Tuesday, September 24, 2013

(Spoilers) September 23, 2013 Premieres: 2 Broke Girls, Mom, The Blacklist

***SPOILER WARNING: Spoilers may be found in the post below about VARIOUS ITEMS. And I'm going to add in a bit of filler text here to limit how much of the main article gets shown in a preview. That should take care of most of it. Hopefully. And away we go. SPOILER WARNING. ***

Love Monday night TV. Tonight was no exception.

Today marks the "official" start of the horde of new and returning television shows for me. Last Monday wasn't bad as I found out that I couldn't really stand Bones anymore and Sleepy Hollow is now on my watch list. It's a shame that it's on at the same time as 2 Broke Girls though because I love that show more.

2 Broke Girls: S3E1 Season Premiere

Everyone's back. Sophie and Oleg are still broken up, Max and Caroline have set up shop in the back room of the diner, and Earl and Han are around. The big change, which the show left off on last season, is the new cupcake shop out back. At their"soft opening", a drunken rocker chokes on a cupcake and dies. He gets a shrine, the girls and Han fight, all ends happily.

It is dirty dirty humour but hilarious as usual. Pretty morbid with the death by cupcake. Honestly, I don't watch this show for its storylines. It's funny. Whatever.

Mom: S1E1 Series Premiere
Brand new show with Anna Faris and Allison Janney. I only heard of it through TV promotions and gave it a shot because of Anna Faris. Oh, and it's on right after 2 Broke Girls. If I watched the second half of Sleepy Hollow, I'd just spoil the first half, so may as well watch Mom.

The show starts with Anna Faris working her "day job" as a waitress and is having a nervous breakdown. She wanted to be a psychiatrist or psychologist, but instead was a teenage mom and in alcoholics anonymous. Characters are introduced, and the key character and event is Anna's mom played by Allison Janney. Anna cut Allison off and they're just meeting again after a long time. It ends with Anna forgiving her mom over the phone to prove a point to her daughter. So begins the show.

Cram cram cram. That is a lot of information to digest in a single half-hour episode. Can't blame them though. They had to set the characters, underlying story, and background up in about twenty minutes of actual show time. I like it so far. Anna and Allison -- I'll learn their character names at some point -- are endearing even if their characters are terrible people. I completely forgot that Allison Janney is in this, so it was a nice surprise when I first saw her. Without any competition, I will put this on my watch list.

The Blacklist: S1E1 Series Premiere
New procedural (?) with James Spader as a big criminal who turns himself in to work for the FBI. Premiered tonight.

Reddington (Spader), a career criminal on the FBI's most wanted list, turns himself in and reveals a plot to kidnap a military general's daughter by an even bigger criminal. He says that he will only speak to Elizabeth Keen, an FBI agent and criminal profiler just out of Quantico. She's about to start her first day as a profiler. It's a bigger plot about more than just the daughter and leads to a bomb in the girl's backpack. Everyone works together and the girl makes it home safe. At the end, Reddington reveals there's a "Blacklist" of even more dangerous criminals that he has insider information on. He'll only reveal that information to Elizabeth Keen.

I love James Spader. He is an amazingly entertaining actor. Ya...

The show's concept feels like it should be a dark and serious show more akin to The Killing and Hannibal. To me, it comes off as CSIBones and NCIS minus the quirky characters and comedy. Some of the scenes (e.g. FBI building, "dangerous criminal" lock-up facility, bridge shootout, Elizabeth's house exterior FBI pick-up) also feel relatively low budget when it seems like they wanted to be really big budget. Networks series are usually relatively low budget to be fair. It feels like a lighter version of Hannibal or Silence of the Lambs (anything with Hannibal Lector) except the lead criminal isn't a cannibal and completely lacking in morals.

The female lead also has shades of Clarice Starling or Sarah Linden (The Killing). Elizabeth Keen is supposedly the daughter of a criminal with a dark past. She comes off as a soccer mom with everything together. "Married", tip top shape, impeccably fashionable, hair and make-up perfectly done up -- I still think she's too well put together despite the revelation at the end that her husband may be a "plant". There's a big scar on her hand and supposedly a lot of hidden mental scars, but the second I compare her to Clarice Starling or Sarah Linden, she comes up short in the sense that she isn't "damaged" enough.

James Spader is fine, but something about his character doesn't work for me. Too charismatic for a career criminal? Hannibal has charisma despite his hidden side, so that's not it. Too nice? Possibly. Just the way he's written?

The main problem may be that the show is very similar to the Hannibal Lector series: career/dangerous criminal becomes consultant for the FBI and has a favorite mentee (e.g. Will Graham, Clarice Starling). That series is very dark and sick at times, but it is beautifully done. Maybe if I stopped looking for Hannibal, I'd enjoy The Blacklist more.

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