The Race: Burning Hot and Burning Out

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First off, a mega-sized THANK YOU to those who braved the frigid weather back in February to visit our event at PetSmart. Special moments included seeing a picture of my favorite kitty Teagan with her new mommy, watching a partially blind dog named Jack Sparrow go home with his new family, and meeting some fellow Supernatural fans (woo hoo!)! Also, great big hugs go out to my buddy Zach – AKA, the one-man sales team – and to Tara at Furget Us Not Rescue for continuing to fight the good fight! 🙂

And now, moving on to a LONG overdue update on the status of our favorite shows. Some of them have been burning hot all season long, while others have completely flatlined. See how they all rank heading into the finales! (Note: iZombie and The X-Files have already completed their seasons, so they are not listed here, but they will definitely be included in the final 2015-2016 season report.)

Burning Hot

Limitless (Tuesday 10pm, CBS): Favorite new show of the season! The writers really dump buckets of creativity on every script, making each episode an epic adventure. Whether it’s an ep told from alternating perspectives, a giant kiddy-show dinosaur named Josh-O-Saurus Josh replacing scary words with nice ones, or a comic-book themed ep complete with breathtaking illustrations, this show isn’t afraid to take risks, smash through boundaries, and pull out all the stops to deliver the most entertaining content on TV. Brian Finch has earned his place as one of my all-time favorite characters, and the rest of the players are brilliant as well. One of the best things about this show, for me, is the way the story carries right over from one ep to the next. It’s not a bunch of stand-alone procedural eps with an occasional nugget of mythology thrown in to boost ratings for sweeps. This show progresses the storyline in every single ep – something one of my other great loves, The Mentalist, failed to do. I remember being fairly bored through a lot of the eps, because the Red John ones were basically the only ones where things actually happened. Not so on Limitless. Kudos to the writers and cast: you now own a piece of my heart. Be gentle with it (i.e. don’t kill off Brian or Rebecca in the finale)!

Score: 9
Status: Not Renewed Yet (And I’m starting to getting that bad feeling again, just like with Forever…Please say it ain’t so…)

Supernatural (Wednesday 9pm, CW): Um, I’m just going to come right out and ask: Is Kripke back? ‘Cause seriously, this show is at least as good as it was when he was in charge. If not – gasp – even better. I don’t know what it is about Season 11, but everything is just clicking. We’ve got the scary (freaky rabbit in “Plush,” Lucifer’s eyes glowing from the shadows of the cage), the feels (Rowena’s confession to Crowley before her neck got snapped stole my breath, the scene with Bobby and Dean staring at one another in “Safe House” froze me in my seat, and I can’t even talk about “Red Meat” yet – still too raw from that gut-wrenching Romeo and Juliet-type moment where Sam comes back alive just as Dean is falling dead…just OMG), the crazy levels of creativity (a touching episode about imaginary friends that had me thinking about it for days afterwards, an ep entirely from Baby’s perspective (coolest thing EVER), a wonderful juxtaposition of Sam/Dean and Bobby/Rufus working a case in different time periods – it just goes on and on), and of course the LOLs – Sam: “So, you’ll beat Amara, and then what?” Lucifer: “Move to LA, solve crimes?” ROFL. I haven’t bought a Supernatural DVD since Season Six, but Season Eleven is definitely going on my birthday list.

Score: 9
Status: Renewed for 2016-2017 (Whew!)

Lucifer (Monday 9pm, FOX): SHAY LIVES! Well, not exactly, but it’s still great to see Lauren German rocking a leading role over on Lucifer. This one is definitely my newest obsession (I’m already reading fanfic for it!). I feel weird saying this, but Lucifer is almost like a nasty version of Forever. I mean, look at the similarities – handsome dark-haired immortal with an accent teams up with tough female detective? In the pilot, he even got shot trying to protect her and she witnessed it (or thought she did)…Ring any bells? So, maybe that’s why I like it so much. Of course, other than being (mostly) immortal, Lucifer is not anything like Henry Morgan. Henry was deeply compassionate whereas Lucifer revels in being as shallow as possible. However, there is a deeper storyline of redemption below the surface of Lucifer and that’s what caught my eye. I like Lucifer best when he’s being real and honest, rather than just cracking jokes and pretending he doesn’t give a crap.  The idea that even the devil himself could somehow find his way back to the light – that resonates with me. Can’t wait to see where this one goes – especially with the new twist of Chloe being the one who makes him mortal!

Score: 8.5
Status: Renewed for 2016-2017 (YAY!!!)

Still Sizzling

Supergirl (Monday 8pm, CBS): I was kinda on the fence about this one when it first started up. Not anymore! Supergirl has become a real highlight for me – I really look forward to it. The characters are far and away what make this show for me – the stories might occasionally be a little hokey or cheesy, but I don’t care, because the performances carry the day. When these characters hurt, I hurt for them. When they succeed, I cheer for them. The ever-pithy Cat Grant always plants a smirk on my face, and Kara is a girl you just have to love and root for – her upbeat attitude and genuine compassion don’t give you a choice. The special bond between J’onn J’onzz and Alex and Kara makes me teary sometimes – just so sweet. I’ve always loved the Martian Manhunter, even back on Smallville. Just a wonderful character, and I was wigging out when they started to reveal that’s who Hank really is. I geek out completely whenever Clark makes an appearance, even if he’s just texting back and forth with Kara, giving his cousin some support. I love that Superman has a role in this universe, but that he respects Kara’s right to be her own hero and handle her own problems. Favorite eps include the one about how women are expected to deal with their anger in the workplace, and the one where Kara had lost her powers. “Falling” was also cool, but painful to watch. Great homage to Superman III in that ep, as well, with Kara flicking the peanuts in the bar. This show reminds me of Lois and Clark – not just because Dean Cain is on it, but because it gives me the same kind of hopeful feeling. Keep up the good work, Supergirl cast, crew and writers!

Score: 8.3
Status: Not Renewed Yet…

Gotham (Monday 8pm, FOX): Getting darker by the minute. Still utterly compelling, but I’m not sure how much more gruesome depravity I can take (A madman ripping a cop’s throat out with his teeth? Penguin feeding that lady her own kids?). Also, I didn’t like the corruption of Jim’s character, having him kill Galavan like that. Wish the show hadn’t gone there. It made sense, and it was believable, I just wish they hadn’t. Gotham is topnotch, riveting entertainment, but I don’t know if I will stick with it next year. I didn’t miss it while it was off the air, and that’s pretty telling. The finale might make the decision for me.

Score: 8
Status: Renewed for 2016-2017

Chicago PD (Wednesday 10pm, NBC): PD is rocking it, big time. Great stories all around. I don’t even care that much that Adam and Burgess broke up – it wasn’t really going anywhere, anyhow. And she and Roman are kinda cute together…;) This show packs a gritty punch with every swing. The emotional connections between the cops and the victims are a special highlight. Antonio’s tears over a murdered child (and his near-hysteria over the killer’s complete lack of remorse) got to me big time. The crossovers with SVU are just as crisp as ever (I was scared they might go away when Med came on board). Speaking of which, the only ep that fell a little flat was the crossover with Med – too much courtroom, not enough action. The tie-in with Voight’s wife was excellent, though. Keep it up, PD!

Score: 8.4
Status: Renewed for 2016-2017

Heating Up

Chicago Fire (Tuesday 10pm, NBC): Much better!!! This show is totally back to the quality of eps we saw in the first two seasons. Fire is once again must-see, and I couldn’t be happier (I just wish it wasn’t on opposite Limitless!). They’ve really gotten better at having one central storyline in each episode, such as Sylvie’s stalker or Severide trying to find out what happened to that little girl found dead in the chimney. Also, the ep with them all trapped in a building with several mass shooters was especially emotional. Only complaints: 1.) Severide still gets to have no long-term friendships or romances (yes, I get that he’s friends with Matt, but sometimes the show gets dumb and makes them enemies, so the Matt-Sev bromance is never a sure thing), 2.) Don’t make characters act out-of character just to create stories (e.g. Chili’s sudden-onset emotional/behavioral problems (yeah, I know her sister died, but they wrote it like she’d had severe problems way before that), and Herrmann callously insulting Freddie, despite knowing Freddie’s history), 3.) When you make the villains so totally despicable, e.g. the old Alderman, they become caricatures.

Score: 7.5
Status: Renewed for 2016-2017

Grimm (Friday 9m, NBC): After a rocky and super-depressing start, this one quickly got back on track and once again became one of the most flat-out entertaining shows around. I *HEART* Grimm! They had some real poignant moments of grief early on in the season – e.g. just a quiet scene of Nick, lying in the dark, staring up at the ceiling. You could just feel the mix of emotions – the loss of his mother, the loss of Juliette, but also the newness of being a father and the bizarre budding relationship with Adalind (of all people!). I’m still not quite sure what to do with their romance (if you can call it that), but I don’t hate it, and that’s something. Eve is an awesome new character – can’t wait to see where things go with her. We finally got a glimpse (I think) of her showing actual human emotion in the last ep when she displayed protectiveness toward Nick. Then we have the mystery healing stick, Wu growing closer to wolfing out by the hour (Btw, my local NBC station totally preempted the Lycan ep, without warning, and I had to hunt it down online – not cool, NBC. Not cool at all.), Adalind morphing back into a Hexenbiest, Black Claw gaining ground all over the world, and (oh please no) my beloved Sean possibly helping the bad guys win. This show is rocking right now.

Score: 7.8
Status: Renewed for 2016-2017

Cooling Off

Castle (Monday 10pm, ABC): Hard to believe this show was one of the top dogs in my rankings last year. Long hiatuses have essentially killed Castle for me. I’m entertained by the episodes, but that drive to watch is not there anymore. I don’t rush home to make sure I see it. If I miss 15 or 20 minutes of the beginning, it’s no big deal. Also, I’m not thrilled that they tied Castle’s amnesia into the LockSat (sp?) storyline. It was probably a smart move, plot-wise, but it left me a bit flat. I do like the British chick that sometimes helps them with the investigations. She’s cool.

Score: 6.5
Status: Not Renewed Yet

Elementary (Sunday 10pm, CBS): Still a great show, but the strength of my desire to watch it is pretty low, just like with Castle. If I make it home to see Elementary, then awesome. If I don’t, then **shrug**. I do like Sherlock dating the Aspie girl – that’s a nice story. Also, the b-plot with Sherlock helping the struggling ME was very sweet and emotional. And I loved the episode “Hounded” – great homage to The Hound of the Baskervilles. I actually wish they’d do more of this – modern interpretations of the original material, the way Sherlock does. They can obviously do it well, so why not?

Score: 6.8
Status: Renewed for 2016-2017

Colder Than My Toes

Chicago Med (Tuesday 9pm, NBC): To be fair, I’ve only seen one full episode of this show – the one that was part of the three-way crossover with PD and Fire, after Herrmann got stabbed. The show was very sloooow. And booooring. A lot of manufactured, unnecessary drama between the docs and the firefighters. A medical “mystery” so predictable I was actually hoping I was wrong, just so I’d be surprised. I guess I’m used to House, where there were always a bunch of twists and wrong turns before they correctly diagnosed someone. As it was, the Splenda Guy was by far the most interesting part of the ep. Hope they kept him on. I’ll probably never find out, because I’ll be happily watching the INFINITELY more entertaining iZombie over on The CW. I wish nothing but the best of luck to Chicago Med and its fans – but “The Chicago Trilogy” will remain a duet for me.

Final Score: 5 (ouch!)
Status: Renewed for 2016-2017

 

And on we go to the finales! 🙂

The Race 2015-2016: First Looks (Plus: 2 Comic Cons This Weekend!)

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Okay, so most of our shows are back and trying their darnedest to keep us tuned in. Attention spans are shorter than ever, and the competition has never been higher. Let’s see which shows are delivering, and which ones are floundering like salmon on the beach:

MONDAY

Gotham (Fox, 8/7c): Wasn’t sure how this one would be without Fish, but I’m actually really digging it this year. I HATED the massacre at the police station (seriously, how many break-ins, shoot-outs, abductions, attacks, etc do they have to have before they get some decent security ???). I hated that the female police boss got killed off (I REALLY liked her – and TRUSTED her, too). But the rise of the MANIAX was cool. Barbara as a total psycho is cool. Galavan’s insidious rise to power has been awesome to watch, as is Nygma’s inevitable descent into madness. The new police boss is admirably bad-@$$. I’d follow him into battle. I love his idea for the task force. He really seems legit, too – which means he’ll likely a.) get killed off in the next two eps or b.) turn out to be in Galavan’s pocket or something. I sincerely hope not. The good guys need a break. Big time. Actually, some of the bad guys need a break, too. Never thought I’d say this, but poor Penguin. Geez, his mother was the only thing that kept him sort of tethered to humanity. And what about the Joker getting offed? Did not see that coming, and that’s what’s so great about it! One of the down sides to doing a prequel-type show is that everyone basically knows that certain characters, e.g. Bruce Wayne, are safe from death because you know they have a future in the comics. Well, Gotham went and gave the rug a good, hard pull, toppling viewers onto their butts by killing off someone we assumed would go on to become a legendary Batman villain. Smart move, and very cool. Overall, Season Two is even more compelling than Season One. The multiple Penguins in the last episode was a stroke of brilliance. And, on a more superficial note, melikes Jim’s hair this season. Melikes it a LOT. My main complaint about Gotham this year would be too many massacres, etc. How many have we had so far this season? Three? Four? Maybe five? Crikey! Tone it down, or you’re going to turn off viewers. At least try to limit it to one shootout per episode. That’s more than enough.

Score: 7.5/10

Supergirl (CBS, 8/7c): I watched this show for two reasons: 1.) Because I freaking ADORE superheroes and 2.) Because I read that this show would be about positivity, light, optimism and GIRL power. It definitely lived up to its description. Very bright, very hopeful, very female-centric. The viewing experience was pleasant. I smiled a lot. The special effects were on the upper end of today’s TV standards. The main character, Kara, was cool, although I was surprised by how little she used her powers before deciding to be a hero. You can FLY, and you just…DON’T?? For years? Because….? Also, why hasn’t she been helping people prior to this? Just because Superman’s on the job doesn’t mean the whole hero thing is covered. If my state has one firefighter, does that mean we’re all set? We don’t need any more, because that guy’s got it covered? Of course not! There can never be too many heroes, and thankfully Kara has realized this. I just wonder why it took so long. (Maybe too much discouragement from her sister?) On the non-critical side of things, this show has a good cast of characters, the special highlights being Jimmy Olson and Cat Grant. Cat is just too funny – the ultimate horrible boss. Jimmy is by far the most intriguing character on the show – mysterious and charming. I am drawn to him like an Iron Man magnet to a stainless steel fridge. As far as bad guys go, Owain Yeoman (AKA Rigsby from The Mentalist) made an interesting one! How weird to see him as an evil alien with a spiky scalp! Bet he had fun in that role. 🙂 I haven’t seen the second ep yet (it’s on tape), but I was happy with this show overall. I like the cheerful, happy-go-lucky vibe that’s so rare on TV these days (just look at Gotham). Also, not sure if it’s a stylistic choice or a rights issue, but they never call Superman by his name – they always just say “he” or “him.” Whatever the reason, it’s cool. I like how they never show his face, either. My main nitpick would be that the writing was a little too straightforward, a little too on-the-nose without leaving much up to interpretation. I like a bit of subtlety and subtext. I like to be challenged intellectually. But pilots are tricky, and I’m definitely willing to give this one more time to win me over. Here’s hoping the next ep has a little more complexity. And if it happens to feature a lot of Jimmy Olsen…well, I would not be complaining about that, either.

Score: 6.9/10

Castle (ABC, 10/9c): Ah, Castle. AKA the final ABC show I’m watching. After Forever’s cancellation, I wouldn’t touch any of ABC’s new pilots with a ten-foot-long PVC pipe (it helped that none of them looked appealing anyway), but I’m still loyal to Castle and will continue to watch until it finishes its run. So, how’s it doing this season? I tuned in to the premiere a few minutes late, and didn’t have a freaking CLUE what was happening. Which was actually okay, because it made me empathize with Castle as he tried to piece things together. It was exciting and a bit dark (baby tarantulas dumped on Castle’s face, followed by a suffocation bag put over his head, is a bit outside the normal tone for this show – then again, I heard there’s a new showrunner in town). Overall, it opened strong, and my only nitpick was that Beckett didn’t have quite enough motivation to leave Castle. Or rather, to pursue the case which caused her to leave Castle. I was watching with my mom and she was like, “This is out of character for Beckett.” I agreed. I get where they’re going with the whole “she obsessed over her mom’s case for years, it finally got solved, but that need to obsess doesn’t go away and now she has to focus that energy on some new conspiracy.” I get that, and it’s valid, but she LOVES Rick. She’s been happy with Rick. Plus Castle’s stepmom (can we say awesome bad@$$ chick???) had the case under control. There was no reason not to let her handle it. If Beckett had agreed to lay off the case, been on her way home to Castle, and then his stepmom’s car exploded with her inside it, THEN Beckett has a reason to say, “Now I’m the only one left. I HAVE to do this, or there won’t be justice.” They didn’t take it to the level necessary for her to leave Castle – they fell one step short, making it hard to buy. However, looking past that, I do like the situation as it stands. The separation, the pheromones, the LONGING. Great stuff, and just the little jolt Caskett needed to keep from getting too snooze-fest. So, good idea, imperfect execution, still enough to keep me watching. P.S. That episode with “The Nose” was hilarious and proof enough that the new showrunner can do a lighter ep, which is the staple for this show.

Score: 7.9/10

TUESDAY

iZombie (CW, 9/8c): Aaaaaand the wonderful parade of Liv’s shifting personalities continues! Big kudos to actress Rose McIver for delivering believable and highly entertaining performances week after week. It can’t be easy to play a character who’s absorbed a basketball coach’s go-get-em attitude one day, a fashion diva’s high drama and style sense the next, and an amateur musician’s hankering to compose and perform country songs the day after that. And she still has to keep the core personality the same. It may be hard as heck to play the role, but it’s fun as heck to watch. Also enjoying: Blaine as a un-zombified baddie, Peyton’s return, Clive’s budding relationship with that FBI (???) lady, and Ravi’s continual support of Liv during her 1,002 weekly attitude shifts. Oh, and Liv and Major are back together! Is it wrong that this makes me sooooo happy, even though dark times must surely be a-comin’? I mean, I know it can’t last. I know she’s got to find out about Major’s extra-curricular activities as a zombie-hunter – and this devastating news will come well before they get to celebrate their golden anniversary. But can’t I just enjoy it while it lasts? For however short a time that is? Please? They’re just so cute together. Especially now that he knows why she acts weird and different all the time. Speaking of Major knowing things, he also knows what he’s doing is HORRIFICALLY wrong. He’s a murderer. If he thought zombies were just soulless, man-eating monsters, it would almost be forgivable. But he’s dating a zombie. He loves a zombie. He knows it’s at least possible for these beings to have moral, non-violent existences. It’s at least possible that some of these zombies are obtaining their brains in ways that don’t hurt anyone. Some of them may be monsters, but some may very well be decent people. He also knows there will potentially be a cure in the near future. The scenes of Major killing these people are so graphic and awful…How will he ever be able to live with himself? How will Liv, when she finds out? It’s true that she makes him a better person, and for now he’s actually being smart and lying about not finding any new zombies, but the damage is already done. Even if he never kills another one, he’s still a murderer. And to what end? To protect Liv? They know she’s a zombie. They plan to eradicate ALL the zombies. They’re going to get to her eventually, anyway. **Sigh** Anywhoo, the show’s pretty great this year. The cases are interesting, Liv’s personalities are interesting, and the romance is oh-so-good while it lasts. Also, what are they going to do with Liv’s blood? I have no clue, but it’ll probably be awesome, because almost everything on this show is!

Score: 8.6/10

Limitless (CBS, 10/9c): Ah, my new love. I saw only one commercial for this before it aired, but somehow I knew it would be “the one.” I could just tell it had certain elements that would appeal to me, e.g. a prodigy-type leading male with a tough, gun-toting female partner. Not only didn’t Limitless disappoint me, it totally soared above all expectations. By the end of the pilot, I knew I’d found my new “thing.” The main character, Brian Finch, is essentially a loveable loser. A guy in his late twenties with no real job, and a band in which he is the only remaining member. He is the black sheep of the family, the only one who hasn’t yet found his way in life, and is just kind of floundering while everyone else has achieved the expected level of success and happiness. Despite his lack of ambition, Brian is good-natured, gentle, and genuinely cares about his family. I love him already. Then his dad gets sick, and Brian gets a special “pick-me-up” pill from one of his old bandmates. Suddenly, Brian has access to every single brain cell, making him a temporary super-genuis. He uses the power to solve the mystery of his Dad’s condition, and later solves the murder of the friend who gave him the pill. I.e. Brian uses his power to help people he cares about. How rare is that? Throw in the FBI, a mysterious senator, blackmail, more murder, secret injections, and a truly AWESOME partner, and you’ve got one heck of a show. Brian has great chemistry with his partner, Rebecca. She’s one of those people who’s effortlessly cool, and probably the only person at the FBI who actually gives a crap about Brian. Not as someone who’s being studied, or someone who’s a potential liability, but as a person. He, in turn, trusts her, and has shown he’s willing to lay down his life rather than betray her. Their partnership is already at the point where they’re randomly letting themselves into each other’s apartments. They can only get closer from here. (Until she finds out about the shots, that is…) Other characters of note include Brian’s dad (with whom he has a special bond), an FBI boss with questionable motives, Rebecca’s FBI partner Boyle (hoping he’ll land on the side of the good guys, but too soon to tell), the senator’s ultra-creepy henchman, Sands, and two bodyguard/warden-type dudes that Brian calls “Mike” and “Ike” because even with perfect recall he can’t remember their names! But the one who really carries the show is Brian himself. He’s extremely relatable, extremely entertaining to listen to (he narrates every episode), and hilarious to watch. The actor, Jake McDorman, is just so frenetic – you can see all the wheels turning – doubly so when he’s on NZT. I could watch this guy dusting shelves for a week and not get bored once. One time I was really tired when the ep came on, and I thought it’d be a miracle if I stayed awake (don’t worry, I was recording it), but then NZT-Brian made this Claymation-type video that was the most hilarious thing I’ve ever seen on TV, and I was wide awake in minutes. The same thing happened again this week–I was getting drowsy as the show opened (hey, days are long and 10pm shows are hard for me!), but within seconds I was totally engaged. I was like, “OMG, he’s doing Ferris Bueller’s Day Off!” and sleep never crossed my mind again. It’s that good. Also, they do really cool stuff with the lighting, showing the juxtaposition between times when he’s on NZT and when he’s off of it, and they have really creative, funny ways of demonstrating how Brian’s mind works and how he gets his information. Fans of Forever, Castle and The Mentalist will LOVE this show! Check it out! </gushing>

Score: 9/10

Chicago Fire (NBC, 10/9c): Decent so far. Not shout-from-the-rooftops great or anything, just decent. The reason for Severide’s demotion seemed stupid and insufficient to strip somebody’s rank. You’d think a really heinous offense would have to occur for that to happen, but no. Just some random, bad luck events that had nothing to do with Severide personally. Whatever. His new girlfriend turned out to be a loser, too, so this is a great season for Sev, so far. If only he had a BEST FRIEND to turn to…Anyway, glad the strip club storyline’s wrapped up – did anyone else totally KNOW Voight had Casey’s back? I so did. I was like, “The police cars are going to pull in right….NOW!” and they did. Predictable, but not in a bad way. Cruz on Squad is cool. New captain? Seems a little weird. I don’t know what to make of him, but he bothers me at times with his attitude. The people harassing Molly’s need to GO AWAY. Immediately. They suck. If a bar’s noise is going to bother your baby, then here’s an idea: don’t move in near a bar!!! Geez…Also, re: the arson thing: haven’t we kinda been there, done that? Like multiple times? Hope they put a new twist on it. Speaking of new things, I was SO excited about Matt and Gabi’s baby…but then that went very wrong this week. Utterly heartbreaking on many fronts, but probably the best ep so far – Herrmann did indeed know the perfect thing to say to Gabi, and I’m sure many eyes were not dry at the end of the ep on Tuesday night. Overall, things on CF have been okay. I’m still watching, but, except for the most recent ep, I’m not being “wowed.” We need more powerful, emotional storylines like the ones that got us hooked in the first place.

Score: 6.8/10

WEDNESDAY

Supernatural (CW, 9/8c): Isn’t it nice when one of your favorite shows demonstrates why it still deserves to be one of your favorite shows? No relying solely on viewers’ loyalty to keep them tuned in – not this year. Supernatural is bringing their best stuff to the table and pulling up a chair. The Darkness is cool in all of her forms. I like how she eats souls – hey, maybe she’s related to the Dementors! Instead of looking for info on her in the archives, Sam and Dean should probably just pick up some of J.K. Rowling’s works. 🙂 Seriously, though, Amara is scary because no one really has an idea what exactly she is, what she wants, what she’s capable of once she reaches adulthood. The angels don’t know. The demons don’t know. Sam and Dean definitely don’t know. Having a scream come from the cage containing Michael and Lucifer was a great way to show just how dangerous and terrifying this thing is. And now this seriously evil being is on the loose, feeding, growing, and developing a weird, creepy bond with Dean that just can’t end well. Great storyline that can easily carry us through the whole season. Other notes: Loved the eerie, Walking Dead-type vibe of the infected town and hospital in the opener. I liked the young police officer they met and bonded with – she got killed off way too soon. I was planning to complain about the way she acted once her soul was removed – how she just instantly went psycho and killed her gammy. I thought this contradicted with how soulless Sam acted in Season Six. Sure, he might’ve killed you, but not for nothing – he was logical and had reasons for everything he did. He was a sociopath, but not an instant, murderous lunatic. So, yeah, I was going to complain about that inconsistency, but I actually thought they covered the topic pretty well in the last ep. They pointed out that different people react differently to having their souls ripped out (understandable – it’s a HUGE trauma, after all), and now there is also the implication that Amara may not just be taking out the souls – she may be planting a little seed of herself inside the empty vessel. The Borden-obsessed guy, Len, said he felt something hatching out inside him – something “dark, with wings” (massively cool description, by the way). I think this was a piece of The Darkness left inside him, starting to taking hold. Interesting also that the crazy soulless babysitter still had compassion for the little boy – she shouldn’t have been capable of that…should she? Hmmmm. Nice shake-up having The Darkness be involved in what started out as an apparent ghost story. Cool twist, writers! My favorite ep so far this year, though, was the “were-pire” ep from a few weeks ago. Unexpected and tender brother moments in the car. A quiet, real conversation between the boys. An absolutely gorgeous dream sequence between young John and grownup Sam – the way that was shot just took my breath away. The black clouds streaming past the windows of the Impala. The way young John has so exquisitely captured Jeffery Dean Morgan’s accent and speech patterns. The close-ups of their eyes – wow. Just wow. And that was only at the beginning of the ep. After that we got an interesting case with a monster we’d never seen before, mythology advancement even though it was a standalone ep, some riotously funny action/fight sequences between Dean and various foes, a head in a cooler (because life just isn’t complete without one), and Impala love up to the moon. I mean, yeah, it definitely hurt to see Baby get smashed up like that, but to have Sam call her “home” at the end, it was worth it. Sam’s general attitude this year also deserves mention: “‘Saving people’ means saving ALL the people.” Right on, Sammy! I loved his speech to Dean in the opener, and I don’t always love the speeches. Sometimes they run around in circles and don’t really end up saying anything, and you figure the writers just needed to kill some screen time. But this speech mattered. It meant something, and I like that it has been referenced since then. My only issue with Sam’s new philosophy is that he didn’t have a good plan for carrying it out – at least not in the premiere. It’s fine to want to save the infected people. Noble, even. But hiding in a closet and then, when the rabid berserkers break in to kill you, just standing there saying, “Please, let me help you” isn’t a strategy. It’s suicide. I blame the writers for not having him act smarter. The Sam I know would’ve worked out how to knock them unconscious or something. He had a whole hospital full of drugs and medical equipment at his disposal, for pity’s sake…Anyway, just a minor nitpick for what has otherwise been a wonderful season so far. Keep proving yourself, Supernatural, and we’ll have a Season Twelve in no time.

Score: 8.9/10

Chicago PD (NBC, 10/9c): Is PD rocking it this year, or what? This show just keeps unchaining the awesome and letting it gush out all over the screen. All eps have been strong so far. Intriguing cases, compelling interpersonal drama. I’m already warmed up to Lindsay and Jay. They’re gorgeous together, and my hopes for Severide/Lindsay (or Severide/anyone, for that matter) went down the tubes ages ago, so why not get on board with Jay and Erin? The love is clearly there between them (you could see it when she came to rescue him in the first ep), and the chemistry sizzles like pancake batter hitting the frying pan. Consider my ship converted. And as for my other ship: Dang, Ruzek, why’d you have to fail the push test? Grrrr. Just show the girl how much you freaking love her and tell her you want to marry her TODAY. And just when things seemed to be getting back on track, the uninvitied houseguests arrive, lol. Al’s new daughter is a character, isn’t she? “I love fettuccini alfredo!” I’ve always enjoyed that actress (she’s been on both The Mentalist and Supernatural). Would love more scenes between her and Al and the rest of the gang. I’m kind of glad he didn’t look at the paternity results – they already had a real relationship, so what was he going to do if she wasn’t his? Just ditch her? I don’t think so. What an awful thing for his wife and other daughter to go through, though. I do think the wife could handle it a wee bit better, but I’ve never been in that situation (thankfully) so who am I to judge? She probably just needs time. Her heart is broken, as is mine after Roman’s little friend died unexpectedly. I think that is probably the worst, when you are thisclose to being able to save someone, and then you can’t. The special day they gave him as the police chief was truly touching. I know folks pull off these special experiences for terminal kids every day, and I just want to say thanks to anyone and everyone who has ever contributed to making a sick child’s dream come true – it means the world to them, even if it only lasts a day.

Score: 8.5/10

THURSDAY

Heroes Reborn (8/7c): I shouldn’t really be one to judge this show, seeing as I was never a big fan the first time around. Of the original series, I watched the end of Season One and all of Season Two. I didn’t return for Season Three. I believe I stopped watching because the only character I actually liked (the flying man, played by Adrian Pasdar) got killed off. However, the commercials for Heroes Reborn were just so darned cool, I had to at least give it a shot. The verdict: It’s entertaining. The stories are interesting. However, it has the same issues that put me off the original series: this is a big-cast, plot-driven show. I like me a smaller-cast, character-driven show. My feeling is that people who liked the original series will enjoy this reboot, but since no one particular character stole my heart this time around, Heroes Reborn is not for me.

Score: None

The Player (10/9c): The commercials looked cool, so I decided to sample. The concept is intriguing and different. I like the lead actor. Some of the stories are neat. However, for whatever reason, I just didn’t feel that connection to the main character. We didn’t synch up, and I had no emotional investment in the episodes. My rule about TV is that if I don’t love the show, or at the very least one of the characters, then my time is better spent elsewhere. I hope others do connect with The Player – it’s a creative concept that’s fairly well executed.

Score: None

Elementary (10/9c): I have to say, I caught a few eps of Sherlock over the summer, and it was FANTASTIC. Like, off the charts. Elementary will really have to be that much better this season in order to impress me, now that I’ve seen its competition in the Holmes department. So, how was the premiere last night, you ask? So far, so good. A strong, character-centered episode with an interesting case on the side. I like how kind everyone was to Sherlock after what he’d been through – you know it can’t last, though. Soon enough he’ll be annoying the crap out of everybody again :).  I feel bad that they’re fired, but I thought they weren’t even getting paid anyway, so how much will this really hurt them? Do they even need to consult for an official law enforcement agency? Can’t they just take private cases like Castle does? That’s typically what Sherlock does in the original stories, anyhow. Private citizens come to him and hire him to solve things. Occasionally those cases intersect with police investigations, but not always. I think Sherlock and Joan will be fine on their own, and kudos to her for staying loyal to him when he needs it most. She also gets the best line of the week: “What’s the hardest you’ve ever been hit?” And she said it so calmly, too! Utterly perfect. The guy totally deserved it after what he said. And it apparently worked, because Sherlock’s dad actually showed up! Can’t wait for next week! 🙂

Score: 7/10

FRIDAY

Grimm (9/8c): Only one ep in, so it’s too early to be overly judgmental, but frankly it was kind of a downer – just like the end of last season. I didn’t really even feel like I was watching Grimm. It wasn’t fun or especially exciting. I just felt bummed out. Nick was chasing after this FBI chick alone, while everyone else stood around doubting his story and his sanity. His mother’s head, his lover’s body and one of his best friends were all missing (and still are). Nick was drugged, attacked, and lost one of his only sources of info on how to find Trubel. Adalind almost lost his baby during labor, and he couldn’t even be there. Really the only highlight for me was that the baby lived, and the sweet moment where they named him Kelly, after Nick’s mom. I think this show needs to be careful right now – there is such a thing as “too dark.” You really need a balance of bad events and good events to keep viewers tuned in. Too much misery, and fans will walk away. There was a time when ER had like five negative stories going all at once, including the terminal illness of one of their most beloved characters. They lost viewers. As did Lois and Clark when they kept the main couple unhappy and separated for months on end. People will wait for happy endings and storyline payoffs, but they won’t wait forever.

Score: 6.5/10

 

And the winner is……..Limitless! Woo hoo! You had me at “resorbed twin.” 🙂

Runner up: Supernatural! Keep it up, guys! Let’s shoot for Season Twelve!

 

More goodies and news for my fellow fans:

Remember: You heard it here first! (Actually, you probably didn’t, but I was nice enough to remind you!)

TV NEWS

The X-Files returns to Fox this January for a six-episode event. One of the perks of watching Gotham live is getting to see X-Files commercials. So far, I’ve seen three different versions. There’s a really short live-action ad which just has Mulder, Scully and Skinner (<-YES!) with some dialogue to the effect of “I can’t do this alone” “I need you” “I’m here.” Then there’s an animated commercial that basically recaps previous events on the show in an artsy, highly stylistic fashion – it has the black oil alien virus and the Cigarette Smoking Man, etc. It’s really cool. And then there’s another live-action one with WAY more clips; there’s all kinds of crap going on in that one and it just looks as exciting as all get-out. Look for it online if you haven’t seen it yet. It’s must-see.

Billed as the third show in the “Chicago Trilogy,” Chicago Med comes to NBC on Tuesday, November 17th at 9/8c. The show will feature characters like Jay’s brother, Severide’s high school friend, and that psychiatrist dude they’ve been aggressively inserting into storylines on Fire and PD for the past few weeks. Did I call it or did I call it? Just wish Amanda Righetti was on the cast , too…

Forever comes out on DVD soon – probably pre-Christmas in the US – and will feature lots of deleted scenes and (presumably) other extras. Can’t wait to add this one to my collection. I am going to watch the crap out of those DVDs! My love for Forever will never die, and my hope for its return will never waver. As fans, we have to just keep asking for what we want. Eventually, they’ll get fed up and give it to us. Futurama came back years after cancellation – with the original cast. With The X-Files, heck, it’s returning after what, decades? Heroes was just reborn, and Unforgettable has more lives than ten cats put together. Forever WILL return. We just have to keep asking, that’s all.

COMIC CONS

If you happen to be in Michigan, and happen to be a huge comic book/superhero fan like me, there are at least two events guaranteed to entertain you this weekend:

Comiquecon is all about GIRL POWER. The event takes place this Saturday from 10am to 7pm at the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the door. According to the Detroit Free Press, this event will “focus on the role of female creative artists and fans in the world of comic books and graphic novels.” Sounds awesome, right? More info here: comiquecon.com.

Fantasticon is all about girl power, guy power, and every other power there is. Takes place this Saturday and Sunday at Gibraltar Trade Center North. Hours are 10am-6pm on Saturday, 10am-5pm on Sunday. There will be costume contests. More info at: fantasticon.net.

Have fun! 🙂

 

 

 

 

The Race 2014-2015: The Results (Dun-Dun-Dun…)

RaceImageWell, it happened. Not sure I wanted it to happen, but it did. This year, a new show raced past old favorites to clinch the top spot. Not that this will shock the pants off of anybody, but that new show was Forever. I fell noggin-over-feet in love with the pilot, and my adoration only grew bigger and brighter over the course of the season. ‘Course, then it got CANCELLED, and I still don’t know what to do with that horrible decision on ABC’s part. The fans have been fighting for the show like pissed off cats all summer long, but a few days ago Forever‘s creator, Matt Miller, basically told us it’s all but over.

Forever wasn’t the only loss, either. Far from it. Other victims of the “axe” included Stalker (CBS), Red Band Society (FOX), Battle Creek (CBS), and – one of my all-time favorites – The Mentalist (CBS). In other words, it was a bloodbath out there!

But this review isn’t about what happened after the season ended. It’s about the awesomeness we got to watch while our shows were still on the air.

So, in that spirit of celebration, I give you the final results of this year’s 2014-2015 TV season, ranked from highest to lowest.

Forever: 9/10

This one just grabbed me. Right from the get-go. And it held on tight all season long. The commercials really didn’t do Forever justice (probably a big part of the ratings issue). While the ads (which became rarer as the season progressed, and non-existent at the end) focused on mundane case-of-the-week details, the true beauty of this show is in the small moments between characters, the richly-textured flashbacks, and the clever way in which past, present and future weave together for a character who has all the time in the world.

There are too many phenomenal individual scenes to list them all, but some end-of-season highlights include the final showdown in the tunnel with Adam, the touching moment when Henry learned that the slaves had not died because of him, Henry and Lucas’ final scene together in the lab, Jo and Henry saying what they mean to each other in the car, and Abe’s poignant search for his missing mother.

But the biggest, most epic scene for me was when Henry actually physically found Abigail’s remains at long last. It was just pure, straight-up heartbreak as he ran down that slope, flashing back to all of their moments together over the span of their relationship. Such a beautiful and well-developed love story, resolved in a powerful and satisfying (if utterly devastating) way. If Forever doesn’t come back to life on some network, sometime, in some form, it will be a crime.

The Mentalist: 8/10

As evidenced by the copious amounts of fanfic I’ve written for it, this show has been one of my absolute faves for years. It wasn’t easy to say goodbye, but we knew it was coming (unlike Forever, grrrrr) and we at least got some decent closure. Both the writers and the actors did a fantabulous job of making viewers fall in love with a whole new team at the FBI. Wylie was an instant favorite, Abbott morphed from dangerous adversary to amazingly loyal friend, and Michelle quickly won over our hearts by being her own woman – a real woman who made mistakes, learned things from them, and improved as an agent. Her Cho-worship was pretty endearing, too. If I were on that team, I’d be fangirling Cho, big-time. He owns cool.

Of course, we did lose Michelle. I have mixed feelings about that creative decision, because it didn’t serve the purpose I expected (driving Jane away from law enforcement for good). I guess her death was just something to remind us of the darkness in life, and how you can eventually step out blinking into the sunshine and feel warm again.

The end of The Mentalist‘s 7.5-year run was warm. It made me feel good. I loved the revival of the fake psychic stuff in the final eps. Not sure about the wedding, though – it seemed too soon for Jane and Lisbon to tie the knot, seeing as he had, seemingly just days before the wedding, decided to leave town (and wouldn’t even return her calls!). Also, they hadn’t resolved a major, deal-breaker issue in their relationship: Jane wanted Lisbon to quit the FBI due to the danger of her profession.

Nonetheless, as RedFi over on the Paint It Red Forum aptly pointed out, it was like the show came full circle – when we met Jane, he’d lost both his wife and his child, and when we left him, he had a new wife and child. A whole new beginning. Also, Simon Baker acted the freakin’ crap out of that scene where he found out Lisbon was carrying their child. Wowza. He looked unearthly beautiful in his wedding attire, too. That vest really brought out his eyes in wonderful ways. Lisbon looked gorgeous, too (loved the dress!!!), but Cho was clearly in the bathroom when she picked out that veil/headpiece thingy. Not sure what it was supposed to look like, but it missed the mark by about fifty yards.

In the end, The Mentalist left us with a fresh new start, all options wide open. It left me with a smile on my lips, a feeling of hope in my heart, and a strong hankering to write lots more fanfic.

It also left me asking, “Why?” Because, as my mom kept loudly repeating over the course of the season, “This is still a great show! Why are they taking it off?” Why, indeed?

Realizing The Mentalist had been on for seven-and-a-half seasons made me also realize that this is the first time in all those years that I fell in love with a new show (Forever). Great TV, for me, is that rare. There are so few shows I would write fanfic for…

…And two of them just went off the air. Wonder how long it’ll be before another great rises up. And how quickly it, too, will get cancelled in favor of mindless, cheap-to-produce reality junk.

😦

Supernatural: 7.9/10

At least this old battle-horse is still in the race! I honestly don’t know what I’ll do when Supernatural is gone. No need to think about that now, though – my final remaining “fanfic show” will happily be back next year for its eleventh season.

As for Season Ten: strong overall. The beginning was a bit on the rocky side, but after that I was a pretty satisfied customer. The theme for the year was obviously “family” and the writers found interesting and creative ways to carry this over to all of the different characters. Cass went on a quest to locate and help his vessel’s troubled daughter, Claire. Crowley, meanwhile, had to deal with his hilariously horrible, literal witch of a mother, Rowena. And of course, Sammy spent the whole season trying to save Dean, which just fills up our glasses with delicious brotherly love.

One thing that tainted the whole family vibe – Charlie’s death. I didn’t see the necessity of killing her off, and I sure as heck didn’t like it. Also, it happened in a stupid way. Stupid deaths are just the worst. AlsoX2, I didn’t fully believe that it happened (still don’t) because of the way they didn’t show it onscreen. I would not be surprised (just really, really elated) if she showed up next year, our bad@$$ hacker with the D&D tattoo, returned from having faked her own death.

As it was, I couldn’t even cry at her funeral. I felt like an emotional pancake – totally flat. Something about the way it was filmed, maybe? Or just the fact that I didn’t completely “buy” the death? I don’t know. FYI, I actually didn’t cry at Bobby’s death, either (hey, stop throwing stuff at me!). It’s not that I didn’t love him. It’s just due to issues of how the episode was written/filmed. Bobby’s coma was compared to two different situations: Dean’s coma (from which death was the only escape) and Rufus’ coma (from which death seemed like the only escape, yet Rufus found a way to wake up and survive). When Bobby flat-lined, I didn’t think there was anything necessarily final about it, because the ep didn’t do a good job of making that point clear.

Anyhow, back to Season Ten – some stuff I LOVED from the last few episodes: Sam trying to kill Crowls, and Crowls busting out with the red eyes and saying how he loved every minute of being evil. **happy sigh** Great stuff. Also, everything with Cass and Claire – that was really touching. The Stein storyline was also clever and very cool.

One nitpick: Dean should not have been able to whup Cass’ butt so thoroughly in their fight! Especially without the blade. So, what the crap was that? Maybe Cass was letting Dean win to see how far he’d go? Not sure.

And of course I hated Dean being horrible to Sam (“It should be you on that pyre”…Damn!), Dean letting another hunter die, Dean almost killing Cass, etc, etc. I know the mark was poisoning Dean, but it still hurts. Guess that’s how Sam fans felt in Season Four, when Sam was all meany-pants. I feel your pain now, Samgirls!

The finale itself was good. My only complaint here would be that this was the first season finale that didn’t seem EPIC, you know? It mostly just felt like a regular episode. The whole “darkness” thing was cool, but it should maybe have been touched on earlier in the season so it didn’t feel like the writers were just pulling it out of their…well, you-know-where. I did love Dean saving Sam and killing Death (major repercussions, anyone?). Oh, and Cass – you better not kill Crowley, okay? We need the King in Season Eleven!

iZombie: 7.9/10

Though I don’t think iZombie could ever take Forever‘s place in my heart, this new CW offering is definitely a balm on my cancellation wounds. I was already looking forward to this show before it aired, thanks to a synopsis in TV Guide‘s special Comic-Con issue last year. I am happy to report that iZombie did not disappoint. In fact, it rose above my expectations in surprising and wonderful ways.

Two moments in the pilot episode when I knew this show was something special:

1.) When Peyton (Liv’s roomie) said something like, “I know I should have just written you off by now, but…you’re my freaking heart, so, if you could step up?”

2.) When Liv looked surprised upon hearing that Ravi was trying for a zombie cure. And Ravi said, “What, did you think you were going to stay this way forever?” Awwww.

Sometimes this show – which typically oscillates between comical, creepy, and outright disgusting – has these moments of such pure heart that it makes my breath catch and brings actual tears to my eyes.

More cases-in-point:

-Liv holding the hand of her dead college friend while Ravi begins the girl’s autopsy.

-Lowell’s sweet mouthing of “I love you” before getting his head blown off on a suicide mission.

I hated that they killed him, btw. He was one of the real highlights of the show. Lowell and Liv were SO great together – zombie love!!! Also, he shouldn’t have had to die. Liv just totally choked in front of the sniper rifle – first time I ever felt truly disappointed in her.

Overall, though, a very strong first season. The finale wasn’t quite as epic as I wanted (not sure why – they really pulled out all the brains – er, stops). There were major revelations, people turned into zombies, zombies turned back into people…I don’t know, I guess I just thought it would end with Liv locked up in a Max Rager lab or something.

Still, some really good cliffies for next season. (And yes, thankfully, there will be a next season).

Only thing I hate about this show: it looks really real when they’re eating the brains. Like, it makes me almost puke. I feel a little nauseous right now, just writing about it – no joke. Fewer brains next year, please! My stomach can’t take it!

Castle: 7.8/10

Looking back on the epic season opener (and all the hopes and expectations that sprang from it), I have to say this season ended up in the “good” category, rather than the “phenomenal” one. I confess to feeling a little let down by the partial explanation/resolution of Castle’s disappearance. Not sure if they’ll ever pick it up again, but there’s definitely more story to tell on that front (we still don’t know how he got shot). At least we got to see the case that made Castle become a mystery writer – been waiting for that all season long, and it didn’t let me down like the other storyline did.

End of the finale was a bit anticlimactic, though. Maybe because they didn’t know whether they were coming back. Those either/or season/series finale thingies are always tricky.

Unless you’re Supernatural, and it’s the end of Season Two, and you manage to pull out a masterpiece of an episode that gives impressive amounts of closure while launching some great new storylines at the same time. Still my all-time favorite ep…**happy sigh**

Back to Castle, though – my wish list for next season: more storylines that shake up the status quo (e.g. this season’s arc about Castle becoming a private detective), more scifi-themed eps (e.g. the invisibility suit, the parallel dimension artifact, the simulated mars mission, etc), and please, please don’t kill off any major characters! Thank you!

Red Band Society: 7.8/10

Another one bites the dust. It did go out with style, though: Jordi found the courage to go through with his surgery, Dash fell for his “unicorn” (and realized he could never harm her), the whole society rallied around Leo (especially Emma, who completely let go of the whole Kara/sex thing and showed herself to be a hero of a friend), Kara and Hunter’s love story spanned the gap between life and death, and Charlie TALKED!

Favorite exchange:

Hunter: “One day, you can take your kids to Paris, and it’ll be for a good reason. You can tell them what I did for you, and what you did for me.”

Kara: “What did I do for you?”

Hunter: “You lived.”

Awwwwwwww.

And of course, the ending was perfection: A new patient entering the pediatric ward, scared and alone, about to join the Red Band Society.

Wish this one could’ve gone on. Shows with real heart and soul are becoming an endangered species these days…

Grimm: 7.6/10

Man, this show had a much higher rank for most of the season. The last few eps got very dark, though, with Juliette sailing past the point of no return. She actually let Nick’s mom get decapitated. Not just killed, decapitated. Holy $#!T. And then Trubel killed Juliette with a crossbow (still hoping she’s not really dead). I don’t think Juliette was actually going to kill Nick, and the presence of those agents makes me suspicious that something else was afoot. Maybe the actress (Bitsie Tulloch) wanted off the show, though…

(Why????)

Up until Kelly’s murder, I was loving dark!Juliette and her awesome new powers. But now I’m just sad.

Only bright spots in the closer:

-The little girl escaped the Royals

-Sean lives, and he’s no longer harboring a murderous spirit in his body – yay!

Still, overall, a total bummer of an ending. Nick holding his love’s lifeless body…Waaaaayyyy too dark for me. Hope next season’s a touch brighter. Note to writers: this is supposed to be my fun show. If I want to be depressed, I’ll watch Supernatural‘s Season Five ep, “Abandon All Hope.”

Chicago PD: 7.5/10

Prepare to witness history. For the first time ever, CPD‘s final season score is higher than big sister CF‘s. PD was just plain stronger this year. The crossovers are special highlights, but even the regular eps are more focused than CF‘s and when CPD kills a character, they do it for the right reasons. I HATE that Nadia’s dead, but I don’t hate the show for doing it, because the resulting storylines were good – Erin’s downward spiral, Trudy’s fight to get Nadia recognized, etc. Plus the fact that Nadia was a beloved supporting character, not a beloved lead.

I do have an itty-bitty confession to make though. I haven’t actually seen those two eps (SVU and CPD) where Nadia meets her horrible end. I have them on tape, it’s just…every time I go to watch them, I think it’ll make me too sad…

(Miss you so much, Nadia!)

So, maybe it isn’t even fair for me to rank this show. In fact, it almost certainly isn’t. Nonetheless, a trusted fellow fan has told me the eps are heartbreakingly excellent and I don’t doubt her.

PD was all strength and no weakness this year, plus they added a little touch of joy at the end to lighten things up and make my shippy heart all aflutter: Burgess and Ruzek got ENGAGED!!! WOO HOO!!

They even got their own ep, earlier in the season – well technically it was a Burgess and Roman ep, but Ruzek was worried about her, and that’s how she and Roman got saved! Romance. Yum. Good stuffs.

P.S. In that same ep, did anyone else want to see where Jay got tazed? :/

This show really has it all – heartbreak, love, violence, and the funnies. Congrats, CPD, on outshining your big sis!

Gotham: 7.4/10

Gotham probably deserves a higher rank, but to be honest, I don’t enjoy this show that much. It’s gloomy and super-violent and easily more disgusting than the brain-eating on iZombie. Barbara butchering her own parents (Btw, is she dead now, or just knocked out? Methinks dead.), that crazy girl snapping bird bones, Selena shoving that guy out the window, Penguin making that old married couple fight each other to the death (or pretty much anything else Penguin does)? All of it equals a big, fat EW.

And yet, despite its grotesque nature, I am compelled to continue watching. Gotham makes you need it, even when you don’t want it. But…will it still be the same gripping drama next year, without the vital presence of Fish?

I’m not sure, but I’ll definitely tune in to find out.

Elementary: 7.3/10

Still a good, entertaining show. I enjoyed many of the eps this season, but the “personal” ones are the ones that make me sit up and pay attention, and once again, there were too few of those. I’d love some more continuity and ongoing storylines that span between eps, so it’s not just a long line of stand-alones.

The high points:

-Kitty and her storyline
-Andrew’s murder and the subsequent fallout, eventually resulting in Joan moving back in with Sherlock (they’re better together)
-Artificial Intelligence ep, Settlement $ ep, Zebra ep (yeah, I know they weren’t zebras, but I don’t know how to spell what they were)
-Sherlock’s budding friendship with his sponsor Alfredo
-Ep where Sherlock had to revisit a case he handled at the height of his drug abuse days

The finale was strong, and very personal – definitely suited to my tastes (and hopefully a glimpse of things to come next season!). The end was super-dark, though, and I wasn’t sure if Alfredo was still alive after transport to the hospital (I couldn’t read the text on Sherlock’s phone) and I really needed to KNOW if Alfredo was alive (I think he was?). Also, the end was a bit ambiguous for me. I’m guessing that Sherlock succumbed to his addiction after holding out for the whole episode. They never showed him take the heroin – just the aftermath. The whole thing was horrible (yet very compelling and well-written), taking Sherlock to all of those places, making him find the girl dead like that, when her brother already knew (great twist, btw).

So, after some interesting (and not-quite-as-interesting) standalone eps, we’re now back firmly in character-driven territory. Despite a mediocre score for Season Three, next year looks HIGHLY promising.

Meeting Sherlock’s dad at long last? I vote “YES.” Hope it happens for real. Other wish list items: Moriarty’s return, Watson gets to do more medical stuff, Mycroft’s return, more personal stories for Gregson and Bell. Oh, and Alistair comes back from the dead. I know that last one can’t happen, but a girl can dream, can’t she?

Chicago Fire: 7.2/10

Yeah, I’m being mean to this one right now, putting it in dead last. I’m just still not over Shay. And now Peter’s gone, too! It’s like, first the writers pulled out the show’s heart, and now they’re slowly dissecting it!

Yes, Severide is still may favorite character on either of the Chicago shows, but it’s hard when you can’t get attached to anyone involved in his storylines – they all just leave, in one way or another. The man is a freaking island. (And I want to build a bridge there, dang it!)

At least I don’t feel so bad about Lindsay dumping him anymore. Apparently she just likes dumping guys (ask Jay, he’ll tell you all about it).

Aside from major, BELOVED characters leaving, another thing this show suffers from is misleading advertising. I noticed it several times over the course of the season: ads showcasing one minor scene and making like the whole episode would revolve around that scene (two notable examples: the Severide Gets Trapped on a Train Episode and the Severide Gets Crushed Inside a Van Episode). If you’re wondering which eps those are, I don’t blame you – both situations were brief, quickly resolved, and NOT the focus of the whole episode.

I’d love to blame the people who make the ads, but in this case I can’t. The issue, unfortunately, was that many of the episodes didn’t really focus on any one particular rescue, event, or storyline – there were just a bunch of minor ongoing storylines and random rescues scattered throughout.

Don’t get me wrong, I love that this show has so much continuity, and that storylines carry over from ep to ep, but each episode should also be a complete story in its own right. This is where PD has a big advantage – being a procedural, they follow one case from start to finish every episode. Fire can’t do it quite so neatly without having a MAJOR disaster every episode (unrealistic), but they could probably do it better than they have been.

Good examples of eps this season include the explosion in the ER (although having Jay’s brother black tag Severide was a little stupid – there were few serious injuries and TONS of docs around – no need for black tagging in that situation). Nonetheless, it was an emotional, complete storyline. Another good one was Herrmann’s ep where he bonded with a little boy’s father, then found out the father was BAD NEWS. I love Herrmann.

So, more eps like that. Oh, and the one that started the most recent crossover event (that I haven’t watched the last 2/3 of)! That one was really good, with the guy who thought he started the fire having a breakdown and almost killing himself – and Gabby saving the day! Great stuff, and for once CF wasn’t the weak link in the crossover chain.

Wish list for next year: More “complete” episodes (but still keep up with the great continuity), bring back Peter, bring back basically anyone in Severide’s life, and don’t you dare kill off Matt (The undercover story is ridiculous, btw. Why? Because firefighters don’t go undercover! He’s not a cop! He has no training! Grrrr.)

So…there you have it. Hopefully I didn’t forget any important episodes or details, but knowing me I probably did. If so, feel free to point it out in the comments section. In the meantime, I’ll be busy basking in my summer shows, Beauty and the Beast (Thursday, 8pm, CW) and Aquarius (David Duchovny! Thursday, 9pm, NBC).

Don’t forget to tune in next fall for all of our returning faves. And if your fave got cancelled, at least know you’re not alone. Lots of other fans are bumming with you. And really, that’s the great thing about being part of a fandom – you always have someone to talk to about your latest obsession, and you never truly have to say goodbye. After all, the best shows will always live on in message board discussions, fanfiction and art, and, most importantly, our hearts.

 

 

The Race: Winter Highlights (TV ROCKS!)

There’s no denying it – TV has been rocking lately. Here are just a few of the highlights from my favorite shows (and a couple of dark spots, too):

Monday

Gotham (8/7c, FOX): No secret why this one’s a hit. Despite facing weird, over-the-top comic book villains, Jim Gordon remains down-to-earth, decent, and totally the guy you want to root for. Liking his romance with the nurse from the asylum. LOVING his bromance with Bullock (there was even a KISS!). Most compelling ep to date: the one where Falcone’s people invade the police station on the hunt for Jim (so intense, with the shooting and the blood and little Bruce saying goodbye to Jim… Aw…). Runner up: the one where Liza is revealed as Fish’s spy (the image of Falcone slowly choking Liza to death while Fish is forced to watch…haunt-ing).

Current Score: 7.8

Castle (10/9c, ABC): Although it’s lost the static-crackle, life-or-death intensity of the first few eps, I’m not worried, nor am I complaining. The mystery of Castle’s disappearance is being intentionally back-burnered, so the writers can whip it out unexpectedly and whack us painfully in the face with it like a rubber snake. (This happened to me once, and it really hurt. Seriously, my eyes were watering.) The wedding ep was a memorable one – beautifully shot, with all the right emotions. The lead-up story of Castle being in an alternate universe where he never met Beckett was charming, although the ending was predictable (Castle being unconscious the whole time). And of course, it wasn’t even close to the same league as Supernatural’s epic “What Is And What Should Never Be,” but it didn’t need to be. It was sweet, and it got the point across. The honeymoon was funny, and Javier’s train/hostage situation was nail-biting, but overall Castle seemed to be settling back into a same-old, same-old routine…and then – WHACK. Castle got banned from working with the PD, started his own PI firm, and everything felt fresh, complicated and new again. Right on time. Go writers! 🙂

Current Score: 8

Tuesday (aka best night of TV EVER)

Supernatural (9/8c, CW): Oh, how I love this show. Let me count the ways: 1.) Crowley’s Mommy Issues 2.) Castiel’s Love Story, 3.) BROTHER MOMENTS (like when Sam says stuff like this to Dean: “Maybe part of that force needs to be YOU.”), 4.) Castiel Trying to be a Dad, 5.) Dean Fighting Off His Inner Evil, 6.) Sam’s Heartbreak Over Dean Going Psycho, 7.) Sam Getting All Bad-@$$ Over Some Guy Having Dean’s Jacket, 8.) Sam Holding Charlie in His Arms, 9.) Charlie, 10.) Dark Charlie, 11.) Dark Charlie VS Dark Dean, 12.) Sheriff Jody Mills (if the writers ever kill her off, they’ll be getting some serious hate mail), 13.) TEEN DEAN!, 14.) 200th episode ***, 15.) I’d keep going, but do I really need to? What would I do without Supernatural?

***Special Mention goes to this spectacular hour of TV, which proved once and for all that even after ten years, this show’s still got it. I was nervous going in, because the previews looked, well, for lack of a better word, stupid. A Supernatural musical? A fan-centered episode? Neither of these sounded very good. Past fan-centered eps have been sketchy, at best. When the writers make fun of writers, like in “Hollywood Babylon,” it’s funny because they’re making fun of themselves. But when they make fun of fans, they’re making fun of us – and sometimes it can be a little insulting. I mean, Becky? Is that who they really think we are?

Thankfully, my fears were for naught. “Fan Fiction” had everything a good ep should have – laughs, scares, brotherly sweetness. It also had that special touch of greatness worthy of a milestone. I don’t know the exact moment when things shifted from pure entertainment to something deeper, but maybe it was when the girl cast as Mary began the first strains of “Carry on, Wayward Son.” Or maybe it was when Sam asked, “Who’s that?” and got the answer: “Oh, that’s Adam. Sam and Dean’s other brother. He’s still trapped in the cage with Lucifer.” But somehow, seeing all those kids on stage, singing the show’s most iconic song, dressed as so many of the characters we lost along the way, I was moved to tears. Kudos to the writers on a phenomenal ep, and one that I’ll be studying for a long time in hopes of making my own writing better.

Current Score: 8.5

Chicago Fire (10/9c, NBC): Current list of things Severide isn’t allowed to have: 1.) Best Friend, 2.) Girlfriend, 3.) Wife. Still hating on the decision to kill Shay. They really sucked the soul out of this show. It’s still a great hour of TV and everything, but it’s not the same Chicago Fire I fell in love with. Doesn’t help that I was a Lindsay/Severide shipper, and that freighter went down very early in the season, killed by the writers in the same merciless fashion they killed Shay. Why put in all that effort – across two different shows, no less – to get them together, if the Powers That Be were just going to axe the whole thing? Erin loses points for dumping a guy when he’s at rock bottom. So what if he was being a jerk-wad? When your soul is bleeding to death, you’re entitled. Then Sev spiraled even further out of control, and got married to some chick he barely knew. I didn’t even know what to make of that storyline. It was over too quickly. My impressions of Sev’s short-term wife went something like this: Pretty-TROUBLE-Sweet-PSYCHO-Decent Human. In that order. I liked her by the end, but then she left, and now my boy’s alone again. Not even sure if they’re divorced, annulled, or what?

‘Course, it’s not ALL bad. I like it when Matt calls Severide “Sev.” Liking all the crossovers (though, would it have killed the writers to have Lindsay notice Severide’s new wedding ring?). Sorry about Gabby and Matt. Liking the new girl, Sylvie, and the Zumba storyline was great. Have decided that if I were trapped under debris, Herrman is the firefighter I’d want there with me (he’s SO good with the rescuees – what a sweetheart). Overall, I think they might’ve gone a bit too dark, and need some more happy storylines to balance things out.

Current Score: 7.4

Forever (10/9c, ABC): Falling in love is a beautiful thing. Your heart bounces like a rubber ball, you sing mushy REO Speedwagon songs in the shower, and even dirty piles of snow on the roadside make you think of romantic ski trips in the mountains. I am so totally in love with Forever. It is my favorite show, my obsession, and my biggest-tv-related fear (CANCELLATION), all rolled into one. I know all the characters by name and by heart. I love the flashbacks, the jokes, the chemistry (Henry and Jo, Henry and Abe, Henry and Lucas), and the mythology. I love the shocking intensity of some of the scenes, e.g. Adam slitting Henry’s throat (Ioan Gruffudd’s eyes during that whole sequence – the terror, OMG that guy can ACT), or Henry leaving a man to die to protect himself. I love the poignancy of some of the flashbacks, from Abe going off to war to Henry taking his dying friend James outside in a wheelchair to see the sunset. Also, the flashbacks often dovetail beautifully with the present-day storylines, making each ep that much deeper. It is that special mix of police procedural, fantasy, and characters I can’t get enough of. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it!

Fav eps so far: “The Frustrating Thing About Psychopaths,” “The New York Kids,” and “Skinny Dipper.”

Current Score: 8.5

Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD (9/8c, ABC): Sorry to say it, but I’m dropping this one. At least for now. It’s a great show, but it’s on opposite Supernatural, and I haven’t been motivated enough to keep up with the recordings. I guess I don’t want it badly enough. Maybe over the summer, when SPN is on reruns?

Current Score: Withheld

Wednesday

The Mentalist (8/7c, CBS): Final season got off to a bumpy start with the first ep. The writers did a good job, but Jane/Lisbon is a drastic thing for viewers to get used to. Didn’t help that I was sitting next to someone who was visibly cringing at the sight of them together, barely holding back under-the-breath comments like, “Why did the writers do this?” and “They don’t have any chemistry!” Nonetheless, I got through that first slightly awkward ep, and to my surprise, things got much better. Second ep was very intense, with Lisbon undercover and people getting shot and everything all LIFEANDDEATH and somehow I got comfortable with Jisbon very quickly. There’s an added depth to the show, because Jane is that much more invested in Lisbon’s welfare. It does still seem a bit surreal, like fanfic playing out on screen. But that’s okay – I like fanfic. 🙂 Favorite moments: Vega saying to Cho how much she respects him and the way he conducts himself (meaning, between the lines, how much she doesn’t respect the way Jane conducts himself, LOL), Jane hugging Cho until Cho finally breaks into a smile, audience finally meeting Lisbon’s other two brothers, Lisbon doing Jane’s psychic act, the whole team going to bat for Abbott, and any scene with Wylie in it.

Got scared when Jane first said he wanted to go away – mostly because it happened in an ep where he was sick, and that’s something very seriously ill people sometimes say – that they just want to go away from it all. It quickly became clear, though, that his reasons had nothing to do with health – at least not his own. Lisbon’s safety is on the forefront of his mind. They are together now, so he’s got more to lose than ever before. Also, his main reason for being with the police – catching Red John – no longer exists. Therefore, why stay?

Vega’s tragic death was written to further Jane’s desire, to push him harder away from police work. It hurt, because I really liked her. I liked that she was her own person, not a clone of Season One’s Van Pelt. I liked her because she hero-worshipped Cho, and because Wylie loved her. RIP Michelle. Wish the writers could’ve had everybody live happily ever after, but I don’t want to judge their decision too harshly until I see the endgame. Stay tuned.

Current Score: 7.9

Chicago PD (10/9c, NBC): Pretty good so far. The crossovers are my favorite eps to date, especially the three-way with SVU (although I actually liked the SVU portion of that better than the PD portion – PD gets too bloody sometimes). The actor playing Erin’s brother, Lou Taylor Pucci, should seriously get an award. His performances were amazing, and I wish he were a regular. Not crazy about Erin/Jay, but I don’t hate it either. They’re cute, I just miss Erin/Severide. It’s never even mentioned anymore. The whole “Erin joins the FBI” storyline seemed kinda pointless, as the outcome (Erin comes back to Intelligence) was pretty predictable. I am digging Ruzek with Burgess. Wish they had more screen time. Really dug the ep with Atwater, Ruzek and Antonio undercover in prison – that was way cool. The ep with the booby-trap bomber was high-octane, but some of the scenes with the cops entering obviously rigged buildings – without the bomb squad being present – seemed unrealistic. At the end of the day, though, you have a show where a cop can sit in an interrogation room, throwing lit matches at a serial arson suspect, and part of you just has to love it.

Current Score: 7.6

Stalker (10/9c, CBS): Haven’t been able to keep up with every episode, but I’m liking what I’ve seen so far. This show is SCARY. Like, truly. There are 1-3 genuine, grip-the-edge-of-the-couch moments in every single episode, and I love that. This show is a thriller, as opposed to Criminal Minds, which is much more of a gross-out slasher flick (not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just not as scary). I enjoy Stalker’s ongoing character arcs, and the fact that most times they are able to save the person being stalked. I just don’t enjoy watching it alone. In the dark.

Current Score: 7.5

Thursday

Elementary (10/9c, CBS): Liked the addition of Kitty – she was a nice blast of fresh air, and I’m sad to see her go (but very happy she didn’t cross the line over to murder). Hope she comes back for a few visits before the season’s up. Other than the storyline of finding her attacker and bringing him to justice, there aren’t any huge moments that stand out to me so far. Still waiting for this show to really grab me again like it did in S1. Which may just happen next week, because OMG Andrew just got murdered out the blue (poison intended for Joan, right?), and OMG I did not see that coming at all.

Current Score: 6.7

Friday

Grimm (9/8c, NBC): Seriously, is there anyone out there who doesn’t love Grimm? We were talking in my writing group about the merits of various supernatural-themed shows – The X-Files, Supernatural, etc. – and the only one we all watched and loved was Grimm. This show is the new definition of FUN. The highlights: Nick getting his Grimm mojo back (complete with zombie cold flashes – YAY!), Trubel’s emotional reaction to aforementioned re-Grimming, Wu FINALLY getting to learn the secret (it got to the point where I was yelling at the screen, “Just TELL him already!!”), Juliette as one bad-@$$ Hexenbeist (soooo coooool), Sean’s awesome mom, SEAN LIVES!! (Though what was that whole bleeding thing about – that scared me pretty good. He’s safe, right???), and Monroe getting saved from some weird, racist cult that liked to say “Wesenrein” and “Impuro” WAY too many times in a row.

Trubel will be sorely missed, and hopefully she’ll be back before long, but even without her magnetic presence, this show is on FIRE. (In a good way).

Current Score: 8.5

Saturday

Red Band Society (8/7c, FOX): When they took it off the air for weeks, then carelessly tossed it onto Saturday, I knew we were probably looking at the end. It’s not written in stone, but pretty close. Tonight’s two-hour season finale will likely be the last we see of the kids, docs, and nurses we’ve grown to love. Kara, I must say, is my favorite – what a treat to watch her slowly transform from shallow b!tch to a person who can put her own grief aside to reach out and comfort someone else. I’m heartbroken for Leo, sad for Emma, hopeful for Jordi, worried about Dash, excited for Charlie, and grieving for Hunter. These kids really burrow their way into your heart, don’t they? Here’s hoping that they at least get some kind of happy ending.

Current Score: 8

November Winner: Supernatural

For the 200th episode alone, this one had to take the prize. Long live Supernatural!

December Winner: Forever, Runner-up: The Mentalist

Forever gets the top honors, owing to the epic episode “Skinny Dipper,” which starts out with Henry’s brutal murder in a taxi, and rip-roars all the way through to Adam’s creepy reveal at the end. I still have shivers. The Mentalist gets a nod for delivering good quality eps while doing the best possible job of getting people comfortable with a ship not everyone wants.

January Winner: Grimm

Do I even have to give an explanation?

 

The Race: October 2014 “Oldies vs. Newbies”

Pumpkins, pretty leaves, and premieres – doesn’t get much better than that, does it? Fall is upon us, and for network TV fans, excitement is in the air. New shows are prancing onto the scene left and right, trying to wow viewers with sizzling storylines and compelling characters. Meanwhile, veteran dramas are pouring on a fresh layer of intrigue, twists, and even character deaths, hoping to keep established audiences riveted. And me, well, I’ve got the easy job – sit back, relax, and enjoy the shows. 🙂

The Oldies:

Monday

Castle (10pm, ABC): How do you spell awesome? C-A-S-T-L-E! So far, this one’s really bringing it in a BIG way. They had a huge finale last season, and they fearlessly picked right up where they left off. Beckett reaching for the door handle of the burning car was so beautifully shot and performed. The emotion gushed from the screen. The mystery of Castle’s disappearance (and reappearance) is huge, complex, and more than a little bit scary. He didn’t want to remember? And what the heck happened to Castle when he was a little boy? My imagination will be having a field day until all truths are revealed. This is a great arc just overflowing with possibilities – they could easily take it all season, and I hope they do. In the meantime, I’m happy to watch Castle and Beckett get back into their mind-melding rhythm while chasing super creepy cyber-stalkers and invisible (pardon me, “cloaked”) murderers. (Side note: is this show starting to go more sci-fi recently? If so, I approve!) 🙂

Castle Score: 9

Tuesday

Supernatural (9pm, CW): Off to a rocky start, but getting better. The first two eps, at least, did not live up to my hopes. Of course, I did have insanely high expectations, so the chances of the writers living up to them were slim. The first ep seemed rushed and confusing. Too much was skipped over without explanation, and I spent the whole ep just basically trying to figure out the timeline and what was going on.

Dean as a demon wasn’t as much fun as I’d hoped, either. There were so many COOL storyline possibilities for Demon!Dean, but alas, he was a bit wishy-washy. The show seemed confused about which direction to take him in. He seemed basically human – but with a big old nasty streak – in the opener. He didn’t want to rescue Sam, but vowed to kill the guy who had Sam hostage. He also left Sam that note to “let me go.” So, some level of brotherly loyalty appeared to be intact. Also, Dean didn’t seem to know he was a demon. Crowley: “The Blade needs to be sated, otherwise…” Dean: “I know, I know, I’ll turn into a demon…” This was the most interesting thing about the opener – that Dean didn’t know he was a demon.

Then, as if that line had never been spoken, Episode Two came along. And here we have a full-on EVIL Dean, killing for sport, talking about ripping Sam’s throat out, flashing his black eyes at people and openly stating that he is a demon. Me: What the…????? So, some HUGE inconsistencies in the writing between the first two eps. Ep Three continued to embrace the horribly evil Demon!Dean from Ep Two, portrayed with devilish delight by Jensen. It was hard to watch, but Sam’s love and loyalty, along with some old Winchester family photos and emotional Season One music, kept me going til the end, when we finally got our Dean back. At this point, I’m just glad the demon storyline is over, Cass is temporarily mended, and things are back to semi-normal.

Last night’s ep, “Paper Moon,” continued the upward trend, with some nice brother moments and a good parallel storyline about two werewolf sisters. I didn’t love the episode “Bitten,” (see my review), but “Paper Moon” was pretty darn decent.

Supernatural Score: 7.5

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (9pm (<-yes that is an issue), ABC): I might be able to forgive this show for the Ward mess…eventually. Not all caught up on my tapes yet, but loving Jemma as a spy, tortured!Ward in prison, Skye being trained by May, Fitz trying to recover, and Coulson, as always, holding them all together. Good stuffs.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Score: 7

Chicago Fire (10pm, NBC): Wow, they just took away a good fifty percent of this show’s appeal by killing off one character. Yikes. I was SO looking forward to the premiere, and then they had to go and do THAT. Killing off Shay was a major no-no. Not only was she one of the few lesbian characters on network TV, but her relationship with Severide was so darn SPECIAL. Even if the actress wanted to be written off, I still, as a writer on that show, would not have killed her. I would not have burned that bridge, because there’ll never be another one like it. Platonic male/female relationships are a rare gem, both on TV and in real life. I’ll never forget watching an X-Files special and hearing Sheila Larken, the actress who played Scully’s mother, talk about the then-platonic relationship between Mulder and Scully. She said, “They are best friends beyond what lovers could be.” That always stuck with me. There is a different, and possibly deeper, form of love that runs between best friends than there could ever be between romantic partners. Boyfriends come and go, but best friends are forever. Remember when Severide was missing for like 24 hours, and Shay was the only one who bothered to look for him, or even really noticed he was gone? Remember when he said to her, “I don’t trust anybody in this world, except you”? Now he has no one, and my heart is smushed. Mourning the Shayveride…:(

Chicago Fire Score: 6.5

Wednesday

Chicago PD (10pm, NBC): Still an excellent police procedural that doesn’t shy away from embracing its dark side. First couple eps were a bit shaky, with too many twists and turns, too many suspects, making it easy to lose interest. Then things got better, with more personal storylines tied to the main characters, including Jay’s friend getting shot in the bar and Voight’s grandchild being threatened by some serious baddies. Kudos to this show for keeping Voight’s character just as twisted and borderline immoral as he was on CF. This is a guy who will maim or kill people, purely out of vengeance. This is definitely the same guy who tried to have Matt killed at one point. Sometimes you root for him, sometimes you cringe and turn away from the screen. Either way, it’s very consistent writing.

Chicago PD Score: 6.8

Friday

Grimm (9pm, NBC): Woo hoo! It’s finally back! This one came back swinging, just like Castle. An exciting first installment with lots of mixed emotions. Juliette is kind of happy about Nick’s condition. Can’t really blame her, but I hope she eventually comes to see that being a Grimm is a part of who Nick is, and a part of why she loves him. Monroe and Rosalie get major loyalty points for skipping their honeymoon to help their friends. Not at all surprising, but it still gave me the warm fuzzies. The octopus thing was pretty freaky. Anything with tentacles…**shiver** The big “oh no” moment came at the end, though. Please tell me they didn’t just kill off Sean. Seriously, someone please say that to me right now. Voice from corner: “They did not just kill off Sean.” Thanks, I feel better 🙂

Grimm Score: 7.6

Brand-Spankin’ Newbies:

Monday

Gotham (8pm (WAY too early for such a dark show), FOX): Growing up, I never really liked Batman. To me, the movies were very twisted and creepy. Too many shadows, too many bats, too gothic, too gory. As an adult, I feel pretty much the same. I will take Superman over Batman any day of the week, month, or year. I’ve never seen any of the newer Batman movies like Batman Begins or even (try not to gasp) The Dark Knight. Really the only thing that got me to tune in for the premiere was the fact that this is Bruno Heller’s (AKA The Mentalist creator’s) new show.

Watching Gotham, I have to say: I still don’t like Batman very much. Gotham has all the same shadows, gore, corruption and creepiness that make Batman such a turn-off for me. And yet…I’m still watching. Why? I like Jim Gordon. I like the actor. I like the character’s goodness, his determination to single-handedly turn around a dirty police department in an even dirtier city. And I really like the partnership between Jim and Harvey. Jim is as wholesome as they come, and Harvey is as close to morally bankrupt as you can get. They’re the odd couple, and it works, because you can see Jim rubbing off on Harvey, little by little. It’s a satisfying, often humorous, and occasionally downright touching thing to watch.

Gotham Score: 7.4

Tuesday

Forever (10pm (<- Oh noes! Timeslot conflicts galore!), ABC): Yay! Favorite new show! I liked it from the very beginning, but the moment that really threw me head-over-heels was when they revealed Abe as the baby Henry and Abigail had rescued from the concentration camp. When Henry kissed grown-up Abe’s head, something in my heart just ripped open and gushed. The relationship between the two men is part bromance, part father-son (with Henry as the father who raised Abe), and part son-father (with Abe, who seems older, as the father/caretaker worried about what will happen to Henry down the line). Super complex, unique, and utterly endearing. Henry’s flint-spark chemistry with his new partner doesn’t hurt the show, either. Nor do the hilarious worker in the ME’s office, the great premise which is just brimming with awesome storyline possibilities, and the fact that when Henry smiles, I do, too! This show is a WIN!

Forever Score: 8

Wednesday

Red Band Society (9pm, FOX): Liking this one. It’s very positive and hopeful, with some nice teen drama mixed in. I enjoy shows that shine a light on people helping one another, doing good things, making the world a little better. A lot of the lines make me laugh, and there are tearjerker moments, too. The most recent ep, focusing on Charlie’s story (with a nice side adventure between Kara and Dash), was my favorite so far. Getting very attached to the characters. The only problem with getting attached to a show on FOX is that the channel is very iffy here. One night I might sit down to watch RBS, and find a blue box waiting for me that reads: “No signal. Unable to tune to channel. Check antenna or try rescanning.” Nooooooooo!

Red Band Society Score: 7.5

Stalker (10pm, CBS): This one’s still waiting for me on tape, but I’m excited. I hope I love it. I want to love it. I already love Maggie Q – and Dylan McD – so why not?

September/October Winner: Castle

Runner-up: Forever

Way to go, Alphabet Network! 🙂

Still MIA:

Elementary (Coming back tomorrow night. Woo hoo!)

The Mentalist (Will return in January for a tragically short 13 ep final season…)

BATB (Is this a summer show now? Speaking of summer shows, how much did Unforgettable rock this year? Personal cases, emotional depth, adorable chemistry between Carrie and Al – I didn’t want it to end! So glad they revamped this and gave it another chance…)

Overall, I’m pretty psyched about this premiere season. I’ve never gotten into so many new shows at once. Can’t wait for more eps to gush/lament about! 🙂

Next up: Come back on Friday for a special Halloween treat – zombie stories! 🙂

 

The Race: The Results! (Finally!)

At long last, I’ve finished catching up on my tapes, and am ready to declare the winners of this year’s season-long battle for my fangirly heart. Some of my shows let me down this year. Others rose to the occasion. And a rare few delivered action, emotion, and surprises in ways that blew my mis-matched kitty cat socks right off my feet. (Now my toes are cold…)

And so, without further ado, this year’s top winner is…

Supernatural! Yay! It was a surprise to me, because despite a strong season, I just didn’t see this one taking the top spot. The favorites were Castle and Grimm, no question. I definitely felt more excited about those two, leading up to the finales. And then Supernatural just delivered this KILLER, shocker of a season finale, and it totally warped my mind – in a good way.

There are three elements that factor into a show’s final score for the season: 1.) Overall quality of the season, 2.) Surprise factor, and, most importantly, 3.) How badly I want to tune in next season.

Supernatural’s Season Nine was the strongest season since Kripke left. Current showrunner Jeremy Carver seems to have learned from his Season Eight mistakes (e.g. the unrealistic storyline of Sam not searching for Dean), while keeping up an intense season-long mythology. Frankly, I really liked the mytharc in S8, and just thought Carver needed to do better on the brothers’ relationship – which he totally did. Kudos to Carver for listening to fan feedback and incorporating it into his plan for S9. Well done!

Now, let’s talk a little bit about that finale…Whoa. Okay, in the beginning, it was pretty much like a normal ep. A good ep, but not spectacular. The real “wow” factor came in the last few minutes of the episode, as the fight between Dean and Metatron heated up on Earth, coinciding with Castiel’s search for the tablet in Heaven. The way the scene was building, you just knew how it was going to go. Dean had the pulp royally beaten out of him, but he was looking at the First Blade, and it was going to fly into his hand, and at the very last moment, when all hope seemed lost, Cass would destroy the tablet and Dean would stab Metatron DEAD. So, I’m sitting there, all nestled in the couch, entertained but not enthralled, waiting for expected things to come to pass…And then Dean takes an ANGEL BLADE right through the middle of his chest!! What the…???

THAT made me sit up. My eyes got huge and I think I actually said, “Whoa.” So, that was Big Shocker #1. That whole part was great television, building the scene one way, and then veering in a drastically different direction. My attention was riveted in place from that moment onward, because I had no idea how they were going to get out of this – Dean’s injury was clearly fatal. Then Metatron escaped. Fortunately, Castiel took care of him with a clever trap set in Heaven. However, down on Earth, the boys were left in a very dire situation, brightened only by the following exchange:

Dean: “What happened to you being okay with [me dying]?”

Sam: “I lied.”

Aw, Sam – that’s all we needed to hear. That’s all Dean ever needed to hear. I had no problem with Sam and Dean’s relationship this year, because no matter what jerky things they said to each other with words, it was clear all along from their actions that the bond was just as strong as ever. So this exchange, at the end, was just icing for me – sweet satisfaction on top of an already yummy cake.

And then something not-so-yummy happened: Dean died. And I don’t care that they’ve both died about ten thousand times by now, or that it’s obviously not going to be permanent – somehow, these actors still make me care that it’s happening. Their performances keep me in the moment, and bring a little tear to the corner of my eye. 😦

So, Sam takes Dean home, and, predictably, sets about summoning Crowley. Deal time. I settled back into the couch. But then, Crowley was already there, sitting next to Dean’s body. Hmmm. Crowley actually seemed sorry about what had happened, but also strangely excited. As he began to talk to Dean about Cain, I started to sit forward again. The writers had cleverly reminded us, at the beginning of the ep, that Cain was a demon. So as Crowley reached the end of his monologue, the anticipation built to a climax, and I’m betting about 80% of fans, myself included, knew that not only would Dean’s eyes open, but that they would open to reveal pools of jet black.

So, Big Shocker #2: Dean was resurrected as a DEMON. Now, I’ve heard some fans call the end of this episode predictable. I even said myself in the previous paragraph that I knew his peepers would be black when he opened ‘em, and many others likely did, too. So, how is that really a shocker? Because if you’d asked me at the beginning of the episode what would happen, neither dead!Dean nor demon!Dean would be on my list. Because if you’d asked me at the beginning of Crowley’s speech what was about to happen, I still couldn’t have told you that Dean was about to morph into something demonic. I only knew in the seconds before it happened, right when the writers wanted me to know, and not an instant before. That, my friends, is great writing.

And, as with all great finales, we were left with questions that have burned all summer long, filling the air like the sweet scent of barbeque smoke, making our stomachs growl for a taste of Season Ten: How will Castiel survive? Is it possible for him to reclaim his own stolen grace? (Anna did, but hers wasn’t used in a spell). Is Dean a regular demon, or a Knight of Hell? Will he have more loyalty to Sam or Crowley? When and how will Sam find out the truth? Will he be able to cure Dean, or would that be a death sentence, considering the mortally-wounded state of Dean’s body? (Demons can live in dead/dying bodies, e.g. Meg in Season One, but once the demon is out, nature kind of takes its course…) How much human emotion will Dean retain? After all, we’ve seen demons in love (demons in “Sin City,” Cain) and also cases of very loyal demons, like Ruby, demons who have parent-like affection for others (Azazel), and even a demon with a crush on an angel, so the possibilities are wide-open. And I, for one, can’t wait to see where they go with this!

Supernatural Final Score: 9

All right, now that I’ve got the gushing out of my system, let’s look at how the other shows finished out their seasons:

The Mentalist and Castle tied for second place, with Castle leading most of the way, and TM sticking its nose out at the last instant for a photo-finish. Both shows had strong seasons, with The Mentalist’s total creative reboot and Castle churning out one epic episode after another. As Castle drew to a close, we had the emotional arrest of Senator Bracken, the icky politician responsible for murdering Beckett’s mother, and the build-up to the much-anticipated Castle/Beckett nuptials. The Mentalist finished its run with a poignant human trafficking storyline and a hard-core, not-even-a-little-bit subtle push towards a Jane/Lisbon romantic relationship.

While many viewers were probably celebrating this last item on the list, I spent most of the final few eps of TM in Mixed Feelings-ville. It’s not that I don’t like Jane and Lisbon together – I’ve been reading shipper fic since I started watching the show. It’s just…I don’t know whether the writers like Jane and Lisbon together. The nature of the Jane/Lisbon relationship has varied wildly from season to season: gently flirtatious in Season One, strictly friendship in Season Two, platonic but very close in S3, occasional shippy hints in S4 and S5, and finally an aggressive and blatantly shippy S6. Is anyone else’s head spinning?

Castle may have sometimes overbaked its Castle/Beckett UST moments in the past, made the attraction a little too in-your-face obvious, but at least there was never any doubt that these two characters were, indeed, attracted to one another. On The Mentalist, for me, there was doubt. The writing was inconsistent. Rare moments like the “I love you” in the S4 finale were dropped like hot spoons and never picked up again. There was no apparent jealousy on Lisbon’s part when Jane dated Kristina, and as for Lisbon/Mashburn, it was never revealed if Jane even found out, much less got jealous over it. Fanficcers were left to explore these issues on their own. Actors and writers on The Mentalist suggested in post-Season One interviews that the Jane/Lisbon relationship was more brother/sister than romantic, a definite contrast to the Season One interview in which Tunney said that Lisbon probably bought a new pair of shoes for work when Jane started his job at the CBI.

Overall, I got the strong impression that the show had no intentions of ever putting Jane/Lisbon together, and was just throwing occasional bones to the shippers in a sometimes-unsuccessful attempt to make them happy (I know of at least one shipper who bailed early in S2 – she seemed to feel what I did: a complete removal of the flirtation/romantic hints we saw in S1).

And then along came S6. It was clear from early on that the writers were going to “go there.” Which would have been fine, if they took their time and made it natural. I am happy to go anywhere my shows take me, as long as it’s done right. This, however, felt very rushed. And forced – more like a desperate attempt to save the show than something the writers really wanted to do. If they had intended to put Jane/Lisbon together from the beginning, they would have laid a strong and consistent foundation all along. Instead, they thrust Lisbon headlong into a serious relationship with some guy the audience didn’t know (or care about), for the sole and transparent purpose of creating a jealousy storyline for Jane. I felt physically uncomfortable watching Lisbon interact with Pike – I love Lisbon, and here she was, this person I care deeply about, kissing and making plans with a total stranger – not just a stranger to the audience, but a stranger to her. Yikes.

Of course, it wasn’t all bad – we had those gemstone moments in private between Jane/Lisbon, those gut-twisting, all-show-and-no-tell scenes where both characters grappled with her new relationship and the possibility of her leaving. Their dialogue was sparse and simple, leaving emotion to overflow from between the lines. Awesome, powerhouse stuff.

And in the end, with the finale, that’s what won me over. The writing for that last episode was brilliant, and the performances were somewhere in the stratosphere. I’m still not completely comfortable with it, and I’m not sure the writers are, either, but they gave it 100% – everything Jane and Lisbon did in that last S6 ep was in character, from Jane’s trickery to Lisbon’s hurt to Jane’s painful and liberating confession of love. Very sweet, very romantic, very Jane and Lisbon.

The freeze-frame at the end definitely scared me – I mean, it was a nice image and all, but I thought it might very well be the last image of TM I’d ever see. I’m sure the writers were thinking it, too, and were trying to make the ending as happy as possible for a large (but not necessarily the largest) part of the fandom – the shippers. Needless to say, I breathed a long happy sigh when I found out TM was coming back for a Season 7. With all the bold moves the writers made this year – killing Red John, bringing aboard a whole new team, putting J/L together – they deserved a chance to show what they can do with a new year and a totally fresh start.

For me, I’ve never cared so much about how a couple gets together as I do about how their relationship is once they are together. Therefore, I’m way more stoked about seeing how Jane and Lisbon will navigate their new romance than I was about this whole jealousy/engagement thing. I truly can’t wait for next season, and I’m SO GLAD there is a next season. As long as the writers keep it in character, this relationship is going to be SO MUCH FUN!

The Mentalist Final Score: 8.5

Okay, now let’s talk about Castle for a quick sec. Yes, just a quick sec, because I honestly have no complaints here. The resolution to the Bracken storyline was wonderful, emotional, epic. The finale was full of humor, woe, genuine scares, and a flaming shocker of an ending that leaves me wondering who was in the car following Castle, what they did to him, when and how Beckett will find out the truth (he’s obviously not in the fiery wreckage, as she currently believes), and where it will all go from here. Castle is the perfect example other shows should look at when trying to decide whether the main couple should get together, or whether that would ruin the show. The answer: it can ruin the show – or it can make the show stronger, funnier, more romantic, and more exciting than ever! In Castle’s case, it’s the latter, and I’ve never loved the show more than I did this season. I even recently poked my nose into some Castlefic for the first time ever – and was not at all disappointed.

Castle Final Score: 8.5

With a last-minute tie for second, front-runner Grimm ended up coming in third. I loved the end-of-season addition of the new character “Trubel,” a young Grimm with brains, attitude, and some serious fighting skills – she fits right in with our gang without taking away from anyone’s screen time. The storylines all season long were excellent – it’s the perfect popcorn show, and I thought for SURE it would either win the race or at the very least come in a close second. But then something happened. Not something horrible that made me hate the show or anything like that – but just something that made me shave a few points off the final score: the finale.

Was it enjoyable? Yes. Exciting? Totally. But surprising? Not at all. Maybe the blame should fall on the person who put together the commercials for the finale, and not the episode itself, but there was nothing that happened in this episode that you couldn’t predict from the previews. We knew Adalind would replace Juliette. We knew Sean would get shot (still was totally traumatic – he’s one of my favs). We knew Monroe and Rosalie would tie the knot, and it was strongly implied that Nick would lose his powers. Really, the only thing we didn’t know was that Nick and Adalind would actually sleep together – and I don’t count that so much as a surprise moment as I do an “ew” moment. Ew.

Moving forward, I couldn’t be more excited – I seriously cannot wait to find out if Sean survives (he’d better – he’s one of the most complex, intriguing characters on the show), how Nick fares without his powers (wouldn’t that be terrifying, to know these things are out there, and not be able to see them anymore?), whether Juliette and Nick can weather the Adalind storm, and how newlywed life agrees (or doesn’t) with our favorite lovebirds (love-wesens?), Monroe and Rosalie. Also, what’ll Hank be up to next year (me-thinks powerless Nick will need his partner more than ever)?

Despite the predictability of the final ep, it was still a great ride that left me aching to see what’ll happen next. If Grimm keeps up this level of awesome, we may just have a new winner next year.

Grimm Final Score: 8.3

Chicago Fire finished its strong second season in a respectable fourth place. “Reliably lovable” is how I like to think about this one – I sit down, and I know I’ll be entertained. I’ll laugh, I’ll jump, and I might even cry (see “Best Tearjerker Moment” below). The storylines surprise me and make me think – every single time. The characters make me care – every single time. The two-night CF/CPD crossover event was a thing of beauty. Finally, NBC actually delivered something that was both a “crossover” and a “two-night event,” just as advertised. Bravo, Peacock Network!!! I’m so glad it was a two-nighter, too, because I couldn’t have waited a whole week to find out if Shay was okay! And major kudos to Amanda Righetti, because not once did I look at her and think “Van Pelt.” She was a totally new character, and I loved it. They almost had enough storylines with the hospital staff to make a third show: Chicago Medical. Hey, I’d watch it! 😉

The only downside to the two-night event was that it was SO wonderful and SO epic, that the finales for both shows were a little weaker by comparison. I did love that the CF finale focused on Severide, his guilt at overlooking a victim inside a burning building. That was pretty dark, actually, but the Chief’s wedding added some humor and light to balance it out. And of course we had the obligatory cliffie at the end. But overall, it did feel like a regular ep – not the final ep of a pretty dang awesome season!

Chicago Fire Final Score: 8.2

CPD falls just a hair behind its older sister. For whatever reason, CF owns a little bigger slice of my heart. Maybe because I’ve known the characters longer, or maybe just because while cops are out there firing guns and trying to catch bad guys, firefighters are simply trying to save people. There’s an innocence to that, an uncomplicated core of “goodness” we can all relate to. CPD is a great show, but it’s just a little darker, a little meaner, a little less pure than CF. The gruesome death of Jin in the finale showcases this. Antonio’s wife leaving him added yet another shadow to an already pretty bleak season-ender.

Nonetheless, I love the characters, and I’m compelled by the show, especially when it gives me delicious treats like the budding Lindsay/Severide romance. I wanted that so bad, but didn’t let myself hope. It seemed like they were pairing her with Jay, and I figured doing a cross-show romance would just be too daunting for the writers. And then they went there! And my fangirly heart jumped over the moon, landed on the sun, burned to a blackened crisp and was joyfully reborn from the ashes. I ship Lindsay/Severide!! Looking forward to many more scenes between them on both shows…assuming Severide made it out of that explosion…:/

Chicago PD Final Score: 8.1

Honestly, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. should have ranked higher than sixth place. It is an action movie, a comedy, and a sci-fi masterpiece all rolled up together in a hotdog bun. And I can sum up, in one word, why this show fell so far behind in my race: Ward. I’ve just never liked it when shows take a character you really care about and turn him or her “bad” as a way to shock the audience. It always feels like something that was just done on a whim to shake things up. Now, I do recognize Joss Whedon’s a genius, and I can give him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he DID plan to have Ward be evil all along. But that doesn’t make the twist any more palatable to me. I feel like I wasted my time getting invested in something that wasn’t real. And that’s probably what I was supposed to feel, because that’s how Coulson and his team felt. The problem is, it didn’t make me like the show more. It made me like the show LESS. Like, a lot less. I missed parts of most of the last few eps, and honestly didn’t care that much. It’s still a great show, but not quite AS great. There’s an emptiness to it, now – a reluctance on my part to become overly attached to characters who might suddenly be revealed as evil to boost ratings.

I do give the writers credit for making Ward a complex shade of gray, rather than a cut-and-dried Prince of Darkness. And yes, the performances were excellent, and the finale did make me laugh out loud when Coulson broke out that huge gun, shot Garrett’s head off, and was all, “Guys, I found it!” Classic Whedon humor. All in all, this show is still very much worth watching, I just hope they don’t make me regret it…again.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Final Score: 7.5

Oddly enough, S.H.I.E.L.D. wasn’t the only show to turn one of its good guys not-so-good last year. Maybe it was something icky in the water? Whatever it was, Beauty and the Beast drank some, too. (Probably didn’t taste very good!) I know I didn’t like the flavor of evil!Gabe after a season of loving him! Yeah, yeah, I know he started out as a bad guy, but still, I thought he’d redeemed himself, and the return of Gabe The Murderer and, ultimately, Gabe The Murdering Beast just didn’t quite sit right in my stomach. Seemed too easy, too uncomplicated: Gabe is bad, and Cat and Vincent are meant to be. End of story. I would’ve liked more layers. I would’ve liked Gabe not to be a total psycho! It didn’t help that I apparently missed an episode. I have no freaking idea how, either – all I know is, Cat got kidnapped and Gabe was still a good guy, and I couldn’t wait to tune in the next week. When I tuned in the next week (or so I thought), Cat was no longer kidnapped, and Gabe was completely evil. WTH???? Not the smoothest transition for this viewer.

Maybe I got abducted by aliens. There was certainly missing time involved – like, a whole week of it. Whatever the case, I shook off my disorientation and tried to enjoy the remaining episodes. Thanks to the charming cast and funny writers, this wasn’t so difficult. I am thrilled X 1,000 that JT wasn’t killed off, and super-pumped about the potentially X-Files-y type supernatural investigations that Cat and Vincent may plunge into next year. Which we will thankfully get to see, since BATB got renewed! Yay!

Beauty and the Beast Final Score: 7.4

And in last place, we have Elementary. Which sounds bad, but considering that I only watch truly awesome shows, even last place isn’t such a terrible spot! When this show decides to bring it, they bring it like crazy. Problem is, they don’t always decide to bring it, and I think we had a bit of a sophomore slump going on last season. Certain moments and individual episodes really sparkled: Bell’s shooting and its aftermath, Gregson’s marital issues, Watson’s kidnapping, Moriarty’s return, Mycroft’s MI6 storyline. But then, in between those moments, we had some dry, unappetizing filler that didn’t seem to have any real direction or taste (other than cardboard).

My RX for next season: More Mycroft! My mom is always complaining about him getting together with Joan, how they have no chemistry. To which I reply: WHO CARES? Honestly, what does it matter if Mycroft has chemistry with Joan? He has chemistry with SHERLOCK. When those two brothers are onscreen, there is a crackle-fire intensity the likes of which I rarely see on TV. The emotions are all tangled up and crazy – the rivalry, the resentment, the jealousy, and yes, deep down, the LOVE. Mycroft returned to MI6 to save Sherlock from prison time. Baffled, Sherlock asks, “Why? You didn’t owe me anything.” Mycroft: “We’re brothers.” Oooh, watch out Sam and Dean – your spot as Top TV Bros may just be in jeopardy…

Elementary Final Score: 7.3

Miscellaneous Mini-Winners (FYI: I just spelled ‘miscellaneous’ correctly on the first try! Go me!):

Favorite Night of TV: Tuesday, cuz it’s got three in a row – S.H.I.E.L.D., Supernatural, CF!!

Best Tearjerker Moment: Tie: Chicago Fire’s heartfelt reunion between a disabled, alcoholic fire chief and the firefighters who once hated him for saving their lives and Elementary’s episode-closing scene between Sherlock and his dead friend, Alistair (Why did they have to kill him off??? And why did they have to write the ep so beautifully??? **sob**)

Here’s hoping for many more memorable moments from all of my shows next season!

May this fall bring on the best race ever!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Race: Midseason Musings

(Okay, when I wrote this post, it was actually a lot closer to midseason than it is now. Nonetheless, the scores still stand!)

So, time’s been winging its way along like a carrier pigeon, and here we are, over halfway through the TV season. Well, the network TV season, at any rate. This is the time when I’m starting to ask myself some important questions, like:

“Which shows am I looking forward to the most?”

“Is there a breakout star in the pack?”

And the real biggie:

“Which shows do I want to start reading fanfiction about?”

Right now, the shows fall into three categories:

Old Favorites – the ones I already read (and even write) fanfiction about

The Mentalist and Supernatural both land firmly in this category. They’re both having strong seasons this year, although The Mentalist has been hurt recently by a super-long hiatus. Thankfully, the drought finally ended with the first new eps in what feels like months. We got to see a playful Jane, fulfilling the secret childhood wishes of his coworkers (it bothered me at first that he didn’t get anything for Lisbon, then I realized he already fulfilled her secret childhood wish when he got her the pony – no way he could ever top that!). We also got to see Jane’s new, er…vehicle. Yeah, I guess you can call it that. Personally I was a fan of the Citroen. This silver thing will take some getting used to. What’ll take more getting used to, however, is the show minus one of its most interesting and unique characters. Why did they have to kill JJ off? WHY? I so was not in the mood for the cheerful preview that aired moments after his death scene. Couldn’t we have had more than a commercial break to mourn him?

Midseason Score: 8

Fortunately, Supernatural only had a short hiatus before kicking out brand new content for us to snuggle with. There was just one bad egg in the new batch of eps – the ep with Crowley and Dean hunting together and Sam and Castiel working to remove Gadreel’s grace from Sam’s body. I liked that Dean got the Mark of Cain (Dean-girls always get a thrill when he’s part of the mythology) and I love the actor who played Cain, but there was just something missing in this ep. Maybe it was the disappointing PB&J storyline with Cass (He may have recently experienced being human for the first time, but he’s had humanity – and morality – for years. Even back in Season Five, Cass refused to kill Sam to stop the apocalypse).

Anyhoo, I’ll forgive one dud ep, seeing as most of this season has been above, beyond, and just plain better than the last three combined. The Garth-as-a-werewolf ep was entertaining (who doesn’t love Garth?) but I DID mind that they messed with the werewolf “rules” on the show. Apparently, now werewolves can change at will – not just when the full moon beckons – and can control their behavior if they “try hard enough.” This means Madison in the episode “Heart” could have been saved. Which detracts from the episode “Heart.” Nothing should detract from that ep, dang it!!

Other than that, though, the Garth ep was cool. The first really AWESOME ep of the new batch was the one where Sam and Dean went undercover at a health spa to hunt a Peruvian (?) Fat Sucker. Really cool storyline that went back to basics, but also had some cool new twists. The episode with Kevin’s ghost and Tiger Mommy (YESSSSSSSSS!!!!) was just plain sublime, and revisiting the Ghostfacers was fun and sad at the same time. Also of note: “#Thinman” was probably the scariest episode we’ve had to date this season. So, kudos. All in all, this season is a bulging container of awesome, ready to explode all over the place.

Oh, and for those people who might be worried about the strife between the bros? For me, it’s only adding to the pleasure. Because I’m hoping – really, really hoping – that Sam’s going to eventually prove himself wrong. That he really would go to the same lengths to keep Dean as Dean went to in order to keep Sam. And seriously, for a guy who “doesn’t want to be brothers,” Sam sure does run fast whenever Dean calls for him. 🙂

Midseason Score: 8.5

Rising Stars – the ones I don’t read fanfiction about, but am starting to get tempted

These two were a bit of a surprise. But when I asked myself which shows I look forward to watching the most, which ones I think about when they’re not on, which ones are really starting to get my fire going the answer was pretty simple: Castle and Grimm.

For some reason, these two are just working. Grimm has never been more entertaining. The cast is just overflowing with great characters, and the writers seem to be on the literary equivalent of a runner’s high, churning out great story after great story. Getting to meet Monroe’s parents for the first time was cool and painful at the same time. The parallels to real-life racism are all too real as the show continues to explore “mixed” marriages and friendships. We all knew Wesen weren’t supposed to hang out with Grimms, but who knew a Blutbad couldn’t get engaged to a Fuchsbau without severing family ties? The writers have also unleashed a slew of new baddies for Nick and Co. to fight, resulting in high-octane action and super-creepy monster moments. Those hair-wearing warriors were the ultimate Big Bads, while that Aswang thing that attacked the pregnant lady was just plain EW. And Adalind’s Hexenbiest baby, though perhaps not technically a villain, might be the scariest of all with those freaky, glowing eyes.

Midseason Score: 8

Equally on fire is Castle, which continues to find new and interesting ways to explore Castle and Beckett’s relationship without allowing it to grow stale. From intense episodes like Beckett undercover as an assassin, to more lighthearted installments like the ones featuring Carrie-like telekinetic powers or a Miley Cyrus-ish pop star gone dark, I am always Velcroed to my seat when this one is on. It makes me laugh, it keeps me guessing, and it makes me awful happy Caskett are a couple right now. Only the best shows have elements of comedy, drama, mystery and romance. This one has it all.

Midseason Score: 8

Dark Horses – the ones I love to watch, but I don’t see the relationship developing into full-on fangirl obsession anytime soon (though there can always be surprises – that’s why they’re called dark horses 🙂 )

The majority of my shows fall here, including Elementary, Chicago Fire, Chicago PD, Beauty and the Beast, Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, and even some I watch but don’t review, like Tomorrow People, The Good Wife, and Blue Bloods.

Make no mistake – these all are Must-See TV with a capital M. Chicago Fire has been just as amazing this season as it was last year. Katie’s attack, Benny’s revenge, Matt’s memory problems, Gabby’s struggle to become a firefighter, and Jones’ floundering as she tries to fit in at the firehouse are just a few little morsels in a non-stop chocolate chip conveyer belt of great stories. You just love the characters – even as they add more and more, it never feels too crowded. I was bummed when Rafferty and Katie left the show – I hope they will be back, because even after a short time, I had already grown attached.

Midseason Score: 7.5

Same goes for Chicago PD. A big pile of likeable, loveable, and even just plain interesting characters. Couple that with wonderful acting and stellar writing, and this show is a big, fat WIN, just like its big brother, CF. From drug mules to street justice to covering up a family member’s involvement in a murder, the storylines just get stronger and stronger. The crossovers between the two shows are a bonus treat for people who watch both – which, hopefully, is everyone.

The only crossover disappointment was the “2-hour SVU/Chicago PD Crossover Event.” Once again, we have NBC doing the false advertising thing. In no way was that a “2-hour crossover event.” I watched an entire episode of SVU, thinking that the storyline was going to in some way relate to the Chicago PD episode that was airing next. I spent almost fifty-five minutes waiting for CPD characters to show up at any moment, only to have a brief cameo by Erin in the final five minutes of SVU. I can’t believe I missed Tomorrow People to watch the first hour of something that couldn’t even loosely be construed as a “2-hour event.” The sad thing is, NBC has a great line-up right now – they don’t need to lie about their programming. Hopefully, they haven’t hurt themselves too much with this crying wolf business.

CPD Midseason Score: 7

Over on Elementary, the writers have continued adding emotional depth to this season by having Sherlock serve as a sponsor to a recovering young addict, and by revisiting old Scotland Yard friend/foe Lestrade for a two-episode arc. Throw in a couple of reformed roosters and a couple of ears grown on the back of a lady who faked her own kidnapping, and you’ve got a pretty darn entertaining show.

Midseason Score: 6.5

Speaking of entertaining, Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD is a total powerhouse, delivering action, emotion, great characters and butt-kickingly awesome special effects. I am super-glued to the screen for the duration of this super show. Even a healthy splash of nailpolish remover couldn’t unstick me from the couch while SHIELD is on. When Skye got shot, I felt like I was the one who couldn’t breathe. I liked how they went back and showed the different timelines for each character, showing how each ended up where they finally ended up when Skye was wounded. The battle to find the Guest House and the miracle drug needed to save her life was riveting. Who wants to see these characters in the next Avengers movie? **Raises hand and waves it exuberantly** Me! Me! Me!

Midseason Score: 7.8

One show that has upped its game – and its entertainment value – this season is Beauty and the Beast. I am loving the humor this season, from Vincent and Cat stuck in a crashed car together, to Vincent appearing on an episode of The View, I have laughed out loud so many times while watching this show, and that is a good thing. All great dramas need to be able to pull off the comedy, too. Another good thing: really cool beast mythology episodes. Beast skeletons? Shackles? Dungeons? A mysterious gemstone? Count me intrigued! But, of course, it wouldn’t be B&B without the love triangles, and Gabe/Cat/Vincent has me hooked like a small-mouth bass. Wish they hadn’t killed off Tori so soon, but maybe they’ll have another she-beast in the near future. Why should guys get to have all the fang-snapping fun? Only major quibble this season: did they have to make the gemstone green? Between that and Kristen, I’m having Smallville flashbacks here…

Midseason Score: 6.8