Fall TV 2012: The New, The Good, The Unwatchable

Movies and Television

Since I’m not a fauxality or sitcom kinda viewer, the 2012 crop of new Fall TV fare was pretty sparse but I found three shows worthy of a spot on my DVR.

Nice promo pic for Nashville © 2012 ABC.

Cat Fight at the Olde Opry Corral

For soapy dramatics, critical buzz darling Nashville fits the bill nicely. While I’m not sold on the singing, acting talents Hayden Panettiere (Heroes) and Connie Britton (Friday Night Lights) headline a solid cast.

More than just twangy singing, there’s politics, family secrets, daddy issues, mommy issues and plenty of sexing going on. And that’s just in the pilot.

If Nashville can 1) back off the caterwauling singing and 2) dial down the ‘soap and suds’ for more character and drama, it could be one of the best things on TV.

That gym membership is totally tax deductible. © 2012 The CW.

A Starling City Hero is Born

Better than the Smallville version – though I liked that show’s snarky spin on the playboy-hero – the CW’s Arrow brings us a hunky and oft shirtless Oliver Queen in the person of Stephen AAAhh Amell. Mmm.

No one is who they seem on Arrow as we meet Oliver’s family, including shady Mom (Susanna Thompson) and drug-addict sister (Willa Holland). Then there’s the body guard partner; the ex, Laurel ‘Dinah’ Lance (Katie Cassidy), her cop dad, the BFF and assorted bad guys.

Bad because they were once business partners of Ollie’s dearly departed, corupt tycoon dad. They’re the 1% and must be stopped by this very dark, conflicted ‘hero.’ Which is quickly becoming the show’s weak spot – trying to make this vigilate edgy while sympathetic and actually heroic.

Building pathos and character takes time, not action and VO training sequences, even if shirtless; and a hero is you know, supposed to be – more or less – a good guy. We’ll see.

Das Boot Island

Surprised this big-budget, sure-to-fail blockbuster spin isn’t a FOX product, Last Resort may be my fave new show.

It’s very The Hunt For Red October meets Crimson Tide. Hard for me to place the military vs. political establishment, but it’s somewhere on par with Alias, Battlestar Galactica, maybe even the X-Files. Trust no one because everyone is working an angle, ulterior motives aplenty matey.

A few of the good Navy men of ABC’s Last Resort. © 2012

Scott Speedman (Underworld) works the uniform, as the incomparable Andre Braugher (Homicide) works the monologues. Robert Patrick is giving good Crochety Old Crust Who Carps and Daniel Lissing is good (even when not shirtless) as troubled, emoting SEAL.

Adding some estrogen are the One Female Officer, out to prove she’s not just Daddy’s Girl; the tough enlisted Cortez; and the sexy but smart Autumn Reeser as weapons designer extraordinaire. Then there are the two lovelies of Scott (no stranger to TV love triangles) Speedman’s story with his Falling Skies wife and the other French woman. Oh and SEAL boy has snagged himself a Doll(house) bartender girl.

All it needs is a Friday night time slot of death to further weaken the ratings (scheduling it before Grey’s Anatomy?) and sink the ship. Which is too bad, because this action thriller is very watchable.

No, sorry, can’t watch

Not surprising some of these all made almost every ‘worst TV shows of 2012‘ list. 

  • 666 – as much as I like Terry O’Quinn, zero appeal.
  • Kristen Kruiek’s Beauty and the Beast looked laughable.
  • The 10 minutes of Emily Owens, M.D. I did manage to watch had me wanting to kill people. Starting with myself. Why oh why did Justin Hartley (nee Smallville’s Oliver) not get the SEAL role on Last Resort?! He’d rock that shit, not that Lissing isn’t. Just saying.

At least for Winter 2013 TV, I’m looking forward to 80s period drama-thriller The Americans with Keri Russell.


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