Friday, October 19, 2012

Initial Impressions from the Current Season: Arrow Rocks, Last Resort Looks Good, Person of Interest Improves, but Still Not Certain about Revolution.

We are now several weeks into the Fall season (actually more than a month for a few shows), and it’s shaping up to have its share of bright spots thus far.  Some shows have come rocketing out of the gates, some are still trying to find their way, and some—why mince words?—suck.  Here’s my impression on the shows I have watched so far:

The Good:

Arrow (CW, Airs Wednesdays 8 PM EST): I had high hopes for this one going into the season and the show’s first two episodes have lived up to those and more.  The Green Arrow has always been a favorite character of mine and he translates quite well to the small screen.  They’ve given the show a dark edge, similar to the Batman movies, but it has a since of fun to it as well.  And I like that they are bringing in some of the rogue’s gallery from the comic books, with China White showing up in this week’s episode and more on the way.  After watching the pilot, I was thinking this show would become my guilty pleasure for the season, but the second episode suggests that it is starting to develop into more than just a superhero romp and could develop into a strong genre contender.  It’s still very early, but consider this a must-watch show at this point.
Current Cancellation Alert: Low.  It has performed quite well for The CW with its first two episodes.

Last Resort (ABC, Airs Thursdays 8 PM EST): This twenty-minutes-into-the-future military drama is another one that as matched up to the high expectations I had for it going into the season.  It has delivered a riveting, edge-of-the-seat drama so far, rife with challenging situations and moral dilemmas.  But I wonder just how far they can go with the concept.  I don’t see how the show can run with this storyline for multiple seasons.  This would make a much better mini-series than ongoing show, and it may end up working out that way based on its struggling ratings.  I just hope they have a good wrap up for the current set of episodes.
Current Cancellation Alert: Elevated.  Unless ABC switches this one to a less competitive timeslot, and one more suited to its subject matter, expect it to sink by mid-season.

Person of Interest (CBS, Airs Thursdays 9 PM EST):  I was on the fence with this pre-crime series last season because it for the most part just delivered yet another procedural with a twist.  The excellent pairing of Jim Caviezel and Lost’s Michael Emerson kept me coming back, though, and the show did start to develop a somewhat interesting background story arc.  And with the second season, they have delved much more into that and shifted toward a darker course.  I’ve only seen two episodes thus far (it was preempted  by the debates and I haven’t caught last night’s entry yet), But I like where the show is going this year.  Maybe it will even start to explore some of its implicit sci fi elements more and perhaps to turn into a genre contender.
Current Cancellation Alert: Low.  It’s still taking second to Grey’s Anatomy in its timeslot, but doing well enough to not worry at this point.

The Walking Dead (AMC, Airs Sundays 9 PM EST):  It’s only had one episode so far this season, but what an episode it was!  We’re into the prison now (something that those of us who have read the comics have been expecting) and the shit is starting to hit the fan!  Those who complained that last season was too slow should surely be happy with how this year has started out.
Current Cancellation Alert: Are you kidding me? This series is blowing away the broadcast network shows!  It has turned into a phenomenon.

Fringe (FOX, Airs Fridays 9 PM EST):  The final season of this show has the Fringe group several decades in the future in a dystopian world run by the Observers (and there’s no quick, easy explanation to bring you up to speed on that).  It doesn’t necessarily look like it is set to go out in a blaze of glory at this point, but it should provide a decent wrap up for the show.
Current Cancellation Alert: N/A.  FOX has already announced this as the show’s final season.

Cancellation Watch: Tracking the weekly ratings for the sci fi shows currently airing and the ones that are in danger of getting cancelled.

The Fair:

Revolution (NBC, Airs Mondays 10 PM EST):  I want to like this post-apocalyptic show from genre powerhouses J.J. Abrams and Eric Kripke.  I really do.  And I can overlook some of the scientific leaps of logic, because let’s face it, most sci fi shows have them.  They’re just more glaring in this series (and they have tried to address some of them so far, even if explanations come up short).  But my problem with it so far are the stories.  It just has too many copy and paste moments (and characters as well) and hasn’t really made good use of its post-apocalyptic setting yet.  And also, I just don’t like either of the two leads (Miles Matheson played by Billy Burke and Charlie played by Tracy Spiridakos).  They need to do something else with these two characters or beef up the cast with more likeable faces (and Abrams and Kripke have a whole repertoire of Lost and Supernatural veteran actors that could inject some life into this show).  I’m sticking with it for now, but more often than not I find myself enduring the episodes, not enjoying them.
Current Cancellation Alert: Low. It started strong then began to slide, but it rebounded this last week and hasn’t come close to danger territory yet.

Supernatural (CW, Airs Wednesdays 9 PM EST):  Eric Kripke originally wanted to wrap up this series after its fifth season and it really does seem to be getting long in the tooth.  Season 8 has been okay so far, but where do you have left to go after going through Hell and back, averting the Apocalypse, and defeating the Leviathans?  The Purgatory flashbacks are interesting, but it would suit me fine if they decided to make this the show’s final season.
Current Cancellation Alert: Low.  It’s not lighting up the Nielsens, even for a CW show, but it’s doing okay for now.

The Not So Good:

666 Park Ave (ABC, Airs Sundays 10 PM EST):  It really seems like this show should be better than it is.  It’s premise seems a lot like a small screen version of The Advocate (which starred Al Pacino as the Devil) and that was a heck of a good movie.  And the series has a great cast, with Terry O’Quinn taking up the lead role as the Dark One (or one of his agents—we’re not sure at this point).  But the episodes just seem to lack much punch so far.  Given time, it might grow into a decent genre entry, but I just don’t find myself that engaged in it so far.
Current Cancellation Alert Status: Elevated.  It debuted to mediocre numbers and went down from there.  O’Quinn’s Gavin Doran’s going to have to broker his own deal if he wants this show to stick around.

Once Upon A Time (ABC, Airs Sundays 8 PM EST): I grew tired of this fairy-tale-characters-meet-the-modern-world series about midway through its first season when it began to descend into bad camp more often than not.  I thought that this season’s twist—the fairy tale characters now know who they are—might inject it with some life, but not so far.  The bad camp elements seem to have taken over the show, and it may be too far along for this one to course correct.  I’ll give it a couple more episodes, but my patience is wearing thin.
Current Cancellation Alert Status: Low.  It started the season very strong, but then its numbers began to drop off.  It’s still safe for now, though.

The Bad:

The Neighbors (ABC, Airs Wednesday 8:30 PM EST):  I usually give a show at least two or three episodes before making a decision on it, but about fifteen minutes into the first episode of this aliens-in-the-suburbs sitcom, I turned it off.  It was just that bad.  Then I saw some people on the forums claim that it had improved after the pilot.  I watched five minutes of another episode, and then turned it off again.  This show could be vying for the title of worst sitcom ever.  Don’t even bother.
Current Cancellation Alert Status: Medium.  It’s numbers are pretty poor, but ABC did order some more scripts.  Maybe a relative of one of the network execs works on the show or something?  Please cancel this one!

Why Were They Cancelled? 
The Plight of Science Fiction and Fantasy Television in the Face of the Unforgiving Nielsens and Networks

Ever wondered why your favorite science fiction and/or fantasy show disappeared from the television schedule, never to deliver anymore new episodes? The reason why, most likely, is that it was cancelled because its ratings were low. And this book looks at those many cancelled sci fi/fantasy shows as well as the Neilsen ratings and television networks that dictate their fates. Available now for only $2.99 on Kindle from

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