Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Capsule Reviews

There's a lot of new shows premiering this week so let's knock some of these reviews out, shall we?

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Was there really any chance that I wouldn't like this? Joss Whedon wrote and directed the pilot, I mean come on. In case you've been living under a rock, the show follows Agent Coulson (newly resurrected from death in The Avengers movie) as he puts together a team of agents within SHIELD to handle strange cases. As is oft repeated during the pilot episode, it's a brave new world out there now that the public knows about the presence of super heroes. Oh, and that little thing that was the Battle of New York. You know, when aliens basically destroyed all of New York City and the Avengers had to save our asses. Anyway, SHIELD is starting to operate out of the shadows and there is another super secret organization working against them. Typical.

You've got all the hallmarks of a Joss Whedon show here: clever, self-aware dialogue, strong female characters, and lots of familiar faces from past Whedon shows (Gunn! Shepherd Book!). Though at times it felt a little too Hollywood-slick (and maybe a tad bit too cutesy clever for it's own good), consider me hooked. And based on the giant ratings for the premiere, I'm not the only one. If you're a Joss Whedon or Marvel universe fan, this one's a no brainer. If not, but you think something that combines the best elements of Buffy, Fringe, and Alias is interesting you should also give it a look. And if none of THAT appeals to you....then I don't know what to say. Clearly you live an empty and humorless existence and have bigger problems than I can solve.

Marvel's Agents of SHIELD airs Tuesday nights at 8:00pm on ABC.

The Blacklist: It all sounded good on paper. James Spader as a creepy member of the FBI's Most Wanted who one day mysteriously turns himself in to help catch the very criminals and terrorists that he himself used to help. But he'll only cooperate if paired with a young agent just starting her career as a profiler. In reality though...I was kind of bored. The show was just too derivative of Silence of the Lambs. There was a sort of interesting twist at the end involving the FBI agent, but I haven't made up my mind if I am going to stick with it or not. I don't consider myself a quitter so I might give it a few more episodes, but it's going to have to up the thrill factor if I am going to stay interested. NBC is certainly throwing a lot of money at the screen (and it paid off with big ratings), but so far I am just meh.

The Blacklist airs Mondays at 10:00pm on NBC.

Hostages: Ooooh, I was really looking forward to this one. Mostly because I love Toni Collette (have you seen Muriel's Wedding??), and because the premise looked interesting. Toni plays a surgeon scheduled to perform surgery on the President....when the night before the procedure she and her family are taken hostage by a group of people (led by Dylan McDermott) who want her to kill the President. OR ELSE.

It is very cinematic in quality and story, so much so that I am not sure how they plan to sustain it. I heard somewhere that this one is more of a "limited run" series in the British model with fewer episodes than a full season order, so that sounds promising, but I still don't know if the show can keep up the momentum of the pilot which was quite taut and fast-paced. Everyone in the show (even the teenage kids) have secrets so I am sure those will come into play. And I like that we aren't exactly clear on what the kidnappers/terrorists motivation is yet. My one big quibble is the music--tone down the dramatic moments, soundtrack. It's distracting. Bottom line: a well-thought out thriller that has me wondering what will happen next. I'll definitely be sticking with it.

Hostages airs Mondays at 10:00pm on CBS.

Coming soon: thoughts on the return of Glee, and reviews of new shows Betrayal, Ironside, and The Originals.

And in case you forgot to bookmark it, here is another link to TV Guide's Fall Premiere Calendar, including new and returning shows.

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