Mar 1, 2012

[TV] The 2011-2012 Season Continues to Disappoint

What's with all the crap TV these days? Seriously.

I'm not that difficult a geek to please, when you get down to it. I admit that I actually felt that Dollhouse had a lot of potential. I concede that I watched all 18 episodes of Caprica even though it got yanked off the air before SyFy could finishing broadcasting all the episodes. And I even watched the entire first season of No Ordinary Family, as bad as that was. So I'm not all that rigid when it comes to my TV watching, really.

But as of the Fall 2011-2012 TV season for US television, I seem to be finding it harder and harder to stay tuned in for a lot of the newer shows that stepped up to the plate to try their luck. And typically I try to see shows all the way to the end of their pilot seasons in order to give them a decent enough chance of proving their worth.

But starting with some of the shows that debuted last year, I've actually reached that point where I decide to actually quit a TV show mid-season since I can't stand it anymore. And I'm not totally alone in my thinking - my partner Tobie agrees with my line of thinking.

So what's up with TV now? Let's dig through the debris, shall we?

First up is Terra Nova - the show who's main claim to fame was the fact that it had Steven Spielberg as an Executive Producer along with a fairly sizable special effects budget considering it's a TV series. The show promised dinosaurs, time travel, potentially parallel dimensions and all that good stuff. But the show never really hooked us and factor in annoying whiny characters like the teenage son Josh, a faux meta-plot involving the "myterious" Sixers and the need to invent completely new dinosaurs most of the time instead of featuring more well-known ones to help audiences appreciate things, the show was just a painful mess.

We barely made it to the fifth episode given the Naked Time style episode "What Remains" and the even more ridiculous episode "Instinct", the show just felt like a bad version of the remake of Land of the Lost. And yes, I can be that cruel.

The next show we've only recently decided to drop is the weird procedural fantasty drama Grimm, where many of the characters of fairy tales happen to exist in modern times. In this case, the Grimm are apparently a secret group of hunters who keep the more dangerous fairy tale monsters in check. The Grimms can see people for who they really are (queue special effects) thus aiding in their investigations and the protagonist Nick is still learning the ropes given there's no one left to teach him.

And I really wanted to give this show a chance since the premise could have been cool and it could have sort of acted as a replacement for 17th Precinct, which never survived past the pilot stage. But Nick never tries to use all the history and lore of the Grimms all that much until late in the season and I still don't get the point in his buddy werewolf in the form of Monroe. And the lack of a strong meta-plot (and yes, I recognize Sasha Roiz being all mysterious and untrustworthy) leaves the show feeling like "freak of the week" type of series instead.

On a similar note, I'm not quite sure why we're still watching Once Upon A Time, another drama series that tries to tie in the fairy tale world with our own. To be fair, the story for this show is somewhat stronger than Grimm's and the meta-plot is pretty out there from the very start. But again the need to go through a constant back and forth between the real world and the fantasy world as we learn the back stories of every single bit player in the town is starting to get old really fast.

The House fan in me admits it's fun to see Jennifer Morrison trying to be all tough and biker chick like. And there are some story twists that have worked. But overall Once Upon A Time become the type of show I don't mind playing on TV while I work on something so it doesn't get overly quiet.

I had very high hopes for Person of Interest since it had J.J. Abrams as an executive producer and the show features Michael Emerson, who played Ben on Lost. Again it starts with an interesting enough premise about a super computer than can tie surveillance videos, bank records and internet search traffic together to determine human behavior likely to lead to terrorism or violent crime. But then the overall approach to thins leaves something to be desired.

For a project with J.J. Abrams involved even in the smallest degree, one expects a good mystery somewhere at the core. But we haven't been getting much of that thus far and instead it falls into the trap of "who do we save this week", similar to the challenges of Grimm. I've been voting to stop watching this show but Tobie's still hopeful. If anything, it's always a delight to see Michael Emerson on screen. And no, I don't find Jim Caviezel particular hot.

That leads us to our last show, Alcatraz, which again features a former Lost star and with J.J. Abrams as an executive producer. The premise of the show centers around the disappearance of over 300 inmates from Alcatraz back in 1963 and how they're reappearing in modern times. It's also starting to feel like we're just going after the "prisoner of the week" with the help of police detective Rebecca, Alcatraz geek Dr. Diego Soto (Jorge Garcia / Hurley from Lost) under the direction of "the character you work for but can never trust" Emerson Hauser as played by the now seemingly slimey Sam Neill.

There's the central mystery of why these folks disappeared to begin with and for what purpose have they returned, but that mystery is starting to get lost behind the need to solve this week's potential crime, Jorge Garcia trying to be a geek that's not exactly like Hurley and Sam Neill being all evil and suspicious-like all the time. It's getting tiring but with Abrams involved, we're desperately clinging to the hope of something better at the end of the rainbow. Not getting our hopes up too high though.

And the list goes on and on. The Walking Dead had a pretty weak opening for this second season but it seems to be starting to find its way after their mid-season break so we're still sticking around. Scared to get started on The River given the mixed reviews. And least Fringe remains fairly compelling (but not quite as strong as it used to be) and of course a lot of the sitcoms that we enjoy still deliver good laughs.

What's up with you Hollywood? You take away shows like Pushing Daisies, Firefly, and The Sarah Connor Chronicles and instead we get this crap? Ugh.
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  1. I watch A Gifted Man. Good wholesome doctor-ghostly fun. :D

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