Musings on Fall 2016 TV: Hits and Misses

When a television show is good, well when it is to me, it’s like magic. It combines all these different, varying elements and creates this tale that draws me in, envelops me in this wave of unique storytelling and takes me on a journey that I don’t want to leave most of the time. That’s what good television is supposed to do, it whisks you away on a ride filled with joy, laughter, love, inspiration, and possibly some tears and anger, and sometimes even a combination of the two at the same time.

There are a lot of different things that I look for when it comes to the television shows I watch: well-written storylines, amazing dialogue, brilliant acting, well-crafted, complex and dynamic characters, especially female ones, and an insane chemistry between the leads. Throw in some action, a little bit of drama, and a dash of romance and I am all in.

This fall season of television has no disappointed in those aspects, offering up new and returning shows that check every single one of those boxes. On the flip side, some new and returning shows have fallen short of what I expected they could do so far this season. Without further ado, here’s my list of hits, misses, and surprise television shows this fall.

 

The Newbies: 

Hit: Pitch

img_6570If there is one show you should be watching this fall it should be Pitch! I’m not kidding, you should be watching Pitch. Your friends should be watching Pitch. Your family should be watching Pitch. Everybody should be watching Pitch. This show is magic, not only because it combines all the different elements that I want and desire in a television show but it delivers it flawlessly with a side of baseball to boot. Ginny Baker, portrayed by the amazing Kylie Bunbury, is the first woman to play in Major League Baseball. Not only that she is also the first woman of colour to do so in this fictionalized version of our world and it’s pure magic. The story that is being told is significant in so many ways because it pushes us to think, to imagine, to aspire to a world that is more equal, more diverse, and more open to change. Ginny Baker is a role model and the characters around her, from her catcher Mike Lawson to her agent Amelia Slater, to Evelyn and Blip Sanders, all add to that equation and the show. Pitch is a brilliant television show and if you aren’t watching, you really should.

 

 

img_6571Surprise: Timeless

Time travelling television shows are hard to do, just ask Legends of Tomorrow, actually don’t, LoT is a bad example and I’m sorry for mentioning it. They are quite hard to do because it concerns time, and time is a hard concept to capture in a television series. Do you go with a linear timeline? Multiple universe timelines? A consequence filled timeline? Or a wibbly wobbly timeline? Or all of it? There’s a lot to do and a lot to take into consideration and it’s almost never done entirely well. Timeless, however, has stumbled upon the perfect combination of great storytelling and handling the concept of time travel pretty well so far. From the different characters, especially the three main characters, to the handling of time travel and its consequences, to the weaving and bobbing storyline that keeps you on your toes, Timeless is excellently balanced and I was completely surprised by it. Definitely worth a chance if you’re looking for a time travelling show where the leads know not to fuck it all up, unlike Barry Allen.

 

IMG_6572.JPGMiss: Conviction

 I had truly hoped that Conviction would live up to the hype that was surrounding the show, especially with the likes of Hayley Atwell leading it. (RIP Agent Carter.) Unfortunately, the pilot didn’t grab me, it honestly barely held me for the entire hour. On paper, I should have really enjoyed it. It’s driven by a complex female character, it has a great Scooby gang of supporting characters, it’s a legal drama about cases that have fallen through the cracks of the US Justice system. It has all of these different things but I just could not connect with the story it was trying to tell. Hayley Atwell portrays Hayes Morrison a former first daughter, turned lawyer, and now turned blackmailed head of New York City’s newest legal unit. I should’ve enjoyed the show for all intents and purposes but there was just no spark and like any relationship with no spark, I dropped it like a funky smelling piece of sushi.

 

The Oldies: 

Hit: Lucifer

IMG_6573.JPGLucifer returned for its second season this fall and it has it been an absolute delight to watch. The introduction of Lucifer’s mum, played by Tricia Helfer, has brought this whole new dynamic to the show and its characters, especially to Lucifer. I’m excited to see what happens each and every episode, all of which have been ace so far this season. From showcasing each and every character and their complexities to their interactions with one another, especially the female characters, to the procedural cases and the overarching storyline this season, Lucifer has, so far, seemed to have avoided the sophomore slump, in my opinion. I want to see the continued exploration of Lucifer’s relationship with his mother, father, and brother. I want to see more of Maze continuing to discover the world and gaining more agency. I want to see how Chloe continue to tackle being a detective, a single mother, and friend to Lucifer. I want to know why Amenadiel is losing his wings. I want to see more interaction between Linda and Amenadiel. I want to see more and that’s a really good sign for the second season of Lucifer. 

Surprise: Agents of Shield

img_6574 I’m constantly surprised at how Agents of Shield consistently gets better and better with each season and season four has yet to disappoint. The move to a later time slot has allowed Shield the opportunity to get a little darker, a little grittier, and that has only added to the already extensive repertoire that the show already boasts. This show continues to be the most well-balanced comic book-based shows on television, able to handle multiple cohesive storylines, explosive action and CGI sequences, as well as delivering extensive and cohesive individual character storylines. The introduction of the Ghost Rider has been an amazing addition to Shield’s overarching storyline. The CGI graphics for the famed rider have been freaking amazing and Gabriel Luna as Robbie Reyes is a great addition to the ensemble cast. Shield has really embodied and continued the Inhuman storyline that began in its second season, giving it a distinctive edge in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The real engine of Agents of Shield remains its agents and the dynamic and interactions between them, which have been showcased each and every episode. Each character has its own agency, their own voice, and that is amazing to see in any television show. I hope Agents of Shield continues to continually surprise me this season.

 

Miss: Arrow
img_6575Arrow has long been one of my top favourite shows on television. It was dark, gritty, and grounded, filled with action and drama, a great romance (#OlicityForever), brilliant character storylines, menacing villains, and cohesive plot lines until it all started to come apart at the edges and then it kind of fell off its pedestal. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been able to regain that spot on top of its pedestal from what I’ve seen so far this season and the promotion that’s gone along with it. I know that some individuals won’t agree with me and have really enjoyed the season so far and that’s great, all the power to them. There have definitely been some highlights from the start of this season. It’s just that this is Arrow’s fifth season and I’ve come to expect a lot from it and it just hasn’t delivered. (I’ve tried the whole low expectation gambit but it really hasn’t worked well for me.) There has been a disconnect from what we’ve seen in previous seasons to what we are seeing now. The sanctification placed on a not-at-all deserving woman who resurrected then chained up her younger sister, to the obliviousness of a relationship that has blossomed over the course of four seasons, to the continued stumbling of balancing consistent storylines and giving its core characters their due has thrown Arrow way off course of hitting the bull’s eye.

Some of it is its own misguided fault, some of it is because Arrow has been consistently shackled with being the springboard for the other shows in the DCTVU, and a lot of it has been the shitty promotion to be quite honest. Arrow has manoeuvred itself away from what made it so distinctive in the landscape of television, especially the booming comic book-based television arena, and into a position where it’s still recognizable but a shell of its former self. That may be a harsh statement but it’s just how I’ve seen it so far this season and that may change in upcoming episodes, but for now it hasn’t. For now, I’m still watching Arrow in possibly naïve hopes that it will once again regain the pedestal it once held. Arrow has a lot to offer, I just hope it kind finds its way back to it sooner than later.

 

 

Honourable Mentions: 

img_6065Luke Cage and Poldark are both shows that unfortunately just missed the hit list for each of their respective categories but both shows have been absolutely amazing this season. img_6578Each show is telling their own distinctive story, with amazing characters, especially females ones in Misty Knight and Demelza Poldark, brilliant acting and writing, and using their settings (Harlem and Cornwall, respectively) as a character in itself. It’s been an absolute pleasure to watch these shows come alive, even if I want to smack Ross Poldark across the back of the head sometimes, and I can’t wait to finish them before the end of the season.

 

Those are some of my musings about the television shows I’m watching at the moment. What are you watching? What shows have you enjoyed watching this season? Anything I should be checking out? Thanks for reading! 😘

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