It’s that time of year when the networks roll out the next big hit. While CBS & NBC continue to show hatred for humanity through its popagation of terrible unfunny sitcoms, FOX and ABC have offered up some potentially interesting genre fare that I hope get better with time.
FOX “Sleepy Hollow”
After Ichabod Crane “dies” during a mission for General George Washington in 1781, he awakens in 2013 Sleepy Hollow, New York. But so does the Headless Horseman, whose head Ichabod chopped off before his perceived death. The horseman begins his nightly killing spree, and Ichabod must partner with Lt. Abbie Mills to stop the impending doom of humanity and the coming of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse. Crane’s time traveling ability is explained away by having been under a spell. Little bits of the whys and hows have been revealed, but not everything, which is fine since only two episodes have aired.
THE GOOD- The photography is some of the best you will see on television right now, it feels and looks like a movie. Produced by the creators of the also late, great “Fringe.” The New England spooky goth vibe is vivid and palpable and gives the show more reasonance than it probably has earned. The biblical allusions and the feel of dread is executed flawlessly. One of the best images from the series so far was the headless horseman firing a machine gun.
THE BAD -Tom Mison as Crane, Nicole Beharie as Abbie Mills are both excellent, can’t fault the actors for any problems the material gives them, yet that’s the problem. Paper thin characters and motivations were all over the second episode. Things moved too fast, there were no character moments and they just followed as the script dictated. I like how Crane reacted to modern technology and his rage against high taxation was very funny as was his questions about being a slave, but there is not enough of that. Mills is a dead weight at this point, a nothing personality wise, she needs to stop being JUST a crime solver, relate more to Crane. I think in order for this continue on, there needs to be a Skully/Mulder dynamic, not romance, but a real connection for these two to make us believe the unbelievable. A connection that puts them down as friends on a mission and contrived bickering doesn’t cut it. Play up Crane’s fish-out-water, they all think he’s nuts, let that go for a while, but make Crane adept at crime solving, he can be an eccentric, but don’t make him an idiot or buffoon. The biggest complaint is that the show is too plot-centric. Very true. It has too much plot; all that action, conducted by characters without character-feels tedious. Mostly and disappointingly so, it feels like the very awful, Law & Order from that aspect; dry and very mechanical, no emotion and detached. Still, I’m rooting for it, let’s hope we see some improvement.
ABC “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D”
It was a no-brainer that ABC/Disney would capitalize on the monster success of The Avengers. It was inevitable that Marvel’s vast universe would come to television to be rightly and properly explored. Clark Gregg returns as Agent Phil Colson, revived from the dead after his encounter with Loki from The Battle of New York in this direct sequel to “The Avengers.” Colson has assembled a group of select characters with different personalities to seek out others with super human abilities and hope they play on the good side.
THE GOOD – Pilot episodes are always a bit shaky, this one seems to have most of the kinks worked out. It had a Smallville vibe to it; FX were impressive and the characters mostly nailed it. The supporting cast is great despite their dynamics still being formed. Nothing terribly groundbreaking here, other than it’s the most pure fun you will have on television today.
THE BAD- I hate to rag on the show, but I’m not a big fan of the newly created characters when Marvel has close to 4,000 to choose from. Michael Peterson is created for the series which makes no sense. Maybe he will be revealed to be Luke Cage or some one known. Let’s hope this is not a usual thing, they need to dig deep in the archives and pull out some of the best of the goodies and the baddies. Stay away from the usual show-hogs, Cap, Iron Man, Thor etc… For my money, I’d like to see, She-Hulk, Jessica Drew as Spider-Woman, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and perhaps re-introduce Daredevil… I’m sure they will do their own thing, but to keep the universe interesting we need some old familiar faces.