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Last Week in TV - Week of Sept. 20 - Pilot Edition - Reviews, Wish Lists, and Episode Awards

29 Sept 2015

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As fall TV returns, so does Last Week in TV. It's good to be back to discuss TV with you again. If you are new to the column, the gist is that each Monday I publish a short review of the shows I have watched complete with episode awards. I also review one show nominated by the readers. If you have an episode you'd like me to review, please fill out the short 2-question form below. I chose one episode per week via a random number generator. Feel free to nominate as many different shows as you want, but I only review a nominated show once per season unless it becomes part of my weekly schedule. That allows me to cover as many shows as possible.

One big change to the column is that this year, we will also have guest reviewers. (Thanks Sandi for the suggestion.) Last season I tried to review 15-20 shows a week, which became overwhelming so I've decided to cut back. Usually I will review to 10-12 but because this is premiere week and I try to review every pilot, this article is slightly longer. Still I would love to have a wide variety of shows covered so we're introducing Guest Reviewers. This week Blue Star has been generous enough to be our guinea pig and cover Dominion. Thanks so much, Blue Star! If you are interested in being a Guest Reviewer, simply fill out the form below and I will send you some more information. I'd love to include some shows not usually covered.

Episode of the Week:

Blindspot - 1.01 - Pilot

Thus far this is my favorite pilot. Jaimie Alexander sells the story of a woman with drug-induced amnesia who wakes up in Times Square covered in tattoos. Although I am not a fan of amnesia storylines, this one works because no one knows who she is and it becomes the central mystery for the show. It also helps that she is a kickbutt woman as shown when she takes down the abusive landlord and his armed lackey. Mostly though, I like how we got some answers even in the pilot. We know that Jane Doe was special forces, likely a Navy Seal, and that she gave her consent to remove her memories. If the show can continue to give out answers instead of just piling on questions, then I'll keep watching. It does run the risk of dragging the mysteries out too long though so it remains to be seen if this is a watch weekly or marathon type show. As for the pilot, the pacing was just right. There was no exposition overload, largely because no one knows what's going on, and the action was scattered throughout. The biggest kudos remain for the cast though. Jaimie Alexander was stunning especially. She has come a long way from Kyle XY.

Grade: A-

Ranking - 5
Audience - fans of The Blacklist or Memento and shows that have a center conspiracy to unravel

Best Reason to Watch - Jaimie Alexander's acting
Best Character - Jane Doe
Best Character Interaction - Jane Doe and Weller
Best Scene - Jane breaks down
Best Action - Jane takes down the abusive superintendent
Best Use of a Historic Landmark - fight in the Statue of Liberty
Biggest Mystery - Obviously the whole show is one big mystery and who Jane Doe is may be the biggest. Still my biggest question is who is the watcher guy who trained her.
Best Surprise - Jane agreed to having her memory erased
Least Surprising - once Jane asked them to take the suspect alive, it was guaranteed that he'd be dead by the episode's conclusion before he could give any useful intel
Smartest Plan - Jane shoots Chao in the arm instead of killing him
The "Say What?" Award - Why does the investigation into Jane Doe lead directly back to the FBI boss? What is in that redacted file?
The "Maybe There IS a Cone of Silence" Award - The FBI are right upstairs but they don't hear the massive fight Jane Doe is having below them, complete with window breaking. Either the FBI agents are selectively deaf or these tenement slum apartments have some awesome sound proofing.
The "Give It Up Already" Award - Weller keeps trying to get Jane to wait away from the action. It's not going to happen, buddy. Just deal.
The "Welcome Back" Award - Jaimie Alexander of Kyle XY and the Marvel universe, Sullivan Stapleton from Strike Back, Marianne Jean- Baptiste from Without a Trace and Broadchurch, Ukweli Roach from The Royals, and Rob Brown from Finding Forrester and Coach Carter

Best Quotes -
1. Dr. Borden: "You're not helpless. We're defined by our choices. You just don't remember yours. So keep trying new things. See what your body remembers or make new choices. The more you make the less helpless you'll feel. Even if nothing ever comes back, you can still find yourself."
2. Jane: "How did you know that I could make that shot?" Weller: "I didn't know. I took a chance on you."
3. Mayfair: "And she'll never get her memory back?" Doctor: "Honestly we have never had a case like this before and when I say 'we' I mean the entirety of medical science."
4. Weller: "Zapata, can you get us onto that computer?" Zapata: "I'm not gonna lie. I'm a bit hurt you had to ask me that."
5. Chao: "Everything happened the way it was supposed to." Watcher: "No, you were supposed to die. You for your sister, that was the deal."
6. Zapata: "Do you ever get tired of being right?" Weller: "No."

Best Cliffhanger:

How to Get Away with Murder - 2.01 - It's Time to Move On

Normally I review H2GAwM on a weekly basis but this week I hit a glitch and had to watch it on the very annoying ABC player. Therefore I planned to bypass the review altogether until I saw the last 2 minutes of the episode. I wasn't feeling most of the premiere and for once thought the pacing was too fast, but the ending blew me away. In typical H2G form, they saved the best for last. Watching Wes run away from their clients of the season's house after hearing a gunshot was exciting enough. Then they panned in on Annalise bleeding out and they hooked me again. I want to know who has the cojones to take down someone as powerful and dynamic as Viola Davis…er, Annalise Keating. I don't give a jot about the sex lives of these characters and I was heartbroken when it was revealed that Bonnie, the only decent person on the show, is actually a killer, but you better believe I'm here for Annalise getting taken down because there's going to be hell to pay when she pulls through.

Grade: B

Wish List:
1. Don't bite off more than the writers can chew
2. Keep allowing Viola Davis to work her magic
3. Try to make at least one character sympathetic (mostly for my own peace of mind)
4. Tone down Asher A LOT

Best Quotes -
1. Annalise: "Acting out in class doesn't make him a killer, Frank." Frank: "Where are you going?" Annalise: "To get us a murder case that didn't happen in this house."
2. Michaela: "You do realize I'm not scared to hit a b**." Laurel: "Or just throw me down the stairs. You did a pretty good job with Sam."
3. Michaela: "Where the hell is she taking us?" Laurel: "I think the point is that we don't know." Connor: "Or she's just about to off us." Annalise: "You'd get no warning if I was going to off you, Mr. Walsh. You've all been through hell. So have I. It's a miracle we're still standing. Tonight we're going to forget about all of that."
4. Frank: "It's freaking Lord of the Flies out there."
5. Frank: "Come on. Just go to the motel. Prove to me you're not a psycho killer."

Guest Review by Blue Star

Dominion - 2.12 - Day of Wrath

What a cliffhanger! This episode was very busy, lots going on, and some very interesting reveals. Loved the action in this episode. The darkness’ after effects on everyone was interesting to watch, and I love that Arika has become a better person for it. While not one of my favorite episodes of the season, it was a good set up for the season finale.  (Blue Star)

Grade: B

Best Scene: Michael and Gabriel fight (okay, it’s a series of scenes, sue me)
Best Reason to Watch: Gabriel’s gift from God and Noma’s betrayal are revealed
Most Dramatic: David has to kill William
Most In Need Of Family Therapy: The Archangel Family
Most Whump: Michael keeps getting beat up this season…and here we go again
Most In Need Of A Vacation: Everyone in Vega
Most Frustrating/Awkward: Alex, being in the middle of a love triangle makes you look bad; just choose already
Worst Secret Passage: The 8 balls find the passage to Vega under the bus way too easily
Worst Day On The Job: The bartender overhearing Michael and Gabriel talk is one of the first humans to get possessed
The “You Just Didn’t Have To Start The Apocalypse” Award: Gabriel’s angry at Michael for not sticking by his side during the Extermination War
The “Go Your Own Way” Award: Safe to say, Legion is officially no longer canon in Dominion verse (not sure how I feel about that yet)

Best Quotes -
1. David: "May we be in Heaven a half hour before the Devil knows we're dead."
2. Claire: "Why am I not surprised the cockroach survived in the dark?"
3. Gabriel: "The universe is rather vast. I've searched but never found its end. It's a magnificent thing but daunting in its breadth. And yet, never once have I felt alone...until now."
4. David: "I always loved you." William: "No, you didn't."

New Shows:

Heroes Reborn - 1.01 - Pilot

First things first - I have never seen one episode of the original Heroes series so my point-of-view will likely be different from fans of the original show, especially since my overall reaction was "huh?" This is NOT a show you can just jump into without background knowledge. Basically X-Men mutants called evos have developed throughout the world. Some are good (think Xavier) and some are evil (think first movie Magneto). The humans and the evos try to get along but on the day of unity someone levels a town and some rogue evo gets blamed. All goes poorly for both sides after that and then some chick literally gets pulled into a video game, leaving me hopelessly confused. What?!?! Yeah, this is too bizarre for me. I think Heroes Reborn suffers for newbies in having too much story to tell. While it ups the pace nicely, there are so many pieces on screen at the same time that it's very difficult to care about most of them or even see how they connect. Anti-Chuck flat out kills people with his psycho wife. Peter Pan just wants to be a normal boy. Not-Nice Mia kidnaps someone important…I think. I have no clue what her role actually is or whether she's working for the human or evo side. In the end, I strongly suggest watching the first 4 seasons before tackling this but based on the video game hoodoo plot here, I don't see that happening for me. Sorry Heroes. Hope you save the missing cheerleader….er, the world.

Grade: C+

Ranking - 2
Audience - people who already saw Heroes seasons 1-4 and really wanted a season 5

Best Reason to Watch - the pacing jumps quickly
Best Character - Dead Oscar with Quentin next in line
Worst Character - Joanne, crazy for crazy's sake is interesting for about 5 minutes and then I'm done
Best Action - everything Miko
Best Dilemma - take out Douche Jock's abusive stepdad or risk being ratted out as an evo
Best Twist - the hero's brother is actually the real hero
Best Power - turning metal to gold
Biggest Deal that Completely Went Over My Head - someone killed the Haitian, whomever that is
Resident Nice Girl Next Door - Emily aka sweetest girl on Earth, who of course dates the local jock douche
The "Say What?" Award - Wait a minute. Zachary Levi is a bad guy here? Chuck would be so disappointed.
Most Cliché - the guy with the answers dies before they get any answers
Best Spy Trick - hidden compartment found by pulling out specific books on a shelf
Most Bizarre - some chick pulls out a sword and is suddenly in a video game? Um, huh? I don't get it.
Strangest Collection - the guy with the briefcase full of pennies
Biggest Whoa - opening with the mass terrorist implosion of an entire town is huge
Worst Role Model - motivational speaker getting drunk while telling students that they can be a hero too
The "X-Files" Award - I think "It's Coming" is the new "The Truth is Out There."
The "Welcome Back" Award - Zachary Levi of Chuck, Henry Zebrowski from A to Z, Eve Harlow from The 100

Best Quotes -
1. Luke: "Well that is one superior brand of dry wall." Joanne: "Just our bloody luck. Kid was a teleporter."
2. Noah: "I think it's a scarecrow to keep people out." Quentin: "You think? Shouldn't we be certain where deadly toxins are concerned?"
3. Mystery Woman: "Unless you earn it, money always comes with strings attached."
4. Luke: "Maybe we're in hell." Joanne: "Is that where you think we belong?"
5. Quentin: "Who the hell are you? James Bond?"

Life in Pieces - 1.01 - Pilot

The format of this comedy, where it tells 4 separate stories and then ties them in at the end has its pros and cons. The pros are that nothing is long enough to get old and it will be easy to fast forward through any couple you don't like. The con is that you never get to know anyone. 22 minutes with a comedy A and B story is barely enough so halving that again means it feels more like a webisode. That may be exactly what they are going for but I prefer more connection to my characters. Or at least plotlines that don't all revolve around sex. It's only the first episode so I am going to give this show 2 more to make me care about any of the characters. That's the least I can do for a cast this talented and they are talented. I particularly enjoyed seeing Colin Hanks in a comedic role. You can see traces of his dad in his facial expressions. I also loved having Dianne Wiest on my screen again.

Grade: B-

Ranking - 3+
Audience - anyone who thinks today's comedies are just too long / fans of the cast

Best Reason to Watch - the four segments make none of them long enough to become boring
Best Character - Greg, but that's likely to change if Tyler remains this snarky
Best Scene / Biggest Laugh - rolling the dad casket to the Jiffy Lube
Biggest Overachievers - the Von Trapp family funeral singers
Biggest Facepalm - new dad driving
Most Likely to Die - dearest grandpa for announcing to everyone that his granddaughter just got her period while she was there
Most Embarrassing - police interrupting your sex life because no one has a place of their own / Tyler's mom on his college visit
Worst Plan - throwing your own funeral as your birthday party
Worst Dating Situation Ever / Possible New Hallmark Movie - living with your ex-fiancé when you bring home your date
The "You Tell Him" Award - I am on Team Dianne here. Making your wife throw you a fake funeral is a terrible idea.
The "I Totally Get It" Award - I feel like I've got a decent grasp on technology but multiple TV remotes screw with me too
The "Educational Consultant Available Right Here" Award - that was unlike any college visit I have ever seen
The "Welcome Back" Award - Angelique Cabral from my much missed Enlisted, Colin Hanks aka Alex on Roswell, Betsy Brandt from the Michael J. Fox Show, and James Brolin and Dianne Wiest from everything

Best Quotes -
1. Colleen: "Okay, looks like I've got wine or wine and I also have wine." Matt: "Okay, beer sounds good." Colleen: "Wine it is."
2. Tyler: "Oh, I don't think I want to hear this story."
3. Joan: "Oh honey, no. We still have plenty of time left. 70 is the new 80."
4. Tim: "I don't know if we should be having another kid when we're hiding from the ones we already have."
5. Tyler: "You lost your virginity to a couch?"

Limitless - 1.01 - Pilot

Pilots are tricky. You have to whet the audience's taste for your show and set up the basics. Sometimes though shows go overboard on one side as is the case here. Limitless may be the most exposition-heavy pilot I have seen in years. Every time something starts to happen there's either a voiceover or a character explaining something to someone else. In the end, the pilot left me with great knowledge of what I missed by not seeing the movie but it was so exposition dense that I didn't care anymore. I liked the actors and the characters will likely grow on me but the pacing needs to improve rapidly. I do see potential so Limitless has 2 more episodes to show me what it can do before it gets dropped into my TV Wasteland, likely never to be heard from again.

Grade: C

Ranking - 3
Audience - anyone who liked the movie or who is into sci-fi and can suspend disbelief

Best Reason to Watch - the premise is interesting and the characters have potential
Best Character - Brian's dad and dead Eli
Best Character Interaction - Brian and Harris
Best Scene - Brian visits his dad in the hospital before his transplant
Best Feature - the action
Worst Feature - a whole lot of exposition / voiceovers
Best Guest/Recurring Character - Senator Morra
Dumbest Question - Boyle asks why Harris didn't shoot an unarmed man on a subway platform while a train was coming. I can think of several answers already, even without NZT 48.
Best Plan - Harris realizes that Brian is a resource to use, not a lab rat to study
Best/Worst Friend - depending on whether you would take the red pill or the blue pill, Eli's offer is awesome or the worst thing that could have happened
Best Use of YouTube - learning how to pick a lock
Biggest Stretch - increasing your intelligence makes you good at everything instantly or makes you capable of doing physical things even faster (Ex. becoming smarter still shouldn't allow you to file papers in over 22,000 files in two hours, especially if you stop to read each file)
Biggest Trend - starting the episode in the middle and then flashing back to how they got there
Least Surprising - Harris has a family tie to the whole NZT thing
Least Likely to Hold Up in Court - everything from Brian's bank robbery info
Most Psychic - Harris, who knows that Brian is shot in the leg even though he never tells her that
The "Welcome Back" Award - Blair Brown who was the fabulous Nina Sharp on Fringe, Jake McDorman of Greek and Manhattan Love Story, Jennifer Carpenter from Dexter, Hill Harper from Covert Affairs, and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, most recently as Mama Grimm (miss you already)

Best Quotes -
1. Harris: "You think I'm impressed that you can stomp around in my life? You're not smart. You're high."
2. Eli: "Yeah I know. Twenty year old me would punch 28 year old me in the face."
3. Harris: "If you hand me my gun right now I probably won't shoot you."
4. Boyle: "Is it me or did the whole world just change?"
5. Brian: "Why? I'm nobody. Everybody says you're gonna be president soon." Morra: "I haven't officially announced that yet but between me and you, I don't even know if I'm gonna run. Do you know how much time we get off in the Senate? It's shocking really. I don't know if I can give it up."
6. Brian: "They…they train you guys, right, to…to patch up bullet wounds like in case of emergencies or something." Harris: "They tell us to get to a hospital."
7. Brian: "Sorry for stealing your coat, Tanner Evans, but to be honest you seem like a little bit of a douche."
8. Brian: "Hi. My name is Brian Finch and the first thing you should know about me is I didn't do anything wrong. Well not the kind of wrong that leads to having a gun in your face anyway."

Minority Report - 1.01 - Pilot

Much like Rosewood, which also debuted last week, Minority Report is a typical crime procedural. Partners of opposite gender, check. One partner has a specialty and isn't a police detective, check. This partner also has trouble with basic human interaction, check. The other partner is a kick butt police officer who doesn't always follow rules - check, check, and triple check. One of the cop's family members was murdered, big old check. The only thing that distinguishes Minority Report is its technology and its overarching storyline is likely to be bigger than the others. After all, we've got a precognitive mystery hanging overhead. The question then becomes whether the tech is enough. For me it isn't. All it does is remind me that the superior Almost Human was cancelled. Almost Human had better chemistry between the leads and the case, while technologically interesting, did not make me excited for the next episode. I think this one is stuck in the marathon later pile for me…if it lasts that long.

Grade: C

Ranking - 2
Audience - those who thought Almost Human was not enough of a typical police procedural but who still like the future elements

Best Reason to Watch - the futuristic setting
Best Character - Vega, although Akeela will probably be later
Best Scene - Vega and team find the first murderer and he kills himself via a plank
Best Perk - all that technology
Best Meta - Simpsons season 75
Biggest Douche - Blake
Biggest Mystery - Agatha's vision and Dash's role in it
Most Likely to Misconstrue Simple Human Interaction - Dash
Worst Plan - leaning out the open window where the victim fell to her death
Most Scary - the future use of all that technology to keep tabs on people
Most Sucky Power - to see people die and not be able to stop it
The "Welcome Back" Award - Meagan Good from Deception, Wilmer Valderrama from That 70's Show

Best Quotes -
1. Blake: "I would have closed him differently but okay."
2. Vega: "Are you familiar with the concept of a whisper?"
3. Arthur: "You brought a friend. Maybe I underestimated my little brother." Vega: "Little? I thought you were twins." Dash: "Older by 7 minutes." Arthur: "Dash was afraid to come out." Dash: "I finally had some peace and quiet."
4. Vega: "I'm a homicide cop using an illegal psychic to stop a murder. I'd say we're all off-road already."
5. Akeela: "Okay, next karaoke night you're gonna have to tell me what happened between you two."

The Muppets - 1.01 - Pilot

From the get-go this was not going to be a show for me. Even as a kid, I wasn't into The Muppet Show. Plus I hate mockumentaries. I have zero interest watching real people or comedians talk about their co-workers in fake interviews so watching puppet interviews was not going to cut it. Still I try to watch the pilot of every new show in the season. It was worse than I expected. The Rainbow Connection Kermit is gone. In his place is yet another world-weary office drudge trying to please a megalomaniac boss. In this case, she happens to be his ex too. It is exactly as much fun as spending your lunch hour with those annoying co-workers who complain about everything non-stop. 10 minutes in and I was checking to see how much time I had left. Worst yet, I didn't laugh at all. Thus far, this is the worst pilot of the bunch for me.

Grade: D
Ranking - 1
Audience - people who like The Office but felt it wasn't world-weary enough / people without fond memories of The Muppets that still like puppets

Best Reason to Watch - Chances are you probably liked one of the Muppets as a kid. This is also the #1 reason why NOT to watch if you want your childhood memories to stay intact.
Best Character - Sam the Eagle
Best Character Interaction -
Best Guests - Imagine Dragons
Best Scene - Imagine Dragons snippet at the end
Best Product Placement - Costco
Biggest Shock - I'm on Miss Piggy's side about the breakup. Kermit knew what he was signing up for when he started dating a star.
Least Funny - Fozzie
Most Annoying Character (Possibly on TV) - Miss Piggy
Most Likely to Have Brain Damage From Excessive Drug Use - Zoot
Most Likely to Pass the SAT by Sheer Guessing - Dr. Teeth
The "I'm with You" Award - interview Gonzo talks about hating the now overused faux documentary style
The "Pass the Brain Bleach Please" Award - I never, ever needed to hear reference to a puppet's sex life. Even in innuendo. Nope. Just no.

Best Quotes -
1. Kermit: "My life is a bacon-wrapped hell on earth." Sam: "Can't say hell."
2. Piggy: "And the lilacs in my dressing room…" Kermit: "Yeah." Piggy: "Don't smell lilac-y enough." Kermit: "Alright talk to God about lilacs."
3. Kermit: "You know when Piggy and I were a couple, I found her unpredictable and spontaneous and quirky, and that was kind of sexy. But if you take dating out of the equation, she's just a lunatic."
4. Piggy: "I have an excellent reason. I hate her stupid face." Kermit: "That is not an excellent reason. That's a preschool reason."
5. Banks: "Did you even read the script?" Piggy: "What's to read? Hunger Games. It's all in the title." Banks: "Okay, I'm already in the movie right? I can…I can go."

The Player - 1.01 - Pilot

The Player revolves around a group of people so rich that they are bored with life. They've hacked into every technology imaginableto steal data about everyone but instead of helping the world through this violation of privacy, they use it to bet on crime. Yep instead of helping to stop crime before it happens, they gamble on whether the criminal will be successful or not. Basically the whole premise is morally repugnant. Enter an ex-FBI assassin turned security consultant. They want him to be the Player of the organization, taking on the world's most ruthless criminals. For some reason they feel that by having another assassin kills his wife (maybe), he will get sucked up into the shady world of high stakes crime betting. Implausibly it works. He becomes a one-man crime fighting machine, no super powers included but he does have access to that nifty tech. As the evil rich overlords take bets on how long he will last, I'm putting my money on Nielsen to take him out and rather quickly I suspect. As for me, if I stay it will only be for the action, which is indeed a high point. Story wise, this appears to be another crime of the week where the bad guys always win because the real bad guys are the people placing the bets.

Grade: C

Ranking - 2
Audience - people who like action and moral ambiguity

Best Reason to Watch - pretty much guaranteed action every week
Best Character - Kane
Best Scene - Kane realizes that it is not Ginny's body
Best Action - Kane vs. kidnappers
Best Death - impaled by roulette wheel
Biggest Mysteries - Who is dead if that wasn't Ginny and where then is Ginnny?
Biggest Bull - trying to spin this gambling as an altruistic thing is nuts
Biggest Kick-Butt Character - Medina Raqib. You don't mess with a mama or her young. Not if you want to live.
Best Music - Tick Tick Boom by The Hives
The "When in Doubt…" Award - go low-tech
The "Say What?" Award - People are betting on murder? That's sick.
The "Welcome Back" Award - Wesley Snipes from the 90's

Best Quotes -

1. Security: "Mr. Raqiv has better protection than the President of the United States." Kane: "Well that would be a comfort except they shot 6 presidents."
2. Cal: "If you had any sense you'd make it work with Ginny." Kane: "If I had any sense I wouldn't be jumping off buildings."
3. Ginny: "We are what we do. Do good; we are good." Kane: "You pulled me out of that life, Ginny. You call me anytime for anything because we're still not even."
4. Kane: "Yeah, I'm officially terrified of what you can do."
5. Kane: "I'm not doing this for you. I'm doing it for Shada and Ginny. When I'm done, I'm gonna come back here and throw you through that window."

Rosewood - 1.01 - Pilot

You've probably seen this one before. A non-cop with specialized skills teams up with a police detective to solve crimes and eventually hook up. You know, it's that show - the one you already love/hate/dropped a few seasons ago/can't get enough of. Focusing on a brilliant pathologist, Rosewood uses Morris Chestnut's charm and good looks to sell a story we've already heard and to an extent it succeeds. Rosewood comes off more impressive than arrogant, more personable than obnoxious. Still it toes the line pretty closely and if the character ever crosses to the douche side, the series will collapse under the weight of all the other shows that came before it. There's really nothing to distinguish Rosewood from a thousand others and in a fall season packed with new material, viewers might pass on it altogether. Coming after Empire, it opened to big numbers but I'm not sure Chestnut's abs and smile will be enough to keep them paired together. Rosewood needs to find something to separate it from the pack to survive.

Grade: C+

Ranking - 3
Audience - shippers who don't mind procedurals and a decent dose of eye candy
TV Formula - Castle's setup + Bones' science/tech + House's genius + actual people skills = Rosewood

Best Reason to Watch - Chestnut oozes charm and there are some humorous parts
Best Character - Villa
Best Character Interaction - Rosewood and his mentor
Best Scene - Villa interrogates Juju
Least Surprising - Villa's husband is dead
Least Likely to Hold Up in Court - everything on the boat since there's nothing legal about what she was doing
MVP - the music is awesome
Best Eye Candy - Morris Chestnut running shirtless, scar or not
Biggest Cliché - yet another non-cop solving crimes with a police detective, most likely to hook up by season one's finale because there's no way they let a male and female partnership remain platonic
Most Original - cocaine vinyl records
The "It's a Fine Line" Award - between charming and smugly overbearing. Rosewood walks that line pretty tightly in the pilot but he's one toe away from becoming the arrogant, obnoxious genius that I hate in similar shows.
The "Welcome Back" Award - Clancy Brown (the beloved Corbin on Sleepy Hollow), Morris Chestnut (originally from Boyz in the Hood and recently from Legends, Nurse Jackie, American Horror Story, and V)

Best Quotes -
1. Juju: "You need help from a pro." Villa: "Say amen. Don't disrespect the Lord." Juju: "Amen. Okay, amen." Villa: "Now you're gonna tell me everything you know. Otherwise I'm gonna drag you back to the Jacuzzi and baptize your shifty a** in a very un-Christian sort of way. Now you want to start talking."
2. Rosewood: "Detective Willard, long time no see. How's the wife and kids?" Willard: "They hate me and I hate you."
3. Rosewood: "So yes, I have a unique relationship with death but it has never been my obsession. My obsession is with every breath I take."
4. Pippy: "How do we feel about a 9 year old working the grill?" Rosewood: "I feel great. Better her than me."
5. Rosewood: "Be honest. Did you kill Juju?" Villa: "No but we bonded in a meaningful way." Rosewood: "I don't want to know what that means…"
6. TMI: "Hair and nail growth after death is normal. Color change after death is super weird."

Scream Queens - 1.01/1.02 - Pilot/Hell Week

There's nothing quite like Scream Queens on TV. I'm just not sure yet whether that is a good thing or bad. Scream Queens plays itself off as a farce but there's only so many stupid people I can take in one episode, especially when they really are not funny. On the other hand, the second episode was far better than the pilot, mostly because of the introduction of Denise. She's as dumb as the rest of them but she had me chortling. I loved when she freaked out and pushed her friend's dead body out of the car and raced away. Yep, that was the funniest part of the whole 2 hours. The mystery itself is pretty good too. There's no shortage of suspects and since this is going to be a tag team killer at the least, no one can be ruled out as a suspect. Not even the dead. I love how the murders are tied to a death from 1995 as well. It not only heightens the suspense but it lends Scream Queens a sweet sound track from the 80's and 90's. I mean if you are going to let your "sister" die in a bathtub from neglect, it might as well be to TLC's Waterfalls. The biggest mystery of course is whether FOX can hold together the plot for another 13 episodes.

Grade: C+ / B

Ranking - 4- (for now)
Audience - people who laugh during horror movies and snark through the worst of them

Best Reason to Watch - it's unique in the TV landscape
Best Character - Hester, who puts her creepy out in the open instead of hiding it
Best Character Interaction - Grace and her dad
Best Scene - the ending
Best Twist - Munsch knew about the dead baby mamma from 20 years ago / Boone surprise
Best Advice - don't get attached to anyone because they're going to die or be in league with Satan
Biggest Laugh / Best Moment - Twitter before death. You can't expire until you hit the Tweet button.
Biggest Awww Moment - 3 second silent hug with no eye contact
Biggest Douche - technically everyone in this show counts but Chad and Chanel tie by a conceited hair
Biggest Huh - texting someone to say you're going to kill them
Biggest Red Herring - the freaky psycho music playing when Grace leaves Pete
The "Say What?" Award - Your friend comes downstairs with blood all over her hands and the first thing you think is her period? Are you kidding? (Hermoine voice) What. An. Idiot.
Most Brutal - death by lawnmower
Most Terrifying - surprisingly it's not the Red Devil killing everyone but Hester, who could kill you and destroy all the evidence
Most Literal - dancing with the devil means something totally different here
Best Throwback - Waterfalls by TLC
Worst Throwback - Twilight and Team Edward
Worst Mascot Ever - if your school chooses Satan as their mascot, you can't be surprised when a serial killer moves in too
Worst Timing - Munsch hits on Grace's dad while talking about serial killing cannibals
Worst in a Crisis - Denise, who pushes her dead friend out of the car and drives away
The "Brave Little Toaster / Total Idiot" Award - Grace goes into the creepy basement for suds when the lights don't work
The "Welcome Back" Award - Emma Roberts who will always be Nancy Drew to me and Jamie Lee Curtis, Queen of the Scream and current yogurt peddler
Best Music - If You Were Here by The Thompson Twins aka theme from the ending of 16 Candles

1. Gigi: "We can make it fun, huh? Like a Friends episode…but someone's…you know, trying to murder all the friends."
2. Wes: "Please don't join a sorority." Grace: "Dad, we've already talked about this." Wes: "The girls are vicious. Okay honey, I know you think sororities are some kind of like magical sisterhoods but it's actually Game of Thrones once you pull back the veneer."
3. Chad: "I'm gonna call you." Munsch: "Because I can't destroy every phone on earth that'll remain a possibility."
4. Chanel: "Sisters and pledges of Kappa Kappa Tau, you now all share something so very precious to me." Grace: "A felony." Chanel: "A secret and secrets are the glue that bind sorority sisters together."
5. Munsch: "After Dean Reynolds' unfortunate passing over the summer, I was promoted to her position." Chanel: "Well that sure sounds suspicious." Munsch: "Yes, I snuck into the home of my 80 year old colleague of 20 years and dropped a transistor radio in her bathtub so I could get a 5% raise."
6. Chanel #2: "I love a creepy collage."
7. Munsch: "You see out in the real world people just don't talk that way to other people. It's not normal."
8. Chanel: "I would not get personal with me, sweetheart. I don't fight fair."
9. Chanel: "Okay, so you all want to be Kappa's, is that right? Well you're about to learn what being a Kappa is all about. It's about kicking the living cr** out of someone when they disrespect you."
10. Chanel: "No one forced that goat to get as drunk as he got. That's on him."

Returning Shows:

TBBT - 9.01 - The Matrimonial Momentum

Last year, The Big Bang Theory made significant strides in character development especially with Sheldon. It felt like the show had renewed itself. That's why I am leery about them breaking up Sheldon and Amy. I do think Amy needs her own storyline and I am 100% NOT a shipper, but I also don't want Sheldon to devolve back into the first 7 seasons of very little growth. For me, this plot twist will be judged on whether I can stand Sheldon in it or not. I was also surprised that Penny and Leonard went through with the marriage, given how negative they were leading up to it. That's not the way to start a new life together so I wish they had waited on this too. Married but separated isn't very interesting. In the end, it is Mary Cooper's appearance that raises the grade from a C for me. She is probably my favorite character on the show and she's the only time I laughed in the premiere, even though the dialogue was snappier than usual. Every year, TBBT goes in my wait and see pile. Every year, I do end up watching weekly instead of in marathon. Sheldon will be the determining factor to see if the tradition continues in season 9.

Grade: B-

Wish List:
1. Allow Sheldon to grow as a character
2. Give the women more to do and better plotlines
3. More of their parents
4. Energize the tired jokes
5. Mix up the screen time and who's interacting with whom

Best Reason to Watch - Mary Cooper
Best Character - Bernadette
Best Guest - Mary Cooper, who steals every scene she's in like always
Best Way to Deal with Sheldon - close the curtains on him
Best Gesture - Sheldon brings Penny tea so they can commiserate together
Most Bizarre - Toy Story lyrics as vows
Most Beautiful - Leonard's vows
Most Annoying - Sheldon by a landslide…and he was getting so much better last season
Most Surprising - Leonard and Penny actually DID get married
Worst Plan - if you are not happy with eloping, don't
Best Plan - Howard says to just write that it was a beautiful wedding when everyone else misses it
Worst Comment to a Recent Ex - talking about their biological clock won't help you win Amy back, Sheldon
The "Sign of the Ages" Award - watching a wedding via the internet
The "Well That got Creepy Fast" Award - Stuart goes from conciliatory to stalker in 3 seconds flat
The "It's About Time" Award - Amy tells Sheldon off and then breaks up with him
The "Way to Know Your Partner" Award - Penny says the exact right thing to make Leonard happy cry
The "Just Chill" Award - Stuart who is inappropriate with Amy and then gets too excited that a married Penny is in a fight with Leonard

Best Quotes -
1. Sheldon: "When last we spoke, you said you needed time." Amy: "It's only been 11 hours." Sheldon: "The Lord of the Rings trilogy was nearly 11 hours. I made you watch that. You said it was an eternity."
2. Howard: "I'm not saying anything bad. Just that she was in love with her captor and somehow managed to escape from his dark and crazy dungeon."
3. Sheldon: "It's over for me. I'm done with women. Like when I swore off Pop Rocks. They both hurt you on purpose."
4. Sheldon: "She plays the harp and her car is paid for. How much happier can she be?"
5. Mary: "When your idiot brother redeems mankind, he can date whomever he wants."
6. Sheldon: "Some important new information has come to light. Women are the worst. I thought it was paper cuts but I was wrong. No piece of paper ever cut me this deep."
7. Sheldon: "That last one was Madam Curie." Leonard: "I figured that out." Sheldon: "You know what? She was kind of an honorary man. She had a penis made of science."
8. Sheldon: "Raj, you're probably wondering why Amy and I aren't showing any affection to one another." Raj: "Didn't even crack the top 10."

Fresh Off the Boat - 2.01 - Family Business Trip

Fresh Off the Boat was the surprise comedy of the year for me last year. It had that great Goldbergs' mixture of heart and laughs that I love so well. In a season of disappointing new comedies, it is the only one I stuck with that didn't get cancelled (miss you Benched). That's why I am glad that they are not messing with the formula in this premiere. I loved how Louis teaches Jessica to relax but at the same time he confirms that Jessica's role in keeping the family in order is important. Here is a couple that can fight and yet very plainly show that they love and respect each other. It's a refreshing change. There's still too much focus on Eddie but I was glad to see that Emery and Evan are starting to get distinct personalities since last season I pretty much called them Kid 1 and Kid 2. All in all, this was a superb return to form and I look forward to seeing what Jessica is up to next…and the rest of the Huang family.

Grade: B+

Wish List:
1. Less Eddie
2. More Jessica
3. Make the 2 youngest distinguishable from each other instead of background kid wallpaper (CHECK)
4. Keep up with the heart mixed in with the laughs (CHECK)

Best Reason to Watch - laughs + heart
Best Character - Jessica as always
Best Character Interaction - Jessica and Louis
Best Scene - Louis shows Jessica how to relax
Best Marketing - the rollercoaster
Biggest Awww Moment - Louis tells Jessica that she allows him to him
Most In Charge - Jessica when taking down Gator Carol
Most Likely to Incur Vandalism Charges - Jessica in her hunt to not have to pay for a single item more
Most Popular - Emery, who has a rock star lineup of girls wanting him to sign his yearbook
Most Busted - Louis, whose business trip includes a lot of play time
Most Anachronistic - Who was talking about identity theft in the 90's?
Worst Trend - being a couch potato is admirable
Worst Tooth Fairy Ever - instead of leaving money, she leaves chores
Worst to Vacation With - Jessica who puts the pinch in money pincher
Least Likely to be Asked to Sign Yearbooks - Evan, who takes up all the pages to write his memoirs in some poor kid's book
The "Say What?" Award - Bring a cat to feed to the gators and get a discount? PETA must be picketing.
The "Duck and Cover" Move - all the men at the convention center hide when they think their wife is the one calling them out for goofing off

Best Quotes -
1. Eddie: "These guys aren't rappers." Jessica: "They were the gangsters of the sales bin."
2. Louis: "Your job is a vacation…from poverty."
3. Louis: "You're watching out for us so I don't have to. I can be me 'cause I have you."
4. Arielle: "What do you do for joy, Jessica?" Jessica: "I micromanage my family."
5. Louis: "All the franchise power players are going to be there. I need to make a good impression. Which one's Louis Huang? Oh he's the steakhouse owner in the sharkskin suit." Jessica: "Or he's the Chinese guy."
6. Jessica: "We will be using God's towel, the sun."

The Goldbergs - 3.01 - A Kick-A** Risky Business Party

I didn't realize how much I missed The Goldbergs until tonight. No one does heart and laughs better than this show. No one. This episode had me laughing so hard during Beverly's Tom Cruise impersonation that I literally had to pause the episode to catch my breath. Sometimes having the most embarrassing mom on the planet comes in handy. I also loved the moment between Erica and Beverly when Erica realizes that she does appreciate her mother and even though they aren't going to be buddies right now, they may in the future. It was wiser than her years and completely on point. Normally Beverly going this over-the-top bugs me but it was played well for laughs in this case, partly mitigated by Lainey's absolute appreciation for having a mom in her life. I liked that combo and hope we see more of it. It gives Lainey some needed depth if she's going to be staying around and it allows Beverly to seem more sympathetic even at her worst. As always Murray was a high point too, but I wish they would stop having him capitulate to his kids all the time. It would be a great change to see them finally appreciate him and understand why they have the rules they do. Even at 10 minutes, a long-distance call to Seattle every night in the 80's would break the bank. At least make it a once a week thing. Really the only person who comes off poorly in this premiere is Barry. I refuse to think that Beverly would have a stupid child with all the emphasis she put on Lainey's education here, so perhaps letting him be smart sometimes would be a good thing.

Grade: A-

Wish List:
1. Tone Beverly down
2. More Murray with his kids
3. More Pops
4. Let Barry be smart in his own way
5. Keep the heart and laugh mixture coming (Check)

Best Reason to Watch / Best Scene - Beverly doing her Tom Cruise impersonation
Best Character - Beverly
Best Return - Mirsky
Biggest Awww Moment - Erica and Beverly while they are cleaning up after the party
Biggest Rookie Mistake - Erica goes in with a lie about a boyfriend without having any details ready
Most Obnoxious - Beverly tapping on the window
Most Manipulative - Lainey
Most in Need of a Hug - Mr. Glascott
Worst Teen tradition - the "you hang up" game
The "I'm With You" Award - long-distance calling was insanely expensive in the 80's, even to call a few towns away
The "If At First You Don't Succeed…" Award - Stop. Just stop. Barry's attempt to be Tom Cruise is painful to watch.

Best Quotes -
1. Erica: "Thank you for staying. It was pretty cool of you." Beverly: "Look, I know I got carried away with Lainey. It's just I loved having someone who was willing to listen. Someone who's not always pushing me away." Erica: "And I know you love us more than anything and we appreciate it. We really do." Beverly: "So maybe you won't push me away as much." Erica: "It depends on if you won't get carried away so much." Beverly: "Yeah, both aren't gonna happen." Erica: "For now."
2. Murray: "I'm sorry, Adam. I can't afford your love. It's too pricey."
3. Beverly: "What did I tell you about Tom Cruise-ing the floor? It's incredibly risky."
4. Beverly: "The good news is, Lainey, your dad agreed to let you stay with us until he gets back. That means I have 6 days to fix your entire life." Erica: "No way, you have already ruined our lives with your insane love. You are not ruining Lainey's too." Beverly: "Please. She's hot rodding, failing her classes, spending time with shady friends…" Erica: "Hey." Beverly: "Showing questionable taste in boys." Barry: "That's fair."
5. Erica: "No, our mom is just poisoning your mind with her endless well of love and support." Lainey: "Yeah, I'm not seeing how that's a bad thing."
6. Barry: "Sweet Rebecca De Mornay, it's happening. We're gonna throw a real life kick a** Risky Business party."

Scorpion - 2.01 - Satellite of Love

This episode is a win for shippers. It's a distraction in many places for everyone else. Without the constant breaks for shipping, this episode would be an A for me and the best episode of the week. It had tons of snarky fun and great action. Sure it was implausible but not near as much as the pilot so that was a bonus as well. Not to mention Walter got a sense of humor in rehab, making him far less of a douche and a whole lot more fun too. Talk about a positive change! The new Director of Homeland Security is a big plus as well. Where Merrick was cranky and irritating, Molina is frank and applause-worthy. She's also a pure politician who hogs all the credit and can't be trusted so it should be fun watching the crew work with her. The problem then (and why the grade fell) was the pacing. This episode would just hit its stride when the momentum came to a huge, screeching halt for one of the two star-crossed sets of lovers to declare their feelings, or not declare their feelings, or somewhat declare their feelings, or refuse to declare their feelings, or… get the picture. Ugh! That's way too much action-crushing emoangsting for one show, especially one that's thrives on pure adrenaline and humor. Whoever is messing with this show, please stop now.

Grade: B

Wish List:
1. Kill the Walter and Paige romance
2. More time for other main characters and less of a laser focus on Walter
3. Ralph does NOT save anyone and is shuffled off to the back corner only to be referenced occasionally
4. Fix Walter and Cabe's relationship (CHECK)
5. Keep the fun (CHECK)

Best Reason to Watch - all the humor
Best Character - Molina, who is a sensational addition to the show
Best Scene - Molina tells off the President
Best Cameo - Gene Simmons from KISS
Best Reaction - Cabe, Toby, and Happy to Walter's parachute falling down beside them
Best Change - Merrick is out and Molina is in
Best Asset - Happy speaks Japanese
Best Taking Charge - tie - Molina gives the President what for / Happy pulls out all the telephone wires
Biggest Oops - definitely turn off the intercom before having a private tête-a-tête
Biggest Eye Roll - A computer virus gotten to please shippers stops the plan to save the world? Shipping kills the world.
Least Surprising - Walter's vertigo comes back at the wrong time
Most Awkward - Paige and Walter
Most Adorable - Sylvester hugs Walter (a little too tight)
Most Bizarre - Cabe working for Hollywood
Most Worthless Cliffhanger - Paige can't remember the command left to right because of altitude sickness
The "It Does Exist" Award - Walter has a sense of humor and uses it to save everyone from Chopsticks
The "Oh Why Not?" Award - Paige grabs the rabbit's foot for extra luck
The "We Interrupt This World Saving Crisis To…" Award - …talk about our feelings. Again. Shoot me now.
The "Welcome Back" Award - Alana De La Garza from my dearly departed Forever. I miss that show so much.

Best Quotes -
1. Molina: "Respectfully the people in my room are smarter than the people in your room and they say that it should have worked so either a roomful of geniuses are suddenly dumb or a roomful of politicians are lying to protect their own hide. I know which one I would bet on." Toby: "Is she talking to the President like that?" Cabe: "I believe she is." Toby: "I'm getting audited."
2. Molina: "Further you have intimate knowledge of Russian aerospace engineering." Happy: "No, we don't." Molina: "I am looking directly at an illegally obtained Cold War era rocket." Happy: "Oh, that thing."
3. Toby: "You know Adriana, I was wondering if Homeland told you about our Saving the World bonus. It's for when we save the world." Molina: "No but I was made aware of money you owe the IRS in undeclared gambling winnings." Toby: "Maybe we should table the bonus talk right now."
4. Walter: "Oh no, no, no. I'm resting." Cabe: "That's wise and the next time you hold out on me in regards to your health, we're gonna have an issue." Walter: "Paige told you?" Cabe: "No, I just know you kid."
5. Happy: "It was a toy. Now it's a weapon." Toby: "Very mature. Warfare sprinkled with arts and crafts."
6. PT: "Alright, well you need to avoid stress at all costs. This isn't a joke, Mr. O'Brien." Walter: "I'm a tech geek. How stressful can it be?"

About the Author - Dahne
One part teacher librarian - one part avid TV fan, Dahne is a contributing writer for SpoilerTV, where she recaps, reviews, and/or creates polls for Teen Wolf, The 100, Grimm, How to Get Away with Murder, The Librarians, and others. She also runs the annual Character Cup. She's addicted to Twitter, live tweets a multitude of shows each week, and co-hosts The 100 "Red-Shirted", Sleepy Hollow "Headless" and Teen Wolf "Welcome to Beacon Hills" podcasts for Southgate Media Group. Currently she writes a Last Week in TV column for her blog and SpoilerTV. ~ "I speak TV."
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