After the barren TV landscape that is the summer, the fall sees a return of many already popular shows as well as new pilots that networks hope will be able to captivate audiences.
I’ve watched my fair share of TV recently so thought I’d jot down my thoughts on what I’ve seen so far.
Boardwalk Empire (HBO) – Season 4
Nucky and co are back for another brutal insight into Prohibition era America. We’ve already had a few episodes of the new season at the time of writing and the show is as consistently good as ever. Steve Buscemi reprises his role as Enoch ‘Nucky’ Thompson who this season finds himself in a better position than previously. It felt a bit of a cheat from the writers who solved last season’s conflicts in the first five minutes of the first episode with an awkward exchange of cash and a few nervous nods. Despite this the show is never stale, helped by the outstanding performances by its wide-ranging cast. There’s a whole lot less of Kelly MacDonald which is a shame but Stephen Graham steals the show as a young Al Capone who’s just starting to warm up. The show is so successful thanks to the cast, budget but also the excellent source material it can draw from. Looking forward to another exciting year in 1920s America.
8/10 – There’s a lot to catch up on if you’ve never watched Boardwalk Empire but it’s definitely worth it.
Homeland (Showtime) – Season 3
Oh Claire. I’ve only managed to see the opening episode of season three but it didn’t disappoint. The entire episode takes place minus leading man Damian Lewis but Danes’ excellent portrayal of Carrie Mathison is so good that you don’t mind. We pick up in season three following the devastating attack on the CIA at Langley. Brody has escaped leaving Carrie and Saul to deal with the aftermath of the explosion. Saul’s juggling an internal investigation into the attack with a mission to eliminate those responsible whilst also trying to patch up his failing marriage. Carrie is such a wreck emotionally that she makes compelling viewing. She isn’t coping well without Brody who she’s desperate to find and she’s feeling betrayed and abandoned by Saul all whilst seemingly off the medication that helps her deal with her bipolar disorder. Cue emotional public outbursts, the need for anonymous sex with a Brody lookalike and a lot of tears. A lot of them. The show’s come under criticism for not being able to live up to its own high standards that it set in season one. Although I agree that season one was the best so far, the characters are so brilliantly complex that the show remains must see television. Also Dana’s sad about something but who cares?
9/10 – The show is tense, complex and loves a twist. Claire Danes is fantastic. Must watch TV.
Sleepy Hollow (FOX) – Season 1
One of a few pilots I’ve given a go so far. I’d seen a decent review of the first episode so decided to watch it when it popped up on Sky Anytime this week. It’s shown on Universal in the UK so it was unlikely I’d have come across it if it weren’t for Anytime. There was no football on this weekend so I really felt as though I had no other options at 2 o’clock on a Friday afternoon. Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised by the pilot. I’ve only seen the pilot but do plan to give the next few episodes a chance. It isn’t the smartest TV show you’ll ever see and I’m not entirely sure how they’ll drag a whole season out of it (wait, TWO seasons, it’s been renewed already after 10 MILLION Americans tuned in to see the pilot, the best for FOX in ages). Quick plot summary: Soldier from the Revolutionary War wakes up in modern day America. Man he thought he’d killed in aforementioned war also wakes up (minus his head) and begins to wreak havoc. Soldier teams up with nice Lieutenant, Mr. Sulu from Star Trek (not George Takei, John Cho) and the black guy for Evolution to defeat said headless man (who rides a horse, see where they’re going with that?), in the town of Sleepy Hollow. Anyway, it’s a rip-roaring first episode with decent special effects and a few cracking camera shots. The writing is pretty good too, guy from the 18th Century wakes up 250 years later and doesn’t get overawed with the things you’d normally expect, electricity, iPods etc. It was nice and spooky, funny but also interesting enough to demand my attention. Would recommend.
7/10 – Promising start for Sleepy Hollow. It’s still on Sky Anytime, give it a watch!
Gogglebox – the best thing on British TV at the minute, absolutely hilarious. You just watch people watch TV. Sounds stupid but the people they have on are brilliant.
Great British Bake Off – watched five straight episodes with Mum a few weeks ago having never watched before and now I’m hooked. The whole thing is just brilliantly therapeutic but also wrought with drama. The combination of Sue and Mel, Mary Berry, brilliant bakers and gastroporn is just great. Beca to win. Kimberly is arrogant and underhand. How do you even come across as underhand on GBBO? I miss Glenn.
Parks and Recreation – not enough people watch this meaning it’s facing cancellation but it’s absolutely hilarious and is so cleverly written. Amy Poehler is a genius and Aubrey Plaza, Chris Pratt and Rashida Jones are all excellent. The latest season premiere was so expertly put together I immediately watched it again.
Family Guy/American Dad/The Simpsons/South Park – some of the best comedic writing comes in these animated shows but as they are animated they aren’t given the same kind of respect as other shows. All four are brilliant but recent American Dad/South Park episodes have been masterpieces.
Looking forward to the returns of:
Finally, shows that should be immediately taken off the air and never spoken about again.
Sexbox – not even slightly interesting and ultimately pointless.
Citizen Khan – who recommissioned this. WHO? and WHY?
The X Factor – I caught two minutes, literally just two, but it was enough to remind me why I don’t watch this abomination.