Sunday, December 1, 2013

TV midseason report card: Passing grades for ‘Almost Human,’ ‘Agents of SHIELD’

TV networks are at the midyear mark of the 2013-14 season. So it’s a good time for reflection.
Among the new shows I started watching this fall, Fox sci-fi cop series “Almost Human” and ABC comic book-hero drama “Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD” are keeping my interest, but barely. Both are competently made, but lack the must-see factor of some of the serial dramas I watch.
On “Almost Human,” the pairing of Karl Urban and Michael Ealy as human and android cop partners is the best thing about the show. The actors have great chemistry. I wish the plots were a little darker and deeper though. There needs to be some through line or story arc for the series otherwise it’s just a cop procedural set in the future. Yawn.
And for the love of God, give something more substantial for supporting actors Lili Taylor and Minka Kelly to do. They’re both wasted on this show. They just walk around the office and relay information to the main characters.
As for “Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD,” it’s a favorite of my 10-year-old son, but I could take it or leave it. It needs more danger and better villains.
I tried watching “The Tomorrow People,” but it got old fast. A few episodes in and the show felt redundant and pointless. I didn’t care much for the protagonists either. I was hoping for more of a “Heroes” or “X-Men” vibe, but the characters were vanilla and they all shared similar superpowers. Boring.
I also canned Lifetime’s “Witches of East End.” I enjoyed watching the lovely Julia Ormond, Madchen Amick and Jenna Dewan-Tatum, but the show moved at a glacial pace. It kept hitting the same notes over and over without advancing the story. Viewers need regular payoffs to keep watching. I didn’t feel rewarded.
Among returning shows, I crossed off my watch list CW’s “The Vampire Diaries,” now in its fifth season. Too many characters dying and coming back to life. Too many doppelgangers (actress Nina Dobrev had three look-alike roles at one point). Too many of the same angsty conversations. I had had enough.
I’m frankly pretty sick of vampires at this point. I declined to watch new vampire shows “The Originals” on the CW and “Dracula” on NBC for that reason.
My favorite returning shows are “The Walking Dead” on AMC, “Supernatural” on the CW, “Revolution” on NBC and “American Horror Story” on FX.
Shows I like to watch with my kids include NBC’s “The Voice,” Animal Planet’s “Finding Bigfoot,” Discovery Channel’s “Gold Rush” and Cartoon Network’s “Adventure Time.”
Midseason replacement shows on my potential watch list include the CW’s “The 100,” NBC’s “Crossbones” and “Believe,” and ABC’s “Killer Women.”

Photos: “Almost Human” promotional art. 

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