s Angels||New||Yo’ Barrymore, the 80s called and they want their show back.|
|?||The Playboy Club||New||September 19|
|?||Prime Suspect||New||September 22|
|?||Blue Bloods||Returning||September 23|
|?||Pan Am||New||September 25|
|?||Being Erica||Returning||September 26|
|?||Once Upon A Time||New||October 23|
|?||Allen Gregory||New||October 30|
Other mid-season shows to come: Alcatraz, The Finder, Republic of Doyle, Merlin, The Frame, The 2-2, Missing, The River, Touch, Awake, and The Firm.
|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.|