[TV] The Fall Roundup – HIT or MISS?

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 SHIELD

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.

Verdict: HIT.

revenge

Revenge

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.

"Let's never mention the words CARION or THE INITIATIVE ever again." AMEN to that.

“Let’s never mention the words CARION or THE INITIATIVE ever again.” AMEN to that.

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.

Verdict: MISS.

The Vampire Diaries

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.

Stefilas takes some Sheriff Mom to go, but even though he needs human blood to function, he's not a vampire. Apparently.

Stefilas takes some Sheriff Mom to go, but even though he needs human blood to function, he’s not a vampire. Apparently.

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.

Verdict: UNDECIDED.

The Originals

The Originals

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.

Verdict: UNDECIDED.

Once Upon A Time

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.

An Irish Hook + Johnny Depp's Guyliner = SOLD.

An Irish Hook + Johnny Depp’s Guyliner = SOLD.

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.

Verdict: HIT.

Arrow S2

Arrow

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.

Verdict: HIT.

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!

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Categories: Review, TV

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35 replies

  1. I never got around to watching Archer. I always wanted too. I saw the first season of Revenge and thought it was great. Season 2 got boring around episode 3 so I quit there. I’m not sure if I want to go back and try again and i’m honestly not interested in Agents of Shield at all because I’m not too crazy about the Avengers movie that came out a while back. Nice article :]. You’ve got me interested in a few shows up there.

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    • Definitely agree about Season 1 of Revenge, it had a little something that reeled the viewer in. It seriously lost its way though, and I persevered through Season 2 but now I don’t think it was worth it at all, should have done what you did and gave up a while ago! I wouldn’t recommend SHIELD to someone who isn’t a fan of the Avengers or any of those movies. As for Arrow, it’s DC and not Marvel so if you like the darker superhero flicks it might be a good one for you. I’d recommend checking out the first season of Once Upon A Time though, that was a lot of unexpected fun for me and the cast is impressive.

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  2. Try the Blacklist if you have the time. It’s quite good. And Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D is beyond awesome. Needless to say I am a fan.

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  3. Good stuff V, I agree with you on AoS – peeps seem to be bashing it but folks should give it a bit of a chance. Most TV shows don’t start getting REALLY good until the second season.

    CANNOT wait to start Arrow season 2, especially after that first season finale – made me want to invest in a longbow and stalk the streets at night, not that I actually would…or would I? Haha.

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    • You’re so right Chris, it’s very uncommon for a new TV show to blow you out of the water continuously from the first episode and onward. It isn’t usually not until midway and the second half of a first season that it achieves the greatness it aspired to. That’s what happened with me and Arrow; I wasn’t totally sold on it until it reached its stride and then I was hooked. I usually tell people that if you like the premise, give it a chance to make you happy.

      I’m so impressed with Arrow in the sense that it made one of the less cooler DC characters seriously cool. :D I want to take up archery now myself! Although stalking the streets at night, not too sure about that. You’d have to have a costume, otherwise you’d just look ridiculous. ;D

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  4. I can’t wait for part five of your Walking Dead playthrough.

    I don’t watch much TV, but I probably should give Arrow and SHIELD a go as I love superheroes. Is Whedon involved with SHIELD? If so it will probably get cancelled :-)

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    • If you like superheroes, definitely give SHIELD and Arrow a try! LOL @ poor Joss Whedon. Yup he’s involved with SHIELD, let’s hope he doesn’t bring his TV Cancellation Curse over there with him. :D And now Summer Glau has been added to the Arrow cast for Season 2, she’s just as big of a jinx to TV shows!

      Hoping to get Part 5 of TWD Game done over the weekend. I actually finished it ages ago, but for the first time I didn’t scramble to write everything down as soon as I’d completed it like I had done with all of the other episodes, because I was a bit emotional with the last one and couldn’t bring myself to do it. :(

      Thanks for stopping by and for your comments, as always!

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  5. I’m really loving SHIELD… and this blog : )

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  6. Wish I had more time to watch TV. I want to check out SHIELD.

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    • It is really hard to find the time to fit in all of the TV and movies you want to watch, and all of the games you want to play. I’m usually a machine when it comes to plowing through everything, but even I am seriously behind on my list. You should definitely give SHIELD a go, it’s only three episodes in so you can make a quick decision on whether you like it and/or want to continue investing precious weekly time.

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  7. Excellent rundown of the new season. I’m a big fan of Arrow and Once Upon a Time. I’ve enjoyed Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. immensely so far, but time will tell whether they can maintain the quality of that type of show on a television shooting schedule. Your description of hammy and rushed were spot on and a major concern. Having said that, it is a superhero show, so some degree of hammy may be unavoidable. Maybe we’ll get lucky and the Marvel-centric writers of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will spend some time watching the gritter DC based Arrow!

    Speaking of that, I’m holding my breath for a story arc that includes Black Canary. It wouldn’t hurt if they could find some time for the Green Lantern too. Sigh…now I’m nostalgic for my old comic collection. Big DC fan…BIG, BIG DC fan.

    Now I’m going to show my ignorance with a question. Here in the United States we have an opportunity to see many BBC shows through several avenues that include BBC America, PBS and select cable channels. How inclusive is the selection of U.S. shows that are broadcast in Ireland and the United Kingdom?

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  8. This season of Arrow is going to be so exciting, there will be a veritable feast of DC characters introduced, including Black Canary, The Flash and Bronze Tiger. You can’t beat DC when it comes to exploring the darker sides of their heroes and villains. I’m really tickled to hear you’re a fan of Arrow, SHIELD and Once Upon A Time. You continue to amaze me with your awesome tastes. ;D

    Now to answer your question! We get pretty decent access to American shows here through Sky digital. Sky Atlantic, for example, has a partnership with HBO, and we see all of their major shows (Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire) a day after they air in the States. Other channels have similar deals too; SHIELD is on Channel 4 (UK). Two of our Irish terrestrial channels also buy the rights to quite a few popular series, although they can be a couple of weeks behind sometimes. It’s a hell of a lot better than it used to be though, it would be months of waiting, and usually what I’d do is just order boxsets. Once Upon A Time was challenging though, RTE (Ireland) has it but they’re too far behind, so I watched most of last season via ABC.com. A quick change of a couple of router settings and you can fool any website into thinking you’re in the USA, so streaming is possible from outside of the country.

    For everything else, I wait for Netflix! That’s how I watched all of Mad Men.

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  9. I love Arrow too. I’m a big fan of dark, mysterious superheroes so can’t wait for series 2. I stopped watching Revenge with the cliffhanger at the end of series 1. It started so well, but lost its way for me so no surprise the second series was poor. Look forward to reading more of these reviews.

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    • You’re dead right there, Revenge did start well, with a lot of promise, and then it imploded on itself. Luckily we have shows like Arrow to fall back on, I too am very much looking forward to Season 2. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment!

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  10. I like the three Originals characters more than the premise. I believe the actor playing Elijah is also working on another show which is why I think he got daggered and only appeared in a handful of flashback scenes in the second episode. I also won’t be surprised if they go with the super fast aging of Klaus’ baby. ;)

    I’m half through Season 3 of Sons of Anarchy. It’s not a bad show but nothing incredible. The big show I’m waiting for is The Walking Dead Season 4!

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  11. I agree with you that The Vampire Diaries is undecided for me this season and Arrow is definitely a hit. I’m glad that Felicity got a more important and permanent role than just the IT girl.
    Also The Originals is pretty good. The first episode was just recaps on what happened in New Orleans in TVD. You should watch the second episode because it’s gets better.

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  12. Same here, Felicity is a great character. Also glad to see I’m not the only one having TVD doubts. I will definitely check out The Originals next episode, thanks for the rec!

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  13. This is the kind of post I’ve been wanting to write about for a while now, but postgrad work and laziness keeps getting in the way. I might still get round to it, none of the show’s I’ve been watching are featured here or in part deux. Anyway…the number of shows you watch is quite admirable. Do you like sitcoms? I started watching a new show called ‘The Crazy Ones’ with Robin Williams. I’m not sure how much of the dialogue is written by Williams, but it’s surprisingly good, and funny.

    I like the new layout, scrolling down links is much better than scrolling down posts!

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    • Hey Sophie, thanks for reading and for the feedback! Am very glad this new layout is much more accessible, and more inviting. :D

      Yes, I watch a lot of shows. It can be very time-consuming (as you know) but quite a few of these have been dropped in the meantime. I’ve taken up another couple of programs too on recommendation from a few people who have commented, like The Blacklist and Dracula. I should probably do a reprisal because my list has changed somewhat…

      I’ve heard good things about The Crazy Ones, definitely think I’ll have to check it out now. You should definitely do a Round-Up post (when you have the time and inclination of course!), I’d be very interested to see what you’ve been watching!

      Like

Trackbacks

  1. [TV] The Fall Roundup – HIT or MISS? (Part Deux) | The Verbal Spew Review
  2. Fall TV 2013 Part 1 Review | Tim's Film Reviews
  3. [TV] The Fall Roundup – HIT or MISS? (Revisited) « The Verbal Spew Review

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