My Top Ten TV Mega Post in Ten Parts is still going strong with installment NUMBER SEVEN: Broadcast TV Dramas. (Oh how time flies)
You may have thought I’d forgotten when I said that I would do ten TV mega posts in one year? But I’m all over it. I’m just trying to remain calm about current events.
I get a little obsessed with politics around election days, so I can’t really do or think of much else. But I’m back to it now. And for all you folks who didn’t vote during the election, Agent May has a little hidden message for you guys who still want to complain…
There’s a bunch of stuff in my blog folder. Expect a flurry of posts before year’s end.
Broadcast TV Dramas. Broadcast dramas have improved with the rest of the television landscape. Just not as much. They can still be a wee bit campy. And here in the states, the major networks have to churn out 22 or 24 unique episodes a season, so they can get a little watered down or repetitive.
But with more bad-ass and kick-ass female leads and more superheroes than you can shake a stick at, a bunch of my favorite shows these days are broadcast network dramas. A lot of pretty people in pretty outfits doing things that are pretty cool.
For my overseas readers, the broadcast channels are CBS, ABC, NBC, FOX, & CW. They are the channels you can get with just an antenna. (at least I think you can still get them with an antenna. I haven’t used an antenna for anything in a long time)
Here are ten of my favorite TV shows on the broadcast networks: Four Superhero Action Dramas, Three Mystery-Thriller Dramas, and Three Dramas with Strong Female Leads. All ten of which have sincerely rocking wardrobe departments.
As it turns out, wardrobe is very important on broadcast dramas. All the pretty people have just got to look pretty. So each of the following are very well-dressed shows.
To the list…
First up… Comic Books
The Comic Book Superhero Shows
Comic book fans (of my generation) have lived through a lot of really awful superhero shows. Besides Smallville and Lois & Clark, and this latest batch of shows, the last good comic book based show I can remember was the 1960’s Batman (with Adam West).
And that was only good because it completely embraced its camp and was a lot of fun because of it. Here are my faves. (and except for Constantine, which I really couldn’t stand, I think this might be all of them)
Marvel Agents of SHIELD (ABC)
First of all, this season of S.H.I.E.L.D has been sensational. It was difficult to tell what this show wanted to be in its first year. The second half shake up of the first season was long over-due and the finale was extremely satisfying and exciting. And now in its second year, the show has reached its stride. I’m loving it.
The additions to the cast have all been casting perfection (and very hot looking [guys and girls]). The writers have stopped answering questions with questions and they’ve begun to give answers to some of the mysteries. …and the characters.
I’m loving the character development. Joss Whedon and the gang are famous for their dialogue and character development. Fitz and Simmons relationship is heartbreaking. May and Coulson’s is evolving. (Agent May vs Agent May fight scene was outrageously good)
Phil Coulson makes a great director of S.H.I.E.L.D. And Simmons makes a fine undercover bad-ass. And the way each of them has interacted with Ward this season…
I’m telling you. I’m loving everything about Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. this year. Fantastic.
The Flash (CW)
This Arrow spin-off, called The Flash, is already one of my favorite shows even after just a few episodes. I freaking love the cast. And the villains. And the effects. And the stories.
And I really like the way they handle Flash’s superpowers. It’s a lot like Quicksilver from Days of Future Past mixed with “The Blur” running speed from Smallville.
This show is reminding me a lot of early Smallville in fact (and I loved that show). So, I’m already hooked. I’m so happy they’re finally getting superheroes right by getting the villains right. Wentworth Miller as Captain Cold is worth the price of admission.
The crossover episode with Felicity Smoak was very satisfying and I’m hoping for more from that relationship. I know it’s still early but they have done a lot of things right.
So, I’m excited. I can’t wait to see where the show takes us. (At lightning speed)
Starring Ben McKenzie, Donal Logue, David Mazouz, Zabryna Guevara, Sean Pertwee, Robin Lord Taylor, Erin Richards, Camren Bicondova, Cory Michael Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith, Victoria Cartagena, Andrew Stewart-Jones & John Doman
Speaking of new shows that have already got me hooked. Gotham is all kinds of awesome. I love the casting (again) but I also like the atmosphere and the clothes. (Wardrobe department shout out) I love the look of Gotham. It’s dark but it’s pretty.
The bad guys are sensational. The Penguin is perfect. I also like that there’s more than enough truly flawed anti-heroes to choose from. So it’s not likely to get stale.
The show doesn’t have to focus only on the adventures of James Gordon. You’ve got Selina, Bruce, Alfred, Barbara, Harvey, Ivy and even Edward Nigma all waiting to develop into their iconic roles.
Add to that a host of early Gotham organized crime bosses who aren’t just evil for evil’s sake: Well-portrayed and well-written characters fighting over real estate… Arkham.
Gotham is my favorite NEW show, and it is fast becoming my new FAVORITE show. I hope FOX doesn’t pull a… FOX and cancel it. That would suck.
Arrow is back for a new season and it started with a bang by killing off another major character almost immediately. Same old Arrow.
I love that the show doesn’t shy away from offing a main character now and then. It keeps the audience on its toes. And with the way the show is set up, you can still see the character in the flashback episodes.
What I DO NOT like about this new season is the Oliver & Felicity relationship teases. That joke isn’t funny anymore. The producers know we ship them. (we ship them so hard) And they’re just making fun of us now.
Speaking of Felicity. I love the way they style Miss Smoak. She always looks amazing. I’m also loving the training theme of this new season. They can finally justify Laurel’s quick weight loss (she dropped a ton of body fat and looks great). They tried an addiction story line but it didn’t work. Yet, now that she’s boxing those muscles don’t seem out-of-place.
And then of course there’s Oliver’s little sister, Thea; who I’ve loved from the beginning and who is finally getting the chance to be a little kick-ass ninja. Arrow is a great show.
But as you can plainly see, Felicity is my favorite, my favorite part of the show. Felicity is awesome. I love the smart girls. I love them. Oh no. I think I may have scared her off.
She’ll be back.
Next up… The Crime Drama
The Mystery – Thriller Crime Dramas
Each of the following outstanding programs may seem like your run-of-the-mill procedural but they are far from it. This ain’t CSI, This ain’t Law & Order. This is much cooler.
Sure, there’s the customary mystery of the week but beyond that, there are these interesting characters and their relationships. And each has its own mythology and all of them are just so cool with fascinating subjects and main characters that are brilliant.
Person of Interest (CBS)
Created by Jonathan Nolan
I have a little bit of a Person of Interest obsession. The show has evolved in such interesting ways. I was feeling a little apprehensive with the start of this new season. But these last few episodes have been some of the best of the series.
Here are some of my favorite things about the current story line, in no particular order…
1) Trying to teach an AI to care about people is fantastic. And all the times that early versions of the AI tried to kill its creator… that makes me so happy.
2) Root’s existential crisis as her “God” (the AI) is on the run from the other.
3) Reese seeing a police department therapist who immediately sees through his BS is awesome too and it’s about time we drilled down into that characters psyche.
4) The fight scene where the other operative in god-mode goes up against my girl Root who, of course, is also in god-mode was pure unadulterated amazing awesomeness.
editor’s note* [God-mode is a state in the show when an operative is under the complete control of the AI and just blindly does whatever it tells them to do without thinking]
Person of Interest is so freaking cool. I love the show so much because even as the ongoing story develops, they still have time for a new mystery each week. The machine still sends them to save random people without knowing who or even why. Love the show.
The Blacklist (NBC)
Created by Jon Bokenkamp
Everyone will tell you that James Spader is the reason the Blacklist is amazing. That he alone carries the show to greatness. And they are not half wrong because the man is deliciously brilliant. But what makes this show great for me are the villains of the week.
The Blacklist is a rogues gallery of the most despicable super-villains in the world. Meanwhile our hero; the green Agent Keen, has no experience and no special skills and is basically out of her depth at every turn.
I just love Keen and Reddington’s relationship and how much he has helped her grow. And how much she’s evolved since the first episodes. And how he guides her and protects her yet she continually makes mistakes because she is not qualified to be going after these international terrorists and mobsters and super villains.
But yes, James Spader is outstanding as he cleans up after her messes in some of the coolest and sinister ways on TV. If he starts to tell you a story, you should be worried.
I still love Elementary. The mysteries are smart, funny, interesting. The characters are very likable. Lucy Liu’s wardrobe is fantastic (I’ve always loved her style). Jonny Lee Miller portrays the intensity of Doyle’s master detective brilliantly and beautifully.
The biggest difference between this show and BBC’s Sherlock (besides that there are 22 episodes a year) is that this Holmes is less efficient. Less super-human. I like a Sherlock Holmes that makes the occasional ego-driven mistake. The Sherlock Holmes I remember from my childhood was far from perfect in the books, movies or television.
Don’t get me wrong I love the BBC’s Sherlock but mostly for Sherlock’s relationships with other people on that show and his awful social skills (I can relate) and of course the acting and direction. But I also feel that, as Moffat & Gattiss continue to try to one up themselves, the show-runners have taken the show and the character into the realm of the fantastic
The Sherlock Holmes of Elementary is a flawed hero. And while both shows show his flaws well, I think Elementary goes a long way toward keeping him… human.
I’m excited that Holmes has a new companion this season. It gives it kind of a Doctor Who feel and lets Joan Watson grow as a detective and a character.
Next up… Powerful, Sexy Women
The Dramas with the Powerful Women
All of these next three shows feature very powerful (and well-dressed) women (magically, politically, physically, emotionally) locked in a battle of love vs hate, good vs evil, white hats vs black hats, woman against woman, fashion against fashion. Choose a side.
But the lines between good and evil, love and hate are often always blurred. And in a perfect world all three pairs of enemies would be powerful allies but, you know… too much history. Too much baggage. Too much drama.
Created by Shonda Rhimes
It’s funny really. I love everything about Scandal except for the main character. Usually, me, not liking the main character would be enough to stop watching a show but all the other characters are so amazing. I love the show. So, for this section, there will be no pictures of Olivia Pope (and she can’t do anything about that).
Olivia Pope is awful. I’m on Team Mellie. In fact, I’m the captain of Team Mellie. The ravishing-ly beautiful Bellamy Young plays the president’s wife and Olivia is screwing her husband. And she is an awesome political wife and first lady. What is wrong with that guy? She’s strong and gorgeous as hell and the mother of his children. Sure, she’s been a little broken this season, but you can’t blame her for that. And I get the distinct feeling that she’s coming back with a vengeance. Here’s a picture of Mellie at the White House.
But having said that, I love all the other characters just as much. Puck is amazing and heartbreaking in the way he finds it so hard to communicate with people. Also how Quinn (the very sexy Katie Lowes) became a serious sociopath and not just a little scary but a lot scary. I love how all the bad-ass assassins on the show are afraid of her now. Those two make a great couple by the way. I could go through the entire list. I love the-whole-damn cast. Here’s a cast picture w/o Kerry Washington in it.
I just can’t stand the main character or the way she’s portrayed. SHE’S SO ANNOYING and always has to have her way. Although once you see where she came from (her parents are psychotic super villains) you can kind of understand. However, Scandal is still sensational. The story of the week is always very interesting and the overall stories and relationships are very cool. But me, me personally, I am firmly on #TeamMellie.
Created by Mike Kelley
I thought this show would run out of steam but it still finds ways to stay fresh. Another show where the wardrobe department is freaking fantastic (I love a well-dressed show). Especially the way they style the French-Canadian actress who plays Margaux (the exquisite Karine Vanasse). I’ve loved her since Pan Am (anybody remember the short-lived ABC show Pan Am? That was another well-dressed show).
I like that the revenge on Revenge has spread and now everybody wants revenge on everybody else who tried to get revenge. (my girl Charlotte has gone dark) And I’ve even liked the slightly convoluted surprises this season. Revenge is still a fun show to watch. They don’t give us enough Nolan, though. Give that man his own show.
In the battle of Emily vs Victoria, I’m with Emily. That’s my girl. She’s Batman. (well, she was Batman) Even as they get more into Victoria’s emotional back story and make her a more sympathetic character, and begin to show how Emily has let her desire for revenge destroy her sense of right and wrong, I’m still like: screw that. “Kick her ass, Ems.”
Once Upon A Time (ABC)
Starring Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Morrison, Lana Parrilla, Josh Dallas, Jared S. Gilmore, Colin O’Donoghue, Robert Carlyle, Raphael Sbarge, Jamie Dornan, Eion Bailey, Meghan Ory, Emilie de Ravin, Michael Raymond-James & Michael Socha
I’ve loved OUAT (that’s what the cool people call it) from the beginning. I like how the theme of each season is a different fairy tale mythos. They did a bit of Wonderland, they did a bit of Oz and the Snow White – Red Riding Hood thing, but in this season they took a chance and added characters from Disney’s Frozen. I know, I know… but it’s cool.
I thought the Frozen theme would be too hokey because the movie is so recent. But it’s not. And I really enjoy the Sorcerer’s Apprentice story-line. This show is very clever and is still very good. I hope more Wonderland characters show up. The Wonderland spin-off wasn’t given enough time. The show never had a chance but I really liked the characters.
In this show’s good vs evil match-up, I love both Regina & Emma. I like when they accidentally become allies. Those two together are an unstoppable force. But we’ll see if they become friends. Regina is just so very evil. I’m also liking Emma and Hook’s relationship this season. (and I know. He’s a pirate so… um… you know… he probably just wants to plunder her booty… it’s past my bedtime, I’m sorry)
Once Upon A Time is still a fun show with a lot of cool fairy-tale and Disney characters thrown into a real life setting. It is still exciting and romantic and worth watching.
And that’s ten.
But wait, there’s more.
There were a few left off the list that I need to mention. These are the shows that I feel could be better. On the bubble squad, so to speak. I still watch them but not like I used to. I sort of watch them while I do other things.
My favorite thing about Nashville is still the music by far. Every episode features 4 or 5 good performances. With a great cast who can all hold a tune. I love the characters, especially the song writers. And I like when the show shows the creative process.
However the story has gotten stale; the relationships and the politics. And that’s not good. The story is kind of boring. But I still watch for the characters, the different musical pairings, the writing and the music performances. From the small performances at the BlueBird café to the arenas on tour. I love the music.
I still love Reign (again the wardrobe department… wowzers people). The costumes are so pretty, as are the actors. I like the palace intrigue and the characters. The murderous and sexual misadventures of Mary and her court. I even love the music and the story.
In the past I have called Reign a guilty pleasure. It is not the best show on TV.
It is not a history lesson. They may use names from history and places but Reign is NOT historically accurate. Not even close. But it is so pretty to look at. Still a guilty pleasure.
Sleepy Hollow (FOX)
Sleepy Hollow is back for a second season but it’s too campy for me. I still love Ichabod. The man is suave. The man is gorgeous. So I still check it out but they’re losing my interest. Maybe they’ll win me back before I stop watching altogether.
I was into Hannibal up until the finale of the second season. I really didn’t like it. I’ll see what they do next season but the last one left me with a bad taste in my mouth (Hannibal Lecter is too good of a chef for that). I want to root for him. The show needs to lighten its tone. Even Dexter wasn’t this dark.
How to Get Away with Murder (ABC)
I tried to get into How to Get Away with Murder but didn’t like all of the jumping around. The flashbacks within flashbacks. The main story is a flashback and then they flashback for the mystery of the week. It’s trying too hard to be Damages.
The last episode I watched was the “why is your penis on the dead girl’s phone?” episode. If the show sticks around maybe I’ll binge watch the whole season but I don’t have time for all the flashbacks. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
And that’s actually all of them.
Next up we’ll tackle the Cable TV Dramas. A little more gritty and not as well-dressed.
I have to go and untie Agent May now. But if you didn’t vote this year, I think you should run before I do. You know what I’m talking about.
She ain’t happy.
Until next time,
I’ll see you guys on the couch,