Last year, the 2013 television season brought us several new scifi-oriented shows. Only a couple of them survived. Does this year bode as well (or as poorly) for the genre? I’m not sure. I’ve been checking out some of the new show previews on Xfinity. Here’s what I’ve gleaned so far. Interestingly, these three remind me of three current shows.
The most highly-anticipated show of 2014 is a prequel to the Batman saga. As with Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., I’m behind the power curve, having seen only a handful of the many Batman movies made in the last several years. Ratjer, my exposure to the Batman world came from the Adam West Batman series of yesteryear; and its campy, cartoonish vibe was much different from the dark, forlorn tone of the movies and (I suspect) the comic books.
Also like Agents of SHIELD, expectations are high, so it needs to deliver; something that Agents… didn’t do until well into the first season. Fortunately, the Gotham previews look intriguing. Its world is grim and gritty on the outside, but there appears to be goodness and heart at its center. Gotham also benefits by starring several well-established actors. Agents of SHIELD, on the other hand, featured mostly newcomers, as was further hampered by the fact that they weren’t very interesting.
This series is based on the Hellraiser comic books, about which I know absolutely nothing. It has a very Supernatural feel to it, what with demon-banishing, consequences of hell, and even dubious angels. It hasn’t quite piqued my interest, probably because my investment in Supernatural tends to supersede any other show dealing with similar themes.
Actually, Forever is more of a police procedural, with a dash of medical drama on the side. So far its only science fiction aspect is a protagonist who can’t die. He works as a medical examiner for the city (New York, I think), partly so he can figure out what makes him different (i.e., immortal). The show looks like a Castle wannabee, with an attractive brunette female detective solving cases with someone who’s not another police detective—in this case, our undying medical examiner. The characters have the same kind of push-pull chemistry as Castle, plus the female leads looks remarkably similar (at least to my non-Castle-viewing eyes.)
The series premiere was okay—not particularly bad, but not particularly memorable either—until the last 5 minutes. That’s when we learn the story of the relationship between Henry (the can’t-die-doctor) and Abe (the only person who knows Henry’s secret). That reveal gives us a completely new perspective of the characters, and it’s quite heart-warming. I’m not sure it’s enough to make me want to watch it, but it did make me tear up.
It stars Doctor Who veteran Karen Gillan, along with John Cho, no stranger to science fiction television and movies. Sadly, the premiere was pretty awful. Karen’s American accent is fine, but her character is embarrassingly awful. After a humiliating experience in front of her colleagues, the narcissistic sales rep asks John Cho’s character for help in redefining herself,. You see, John Cho successfully rebranded a nasal spray that caused hallucinations (although they conveniently never explain what the rebrand was).
I smell a romantic comedy of two opposites in the works, but I’m not sure it’s a good idea to introduce that plot device so early in the series. Yes, it worked for Cheers, but Selfie‘s supporting cast isn’t strong enough (the exception may be receptionist Charmonique, played the equally strange-named Da’Vine Joy Randolph) to give us a diversion from the two-dimensional main characters.