Television 2015

Posted by: Barbara

Television 2015 - 01/30/15 11:18 AM

Did anyone watch Fortitude, the new series on Pivot? (Pivot!) Great sense of place, even though it's a place I wouldn't even want to visit. Fortitude is a town just inside the Arctic Circle where there's never been any violent crime, but that sense of safety is shattered when a man is murdered. Good cast -- Christopher Eccleston, Stanley Tucci, Michael Gambon.
Posted by: Pete

Re: Television 2015 - 01/30/15 11:31 AM

Never heard of pivot!
Posted by: Christopher

Re: Television 2015 - 01/30/15 08:10 PM

Not's only a year and a half old, and it comes as part of DirecTV's basic package but Comcast doesn't offer it at all. Pivot's programming has been mostly repeats of documentaries and cult TV shows (Buffy, Farscape, Veronica Mars, Friday Night Lights). Its only original programming has been low-budget stuff like talk shows, so it's remarkable that Pivot should come up with something as expensive and ambitious (and GOOD) as Fortitude.
Posted by: Pete

Re: Television 2015 - 01/31/15 09:16 AM

Aha. That's what happened to Buffy! Fox had it, last I saw.
Posted by: Rita

Re: Television 2015 - 05/04/15 05:34 PM

Penny Dreadful is back, as stylish and ghoulish as ever.

I'm not loving The Good Wife this seaseon.
Posted by: Christopher

Re: Television 2015 - 05/05/15 06:19 PM

Me neither. I wish she'd pick one job and STAY THERE.
Posted by: Pete

Re: Television 2015 - 05/06/15 09:11 AM

I think Fox is still showing Buffy on Saturday mornings, early.

I dunno about The Good Wife this season. I still watch it (well, I would if it weren't on at the same time as Game of Thrones, so I record it and watch it later).
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Television 2015 - 05/07/15 08:23 PM

Pete -- It's FX that shows one Buffy episode early in the morning, not Fox. Pivot shows a lot more episodes (six scheduled for tomorrow, for instance).

Chris -- Yes, that's a problem with The Good Wife; Alicia is good at starting things, not so good at finishing. This whole last season (the campaign) was a mistake, IMO.
Posted by: Rita

Re: Television 2015 - 05/09/15 04:41 PM

It's almost as if "they" (producers, writers, whoever) don't know how to show Alicia dealing with success. She comes so close to rising to the top of the heap each time, but then she veers off in a new direction where she has to start building up again.
Posted by: Rita

Re: Television 2015 - 05/12/15 07:10 PM

Has everyone been reading about why Kalinda left the show?
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Television 2015 - 05/13/15 12:51 AM

Oh, yes! I had no idea those two women hated each other. I didn't even notice they hadn't had a scene together for the last two seasons. And their farewell scene -- what a klunker!
Posted by: Christopher

Re: Television 2015 - 05/13/15 07:08 PM

Yes, and that farewell scene was patched together, since the two sides of the conversation were recorded separately. I guess they couldn't stand to look at each other, even for that. So we got those awkward back of the head shots and the two of them never touching or even clinking glasses before downing their shots. It's too bad, because Kalinda strikes me as a very handy person to have around.
Posted by: Pete

Re: Television 2015 - 05/14/15 08:13 AM

Personality conflicts between the actresses?

Kalinda was a wonderful character to have on hand, but if her role (investigator) is needed, surely they will fill it. Archie Panjabi did a wonderful job of it, though.
Posted by: Jon

Re: Television 2015 - 05/14/15 11:04 AM

It's fair to add that all of the hoohah, including the idea that the final scene was filmed separately, is fan speculation. Nothing has been publicly acknowledged.
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Television 2015 - 05/14/15 02:21 PM

It probably never will be. Archie Punjabi has signed a contract with 20th Century Fox for her own drama series, reason enough to leave. The fact that she was kept on the show for two and a half years despite the animus between her and the star means either Julianna Margulies behaved with perfect professionalism or that she didn't have enough clout to get rid of Punjabi.
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Television 2015 - 06/21/15 08:13 PM

The new Poldark starts tonight on PBS. I barely remember the original, back in the 70s. One thing I do remember quite vividly was a time the two stars, Robin Ellis and Angharad Rees, took part in one of PBS's begathons. Every time she'd say something, she'd giggle and look to Ellis for approval. He, on the other hand, didn't even try to hide his disdain for her. Not a pleasant thing to watch. Rees died a few years ago, but Ellis has a small role as a judge in this new version -- two episodes, I think.
Posted by: Lorna

Re: Television 2015 - 08/05/15 12:42 PM

Barbara, are you still watching Poldark? Both Poldark and The Forsytes were big disappointments to me.
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Television 2015 - 08/05/15 01:13 PM

To me, too; I bailed on both. But I'll tell you a show I have come to appreciate, though: Halt and Catch Fire. I was of two minds about it the first season, but I liked the second season a lot and I'm keeping my fingers crossed there'll be a third season.
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Television 2015 - 08/07/15 06:19 PM

H&CF is a's more believable than other computer-geniuses shows, like the current Mr. Robot. Anyone watching that? In the second or third episode, the superhacker anti-hero broke into somebody's system by (brace yourself, now) guessing the password. That's the oldest cheat there is in computer shows. Phooey.
Posted by: Christopher

Re: Television 2015 - 08/09/15 06:24 PM

Yeah, Mr. Robot works so hard at appearing kewl, but misses so badly. That bug-eyed blank face, the monotone voiceover, the drugs, the anti-social behavior...we're supposed to overlook all that because he's good at guessing passwords? I don't think so.
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Television 2015 - 08/13/15 01:56 AM

The show is in part a refuge for Christian Slater, who has abandoned his former leading-man status in an attempt to find a TV series that doesn't get cancelled after the sixth or seventh episode. This is his fourth attempt, I believe. Mr. Robot has attracted an enthusiastic critical response, which I don't understand, but Suits is beating it in the ratings, which I do understand. Mr. Robot is obviously made with care, but I'm having trouble buying into it.
Posted by: David Dvorkin

Re: Television 2015 - 08/13/15 07:11 PM

I'm hooked on Mr. Robot. That's only partly because I'm a techie and appreciate how well the depicts technology and techies. It's mostly because the story intrigues me. The plot has taken some completely unforeseen turns lately that have made the show all the more involving.

I've only seen a few minutes of Suits -- while waiting for Mr. Robot to begin -- and I have to say that I find the acting embarrassing and the two leads completely unconvincing.
Posted by: Christopher

Re: Television 2015 - 08/15/15 07:43 PM

Chacun à son goût.
Posted by: Rita

Re: Television 2015 - 09/01/15 06:36 PM

The revival of Coach has been cancelled. NBC said it just wasn't going well.
Posted by: Rita

Re: Television 2015 - 09/22/15 05:09 PM

The much-touted Blindspot debuted last night, and I forgot to watch.
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Television 2015 - 09/22/15 09:26 PM

Don't worry, Rita, you have three more chances to watch it this week. E! on Friday, USA on Saturday, and SyFy on Sunday. I may even watch it myself.
Posted by: Rita

Re: Television 2015 - 09/23/15 10:15 AM

Ah, all three channels owned by NBC...they're really pushing it. Thanks Austin, I forgot to check for repeats.
Posted by: David Dvorkin

Re: Television 2015 - 09/23/15 06:11 PM

I thought Blindspot was watchable and promising. Unlike Minority Reports, which failed on both counts.
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Television 2015 - 09/26/15 05:06 PM

Yes, Blindspot does have potential; the set-up is good and the characters are credible. However:
1. A human body covered with tattoos, each one leading to a different story -- that's a good idea, but it's not exactly new. Remember The Illustrated Man? Or Brimstone?
2. An amnesiac woman unexpectedly reveals expert martial arts skills -- that too is not new: Geena Davis in The Long Kiss Goodnight, Claudia Black in an episode of Stargate: SG-1.
3. Another unshaven hero. Meh.
Nevertheless, Blindspot is the only new show I've seen so far that I want to see again.

Minority Report is hugely dependent upon gimmickry, which is kind of fun to see, but what do they do when they run out of gimmicks? Frankly, I can't see any show succeeding with a leading man (boy) so charisma-deprived as the guy playing Dash. The Player is just a copycat show (predicting crime), lots of flash but little else. And Rosewood is just junk.

I watched something else new...but I don't remember what.
Posted by: Rita

Re: Television 2015 - 09/27/15 12:29 PM

Maybe Heroes Reborn? It too has some nice gimmickry, like live characters morphing into computer game figures. The show was touted as recapturing the charm of the first season of the original show. I didn't see a lot of that, but that first episode was so busy, with so much going on, that it's going to take a while for everything to shake down.
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Television 2015 - 09/27/15 03:26 PM

Another new one is Limitless. Guy takes a pill and becomes supersmart. Sure beats learning the hard way. It's a wish-fulfillment fairy tale, like those stories where the young hero is just handed a magic ring or a cloak of invisibility or something that gives him an advantage over others.
Posted by: Christopher

Re: Television 2015 - 09/28/15 12:54 PM

New one last night didn't have any outside help, but maybe it could use some. The events in Quantico stretched credulity quite a bit. Rather frenetic, too much packed into the pilot...but that seems to be the trend now.

Even bigger trend...most of the new shows are science fiction, or claim to be. Is SF the new mainstream?
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Television 2015 - 09/28/15 02:13 PM

Television likes to play with science fiction's toys. The gizmos, the special effects, the weaponry, the instant access to pertinent information -- magic computers have been around since Charlie's Angels. But they're still just cops-and-robbers shows, good guys hunting down bad guys. Well, vice-versa for Heroes Reborn (yes, that's the one I forgot). SF offers a greater opportunity for visualization than straight drama; if you can't do it with writing and acting, do it with graphics.

In the midst of this bombardment of new shows, I've recently started watching re-runs of two old series, NYPD: Blue and Boston Legal. I was surprised at how easily I was drawn into both shows, as different as they are. And BBC America has been marathoning Dr. Who, to drum up business for the new Capaldi series. I got to see Tom Baker being chased by the Loch Ness Monster, ha!
Posted by: Lorna

Re: Television 2015 - 09/30/15 07:44 PM

Yes, they almost all are cops and robbers, aren't they? I say "almost" only because I haven't seen ALL the SF shows made. I'm not the knowledgeable fan of SF that Austin and Barbara are, but even I can tell most of these new shows are just knock-offs.
Posted by: Pete

Re: Television 2015 - 10/01/15 10:35 AM

Not only are most shows cop show, most cop shows stick only to homicides. Now large cities may have enough crime to supply a 24 episode season, but most such crimes are easily solved. Others are nearly insoluble (a child in her bed being hit by a stray bullet from a gang fight on the street, for instance.) I doubt that there are a season's worth of upper class crime as shown on most shows in the whole USA.
Posted by: Rita

Re: Television 2015 - 10/05/15 01:08 PM

Three shows I used to look forward to but now don't watch at all: TAR, Survivor, and Doctor Who.

The Amazing Race has run its course. It's time to stop. The current crop of racers are mostly silly people and their challenges are mechanical, repetitious, blah. I'm done watching.

I haven't seen the new Survivor because of its "second chance" players, none of whom I particularly want to watch again. The show will probably go on forever even though it should have quit years ago.

And Doctor Who...well. Capaldi.
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Television 2015 - 10/05/15 06:43 PM

Capaldi isn't the worst of the Doctors; that dubious distinction still belongs to Sylvester McCoy. But I'd put Capaldi down near the bottom of the list. At first I thought he was just a placeholder, since Matt Smith was an impossible act to follow, to be replaced shortly. But he's still here.
Posted by: Christopher

Re: Television 2015 - 10/07/15 11:29 PM

I didn't even know there was a new Survivor until I read Rita's post. So I watched tonight, and saw the same people who annoyed me before back annoying me again. Even the single challenge was a repeat. Rita has the right idea...skip it.

Re Blindspot, I don't see how anyone with such thin wrists as "Jane Doe" has could handle those heavy weapons. The kick alone would cause a fracture.
Posted by: David Dvorkin

Re: Television 2015 - 10/08/15 06:22 PM

Yes, Blindspot is yet another annoying case of a wimpy actress playing a tough woman.
Posted by: Lorna

Re: Television 2015 - 10/14/15 08:20 PM

Oh boy. Abby Lee of Dance Moms has been indicted for fraud.
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Television 2015 - 10/15/15 12:49 AM

Somehow that fails to surprise me. Abby has repeatedly demonstrated on her own show what a liar she is; lying about her assets wouldn't be much of a stretch.
Posted by: Jon

Re: Television 2015 - 10/30/15 07:59 AM

Rita, I can't disagree about The Amazing Race, even though I'm still watching it. (While I'm doing 2 or 3 other things.) The way the current legs are revisiting some tasks from the very first race, and showing brief clips of the very first round of racers (Kevin and Drew!), only reinforces it. To recover what it was 14 years ago, they would have to stop recruiting celebrity-wannabe teams and stick to regular people... and they're not about to do that.

By contrast, of late I've been enjoying PBS's The Great British Baking Show (a renaming of the BBC's The Great British Bake Off), which has finished its 6th season there, and is in the midst of reairing them here. It's a touching reminder of what once seemed to be the appeal of reality competitions: watching people who are good at something show their skills, and learning things I otherwise wouldn't have known. No villains, no manufactured character arcs, no rivalries -- in fact lots of support and camaraderie among the bakers.

Plus, for an Anglophile like me, the appeal of those baking items that are generally only references in books: suet pudding, Chelsea buns, spotted dick, hand-raised meat pies, and all the rest. And Continental ringers like the Swedish princess torte and the frasier cake.
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Television 2015 - 11/02/15 01:42 AM

The baking show sounds charming. I've never watched it because while I'll try almost anything else, I just don't like baking. But this show sounds worth looking into.

About last Friday's TAR...did I miss something or was there not one single racer who knew liberté, égalité, fraternité? Not even one? I wasn't surprised at how badly they mangled the French pronunciation, since most of them have trouble with their own language.
Posted by: Lorna

Re: Television 2015 - 11/09/15 08:55 PM

I just got caught up with the latest TAR, and the dumb stuff continues. There was that one girl who thought Rotterdam was in Germany and was surprised to find out she was in the Netherlands. And that other racer who pronounced The Hague "Hah-goo". TAR should have an entrance requirement that all participants must have an IQ of at least 80.

Did anyone watch the new series on Starz, Flesh and Bone? I like anything to do with dance, but this show is about the gritty side of a ballet company and the first episode got off to a good start.
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Television 2015 - 11/10/15 06:02 PM

One thing Flesh and Bone did right was hire real dancers to play the dancers -- no Black Swan fakery in this show. But did you notice that the longest dance sequence in the episode was not ballet but the striptease act? And we're supposed to believe a ballet director of a financially strapped company would risk his season by scrapping a tried-and-true ballet to commission a new one for an unknown dancer? A dancer he's seen only in rehearsal, without knowing whether she has the stamina to carry a ballet or not? A dancer with only six months of professional experience, and that was five years ago? Ballet dancers start training before their tenth birthdays, some as young as five. Then ten or fifteen years later, if they're lucky, they land a spot in the corps de ballet. Newbies don't get solos, and they certainly don't get new ballets to star in.
Posted by: Lorna

Re: Television 2015 - 11/11/15 11:14 AM

Yes, that's all true, the instant-star part is a Cinderella story. But it's a disbelief I'm willing to suspend for the sake of the dancing, and I hope we see more of it soon.
Posted by: Rita

Re: Television 2015 - 11/16/15 08:41 PM

Here's my nomination for the worst casting on TV: Patricia Arquette as a tough, savvy, deputy director of the FBI in CSI: Cyber. She's supposed to be the third woman in CBS's Sunday line-up of Strong Women series, but Arquette just doesn't project that image at all. She's more like a soccer mom who wandered onto the set by mistake. CBS evidently thought so too, because they decided the series needed a Strong Man alongside their supposedly Strong Woman. And who is CBS's idea of a Strong Man? Ted Danson. Ted Danson! He just made it worse. From now on I'm turning the set off once The Good Wife finishes.