Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Fall TV Part 1

I'm hoping today will be a lot more productive than yesterday, but I have a good start in that I actually slept last night. The night before, I was wide awake at 3 a.m. and didn't get back to sleep until about 5, so I was groggy all day. I forced myself to power through with minimal afternoon caffeine, in hopes that I would actually manage to sleep at night. And I guess it worked. So now we'll see if I can focus on things.

One thing I need to work on is coming up with an umbrella name for this new series. My agent and I are disagreeing because she wants something pretty distinctive that's not already obvious from the cover, and I think that simple and obvious are probably better because most people don't even remember the official name of a series and instead either call it by the name of the main character or the name of the first book. Those are the search terms that are most likely to be used on Amazon.

While I was in my sleep-deprived zombie state yesterday, I put in some quality sofa time for the start of the fall TV season. Some thoughts on what I watched:

Gotham -- I was a big Batman fan as a kid. In second or third grade, I used to run home from the school bus stop every afternoon so I could be in time for the afternoon Batman reruns (the campy 60s show). But I wasn't as big a fan as my little brother and his best friend, who used to ride their Big Wheels around the neighborhood, singing the Batman theme at the top of their lungs. I'm not a comics reader, so I never knew that version of the story, and I was hit-and-miss about even getting around to seeing the 1990s series of movies (saw the first, then saw the one with Val Kilmer, and I think that's it unless I caught them on cable and used them as background noise). So although I can see where the dark and gritty thing is appropriate to the character and situation, my favorite version had a sense of campy fun to it (because, to be honest, it's hard for me to take villains who dress up in costumes all that seriously). Gotham is a prequel to Batman, following the future Commissioner Gordon when he's a rookie detective investigating the murder of young Bruce Wayne's parents. The cast is good. The villains aren't yet wearing silly costumes. Some of them aren't even yet villains. But it's just so very bleak. Remove the Batman roots and it's just another series about how cities suck, crime is out of control, and some of the cops are worse than the criminals, with the one good cop teetering on the balance and trying to maintain some integrity while still getting stuff done (and not getting himself killed). There's nothing else I want to watch in that slot, so I may stick with it for at least a while until it becomes so depressing that I can't take it anymore, but I'm not sure I'd actually make an effort to watch it.

Sleepy Hollow -- I thought the pilot to this series last year was brilliant, and there's still a lot I like about it, but it went downhill along the way for me. I'm just not a huge fan of Impending Biblical Apocalypse stories, and I'm so very over demons from the underworld (this is the reason I finally gave up on Supernatural). This season's premiere had some fun twists and managed to maintain a lot of that fish-out-of-water humor with Revolutionary War soldier and spy Ichabod coping with our modern world, which is the main reason I keep watching. I'm mostly tuning out all the big-picture plot stuff and watching for the characters. If I only focused on the plot, I'd probably hate it.

Forever -- I actually wasn't planning to watch this, but it's on the channel where I usually watch the news, so I was turning there after Sleepy Hollow because the local news was coming on that station and I loathe their news team. I was avoiding pain by changing the channel rapidly to the station I'd want to be on the next time I turned on the TV, and there was our lovely Horatio Hornblower, all grown up, so I kept it on until I finished the row I was knitting, just to listen to his voice doing narration. And then I started another row. I kept saying I was going to turn it off and go to bed, but I ended up watching the whole show. This is yet another Immortal in the City show, but at least he's not a vampire, and I've liked the non-vampire takes on the trope, which never seem to last (like New Amsterdam from a few years ago). In this case, he was a doctor on a slave ship who refused to throw an ill man overboard and got sent overboard himself (something I found mildly amusing, since Ioan Gruffudd played William Wilberforce, one of the people behind ending Britain's slave trade, in the movie Amazing Grace, so it's an odd little bit of typecasting). Only he didn't die, and now he can't die permanently. Every time he gets killed, he finds himself in water, alive again. Now, a couple of hundred years later, he's obsessed with studying death and is currently working as a medical examiner. This show is mostly a collection of the tropes we've come to expect from this sort of thing -- the close friendship with an older man who seems fatherly to him but who is more of a son (though the revelation of the real relationship was actually rather surprising and touching); the vast knowledge base because of being alive for so long; the likely to become romantic relationship with the cop who may be closing in on his secret. The thing is, though, that I like those tropes, which may make this something I end up enjoying. The problem is that the regular timeslot is going to be a killer and I'm never home then, so I'll have to catch this OnDemand. It may fall into my Sunday-afternoon comfort TV slot, or may go in the pre-Grimm slot to make my own Friday-night paranormal lineup.

Tonight, I should be able to watch NCIS before ballet. The New Orleans spinoff was extremely annoying when they did the backdoor pilot episode for it, so I suspect I'll be skipping that one. I won't be home anyway, but I doubt I'll make any effort to watch it later. Then I'll have to decide what to watch OnDemand after choir Wednesday night, since Chicago Fire, Person of Interest and Forever are all in that late Tuesday slot that I'm now missing due to the later dance class. I think I'm most interested in seeing what happens next on Person of Interest (and the resident Mary Sue on Chicago Fire was already getting on my nerves, so that show is close to being struck off the list entirely), so that may go higher on the priority list.

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