Monday, June 17, 2013

Television Roundup # 1

I’ve been meaning to put together some short reviews of new shows that I am trying out on a fairly regular basis and so here is the first offering of my Television Roundups. Some of these shows are current and some are long done but all of them are new to my viewership. I may go on to write longer reviews for some of these but for now have some shorts that will maybe prompt you to get into a new show or avoid another!

This time around we have Continuum, Revolution, Warehouse 13, The Following and Primeval Season 3.


Continuum is the one of the first new Sci-Fi shows I have seen come out in ages. It’s about a season and a half in and has been renewed for a third so you can safely get into it without feeling like the rug is going to get pulled out from under your feet. The show starts in a future version of Earth; 2077 or thereabouts. In this version the corporations bailed out an indebted government and have taken over the financing and policing of the world. In this world there are terrorists who are fighting for the return to democracy and a separation from the corporations and their effective slavery. There are also Protectors; police who are charged with snuffing out any uprising and providing law and order. Long story short, our main character Kira Cameron is sent back in time to 2012 when a group of terrorists due for execution use a device to go back and change the past in order to avoid the future.

This show is not at all like I expected. The terrorist group actually has a point and usually we would have our hero as part of this group trying to avoid an oppressive future. Instead, our hero is a Protector and trying to uphold the regime and the revolutionaries are extreme terrorists. It’s a conflicting move but it works very well.

At about 4 episodes in I am still engaged with the story. It’s not the best thing I have ever seen and there are some very convenient technological plot points but the female lead is a really nice breath of fresh air, all the actors are fairly competent and the story hangs together fairly well. It’s also really good to have a little Sci-Fi back on the screens.

At this tender stage I would give it 3.5 Stars.


The new offering from Eric Kripke of Supernatural fame and J.J. Abrams (Star Trek, Fringe, Lost, Alias... etc) could have been very very good. Set in the future, it deals with humanity after the power all goes out across the world inexplicably. As one can imagine, the small populations of humans remaining are growing their own food and trying to adapt to their new situations and their new governments.

Two episodes in and although this is a fairly common story and could be done quite well it’s all a bit lacklustre really. Some of the pacing and actor choices are really questionable. The female lead points to Kripke’s inability to write compelling and well rounded female characters and certainly isn’t anything like Abrams’ successes in Olivia Dunham (Fringe) and Sidney Bristow (Alias). The show revolves around a girl called Charlie trying to get her brother back from the militia who have taken him because they believe their father knows how to turn the power back on. She spends a lot of time whinging and then teams up with her awesome badass uncle who is the best thing about the show thus far.

So far probably 1.5 Stars... mainly in terms of engagement; it’s not really grabbing me. Maybe it’ll get better? I don’t know; the make up and well fed look of a lot of the actors supposedly 15 years after the power went out completely is a little difficult to look past. It does have Elizabeth Mitchell in it though so anything is possible.

Warehouse 13

I started watching this show a very long time ago when it was only a pilot waiting to be picked up but I just didn’t grab me at all then. After a lot of talk up by other people and with three seasons in the can I decided it was time to give it another shot.

The thing about Warehouse 13 is that the concept is actually very good. Objects have special properties which in the wrong hands can cause havoc. Warehouse agents are tasked with recovering these objects and solving mysteries. There’s quite a diverse cast with B and C plots for each episode and the show doesn’t take itself very seriously; there is a lot of humour and slap-stick shenanigans going around. In fact, the female characters on the show get a lot of ticks with varied strengths and vulnerabilities and some lovely relationships developing between them. I actually think it’s commendable that the show has a split lead of a male and female team and at least for the first season and a half that I watched there wasn’t any romantic development between Pete and Micah.

But here’s the catch; Pete comes off as a complete tool when he is supposed to be the funny lead of the show. Richard Dean Anderson made this approach famous in Sci-Fi with Col. Jack O’Neill in Stargate SG-1 and passed this on to both Ben Browder and Joe Flanigan. In recent times Colin Ferguson has done an exceptional job in a similar role as Sheriff Carter on Eureka. Given that Eureka and Warehouse 13 are sister shows I expected something more like this kind of character trope but what we have in Pete is basically a really dumb guy with an instinct who doesn’t seem like he should be on the team at all. It’s not even endearing and he doesn’t actually come up with anything good to save the day; it’s mostly him making passes at whoever walks past with boobs. It’s not cool or clever and I tired of it very quickly. I expected better of a show that was getting so much right in other areas. I could also tell that the awesome sibling rivalry between Micah and Pete would soon turn to romance even though Pete’s best moments have come as emotional support for Micah in that wonderful brotherly way.

To be honest the plots aren’t terribly engaging either after a season and a half of the same thing. I am considering getting a list of the best episodes and skipping forward with those to see if it gets better so if someone has a list please hit me up; I hear the addition of Aaron Ashmore’s character is something to look forward to.

So right now a season and a half in 2 Stars.

The Following

Speaking of the Ashmore twins I checked out this new thriller series based on information that Shawn Ashmore would be staring in it with Kevin Bacon. The Following is a cop show with a massive twist; the whole thing revolves around a team trying to catch a serial killer and his following of believers who are helping conduct his murders. The plot is quite intricate and well paced; most of it is bloody terrifying. Kevin Bacon is brilliant as Ryan Harding the main character and former FBI agent. His similarity to Ashmore who is playing his protégé is astounding.

The serial killer Joe Carol is played incredibly... I can’t bear to look up the actors name for fear of spoilers and generally for fear. He’s creepy as hell. The supporting cast are all very strong and the music and film quality raises it well and truly above the bar.

There’s not much else I can say about it half a season in except that it is really very good - 5 Stars.

Primeval UK Season 3

It’s possible you’ve seen my previous posts about Primeval New World which I loved and Primeval UK seasons 1 & 2 which were somewhat poorly executed but engaging. Primeval season three has been a real struggle for me. There are so many fantastic things that the writers have done, despite poor CGI, to keep the viewers engaged and to keep the story fresh. However, there are a lot of really terrible things that I can’t really get my head around or get passed in order to keep on trucking through.

The character development is really difficult to get on board with. No character acts with much consistency and they don’t really grow or change too much. Furthermore, some relationships are never explained and it begs the question whether they could plausibly behave the way that they are behaving. Only two characters display any true chemistry and they ended up engaged in real life so there’s that.

I also draw the line when a show cannot get the basics right. There is a particularly bad episode where a character freezes and the other characters declare that she has no pulse. They proceed to use a breathing apparatus which they magically produce to perform EAR but no one says she isn’t breathing and no one performs CPR to get her heart started. Miraculously the character wakes up... yeah, if you can’t vet out the basics and none of you picked up on that then I can’t really take you seriously as a dinosaur hunting team of SCIENTISTS.

I don’t know if I can go on... 1.5 Stars.

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