Wednesday, 6 May 2015


Wednesday, 6 May 2015

BATES MOTEL (season 3, so far)
Not sure why I still watch this A&E series, because you can feel the writers struggling to think up new ways to keep the plates spinning. My patience with Norman Bates' evolution into the orphaned, cross-dressing psycho from Hichcock's seminal movie is wearing thin, and even Vera Farmiga's enjoyable screwy performance as Norma Bates is starting to grow tiring. She's great in this role, sure, but still a small oasis in an artistic desert.

COMMUNITY (season 6, so far)
One of my favourite comedies in years is approaching the end of its sixth season, having been rescued by Yahoo after NBC axed it in 2014, and yet I feel no inclination to review it these days. It's not as terrible as the Dan Harmon-less season 4, but there are definite signs of creative fatigue now, and I'd be surprised if it comes back for a seventh season. The actors are all poised to accept other jobs—especially Alison Brie and Danny Pudi. I haven't really taken to the newcomers this season, either—Paget Brewster's pen-pusher Frankie is an intentional buzzkill, and Keith David's inventor Elroy hasn't lived up to expectations. Half the time I don't feel like they even know what to do with Elroy, so he just feels like a poor-man's Pierce with token jokes at the expense of 1990s computing. There have been some fun episodes, but nothing mind-blowing, and it seems the series really does miss Donald Glover's presence as Troy. We have six seasons, against all odds, but would a movie be welcome now? I'm imaging we'll get an "online exclusive" film bankrolled by Yahoo that's essentially a two-part episode with the budget of six half-hours, maybe. Or see you for the Kickstarter appeal in 2017.

GOTHAM (season 1)
My feelings on this Batman prequel are well-known by now, so I won't repeat myself again. But while Gotham achieved brief periods where it's been a fun watch, it's become a ridiculous joke now. Fish Mooney's adventures with the hammy Dollmaker, wheedling herself into his services to save her own skin? Ludicrous. The way she returned to Gotham with a new hairdo, that instantly made Selena Kyle into her young wannabe/protégé? Laughable. But the prize for the season's craziest misstep has got to be the Ogre storyline, where Heroes' Milo Ventimiglia played a serial killer who targets the lovers of the cops who try and catch him. (Why not put a female cop on the case, huh?) The whole thing only existed so criminally underused Barbara could get one storyline before the season ended, and they made her into a latent psycho-bitch happy to have sex in a sadist's "torture chamber", before helping murder her own parents and later attacking her ex's new girlfriend? Oh good Lord. The show clearly suffered from having to produce twice the number of episodes it had cogent material for, alas. No hiding it now, for the most part Gotham was garbage. It will need a complete overhaul for a second season to work.

GAME OF THRONES (season 5, so far)
This show always takes nearly six episodes to arrange its pieces, so I'll reserve judgement until later because we've only had four hours. But, for what it's worth, you can tell we're beginning another of George R.R Martin's books, and that the new material not as gripping. The writers know this, too, which is why storylines unique to the TV series are beginning to come to the fore—such as Sansa Stark's arranged marriage subplot. I'm prepared to give this show some time, because it's typical for a big surprise to reinvigorate my interest, but so far I'm just... moderately entertained by what's going on.

It made unfortunate mistakes since the first handful of promising episodes, regarding its treatment of women and the absurd repetitiveness of Will Forte's deceitful character Phil Miller. It's no wonder Fox broadcast it in double-bills most weeks, because it would be a monumental drag if they didn't. But, somehow, I watched till the end, and I'm mostly glad I did. It's different, and the writers realised they made bad decisions and tried to fix them by the end. I'm just surprised the show's going to come back next year, because while the denouement was fun (an idea lifted from Y: The Last Man) it ultimately suggests more of the same—yet another survivor entering the picture, to mess with Phil's head, while undoing the potency of the show's bleak title.