TV Midseason Review: Quick Hits

I will, of course, make certain to do full reviews about some shows, rather than others. But right now, there are some shows I don’t have a lot to say about. Not to mention that there are some shows where little has changed from my original review.
And … some of these shows don’t really deserve a full review. Especially if they’re a franchise that’s been on forever and a day … (ahem *NCIS*).
Let’s look at #1 for example…..

Lethal Weapon: Continues to be the best new show, if not the best show, all season. There is depth. There is a mystery. There is heartbreak. This is better than the original movies had ever hoped for and more. I love this show. Period. 10/10

Blue Bloods: Just watch the show already. It actually keeps getting better, and does “ripped from the headlines” in a way that Law & Order only dreamed of. While there are a whole two episodes that have pissed me off, it’s been two episodes out of the entire series — and, more importantly, two shows that have been ignored from canon, even in the very next episode, which makes me think “studio influence” is all but tattooed on those episodes. 10/10

Conviction: For a show that looked like “Chelsea Clinton meets Paris Hilton with a law degree” in the commercials, I am shocked and amazed at the level of character development, plotting, and overall fun they’ve done here. This “conviction integrity unit” is apparently a real thing (cutting off the Innocence project at the knees). And our heroes haven’t won every battle, not all the clients are innocent, and one episode had the client AND an unknown accomplice thrown in jail.  There was one death penalty case episode, that could have been agit-prop, but I missed it. Probably for the best. The one time they injected politics into an episode, it was to deliberately turn tropes on their heads.

Overall? I’m shocked and amazed, and pleasantly surprised.  8/10

Notorious: Talk about out of left field. I thought I would have never gotten this far with this show. And, while it started surprisingly strong, but they strayed a little off the field. On the one hand, this show has managed to create a lawyer and a tv producer that I don’t actually despise. There’s something like an ethical code around here — but then again, it is fiction. Overall, it has really good writing. There are mature relationships, and it feels like grown ups are in charge. In short, nothing like ABC’s usual Thursday night idiocy. They can, and probably will, make a come back … if the show comes back. With any luck, it’ll replace a Shonda Rhimes POS without becoming one.  8/10, overall, if they stop with the more outlandish elements.

Agents of SHIELD: Nope, still not watching it. And you can’t make me.  0/10

NCIS, The Franchise 

This is the only one that needs to be broken down by component parts. Overall, it’s fun, usually mindless television.  Some quick notes, though.

NCIS: The show is generally holding up well after the departure of Michael Weatherly.  I don’t know why they replaced him with not two but three people. Perhaps they could not decide between the Blue Bloods alumni, the Idris Elba-Bond clone, or the Adam Rodriquez knockoff (I swear, I have problems telling the difference if I look at the screen too fast). Personally, I like the return of Jennifer Esposito to television. If they need to vote people off this island, I hope they keep her. But right now, they’re not suffering from character clutter, and I’m sure their budget is enough to sustain all of them. But there are days that the actors seem tired, and have less energy, than they used to. I just hope it’s a period of readjustment, or that someone sees the show has peaked before it tumbles. 7/10

NCIS: LA— This time last year, I honestly thought that I was going to be done with this show by now. But, thanks to most of their cast, it holds up well.  Granted, there have been one or two episodes I watched and wanted to throttle the writers for screwing up, but they’ve managed to skip a lot of potential errors.  And the one subplot from this year that was annoying was also easily fast forwarded through. They have one continuing thread that they are, at least, about to wrap up. Though to be honest, I don’t know if they will survive the death of actor and colleague Miguel Ferrer, even though his character’s impending death was written into the script months ago.  7/10

NCIS: New Orleans — This is really the lesser of the shows, but it has its moments. They’re finally remembering that, “Hey! We’re in New Orleans! Perhaps we should use local color and culture!” They’re only three seasons in, but they should have a better rhythm by now. I also like the arrival of their latest player, Vanessa Ferlito (24, Day 3, and CSI: NY, season 1), whose permanent position in the show was guaranteed by the opening credits. 6/10

Bull: I still don’t know what to make of this show, really. I guess “cute” is the best description I can come up with. I wouldn’t use this for legal research, but this is television.  Sometimes it’s fun, sometimes it’s really interesting, but it’s generally watchable. 6.5-7/10, depending on the episode

The Blacklist: They lost me after making the return of Agent Keane’s daughter became the #1 priority of the show. It was long, drawn out, and there was no resolution in sight. This plot was a bad idea from start to finish. This show is dead to me.  3/10

Blindspot: After too much political crap in season 1, this show was on the bubble for me. This year, the bubble burst. Instead of focusing on the crime du jour, they focused on melodrama, angst, soap opera relationships, and undercover work with a bunch of bring-down-the-government crazies of undecipherable political designation or philosophy, or purpose. Kill it with fire.  2/10

Lucifer: while the insanity is still strong with this one, Lucifer went the wrong kind of strange this season. They’ve decided to ditch anything Judeo-Christian about the backstory of Lucifer, and went more Gnostic.  I’m told it was a suggestion by Neil Gaiman, which explains a lot. On the one hand, they had an interesting balancing act last season, exploring Origen’s concept of “what if Lucifer could be redeemed?”; on the other hand, this moves the story more into the realm of fantasy, and not even pretending to say anything about religion, faith, or metaphysics. So it’s a mixed bag. It’s gotten so strange I expect Lucifer and Satan to be two different people. 8/10, if you ignore Tricia Helfer

MacGyver: This show no longer makes me want to hurt myself or others. It’s gotten better. That’s all I’ll say about it.  5/10

Elementary: Good thus far, but I think the season-long plot needs work. 7/10

Scorpion: Strange season. A few episodes needed work on their science. There’s suspension of disbelief, and there’s “WTF?” Fun, overall.  7/10

Hawaii 5-0: Solid work thus far. 7/10

Criminals Minds: This one is on the bubble. The sickos are becoming more and more depraved, and getting more of the screen time.  The writers are still recovering from losing two main characters this season — one of them unplanned –and replacement Adam Rodriquez is not yet annoying. They can come back, but they should do it soon, before I quit entirely. 5.5/10

If you haven’t already, check out some of the books below.

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About Declan Finn

Declan Finn is the author of Honor at Stake, an urban fantasy novel, nominated for Best Horror in the first annual Dragon Awards. He has also written The Pius Trilogy, an attempt to take Dan Brown to the woodshed in his own medium -- soon to be republished by Silver Empire Press. Finn has also written "Codename: Winterborn," an SF espionage thriller, and it's follow-up, "Codename: Winterborn." And "It was Only on Stun!" and "Set To Kill" are murder mysteries at a science fiction convention.
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1 Response to TV Midseason Review: Quick Hits

  1. tgrignon says:

    I absolutely agree with you about Lethal Weapon. It’s an awesome show. And that goes for my wife too.


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