Tuesday, November 3, 2015
The second episode of "Supergirl" focused on Alex (Chyler Leigh) and Hank (David Harewood) letting Kara (Melissa Benoist) know that she'd taken the training wheels off of her superheroism a little too early. Like your average 20-something, Kara rolled her eyes at all this concern over her tactics. After all, when you can save a plane from crashing with your bare hands and mad flying skills, what could any mere human possibly teach you?
Since it's still so early in the series, we're discovering lots of new things about the characters and the show itself. Here are 5 Things We Learned from "Stronger Together":
1. Calista Flockhart is not bad as media mogul Cat Grant. She wasn't an obvious choice as a domineering and successful woman, but she's managing it better than expected. She's haughty, sarcastic, and plays the part as if any woman (including Supergirl) who doesn't live up to her standards is deeply offending her. It's a combination that works.
2. Mehcad Brooks needs to turn down Teh Sexeh. As Jim Olsen, famed Superman photographer and Kat's newest confidante, Brooks is smoldering so much in Kara's direction that it's surprising her hair doesn't catch on fire. Considering the doe-eyed, hair-twirling tone this show has taken so far, Jim looking like he wants to take Kara up against a glass partition where everyone can see them seems a bit...erm...out of place. We know you're hot, dude, you can dial it back a bit.
3. Alex is a pretty kickass agent. It's difficult for characters in authority positions to seem impressive when they're standing next to a superhero. So it was nice this week to see how Alex's tactical skills and experience far outweighed the naive Kara's, meaning she has plenty of valuable things to teach her sister, plus she can handle herself in a fight.
4. Alex's relationship with Kara is still a bit of a head-scratcher. In the pilot Alex yells at Kara for saving her life, then tells her to embrace her superhero side, then don't, then do. She talks her through a tough battle, saying she believes in her, and then episode 2 is all about whether Alex actually believes in Kara or not.
There are obviously some layers of secrecy and personality differences that may have kept them at arms-length, but it still feels like their interactions lack the necessary warmth. The actresses supposedly get along well in real life, so it's strange that the two don't seem to have much sisterly chemistry yet on the show.
5. HANK HAS GLOWING RED EYES. Is that ever a good thing? Surely it can't be, considering he doesn't seem to have told anyone about a condition that no amount of Visine can fix. This may also explain his reluctance to have Supergirl in his cool bunker, considering she might be more likely to discover his secret.
Then there's that added revelation that he "used to have" a family, which might be something he and Kara could bond over, if he doesn't turn out to be completely evil.
What things did you learn this week? What were your favorite parts of the episode?
"Supergirl" airs Mondays at 8/7c on CBS.
Saturday, October 17, 2015
Viewers approach every new fall TV season with excitement. Our DVRs get programmed to bursting, recording every new show that looks remotely interesting alongside our returning faves. Gradually, as the weeks wear on, we find our new faves and discard the shows that didn't win us over. Early cancellations weed out the schedule even when we don't want it to.
This year began with a lot of excitement. So many new dramas and comedies with big names, big ideas, and tons of promise. While it's still early in the new TV season, we can't help feeling a sort of television limbo. Rather than big hits and tragic misses, the series we've tuned in for have been...mostly sorta okay. There's nothing that we immediately want to banish from our DVRs and scrub from our memories, but there are very few shows that hold much excitement for us, either.
THE OBVIOUS WINNERS
"The Player" -- As far as generating excitement, we're still loving "The Player." The trio of Wesley Snipes, Philip Winchester, and Charity Wakefield light up our small screens in so many smooth and sexy ways. The adventures are fast-paced and entertaining, the stakes are high, and the underlying mystery tying the characters together offers just the right amount of frustrating suspense that has us looking forward to the next installment.
Despite the rather ridiculous plot of wealthy gamblers betting on crime, the show has a lot more wit and unpredictable twists than your average crash-bang action romp. We genuinely hope this show sticks around.
"Heroes Reborn" -- Even the beloved first season of the original "Heroes" had some irritating characters that we dreaded spending time with. This sequel series so far has gifted us with a lot of interesting, likable characters that we actually care about. Miko (Kiki Sukezane) and Ren (Toru Uchikado) may be two of the most awesome, ridiculously adorable characters in TV history.
Noah Bennett (Jack Coleman) is a fantastic focal point, playing at hero but with wiped memories that hide some big secrets about deadly events in the past and the future. We get to revisit and remember some former heroes, and meet new ones with interesting powers. And we're back to the "Save the World" connecting thread, which is what sucked us all in to its predecessor. So far, so good--we're hooked.
THE BIG MEH
"Blindspot" -- We're willing to forgive a lot because of the awesomely unique storyline of a former Navy Seal who wakes up in a duffel bag in Times Square, with amnesia, her body tattooed with an intricate array of mysterious codes and clues to a network of crime. Plus, we love Jaimie Alexander so much. But by the second episode we were already cringing over the show's flaws. Despite the disappointing execution of a fab idea, the show has earned fans with its intriguing hook and recently earned a full season order. The actors seem to be getting a bit more comfortable with each other as the series progresses, and we're hoping some of the eye-rolling plot moments and dumbed-down dialogue improve over time.
"Rosewood" -- This is probably never going to break free of "guilty pleasure" territory, but we need it to step up its game a bit more. The show skates on the amusing heights of positive energy and charm from the Miami-Vice-2.0-wardrobed Morris Chestnut, and the Sherlockian crime-solving can be a lot of fun. The pilot was horrendous, however, with over-the-top scenes of private coroners examining dead bodies in club wear, with no protective clothing or gloves or consideration for all the possible germs they then carried outside on their fashionable outfits.
Subsequent episodes have made a better attempt at reality in that regard, and the family drama provides some touching moments. But despite some entertaining banter with Rosie's police detective collaborator Villa (Jaina Lee Ortiz), the writers have made the troubled cop way too abrasive and often gratingly unlikable.
"Minority Report" -- We're thankful that tough cop Vega's (Meagan Good) cleavage is no longer stealing every scene, but the show has already gotten repetitive with its formula every week. See Dash (Stark Sands) have a vision at an inappropriate time. See him suffer agonizingly as they try to suck further images out of his head. Cue naive adventurer versus jaded, experienced cop banter. Watch our heroes ask the same people for help who express reluctance to help. And on and on we go. A subplot forming with the other precogs has added interest, however, and a hint of the ominous creepiness that helped make the original film so riveting.
"Grandfathered" -- Sitcoms play with caricatures of course. But this John Stamos vehicle takes it too far. A flashy, suave bachelor restaurant owner meeting a previously unknown-to-him nerdy son and grandchild is a perfect set-up for "Odd Couple" levels of comic conflict. But "Grandfathered" makes Jimmy such an obnoxiously selfish asshole and his son a mortifyingly doe-eyed pathetic dork that we are usually thoroughly disgusted with both of them by the time the "feel good" portion of the program is supposed to kick in. The supporting players have their moments and sometimes the comedy lands well. But it's 50/50 enjoy/hate every week and that will spell doom pretty quickly.
"The Grinder" -- Marginally better than its "Grandfathered" lead-in, this show about a lawyer whose actor brother decides to join the family business at least has some sharper wit. Rob Lowe is supposed to be the main draw as the narcissistic charmer, but Fred Savage steals the show with his wry delivery as the "sensible" brother who resents living in his famous bro's shadow. The series still has its irritating, predictable moments, but so far the relief has been that the "lesser" brother's wife is always supportive instead of a nagging shrew, and the flashy actor brother doesn't always get his way. We're still overall a bit meh about the whole thing, but this one seems to have a bit more potential to stay on the DVR.
"Limitless" -- We were promised Bradley Cooper would remain a part of the series based on his feature film, but so far he's only turned up in the pilot--then they've replayed that same footage in every episode that follows. Jake McDorman does a good job of believably portraying both halves of his character Brian, the affable loser musician who's always between jobs and the ridiculously brilliant and suave FBI liaison whose sudden brain power comes from a dangerous drug. It's mildly entertaining during the investigations, but all the secrets and lies and threats between the characters has already become exhausting.
"Quantico" -- This drama had a promising premise about new FBI recruits going through tough physical and emotional training together, and then finding out one of them is a terrorist who executes a devastating attack. Priyanka Chopra plays the innocent recruit the whole mess gets pinned on, and while she's fine at playing sexy and athletic, her attempts at emotion are pretty cringe-worthy. She's often not helped by the writing, which heaps on corny dialogue and melodrama. The characters get a bit more interesting over time as we continually learn that people are not at all what they seem, even when you've done extensive background checks on them. The mystery and manhunt is enough to keep us interested right now, but the show fits well inside our ongoing theme of wasted potential in new shows.
What do you think of the new season? Any new favorites, or is it all just "meh" material to you?