Most of the mid-season new shows have been pretty weak. About a Boy‘s pilot is the movie condensed to 30 minutes, transported to America, and with a more annoying kid. Growing Up Fisher stars J.K. Simmons as a blind lawyer and the pilot didn’t include a single Daredevil joke (it’s not that bad, just a little bit too heart warming for my tastes, and the constant barrage of blind jokes reminded me too much of the Parkinson’s jokes in Michael J. Fox’s show). The only pilot I’ve actually liked so far is Mind Games which premiered this week on ABC.
Steve Zahn stars as a disgraced bipolar academic who’s an expert in the science of decision making. How we don’t make decisions rationally, but let all sorts of outside factors influence them. Christian Slater is his brother, a disgraced former finance guy of some sort, who decides he and his brother should start a sort of consulting firm where they use Zahn’s experience to teach people how to get their way.
It’s another premise that impresses me, like Lie to Me or Scandal, where it has a novel (not cops, lawyer, or doctors) method to crank out one shot stories. And it has a solid cast, a sense of humor, some seeds for long term plots, and a solid showrunner in Kyle Killen (the guy who did Lone Star and Awake).
Unfortunately, like Killen’s other two shows, it premiered to pretty lousy ratings. So it’ll probably be done in one season.
Jack Reacher didn’t look that good from the trailers, but it’s on Netflix streaming and I couldn’t find anything else to watch. It’s pretty dumb.
Filled with Tom Cruise having these tired “look what a badass I am” moments. I was also told by a fan of the Jack Reacher books that the character is supposed to be a giant, so he was not happy at all with the diminutive Tom Cruise. The only real highlight was Rosamund Pike, who is still very attractive (and who I always forget is younger than I am, she has always had an air of maturity or something even in Die Another Day, when it turns out she was only 23).
I’m really scraping the bottom of the barrel for stuff to watch. But the mark of true desperation will be when I start asking for anime recommendations, or I start reading actual (non-comic) books more than once a year.
Rake is a new Fox series starring Greg Kinnear as a fuckup gambling addict lawyer. The pilot’s not half bad, has a couple funny moments, a reasonably ok plot, and some hot actresses (though I’m not sure if any of them will be regulars going forward). Based on the pilot alone I’d be pretty iffy on following it further, mostly because it’s about a lawyer which is a tired TV premise, and also it’s kind of got that “wishes it could be House” vibe, which is also pretty overdone. But Larry Sanders/Rescue Me‘s Peter Tolan is the showrunner, and I generally like his work, so I’m definitely up for a few more episodes at least.
Chozen is an animated series from some Eastbound and Down producers with Bobby Moynihan as the voice of the main character. Since I haven’t really ever enjoyed Eastbound and Down or found Bobby Moynihan particularly funny, I’m not surprised that I didn’t like this.
True Detective is an HBO series or miniseries or something about Louisiana state cops investigating a twisted murder. The general tone seems to be foreboding.
It’s the long-awaited reunion of the male leads of EdTV*, but is sadly missing Jenna Elfman. Several Wire people show up in smaller parts. Michelle Monaghan is also in this, which is nice. It seems like she’s never in anything, but apparently she did a lot of work in 2013 that I just didn’t see.
Anyway, it’s kind of interesting. The case they’re investigating is somewhat intriguing, but mostly Matthew McConaughey’s character’s weirdness is what had my interest. About three times in the first episode, Woody Harrelson says something along the lines of “you can’t say shit like that, it freaks me out.”
* – I have never seen EdTV.
Bitten is Syfy’s new werewolf show with Laura Vandervoort. It opens on a sex scene with some tasteful sideboob, and I would probably suggest stopping there. It seems to want to be like Lost Girl, combining supernatural stuff with lots and lots of sex, but while Laura Vandervoort is totally hot (even if she’s sometimes kinda weird looking), she isn’t particularly charismatic, and the rest of the cast is even duller.
Enlisted is a new Fox comedy starring the guy from The Finder as a soldier transferred from the front lines to command a unit full of misfits (including his brothers) in Florida. Keith David is his commanding officer, which makes the show 200% cooler, but 200% cooler than an unfunny sitcom is still not very cool.
Helix is a new SyFy series somewhat reminiscent of The Thing about a mysterious disease outbreak at a remote research station in northern Greenland. Billy Campbell (The 4400) is the lead CDC guy, Hiroyuki Sanada (Lost, Wolverine, etc) is the head guy at the research station who seems to know more than he lets on, and Jordan Hayes (nothing I recognize) is the hot girl who works for Campbell’s character at the CDC. It’s slightly more horror-y than I like my science fiction, but it’s a scripted sci fi show with decent production values so I’m basically going to watch it regardless.
Chicago PD is, I only just now realized, a spinoff of Chicago Fire, which I don’t watch. It focuses on a team of detectives who seem to be kind of a major crimes unit maybe, who seem to do a whole lot of undercover work, but you’d think that would make having at least one black person on the team. But instead it’s four white guys, two white girls, and a Hispanic guy who could pass for Italian. Bunny from The Wire is their captain or something, and they have an Asian guy doing their tech stuff, so they’ve got their token stuff taken care of. It looks like they recast the hell out of this, since at some point J.B. Smoove, Mykelti Williamson, Rousseau’s daughter from Lost, and some other generic white guy were supposed to be in this at some point. At least some of the recasts were a good idea, since the presence of Sophia Bush (who I have always thought was really hot, I even like her raspy voice, but I’ve only ever seen her in a few Nip/Tuck episodes) was one of the major reasons I even bothered to check this out. But nothing other than her hotness was particularly interesting about the pilot, so this is yet another one I won’t be following.