Thursday, December 18, 2014

My recap of the fall 2014 TV season

Now that the fall 2014 TV season is over, pretty much all network shows are going into repeats or hiatus until after the new year, and in some cases, until late winter/early spring. Overall, I thought it was mildly disappointing even compared to recent years, and a far cry from the golden era of the mid-2000 decade, when "24," "Prison Break," "Lost," and "Battlestar Galactica" were all on the air at the same time.

New Shows

There were a number of new shows that I was excited about: "Gotham" (Fox), "How to Get Away With Murder" (ABC), and "Scorpion" (CBS). But "Gotham" ended up being too relentlessly grim and bleak for my tastes; since we know(?) how the show will end, Detective Gordon can't win against the bad guys, and things will just get worse and worse. It certainly seemed well-done, though.

The "How to Get Away With Murder" pilot was anything but boring. Unfortunately, included in "anything" was utter ridiculousness and a complete lack of any likeable characters. It's not that I expected it to be slavishly realistic about law and law school. One of the few law-related shows I enjoyed was "Boston Legal," which was hardly realistic. The difference is that "Boston Legal" didn't even pretend to be serious, whereas "How to Get Away With Murder" seemed to want to be taken seriously.

Finally, "Scorpion" was kind of like "Mission: Impossible" with all nerds + Katharine McPhee. It came across as a show about what Hollywood thinks geniuses are like.* It was okay, though implausible; but somewhere around the eight episode or so, I realized I'd had it running on the TV and had been paying no attention to it. I deleted the season pass and haven't missed it since.

* The scene in the Vegas episode where O'Brien defends himself in the bail hearing by arguing that it would be impossible to find a jury of his "peers" - meaning 190+ IQ persons - was kind of funny, I'll admit.

Oddly, the one new show that I've liked is one I wasn't planning on watching at first, and in fact, I missed its premiere; fortunately, it re-aired the following night. That would be "The Flash" (CW). Granted, as between Marvel and DC comics, I definitely prefer the former, and that bias is probably why I was going to pass on "The Flash." But it's actually a refreshing change from most superhero shows where the main character is brooding, damaged, etc. I just wish they would wrap up the unrequited love storyline....

There are some new shows debuting in the spring, but "Marvel's Agent Carter" is the only one I'm likely to give a chance. Besides, season 5 of "Justified" should be hitting Amazon Prime in a month or so, so I've got that to look forward to for any spare TV watching time.

Returning Shows

I've stuck with "Once Upon a Time" (now in season 4), "The Blacklist" (season 2), "Marvel's Agents of SHIELD" (season 2), "Person of Interest" (season 4), "Survivor," "Scandal" (season 4), "Hawaii 5-0" (season 5), and "Grimm" (season 4).

I did watch a lot of "The Voice" as well, but my HD antenna was having trouble with the NBC feed for a while, and on top of it, I couldn't remember any of the contestants, which is not a good sign for a reality TV competition! I did like the episodes with Taylor Swift as the guest mentor, though. I'd come back to watch the show if they add her as a judge.

As for the rest, "SHIELD" seemed to continue the generally higher level of quality ever since the crossover with Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier. "Person of Interest" too has gotten really good with the heavily serialized story arc of Samaritan vs. the Machine. "Hawaii 5-0" continues to offer outstanding scenery with a mash-up of "The Odd Couple" and the mystery of the week. "Grimm" has sent Trubel off somewhere, leaving it open for a possible spin-off, I suppose. And "Once Upon a Time" remains my favorite show on air right now, although I didn't think the winter finale had anywhere near the same impact as last winter's finale did. Then again, I continue to think last winter's finale should have been the series finale.

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