The Fall television season has begun and I decided to watch a few more shows this year than I did last. I think last year it was a grand total of three, and even then I watched those rather inconsistently. This year I’ve decided to check out some newcomers. We’ve got a Martin Scorsese led series on HBO, an FX original about private investigators and a show about a husband and wife spy team. Usually I’m not one to jump into a series until fans have developed for it, but this year is about doing things different and being adventurous. I’m also returning to a few shows from last year, but we’ll see how long some of those last as their writing remains a bit spotty at best.
Without further ado, I’d like to share with you my thoughts for this first week of television.
Boardwalk Empire: S1 x 01 – Boardwalk Empire ★★★★☆
Martin Scorsese directed this season opener and it shows. If you liked his previous films, you’ll like this. The episode opens and closes with an iris in on Steve Buscemi’s character and from there we’re taken into the gangster scene of that era. Michael Pit from The Dreamers stars in this as well, and we get a brief look at the burgeoning mob scene in Chicago, and Al Capone getting his start. Lots of promise. I’m definitely on board for the season at this point.
Chuck: S4 x 01 – Chuck Versus The Anniversary ★★☆☆☆
Chuck is a show that’s severely plagued by inconsistent writing, but what it lacks in that department it makes up for in heart. The show keeps it’s characters honest, even if it has no idea what to do with them. Such is the case with the season four opener. The revelation of Linda Hamilton as Chuck’s mother is a nice touch, but the rest of the episode is boring and Chuck seems to be stuck in this feedback loop of “I gotta lie to everyone and waffle on being a spy between every commercial break.” I hate to do this to a show, but I give season four at least two more episodes to get a handle on the writing. After that, I think I’ll wait out the DVD release.
Weeds: S6 x 05 – Boomerang ★★★★★
It’s nice to see characters getting their just desserts, especially in a show about bad decisions. This episode is the culmination of way too many bad choices and in Nancy’s dilemma we finally see some of the humanity that she’s lost in previous episodes. Granted, they’ll probably wrap up the cliffhanger neatly in the next episode, but it’s nice to have a little bit of time to wonder what will happen to the Newman family.
Terriers: S1 x 03 – Change Partners ★★★☆☆
The pilot for Terriers was a strong one. Two blue collar ne’er-do-wells go into the private investigation business “unofficially” while their lives crumble apart around them. Seems like a strong premise and one that could develop into a strong show. Now that I’m three episodes in, I’m starting to wonder if this won’t take the Justified route for me and get continually less interesting as things progress. There’s no real arc to speak of within these episodes and this episode could have done with WAY more Olivia Williams than it got. Next week promises something bigger, so we’ll see. Losing interest.
Community: S2 x 01 – Anthropology 101 ★★★★☆
Community hit me like a blast of fresh air last year. The Office had grown stale for me and 30 Rock had long since lost my interest (just didn’t have exciting guest stars or something). Coming into this new season I’ll admit my expectations were a bit high. Thankfully, the laughs came in right around the 20 second mark for me. A strong episode that manages to be funny and continue with the Winger / Brita arc. Also, Betty White.
Fringe: S3 x 01 – Olivia ★★★★☆
I couldn’t help but yell at my TV a few times with this season opener. The arc seems to be progressing naturally and at the same time building toward something. By the end, I’m still at the edge of my seat wanting to know what happens next. I can’t help but wonder at how this show has grown in just two seasons from a REALLY flat sci-fi monster of the week series with bad acting to an engaging sci-fi drama with characters we can really get behind and root for. Major props on this episode for being able to make the taxi driver a well-developed and likable character. Looks like we’ll be seeing more of him too, which is nice. This is easily the best sci-fi show on currently, maybe even since BSG (first couple of seasons).
Filed Under: Didn’t Get To Watch
Undercovers: S1 x 01 – Pilot ☆☆☆☆☆
Forgot to watch this, and therefore can’t really give my thoughts. I’ll check it out with the second episode next week and let you know. Did you see it? What are your thoughts? I liked the movie Mr. And Mrs. Smith and I’m getting that vibe from this show.