Sunday, February 17, 2013

Thoughts on 4 New Television Shows

1. Deception - Described as a "Revenge-like" drama, but it doesn't come close to the intrigue and fun.  Deception is more like The Killing, except that with The Killing it took a whole season and a half of searching for a girl's murderer before I got bored.  I got bored after 2 episodes of Deception.  I keep watching it, hoping for it to find its groove, but sadly, after 7 episodes it is still rather weak.  I love half of the cast - the male half.   Tate Donavon (aka Jimmy Cooper from The O.C), Victor Garber (aka Jack Bristow from Alias) and Wes Brown (aka the super hot guy that was recently on 90210).  The female cast is significantly weaker, which is a problem since the main character is one of them.  Meagan Good, as the undercover cop, is really awful (and her drawn-on eyebrows are distracting).  I think my biggest problem with the series is the flashbacks - they could give us the same information using dialogue.  There have been a series of really cool plot twists (some of them were obvious, but still interesting), but the pace, the main actress and lack of fun are responsible for bringing the series down.  I can't imagine it lasting much longer.

2. 1600 Penn - One of the most painful comedies I have seen in a while (granted I haven't watched many of the new comedies, because they all looked painful - but this one actually seemed promising).  I'm going to blame it all on Josh Gad, since he is one of the creators and the least funny character on the show.  None of the actors are used to their full potential.  I watched 3 episodes and didn't laugh at all...not even once!  I think that 3 episodes is more than enough time to establish humor for a television series.  I could see if there are other kinks to work out, but the first thing that a comedy sitcom needs to be is FUNNY.  Also, I never hear anyone talking about the series, which can't be a good sign.  It's like it doesn't even exist.

3. The Following - Completely satisfying so far.  The pilot episode was fantastic.  The show is creepy, gory, fast-paced and all-around entertaining.  Kevin Bacon and James Purefoy are perfection.  I am not as impressed with the supporting cast, but I think Bacon and Purefoy make up what the supporting cast is lacking (charisma).  The twists and turns of the show are mostly predictable (just assume everyone is lying), but I think that is part of what makes it fun to watch - even if you know how it will end, it is still interesting to see how it all unfolds. And even though it is completely different subject matter - it reminds me of 24.  The way each episode moves really quickly, no one can be trusted and the main hero doesn't always win.  I loved 24 (even when it went from ridiculous to over-the-top super ridiculous), so I think I will feel the same with this show.   The whole cult aspect is done really well - I was pretty skeptical about this whole plot point, but I love it. I love to be scared and it happens pretty rarely, especially with TV shows, but this show definitely creeps me out.  I get asked all the time "Isn't it scary living by yourself?" and my answer is always "no", but after I watched the pilot episode, late at night, I had trouble sleeping.  I checked the locks on my doors like 5 times and I even opened up all my closet doors, that's how creeped out I was!! Now, I will only watch it in the middle of the afternoon - that way it's not on my mind when I go to sleep.  

4. The Americans - LOVE. The pilot episode was one of the best pilot episodes I've seen in a really, really long time.  There was so much information given and all of it was fascinating.  Now, after 3 episodes, there is still so much revealed with each episode, yet it never feels over-done.  The story line is quite revolutionary for television, considering that the main characters (that we are definitely supposed to root for) are Russian spies infiltrating America during the 1980's.  That is quite a controversial stance, and I could see why it would turn some American audiences away.  However, the American FBI agent (who happens to move in next door, which is described by the characters as a "coincidence" - HAHAHA!), is also a favorable character which creates for a nice, complicated television show.  Keri Russell kills this role - her performance in the pilot is Emmy-worthy.  I am really happy that Margot Martindale has joined the cast (one of the best television actresses around).  It's also really interesting to have the show set in the 80's, I didn't really think about how fun that could be - watching spies work before all the advanced technology of today.  Some parts of the show have been a little dumb, but if you look at early episodes of Alias (and even some later ones), there were several dumb plot points - and Alias is still one of my favorite shows ever.  I am really excited about this show, I hope more people start watching it so it lasts a few seasons, at least.

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