Some quick observations from TV shows I saw last week:
The Blacklist – Raymond Reddington is an interesting character with style and flair. The character is almost unbelievably over the top, with many of his exploits bordering on farce, but with the joy of James Spader chewing up the scenery it was giddy fun. Now that the worst kept secret in TV in recent years has been solved and the toppling of his empire, it was a question to me if The Blacklist could maintain the quality. As Reddington said in the episode, his value is in providing high target lists to the government and with his organization destroyed his value to the government is in question.
It seems, with this first episode of the new season, his goal will be to rebuild the brand, to get what was taken and to get back on top again. I think this will prove to be a good turn for Reddington, as he won’t be the all-knowing, money deep power-broker. It will be an interesting season, I believe.
Designated Survivor – I was fascinated with the series at first, but as time went on in the season it became tiresome because of so many crazy, off kilter plot developments. When Designated Survivor went through a quick discussion of what went on last season, it seemed like it was too much for an administration to endure. Well, considering the current administration, looking at the fictional world of Designated Survivor didn’t seem that fanciful.
I’m going to have to give the show a few more viewings this season to come up with a conclusion. Last season, it went from a pretty interesting idea to a not so competent whodunit with far too many plot twists and missed opportunities. I can’t judge by the first episode of the second season what direction it is taking, but I sense it will continue the jumbled mess that it ended last season with.
The Orville – This is a real surprise of the season. I wasn’t keen on The Orville at first. One, I’m not a big fan of Seth MacFarlane and two, the promos suggested a knee slapping Star Trek. This has won me, which this show as alternative to Star Trek.
What surprised me the most, especially with the hype about this bringing optimistic SF back to TV, was that it has been refreshing to see it bringing optimistic SF to TV. I’ve become a fan of this show with every episode and I was extremely surprised with was episode three entitled About A Girl. That episode, and the decision Bortus and Klyden ultimately allowed to be made, was incredibly gusty in retrospect. It was something I really wasn’t expecting, however, honestly, considering the Bortus society it would have been the correct choice for their society. The debate was given on all sides and I appreciated that. This was definitely in the tradition of Star Trek.
Gotham – All sorts of things can be said about Gotham, both good and bad. This is one show that if I don’t think about the decades of mythos behind it, if I look at this as a fresh series and ignore where it will ultimately end, this would be a guilty pleasure of a show for me. If I try to think about where it fits into the mythos, I have some issues with it. If I just go along for the ride, I like it.
Seriously, Gotham is a conflicted show for me, because I appreciate what they’re doing, and it is a good twist on the basic elements of the mythos, but if this wasn’t Gotham, meaning tied into the Batman mythos, I might enjoy this series more. Now that Bruce Wayne is becoming the non-caped crusader, will this be a good or bad thing for the series? It’s too early to tell, but I think it’s too early for my taste to get Bruce into the costume.
Will & Grace – I wasn’t planning on watching this but my curiosity got the best of me. Would this be a laugh out loud experience of a groan fest? Here’s the thing, I think there has been a change since Will & Grace was the edgy, funny and endearing series. This was over the top in the political message and it was probably inevitable they would attach the President. What surprised me it that right out of the gate they leaned into the current administration and didn’t let go. I laughed at a few things but I didn’t think it was a laugh out loud episode because the comedy was too broad. I’m not sure what I was looking for, but it wasn’t exactly this.
My hope is that they got the Trump bashing out of their system, at least for a little while, and can work with the chemistry of the cast. That was, for me, the reason I liked Will & Grace in the first place. I’m definitely not saying I don’t want the political humor, but I’d like it even it out. If this is going to be constant Trump gags every week, it will get old for me.