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Fall TV Review

Fall TV Review

It’s that time again. The tube is live, the TV is tuned, and major marketing ads have come. Yes, it is time for The Hicks Fall Premier TV review. Being a lover of creative content, stellar drama, and shocking reveals; premiere season is an exciting time for me. I love watching the new content coming out of Hollywood every year. It gives me the inspiration to continue my own writing career. It also encourages my imagination. But best of all, I get to help TV tube watchers like you.  Sometimes choosing which shows to support and watch can be difficult. No fears people, TanelaWrites is here.

I have spent the last week up late watching all the new shows. Just a note before we delved into these reviews. My assessments of each show are based on my opinions gathered during a live viewing of each show. I have only seen each show once, with the exception of my reviews of a few select existing shows. Remember, just opinions Enjoy.

Prodigal Son

The Prodigal Son was a widely anticipated psycho-crime drama about a man who is the product of a serial killer father and an emotionally unstable mother. The crime drama is fresh for Fox TV and a welcome change from last year’s lineup. The show is a good mixed of Monk and Criminal Minds. The brokenness depicted in the main character is special and makes the show interesting enough to follow for an entire hour. Actor Tom Payne plays Malcolm Bright, an unconventional disjointed FBI profiler with severe daddy issues. He is definitely not glamorous or even successfully dark and mysterious.

The show has promise but has some concerning challenges. The casting is a distracting issue. First, Tom Payne is staged older than the character needs to be. Be aware, I am not saying the young actor is too old for the role. He is not, but the producer’s costume and makeup have him looking older than what he is. In addition, I think a man that is beginning to rethink his own personality and criminal future due to the obvious nature of his serial killer father; would be going through those issues a lot early in life. His character looks like he is a 40-year-old man just now realizing that he might be a serial killer. Additionally, the supporting cast seems dismissive and staged. The only bright spot in the casting is Bellamy Young, but unfortunately, her entrance into the premiering episode was muted and underutilized.

The overall procedural storylines may prove to be the show's downfall. They are predictable and the character arches can be seen a week away. For example, after the first episode, I can predict the following stories. At some point, Malcolm will be accused of murders and he will have to prove his innocence. At some point, he will have to fight real delusions of killing someone. At some point he partner/mentor will be kidnapped or framed for murder. The father definitely has multiple storylines built-in. Father will escape. Father will admit to more killings people are not aware of. Father is released to help “work the scene “and solve a crime. Seeing the storylines this far out in a procedural show is not horrible, but it is not a good thing in a climate of shock and drop. Viewers need something to fret over and Prodigal Son just has not shown that. I do think it is a solvable problem, which makes me cautiously optimistic about the show’s future. Cautiously!

C+

Bluff City Law

Take Crossing Jordan and mix it with the Practice or Ally McBeal. This legal drama did not stand out well from minute marker 5. Starting a premier TV show out with a flashforward to a flashback has always rubs me the wrong way. We don’t know you or what you have been through, so please start at the beginning. The opening was dry and bland leaving me as the viewer flicking through the guide book to see if I was missing anything else. Newcomer Caitlin McGee has some big ground to cover if she want to outshine the CBS new legal drama All Rise. The main character comes across strong and solid, but the vulnerability on her face in not hidden, and frankly oversold. In the pilot, she is supposed to be a cutthroat Jack McCoy like lawyer, yet she folds the moment her father asks. The writers did not show us the character's process. How did she go from hating her father to working with him so quickly. Overall her character is missing depth. The most interesting character in the show is the deceased mother. Apparently, she is the glue for the entire staff and her influence is being felt in everyone. I would be interested to see how the writers use her memory to pull some real emotion, and some real acting out of these dryly written characters. The jury is still out on this one, but I think all parties involved should take a plea deal now and cut their losses.

So, I know what you all are thinking. How could I fell to mention veteran actor Jimmy Smits? Did he not show up for the first episode? Is he the bright spot for the show and is the writer (me) saving his review for last? Or did the advertiser get it wrong and he is not cast in the show at all? Well…here is the truth. I will leave it short a sweet because I am a Jimmy Smidt fan and refuse to gut him or his acting.  BUT I will tell the truth.

I was not impressed! I have seen him do better and I look forward to the entertainment news saying they will let him off this train wreck before his next AARP renewal. L.A. Law forever.

C-

Mix-ish

Straight from the land of Kenya Barris is another hit spinoff from the amazingly funny world of Blackish, Mix-ish. While some are not too eager to see another ~ish comedy show, I welcome it will be growing arms. Mix-ish is the much needed female lead comedy-drama starring Tika Sumpter, Mark Paul Gosselaar, and of course voiceover from the amazing Trace Ellis Ross. It follows the history and background of Rainbow, main character on Blackish. We get to learn why and how she is the unique and sometimes confused bird that she is. The pilot episode started with a seamless transition from Black-ish storytelling to a flashback of Rainbow the teenage. Casting is spot on and I could not identify any gaps or misfires from previously Black-ish episode. Typically, that is the major downfall of a good-intentioned spin-off. Writer’s often changed the backstory to fit the new focus of the spinoff; forgetting that dedicated fans would immediately identify the error. Sure, we aren’t talking about you Fuller House, The Good Fight, and Once Upon a Time in Wonderland! But I digress. Mix-ish is delightful and funny and overall a great show. My only concern is with the voiceover. I think it will be crucial to give Mix-ish its own voice and not depend on the narration of Tracee Ellis Ross. Although her character is the central storyline, I think that newcomer Arica Himmel has a lot to offer and I am looking forward to her driving the hilarious adventures of the Johnson family, and leaving adult Rainbow to manage Dre, kids, and parents of Black-ish. Great job Kenya Barris.

A-

Emergence

Emergence is going to be the show stopper of fall TV. I am so nervous for the writers and producers because typically a show starting out this strong and well usually has a traumatic downfall. (With the expectation to anything Shonda Rhimes puts out). The series follows Jo Evans a police chief for an oceanside town and finds herself wrapped up in a governmental experiment gone wrong. She is drawn to protect this little girl she doesn’t know what happened to her or why. All we the audience know is that she is different. This sci-fi drama somehow has a jaw-dropping shocking moments mixed with realistic dramatic ones. My favorite element of the show is Allison Tolman. She is a strong female character who is not secretly on drugs, not the traditional tough as nails single mom, and not glamourized. She is just a regular and relatable hard-working woman. Watching her portray Jo Evans really made me believe that I could be a cop, and this type of emotional mystery can happen to me. The writing on the show definitely had me on the edge of my seat and I wasn’t sure how to feel while watching other than, I know I want to see more. Here is a short list of notes I wrote while watching the show:

  • Homeland Security?
  • English guy accent (Interpol)
  • Nice casting on the daughter
  • Perfect casting on the Ex-husband... Not just because the cast needed diversity, but because Donald Faison fits the role.
  • Kid Magento?
  • Wait what happen!

Emergence was so intriguing and excited. This show has all the makings of a major break out for NBC, which in my opinion is needed if they want to overtake ABC of the drama front. This show will overshadow all the lackluster performances of Manifest and the Event. Kudos to Tara Butters and Michele Fazekas for getting this one right.

A++

Evil

Let me first say that I apologize to fans of Mike Colter. This is in no way a knock to his potential as an actor or strongly tied to his performance alone. This new supernatural detective show was anything but exciting. Dry, slow, and very much unbelievable, not the exciting drama it was billed to be. The show is supposed to be about a woman who lacks belief in the religious mysteries of the world. Very randomly she partners up with a true man of faith, who doubles as an investigator. WHY. The dark tone advertisers promised is just not there. The main character is not believable as a forensic psychologist. Now, please don’t think that I hold true to all the stereotypes that nerds and intelligent woman must wear glasses and pants suit every day; but Katja Herbers just doesn’t sell the Doctor of Psychology bit to me. And the religious components the show premise is meant to stand on is muted. Worst of all the main characters have ZERO chemistry. During a scene about mid-way through, there is a creepy looking demon-like character that accuses Dr. Kristen Bouchard (Herbers) of flirting with David Acosta (Colter). I was very confused because I never saw any flirting or even interesting dialogue. This show, unfortunately, is a very broken version of X-Files. Someone, please beam Mike Colter up out of this short order pilot show before any real damage is done to his hard-earned paranormal Sci-Fi street cred.

D-

Stumptown

Well well, we finally get some funny and some action in the same show. Stumptown delivers well on multiple points. The show is not perfect, but it checks all the boxes that a crime drama with a smart-mouthed free-spirited woman should. While I do have some issues with the creative applications of the main character’s name and show setting (Portland for a crime drama, really); I do like the setup. An off the rails unofficial P.I. Dex Parios (played by Cobie Smulders) starts to see her value and skillset after her time a marine in the war. She is flawed, which I love. She has vulnerable spots, i.e. her brother, love that even more. And she is a sex addict, TOTALLY love the unconventional nature of that storyline. It was also refreshing to learn that the show is based off a graphic novel series. Shout out to all the content producers in the world. I am cautiously optimistic that the writers will put some built-in longevity to the storyline that doesn’t weigh down the tick for tack dialogue her and Detective Miles Hoffman (played by the gorgeously amazing Michael Ealy) seem to naturally have. The continuity of this show will heavily depend on procedural storylines, with SMALL character arcs. Writers, don’t go too deep, too fast. Don’t make her a real alcoholic. Don’t make her super dependent on the detective. Let that relationship grow organically. Give her kick-ass scenes and interesting mysteries to solve. You do that, and I will stick around for a while.

B

Alright, now that you know what new shows to watch and what to definitely skip (EVIL), here are some short thoughts on returning shows. Full disclosure, I already currently watch each of these series and for the most part enjoy them, so I hope you do too.

Black-ish

Great job introducing a new funny element. Solid performances all around.

Glad to see characters developing and still keep me laughing

 

A

 

The Resident

You broke my heart and I will be back for more. Awesome dramatic content. Loving the storyline set up with Dr. Conrad. Don’t worry fans, I won’t ruin it, but you should see it coming too! *wink*wink*

      

 A++

 

9-1-1

You did good, but it was a predictable opening episode. Watch out because that new timeslot might hurt you more than help you. Let’s keep up the momentum.

B

 

Empire

What are you doing!!! #Confused. That’s all folks

 

C+

 

Well, that is all folks. Stay tuned for a special review of some of your favorite comedy shows and the highly anticipated court drama All Rise, from the one and only Everett Fowler of Too Much Time on My Hands, Productions.

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