Zack & Nick's Culture Cast

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Friday Five: New TV Shows (Fall 2012 Edition)

The TV season is just about to start up this fall.  With it, we have a slate of new shows, hoping to grab viewers’ attention.  I am not as big of a TV watcher now as I was when I was younger, but even I cannot escape the promotion of some of the bigger shows coming at us.  This week’s Friday Five, I am going to throw down my thoughts on some of the new series (one from each of the major networks).

Last Resort (ABC)

This show looks absolutely ridiculously.  Even though it sports a fantastic cast (Andre Braugher, Robert Patrick) and headed by Shawn Ryan (The Shield), I cannot get over how stupid its premise is.  From what I understand, a US Navy nuclear submarine refuses an order to wipe out Pakistan and the crew is judged enemy of the state (insert conspiracy angle).  The logical solution?  Invade an island, set up shop as a rogue nation, and declare hostilities against the United States.  Even if the crew of the sub are indeed innocent, they are actively committing treason.  How can they realistically come back from that?  I know, I know…watch the show.  It is so nonsensical.  If something like that really happened, I would guess the US government would SEAL Team 6 that island.

Silly premise aside, how long can they stretch a story like this out?  Like Prison Break a few years back, it does not seem like it can support a multi-year storyline.  I think it is safe to say that I am going to pass on it.


Arrow (CW)

It is Green Arrow done in the style of The Dark Knight.  Honestly, I can see this working.  And, since Green Arrow is, basically, a knock-off of Batman to begin with, this seems like a natural style for the series.  The show looks fun too.  Early reports have the series showcasing various other characters from the DC universe.  It seems like the series is taking some cues from Smallville and using what worked and steering clear of what did not.  I am not surprised that CW is pushing forward with this show.  Smallville was a success for them, and with Green Arrow becoming a popular character on that series, his own series is the next logical step (note: this is not a Smallville spin-off).  While I do not call myself a Green Arrow fan, I will be there for the Arrow’s opening night.

Revolution (NBC)

I am not sure what to make of this show.  It has a very interesting premise: what happens if all electricity/technology is shut off overnight?  What will society be like a few years down the road?  What will humans do when forced to survive?  This premise has near-limitless possibilities.  Overseen by JJ Abrams, Bryan Burk, and Eric Kripke (and I guess Jon Favreau is somehow involved), the show is in capable hands.   The one down side is that previous shows by Abrams and Burk have floundered due to not having a clear goal in mind with the story arc.  Hopefully, with Kripke being the exact opposite of that, the series will not fall into the trap.  Also potentially hurting the series is that it is expensive to produce.  If the ratings are not there, NBC is not going to justify keeping it around (see Terra Nova).  The premise looks intriguing, but I think this one will be a “wait for the DVD” show.


Elementary (CBS)

It is an adaptation of an adaptation.  Heavily inspired by England’s Sherlock, this modern retelling of Sherlock Holmes looks fun and engaging.  There has been some online criticism due to this being an adaptation of said BBC series.  The fact that the show has a cult following does not help matters.  However, it seems very clear that while Elementary is taking cues from Sherlock, it is also doing its own thing.  The biggest changes are that Dr. Watson is now a woman (played by Lucy Liu) and that the action has been transferred to New York City (don’t worry, Sherlock Holmes is still British).

I am up for this kind of revisionist storytelling.  I do not care if it was based on a British show which was, let’s face it, barely seen in the US. What will make or break this series will be the chemistry between Liu and Jonny Lee Miller (Sherlock).  CBS usually has a solid track record when it comes to casting these kinds of procedurals, so I feel confident the show will deliver.  I will check out the first episode and see where it goes from there.


The Mindy Project (FOX)

I will be upfront and say it: this show is not for me.  I do not get why people like Mindy Kaling.  She is okay in small doses, but I find her largely obnoxious.  Perhaps it is more her character on The Office who I cannot stand.  However, this upcoming show spotlighting her just seems like she is playing the exact same character only now, more man-obsessed (because, you know, that’s all women are, right?*).  Only now, we get to follow her around all day long!  Ugh.  Plus, I question if Mindy Kaling can carry a series.  Is she really that popular or is a case of a network spinning?  I am not sure.

I was talking to my friend Sharon (who’s judgment I tend to trust when it comes to movies and such), and she is really looking forward to this show.  I was surprised, but it is more likely that I am just so far removed from being in the target demographic I do not even realize it.  I am going to give this a pass and let whoever likes it to like it.


So, what do you think of these new shows?


* That was sarcasm.  Don’t jump down my throat.


11 responses to “Friday Five: New TV Shows (Fall 2012 Edition)

  1. CultureCast-Z September 14, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    Not really interested in any of them. It’s getting to the point now where I can’t watch TV shows unless they’re on cable channels. Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Game of Thrones, etc are just where it’s at. Network shows just can’t do what cable can.

    • Nick! September 14, 2012 at 5:12 pm

      I guess it depends on what you want from them. Personally, I cannot get into the shows you mentioned as I feel they take themselves too seriously. The only show I’m actively going to check out is “Arrow” and that’s mostly to fill the void which “Smallville” held for ten years.

      • CultureCast-Z September 16, 2012 at 4:12 pm

        Kind of an odd criticism in the case of Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones, but I can definitely see that about Mad Men. Whatever you’re into though…

        • Nick! September 16, 2012 at 7:41 pm

          I guess I just get irritated with the pretentious manner the way cable networks promote their shows (especially if a show gets a smidgin of praise).

          • CultureCast-Z September 16, 2012 at 10:42 pm

            What do you mean? By airing commercials that announce how many Emmy nods they get? What do you mean by that? HBO doesn’t do this at all btw because they don’t need to. AMC sometimes airs commercials touting the number of Emmy nods they get, but all networks do this and rightfully so. The Emmy’s are the one awards ceremony that gets things reasonably correct. It’s also helpful because cable shows like Breaking Bad get like a fifth of the audience that the big shows on ABC, CBS, etc get.

          • Nick! September 18, 2012 at 7:31 pm

            I think you misunderstand me. Of course shows are going to announce what awards they are getting. My issue I have with the marketing (especially with AMC shows) is that is comes off as too self-important with the over-exposure camera work, the slow-mo of the characters grimacing into space, overly obvious selected sound-bits that make it seem more intense than it actually is, that sort of thing. All shows have some element of this to their marketing, but cable shows do it in spades that its become totally cliched. It gets “worse” when the show has some cred, because it seems to cause the marketing team ramps that up, and I kinda want to go “guys, it’s just a TV show.” It becomes too over the top for me to take seriously and comes off as something lampooned on The Simpsons or Family Guy.

            To be honest, though, the thing that bugs me more are the print ads which give an entirely different feel for the show. For example, look at the “Dexter” DVD cover. It has the titular character with a goofy-ass look on his blood-splattered face. To me, that suggests the show is a dark comedy (like “Weeds”) which is anything but. I guess I get what they are trying to do, but the juxtaposition doesn’t work for me at all.

            It isn’t a reflection the quality of the show at all if you thought I was attacking any of your favs.

          • CultureCast-Z September 18, 2012 at 10:10 pm

            I gotcha, Nick. I think you might be reading a bit too much into it, but regardless of that the Dexter ads are awful I totally agree.

          • Nick! September 18, 2012 at 10:23 pm

            Oh, I’m fully aware that I’m reading into too much.

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