Most of the network shows come to an end these middle two weeks of May so I’ll be doing a couple of posts this week. In looking at the series I watch, I was struck by how many ABC shows are on my schedule vs. any of the other networks. For the spring, I have 7 ABC; 1 CBS and 3 each on NBC and the CW. Some of these I won’t return to and some have been cancelled but I guess I like what is happening at ABC more than the other networks although all the really good stuff is on Cable/Streaming.
The Good Wife (CBS) – A once great show goes out with a whimper (series finale)
I’m sad to see the Good Wife go even though it has had an uneven final season. Some seasons have certainly been better than others but the acting is always strong and the storylines for the most part, really good. The guest lawyers and judges have been great as well. The Good Wife had some of the strongest female characters in Television and there is going to be a big hole left by its departure. I’m going to really miss Alicia, Cary and Diane and I hope that the Diane and Luca spin-off actually happens. This spinoff could be a bit problematic though given that in the finale Luca accuses Diane’s husband of having an affair while in open court. This makes their relationship inextricably broken which is a pretty big hurdle if the writers want then to have a close relationship in the new show.
That wasn’t the only problem in the finale, which was very divisive. I get that the final slap paid homage to the slap in the series premier but what lead up to it was really weak. Diane’s husband was having an affair with that girl from “Smash”? Not exactly a well developed plot line and how the heck did Luca and Alicia even know about it. I’m also not convinced that it is in Diane’s character to deliver such a slap – particularly when just a few minutes before she told Alicia that it is her responsibility to win her client’s case at all cost. And why would Luca even go there in court as it surely meant getting fired from the great job she finally got. None of this made much sense.
I guess the basic premise of this final season and show is that Alicia symbolically turns into Peter but it really was all over the place and nothing else got resolved. I can’t even tell you what Peter’s trial was about or why it took up so much time this spring. What a waste. Is Alicia now going to go into politics? Is she going to get together with Jason? Really, the only thing that we know for sure is that Alicia has left Peter and “saved” Grace’s future (guess Grace isn’t in the know on “Gap” years). It was time for the Good Wife to go and despite the finale, we have an amazing body of work to revisit.
Scandal (ABC) – Art imitates Life (season finale)
Scandal struggled some this year and the ratings reflect it. I really enjoyed the first couple of seasons but the plots this year were so ridiculous – even for Scandal – that much of the enjoyment is gone. How Olivia’s father is still pulling every string in Washington is beyond me and the whole Susan plotline has been bizarre. Scandal worked best when Olivia was kicking ass running Pope Associates and Quinn and Huck were clearing out the bodies rather than Olivia struggling to find herself. As much as I love “Nellie”, her quick rise to power has been ludicrous and Jake as the head of the intelligence agency and now VP candidate is equally absurd. I don’t know what the new guy in her firm does but he has been given no real job and follows the others around like a puppy.
The finale sets us up for the fall presidential campaign pitting Nellie and Jake against a Trump-like character. It remains to be seen if this is going to be something that the viewers are going to want to turn to for entertainment given the real life election that we are all going to have to somehow survive. It may be just a little too close to home. I suspect we will all be turning off Network TV and escaping to Netflix by this fall. I can’t imagine listening to Trump 24×7 and then watching his clone for entertainment. It will also be interesting to see how many episodes there will be of Scandal next year due to Kerry Washington’s pregnancy. Shonda has Greys, Scandal, HTGAWM, the Catch (surprisingly renewed) as well as a new show that was just announced. That show might share the season with Scandal. We have yet to see the schedule. I wonder if Shonda is spread too thin because most of these shows are loosing viewers. Currently, her most successful show is Greys and that is the one she has least involvement with.
The Family (ABC) – So long and good riddance (series finale)
This is another new ABC spring show that is struggling and it should be struggling – it just isn’t good. Joan Allen is captivating as always and Allison Pill is pretty good as her manipulative daughter but they are not given the material they deserve. We find out in the finale that Adam is alive so why the heck did Ben say he killed him and why the red herring on his illness. Bizarrely, Doug the pedophile who kidnapped the real and fake sons made contact with “Ben” and is not only allowed him to live but has ongoing contact. Ben even tells the police that this guy is not his kidnapper. In addition, that police investigator is the worst one in the world. Then there is the pedophile’s pregnant wife who is pretty clueless and seemingly very nice except that she is killing an FBI agent and sticking with her husband for years while she appeared to know what he was doing– well she did until the finale anyway. In the finale she just “sees the light”? This show started out with an interesting premise, a good cast, and a decent pilot and then went to hell in a handbag. Good thing it was cancelled this week.
Quantico (ABC) – or should we rename it “Langley” for next season? (Season finale)
I watched Quantico because it was only one of two new network shows introduced in the fall that had any positive buzz at all (the other being Blindspot). I have stuck with it week in and week out throughout the year as it went from one confusing and ridiculous episode to the next. Alex should have been kicked out of the FBI 20 times over by now (and finally is in the finale). The stunts she pulls each week are just silly. I’m so tired of the “Alex is always right and everyone else is wrong” story of the week. The only thing that could save this show is just to have a massive explosion that kills all of these whiney people and start over with a new class.
Unfortunately this did not happen in the finale – they are all still around except for poor Simon. The rationale behind why the mole did what he did and his connection to the new Vice President of the USA was very sketchy. The whiney people are all still employed by the FBI, which has proved to be the most incompetent government agency ever, and Alex is fired only to be recruited by the CIA. Perhaps the show runners have figured out that they have destroyed the credibility of the FBI and are now going after the CIA? I can’t imagine I’ll be back for Season 2 of this show.
Grace and Frankie (Netflix)
The 2nd season of Grace and Frankie dropped this past week and I saw 5 episodes. As much as I like the four major characters, each episode seems to play the same joke over and over again. With a cast like this, we should be laughing out loud throughout each show but that just doesn’t happen. The first season wasn’t great but this one so far is even more disappointing. I’m not sure how many episodes I will get through but we really need new writers for the already renewed Season Three.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix)
I never got to Kimmy Schmidt the first season so when the 2nd season dropped I decided to go back and start at the beginning. It is crisp, funny and terrific. This is what a half hour comedy should be. I love all the characters and each show captures Kimmy’s wonder as she discovers the modern world after having lived in a bunker for 15 years. Ellie Kemper is magnificent as Kimmy and the supporting cast is great. I can’t wait to finish season 1 and get to the new season. More to come as I progress through both seasons.