JOHN OSTRANDER: TV MIDTERM REPORT CARD

Blacklist

by John Ostrander

Well, we’re now in the Christmas doldrums for TV. The regular series are on hiatus until January or later. A couple of columns ago I discussed which shows I was anticipating or not (So How Was It For You?) and this seems a good time to revisit them and give my evaluations.

Warning: there may be spoilers sprinkled here and there. You have been warned.

The Flash – my favorite in this group. Grant Gustin is doing good work as Barry Allen/The Flash and the supporting cast is good. The writing is also first rate and they keep adding little nods to DC continuity that pleases the Old Fan in me.

Grade: A

The Blacklist – The show has kept my attention and James Spader as main character/anti-hero Red Reddington is worth watching all by himself. I thought the premise would get old fast but I find it holding up.

Grade: A-

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – The show has gotten a lot more complicated and more imbedded in Marvel continuity. Is that a good thing? Depends on your own taste. More characters have been added but a few were killed off in the finale. They’re taking a hiatus until March and, in its place they’re bringing in Agent Carter. It’ll pick up Captain America’s “best girl,” Peggy Carter, played by Hayley Atwell in a series about the founding of S.H.I.E.L.D. It takes place after the events of the first Captain America film. The two series appear to have ties to one another and I think it’s an interesting experiment.

Grade: B+

Arrow – There’s some interesting stuff going on here and they’re capable of taking twists and turns and surprising me. They also take a lot of characters and ideas from DC continuity. My problem with it is that it wants to be Batman and I don’t think that’s who Green Arrow ever was. Still, it’s worth watching and, every so often, Amanda Waller shows up. A skinny Waller, true, but she still puts change in my pocket.

Grade: B

Gotham – This may be my most controversial judgment. Lots of people love the show but I’m not one of them. I don’t hate it but it’s not must see for me. I’m not really interested in any of the characters. Frankly, it needs Batman but Bruce Wayne is a kid at this point and Bats won’t show up for ten years and I doubt the show will go that long.

Grade: C

Constantine – The show is creepy enough at times but it isn’t really setting me afire. I like it okay (although some folks – and critics – hate it) but it, too, is not must see viewing for me. The title character just isn’t snarky enough to suit me. He needs to borrow some of James Spader’s attitude from The Blacklist. Matt Ryan is okay as Constantine but they’ve made the character a little more haunted by his past. They want us to like him. Spader doesn’t give a damn if you like Red Reddington or not and thus is a more compelling character. Charles Halford is good as Chas and I’d like to see more of him but Angélica Celaya is vapid as Zed.

There’s a lot pf questions as to whether or not the series will be back for a second season. NBC isn’t commissioning anything beyond the first 13 episodes so it’s doesn’t look great although everyone connected with the show keep making positive noises. I guess we’ll find out in January.

Grade: C-

Castle – sadly, once my favorite show is now running on fumes. The characters don’t have the same life and sparkle that they once did and some of the plots have just stunk. If ABC announced the show’s cancellation, I wouldn’t be too sad. Or surprised.

Grade: D

So that’s my scorecard at half time for the season. Your mileage may vary.