Look, I expected to have a good amount of time this summer to do a few things, like prep for recapping the next season of Arrow and possibly The Flash for NerdLush this fall, getting caught up on my Smallville minicaps (seriously, I fell way behind thanks to season 7), catch up on shows I have in my back catalogue (I would take this time to discuss watching all of Banshee, but really, that’s NOT for this site)…BUT NOOOOOOO! There’s got to be some good programming put out during this time. Anyway, here’s some of my favorite new shows I’ve checked out over the summer (along with some brief criticism):
THE STRAIN — So I’m a big fan of Guillermo del Toro’s work, which makes me the right viewer for this show based on the books he co-wrote, right? Well, let’s start with the basic plot: modern-day take on vampires in New York City. In essence, vampires are a virus and they start to infect people thanks to an overreaching conspiracy, which leaves various people having to stop it. There’s some nice scares, some vampire stuff that looks like slight alterations from GDT’s Reaper vampires from Blade 2, and for the most part, its all good.
The only criticism I have so far is really is how serialized the show is. Half a season is over, accounting for a week of actual screentime, and yet six weeks have passed since the show started. Binge watching this probably solves a lot of the pacing issues, but week to week, its been often a slog. It doesn’t help also that the authority figures who can prevent this contagion are almost insanely dumb (like the federal agents who just seem to ignore all kinds of common sense in this week’s episode, the CDC boss, supporting characters, etc.), and a big centerpiece in a solar eclipse (basically like extra nighttime for bloodsuckers) is just one or two vampires running around when there’s way more in the city already. But things are picking up now so it’ll be fun to see what the rest of the season delivers.
OUTLANDER — What, there’s a new drama out from Ronald D. Moore? And it’s not a TV version of that Jim Caviezel sci-fi movie about aliens and Vikings? It’s a historical time-traveling romantic drama set in Scotland? Um, okay. Once I put it like that, Outlander really doesn’t seem like a show I’d be interested in watching, and yet it is something I’m enjoying.
Unlike my issues with The Strain about pace, for some reason the show’s pace hasn’t been a big issue with me (we don’t get the pivotal shift to the past until about the final act of the first episode), and an interesting female protagonist certainly helps. I haven’t read any of the books the show is based on, but I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next. Also, it helps to have some great Bear McCreary music backing things up. Seriously, I’ve been humming that theme music for a while now.
THE LEFTOVERS – So wait, a show about a decent amount of the world’s population disappearing is supposed to be depressing? Well, The Leftovers is, like any good post-apocalyptic yarn, is all about figuring out what to do after a worldwide event has millions of people just vanishing. And a lot of that figuring out involves sex, murder, suicide, and depression. Duh-doy.
What I’ve liked about the show is how is hasn’t gone to explaining yet what exactly did happen, and focus on the people still around. And this being on HBO, there’s plenty of really shocking moments of violence (one episode involves a hate crime that is really horrifying to see) and sex. But, I still like how intense this show has been in its PTSD- laced subject matter (and the episode involving one survivor’s life after the vanishing has been one of my favorite episodes of TV ythis year). But really, you got to be in the right state to watch this. Certainly don’t binge watch this, all right?
Well, I’m curious about you, dear Readers. What TV have you checked out over the summer? Old shows? New shows? Discuss…