TV Opinion: Continuing Shows and New Premiers, mostly SFF

Here’s the status of the show’s I’m watching and the new pilots I’ve seen, from most promising to least. The older shows have an advantage in that respect, since they’ve had the opportunity to demonstrate some lasting power. Oddly, though I seem to have gotten harder to please with time, I’m only outright rejecting one show.

The rating system I’ve decided to use here–Verdict (Yes, No, Maybe)–refers to whether or not I’m going to watch any more episodes.

The Originals

Premise: A family of thousand year old vampires returns to their former home, New Orleans, becoming embroiled in the power struggles between vampires, witches, and werewolves.

Verdict: Yes

Excuse me while I mourn the loss of two of the main characters, who will no longer play a regular role in this show. But despite that unfortunate circumstance, The Originals continues to be compelling. The seriously messed up characters are put into conflict, and wow do things degenerate from there. And I am not kidding when I say these characters are messed up. They’re all psychologically interesting, though they have varying levels of likability. I’m thoroughly convinced that the main protagonist is also the villain.

One of the characters, Cami–the obligate human messed up in vampire affairs–isn’t quite meeting my expectations from her earlier potential. She’s evidently more forgiving than I ever anticipated (in stark contrast to most of the other characters). But she’s still a decent character, even if she’s firmly shoved in the background.

And lately, even Hayley got something to do. Which is crazy, because Hayley never gets to do anything.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Premise: A government team works to solve alien threats to humanity in a superhero world.

Verdict: Yes

I’m at the point where I’m watching the show for its own merits now, instead of because I know it’ll get better. It hasn’t done anything to really wow me yet, but it’s certainly entertaining enough to keep watching. I like the characters, and a lot of the plotting has smoothed out, though there’s still the occasional weirdness. I still caution all to ignore anything science-related in this show. Seriously.

Resurrection

Premise: The dead are coming back to life, and…they’re not zombies? Okay, then. What are they?

Verdict: Yes

This one is really promising. The mystery is set up, but it’s the reactions of the characters and how they deal with this that keeps me engaged. There’s this constant tension, created by the emotion of all of these characters and their disparate ways of dealing with the impossible. And there’s this little bit of underlying pain throughout–the understanding that even if this miracle is real, something was still lost. And there’s no way to get it back.

Unlike in Believe, I do buy the kid in this one. He understands that something is wrong, even if he doesn’t really know what’s going on. And his response is to withdraw, to try to pretend it doesn’t matter. He’s got bouts of just being a kid, where he forgets. But sometimes, there’s this sad quality to him. It works.

We’ll see what path the show takes once the mystery starts unfolding–it’s done really well by playing to emotions so far, and it’d be nice if it continues to do that without overdoing it, and if the plot goes down an interesting route. Right now, I really want to believe that this will be the standout.

Crisis

Premise: A bus full of the children of the most powerful people in America is held up, and the kids are taken hostage. While the FBI strives to locate the children, the bad guys are blackmailing the parents into criminal acts.

Verdict: Yes

On odd addition to the list, given my usual preferences. But something about the trailer caught my attention, and the pilot episode was actually very well done. I don’t know how they’re going to keep this premise going, how long it could possibly sustain a series for, or where they’re going to take the story to keep it interesting. But they did a good job so far of mixing suspense with just enough characterization to keep me caring.

Also, when it comes to motivation for villains, a misdirected sense of poetic justice tends to be a pretty good way to go.

Some suspension of disbelief required, because there are a few too many melodramatic touches–but most of these are kept in the background, and don’t distract too much, yet.

The 100

Premise: 100 teenage criminals are sent from their spaceship to Earth, to test if the planet has become habitable since a nuclear war wiped out humanity.

Verdict: Maybe

I remember seeing the author of the book (that I haven’t read) speak on a great panel at a convention. It was years ago, so the details of what was actually said are a little fuzzy, though I do remember Kass Morgan spoke up a fair bit. And I remember having a fantastic time, which was a good enough reason to give the series a try.

The first episode didn’t try too hard to have too much in it, which made it less messy than most pilots. It was generally watchable with only a little frustration. I did like the lead, Clark, even though her taking on two prison guards with such ease struck me as odd.

But aside from her and Wells, the rest of the teenagers really piss me off. Every single one of them, no exceptions. That was where most of the frustration came from. The adults tended to be a little more interesting, but who knows how much they’ll get to do?

Believe

Premise: A little girl has uber-psychic powers she can’t control yet, and needs to be protected from those who would use her and her power. A death row inmate is coerced into being her bodyguard.

Verdict: No

The pilot was underwhelming. A little corny, actually.

This premise of this show depends on Bo being interesting or even just likable. That’s not getting off to a great start so far. She just doesn’t act like a kid who’s been in hiding. Or who’s had several of the people looking after her die. Even if she doesn’t fully understand the gravity of the situation, she should have had rules instilled in her by now, about when not to do incredibly stupid things.

The show looks like it wants her to be this kind-hearted, messiah-esque child with the naïveté of a little girl. Which, aside from being unlikely for a girl her age and in her position, is also kinda boring. And the show needs Bo to be a character, not a prop. If everyone continues to bow down to Bo’s amazing specialness, things will get pretty boring, pretty fast. Unless she turns out to be brainwashing everyone around her through her psychic powers, which would actually explain a lot.

Anyone else seen any of the new shows this season? Anything promising?

 

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