It’s the new fall TV season! New shows! Returning favorites! So many reminder emails from followshows.com so I can fret about whether the DVR is set correctly (and has accounted for football game overruns! Damn you, CBS!)!
Okay, that definitely exceeds my exclamation point quota for the week. Point is: yay TV!
The 2014-2015 season is only a few days old but I’ve sampled a couple of new shows already that were pleasant surprises:
- Madam Secretary, though hopefully they’ll cool it on the MIDDLE EAST BAD sooner rather than later. Fingers crossed. Tea Leoni and Tim Daly have wonderful chemistry and make a great comfortable married couple. I hope he turns out to be evil!
- </scorpion> which is such a terrible title I’ve actually injured myself eyerolling at it. But the ridiculous premise and mumbo-technojumbo is saved by the strength of a cast I found charming, and how much I want to see Robert Patrick be menacingly benevolent every week. Maybe they’ll find some black people in LA at some point!
I’m really only calling Forever a pleasant surprise because Ioan Gruffudd as Henry Morgan* is at his sparkly-eyed best. As a procedural, it looks like it will be fun and goofy with a dash of manpain, which will hopefully not overpower the whole enterprise. (Please don’t let it overpower the whole enterprise.)
But whoa my glob can we cool it with the super detectives already?
Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot are my jam, don’t get me wrong. But I’ve grown weary of the trope. It’s lazy. The writers lean on it so hard in most incarnations that it’s like watching Sheldon Cooper, PI. Every encounter produces a rapid-burst litany of micro-observations, leading to snap judgments that are never proven wrong, unless it’s sweeps, and then the super detective was in on it all along, ha HA!
Worse than lazy, most of the time it’s boring. There’s no surprise to a character who knows everything. The exception is when that character holds their knowledge back from the audience and other characters, which usually winds up feeling mean-spirited or a cheat, or both.
It makes sense for Morgan to be intimately entangled with the business of death and dying. For a man who can’t actually shuffle the mortal coil, it’s interesting and compelling that he would want to learn as much about mortality as he can. But, of course, our man isn’t just an immortal being for whatever reason. He’s also a super sleuth who has somehow acquired a sociopathic, taunting nemesis, who uses his knowledge of Morgan’s inability to kick the bucket to torture both Morgan and the innocent people who happen to be standing nearby.
Gee, where have we seen this kind of thing before?
I have a standard three-episode try-out for new shows. Right now, Forever? Once those three eps are up, I’m out. But if they pivot off the super detective and into the much more interesting dynamics between Morgan and Judd Hirsch, who plays his visually much-older adopted son, and Morgan and Alana de la Garza, the Cop Who Thinks You Might Find This Interesting™, I’m here for the long haul.
And if they want to pivot to becoming a show starring Judd Hirsch just talking into the camera for 22 episodes? I’ll sign up for whatever premium plan is required. DO YOU HEAR ME, ABC?
*I keep trying to call him Harry Morgan then jamming a cigar in my mouth. Pretty seriously considering rolling with it.