Emily Owens, MD B+
Arrow: The Dark Green Knight Rises. Far closer to the Frank Miller Batman than the Denny O'Neil/Neil Adams Green Arrow, this Ollie North has Mad Arrow Skillz and is more than willing to kill to get revenge. You see, he was on this boat, screwing the sister of his girlfriend, when it blew up killing her and stranding him and his billionaire father in the middle of nowhere. The father kills himself and the other survivor so that Ollie would have a chance to live, which he does, if you call that living. He winds up on this uncharted isle (non-desert) for five years. Conveniently for the story (and more-or-less faithful to the comic), he learns archery and hand-to-hand combat.
The first two episodes have been good without either of them breaking into great or descending into caricature. I'm going to be optimistic and keep it for a while. Hey, I like the dark Batman (though not The Dark Knight Rises, which was a season of 24 and not a story about obsessions).
I was prepared not to like Emily Owens, MD. I'm not really fond of medical shows (though Carole is) and the heart-on-her-sleeve heroine turns on whether you like the heroine or not. But the pilot was gorgeously written. It reminded me of the better episodes of Scrubs; pathos without the over-the-top comedy. I'm not sure I like Emily just yet, but the ensemble acting was good, with believable and interesting characters.
Nashville is the worst of the High School melodrama of Glee and the worst of the show biz backstabbing of Smash without the excellent singing and dancing to make you sit through garbage time. The country songs were okay, but not really better than that. I suppose that's a lot to lay on one episode, but neither of us were impressed. We have another on our DVR to be watched, which may be the last.
A few episodes in:
The Mindy Project remains our favorite of the new shows. Despite it's similarities to Emily Owens, the half-hour demands quicker jokes and encourages broader characterizations. "I'm in my 30's in doctor years, but in my 20's in club years" says Mindy as she persuades a friend to take her clubbing to meet NBA players. More of a comedy than a medical show, though the hospital setting is in play, and the jokes aren't dumbed down. The pell mell rush of Mindy's life and her energetic charge forward has made three good shows.
Neighbors has, somewhat to my surprise, sustained three good episodes. The interaction between the aliens is as fun as the interaction of the aliens and the "normal" Weavers. By the third episode, the first day of school, both the alien family and humans have bonded to be Them Against The World.
Still, my favorite moment is from the second episode, where the aliens get taken to the mall for the first time. Amber Weaver, human teenager, is desperately preparing for her intro into a new school. (quotes approx) "I need to be a 10, or at least a 9" she says to Reggie Jackson, smitten alien neighbor. She frantically paws her way through a rack of clothes. "What number does this make me look?" she demands. He has no answer, and she doesn't even look at him. Later, he comes up to her as she's still looking at clothes. "I know what number you are." "Yeah?" "You're pi." "What's that?" "Three point one four one five nine, then it goes on forever." "Oh, so you think I'm a 3?" "No, I think you go on forever." She still doesn't look at him, but we see her grudging smile.
Vegas is still the smushing together of Oceans 11 era Las Vegas and the dusty Clint Eastwood spaghetti westerns. Crime Lord Michael Chiklis is firmly in control of the casino, handling his Chicago bosses ("we can't have two sheriff's murdered within two months, it's bad for business") and Dennis Quaid is nicely stoic as the honest WWII special ops-turned-rancher-cajoled-into-lawman who has to keep the town in line.
I really like how they're handling the cultural background. In the shows aired so far, they've nicely reminded us of how racist and jingoistic 1960s America was. In the pilot, someone walked by a "Whites Only" bathroom. In the third, an Olympic gold medal winner in boxing is asked about how it feels to knock out a Russian. He's surrounded by reporters waiting for his answer, flashes at the ready. (Quotes approx) "Hitting a Russian in the face is no different than hitting a Korean or a Frenchman. And we're part of a team here. Why can I go into a restaurant when my teeammate (gesturing toward a black boxer) can't?" As his rant builds, the reporters just look dumbfounded and don't take notes or pictures. The black boxer gives him a high sign and he finally just looks down and says, "It's an honor to represent America." At which point the reporters all smile and the flashes go off.
Chiklis keeps reminding us of something that tends to get overlooked about Vegas: One of the main reasons it became such a gambling mecca is because Havana wasn't one anymore. Fidel Castro made Vegas as much as Frank Sinatra.
The next episode (10/23) is supposed to be about the murder of a black maid. We'll see how that plays out.
Revolution lasted one show, and fell off our recording list. Mob Doctor lasted three shows. Ben and Kate fell off after a couple of episodes. The second episode of Elementary was more faithful to the Holmes canon than the first, but that's not saying much. Still, less mania and more observation; still in our queue.