Hello and Welcome! This is the Grand Shuckett’s own Superior Spider-Sam's thoughts (not official reviews) of television shows so far in the young 2014-2015 season. If you’re a podcast listener, then you might already know a little of we feel about certain television shows. If not, now is your chance to find out.We’ll look at any shows we watch that have aired at least 3 episodes so far and tell you if we think it’s a must watch, has potential, or is a no go.
First up, ABC’s well-titled How to Get Away With Murder.
Starring Viola Davis, this new drama may have misled you in the trailers leading to its release. Some of us here thought it was a show in which a law professor and her students would theorize and discuss ways to get away with murder. It’s not that. There is a murder which involves a legal professor and her top students- students who have been selected to work in the professor’s firm as interns.
The show’s similarities to its spiritual sibling Scandal are clear in the writing. Yet it seems show creator Shonda Rhimes has grown even better in the four years since the Scandal pilot launched. This had a much better pilot than Scandal in terms of acting, pacing, mystery, and intrigue. Episode 2 slowed it down a bit, but it picks right back up in episode 3. Outside of the murder, there is a bit of lawyering in a case-of-the-week format and that is the show’s only weak point (though we at The Grand Shuckett are admittedly spoiled by Suits and The Good Wife).
Shonda Rimes’ signature twists and cliffhangers are present, so if you’re a fan of her other work, you will be a fan of this as well. I would say this show deserves a chance and you should check it out.
Next up, ABC’s Forever.
So, this is the cop show. It stars Ioan Gruffudd, whom you may know as Mr. Fantastic from Tim Story’s Fantastic Four films from 2005 and 2007 on FOX. He plays an English man whose powers of observation make him especially useful in solving crimes. He teams up with a woman in New York City and together, they tackle cases. Sounds a lot like Castle or Elementary and The Mentalist over on CBS, right? I thought so too. But this show has a niche- Ioan Gruffudd’s character Henry can’t die! He has lived for almost 2 centuries (in his late thirties) for reasons unknown. All that is known is whenever he is killed, he awakes moments later in some body of water.
The immortality angle adds intrigue to this otherwise run-of-the-mill cop drama. Ioan Gruffudd’s charming character also makes this show that much more worthwhile. However, in the end, it is another cop show and has its case of the week. I won’t say this is a must watch or even worth the addition to your television rotation, especially if you already watch Castle, Elementary, CSI, NCIS, NCIS: Los Angeles, The Mentalist, NCIS: New Orleans, or any of the other procedurals out there. If, for some reason, you do not watch any of those, or you really would like another, then check out Forever, because it is solid.
Next up is ABC’s Selfie.
Man oh man, all of us at The Grand Shuckett wanted to love this show. The trailers for Selfie promoted itself by highlighting Karen Gillan for her role in Guardians of the Galaxy. But to us, she will be remembered as Amy Pond –the girl who waited.
Selfie knows what it is, and I can give it that. Similar to CBS’ Two Broke Girls, it has its particular brand of comedy and runs with it unapologetically. It’s not very good. One of our members (Darren) does like it, so there is a market out there for the show and you may belong to it, but I personally find the acting to be not very well done, the jokes feel forced, the plot is unrealistic to a fault, and most importantly, it’s just not funny. I’ve put up with three episodes so far only because I am a fan of Karen Gillan and John Cho, but I cannot see myself giving this show my attention for long. I would not recommend it at this point.
Next up is ABC’s Black-ish.
“This show is offensive.” Words I’ve heard people say, words I’ve said, and words I still believe. Intentionally or not, the show offends black people by trying to define the way we all should act- stereotyping. After watching the first three episodes, I still believe that, but I see that the show is trying to get across a message that Anthony Anderson’s “old-school black mentality” doesn’t necessarily exist in the current generation of children. A fine message- I just think the show could go about it better.
Now, let me be fair and say that even after ALL that I said above, I laughed during this show. It is definitely funnier than Selfie, and during the moments when the focus isn’t on the “blackness”, I could even use the word hilarious. If you can get past the show’s “Are you black enough?” mantra, I would actually recommend it- it will give you chuckles and the ratings appear strong enough that it won’t be cancelled soon.
Also, can someone help me understand Laurence Fishburne? He turns down Broadway to do CSI, then leaves CSI to go to an inferior network at NBC and do Hannibal, and now he is on ABC playing the most annoying character on Black-ish. What is this man doing? What kind of career path is he on?
Next up, ABC’s returning Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
After this show’s first 5 episodes last season, I didn’t care for it. Upon episode 8, I was certain it would be cancelled. By episode 12, I found it unwatchable so I gave up on it. That was a mistake. Everywhere I turned, I heard how those last 7 episodes of season 1 were really good, so I went back and watched. Let me tell you, I watched all of those first season episodes and caught up in season 2 in one 12 hour sitting. It was indeed really good.
Season 2 doesn’t slow down at all with Coulson leading this “new S.H.I.E.L.D.” as the director upon the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier and the effects it had on the Marvel universe. It seems the creators have worked out the kinks and all 4 episodes of the season so far have been good. I recommend this show. So much in fact, that I think it might be worth suffering through the first 2/3 of that shaky first season.
Next we have NBC’s Mysteries of Laura and Bad Judge.
Why am I doing two shows this time around? Because I don’t have much to say- both these shows are some trash. Do not watch them.
Next up is FOX’s Gotham.
This may be the hardest show to diagnose out of the shows we watch. Gotham is especially difficult to recommend because I’m constantly bouncing back and forth between what it is and what it has the potential to be. What it is now is a cop show with mediocre acting (for the most part), special effects, and storylines that stand out only because it takes place in Batman’s fabled city.
It’s not a great procedural- right now, it is just decent and if it were to stay the same, I’d say forget this show. However, because of all the potential it has to showcase a young Bruce Wayne and a young Selina Kyle, because it has the opportunity to show us the villains before they were villains, and because it can show us how straight-laced Detective Gordon becomes swallowed by the corruption of the city before the arrival of the Batman- I am going to say stick it out. I can bet that season 2 and beyond will grow better as Bruce Wayne ages and the city grows even darker. The rise of the Penguin is something I am especially anxious for (he was in power before the Batman came onto the scene).
Right now, after 3 episodes, I will continue to watch because the cases, while not groundbreaking, are adequate enough to capture interest. Also, the Edward Nygma, Oswald Cobblepot, and Fish Mooney (in the Superior Spider-Sam’s opinion) characters are well portrayed. I’d recommend this one based on what it hopefully will be.
Next up is Sleepy Hollow on FOX.
Yeah, this show is good. I say that because I heard so much hype before the new season came out- there was even a “National Beheading Day” promotion. So, I took the opportunity to catch up on season 1, and I am very glad that season 2 is now a part of my weekly rotation.
Be warned, there are some heavy Biblical aspects to this show- especially in the beginning. It has calmed down, but only slightly, so if you aren’t a fan of this type of thing where good guys fight evil spirits and demons (see Supernatural seasons 4 and 5), then it may not be for you.
However, if you can get past that, this show is awesome. A friend of mine referred to it as a cousin to the CW’s Supernatural (which I love), but I wouldn’t go that far.
Nichole Beharie as present-day Lieutenant Abby Mills and Tom Milson as time-traveling Ichabod Crane are delightful. They have an on-screen chemistry that just works, making it that much more exciting each week to see what construct of evil they will tackle next in the fight against the big baddie Moloch (a demon). Also, even now in the second season, seeing Abby have to educate Ichabod on modern-day trivialities such as rewinding a video or putting a car into reverse is utterly entertaining. Highly recommended.
Next up are Mulaney and Brooklyn Nine-Nine on FOX.
I know what you’re thinking, but this is not necessarily a Mysteries of Laura/ Bad Judge type deal–both shows are not awful. I am doing these two FOX comedies together because I can summarize them in about two sentences.
Before I talk about Mulaney, it should be noted that he had pitched a comedy to FOX before which was rejected. I have heard that that series was funny, so I can’t totally blame John Mulaney if he had to put out this show to get on the air. Having said that, this show is not good. It is essentially his stand up recycled into a sitcom. I can’t even recommend it to fans of John Mulaney, because it’s certain to be cancelled and I wouldn’t want to waste anyone’s time.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine is hilarious. The hilarity only continues in season 2. WATCH IT!
Next is Red Band Society on FOX.
This show is sad, and not like you may believe. I’m not saying it’s sad because of the sick kids that make up its cast; it’s sad because the show seems to make a point to ensure you don’t care.
Pretty much all of the characters are not very likeable or relatable. This is not something I find to be acceptable. Even Scandal took two seasons before it made everyone in the show unlikeable. The lack of feeling for the characters creates a show that’s, well, boring.
I am willing to concede the 4th episode of the series managed to be the best so far and actually maintained my interest throughout the whole episode, but I cannot recommend this show just yet. I will give it a few more episodes based solely on the improvement I saw in episode 4, but I’m not sure this show can maintain my focus. That, and I have a sneaking suspicion it will end up cancelled soon.
As you can see, there’s so much to watch on television this fall season. Not all shows can be good and even fewer are great. Stay tuned for more reviews and our weekly podcast for the shows we’re watching and enjoying.