While the movie box office is still suffering from after-effects of the Hollywood writers’ strike, those unhappy times are a distant memory to the TV networks who are rushing to fill our DVRs with new content. Most of our favourite series made a quick return after the holidays, bringing with them some new (Caprica) and returning (24 and Lost) series as the TV midseason officially begins.
By now we’ve already watch 5 tension-filled hours of Jack Bauer trying to survive another day of assassination attempts, insider plots, nuclear threats, hi-tech spy-tech, and not having to deal with food, water, or restrooms. While this season sees Bauer and CTU relocated to the Big Apple, things have started kind of in the same way they always do. Fans will be happy to know that we’ve even got our requisite severed appendage (a thumb) out of the way. Katee Sackhoff and Freddie Prinze Jr. have joined the cast as CTU’s “it” couple. I’m hoping they will rise to the Tony and Michele legacy, but so far they’ve just been playing CTU Ken and CTU Barbie (I’m especially disappointed with the formidable Sackhoff in such a wimpy role). Nevertheless, once the plot started kicking into high-gear (assassination attempt #1), we got a taste of some of that ole 24 magic. Let’s hope the remaining hours will prove this to be an exciting “day” for us all.
As much as I love Michael Westen (aka the new MacGyver) I’m starting to lose track of his overall story arc (do we know who burned him or not?). The midseason premiere brings a welcome guest in Tyne Daly, for a wonderful Cagney & Lacey reunion (I didn’t watch that show, but these two actresses have great chemistry) and some dynamite acting from Sharon Gless. Unfortunately, the A-plot also brought back Michael’s southern-hick-thug cover identity. I hope this season will take the burn-notice story to a new, more interesting place, and that Michael will get some shiny new cover personae.
Mark Valley (remember him as Agent Dunham’s villainous partner from Fringe) stars as a mystery man, action figure, bodyguard who goes from week to week secretly righting wrongs and doing his own missions. It’s too early to tell what the overall premise of the series is, but for a viewer there’s no shortage of adrenaline and action. Chi McBride (fondly missed as the dour Emerson Cod from Pushing Daisies) and Jackie Earl Haley (recently not-seen as the masked vigilante Rorschach from the Watchmen film) team up as the side-kicks/ backup/ helpers. Though this show is fun, I think it still needs some time to find its tone: sometimes funny, sometimes cynical, sometimes explosive is all OK as long as it’s carried out right. So far I’m not still not buying it, though, but I’m giving this show a chance (no pun intended — ‘cos Chance is the name of Valley’s character).
We’ve seen the gradual extinction of the down-to-earth situation dramas with the overly-clever dialogue (think Dawson’s Creek or the Gilmore Girls). This show puts together a couple of radio personalities (played by Shiri Appleby and Kerr Smith), a slacker bar owner (played by Kristoffer Polaha), and the biological daughter that comes back into their lives. I quite enjoy the zingy dialogue, the occasional cultural references, and the likable cast. To enjoy this show I’ll even endure the parents-as-adolescents/ adolescents-as-grownups theme that has been done to death.
The Deep End
I love lawyer shows, so I’m going to give this one a chance, even though the life-antics of a bunch of bed-hopping pretty boys and girls is not my kind of show. Add to that the overly-intense Billy Zane as their unscrupulous and domineering overlord and this show is going to get tiresome quickly. Unless it can show some evidence of quality, I think this one will get quickly dismissed (…. like what I did there … with the legal puns?)
So far they’ve only aired the pilot double-episode of this BSG prequel (which was already released on DVD a while back). The tone is dark, having dealt with terrorism, the urban underbelly, and questionable social and scientific ethics. Supposedly the series will be more soap than sci-fi, and they’ve already played the “inventing the Cylons” card, but I love how fleshed-out the futuristic world seems to be (and I love the greeter/security robot at the Graysons’), so I’m hoping that there will still be a lot of sci-fi elements to make this show more than just a new millennium’s Falcon Crest (Oops! I did it again!) Kidding aside, if Ron Moore can bring the same kind of high-calibre drama that he brought to BSG, this is going to be another amazing series.
I’m still not sure what to think of this animated spy satire for adults. I am really enjoying some of the characters, including the petty, self-absorbed title character, Sterling Archer, but the episodes have not really grabbed me so far. They seem kind of thinly-scripted and too much focus is placed on the comparison of the ISIS agency to a normal office.
If these shows aren’t enough, (as the promos keep reming us) Lost’s final season is just around the corner, and if that’s not enough, there’s only a few more months until Glee returns (Yay!).