Five Things I Didn’t Bother With

You may have noticed recently something of a lean period when it comes to posts on this blog. This is at least partially due to a rather lean period in my tv watching (also by apathy and laziness of course). If I don’t watch stuff I can’t review it, and even if I do watch it I need to find something to say about it. Usually I don’t find that a problem (more often shutting me up is the issue) but recently, I just seem to watch stuff and have very little reaction to it. So here is what’s likely to be a pretty dull summary of “things I’ve watched and not cared about”.

legacyThe Legacy (Arvingerne)
More scandi-drama. I made it about 4 episodes in to this one before I stalled. It’s kind of like Brothers and Sisters, but with a lot more drama, infinitely less humour and considerably less likeable characters. Oh and subtitles of course. If it hadn’t been subtitled I might have stuck with it as at least then I could do other things while watching. Although did I only start watching it because it had subtitles? Anyway, I’m not going to dedicate another 6 hours or so of my life to it when I could use that time to play Candy Crush. Or you know, something actually useful.

Heavily promoted by Sky, as basically a Scandi-noir without the subtitles this had a lot of build up and left me under-whelmed. Ironically (particularly compared to The Legacy) I might have been more engaged if it DID have subtitles, because I wouldn’t have been able to get distracted. Something else that may have worked in the show’s favour is if the first episode had only been a single. After what felt like an age I asked the sky box how was left and actually shouted at it in disbelief when it said there was still over an hour to go. The sense of doom didn’t engage me, the careful allocation of one secret to every person was just a bit tedious, I couldn’t quite keep track of the connections between characters and some of the actors (Michael Gambon in particular) seemed to be in an entirely different show. I haven’t deleted the rest of the series yet, Stanley Tucci’s arrival towards the end did inject some energy, but I’m not optimistic I’ll bother picking it back up.

wolfhallWolf Hall
I’ve not read the book. I do own the book (it was a Christmas gift) but when I realised the timing of the TV series and that I wouldn’t be able to finish the huge book it before that started, I figured it probably made more sense to watch first. I didn’t make it more than 15 minutes into the first episode before I gave up. Yes, yes the period detail is lovely blah blah, but dear god I was bored! I don’t know whether I was supposed to know who people were and why they were important through general knowledge, but I didn’t. I didn’t know what they were talking about, I didn’t know how it worked and I just could be bothered to wait around to find out. It’s still collecting on my sky box, but I’m not optimistic.

MurderFirstIntertitleMurder in the First
Unremarkable American procedural with by-the-numbers story telling and characters. It’s fine, all the nuts and bolts are ok, but it’s just utterly lacking in anything that makes it worth returning to, I barely made it through the first episode.

NCISNewOrleansNCIS: New Orleans
I enjoyed watching NCIS: Original Flavour for years before realising that I was spending more time being frustrated with the erratic characterisation and ignoring the formulaic cases then I was being entertained by the dialogue and characters. I am still enjoying NCIS: Los Angeles because similarly, I love the dialogue, characters and relationships, and thus far the cases have just about kept my interest and the frustrations haven’t appeared. NCIS: New Orleans unfortunately combined an unexciting plot with characters that didn’t pop and dialogue that was overwhelmed by accents. The love story with New Orleans didn’t really work for me and the concept just didn’t seem to have anything to distinguish it from the other series. Another firm “can’t be bothered” stamp.


The Upfronts 2014: CBS

cbsCBS has built itself a phenomenally successful and reliable line up, with its shows regularly topping the ratings list. That means that there’s relatively few slots for new things, and they have to get pretty astronomical ratings to make the cut. There’s five new dramas coming next year and two of them are spinoffs, but on the plus side three of them have female leads!

What’s Dead?
How I Met Your Mother came to a scheduled end, finally revealing said mother after 9 seasons, to widespread frustration and disappointment it seems. Although I quite liked the first couple of seasons, I got tired of the characters pretty quickly so haven’t watched in years. The cancellation of We Are Men is notable only because the Tim Allen comedy lasted into its second season.

The other cancellations are all new shows. The Crazy Ones was the Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Gellar marketing comedy that I was actually kind of looking forward to, but apparently was a bit meh. Both the other new comedies got even shorter service, Friends with Better Lives got just five episodes, Bad Teacher only got three. Hostages was a show designed to be an entirely new story each year, except no one cared enough to watch the first story, so it’s dead on arrival. Intelligence looked interesting but didn’t get anywhere near the ratings CBS demands.

What’s Survived?
csiThe usual throng of procedurals are renewed (numbers in brackets are next year’s season number) – CSI (15), Criminal Minds (10), NCIS (12), NCIS: Los Angeles (6), Hawaii Five-O (5), Blue Bloods (5), Person of Interest (4), The Mentalist (7) and Elementary (3) . On the comedy front The Big Bang Theory remains one of the most popular shows on the air and is renewed not just for season 8 next year but for seasons 9 and 10 beyond that! 2 Broke Girls (4) and Mike and Molly (5) seem to have quietly puttered along for a surprising number of seasons, while Two and a Half Men has somehow weathered one and a half of its men having breaks from sanity and leaving and gets renewed for a 12th and final season.

goodwifeThankfully, despite relatively low ratings, CBS also picked up The Good Wife for season 6, the only network show that holds its own against the cable dramas for critical praise, and I’d argue the best thing on television anywhere. Under the Dome returns for a second season this summer and Unforgettable returns for season three despite seemingly having been cancelled at least once and possibly twice before!

What’s New This Summer?
Extant (trailer): An astronaut spends over a year on a solo mission on a space station and comes back pregnant, then her robot son starts being weird too. Starring Halle Berry, Goran Visnjic this could be something really interesting… or it could all get a bit silly.

Reckless (no trailer): A “sultry legal drama” set in South Carolina with a tough Chicago woman taking on a southern charm attorney over a case of police corruption. If not for the word “sultry” in the description, it might sound ok.

What’s New?
Madam Secretary (trailer): Former CIA analyst, current friend of the president unexpectedly becomes Secretary of State and finds herself in The West Wing. This could be another Good Wife, Tea Leoni and Bebe Neuwirth are definitely capable of stunning performance, and with strong writing this could be a fascinating look at international politics. But it could also be a trite and over-simplified flag waving exercise.

NCIS: New Orleans (trailer): It’s NCIS in New Orleans. I predict ever more tenuous connections to the navy and some thick accents. Scott Bakula is a good name to start with though.

Stalker (trailer): Standard procedural with the usp that it’s a team dedicated to investigating stalkers. The head of the unit is of course driven and has personal experience, new guy is a cockie out-of-towner trying to get away from his past. It’s all pretty formulaic, but it’s a formula that works and Maggie Q and Dylan McDermott will make good leads

Battle Creek (no trailer, mid-season): The FBI open an office in Battle Creek Michigan and the charismatic Agent picks a gruff detective as his partner. Buddy cop hijinks ensue. Utterly formulaic blurb and no trailer, so no idea whether this will be as dull and unoriginal as it sounds.

CSI: Cyber (no trailer, midseason): A new spinoff from CSI, set in the FBI’s cyber crime department. I’m dubious that it will be able to hold its nerves and focus on science and technology versus running round shooting people. Patricia Arquette stars though, which is a good start.

The McCarthys (trailer): I tried multiple times to write the blurb for this show but it’s just so boring, and the trailer is so stunningly unfunny that I just couldn’t be bothered.

The Odd Couple (no trailer, mid-season): Oscar and Felix are old college friends, Oscar is a slob, Felix is a neat freak, they’re both getting divorced and now they’re sharing a house. It’s based on the play, film and tv series of the same name and is written by and stars Matthew Perry, so will probably be great and get cancelled.