Midseason TV mania, Part 1 (Drama)

Between January and March (which networks loosely like to call “midseason”) a number of new shows have debuted (and there are a few more to go). I don’t know whether it’s scary or not that so many of the new fall shows have been cancelled, leaving room for such a number of midseason replacements. With so many new shows, for a TV fan like me, it feels like another fall. Here are some of the midseason dramas that I’ve seen:

The Unit follows the gritty adventures of a special forces covert ops team as they stop terrorists, and perform other heroic missions that the public know nothing about. The team leader is played by Dennis Haysbert (sorely missed as President David Palmer from 24 – R.I.P., Mr. President!). Episodes are full of action—military style—with political/social issues mixed in, all presented with plenty of authentic-sounding insider dialogue. Alongside, the wives have storylines of their own, struggling with their lives while the men go off to do God-knows-what. If you’re a fan of drama—military and otherwise, you should check this show out.
(Tuesdays on CBS) 3.5 out of 5

In Justice is not as new as the other midseason shows (it started in January). Each week the investigators at the (fictional) National Justice Project crack open cases of the wrongly convicted to find evidence to set them free. Some have found the show to be too sentimental, but I find it engaging and moving. It’s hard not to get choked up when an innocent man or woman is freed from prison after having given up hope. Episodes are interesting to watch because the investigation usually goes through a few twists along the way and the “aha” moments are not too far-fetched—I felt like I almost came up with that angle myself (as if!). After a few episodes I am now hooked.
(Fridays on ABC) 4 out of 5

Heist is the latest offering from Doug Liman (director of Bourne Identity and Mr. and Mrs. Smith on the big screen). It follows a group of professional thieves as they plan and execute a major heist. For fans of the slick, Italian Job-style heist movies, this show is right up your alley. Granted, it’s full of somewhat cliché characters (why is there always a tough girl and geeky guy on the team. Do the geekettes and the himbos not get into professional crime?). In the first episode they’ve declared their intention (to rob all the Rodeo Drive jewellery stores during the week of the Oscars) and raised their start-up capital by cleverly robbing a bank. I can’t wait to see how their plot unfolds. I’m actually rooting for the thieves—such a moral quandry!
(Wednesdays on NBC) 4 out of 5

Two shows that just started but I have given up on already:

The Evidence pretends to be a crime show that gives you the evidence (ostensibly so that you can solve the crime from your couch) but that is such a crock. Before the opening credits, the coroner character describes each piece of physical evidence in the case, but the scam is that you don’t really have enough information to figure out the crime. Each piece of evidence shows up at some point during the episode (at which point you still don’t know enough to know what the evidence is supposed to prove). To add insult, you get a few flashes of the item on the evidence table as it shows up in the normal story (“Ding ding! Here’s the evidence in case you missed it.”). Fool me once, shame on me.
(Wednesdays on ABC) 2 out of 5

I didn’t even make it through the first episode of Conviction. Though it looks and feels like another situation drama about pretty young Manhattanites and their problems (this time they’re from the D.A.’s office) it’s supposed to be about issues as well. Whatever. Between the rich-kid-makes-good character, the hot-shot-womanizer character, the slightly-more-experienced stone-faced character, and the pretty-but-not-so-pretty-to-be-a-bimbo character, I didn’t see any important issues being discussed. Take this Grey’s-Anatomy-in-a-suit show at face value.
(Fridays on NBC) 2 out of 5

More to come on midseason comedies…

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