Saturday, January 3, 2015

What's Worth Watching Among This Season's Current and Upcoming Sci Fi / Fantasy TV Shows?

It's been a busy season for genre TV thus far with 20 plus shows debuting in Fall and more on the way now that mid-season is upon us.  So I thought is was worth taking time to do a quick rundown of the shows that I have been watching while also looking ahead to some that will be hitting the schedule in January (you can see the full mid-season schedule with premiere/return dates at his link).  I generally try to sample as many of the sci fi / fantasy entries airing as possible, but as that number continues to grow it gets more and more difficult to keep up with all of them.  Here are my thoughts on what I have been watching so far as well as early impressions on those that are on the way:

Fall / Winter Shows:

Must-Watch List:

The Walking Dead (AMC) - This zombie series continues to deliver a roller-coaster ride as it pushes all the boundaries of dramatic television while leaving the broadcast networks in the dust (along with other challenging cable entries like Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, Sons of Anarchy, etc.).  It's still at the top of my queue for shows to watch and I don't see that changing any time soon.

Gotham (FOX) - This almost-Batman series almost lost me early on, but I stuck it out and it really started to hit its stride by the end of its Fall run.  It's really just a crime drama that uses the Batman mythos as its backdrop, but it does that pretty well.  And it is interesting to see how they are developing the characters that we are already familiar with from the comics.  Plus, they have mostly avoided the teen-angst angle with young Bruce Wayne (who's actually somewhat of a creepy kid) and steered away from copy-and-paste dialogue and plots as much as possible.  It's not a great show yet, but it's heading in that direction.

The Originals (CW) - This show seems to be in a bit of a sophomore slump as it has failed to keep up that wicked humor and biting dialogue (pun unintended but accepted) we saw in its first season.  And this year's story arc is not quite as grabbing as that of last year.  But it still delivers its trademark near-Shakespearean level of drama with all of the family and power struggles while not wallowing too much in its soap opera elements.  I'd like it better if they brought Rebekah back into the fold full-time, but this one still remains pretty high on my list.

Keeping Up With Them:

Person of Interest (CBS) - I went into more detail on this one at this link, but it hasn't quite lived up to its promise yet this season and the team going rogue hasn't really added much to the series while they continue to pad the show out with filler episodes.  The developing story with Elias and the other crime lords is interesting as are the episodes that deal with the AI themes, but CBS keeps trying to force this one to fit into their procedural template and just won't give it the freedom to explore its true sci fi potential.  I've invested three and a half years into it, though, and it hasn't completely derailed, so I will stick with it for now.

Agents of SHIELD (ABC) - I almost gave up on this one early in its second season, but ended up catching  a few mid-Fall episodes and finding myself drawn back in.  I really wish they would bring back the humor and witty dialogue we saw early in its first season, but the current storyline has piqued my interest enough to convince me to stick around when it returns in March.

Supernatural (CW) - This show seemed to catch its second wind (or third or fourth?) around its eighth season thus finding it back on my guilty pleasure list these last two years.  For its tenth season, though, it is seeming long in the tooth again.  I'm sure they are targeting an eleventh season at this point, but do us a favor and make that its final year.

Z Nation (Syfy) - This show was high on my guilty pleasure list early in its first season as it succeeded in delivering good, cheesy, tongue-in-cheek zombie-pocalypse fun.  But by the end of its first season, its leaps of logic and plot holes were getting to be a bit much to swallow.  If they can course correct with its second year (which will likely hit in Fall of 2015), I will stick around.  But if they go full-on Sharknado (Z Nation comes from the same studio), I'm out.

Arrow and The Flash (CW) - I have enjoyed both of these shows and think that they do superhero schtick on television pretty good.  But both have too many soap opera asides and they have also started resorting far too much to copy-and-paste stories and dialogue.  I'm still keeping up with them, just not necessarily watching every episode.

Need to Catch Up:

Constantine (NBC) - I watched the first two episodes and enjoyed them for the most part, largely because of Matt Ryan's performance as the title character, but then fell behind.  Since the first season was capped at thirteen episodes, I may just wait and do a binge-watch of the show over the Summer.

Forever (ABC) - This Sherlcok Holmes meets Highlander series is fun enough (I go into more detail on it at this link), but I got behind on it.  It's an easy one to pick up on. though, since it doesn't have much of a story arc, so I will try and work in a few episodes here and there.

The 100 (CW) - I've caught a few eps of this post-apocalyptic series and have found them interesting if a bit derivative.  But it does seem like one that is worth investing some time into when time allows.

The Librarians (TNT) - A DVR mishap kept me from catching the series premiere, though I have tuned in for bits and pieces of episodes.  Looks like it could be a fun series if I can carve out some time to catch up with it.

Gave Up on Them:

American Horror Story: Freak Show (FX) - The "freak show" storyline for this show's fourth season seemed like a good hook, but after watching a few episodes I found that this was no Carnivale.  It's not that it's bad, just not my type of thing.  I'm sure horror fans have been loving it and that freaky clown will certainly become a genre icon, but it took its level of dementia a bit too far for my liking.  It will reset with its fifth season, though, so I will give it another look then.

Ascension (Syfy) - I can't believe that I wasted four plus hours watching this stinking turd and in the slight chance it does continue to an ongoing series there's no chance I will devote any more of my time to it.  You can read more of my full review at this link.

Upcoming New/Returning Shows (January 2015):

Agent Carter (ABC) - This Captain America spin-off series looks interesting enough and it will only run for eight episodes (which will air across seven weeks), so it won't require too much of a time commitment.  I'm hoping they bring some of the Howling Commandos into the stories and also make good use of its mid-1940's setting.  Definitely worth a look.

Galavant (ABC) - I originally had very little interest in this fantasy comedy musical until I saw the promos that made it look much more Monty Python than Broadway extravaganza,  It is comprised of only eight thirty minute episode which will air across four weeks, so it will be a quick watch.  If the first night looks good, then I will stick around for the rest.

12 Monkeys (Syfy) - After the Ascension debacle (see above), I definitely have reservations about this show.  And I don't really see how this one will work as an ongoing series, either.  I will tune in for the first couple of episodes, but if they don't grab me I may bail quickly.

Helix (Syfy) - I had high hopes for this pre-apocalypse series when it bowed last year, but ended up bowing out midway through its first season when it failed to live up to the potential of its premise and delivered derivative, copy-and-paste television instead.  I heard that it ended strong, though, so maybe I will tune in for the start of the second season.  But my expectations will be low.

1 comment:

  1. "Arrow" and "The Flash" are my never fail to watch series."Agent Carter" was better than expected. I hope that "Helix" doesn't disappoint by running off on some ridiculous story lines. I'm leery of "12 Monkeys", but I'll give it a go. "Galavant" is amusing and much more enjoyable than "Madame Secretary". I'm glad to see that someone else thinks that this season of "American Horror Story: Freak Show" is pretty awful as well. "Z-Nation" and "Ascension" both sucked and were a huge waste of time.