Monday, September 28, 2015

Fall 2015 TV series Review, Part 2

Okay, part 2 of my series on Fall TV premieres covers Wednesday night of last week, to tonight (Sunday) September 27.  Actually, there wasn't anything on that I watched on Wednesday, so we'll start with Thursday.

HEROES REBORN - Thursday night at 8pm on NBC - I saw most of the original Heroes series a few years back, whenever the heck it was on.  The main reason I watched the original series was because of Hayden Panettiere, who played the cheerleader.  A series about superheroes featuring a hot blond cheerleader?  I'm in!  Heroes Reborn?  Not so much.  No hot cheerleader.  No, what I get is an old guy (the same actor who played the cheerleader's father, granted, and a good actor nonetheless) puttering about the country with a scrubbly bearded gentleman who looks like he'd be more at home watching Heroes Reborn from his smelly old couch with a bag of Cheetos in his paws than actually starring in it.  From the looks of things, a portion of the original cast is returning, but no cheerleader.

One of the main reasons I had trouble with the first Heroes series was the convoluted plot that was designed to keep me guessing, but unfortunately made me keep guessing about what the frig was going on.  It's one thing if your characters have no idea wtf is happening in their lives, it's another thing if your target audience has no clue wtf is going on.  At that point, you have to wonder whether you are titillating your target audience to tune in and watch, or switch the station to something easier to figure out.  From the first episode of Heroes Reborn, it looks like they've decided to go with another convoluted plot.  Look, I'm a genius, and I realize the show is mostly geared for comic book geeks, but when a comic book-geek-genius can't tell wtf is going on, maybe you should rethink your plot choices.  Just saying.  I'm not saying you need to dumb it down, just maybe explain things a teensy smidge more?  Or, I don't know, leave me a trail of friggin breadcrumbs so I can figure it out on my own, don't just drop me into the Minotaur's goddamn labyrinth and laugh hysterically while I stare at the walls and wonder how the fuck I just got there.  I'm not really in the mood to walk through the maze, and if you're going to just drop me in anyways, and least point me in a direction.  It doesn't even have to be the right one, but at least I've got a place to start, right?  Right.

So far, not impressed with Heroes Reborn.  I give it half a season before the ratings drop cancels it again.  Maybe after Heroes Re-Re-Reborn comes around in 2025, they'll have figured out a way to leave me a trail of breadcrumbs.  However, there's nothing on in the thursday night time slot that's competing against it so far, so I might stick with it for a few episodes.  Until something better comes along, then there's probably no contest.  I'll watch the other thing, whatever it might be, rather than try to figure out what the hell is going on in Heroes Reborn.  If you're guessing I wasn't a big fan of Lost, you're dead right.

THE PLAYER - Thursday Nights at 10pm on NBC - Alex Kane, a former CIA terrorist expert and current high-profile security consultant, is trying to get back together with his ex-wife.  Just as the two agree to a trail living-together/friends-with-benefits situation, Alex's wife is murdered because he stopped an assassination plot against some guy's family at his day job.  Around about the same time, Alex is approached by the representative of a consortium of rich people who make wagers on the outcome of various future crimes, and whther they can be stopped.  Sort of like Minority Report meets, uh, any Las Vegas Casino show.

Wesley Snipes co-stars, or stars, or whatever, as the "Pit Boss" of the House, or the organization that takes the bets, or manipulates the odds, or, honestly, I'm not sure wtf is going on.  I didn't like the show enough to even try and go with it.  Guy's wife is killed, just around the same time this organization wants him to play their little game?  Odds are that they offed his wife just so he wouldn't have a reason to say no.  That was the first thing I thought of, and SHOULD have been the first thing Alex Kane considered, because he's supposedly good at his job.  Turns out later on that I was probably right, because apparently his wife isn't quite dead, or at least, that is not her body laying in the morgue.  So Alex joins the shady betting organization to keep Rich people from starting wars in order to satisfy their crazy need to do bad things, and to find his wife.  I'm not buying it at all.

First off, Alex should know rich people by now.  He's a security consultant.  Poor people can't afford security consultants, therefore, he's around rich people all the time.  He should know that rich people are going to mess with the rules all the time, because they have an overwhelming need to win.  The very last thing I'd ever want to do, is partake in a game where rich people are involved, because they're going to break the rules and poor people like Alex Kane are going to suffer the fallout.  Second thing, the guy's a security consultant, but there's absolutely no security on his ex-wife's place, where he frequently does odd jobs?  Not buying that, either.  The woman's the love of his life, of course he's going to protect her, even if there's no reason to.  That's his job.  What else doesn't wash?  I don't know, just seems like there's only one possible series of events that could possibly result in Alex Kane becoming the next Player, and it's truly the most ridiculous and unlikely series of events that could possibly happen.  You're asking me to believe in a near-impossibility, just so we can watch a guy run around and stop bad guys every week?  Pfft.  Just make him a cop working the streets.  Maybe it's too normal, and like every other show out there, but at least I'd buy it.  Shit, make it interesting, and make him a vigilante.  Now there's a show for you.

There may not be anything else in the 10pm time slot on thursdays, but I doubt I'll waste my time watching the Player.  Wesley Snipes isn't enough of a draw, and the action makes little sense in the scheme of things.  With the relatively small cast, there's not enough eye-candy to make me even bother tuning in on a weekly basis.  The ex-wife was hot, but she's supposedly dead now.  So that leaves me with the pseudo-sexual-tension between Snipes and Kane, which would probably end up in the bed at some point.  So, like a soap opera/romance novel with two main characters and a secretary.  Bleh.  I just threw up in my mouth a little.  And let's face it...  No monsters.  Boo-ring.

THE BASTARD EXECUTIONER - Tuesdays at 10pm on FX - I meant to review this show in part 1, but I forgot.  Also, since there's so many other shows to watch on Tuesday nights, I think I may have neglected this one a little bit.  Thankfully, FX reshowed it on Saturday.  The Bastard Executioner is about a former Crusader (I think) turned farmer, turned bandit, whose wife gets slaughtered by the local Lord in feudal England times.  Well, he THINKS the local lord slaughtered his wife, it was actually a burn victim who was hanging around with the local midwife.  This pisses off the guy, who apparently has sworn off killing people with his sword.  Uh, he'll still do it with a club, but apparently, an angel told him to lay down his sword and he did, so, he's taken to clubbing people to death.  Okay, bit confusing, I know, bear with me, there's more.

So ex-crusader-bandit guy goes apeshit, sides with the 'rebels' (a bunch of farmers who are tired of the local lord's overly harsh taxes), and manages to kill off the actual local lord.  Well, he doesn't kill the guy himself, but suffers a near-fatal wound and is "resurrected" as the local "punisher," otherwise known as an executioner/torturer.  Basically, a witch tells him he has to take the dead guy's place, or he might get caught and killed by...  people who...  don't actually know who killed the local lord, anyways, because they weren't at the battle, and have never seen his face.  Wait, wait, there's more, hang on, stick with me here.

Said Executioner, who is now dead, had a wife and family that he regularly mistreated, so they totally side with a total stranger and tell everyone he's their real husband and father, because they don't want the other guy back.  Of course, the other guy is dead, so they wouldn't get him back, but I guess they'd rather hook up with a fraud than starve to death, because the penalty for lying to the local lord's magistrate isn't death by starvation, but a much faster death by some other more violent means.  I suppose that much makes sense.  Unfortunately, the punisher's job is not only to execute people, but to torture them as well, so a guy who disliked killing in the first place, and laid down his sword to kill people with a club, must now take up his sword and torture people before lopping off their heads.  Seems like another totally fucked up sequence of events designed solely to make the main character unhappy with his lot in life, doesn't it?  Sheesh.  Just make the guy a poor farmer, which he was, so he is unsatisfied with his lot in life, which he was.  Now he's just...  more unsatisifed?  I don't know, having a hard time following the point now.

That having been said, there's nudity, decent acting, medieval sword-fighting, blood, guts, maybe some sorcery, angels, perhaps some demons, horribly scarred burn victims, witch-y-looking midwives, and some serious money spent on making the show look good.  Bollocks the plot, as the english might say.  I'll watch it anyways, just for all that.  Or DVR it, if there's too many shows on at 10pm on Tuesday.

BLOOD AND OIL - Sunday night at 9pm on ABC - Don Johnson stars as some oil tycoon named Briggs, who kicks his son out of the house because the kid's a total loser who took a swing at his dad.  So far, so good.  Oil tycoon Briggs is looking to buy up some land adjacent to a newly-discovered oil field so he can dig for oil.  Yea, following along so far.  New couple in town living out of a borrowed trailer manage to find this out, find out who owns the land, manage to borrow enough money to buy the rights to that land, and finagle their way into a million-dollar partnership with oil-tycoon Briggs, all in their first week in town.  Yea, I'm a little iffy on that one.

What I'm also a little iffy on is, supposedly this new couple has a problem with Briggs being some mean old oil tycoon, when everyone in town is so eager to help them when they find out the couple is going to stick it to Briggs.  Wouldn't this clue them in to the fact that Briggs may not be the nicest guy ever?  And aside from being a little dirty, Briggs so far has seemed like a stand-up guy.  He's given his son every opportunity to man up, but the little dick has thrown it all away, and ends up taking a swing at his own father.  I mean, sure, plenty of us have done that, but typically, our fathers were being assholes at the time.  Briggs doesn't seem to have a mean bone in his body so far, so why the hell does everyone in town hate him?  That isn't making much sense, either.  You'd think, if the guy were an asshole, he'd be siding with his asshole of a son, right?  Nope!  So, doesn't being against the obvious asshole, make him not an asshole?  Would make sense, wouldn't it?

Not sure if I'll like blood and oil, but the Strain will be over soon.  If I need something to watch on Sunday nights, Blood and Oil might do, but aside from a guest appearance by Barry Corbin, I'm not sure Blood and Oil is going to have enough excitement to offer me.  No monsters, no nudity, not enough violence to make up for it.  Maybe catch one more episode, and see how things turn out, before I decide.

QUANTICO - Sunday night at 10pm on ABC - Basically, this is a show about a bunch of new students at the FBI training center who are involved in a terrorist bombing somewhere, looks like grand central station.  A handful of cute chicks and buff guys parade around in front of the camera trying to lean how to shoot guns and investigate criminals while there's supposedly some terrorist in their midst who actually orchestrated the attack.  Sounds exciting, huh?

Well, it's not.  If there's one thing I hate, it's too many flashbacks, and let's face it, the people who wrote this should have watched Funny Farm, with Chevy Chase.  Yes, the comedy movie.  Let me explain.  In Funny Farm, Chevy plays a sportswriter who tries his hand at novel-writing, only to find out he sucks as a novelist.  When his wife reads the first chapter of his awful novel, she complains that there's too many flashbacks, a flash-forward, and maybe even a flash-sideways.  This causes friction in their marriage, leads to much amusement, and almost ends in disaster before leading to the predictable romantic-comedy-happy-ending.  That movie wasn't bad, and teaches us all an important lesson about limiting the number of flashbacks in a story.  Or, it should have.  It appears not everyone has learned this important lesson.

Quantico tries to tell two stories at once, and seems to fail at telling both stories at the same time.  Simultaneously flashing backwards and forwards through time, Quantico's pilot episode tries to make me identify with a bunch of idiots who somehow manage to get into the FBI's training class.  That's unlikely, but even more unlikely is the sheer number of hidden events in each person's past that should have otherwise excluded them from being in the FBI.  Basically, Quantico is saying that not only is everyone at the FBI training academy completely incompetent, but all the new recruits are nutcases ready to explode at any moment.  Which is confusing and disappointing enough, without hopping back and forth through time so many times in the first episode that I have absolutely no idea what happened, when it happened, and how it relates to any other event in the story so far.  Not only is the plot destroyed by this, but I can't identify with any of the characters because I don't know if any of them are even alive at this point in the story.  And even if I knew they were, how am I supposed to identify with an idiot who shouldn't be at the FBI training academy because he's secretly an idiot?  Who do I care if any or all of them got blown to itty-bitty-bits?  Answer:  I don't.

So let's see, Quantico has managed, in its very first episode, to alienate me from the plot, the characters, and even the method in which the plot and characters are presented.  I'd say that's pretty impressive for a show, but I don't think it's going to last more than a few episodes, and I'm going to have forgotten it by Xmas, so impressing me with how bad you are, isn't the way to my TV-viewing heart.  Bye, Quantico.  I'd say nice try, but it really wasn't.  You epic-failed on all fronts at once.  That's like YouTube-video level of failarity right there.

That's all for now.  Might be a part 3 of my Fall Tv review series if I see enough new shows on this week, otherwise, I'm right into the October Horror-movie review-a-thon starting next weekend!  YEEEEHAAAWWWW!  OCTOBER IS ALMOST HERE!!!  HORROR MOVIES!!  MONSTERS!!  BOOBS!  YAY!!!!

Sorry, I got a little excited there.  Someone hand me a towel, I need to clean up.

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