TV Capsule Reviews for 9/24

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In  today’s edition of 2QD,  I’m going to explore three new shows that will premiere on broadcast television (of all places) on Tuesdays.  Find out after the jump! (Oh yeah, SPOILER ALERT)

Tuesdays, to me, were always a dead zone for television. I’m probably forgetting a show I watched growing up or something here or there but it’s always been more or less a black hole of entertainment.   Two weeks into premiere season and I’ve found three shows that pique my interest at least a little bit.  First is Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. , a spin-off of the Avengers franchise.

 

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. , Tuesdays, 8:00 PM abc


Marvel has been incredibly successful the past decade with superhero movies. I do not need to back this up, it is a widely held fact at this point. It makes perfect sense they would venture into a TV show, helmed by Avengers writer/director Joss Whedon. Nerd confession: not a big Joss Whedon fan. There was some really clunky dialogue in Avengers and I did not like any of Firefly  that I watched. That aside, he has little to nothing to do with the show.

The premise behind the show is that the group SHIELD (represented by Cobie Smulders and Clark Gregg in Avengers) is out there to keep the world safe and keep the world kinda unaware of weird shit.  Our pilot episode gives us exposition on all of our characters. There’s the cocky guy! There’s the woman who can fly a plane! There’s the woman who does science! There’s the guy who sounds like Chekov from the new Star Trek movies who does all the COOL GADGETS! Finally there’s….Agent Coulson?

Yes, if you’ve seen Avengers you thought dude was dead. He’s here! He got back because no one dies in comic books unless there is money to be made. Cobie Smolders also shows up to move the plot along.

I’ll try to make the plot as easy as possible. A dude named Mike Peterson loses his job, gets some weird treatment called “Centipede”, gets stronger, gets spotted by Skye. Skye is a woman who works out of a van and is a driving force behind an Anonymous-esque group called Rising Tide. She wants to help Mike because she thinks SHIELD destroys superheroes, Mike doesn’t really know. SHIELD finds Skye and tries to convert her, she becomes a sort of double-agent but not really? Mike goes crazy at work thanks to the powers, then this all leads to a big battle in a train station. Cocky guy agent shoots Mike but it’s okay because it got rid of the shitty toxic stuff in him.  Coulson asks Skye if she wants to join at the end and then they leave in a flying car. Pilot!

SHIELD‘s central theme in the pilot revolved around the old Marvel trope of “how would we treat heroes in the real world”?  Mike is a stand in for you, the viewer, a guy who loses his job, and tries to get it back. He thinks he can be a hero. Hell he says “It’s an origin story” and then jumps out of a hospital building. In the final battle, he is face to face with Agent Coulson. Mike basically lays it out to Coulson, who is the government and society–we try as hard as we can as Americans and people to work hard and get where we need to be but we can never make it be. If we get a little help, people want to take it away. THROWING SHADE AT SOME POLITICIANS HERE!!!!  It was a bit of an easy conflict, and kind of boring. Skye’s story was a bit more interesting. Why can’t we be open and who is the good guy? The lone rogue or the traditional white hats?

I wasn’t that impressed with the first episode. It was okay and had explosions but no one had cool Marvel superpowers. Also there’s a Stark Industries billboard on the bus.

Rating: Three Spider-men out of five

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The Goldbergs,Tuesdays,  9:00 PM, abc


ABC knows that it can find success with family comedies. Unfortunately, a lot of them are purely awful. I wasn’t expecting to watch The Goldbergs because The 80’s! is not a gag I need to watch. I had it on after SHIELD and was surprised by-what? YES!-Patton Oswalt narrating. Oswalt is one of the best comedians out today, doing a literate style of comedy that doesn’t translate to network comedy. Which is weird, because he was on King of Queens for a long time. 

The show is a first-person recounting of show creator Adam Goldberg’s childhood in Philadelphia, narrated by Oswalt.  Goldberg picked some great comic actors to play his parents. For his Dad, he has Jeff Garlin, most notably of Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Wendi McClendon-Covey (Reno 911!, Bridesmaids), who work well as strong leads.  The Goldbergs has a pretty normal “mom fights with dad and grandpa” plot device, which I’ll ignore.  It’s another single-camera show (in style, kind of) which lacks a laugh track. Not to worry, the show has some decent gags. It’s enough to come back despite the fact that there is a bit too much narration, as much as I like Patton Oswalt.   A touch I do like is random interspersing of VHS camera footage, made to replicate videos Adam Goldberg made as a kid. It’s a show with promising start. While it won’t be as subversive as Arrested Development, I think it can make a nice sleeper alongside fellow abc comedy Suburgatory. 

Rating: Three and half  REO Speedwagon cassettes out of five

———

 

Brooklyn Nine-Nine, FOX, Tuesdays 8:30 P.M.

I had actually started watching this show last week.  I was enticed by the cast alone. Andy Samberg (Saturday Night Live, The Lonely Island),  Joe Lo Truglio (The State, Wanderlust), Chelsea Peretti (Parks and Rec writer, great comic), Terry Crews (Everybody Hates Chris), Andre Braugher (Homicide:Life on the Streets, Men of A Certain Age).   Wait, there’s more!  Michael Schur, the brain behind Parks and Rec is behind this? It’s going to be good!

It is. While it’s off to a slow start thanks to exposition, it’s an entertaining show. B99‘s main storyline revolves around Samberg’s talented-yet-manchild detective Jake Peralta and Andre Braugher’s newly appointed Precinct Captain Ray Holt, who is very by-the-books.  In the pilot’s big twist, we find out that Braugher has been an openly gay office since 1987. It’s still a big step for a show in 2013 (it shouldn’t be, but we’re getting there). This fact gets brought up in “The Tagger” the second episode of the show. While Braugher and Samberg are the focal points, the rest of the cast fills out very well.  Crews plays a cop who made a mistake and is scared of action, Lo Truglio plays a cop who means well with an unrequited love for Stephanie Beatriz’  tough-cop, Melissa Fumero is Samberg’s biggest rival and an unrelenting brown-noser, with Peretti rounding out the cast as a civilian acting very much like her twitter account. That’s a good thing, she is very funny and has a cool attitude.  The plot devices make fun of and use typical cop tropes- Samberg catches a vandal who’s been tagging cop cars with dicks, turns out it’s the commissioner’s son-to a great extent.  Brooklyn Nine-Nine has a lot of room to grow, and I hope it does.

Review-Four perfectly filed reports with an about the author section out of five

H.A.S.

 

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