Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Fox Mon-daze

This post is about doomed TV shows.

Specifically, current Monday-night FOX TV shows. Yes, the ones that get canceled after 3/4ths of a season. The 2013 cyberpunk show Almost Human was a really good show, Fox. It had a cool story it was building to, but you canceled it before we could get any resolution. Doofuses.

But this isn't about Almost Human, its about the two shows that are on Monday nights on Fox now: Gotham and Sleepy Hollow.

Sleepy Hollow, against all odds, actually got a second season. So far we're two episodes in, and while the first season had an enjoyable cop-buddy mystery/comedy combination, upon its return it initially seemed a little stale. Also they've made John Noble a main bad guy in it. While John Noble is one of the finest Fox Sci-Fi show alums ever (Fringe I love you!), I'm finding it hard to accept his act as the Horseman of War. In my mind he's supposed to be lovable and weary Walter Bishop, not an evil cultist with a mind-controlled autonomous suit-of-armor sidekick. But that's probably just my issue.

The writing in the first episode was a little ho-hum and the show was having a real hard time holding my interest at first, until near the end of the second episode they started reading the chant for the resurrection of a Frankenstein-style monster. They were summoning it to fight the Horseman of Death or somesuch. That's when Ichabod Crane started doing the classic Cthulhu chant: "That is not dead which can eternal lie, and with strange aeons even death may die..." over and over. That kind of nod to classic horror literature I can appreciate. I'm glad that TV producers have realized Lovecraft's writings are public domain now, so they can use subjects from the Cthulhu Mythos all they want (Also see: True Detective). If they keep this up and tie in more Cthulhu mythos stuff to the Christian Apocalypse vibe they have going on it might actually be a shame when Sleepy Hollow doesn't get renewed for a third season by Fox.

Now as a major DC comics fan, I am extremely skeptical about Gotham. A show that takes place during Batman's childhood? That sounds great! Who wouldn't want to watch a boy be sad for fifteen years? [/sarcasm] Plus after watching Arrow on the WB (with all its WB high school drama-ness), I wasn't all that optimistic that the Batman noir would translate to well to TV. Unfortunately the first episode had me very concerned a few parts in, because it seemed like it was just a shovel-in-as-many-DC-references-as-possible. We saw the young counterparts of way too many familiar Batman villains for one episode. Catwoman (Cat-girl?), Poison Ivy ('Baby Ivy?'), Riddler, and Penguin. Thus far it looks like its going to be mostly about the rise of The Penguin. But how they introduced the Riddler (currently Gotham PD's forensic specialist) was way too in-the-face. He kept speaking in riddles to all his coworkers instead of conversing normally. It was clearly obvious he was the Riddler two seconds in, and that scene went on way too long. Then they even have Bullock say: "No riddles, Nigma. What've you got?". We get it. He's the Riddler. Let's move on.

By the second episode as a cop drama its actually getting good, much to my surprise. The show mostly follows Gordon and Bullock. We got to see how corrupt Bullock has to be to get things done in Gotham, and how he stands up for Gordon even though he doesn't like him. We got to see a good amount with Carmine Falcone as the crime boss overlord, which is great (as long as Gordon doesn't actually take him down -- because as we all know Batman needs to deal with him in Batman: Year One). This show is off to a pretty good start and I hope it keeps building well such that Fox doesn't cancel it halfway through the season.

There's only one thing I want to beg the writers, producers, and all Fox people involved:


Can you imagine them shoehorning in 'Kid Joker'? No matter how much the Fox show board members believe that introducing the Joker will increase viewers and ad revenue, it is against all that's Holy in the Batman universe to give us any inclination about the Joker's true identity. The Joker is revealed only AFTER Batman starts kicking criminal ass, so if they show us some young kid that is obviously supposed to be the pre-Joker (like they've done with the Riddler) I am going to be very upset. I would totally accept a nod to The Red Hood*, but not anything overtly Joker-related. But what say do I have? Here's to hoping Fox doesn't screw it up.

*Reference for DC Super-Fans.
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