Monday, October 6, 2014

Couch Potato Season

by Barbara Early

As the summer has swirled away, all too quickly, couch potato season is just warming up. Football has begun, hockey is coming, and all those new fall shows are airing. Here’s my review of the season so far. (With a warning. Writers watch TV differently.)

Dr. Who. The season started early with the new Doctor, as played by Peter Capaldi. I know they warned us it would be darker, but I’m just now beginning to warm to this new incarnation. This Doctor doesn’t seem to care about people very much, and that’s a problem in likeability, at least for me. He’s in serious need of a pet the dog, or save the cat, moment--actually a few of them--to balance this aspect of his character. Although his compassion for the dinosaur in the first episode helped a little. Still, Moffat has planted clues: a mysterious woman known only as Missy who operates in the “Promised Land.” I am curious to see how that turns out. Maybe by the time they reveal that, he will have grown on me.

Bones. I wasn’t looking forward to the season opening. I felt the last season ended extremely violently, maybe even a bit melodramatically. And the first part of the season premiere seemed to resolve that conflict too easily. One does not go from the bloodbath of last season’s finale to prison then back to the FBI that easily. Season opening shocker, right? (If you haven’t seen it, go no further. Spoilers.) But if you need to lose a cast member, you might as well make it a plot point. Kudos to the writers for taking that risk. Still, I’m going to miss Sweets. I loved his chemistry with Booth and Bones, especially with Bones’s total disregard for Sweet’s profession. 

Castle. I was so mad at the writers at the end of last season, leaving Beckett at the altar while Castle’s car was burning at the bottom of a ravine. Does that qualify as a cliffhanger? But Castle is back, and when he was lying unconscious in the hospital bed, I recall thinking, “Please, no amnesia. Oh, please, don’t go there. What an overworn plot device.” Apparently no one was listening to me. But at least he didn’t forget Beckett.

Still, I guess they raised the stakes and complicated the path to the altar, only will fans be patient enough to wait until these two work it out?

Once Upon a Time. I wasn’t sure what I thought about the addition of Frozen to the mix. It seems almost pandering, trying to make a buck instead of focusing on telling a great story. (Well, duh. It’s network television.) But I think I like it. I’m glad they had another review episode. These character interactions and flashbacks are quite complicated and intertwined, which is one of the reasons I like this show.( I prefer television that requires focus. So much of what is out there is so utterly predictable.) But we do know we’re watching a soap opera, right? Just with fairytale characters and magic.

And some new additions:

Gracepoint. I wasn’t sure why Fox needed to remake the wonderful Broadchuch. But I’m also not going to give up on a chance to see more David Tennant. I’m withholding judgment on this one. Right now it’s hard to pay attention to the plot. I keep focusing on Tennant’s American accent. Not that it’s the worst I’ve ever heard (that award goes to some extras in the 60s TV show The Avengers), but I keep trying to find where his normal speech sneaks through.

Scorpion: Meh. I’ll check it out again, but the whole dysfunctional genius thing only works for me when I fall in love with the characters. Haven’t done that yet. I will give it a chance, though.

How to Get Away with Murder: I will not watch this show. They lost me with the promo where the main character said she didn’t care whether her clients were guilty or innocent. I do care. And I find this kind of pragmatism a bit scary.

Forever. Saving the best for last. This plot intrigued me enough to check it out. Yes, it’s a basic boy/girl, police/forensics show, but with a twist: the medical examiner is over two hundred years old, never ages, and cannot die. But when I learned that the showrunner used to write for Chuck (which I loved), this has become my new show to follow. Very well acted, and the writers did something brilliant with Abe’s back story which made me fall in love with Ioan Gruffudd’s Henry Morgan. I’m less enchanted with the police procedure and forensics which seem spotty, but not enough to make me turn it off. I hope this one holds up and gains an audience.

That’s my rundown. What’s caught your attention?

Barbara Early grew up buried in the snowy suburbs of Buffalo, NY, where she developed a love for all things sedentary: reading, writing, classic movies, and Scrabble. She holds a degree in Electrical Engineering, but her penchant for the creative caused her to run away screaming from the pocket-protector set. Barbara cooks up cozy mysteries with a healthy dose of comedy and sometimes a splash of romance. Her holiday novella, Gold, Frankincense, and Murder was released in e-book and audio format from White Rose Publishing. Barbara also writes as Beverly Allen, and her debut cozy mystery novel, Bloom and Doom, was released in April 2014 from Berkley Prime Crime. You can learn more about her writing at


  1. Can't say I've seen any of those - except Dr Who, but have given up with that. One was pathetically silly and this weeks contained spiders, so best to avoid the show all together.
    I don't actually watch much tv as everything i do watch suddenly gets cancelled, so best not to watch anything at ll

    1. Clare, I have a habit of picking one-season wonders as well. A lot of the shows I do watch, I started watching in reruns and caught up later.

      I haven't liked Doctor Who as much since Capaldi took over, but I keep hoping it gets better. (BTW, apparently they only looked like spiders...)

  2. Oh, we are SO on the same page, Barb! I was frustrated by the amnesia storyline in Castle, sad about Sweets on Bones, grossed out by How to Get Away with Murder. Love OUAT but we need MORE HOOK.

    And Forever, ah yes...I wasn't sure about it before I saw it, because the plot is almost identical to New Amsterdam, about a Dutch immigrant in the 1600s who came to (you guessed it) New Amsterdam and has lived in New York ever since, unable to die. Oh, and he was a cop. I liked that show but a lot of shows I like get canceled, and this was a case in point.

    Anyhoo. Ioan Gruffudd is fabulous. And I love the story line with Abe. I almost cried in the first episode when I realized who Abe was. So now we can be Forever Friends!

    1. A lot of the shows I like get canceled, too. I hope that's not the case with Forever! Never heard about New Amsterdam. I might have to look it up.

  3. I am LOVING Forever. Have devoured every episode thus far. Haven't caught up on OUAT yet, and thought the opener for Castle was fabulous. They put the tension and conflict back in Castle and Beckett's relationship, and that, IMHO, is what keeps the show going.

    Scorpion was cute, and hubby liked it, so we'll keep up with that one, I think.

    Sleepy Hollow is on my DVR again, as is The Blacklist, and S.H.I.E.L.D.

    It's always such a relief to have something new to watch at night, TV junkie that I am. :)

    1. I'll agree that they put the tension back into Castle and Beckett's relationship. I'm just worried they did it in a way that would frustrate fans.

      I never tried Agents of Shield, which is kind of odd. I might have to get caught up and give it a try.

  4. I like Forever too! I've been watching OUAT for years with youngest child, but he seems to be losing interest. Some of my shows...Grey's Anatomy, Mindy, and I've been checking out Blackish. But my very favorite of the new season is Red Band Society.

    1. Now, I've never heard of Mindy at all. I've been seeing the ads for Blackish, though. Just too much television to check out!

  5. Watched Forever - liked it. Castle - definitely my favorite. Although there was one thing I was upset about with Kate. But nobody's perfect. OUAT - I didn't want the first episode to end. There was so much Regina stuff going on. And I liked the Frozen theme in the first episode. It took me a while to place the actor playing Kristoff. I like him. Waiting not so patiently for what I believe is the final season of White Collar. I haven't watched How to Get Away with Murder - but now I'm not going to.

  6. I think the Inky verdict on Forever is two thumbs up. Well, actually more than two since so far we all seem to like it.

    I stopped watching White Collar maybe in season 2, and I can't recall why. I should probably catch up.

  7. I finally found a network show I like.

    Can you guess?
    Forever! I must have good taste.

  8. I used to watch a lot of TV. Got really busy and quit. But I do try to catch up on some of the better shows on DVD. Used to love White Collar and Castle, but I'm way behind. Same with Sherlock. I want to check out OUAT and some of the others, too. Thank goodness for Netflix.

    Now if I only had time . . . ;)

  9. Ooh I forgot to comment on Gracepoint. Ooh, it was intense. Very good. And a bit creepy.

  10. sigh. good thing it's easier to find shows on the internet. someday i might get beyond kiddie programming - but alas, nothing for mommy except the DVR'd episodes of the Voice (gotta get my Shelton/Levine fix) - and even then, lucky if I can sneak it in on the weekends. I do so love the reviews though. Most of the shows sound like they're right in my wheelhouse.


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