TV: The Family, Gotham, Blindspot, Agent Carter, the Magicians, And Then There Were None

New: 

Family (ABC):

This show may have potential. It is the story of a 9-year-old boy who is presumed murdered and returns after 10 years. In the meantime, the family’s next-door neighbor was put in prison for the murder based on circumstantial evidence. We flash between the present and the past as the lead investigator in the case tries to unravel the mystery around the boys disappearance. The lead writer on this worked on a couple of Shonda shows and there is some of the crazy action  (and sex) those shows are known for. My closest comparison would be the first season of Broadchurch where the murder of a young boy and the mystery surrounding it changes a family and a town forever. Unfortunately, the first episode of the Family smacks more of a network drama (lots of action and mystery) than the well-done cable production of Broadchurch. That being said, there is enough here, including some fine acting by Joan Allen and others to stick with a few more episodes. 

Returning:

Gotham (Fox)

I think Gotham is one of the best of the Comic-based TV series. It’s first season started out a bit shakily but grew stronger and season 2 has continued that momentum. After a winter break, it returned this week with “Mr. Freeze” and a potentially very evil looking prison Psychiatrist named Hugo. We get the backstory on Mr. Freeze who is trying to save his terminally ill wife by freezing her and find Cobblepot entrenched in prison for the murder that Gordon committed. What I like about Gotham is that you don’t have to have read the comic books to understand what is going on and the characters face moral dilemmas and choices that define whom they are. It’s not bad as far as network dramas go and the acting is really quite good. 

Blindspot (NBC)

Blindspot returned from its winter hiatus. This was never my favorite but it is one of only a couple of new fall shows that had promise so I stuck with it. The problem with these winter breaks for scripted dramas is that it is really hard to remember what the heck happened months ago. The return show had Jane saving the world (again), landing an airplane and somehow getting into a moving airplane through the wheel well. So we know that the plots are out there beyond reality but there is still enough to keep me engaged for the time being.  

The Voice (NBC) is back and I’m happy.  It is the one reality show I watch.

Finales:

Agent Carter (ABC)

Agent Carter completed its short winter run with some of the lowest ratings on TV. This has prompted several critics to start a “Save Agent Carter” campaign. It is one of the best hours of  network TV on the air and one of the only Marvel shows to have a female lead. The acting is great, the story telling crisp and fun and the second season reboot in LA proved to be a big success. I doubt this show will be back given the firing of the ABC exec who has been behind it but it is possible one of the other outlets may pick it up which would be a good thing. I enjoyed this break from Marvel’s Agents of Shield, which returns next week. 

Updates:

We are now 7 episodes in to The Magicians (SyFy) and it has consistently gone further away from the books.   Unfortunately the result is not good. Monday night’s episode could have been a major turning point for the show (as it was in the book) when the Brakebill’s students travel to Antarctica to further master their craft. In what should have been an episode completely devoted to Brakebill’s South, it was a fractured and disappointing 60 minutes moving between three different storylines. For some completely unknown reason, Elliot and Margo did not travel to Antarctica with Quentin, Alice, Penny and his girlfriend (I never remember her name as she wasn’t in the books) in another major departure from the books.

Instead, we flashed between Antarctica, Brakebills and Julia never stopping to take a breath to go in depth in any of the plots. At least we didn’t go to Fillory. The story at Brakebills with Elliot finding a new lover who might be connected to the Beast was just boring and didn’t move the plot forward at all. Had they gone to Antarctica we could have had a full episode with just this storyline. Instead, we got a very distracting and useless side story. I don’t even know what to say about the Julia plot as it is so far removed from the books to border on the bizarre. This episode screamed for 60 minutes in Antarctica but instead we got a few seconds of the “fox incident” (which I thought was well done) and not too much else as Quentin and Alice leave finally leave Antarctica as a couple.

I understand the need to keep Julia’s story alive in the TV series instead of just letting her disappear for most of the season but I don’t understand why the script writers can’t keep her story closer to the books rather than introducing all sorts of new characters and plots. None of them work for me. The deep bonds that Alice, Quentin, Elliot and Margo (Janet) and Josh (not even in the TV series) have from the books is missing from the TV show with the introduction of many new kids in the Physical House, the absence of Josh and the focus on Penny. In my opinion this is a big mistake, as the viewer can’t really bond with these characters. At least tonight, I found “Margo” to exhibit some of the characteristics of Janet for the first time.   This show is a hot mess and I am so sad that it is.

Set Your DVR:

A 2-night mini-series of Agatha Christies “And Then There Were None” is going to be on Sunday March 13th and Monday March 14th on Lifetime. It is a British production and it is getting rave reviews from the critics who have seen it. I don’t think I have ever watched anything on Lifetime so this will be new for me but I’m excited about it!

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