I’m terrible at keeping up with TV shows, especially those that require a chronological viewing in order to understand ongoing events. One of my favorite shows is The Walking Dead, but I’m a whole season and a half behind, so I haven’t been keeping up with new episodes.
This is usually why I end up watching things like The Big Bang Theory , because I can find them while channel flipping and they don’t require the same level of commitment.
Nevertheless, I’ve managed to tune into a three new shows this season and have done a relatively good job of keeping up with them. (We’ll see if I stick to it or not.)
Occurring in 1946, several years after the events of the first Captain America movie, Agent Peggie Carter is relegated to secretarial duties in the Strategic Scientific Reserve (SSR). Carter is lost in her new role within the SSR. During the WWII, she had a purpose and her skills were used effectively, now she’s relegated to women’s assignments with her fellow agents doubting she played any significant role in the war at all. On top of this she’s still mournful over her loss of Steve (Captain America).
So, when her old friend Howard Stark comes to her for help after he is accused of treason, it’s no wonder that she jumps at the chance to do some real field work, even if it means risking being accused of treason herself. As she works with Stark’s butler Edwin Jarvis to discover the truth, she quickly finds herself in a tangled web of lies and espionage that pits her against both her allies at the SSR and a dangerous new breed of enemies.
I love that Marvel has put out a female-led vehicle, even if sometimes I want to pull my hair out with how much of a mess Carter has got herself into. Peggie Carter is highly trained and skilled, but ultimately just human, in a world that is discovering super heroes and powerful villains. Hayley Atwell as Agent Carter able to have a level of depth her, which she wasn’t able to achieve as the sidekick/romantic figure of the Captain America movie.
I’m not sure if the plot is going to come together in a way that makes sense, but it’s a fun show and I’m enjoying it thoroughly.
Empire is about a family-run hip hop empire. As Lucious Lyon works to cement his legacy by taking his company public, things get complicated when Cookie Lyons is released from prison, letting out a slew of skeletons out of their closets in her wake.
The writing is smart and often funny with an interesting set of complex characters, each one with layers upon layers unveiled as each episode goes on. It’s an intricate plot, in which every character is diving for what they want, which has so far been handled deftly.
Cookie (played by Taraji P. Henson) is by far my favorite character. Just out of prison, she’s a spitfire full of smarts and sass and spunk, who should absolutely be taken seriously. The scenes where she gives love to her outcast gay son, Jamal, letting him know that she’s there for him no matter what, are tender and make me love her.
Jamal (played by Jussie Smollett) is also awesome. At the beginning, he’s a more passive character, letting his father’s insults roll off his back, choosing instead to be happy with his lover and making his own music in the life given to him.
Keeping up with Empire is going to be easy, because it’s awesome and my roommate is loving it, too. Having a TV buddy helps me remember when stuff is on. Yay!
I rather enjoyed TNT’s made for TV movies, The Librarian: Quest for the Spear and Curse of the Judas Chalice, revolving around a library that houses ancient magical texts and artifacts. (Though, I like to pretend Return to King Solomon’s Mines doesn’t exist.) There’s something charming about Flynn Carsen (played by Noah Wyle), this sweet-hearted, slightly goofy guy, who is so smart he can’t help but rattle off facts at a rapid pace. The movies were silly and goof-ball science fiction of the cotton candy variety.
So, when I learned they were introducing a TV show, I was mildly curious.
The first episode was interesting, more of the same goofy bad guys and magical object plotlines as the movies. Flynn takes part, reluctantly bringing together a Guardian (selected by the Library) and a hodgepodge of potential Librarians — a thief, a mathematician with a brain tumor, and an art historian working on an oil pipeline — to help him track down King Arthur’s crown and stop evil doers from bringing big bad magic back into the world. After bringing the group together, Flynn runs off on his own quest, while the hodgepodge group is left to work together to handle the day-to-day case load of the Library.
One of the things I love about hodgepodge group stories, like Leverage or Farscape, is how the characters ultimately come together despite their differences and form a chosen family. I can handle silly plotlines and goofball villains, if the characters have that connection to anchor everything together.
Over the course of six episodes, I have not really seen that family connection forming. The characters work together well and are each quirky and interesting, but have little personal growth. The adventures they have don’t tend to affect them on a personal level and if it does, it’s superficial. I haven’t seen any sense they they care for each other on more than a superficial level either. So, I’ve started to loose interest in the show.
However, the seventh episode (maybe eighth? not sure exactly) reinvigorated my interest a little bit with the introduction of Morgan Le Fay. She plays a villain in that episode, but has a trickster quality about her, where she could become an untrustworthy ally, like Spike in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
I’m a few episodes behind, but I’m torn on whether it’s worth it to continue at this point.
What TV shows new or old have you been into lately?