QuickTake: Checking in on six this year’s US TV returning line-up

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Is it me, or is this year’s new Fall TV season proving rather muted? I can’t think of any new shows that have premiered that have caught my attention, and instead it’s been mostly a return of new seasons of last year’s programmes.

In the absence of anything fresh and noteworthy, let’s do a quick round-up of what’s happening in six of the US shows that have come back onto our screens in recent weeks. All of these have been reviewed on Taking The Short View in the past so we’ll keep his quick and punchy as we check in with the latest offerings from The Walking Dead, Criminal Minds and DC’s superhero quartet The Flash, Arrow, Supergirl and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow.

A word of warning in advance – there are some spoilers from the episodes that have aired to date. Read the rest of this entry »

Supergirl S1E1 “Pilot” (Sky One)

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I’ve always said that I don’t think it’s fair to judge a series too much on its pilot episode. In the US, such pilots are more about having something to showcase the product to the network commissioning executives in order to get it green lit, and it’s only once it has an initial season order that it gets to settle down and truly start to find its own voice, tone and rhythm.

supergirlWhich is just as well, because the pilot episode of Supergirl has a huge number of problems, not least by starting with the whirlwind five minute voiceover exposition sequence explaining in needless over-detail the entire life to date of the title character. It’s like watching a manic corporate presentation, even down to the montage of images on the screen which resemble nothing more than a PowerPoint presentation by someone intent on showing off their recent A/V training even at the cost of incoherence and giving everyone a headache. It makes sure that not a single question mark about Supergirl’s origins is left without an answer – even before you knew that you were supposed to be asking any questions in the first place. And in doing so, it not only re-hashes much of the classic Krypton mythos familiar from many a past screen telling, it goes out of its way to twist it into unnecessarily complex contorsions by weaving it around Superman’s story and throwing in a subplot about the Phantom Zone for good measure. Read the rest of this entry »

QuickTakes: Arne Dahl S2, The Walking Dead S6, Fargo S2, Arrow S4, The Flash S2, Empire S2, American Horror Story Hotel, The Last Kingdom

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It’s that time of year when the television schedules burst back into life and are packed with new series of shows, both old favourites returning for a new run and a few unfamiliar faces trying to make their initial mark. In fact there are so many such shows cascading onto the networks at the moment that just trying to watch them all is a practical impossibility, let alone trying to keep up with in terms of penning reviews.

All of which means it’s time for one of those bumper ‘combo’ posts of QuickTakes wherein a selection of the new shows I’ve been watching in the last week get a single paragraph before we have to move on to the next. Hopefully that’s still long enough to get the gist of things. Well, they are long paragraphs after all! Read the rest of this entry »