Review: Midseason re-review of all programs

We’ve already started seeing some midseason shows premier so I thought I would take a second look at all of the new fall shows that I’ve reviewed and see how they have held up to the first half of their freshman seasons. The link on each title below links to my original review. The shows are given in the order I reviewed them.

Madam Secretary: Originally I gave it an “I’m Watching” and said I could upgrade it to “I really like it”. It’s a definitive yes on that upgrade. The plots have remained mostly believable. The writing is smart. The acting is good. The running plot of the conspiracy theory hasn’t jumped the shark yet. Comes in a very close second to “Gotham” as best new series of the season. Has been picked up for full season and season 2 is a likely renewal.

GothamI’m highly likely to watch any comic book based TV series even if it’s only marginal. However this one greatly exceeded my expectations. So far no one wears comic book costumes which gives it a strong feeling of reality. The crime noir style system interesting. The characters are very multidimensional. The plot twists are phenomenal. Any insights we get into these epic characters at a different point in their life is just amazing beyond words. The most pleasant surprise is the relationship between Catwoman as a young girl and the young Bruce Wayne. My favorite new series of the season hands down. Has been picked up for a full season but no word yet on season 2.

Scorpion: All of the things that I liked and disliked about the show remain intact. The plots are still highly unbelievably contrived. The action scenes are still lots of fun. The interaction of the misfit characters gives that some redeeming value. I’ve kept watching it just because I like to show where the nerds are the heroes but it is in no way a quality show. Picked up for full season and highly likely to get a season 2.

Forever: This show was a very pleasant surprise in my original review. I didn’t think I would like it and I did initially. My opinion has not changed. It is one of my favorites new shows. They’ve taken the premise that this guy is immortal and comes back to life each time he is killed and made it believable and grounded in reality. They haven’t gone off on some supernatural or alien twists. The running plot of a bad guy who is similarly afflicted with immortality reached a peak at the midseason break and I can’t wait to see what happens next. Meanwhile it is a reasonably well written and very well acted police procedural whose individual stories are pretty good. Picked up for a full season but Michael Ausiello’s Scorecard list it as a longshot. (See links at the end of this post.)

How to Get Away with Murder: Although I was very skeptical about this show in my initial reviews, I stuck with it and in the end it’s paid off. The stories were strong enough that I could overlook the flaws with the show. The continuing Ministry of a murder being covered up by the law students did indeed hook me in. I still did not like in any way shape or form the flash-forwards that revealed the murder mystery. I especially dislike the fact that unlike “Damages” which used a similar storytelling device, these foreshadowing’s were not given in order which made it even more difficult to follow that part of the plot. I also had a lot of difficulty figuring out exactly who was the murder victim. Those scenes were all extremely dark and when they would show the victim’s face I was unfamiliar enough with the characters that I couldn’t figure out who it was. It’s no spoiler to tell you now that it was Annalise’s husband. In the end is up to Shonda Rhimes excellent standard. I can’t wait to see what happens in the second half of the season. It has been picked up for a full season and season 2 is a sure thing.

black-ish: I said I wasn’t like me watching many more of this show after the first one but I gave it a second and third chance. It turns out that Black-ish isn’t such a bad show after all especially when it stops trying to be so blackish. It may be because I’m an old white guy that I don’t relate to the more ethnic aspects of the show. I’m no racist I don’t mind that it’s about what it means to be black but I just don’t think those parts of the are especially funny. When it just tries to be an ordinary family comedy this show succeeds pretty well. The only really “blackish” themed episode that really made me laugh was one episode where Andre tries to teach is teenage son how to give “The Nod” and he passes another black man. I may do a separate blog post about “The Nod” of which I’ve experienced my own little version. The funniest part of that episode was when the father and grandfather taught the son how to scrunch up his face when he sees a woman walked by with a big black butt. Very funny stuff. So I continue with it even though it is somewhat inconsistent. With the exception of perhaps “Mulaney”, this is probably the best new comedy on. That’s not saying much because most of the rest of the new comedies really stink. Picked up for full season and likely to get 2.

Selfie: My low expectations for this show were confirmed. The Henry Higgins character tried to cure Eliza of her nerdy Internet addictive ways. The only episode that worked was about the second or third one in which she tried to get him hooked on the Internet and social media. That one was genuinely funny but it went downhill after that. ABC did not order additional episodes beyond the original order. It did show those that had been filmed but dump several of them during the holiday doldrums. Will not be back ever and it is no loss.

Manhattan Love Story: I called this one “Could be watchable” and had some hope that it would turn out okay. In the end it didn’t and the network canceled it after just 4 episodes.

Gracepoint: This is the Fox network remake of the British series Broadchurch: I absolutely loved the British version and could not understand why they would make an American version of it since the British one had already been shown here on BBC America channel. It’s a murder mystery that plays out over 10 episodes after seeing the first episode the plot points or 100% identical with the original British version. I mostly watched because I wanted to see how far they would go to keep the plot identical. Spoiler alert: I’m going to tell you who-done-it. In the original British version it was the female detective’s husband. He was never remotely a suspect until just minutes before they figured out it was him. The plot went down numerous blind alleys and eliminated other suspects before discovering the shocking twist. In the American version it went identical all the way through the confession of the husband. I was so pissed off that they didn’t change the show even one tiny bit. And then they changed it. It turns out that it was the 12-year-old son of the detective and that the father was confessing in order to save the boy. It turns out in both versions the father was a pedophile who was trying to have a relationship with the murdered boy. So the father was the bad guy either case. But the actual murderer was different. I love the original story a lot. The plot twist at the end that changed it wasn’t worth sitting through 10 hours of the same stuff. The American show Gracepoint will not be back next season as it had low ratings. The British show Broadchurch as just started showing second season in the UK and it will be on BBC America here starting in February. I highly recommend the British version.

Mulaney: I described the show as a ripoff of Seinfeld and the show itself recognize that when one character said to Mulaney “I defended you saying you’re not a ripoff of Seinfeld.” The second episode of this series was one of the funniest half hours I’ve seen on TV since Seinfeld. While they all were not that brilliant, overall I really liked this series. Unfortunately I got moved out of prime time into a 7:30 PM Sunday time slot has aired only intermittently. Ausiello lists it as “A long shot” for renewal. I’m disappointed. I’m going to miss it.

Bad Judge: I continued to watch this and it occasionally made me laugh. I admit much of it was just to see Kate Walsh run around in her underwear most of the time. The network did not order additional episodes beyond the first 12 but they did let all of those show. It will not be back next season. No big loss even though I kinda liked it.

A to Z: Initially only really liked this show but in the end the quality went downhill. The network did not order any episodes beyond the original 12 although it is showing all that were shot. It will not be back.

Jane the Virgin: I didn’t care for this show and only watched one episode. Actually I didn’t even finish all of it. It did get a full season pickup and is a likely return in season 2. It’s just not my cup of tea.

Cristela: The second episode of this series wasn’t as good as the first one and only ended up not watching it beyond that. It wasn’t a bad show. It just wasn’t good enough to keep me watching when a watching way too much TV to begin with. Was picked up for a full season and Ausiello says season 2 is a safe bet. I might try checking it out again at some point.

Marry Me: Although I thought the one big joke of the opening scene was pretty good, the rest of the show didn’t hold up and I gave up after 2 episodes. NBC on the other hand ordered an additional five shows beyond the original 13 however Ausiello says season 2 is too soon to tell.

Constantine: I have lukewarm feelings about this show and preferred the long-running CW network show Supernatural. I’ve only seen about three of these. The remaining episodes are filling up my DVR. NBC decided not to order additional episodes beyond the initial 13 however that doesn’t necessarily mean it has been canceled officially yet. They could still pick it up for season 2.

Utopia: I did not review this reality series that was sort of a cloud of CBS’ Big Brother. I kind of liked Utopia even though I fast-forwarded through the boring parts. Fox pulled the plug after just a few weeks. We didn’t even get to see the reaction of the contestants hearing that the show was killed. I think the outside world knew about the cancellation before the utopians did.

The McCarthys: I did not review this CBS sitcom except to say in a Facebook post that I would not be reviewing it because it was so bad it wasn’t with writing a bad review. Ausiello does not report any additional episodes pickups for the season and says that season 2 is too soon to tell.

The Flash: I’m not sure why I never got around to writing a review of this CW network comic book hero show. I really like it. Is a worthy companion to Arrow which follows it on CW. Both are set in the same universe of DC comics and they had a really good crossover episode on Flash 108 and Arrow 308. Highly recommended if you like costumed comic book hero shows.

State of Affairs: I only recently reviewed this show so read it. I quit watching after three episodes but the TV ads for it imply that it is becoming more action and less politics so I may give it another chance at some point. Ausiello listed as “too soon to tell” about renewal.

Here is a link to TV Line Renewal Scorecard Prime time Networks.

Similarly here is a link to TV Line Renewal Scorecard Cable Networks.

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