Midseason 2009, Part 3: March

Yes, I know it’s hard to believe, but I’m still posting about midseason TV (I promise this is the last one). As the TV season continues on, some shows actually ended in March, but a few others just began. I love how this new rolling TV schedule keeps things interesting all year round.

Reaper

The end of last season was kind of messy. I could feel the writers and producers scrambling to escape from the damaging effects that a writers’ strike can have on a new show. A rushed end to the season came just as the mythology around Sam (played by Bret Harrison), the guy whose parents sold his soul to the devil, was really starting to build. His neighbors, a couple of gay rebel demons, had failed in their attempts to strike back at the Prince of Darkness. We found out that not only was Sam the son of Satan, his adopted father was not the man we thought either. Flash forward to season two: the questions from last season have largely been dropped so far. Sam and his buddies returning from a recovery vacation find that they have nowhere to live and no jobs to return to. Girlfriend Andi is upset because Sam did not tell her where he went (another goof by hilarious sidekick Sock). So that’s all the setup you need and things go right back to where they were most of last season. Each week, Sam is assigned a new soul-hunting task which he accomplishes by the end of the episode. The formula seems to be going strong. The one new wrinkle (thank God — or maybe that other guy), is that Sam meets a mysterious man who got out of his own contract with the devil. So I guess one of the arcs of this season will be to see if Sam can get out of his contract too — let’s just say he’s probably got a snowball’s chance in … you know. (3.5 out of 5)

Castle

A tall, roguish, former Joss Whedon leading man is paired up with an attractive but slightly uptight crime-solving female. Is that show called Bones, you ask? No, it’s called Castle, but it sure sounds like Bones doesn’t it? Anyway, Nathan Fillion returns to TV as Richard Castle, author of a series of mystery thrillers who tags along with a female detective (played by Stana Katic) to lend his knowledge, and clever charm, to help crack those cases. Even though this setup has clearly been done before, I had hoped that Fillion’s charisma and maybe some clever writing might make this a good show to watch. I’ve seen two episodes so far, and I found them tiresome. Castle is just too smug, and it doesn’t help that he always knows exactly what to do to solve the crime. Plus, I’m as much a fan of witty banter as the next guy, but the zingers keep flying so fast and furiously that I barely have time to keep up. Oh yeah, and am I supposed to care about the crime being solved that week? (3 out of 5)

Kings

I’m really excited about this show, but I’ve read that I probably shouldn’t get my hopes up. This series set in modern times but based loosely on the biblical story of David and King Saul is a pretty cool concept on its own. Add to that some interesting actors, such as Ian McShane (of Deadwood) as the king of Gilboa himself, and you’ve got the makings of a pretty epic drama. I especially like some of the little touches such as the fact that the king has a notetaker who records as he dictates how he wants the history books to remember important events — he’s writing his own legend. In the lead is a new actor playing the role of David Shepherd (Christopher Egan), a war hero brought to the court as its new golden boy (if you know your Bible, you know where their relationship is headed). The sets and locations look pretty grand. The show looks like it costs a lot of money to make, so that doesn’t bode well in these financial times. I really hope that this series is not — ahem — history. (4 out of 5)

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