by Matthew Thompson
Time to check in with some more of the shows I’ve been watching during the new Fall TV Season. I find myself viewing a surprising amount of shows on The CW these days. It has become a haven for various types of genre television and for that I appreciate the network. Today I’m going to chime in on the seasons so far for the non-rookie shows I’ve been keeping up with (I already talked a bit about The Flash and I hope to chime in on another freshman CW drama next week some time in my next batch of pilot reviews). Well here it goes (these contain spoilers for up to their most recent episode, so beware!):
I did not love the way Arrow kicked off its third season. The premiere was fine, but bringing Sara back at the end just to kill her felt like a questionable move. Sure that is partly because I like Sara. But I also wonder why not kill her in last year’s finale, an episode with big stakes that avoided having any major casualty. To bring her back now, just to off her seems sloppy.
Though the biggest reason I don’t like it is that it means we are headed towards the inevitable: Laurel becoming the Black Canary. Laurel has been the worst part of the show during its first two seasons and I just don’t think I’ll ever buy her as some kind of masked badass. It doesn’t help that she has to live up to people like Sara and Nyssa (who still sits atop my “Hottest Women on Arrow Power Rankings” and whose return in the latest episode was quite welcome). Hell even Thea I buy more than Laurel (also Thea’s new haircut moves her into the #2 spot on those previously mentioned Power Rankings).
But hey that is a lot of complaining for what has still been a very fun show so far in its third season. As much as I loved the island flashbacks, I think Hong Kong could make for a nice change of pace. I also really dug Thea’s flashback sequences in the most recent episode. And there are still plenty of funny quirky moments with everyone’s favorite IT girl Felicity and fun, over the top but well-choreographed fights to make sure each episode is worth a watch. Oh and Brandon Routh comes off as kind of a creep just like during his initial stint on Chuck. Is that good or bad? Who knows, but it had to be mentioned.
The Vampire Diaries
It stinks to see a show that was once one of my very favorites on TV during its brilliant second season go to something I just sort of watch. I don’t really think the latest season of The Vampire Diaries is bad, but I’m not all that entertained by it either. The most successful part of the season thus far has been the one dealing with Damon and Bonnie’s time in their odd little mid-90s purgatory that Season 5’s events sent them into. Last night’s episode answered what exactly it is and how they will likely get out, but finding our way to these revelations has been intriguing.
The other side of things has been less successful. Elena Gilbert remains fun to look at, but her character has grown pretty annoying over the years. I’m not a shipper by any means, but I think the decline in the show’s quality since she got together with Damon has made me look at their pairing less favorably and made it hard for me to invest in their relationship. Which means Elena’s struggles and Alaric-aided solution all fell kind of flat for me. Stefan’s issues have played better, but still haven’t made for great television either.
Most of all, I don’t know where any of this is headed. We have Tripp Fell coming in and doing some vampire hunting. We have the new girl in town whose been revealed as a Salvatore relative. I’m sure Kai will play a role as a villain when him, Bonnie and Damon all get back into the present storyline. That will probably help Alaric too. As much as I like the character, I think he could really use Damon around. I guess I’m not seeing the assured vision I used to get out of the show. As unpredictable as the show was at its best, I always felt like I could see it was headed in a good direction. Not sure if this is a case of me having less trust in the writers, but I’m just not seeing it anymore.
The Originals has been fine. It’s probably a better show than The Vampire Diaries in its current form, but I just don’t find myself as interested in it for whatever reason. I did like the bold move to just wipe out the Guerrera wolf family in the opening episode. It was that kind of fearlessness and fast pacing that helped TVD shine so brightly at its best. I’m looking forward to seeing more of Mikael too. Maybe partly due to that aforementioned pacing, he really didn’t get enough time on TVD. I’m hoping the writers can make up for it here. I’m kind of indifferent towards the body-swapped other members of the Original family. These are certainly the kind of opposition you need for people as powerful as Klaus and Elijah, but their latest incarnations aren’t lighting my world on fire. Maybe that will change with the surprising addition of an alum of The Wire to the show, but that remains to be seen.
So again this show is fine. I still like Klaus and Elijah. Even if I’m not sure what to think of their characters’ actions at times, Joseph Morgan and Daniel Gillies play them with a bravado that assures they remain entertaining to watch week to week. I also dig Davina as a wild card in the mix. I guess I need to see more to decide if bringing back the whole family was a good play or not, but I look forward to finding out.
I loved the cliffhanger of Season 1 that found several of “the 100” captured and imprisoned in bright white cells. Between the team that took them in and the facility they used to hold them, it was clear there was a much more advanced group still on Earth than the Grounders we had seen so far. The Season 2 premiere opened with a bang with Clarke taking control and attempting an escape, only to find out that her captors didn’t have such bad intentions for her (at the moment at least). I think Clarke mistrusting them is definitely the right call, but they are doing a bang-up job trying to convince her they have the best of motives.
I also really liked the people from the Ark’s return onto the scene. I still hate Henry Ian Cusick’s accent on this show, but I do like his presence. What I’m really looking forward is to seeing all of these various groups interact throughout the season whether that be fighting or whatever else. We’ve got the Ark people. The Grounders. The Mountain Men. These new cult-y people in Mount Weather. And finally the original group (The Not-Quite-100-Anymore) sent down in the beginning of the show which are scattered amongst the various factions.
What I liked less about the premiere? That random baby crying back up in space with Jaha. Meh. Maybe it turns out well though. Who knows? In a TV landscape a little lacking in good sci-fi, The 100 isn’t a bad way to help fill the void. Not The CW’s best show at the moment, but probably its most underrated.
That will do it for my latest TV Check-In. I’ll be sure to chime back in on these shows again some time later this season. Thanks for reading!