Apologies for the lack of new content. I have been unwell and in no state to write new posts. Regular scheduled blogging should resume soon.
The government has finally gotten its wish. The Voice UK will no longer air on BBC following the upcoming fifth series. The loss of the talent show from the BBC One channel happened without interference from the government, instead coming about because the BBC were outbid for the continued airing rights. That’s unfortunate news but not groundbreaking. The Voice UK has been a nice alternative to the commercialism of X Factor and ITV but on the whole it has failed to produce any successful music artists.
What’s more shocking is who might have outbid BBC for the rights. ITV is looking like the hot favourite at the minute, with some reports suggesting ITV have already signed the contract, while some rumours suggest it’s not a done deal yet. That ITV would want The Voice UK isn’t that surprising. BBC previously outbid ITV for the rights to the show. But it does mean that ITV has monopolised British singing competitions. While I wouldn’t be surprised if ITV aired both The Voice UK and X Factor ( and Britain’s Got Talent) it does seem like it might be overkill. So where does that leave X Factor?
Sky is the most popular choice. X Factor detractors will be happy to see the show gone from freeview and it will largely eliminate competition with The Voice UK. Simon Cowell likely isn’t happy with this outcome however as it leaves the X Factor on a channel where it will get less viewers and subsequently less votes. In a survey of 25.1 million homes in 2012, only 9.4 million were found to own Sky. Can any artist produced by X Factor on Sky really be said to represent the views of the voting public if that voting public represents less than half of UK homes?
Moreover, there’s no guarantee that without the competition from X Factor or Britain’s Got Talent that the The Voice UK will draw better viewing figures or more successful music artists. Because one of the best ways a talent competition can draw an audience is by having a successful participant in the music charts years after the competition has ended. It gives credibility to the contest and the judges and thus far The Voice UK has utterly failed to produce any lasting success for any of its contestants. At least X Factor has had successful winners as well as runner ups who have become mainstays of the British music scene. Chances are The Voice UK will take X Factor’s current Saturday night slot against Strictly Come Dancing and there’s certainly no guarantee that The Voice UK will draw more viewers than Strictly.
The landscape of singing competitions and Saturday night television is changing. Maybe this is a good thing, as some changes to the Saturday night line up might create more engaging and interesting television. On the other hand, lack of direct competition usually allows for complacency which doesn’t generate compelling TV shows. Whatever the outcome, this is one less point that the government can criticise the BBC over.
If you were at the cinema this weekend, you were probably there to see the Daniel Craig’s fourth outing as James Bond. Spectre hit screens this week, following 007 in the wake of M’s death in Skyfall. Following some unofficial orders leads Bond to confront his past, both in recent memory and from Bond’s personal history. By the film’s end however it is clear that the events have been building since Daniel Craig’s first appearance in Casino Royale.
Continuity has never been a big issue for the James Bond franchise. The biggest example being that six actors have portrayed the character on screen with barely any reference to how or why. Conversely, George Lazenby’s Bond gets married and her death isn’t avenged until Roger Moore throws Ernst Stavro Blofeld down an industrial chimney. Blofeld himself is played by multiple actors, all sharing distinctive traits and characteristics. But modern audiences want continuity. I’ve talked enough about the continuity in Marvel films. Is this James Bond attempting to cash in on the new found popularity of continuity in film?
Yes, is probably the answer, although not working at Eon films or having even a tedious connection to Sam Mendes, I can’t say for sure. But it seems clear that this is the intention given that Spectre draws on all of the films that came before. Not so much so that Spectre is unwatchable have you not seen the previous three but there are references within harkening back to Bond’s prior adventures. Furthermore, these four films seem to act as an origin for the entire franchise, setting up Bond’s love of Martinis, Aston Martins and one liners.
In terms of quality, Spectre is certainly enjoyable. Fans of the series will instantly recognise SPECTRE from previous novels and films. The criminal organisation has been around from the first Bond film but Spectre rewrites that to reveal this as Bond’s first encounter with the organisation and that the organisation and it’s shadowy leader have largely orchestrated the events of Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace and Skyfall. Fans who felt that the series was deviating too far from the staples and lore of the franchise will be pleased.
Audiences who just want a good adventure with fights, explosions and seduction should enjoy Spectre as well. In particular, Dave Bautista as Mr. Hinx makes a strong appearance. He’s ruthless and tactical, whist shaking off the comedic overtones he delivered as Drax the Destroyer in Guardians of the Galaxy. But only complaint is that he doesn’t appear enough. In fact, that can be said of SPECTRE and Franz Oberhauser. The villains live up to their SPECTRE namesake, working largely in the background and only making targeted appearances.
Unfortunately, the lack of a villainous presence leads Bond to do a lot of searching and killing before he gets to where he needs to be. There’s a lot of leg work and the payoff isn’t really worth it. In Skyfall, Javier Bardem’s Raoul Silva presents a constant threat and creates much more emotional impact with his targeting of M. The background politics and manipulation of SPECTRE make for a more subdued film, but one without impact. Even the personal reveals lack nuance. Spectre is still an enjoyable film but one without the same power in its twists and turns.
Spectre should appeal to fans and casual viewers alike, being much more like Skyfall than Craig’s initial appearances. Skyfall is the better film, if only for the opening title sequence. The inclusion of a literal octopus in Spectre’s opening is creepy, especially as it gropes nude silhouettes. But odd tentacle touching aside, you could do worse this Halloween than spending your time (and money) on Spectre.
You guys are fortunate to get a preposterousprose blog this week. That’s not arrogance on my part but rather a comment on the fact that I’ve been without internet for the better part of this week. I am well aware that if no post presented itself, the world would keep turning unphased. But I do have my fans and my readers, that’s you guys, and you pleasent, diligent few will be pleased to know that at the final hour a technician arrived to sort out the fault in the line, allowing this post to make itself to you.
It had better be worth it then, right? Well, I wish I could say I’m reviewing something extremely entertaining this week, but actually I’m looking at BBC Two’s The Last Kingdom. You can surmise my thoughts on the program from that statement alone but I’d like to dig a little deeper into what is essentially a poor man’s Vikings. Because at the root that’s what this program is. It’s the BBC’s attempt to replicate the success of violent, sword and shield dramas such as Vikings and Game of Thrones but it sorely misses the mark.
Matthew MacFadyen, formerly of BBC’s Ripper Street, appears as Lord Uhtred of the the Kingdom of Northumbria, tasked with fending off a wave of Danes, who have come to claim part of England as their own. Uhtred underestimates the Danes and gets a sword through his throat for his trouble. His son, eager to avenge his brother’s death at the hands of the Danes, sneaks onto the battlefield. Obviously he doesn’t get far, and is captured, being raised among the Vikings. Similarities are easy to make between the young boy Uhtred, and Athelstan, George Blagden’s kidnapped monk in Vikings. Both are taken from their homeland and raised in a foreign culture, constantly battling between the life they knew and the life that have adopted.
However, one key difference is that I never sympathised with Uhtred the way I did with Athelstan. That’s partly to do with perspective. The Last Kingdom is very much shown through the perspective of Uhtred, an English boy but I never got the sense that he was very English or Christian prior to his capture. And he seems to slot quite easily into the new life. Athelstan was very lucky to have Ragnar’s protection in Vikings, but Ragnar did have an ulterior motive and Athelstan still struggled accept some of the pagan customs.
I should say that I’m aware that The Last Kingdom is based on a series of books by Bernard Cornwell, first published in 2004, a little less than ten years before Vikings landed on our screens. But the series itself was only commissioned in 2014, a year after Vikings had already looted our hearts. The timing of the matter leaves it difficult to believe that this isn’t an attempt to cash in on the success of other historical fiction TV series. This isn’t going to quash the Conservative criticism that the BBC “behaves in an overly commercial way encroaching on TV genres and formats that could be served well by its commercial competitors”.
It is great that a fellow writer has seen such success but I do wish the end product was more exciting. The Last Kingdom is more historically accurate than Vikings and the building of the shield wall is a nice visual, but unfortunately the show lacks character depth. This first episode did nothing to get me invested in the show and I don’t know if I’m interested enough to continue watching next week. If you’ve seen Vikings and found yourself thinking ‘I want to see more of England’, then maybe this is for you. Otherwise, skip it.
X-Factor is really dragging the selection process out this year. Tomorrow’s episode will focus on all on Simon Cowell’s Six Chair Challenge with the Overs. Last week we at least got Cheryl Fernandez Versini and Nick Grimshaw in one slot but did Simon Cowell and Rita Ora really need their own two hour episodes? They have no problem cutting and editing the show any other time but now they want to be thorough? It’s also surprising that Rita Ora got the other two hour slot. Cheryl Fernandez Versini is the senior judge besides Simon, whose ego would obviously demand he get at least one slot. It could be argued that Rita got the slot because the girls category is so popular but if the popular categories got the the two hour episodes then it would have been Rita and Nick.
The reason for the drawn out process is partially to blame on the Rugby World Cup which is taking up the Saturday night prime time on ITV. Otherwise, there could be a X-Factor episode on both Saturday and Sunday and the whole selection would be done in half the time. That doesn’t really excuse Rita and Simon getting their own separate Sunday episodes. It would make much more logic to pack all the judges in pairs. What it does mean, however, is that X Factor will have to play catch up if they want to have the final on the 13th of December. The competition will air a third weekly episode on Thursdays before the live shows.
Can viewers handle a third episode of The X-Factor? The show isn’t as popular as it once was. After eleven years, audiences are understandably less enamoured by the singing competition. A third weekly episode is only likely to burn out fans even more so. And this third episode is likely to just be more of the same. In order to create time for the Rugby, the thursday episode will just be part one of a two part live show that will complete on Saturday. It still doesn’t solve the time constraint issue created by X-Factor not condensing other areas. In order to whittle down the contestants in time for the final, X-Factor will have do a double elimination a week. That’s taking into consideration that we still haven’t covered Judges houses.
Meanwhile, BBC’s reality shows are well on their way. Strictly Come Dancing’s fourth episode will air tonight following the elimination of Anthony Ogogo last week. Unlike most shows Strictly Come Dancing is fairly reliable. One can expect Kellie Bright, Helen George and Jay McGuiness to be around for a while. By the scores, Jay McGuiness is likely to be the favourite. The scores aren’t always a good indicator of the overall winner though. Many people remember when Abbey Clancy beat out Susanna Reid and Natalie Gumede in series eleven but Natalie actually had the higher end score of 119, compared to Abbey’s 116. That’s because there’s more that goes into the end decision than straight up numbers, most notably likability and progress. A celebrity who continually gets better and wins over viewers can ultimately fare better than a celebrity with a natural talent for dancing. With that in mind, someone like Peter Andre or Anita Rani could easily end up overtaking the others.
BBC’s other big return this week is The Apprentice and we’ve lost Nick Hewer. Claude Littner has replaced him, following around this year’s eighteen hopefuls. Those candidates are the same preposterous, boastful apparent business experts who claim to be able to manage and work together but constantly fail on even the simplest of tasks. I mean, why did Dan Callaghan even apply for the show? He admits that he can’t sell but selling is a main component of the competition. It’s as if these people have never watched the show.
Lord Sugar was quoted as saying that this years group of candidates would be more serious and older. Older than what though? Twelve of the eighteen are in their twenties, with eight of those twelve being twenty five or younger. Of course that means that ten of The Apprentice’s candidates would actually fall in the overs X-Factor category. Did I miss the mandate that 26 was now old? I’ll be 26 in three days and I certainly don’t feel old. Of course I also don’t think that people over the age of 45 are afraid of the unknown so perhaps reality television isn’t the best reflection of actual reality.
This is England is iconic. It is an emotive reflection of British culture, it’s roots and how troubles in the country led some people to adopt white nationalism. This is true of Thomas Turgoose’s Shaun, whose sadness over the death of his father leads him to join a gang of skinheads. The friendship and companionship help bolster his confidence, until Stephen Graham’s Combo arrives on the scene. The group splinters, some following Joe Gilgun’s Woody and leaving, others accept Combo’s revelation of British white power. Shaun accepts it too because it gives his life purpose and someone he can blame for his misfortunes. But Combo is revealed just be bitter and jealous, lashing out after Andrew Shim’s Milky talks about his family. The snippet of Shaun’s life is a keen insight into how England adopted radical practices in times of dissatisfaction. Few films capture England with such honesty and emotion.
So in 2009 when it was announced that Channel 4 planned to show a four part continuation of the film, fans were excited and suspicious. How many BAFTA award winning films go on to have television shows made? How many of those television shows are successful and truly capture the essence of the films they are recreating? In reality, this rarely happens because of the difficulty in creating stories as compelling as their movie counterparts and because actors generally move on to bigger and better things so managing time schedules and contracts can leave some cast members unable to return. Worse, if producers attempt to recast a character.
But Shane Meadows pulled it off. This is England ‘86 premiered in 2010, dealing with Shaun’s reconciliation with the group, Woody’s fear of marriage and growing old and Lol’s family issues, aggravated by the reappearance of her abusive, rapist father. Amazingly, Meadows pulled it off not once but three times, returning with This is England ‘88 in 2011 and This is England ‘90 in 2015. And each series as built upon the previous one, showing the aftermath of trauma which is so rarely shown on television, accumulating in the most recent series, which is apparently to be the last.
Was it a fitting end to the franchise? After a deeply tense and unsettling third episode, the final episode was always going to struggle to match it with the resolution. Milky is finally able to confront Combo over the events of the film, having promised to avenge the attack despite Combo’s atonement and apology. Combo is seen being dragged away but his ultimate fate is unknown, reflecting how Milky’s fate was ambiguous at the end of the film. Unfortunately, we got use to the film delivering on its aftermath. We saw how the events of the film affected Shaun, Combo and Milky in This is England ‘86. We saw how Lol’s father and his death affected Lol and Trev in This is England ‘88. This is England ‘90 is the accumulation of the past 7 years (film wise), so for it to end like this, with a chapter of Milky’s future untold feels underwhelming. But perhaps that happened could have possibly met viewers expectations.
On the other hand, other parts of the finale feel rushed. Shaun meets a new girl and moves on, to Smell’s disdain. Woody and Lol finally get married. Kelly, who has spent This is England ‘90 having sex and taking drugs, immersing herself even further after hearing about her father’s true nature, but simply just has a change of heart in the finale. It’s not that I don’t want it to end, although I do love the franchise. I understand that it is better to stop here rather than drag it out, especially if Shane Meadows or the cast want to move on. But this felt like a series that still had some gas in the tank.
Still, no one can fault This is England. The writing and acting has been brilliant. There would always be some aftermath left to tell. In the end, as much as the series followed Shawn and Woody and the gang, this was Combo’s story. The film told of his coming, and this last episode depicts his leaving. The rest was just all the people he affected and helped along the way. And we got one award winning film, and an award winning series out of it. And that’s more than anyone ever expected.
PreposterousProse followers will know that Peter Capaldi has never struck a chord with me. The Twelfth Doctor was meant to be a darker, morally ambiguous character but in execution if felt like Moffat waving the character in our faces shouting, ‘look, he’s mean, he’s bad, he can’t be trusted’. But it was entirely rhetoric and in the end, the Doctor always did the right thing, as viewers expected.
Blaming Capaldi is a tad unfair though. His acting is, on the whole, competent and entertaining. It’s Moffat’s writing that fails to persuade audiences that The Doctor is a dark and suspicious anti-hero. This is in part because of the insistence of using comedy, even when it diffuses tension but the biggest contributor obstacle is the Doctor’s pacifism. That’s why the existence of the ‘War Doctor’ is such a big deal. The Doctor has always been a fighter, who stands for his beliefs, but always without violence if he can avoid it. This is perfectly expressed in the third series two parter ‘Human Nature/Family of Blood’.
This season 9 opening two parter is rather less perfectly expressed. It just feels wrong for the Doctor to be threatening genocide over one companion, no matter how beloved that companion might be. Perhaps this is something The Doctor would struggle with if it did save millions, which he did in ‘The Day of the Doctor’, but for one person? That’s not something the Doctor would consider.
Some people will argue that fans just don’t want to believe the Doctor is capable of such a thing. But this isn’t creating depth, it’s defamation of character. It’s the equivalent of Batman, who has at times been a successful dark anti-hero, whipping out a gun and gunning down Gotham’s criminals to bring Jason Todd back to life. There is no incarnation of Batman to which that would be acceptable. And there’s no incarnation of The Doctor who could kill Davros in cold blood to save Clara.
The second part, ‘The Witch’s Familiar’ was more enjoyable. The scenes of Dravos and The Doctor acting their age and talking candidly of the end of their lives was heartwarming, even if we all seen that it was all a trick still. I’m against the twist of the protagonist going along with the villain’s plan unknowingly though. It makes the rest of the plot very superficial if the previous threat wasn’t actually as dire as we were lead to believe.
On the plus side, Clara feels like the writers actually remember her past this time. Having her control a dalek is a nice hark back to her first appearance in ‘Asylum of the Daleks’ and is suitably terrifying for both the character and the audience. Missy too is acceptably manic as The Master, even if she does go a tad overboard in the second part. I could do without her going from 0 to 100 with the Scottish accent mid-scene as well. But all in all, philosophical questions and bad portrayals of The Doctor aside, this two parter was a much more enjoyable and tense affair than the season 8 opener. It gave the series time to establish itself and it worked. I’m interested to see what’s to come.
Meanwhile there has been discussion, as there is every year, that ratings are lower and should Doctor Who be cancelled. While I wouldn’t say no to a new show-runner, and that’s not a swipe at Moffatt, I just think a fresh mind behind the steering wheel would invigorate the series, I do not believe Doctor Who needs to be cancelled out right. Reality shows and sports aside, Doctor Who is still one of the most watched shows on a Saturday night. And saturday nights, when most young people are out and about is no easy time slot. But Doctor Who still manages to attract attention. Furthermore, no show that’s getting a spin-off is in danger.
With my wedding coming up this Saturday, there will be no new blog post this week as both my wife-to-be and I are busy putting the finishing touches on the event. There will also not be any blog posts for a few weeks after the day while we move and get settled in together.
Until then, look after yourselves.
Supergirl is bland, bland, bland. It pains me to say so, because I don’t like writing reviews that are mostly critical, but so far Supergirl looks like a cobblepot of questionable decisions that’s trying to be too many things to too many people. As a result, the CBS show has wound up as ineffectual and inoffensive. It sticks out like a nail against the other DC films and TV shows. Maybe that was the point. Unfortunately, what they’ve produced feels like a series more at home in 2005 than 2015.
The plot follows Kara Zor-El, Superman’s cousin, who is sent to Earth to protect Kal-El during the destruction of Krypton. The explosion sends Kara’s shuffle off course though and she winds up in the Phantom Zone. Somehow she escapes, having not aged a day. Kal-El on the other hand is all grown up and saving people. Kal sets his cousin up with an adoptive family and, with no one left to protect, Kara tries to fit in with life on Earth. The series picks up several years later, with Kara as a young adult working at CatCo.
If you guessed that Kara would become bored with her normal life and want to use her powers, you’d be right. If you guessed that some bad guys also followed her out of the Phantom Zone, you’d also be right. Wasn’t that the plot of Smallville’s sixth season? Not that that’s a bad thing. Sometimes the simplest stories are the best but in that case Supergirl would have benefited from embracing their simplicity. Instead, the plot is more intricate. Kara has to contend with the Department of Extra-Normal Operations, who don’t particularly like her.
It’s not that characters can’t have more than one antagonist or have to work with a difficult and ambiguous ally. Those are pretty much staples of television because it creates a natural conflict so long as there is a legitimate reason for the two parties to work together. But it’s becoming a rather commonplace for the government to outright object to the presence of superpowered peoples. At least in Man of Steel Superman didn’t reveal himself until after General Zod and his henchmen had already started tearing up the city. It’s not shocking that the government might still be a little suspicious. Here though, Superman is nothing but revered and loved but Supergirl gets criticised for scraping a bridge while saving an entire plane. One character mentions it just isn’t popular to not like Superman but what the series shows the viewer is various characters idolising Superman while Supergirl gets branded dangerous. Sounds fair…
The show is also rife with feminism. That in of itself is not a criticism but it could have been executed better. There’s an in-show debate about calling Kara’s alter ego ‘Supergirl’ rather than ‘Superwoman’, which actually feels more like the writers and producers responding to fan criticism than a necessary conversation. It would be more effective to simply portray Supergirl as strong and independent. Instead, she get’s captured, beat up by the villain of the week and only actually manages to defeat him by pretending to be weak and vulnerable. The final plan is actually conceived by her sister, a DEO agent but it still took two women to formulate and execute a plan whereas Superman often operated alone. The cardinal rule of writing is ‘show, don’t tell.’ Supergirl tells the audience that woman can be strong and independent but it rarely shows that to be the case. Even Cat Grant, CEO of Catco., has all of the decisions second guessed by Kara.
This next point will probably earn me a lot of grief but, I don’t like that Jimmy Olsen is a black guy. It’s really an odd decision. It’s obvious that CBS were going for a more diverse and representative cast but I don’t see how making Jimmy Olsen black benefits that movement. Olsen is the second most well known character in the series right after Supergirl. Everyone knows that he’s a dorky red-haired white kid. The guy they got was a well-built, bald, black man. It’s almost offensive to everyone that CBS thought that Kara couldn’t fall in love with the original, socially incompetent Jimmy Olsen and that the only black guy she could fall for would be tall and confident. There are dorky black guys.
I don’t mind that they cast David Harewood as the traditionally white Hank Henshaw though because it’s important to show black people in positions of power. The best character they could have recast with colour is Cat Grant, who could have acted as a role model to black women, a group that is generally under represented to a greater extent than the men. I just don’t see the significance of changing Jimmy Olsen. It’s not just skin colour, the personality isn’t even the same. It would have been less irritating to cast Mehcad Brooks as an original character but it’s clear that CBS just wanted the connection.
Speaking of the connection to Superman, the series seems afraid to speak his name. He gets called ‘man of steel’ or ‘my friend in blue’ but the actual name Superman doesn’t get said a whole lot. Maybe it’s because the writers are being coy but it just comes across as vague and annoying. The intention is not to focus on Superman because the spotlight here is squarely on Supergirl. But that presents a problem. Supergirl is fighting some pretty dangerous criminals with serious plans for Earth. The leader even seems to have connections with the El family. That seems like something Superman would get involved in.
As much as I’m not a fan of this Supergirl series right now, it is only the first season and it hasn’t even begun. It may find its feet and learn to balance the various elements in a way that eliminates the blandness. One can hope. A TV show about a female superhero is culturally significant and it deserves to be better than this.
Are you all prepared for your social and professional lives to fall into complete and utter disrepair? That’s right, it’s less than three weeks until September, which means another season of new Fall television shows is upon us. That’s why Preposterousprose is here; to bring you up to speed on the new shows you should be watching and the shows are should never have been greenlit. Of course, you already knew that or you wouldn’t be here reading this. So let’s get down to it.
Jaimie Alexander, better known as Sif from Marvel’s Thor, stars in this FBI thriller in which a naked woman appears in Times Square. Her body is covered in tattoos, each one relating to a crime that the FBI must solve. It’s quite an interesting variation on the case of the week format and the woman’s unknown identity promises an overarching mystery. A strong offering by NBC that could be a real dark horse in the fall line-up amongst all the remakes, reboots and revivals.
Next from NBC is the third entry into Dick Wolf’s ever growing Chicago franchise. This series will focus on Nick Gehlfuss as Dr. Will Halstead, the brother of Jay from Chicago P.D. Wolf’s work on Chiacgo Fire and Chicago P.D. has generally been well written and consistent so Chicago Med is likely to be much of the same. Expect plenty of crossover.
Crowded won’t be on NBC until midseason but it’s worth a mention. The premise of this comedy revolves around parents Mike and Martina Gunn whose lives are upturned by their two adult daughters moving back in. It’s a simple concept that will probably resonate with a lot of young people in the same situation. It doesn’t hurt that established stars such as Patrick Warburton, Carrie Preston and Miranda Cosgrove are involved.
It’s been five years since Heroes’ fourth and final season. This new miniseries looks to return to that universe in the aftermath of a terrorist attack that was blamed on people with special abilities. So long as Heroes Reborn sticks to a singular vision, this should be fairly strong. The original series only began to suffer after the first season when it seemed that the writers had no follow up plans. There is also a worry that Tim Kring will attempt to cater too much to fans of the original, when this really needs to be an strong entity in its own right.
Over on CBS, there is another medical show debuting. Chicago Med might have the advantage of the pre-existing audience but the exciting Los Angeles local gives Code Black an edge. The challenge of both shows will be to stand out against the myriad of other medical dramas on television.
Life in Pieces
The premise of Life in Pieces is similar to Modern Family. So similar you wonder why the producers didn’t just end the meeting and just watch Modern Family. It follows a large family, with each episode delving into different stories of each family within the larger group. Sounds like Modern Family, right? At least CBS made Life in Pieces unfunny so to differentiate between the two shows. Avoid.
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow
The only CW show I found noteworthy and it won’t even air until midseason. A spinoff of The CW’s The Flash and Arrow series’, this show follows Arthur Darvill as a time traveller assembling a team of superheroes to take down an ancient villain. The idea is really strong and might even have worked as a film pitch. The Flash and Arrow have been popular, reflecting DC’s competence in television series creation so fans can expect Legends of Tomorrow to join their ranks.
Another singular showing from a network, this time Fox. And honestly, the only reason The Grinder made it onto this list is because Fred Savage is on the cast. Robe Lowe is the star though, appearing as an actor who plays a lawyer on television. After the show is cancelled, he returns home to where his family actually own a law firm and attempts to actually be a lawyer. It’s a comedy so obviously he’s going to fail, hopefully humorously. If not, this life may imitate art for this series.
Blood and Oil
Turning to ABC and the first appearance of a Gossip Girl Alumni, Blood and Oil follows Chase Crawford’s Billy LeFever and his wife as they attempt to cash in on an oil boom in North Dakota. Promos paint the show as a mixture of GCB, Revenge and the 2014 remake of Dallas, so it’s similar to shows we’ve seen from ABC before. The longevity of the premise is a concern and Crawford was generally the weakest actor of the core Gossip Girl group but this one might be worth a watch.
In what looks to be Scorpion meets How to Get Away With Murder, Quantico focuses on the latest batch of highly intelligent FBI trainees, one of whom is suspected with masterminding a terrorist attack. This is another show where longevity is an issue. Either we find out who the mastermind is, in which case where does the show go from there, or we don’t and fans get tired of being given the run around. It’s possible they could introduce another group of recruits and a new overarching story next season. But let’s see if it even gets through season one.
ABC must have signed a pact with Bart Bass because this is the second of the network’s new fall shows to feature a previous cast member of Gossip Girl. This time the very talented Ed Westwick appears as a serial killer being chased by two L.A.P.D. detectives. It’s an anthology series, reminiscent of American Horror Story but in the crime genre. With True Detective falling from grace and some viewers finding Gotham too light, this could be the perfect match for crime enthusiasts.
Those are the shows that stood out this season for one reason or another. Next week, I’ll go in-depth on the Supergirl show. Until then if there are any shows that stood out to you, or you disagree with my assessments, fire me a comment below or on twitter.