Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Too Much TV: the season in review

There are still new shows running in June and into the summer -- I'm currently watching Preacher and Outcast -- but the traditional "fall" TV season ended last month. So at a moment when I'm not finding much time to watch movies -- perhaps perversely, I'm going back and forth on Netflix between Jacques Rivette's Out 1 and Miguel Gomes' Arabian Nights, so don't expect to see my reviews of those monsters for a while -- I've decided to indulge in a little ranking. With no further ado, here are my ten favorite TV shows of the late season.

1. Black Sails (3rd season, Starz)
2. The 100 (3rd season, The CW)
3. iZombie (2nd season, The CW)
4. The Magicians (1st season, SyFy)
5. The Last Kingdom (1st season, BBC America)
6. Jessica Jones (1st season, Netflix)
8. The Night Manager (miniseries, AMC)
8. The Flash (2nd season, The CW)
9. Into the Badlands (1st season, AMC)
10. Ash vs. Evil Dead (1st season, Starz)

Honorable mention: Underground (1st season, WGN America).

Incomplete: Daredevil (2nd season, Netflix)

As a reminder, I don't watch everyone else's favorite shows, Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead, only because they began before I made my current commitment to series TV and I'll never have time to catch up. I'm too busy trying to catch up with shows from 50-60 years ago to even try, and I hope to say something about some of those shows this summer.

For the hell of it, here are my least favorite shows of the season:

1. DaVinci's Demons (3rd season, Starz - QUIT)
2. The Bastard Executioner (1st season, FX - QUIT)
3. Legends of Tomorrow (1st season, The CW)
4. Arrow (4th season, The CW)
5. Wynonna Earp (1st season, SyFy - QUIT)

No show fell in quality as rapidly as DaVinci's Demons, crashing from the pulpy heights of the hero's improbable Incan adventures in Season Two to unwatchable pointlessness as the writers indulged in the Hydrafication of the Renaissance by portraying a Turkish incursion into Southern Italy as a feud between two secret societies that had little to do, of course, with Islam or Christianity, and then stalled the invasion to have our hero hunt for a serial killer, while checking in dutifully on characters no one cared about in further subplots. Arrow has fallen nearly as far from its height, but it's taken the producers two seasons to reach those depths, while Legends of Tomorrow most likely will never have heights from which to fall. No show seemed more randomly or futilely plotted as that one. At least it moved, if only flailingly, which was more than could be said for the numbing inertia of Bastard Executioner. Wynonna Earp is by far the least offensive of these shows: it merely bored me. Gotham, which I quit in the middle of the "Rise of the Villains" arc, gets a dishonorable mention in this category.

Since there is always too much TV, stay tuned for my reviews of Preacher, Outcast and The Night Manager as well as some old but good westerns and possibly a few things more.

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