Tuesday, November 24, 2015

2015 Fall Series Update, Turkey Day Thanks

It's that time of year again, folks!  The time of year when I give thanks for all my blessings, or at least, give thanks to all those awesome series I watch on TV that waste my otherwise completely worthless time.  So, I'll list which series made the cut (by day of the week), and which didn't, and by cut, I mean, which ones I am still watching, and which ones I gave up on.  The networks may have invested in some of these shows, but that has nothing to do with my interest in them.  Without further ado, here's the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Fall 2015 TV series.


INTO THE BADLANDS:  I gave this one a shot, hoping against hope that it might be good, but it's not.  The plot is incoherent and inconsistent.  The show only cares about the fight sequences, which are nice, but the rest of the show is just an excuse to showcase the swordplay.  The premise of all the survivors of some earth-shattering apocalypse flocking to the local landowners (called Barons) for safety, might have worked out, except for a few details.  One, there's still cities out there, because one of the Baron's men travels to one of them to visit somebody.  If there are still cities, they would be the logical choices for people to flock to, not some southern-style plantation out in the middle of the woods surrounded by a wall.  Two, supposedly, guns are outlawed, but in a land of swordplay, guns would certainly provide an advantage.  Who outlawed them?  The barons?  if this is a land of lawlessness outside of each baron's control, wouldn't that mean only the outlaws would own guns?  I mean, even if the penalty for owning a gun was death, wouldn't having a gun be too much an advantage for an outlaw to resist?  What possible punishment for owning a gun could stop an outlaw from actually using one?  I mean, they're already an outlaw.  Death is death.  For that matter, how long would it be before a Baron decided to arm their soldiers with guns, just to be able to have that advantage over the other barons?  Three, the main sword-swinger runs into a Baroness in the confines of a city, which is one of two things.  Either a city is outside the control of the barons, and a place of lawlessness, OR, the city is under the control of the local baron.  But this Baroness says "You can't kill me, I'm a baron."  Why can't he?  I'm pretty sure a good sword cut would have killed her right then and there, and what could she have done about it?  Nothing.  She's outside the confines of her own barony, which is the limits of what she can hold and control.  If she's in another baron's territory, that's trespassing, and she could be killed just for that.  What law is there that says the guy can't kill her, in a land of lawlessness?  It makes absolutely no sense.  Without likable characters, or even any attractive females to drool over, this one has no redeeming features.  Final Verdict:  UGLY.

LAST WEEK TONIGHT WITH JOHN OLIVER:  Mr. Oliver continues to tackle a variety of issues, either worldwide or originating in uniquely American idiocy, with varying levels of success.  Mr. Oliver tries to do good things with his humorous ability to shed some much-needed light on the otherwise shadowy business-as-usual practices that need some updating in the modern era.  He's had some successes, and that's more than I can say for just about anyone else on Late Night TV.  Good for you, Mr. Oliver.  Carry on.  John's off for the holidays, but he'll be back in Feb.  Final Verdict:  GOOD.


SUPERGIRL:  I'm usually a big fan of Superheroes, but I can't really stick with Supergirl.  Melissa Benoist plays Kara/Supergirl, but she's so mousy as Kara and so, well, mousy as Supergirl that I can't even begin to like her.  Nobody else on the show, including the entire supporting cast, is even remotely likable.  I don't like her boss (which is probably the whole point of the character, but watching her still isn't a draw), I don't like her colleagues, and I don't like her sister.  I guess this show is supposed to be about female role models or something, but it's sort of like a romantic comedy spliced with a bad superhero show.  Too much office politics and romance, not enough with the superhero stuff.  In short, too girly for me.  Supposedly they had the chance to spice up the show with a more revealing costume for Supergirl, but I don't think even that would have kept me watching.  It's like watching Clark Kent go about his day, and the only reason people don't know clark kent is superman is because Clark is too goddamn boring to be superman.  Kara is just boring, and there's not enough Super in Supergirl to make the rest of the show worth watching.  Final Verdict:  UGLY.

GOTHAM:  I kind of liked this show for a while.  There was a lot of mayhem, but James Gordon was there to try and right the wrongs of Gotham long enough for Batman to grow up.  Unfortunately, it looks like all the villains are crawling out of the woodwork, and Batman is nothing but a whiny brat that they are dangling around like a carrot on every show.  Is he going to find out who killed his parents, or won't he?  Of course not.  Batman never did, and that's the whole point of why he becomes Batman.  Once his vengeance is complete, there's no need to go after anyone else, and that's why they're using every stupid and ridiculous plot device that they can think of to leave Bruce hanging.  Which leaves the rest of the city dead at the hands of the leagues of super-villains, or at least, they should be by now.  It was one thing when there was that buddy-cop vibe to it, but Gordon's ex-partner is now pretty much doing cameo appearances on the show.  Not even Morena Baccarin's flawless beauty is going to make me stick around for season after season of "Well, everyone should be dead by now, but somehow, they're not" until Batman gets around to growing a pair and kicking some ass.  Not even the Villains are likable, but a rogue's gallery of whining jerks who you wish had been killed off last season.  Perhaps the time was ripe for showing off Gordon's skills as a cop before Batman showed up, but that time has passed.  Final Verdict:  BAD, like a rotting papaya.

SCORPION:  For a bunch of geniuses, you'd think they'd be able to apply their intellects to living their lives with as much skill as they use to solve problems every week.  Sure, Walter can figure out a way to save a hospital full of dying people in a matter of minutes, but he can't figure out his feelings for Paige (or whatever her name is) in two seasons' worth of shows?  Look, I'm a genius myself, and not even I am that messed up.  If the people who wrote this show were as smart as the characters on it are supposed to be, shouldn't they be able to find new and interesting ways to challenge the characters and keep the viewers interested without resorting to the usual mix of sexual tension, drama and bedridden-character-killing-off?  You'd think so, wouldn't you?  Well, I would.  I may keep watching this one a while because I have a thing for Happy, but otherwise it's a total write-off.  Final Verdict:  BAD.


FLASH:  Flash seems more like your typical, angst-ridden teenager than one of the founding members of the JLA (Justice League something or other), as I understand the Flash's history from a more accurate cartoon series.  I know they're taking poetic license with the series to try and make it more interesting, but it's not really having that effect on me.  Sure, maybe they need to constantly have a villainous super-speedster there to keep Flash's super-speed in check, but watching him get his ass kicked every other week (and then whine about it) really isn't making me like him any better as a character.  The rest of the cast is basically a bunch of adorkable extras, which is fine for eye-candy, but not if the main plot is constantly going flat-line.  Final Verdict:  BAD.

MARVEL'S AGENTS OF SHIELD:  Agents with super-powers, occasional cameos from more well-known Superheroes, gunplay, hand-to-hand combat, hot-as-hell female leads in tight outfits, and Coulson (Clark Gregg) running the techno-show.  What's not to like?  They took everything I wanted in a superhero show (minus full female nudity), put it in a blender, and made it into a fruit smoothie.  Not only does it taste great going down, but even the burps are awesome.  Final Verdict:  GOOD.


GRIMM:  As a horror-movie lover, Halloween is my favorite holiday of the year, and this show manages to make every Friday just like Halloween.  There's monsters in masks, only the masks are the human side of the beast, and the line between good monsters and bad monsters gets blurrier and blurrier every season.  Who are the good guys?  I don't even know anymore, and I don't care.  There's beasts and baddies and ghouls and hot chicks like Adelind walking around half naked, and that's more than good enough for me.  Toss in the frequent violence, hand-to-hand combat and gunplay, and I was sold two seasons ago.  Grimm doesn't try and explain everything that's going on, just what might be going on with the Grimm this week, and that's fine.  Keep the mystery alive until you need to explain it.  Final Verdict:  GOOD.


ASH VS EVIL DEAD:  As a fan of the first three Evil Dead movies, this one was a no-brainer.  Of course I'm watching it.  At first I was a little put off by watching an over-the-hill Ash try and clumsily pick off the Deadites in his middle age, but I think that was all a ploy to make me think Ash was weak.  The man's a bona-fide slayer of the dark ones, and his ass-kicking days are far from over.  Well played, Ash.  You had me going for a minute, there.  Kill some Deadites for me.  Final Verdict: GOOD.


JESSICA JONES:  I wanted to wait to post the final fall reviews until I'd actually seen all the fall premieres.  Now that Jessica Jones popped up on Netflix a few days ago, I can add it to my review.  Obviously, there's no day of the week for any show on netflix, and I've found myself binge-watching it the last couple days.  I was a little put off at first, I admit.  Jessica Jones isn't exactly centerfold material, and the grittiness of the mean streets doesn't lend itself well to the otherwise shiny Superhero model, but there might be something here.  Jessica's surprise at finding another "gifted" individual in the form of Luke Cage was kind of interesting, and Netflix wasn't shy about showing things off.  I'm not seeing a lot of nudity (or, well, any, that I recall), but Netflix gets as close as they can get without turning it into hardcore superhero porn.  Now, if only the violence would happen more often, the show would really be something awesome.  Maybe Luke will run into Iron Fist at some point, and the three of them will team up, but who knows?  I'm already looking forward to next season, and I'm not even 4 episodes in.  Final Verdict:  So UGLY, it's GOOD.

Yea, that's about all the ones I am watching right now.  I don't recall all the networks the shows are on, or at what times, or I'd have added them to the reviews.  And, I might have got some of the actors' names wrong.  If so, it's only because I am too lazy to look up the correct networks and show times, or the right names.  Those actors and actresses do a bang-up job out there, bringing these shows to life, and most of them are so talented at their craft that I often find it hard to separate the actor from the role he/she is playing.  If I haven't mentioned a show I used to watch (iZombie, anyone?), it's only because I had to make a choice between having any free time, or being a slave to my TV, and the show is not longer in my DVR's must-record list.  Hey, I need time to eat and pee.  And sleep.  Preferably, not all at once.

In other news, it's Thanksgiving week and Turkey Day's on Thursday, which means it's time for the annual list of things I am thankful for!  Everything.  Yea, pretty much everything.  I don't get why my freedom-loving nation wants to deny people of any nationality (mexicans or syrians) entry into this (perhaps formerly) great country, but I'm sure I don't understand the politics involved.  I do know, those people we turn away will just go somewhere else, and the otherwise good things that might have come from them will be for the good of some other country, and not ours.  Everyone's always worried about the bad things, but nobody ever thinks of all the good that we're going to lose, by becoming just one more country of elitist, snobby pricks who don't want to let anyone else in.  Meh, I'm thinking of moving to canada, anyway.  Or maybe Mexico.  It's warmer there, and if the southward flow of Mexicans is any indication, it's probably nicer there this time of year than most of America.  That having been said, America is still one of the most beautiful countries in the world.  As long as we don't permanently fuck it up, there's always hope.  And that hope may be all we have left, so be thankful for it!  Enjoy your turkey (mmmm, turkey!), or whatever.  That's all for this week.