Tag Archives: TV

TV State of the Union

 

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The second half of this TV season is upon us and so I figured that a hangover-ed morning was a great way to catch up on all of the TV I’ve missed lately. Today was that day. It’s been a busy couple of months in the entertainment industry. A lot of content to consume in order keep up with, well, everything. The award ceremonies, the water cooler talks, the artistic expressions of our favorite filmmakers, and, of course, the FOMO. After casually keeping up with my favorite shows amidst all of my movie going excitement, it seemed like the right time for a Bryan’s Not Lyin’ TV State of the Union.

While I have pared down what I watch on a weekly basis substantially, my TV time is still way above the average viewer. This includes not just what my DVR records, but sporting events, Netflix and Hulu and Amazon and HBO binges (aka my Apple TV playland), as well as the youtube videos of hilarious late night tv antics. There a lot going on and I need to see it all. It’s a blessing and a curse. Mostly a curse, sometimes a blessing. (Curse, let’s be honest.)

So below, I’ve written a few blurbs on what I’m currently watching and how I think their current seasons are fairing. Note: SPOILER CITY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Not like an actual city, but there are a lot of spoilers below.)

Once again: Next Stop, Spoiler City! (Like I said, not an actual city…)

Arrow

It’s much better than last season. Much, much better. Now, it’s been well documented that fJIcdG2this show takes itself waaaay too seriously and while this season is no different, there’s a bit more character empathy. The reason? Neal McDonough as Damien Darhk. Not only is his baddie more engaging to watch then Matt Nobel’s Ra’s al Guhl from last year, but his ruthlessness and relentless raises the stakes of everything Team Arrow takes on. Some plots I’m down on (aka Speedie’s bloodlust), but mostly Oliver and Felicity’s current situation is incredibly watchable. They’re the characters I am most drawn to and Darhk brings out the most interesting storytelling.

The Flash

It’s convoluted, ridiculous, and out there, but damn is it so much fun. Every character (minus Caitlin and Jay) are clicking on all cylinders. In a way, The Flash season two has done an interesting flip flop. At first the emotional lives of the characters, aside from Barry, were shallow and based on the fact that The Flash’s secret was being kept to frustrating means. Essentially, Iris and a few other characters didn’t pop off the screen well and
the-flashseemed like filler or at least a forced obstacle for Barry and company. The fun bad guys, silly quips, and good TV special effects were the reason to stay. Now the show borders on (or sometimes crosses over into) the absurd, but it is grounded in such wonderful human moments. Now that all of the core characters know that Barry is the Flash, we don’t have any super cliched plots that just don’t read to the audience. That has allowed us to connect more with the plights of these people and be affected by their hardships. Iris and her mother. Barry and Patty. Harry and his daughter. I look forward to hanging out in Central City every Tuesday nights (and when they are in Star City for crossovers with Team Arrow.)

Supergirl

I’m really enjoying what this show is dishing out. The Berlanti DC TV shows are very strong across the board and Supergirl, in its first season, has only strengthened his hold on the Stronger Togethersmall screen comic book landscape. This show is earnest, heartfelt, and melodramatic in a way that the other shows can’t offer. Some characters are more likable than others, for instance, I enjoy an episode with less James Olsen and more Cat Grant. The addition of The Martian Manhunter through a Hank Henshaw fake out is brilliant and adds a whole new DC layer to the show that it needed. Especially to act as a mentor and foil to Melissa Benosit’s wonderful take on Supergirl. (The gchats with Clark Kent weren’t exactly cutting it.) It’s a really fun way to end my Monday nights. Jeremy Jordan is also pretty dreamy.

Nashville

Yes, I still watch it. Why? I JUST DON’T KNOW. The music isn’t as good, the plots keep getting more and more insane, but I can’t not watch it!

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

It’s truly impressive how in it’s 11th season, this show is funnier, more gruesome, and smarter than it has been in what would be considered it’s best years. It’s rare for a halfstatic1.squarespace hour comedy to come back from some lesser quality seasons, but the past three seasons have done that like 30 Rock in it’s last season. Granteed, there have only been a handful of episodes so far into the season, but Mac, Dee, Frank, Dennis, and Charlie are delivering left and right. RUM HAM!

New Girl

It still consistently cracks me up. Now that the cast has been streamlined again (and the title card), it’s back to what I enjoyed before Nick and Jess got together. Semi-plotless, but new-girlso much fun and the one-liners kill. Everybody’s friendship chemistry is profoundly real and palpable. The show refound that their characters and those relationships are why the show works in the first place, so they’ve relied on that in a major way.  Cece and Schmidt together works better than any other pairing of ‘lovers’, so to have that solidified for the moment adds a lot of comic value. I love these people and the crazier Winston is, the more I love everything and everybody.

Billions

I’ve watched the first two episodes and can’t get enough of Damian Lewis, Paul Giamatti, Maggie Siff, and even Malin Akerman. The story itself isn’t the most engaging I’ve ever Billionsseen. If anything it’s retread of the usual bad boy, super smart hedge fund CEO and the questionably moral government employee out to get him. But simply put: the scene work, writing, and acting is top notch. As of now, I like it a lot, I just hope that it can stay the course and not become the same old same old banker vs government story.

The Big Bang Theory

It delivers exactly what it promises: nerd laughs. This season has had some extremely solid The Raiders Minimizationepisodes, all character based, which is both nice and unexpected for half hour sitcom. The types of character pieces they’re building around Sheldon/Amy and Leonard/Penny tell a much more interesting story of friendship and growth, so our time investment in these lives is rewarded. This season is enjoyable on multiple planes (or Sheldon’s favorite thing: trains).

 

 I’ll hopefully have more TV related reviews up in the next few days, so stay tuned!

Keep On Watchin’!

-Bryan

Sherlock: The Abominable Bride

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Oh, how nice to have Mr Holmes and Mr Watson back! The hour and a half special brings back our two favorite detectives, but in 1895 London, as opposed to the usual contemporary setting. After a bride kills herself on her own wedding anniversary, her ghost goes on a killing spree around London. Holmes and Watson are on the case, while the former works out a parallel case in his head. Watson and Mary do their usual marriage troubles dance along the way as well.

Except for the the time period, it’s the same basic show we all know and love. The opening credits, our characters’ backstories, and more are all familiar, yet with its original Sir Arthur Conan Doyle spin. (I truly enjoyed the Mycroft surprise.) It’s a fun change of pace for the show in a rare appearance.

All of the actors are back in their roles or at least their Victorian England counterparts, male or female or swapped. The episode keeps the same quirks as the previous seasons: the on screen text, flashback set pieces, and unique transitions. Of course, it’s all just the cherry on the Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch chemistry sundae. I much prefer their Sherlock and John over Smaug and Bilbo. sherlock-abominable-bride-trailer-2They’re still as sharp as ever, clearly having a great time having slipped back into these comfortable characters. Their banter, camaraderie, and working relationship is all on point, as is the writing for most of the episode. It flows nicely with the main mystery over shadowing any of the smaller plots for most of the running time. Beautifully shot, the episode’s style stays true to the previous iterations in this BBC series.

Thematically, the episode deals with ghosts and how the past affects our present. Everything that has happened throughout the run of the show still exists in this timeline, so our favorite characters are still dealing with their same demons. Moriarty, drug abuse, and Irene Adler all come back into play, some more than others. And then the twist that could have been called from a mile away happens, but it’s still pretty rewarding.

*SPOILERS FROM HERE ON OUT. SKIP TO THE LAST PARAGRAPH TO AVOID THEM.*

Again, spoilers. Okay. You good? Great. So, the 19th century sequences are actually Holmes in his mind palace while on the plane at the end of the series 3 finale. He’s attempting to solve how Moriarty can be back, but by understanding the centuries old mystery of the bride. (Of which the answer is a little lame.) Once we’re back in Victorian England, Holmes gets a telegram from Mary conveniently leading him and Watson to the church of pissed off wives. Holmes easily solves the case, which in another episode would seem pretty dull, but here, since it’s in his mind palace and we’re now engaged in the Moriarty storyline, it’s forgivable.

The final ten minutes are extremely entertaining, if not a little convoluted. The idea that Moriarty is so in Holmes’ head that he infects every dark corner of his mind palace is interesting. The writers explore it nicely, if not unevenly. It’s always an maxresdefaultadded bonus when Andrew Scott gets to reprise the role of the crazed professor, Moriarty. However, what I found the most fulfilling is how Sherlock allows Watson to help him. Holmes may be the same arrogant, narcissistic sleuth, but his acceptance of Watson’s help in this dire situation is a rewarding character development. Of course Watson is always there to help, but Holmes calling upon him in his own mind’s eye was pretty sweet. Additionally, the episode ended on a fun note, blurring the lines between which time period is reality and which is the mind palace. Essentially it doesn’t matter because he’s a man of many times, but it answered my biggest pet peeve of the entire episode: How does Sherlock of the 19th century know what a jet is and why didn’t Watson question the word/ concept earlier?

*END OF SPOILERS*

It’s not my favorite of the Sherlock episodes, but I had a great time delving back into this world regardless. The first two acts are a little stronger than the third and Holmes doesn’t really do any detective work, per se. Everything is handed to him, 404246-sherlock-the-abominable-bride-fb-cropwhich may or may not be the point, but things are a little too easy and clear cut. It’s heavily reliant on his drug use than any other season and the twist almost cheapens the whole experiences, even though it ties a lot together. All of the smaller plot lines are lost along the way, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as they didn’t have a strong introduction. However, these characters, the chemistry between actors, and witty writing are always welcome, even if they come in fits and stops. I will wait for however long it takes Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss to get the gang back together, as there are still mysteries afoot.

Keep on Watchin’!

-Bryan