Quick Impressions, TV Catch-Up 10/16

Another week gone by already? The Fall TV Line-Up has rolled out most of its shows (I’m still waiting for Constantine. Yeah, I’m a little excited for that one.) and the drama is ramping up. The pile of new shows keeps growing–this week saw the premiere of The Walking Dead and I caught up on the opener for Arrow’s season 3. So let’s run down some of the best and worst of the week.

Best: The Walking Dead. Any surprise there? ‘Bout the only people I’ve heard not liking this show are the ones who aren’t into horror or zombies. I’m not typically into the zombie genre, but this one’s infected me. Season opener took us right back to where we finished last time and we finally got what’s left of our crew back together–excepting Beth. The show gave just enough worry–were they or weren’t they going to bash Glen’s head in?, was Tyreese going to be able to handle the Walkers and that fucker in the shed?, would Carol get to stay with the group?–and yet gave us the full impression that the characters have developed into survivors. The characters proved to be clever, resourceful, and a cohesive team. We can easily reach the same conclusion Sgt. Ford did: this isn’t just a group anymore, it’s a unit, and these are the guys you want escorting you over a long distance. To top off the fantastic story, the camera work on TWD is amazing. They don’t stay tight on actor’s faces unless they’re gauging a reaction–and usually they stick to showing multiple character reactions to a situation at a time. They work at showing you all the details that the crews put into the sets, makeup, costuming. For horror, setting plays a huge role, and TWD not only acknowledges that, but puts their sets and shots to work at that angle. I can’t wait for Sunday’s next episode.

Worst: Once Upon a Time. Gah with this whole season already. Despite having a largely female cast, this show does not help out feminism in the least. The representation is poor with a side of shitty. White after white after white after white, and heteronormative so bad I feel like gagging. “Happily Ever After” on this show always boils down to “man and woman marry.” This season they bring in Elsa from Frozen who has to search for her sister Anna because apparently Anna fucked off on some quest and got lost. Looks like Elsa won’t be our Big Bad this season (or at least the front half of the season), but the antics going on in this season are annoying. Regina’s trying to do something about Marian (who conveniently is in a frozen state and Regina has gotten her heart?) so she can get Robin, but her way is to go to find the writer of Henry’s fairy tale book and make them rewrite the book. Never mind that we established at the end of last season that the book would only replicate events as they happened–that was like the point of the season 3 finale–she’s out to find who made her a villain and demand a rewrite. Maybe she’ll find the script writers and we’ll get a better show. (While Regina’s at it, could she do something about Hook? As neat as the pirate concept was for two seconds, his constant need to follow Emma around until she’s ready to love him makes me want to throttle him. Also, why the hell has Hook been able to shake the ‘bad guy’ persona, why has Gold been able to toss off most of it, and yet Regina’s still wallowing about on the point?)

C’mon!: How to Get Away with Murder. Still an awesome show, hence the mention two weeks in a row. Once again, the characters are the real draw here. The part-“present”, part-“past” way of telling the plot is a bit aggravating, but the format quickly becomes the norm. However, this last week, the show decided to include a subplot (I’m guessing at this point that it will become multi-episode) that lowers my respect just a smidge. Apparently, one of the character’s fiancé had a thing with a member of the same sex back at boarding school. The argument between the character and fiancé turned into a heated “well, that was back in school. It was a boarding school in the middle of nowhere. These things happen. You know I love you.” –An easier solution would have been to have the fiancé say, “Hey honey, I’m bi. We’ve never talked about our ex’s. You’re who I’m with now. Don’t give a shit about what that asshole says. He’s just trying to rile you up. That’s what he’s always done.” I’m hoping I’m wrong, but something about how they skirted the word bisexual grates on my nerves. Either they avoided the word to avoid the word, or they want to wind up testing the relationship with having the ex teasing and pushing the characters. (And there I showed a bias. I acknowledge that… but I think I could count the amount of LGBTQA+ characters as less than 10 between the 15-ish shows I’m keeping up with, and intersectionality is running slimmer.)

Best?: Selfie. I don’t typically go for comedies and I was honestly going to pass on this one until I saw that John Cho was the one costarring with Karen Gillian. Selfie is an update of Pygmalion –only a little attention shows through the veneer. The update put in some interesting twists though. While Henry is still advising Eliza, they both work at the same company and they seem to be at least near equals in their work environment. Instead, the show focuses on how each character totally sucks at communication with practically everyone in their lives. Eliza is a stereotypical young adult obsessed with social media and Henry is a stick-in-the-mud “traditional” sort of guy. For the sake of comedy, their tropes are pushed to extremes. The first two episodes were only all right, but the show has begun to hit a stride by having minor character development. Both characters are sick of being lonely and both acknowledge that they can’t change without a little influence. The major downside of the show is the unlikelihood that they can maintain the premise. Internet culture is constantly changing. The characters are going to have to grow and change too, or the show will become too dull and flat. Where will the show go when the culture and characters change? I’m not entirely sure, but for now, I’ll keep up with this one. The leads play too fantastically together to pass.

Working on Best: Arrow. Anyone who started season 1 with show should give themselves a small pat on the back. In comparison, the first season of Arrow was leaps and bounds better than other CW shows–probably what helped make it such a big hit for the network. However, the early acting of the show could grate the nerves to an unbearable degree–and all those flashbacks to what happened on the island were a wandering drag for a while. By the end of season 1, the flashbacks had more obvious tie-ins with the present plot and the actors learned more of the craft. The Arrow production team has always strived to improve and their efforts show. Starting out in season 3, the entire acting troupe has stepped up their game and the writers continue to work on fleshing out characters–even though they don’t quite seem to know what to do with Diggle. (I wish they’d make a summer mini-series out of Suicide Squad. That would be cool.) All said, though, the best part of the show has always been the characters facing the consequences of actions. You aren’t likely to see a character repeat a mistake on this show (ten imaginative points to the show for having a distressed Laurel acknowledge her recovering alcoholism with a “All I know is a bar is the last place I should be right now.”) because the characters have been there, done that, and ready to move on. With two seasons under their belt, Arrow has a lot of decisions made and a lot more to make as the season continues. Can’t wait to see where this season goes.

I’m still hoping that Forever will flesh out it’s minor characters, Supernatural still fails to impress, and American Horror Story: Freak Show definitely delivers on its early promises (although what is with dragging songs from the future into the 1950’s?) That’s going to cover it for Quick Impressions this week. Here’s hoping that the exciting shows this fall continue to impress and that some of these others will get their act together.

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