Thursday, October 3, 2013

Quick TV Reviews

by Bill Holmes

September and October bring us the new TV season, at least for the traditional networks. I don't watch a lot of TV series but I have a couple of favorites. I also try to watch the new shows that might interest me. I'm more apt to watch sports, a classic western TV show or movie, a PBS special or a concert on AXS. I also tend to record programs and watch them on my schedule. Here's my quick reviews of some of the more traditional new TV shows.

The first new show I watched was the James Spader vehicle The Blackbook. The premise is a master criminal, Spader, turns himself in to the FBI and gives them information about other criminals. He insists that he only deal with a specific agent. I found the pilot disappointing. The script was pretty unbelievable and uneven. It probably spent too much time trying to establish all the regular players. I thought Spader, the promoted star, had too little screen time.

The second episode was much stronger. The FBI leaders are still stupid and one dimensional. Completely unbelievable but fun. There were a few good twists. Spader had much more screen time which is a good thing. I'll continue to watch for awhile. There are more secrets to reveal and bad guys to put out of business.

Another new show on the same night, same time is Hostages. This show is about a rogue FBI agent who takes a family hostage. The mother/wife is a renowned surgeon who is scheduled to operate on the US president. The bad guys want her to kill the president on the operating table or they will kill the family members. Of course all the family members have deep secrets. I thought the pilot was OK and actually better than The Blacklist

I also watched the second episode of Hostages. More unbelievable stuff but there is some tension. Like The Blacklist there are more secrets to reveal about the good and the bad guys and even figuring out who is on which team. The acting is good too. I'll watch again.

A new Showtime series called Masters of Sex also had a premier. It is about the famous human sexuality researchers Masters and Johnson. It takes place in the late 1950's and early 1960's. It is interesting to see that period depicted. We've come a long way in our views on sex and with technology. I thought the show was a little slow and like many pilots it spent a lot of time trying to establish the principal players. The producers also took considerable liberties with the look of the main characters. The actors are considerably better looking than the real people. This is an R or TV-MA rated show that includes nudity but mostly of the clinical variety.
Fake M&J on left - Real M&J on right

There are two favorite returning shows that I watched. Person of Interest which started out as an episodic series but has changed into more of an ongoing story. There are still new people to save each week but with more continuing characters helping or thwarting the main players efforts. The show jumped the shark a long time ago but I like the actors. With the recent NSA spying revelations the show has taken on an air of possibility. I'll keep watching.

Blue Bloods is the other returning series I watch. I like the cast a lot especially Tom Selleck. The family dinner scenes are usually very good. I thought the season premier was a rehash of a theme covered more than once by the show. A cop is killed. Danny, the family detective, cuts corners to apprehend the killer. Erin, the family assistant DA, won't indict on the flimsy evidence. Jamie, the family beat cop, has to protect the perp from other cops. Frank, the family police commissioner, has to deal with the whole situation. Of course this all causes extreme tension in the family including Grandpa Henry, the family retired police commissioner. About 45 or 50 minutes into the episode Danny and Erin make up, join forces and figure out how to get the bad guy to confess. All is well in New York City and the Reagan family. Pat and predictable but I'll continue to watch.
I know there are many other TV shows both new and returning. Some of them are probably good. By the time I watch sports and catch up on the stuff I record I don't have time to keep up with weekly series. After baseball season I'll have a little more time since football is a weekend sport. If I find a new series I like, I'll write about it. Of course there will also be reviews of concerts and specials.


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