It’s that wonderful time of year again when the old reliables return to our screens and the new potential hits are rolled out for us to make or break. Dexter and Breaking Bad have ended, one with a neutered whimper and one with a triumphant bang (guess which is which), True Blood left us (not at all bewitched) bothered and bewildered, Game of Thrones is making me wait another six months for my fix and I still miss Spartacus. So I filled my TV schedule with the offerings from this season in a desperate attempt to fill the void that the absence of quality television has left inside of me. Some people comfort eat, some go to church, I binge with my eyes glued to the screen and proffer my uneducated opinion instead.
Below is my review and breakdown of some of the returning and new shows. If you haven’t yet seen a specific entry and intend to, skip it and read on by, because there will be SPOILERS.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
How I’ve waited for this one! And I can’t say I was disappointed either, I thoroughly enjoyed this first TV offering from the folks at Disneymarvel. It wasn’t without its issues though. In parts it felt erratic, rushed, the dialogue was hammy and it has the feel of this generation’s A-Team, meaning that nobody is killed outright, and if they are killed, it’s of their own doing, i.e. it’s their own fault. I can get passed that though, it really is presented as a bit of a family-friendly show and their time slot doesn’t lend itself to excessive violence or cursing. I love a bit of cursing, but I have other, more adult programs for that.
On the whole I like most of the cast. It was nice to see J. August Richards, Clark Gregg back as Agent Coulson and Ming-Na as Melinda May. She kicked ARSE. The second episode saw the action slow down to a more sedate pace and I think it will take another couple of episodes for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to find its groove. I believe the keyword here is potential, and this has plenty of that.
We open the third season of Revenge with a flash-forward of Emily on a boat, apologising to someone off-screen and then getting shot, twice, in the gut. She falls off the boat and into the water, her white dress beginning to stain with red blood and her pale, staring face painting an ethereal picture. Even when faced with this premonitory scene I struggle to believe that they’d have the balls to kill her off. If this is the last season of Revenge, which some are saying it should be, I don’t believe they’d end the series that way. It would be interesting if they did, but they won’t.
For me, Season 1 of Revenge was a guilty, enjoyable pleasure. Season 2 was awful. I read that Season 3 will be more “back to basics”, with Emily now going for the Graysons’ jugular. I do hope that this really is the final season, because I sincerely doubt they can drag or stretch this plot any further without making the premise become a ridiculous parody of itself. It was one of those shows that I believe should have had a one season or mini-series run. But nobody can argue with ratings, and it is all about the money.
So back to the present, where we’ve had a six month time-jump. Emily and Daniel are all loved up and still engaged, Conrad is set on becoming the next President of the USofA, Victoria is making goo-goo eyes at her first-born and abandoned son, the Green Arrow of Smallville, Charlotte returns bitchy from a trip to Europe that she took to get over losing her baby and her boyfriend, Nolan has been released from prison and exonerated which is explained away in one retrospective sentence and Jack returns from a very long stay with some mystery uncle.
More dubious plots and plans are hatched. Emily makes Conrad and clan think he has Huntington’s, which was pretty cruel in a funny way, she and Daniel set a date for the wedding of the century, joining forces with Queen Victoria Emily then rids herself of the threat of the horrible Ashley, Nolan does some skydiving, Charlotte chases off Oliver, I mean Patrick, and Jack and Emily share a steamy kiss and then he basically rips her heart out and withdraws, having given her an ultimatum to get her vengeance business done before the end of the summer. I asked myself, why is he doing that? And then I realised… I DON’T ACTUALLY CARE.
I wasn’t left wanting more. I think I’m done with Revenge now.
The Vampire Diaries
As soon as I started watching the new season opener of The Vampire Diaries I realised that I’d completely forgotten what had happened during last season’s finale. Much like Revenge, it didn’t leave a lasting impression with me at all. And I swear, that Doppelganger thing is getting really, really annoying. And Bonnie is dead, why can’t she stay dead? How many times has Jeremy died now? Why can’t the characters of TVD who die just… DIE?
That said, there were at least half a dozen deaths in the first episode back. Granted, they were mostly all Stefan’s, who has been locked in a safe and thrown into a lake, where he’s been drowning over and over again for the entire summer while his ex and his bruv nest and bang their pain away. Katherine is also human now, about which I’m not sure how I feel, but at least it keeps a somewhat semi-interesting character involved in the show. Speaking of keeping people involved, just cut Matt loose already. They’ve already done that with Tyler, the other boring one.
Thankfully, Elena seems less mopey and depressed now, and although she’s nowhere near as entertaining as she was when she had no humanity, she’s embracing the college life with her bestie Caroline, and the repetitive writers have even given them their own little college mystery to solve, while Damon and Jeremy are stuck back in Mystic Falls with ghost Bonnie and evil Doppelganger Stefan/Silas.
The episode ended with a bit of a bold statement and somewhat of a cliffhanger, so I suppose I’ll give this one another few episodes before I will inevitably get bored, declare it a teeny-bopper True Blood and give up on it. Again. Hey, at least there are no more New Orleans scenes with The Originals that we have to persevere through, because naturally, they got their own spin-off.
The premiere of The Vampire Diaries’ new spin-off, The Originals, was a little disappointing. 90% of the episode was basically a re-hash of the Originals’ episodes from the last season of TVD, with a little sprinkle of added Elijah thrown in for good measure. The closing scene was an interesting and unexpected one, and while the Original family have an intriguing history and with the exception of head psychopath Nikklaus, all of the currently “living” members have redeemable, somewhat likeable attributes.
Marcel, the once protégé of Klaus, with his Denzel Washington-esque posturing provides a charismatic nemesis. The baby story-line is a clichéd and overdone plot device. The unborn child will be used as a catalyst and then promptly discarded once birthed, never to return to our sights again unless they go with an “advanced aging” tack, which is equally as clichéd and unnecessary. There wasn’t enough new material here for me to make a solid judgment, but I’ll be tuning in to see the next episode for a better feel for just how good (or bad) this could be.
Once Upon A Time
The return of Once Upon a Time was a surprisingly solid one for me. After falling in love with the first season and feeling that love wane as they waded through some seriously sluggish problems in the second, I wasn’t expecting much, and like many others already on my Fall List of I Don’t Think I’ll Bother Anymore, I was about to give up on make-believe and magic. The start of this season, however, sees a select group of the cast (including Mr. Gold – it was a genius move to cast Robert Carlyle as Rumpelstiltskin) stranded in the dark, foreboding Neverland, where their evil version of Pan steals shadows and children.
A few minutes in and we already have a couple of real deaths. It’s a shame the kid didn’t die though, as he’s become really annoying. Isn’t it awful that I wish a child character cease to exist? What is it with me and precocious kids. I don’t like Henry, I didn’t like Duck in The Walking Dead Game, and Dexter’s son Harrison drove me up the wall every time he looked at the camera. Anyway, I digress. I’ll be sticking with Once Upon A Time for now. Its Wonderland spin-off will be another that I’ll give the courtesy of checking out too later in the week.
This fall there was one series in particular that I was most looking forward to returning. Fortunately enough for me I didn’t have as long as others had in my wait for Arrow, as I’d only just recently managed to get through Season 1, but I was anxiously anticipating it nonetheless. I’m happy to report that the Season 2 opener did not disappoint.
We open with a quick breakdown of the damage extent the earthquake of last season’s finale has created. Oliver is coerced back from the island by his intrepid team in order to save the family biz, attend his murderous mother’s trial and do battle against the copycat hoods that have sprung up in the wake of the disaster to exact their own extreme brand of vengeance on the 1%. The story all the while cuts to island flashbacks, which most of us are happy to admit have been one of the best aspects of this show.
This season we see a new Oliver. Intent on a new philosophy, one that does not include a high body count (because that dishonours his dead former best friend’s memory, a concept I thought was a bit contrived but whatever, I’ll roll with it for story development), and we see The Hood begin to grow into The Green Arrow. We meet new characters and welcome the return of others, and my only complaint is that unlike last season, I can’t watch them all at once. I’m stuck waiting like the rest of you plebs for the weekly installments.
I have plenty of others to catch up on; a few new episodes of Boardwalk Empire, a whole season of Homeland and The Mentalist, not to mention the fact that I’ve been meaning to give Sons of Anarchy a whirl now for ages. My dance card is full, even with the Fall pruning I’ve implemented. The Walking Dead returns this weekend and I hope to have some thoughts on that (naturally I will) hopefully along with my last final fifth installment of my zombie adventure. Until then, happy viewing!