Since I’ve had months of downtime, part of which was experienced dealing with damage to my little tender heart, I sought refuge in all the new shows this season. Maybe it’s my subconscious way of getting primed for novel-writing again–I watch the inventions of other writers in order to encourage myself to do the same. At any rate, this is by far the Year of Good Shows. In fact, there were so many good ones that I didn’t have room on my scheduler to watch them all. I’ll have to catch them in reruns. My recommendations, thus far:
Terra Nova– There is no paradise without sacrifice. In the year 2149, the Earth is devastated by pollution and depleted resources, and has become a totalitarian society in many ways. A project is launched to start over using a portal into the past–a past 65 million years ago. Participants chosen either for their skills or by lottery, get to return to that pristine and prehistoric landscape to carve out a new future for the human race. Think of it as Lost meets Jurassic Park.
This one is my most anticipated of new shows, since I saw the first trailer. I mean, dinosaurs, survival, a bit of science fiction, and all rendered with Steven Spielberg at the helm. What could be better? I can say that I haven’t been disappointed. It’s exciting, well-written, well-directed, thought-provoking, and the characters easy to care about. I can barely wait for the next episode. Mondays on Fox.
Unforgettable ~ She can do anything but forget. In the first of several shows with strong female leads, Unforgettable is a police drama, but with a new twist. A female police detective lends her rare condition of eidetic memory, or photographic memory, to her job, but the irony is, she can’t recall the details that will solve the murder of her sister in childhood. Add to the mix that she is working with her former partner both in and out of the bedroom and there is some sexual tension there that adds nicely to the drama. Tuesdays on CBS.
The X Factor~ It’s time to face the music. American Idol’s Simon Cowell is behind this American version of the British hit. Contestants vie for the crown of the singer/ performer with that elusive x-factor, and gains a 5 million dollar recording contract and the starring role in a Pepsi commercial. He is joined by the three other judges/mentors L.A. Reid, Nicole Scherzinger, and Paula Abdul. This one has been surprisingly addictive, and I’m a die-hard fan already. See my entries The X-Factor: Not Just Another Idol, and The X-Factor: Try to Rap Your Head Around This for more details. Wednesdays on FX.
Person of Interest~Ever think you’re being watched? The man who developed software to monitor potential terrorist activities finds that his program spits out the social security numbers of average people who will either be killed or commit a murder. Compelled to address this awesome predictive power, he enlists the help of a former CIA agent, presumed dead, to help him discover the details and stop the crime. Starring well-known Jim Caviezel and Lost‘s Michael Emerson, this is engaging and satisfying on every level. Vigilante justice at its best. Thursdays on CBS.
Ringer ~ The ultimate double cross. Sarah Michelle Gellar takes a dual role, heading the cast in this suspenseful drama about estranged twins; one a cold, wealthy socialite, the other a poor recovering addict and stripper who is witness to a crime. Asked to testify to the crime, Bridget instead goes into hiding, seeking help from her sister Siobhan, in New York, who apparently commits suicide while the two of them are on a boat. Except that the twin’s death is faked, and her poor sister doesn’t know. Seeing a chance to restart her life, Bridget assumes the identity of her sister Siobhan, and finds that her sister’s idyllic life is just as complicated as her own had been. This one is filled with twists and turns and the suspense is delicious. Tuesdays on the CW.
Revenge~ What goes around comes around. They say revenge is a dish best served cold. I’d say that some 15 years is cool enough. Inspired by the Alexandre Dumas novel The Count of Monte Cristo, this is the story of a young woman named Amanda Clarke who arrives in the Hamptons with a plan to avenge the death of her father when she was a child. Using the assumed identity of Emily Thorne, she systematically begins to take down every person who was instrumental in his demise, via trumped up terrorism charges which resulted in his conviction of treason, and his death in prison. Emily VanCamp, an alum of my beloved Brother’s & Sisters. brilliantly plays the starring role. Wednesdays on ABC.
Prime Suspect~ Not just a pretty face. This gritty, funny and savvy police drama sports another strong female lead, played by Maria Bello. Fedora-wearing Detective Jane Timoney, is in a male-dominated profession, in a male-dominated precinct. While the usual a characters populate this police drama, Bello is the one who breathes life into it. Insofar as the character is concerned, it does remind me of another favorite, In Plain Sight, in the main character, but if a show is good, it’s good, whether the story’s been done before or not. Apparently, word is that it’s been cancelled, which is a shame because what I’ve seen of it has been enjoyable.
Boss~ Betrayal starts from within. From Starz website: “Mayor Tom Kane (Kelsey Grammer) sits like a spider at the center of Chicago’s web of power; a web built on a covenant with the people. They want to be led, they want disputes settled, jobs dispensed, and loyalties rewarded. If he achieves through deception and troubling morality, so be it. As long as he gets the job done, they look the other way. Yet despite being the most effective mayor in recent history, a degenerative brain disorder is ripping everything away from him. He can’t trust his memory, his closest allies, or even himself. Kane’s wife Meredith (Connie Nielsen) knows nothing. Theirs is a marriage of convenience. Kitty O’Neil (Kathleen Robertson), Kane’s advisor, has her suspicions but stays silent. And Kane’s political advisor Ezra Stone (Martin Donovan), a Yale graduate with a rough edge, remains questionless. Only Emma (Hannah Ware), Kane’s estranged daughter, has a chance of learning his secret. This is going to be the toughest term yet for the Boss.” It’s a far cry from Frasier, but it’s great to see Kelsey Grammar in a dramatic role. This show is compelling and dark and worth every minute. Fridays on Starz.
American Horror Story~ Everything you love about a thriller… Nothing you expect. Last, but not least, I’m not usually a fan of the horror genre, but I seem to have become addicted to this one. The writing is so good, and it never ceases to amaze me. It has got to be the creepiest things I’ve ever seen on television. Or in the movies. It would take the creator of Nip/Tuck and co-creators of Glee to come up with such diabolical fun. The premise is that a couple whose marriage is in crisis buy a huge house and try to start fresh, but the reason for the good deal they got on the place soon becomes apparent: it’s haunted. And not in the usual, Casper-the-friendly-ghost kinda way. Many have died in that house, in decidedly horrid ways, and the structure seems to have trapped them in it. The interesting twist is that these ghosts seem perfectly human, and can appear to others as such, even interact in tactile ways. This is one reason why the creep-factor is so high. The unsuspecting family has no clue what’s going on, other than something is very strange. Dylan McDermott and Jessica Lange are notable cast members here. Wednesdays on FX.
There are other shows that are recently new, or old stand-bys, and some shows I literally couldn’t see this time because they were on during others I was watching, but I’ll save them for another blog.