Rosewood: Oof, this was painful. I know “medical examiner who think he’s a detective” is practically its own genre at this point, but there still needs to be a reason. He’s supposed to be smart and rich and capable of anything, so if solving the crimes were so important, why isn’t he a cop? Probably because he’s more interested in stalking women who aren’t interested in him. The number of times this man ignored a woman telling him “no” was truly troubling.
Heroes Reborn: It’s the same series, five years later. No, seriously. It’s mostly new characters, but the same feel, the same dialogue. So really, you have to decide for yourself if the smug secrecy and half-solved mysteries is something you missed. In the “pro” column: it’s a 13 episode mini-series. If it does well, there’s not a doubt in my mind it would come back, but hopefully they at least have an idea of where these 13 episodes are going.
The Player: What fresh hell is this? Speaking of the Bechdel test, within the first 10 minutes a woman gets fridged. Which is particularly hilarious when you realize that that’s because it’s the bad guy’s M.O. He always gets what he wants by killing a woman. He, of course, does not survive the episode. Wesley Snipes, oddly, considering he’s all over the billboards with the roulette table and the vaguely racist tagline, is barely in the episode. But the part at the end where he explains that the premise of the show is basically The Purge is almost worth the price of admission. Full disclosure: I do know someone who writes on this show. But she had nothing to do with the writing of the pilot.
The Grinder: I had to keep reminding myself that this was, in fact, the pilot I was watching. I kept thinking I’d missed an episode. At first, I thought it was refreshing that they didn’t start with a grand arrival/introduction. After all, the whole family already knew Uncle Grinder, which is realistic. But then I missed knowing how he changed their lives. What were their relationships like before he showed up? How was Fred Savage even a moderately successful lawyer on his own? Why does his wife have no character beyond agreeing with everything her husband says and acting cute so he’ll forget if she slips and says something negative? Why is no one concerned about the daughter’s well-being after finding out that she’s off with her boyfriend, presumably in her room with the door closed? Seriously, are there any women on the writing staff? It’s not that it’s a bad show, it’s that it doesn’t stop me from asking too many questions.
Grandfathered: This is another show that just felt like it was missing something for me, but I’m hard-pressed to say exactly what. Maybe it was a series of characters and circumstances I recognized, but just exactly as I knew them. So there wasn’t anything insightful or hilarious or touching because, yep, that’s how those people are. Again, just not my humor.
Blood and Oil: Cynthia Cidre was our showrunner when I worked on Cane, so the behind-the-scenes drama on this show is much more interesting to me than what’s on screen. Of course, what’s on screen is obscenely wealthy people having angry sex on a literal table of money. But that has nothing to do with the plot. No, seriously: nothing. The story is about two white, middle-class, heteronormative people who decide to buy a bunch of washing machines and open a laundromat in a booming oil-town so they can be transported to the upper class. Unfortunately for them, Billy, the male half of the couple, is incapable of driving on a road, so he drives off of it and this somehow causes the washing machines to all break. So the two of them arrive in town with nothing but the clothes on their backs and probably a couple credit cards, and are able to use their confidence that they are supposed to have money to eventually swindle their way into a land deal. What they don’t know is that in television, negotiating is a sure sign of corruption and now they are probably in 666 Park Avenue. Fortunately, that was one of the best shows no one was watching, which bodes well, but unfortunately it doesn’t sound like the network wants to go in that direction and there’s no reason to suspect this is a supernatural show. Too bad, really.
Quantico: This is an ambitious show. There are a bunch of main characters, each of whom has multiple motivations, there are multiple timelines, and it’s a show with a slightly alternate reality. That said, the people generally do a good job of being “types” without being caricatures. They do tend to repeat their primary characteristic over and over (the number of times Simon says “I’m gay” could probably fill an act by itself) but their secondary characteristic has nothing to do with the first. Simon is gay, and also makes coffee. Nimah is Muslim, and an identical twin. (Right now, they’re both Nimah.) It’s ambitious, but handled well enough to give us confidence that it’ll be worth the ride.
Code Black: I got to read the CBS Studios pilots this year, and while we weren’t lead on this show, the production office got confused and sent me the script anyway. Of all the pilots I read, this was my favorite. In the produced episode, it does remind me of ER, and has that same tricky hurdle by which the action takes precedence over the characters because it’s more exciting. The character traits of the interns right now are: 1) old, with a dead kid; 2) entitled asshole; 3) loveable doof; 4) competent but overlooked. So we’ll see how it goes. I’m kind of more concerned about how things like a chyron that reads “Code Red” is accompanied by shots of saline dripping slowly and a light melody, like there’s not much going on. There are quite a few moments that I wondered why the B-Roll was being used to lessen the suspense. It was odd.
Getting a second chance: Blindspot, Code Black
Added to the season pass: Muppets, Limitless, Scream Queens, Quantico, Heroes
Still to come: OMG