Fall 2015 promised to be a pretty interesting season for new TV shows. Or maybe I just figured they would be interesting because I saw far more brown people than I’m used to seeing. Diversity being such a hot topic last year and the (crazy, unexpected) success of Empire, opened the doors for more shows about and starring people of color. Drawn by brown faces and actors I love, I decided to give way more shows than usual my attention.
The promos for Quantico had me intrigued from the start. Okay, the pretty faces, especially that of Priyanka Chopra, intrigued me. The premise: a group of FBI cadets begin their training at Quantico and six months later, the shit hits the fan by way of a bomb that decimates an entire city block. The main suspect is star agent, Alex Parrish (Priyanka Chopra). The show employs flashbacks, which anyone who knows me knows I hate. Why writers can’t explain what happened without a bunch of flashbacks, I’ll never understand. Much like How To Get Away With Murder, the flashbacks on Quantico [almost always] deftly tell the story of what happened before, while keeping the audience engaged on the now. The actors are gorgeous, maybe too gorgeous. I can’t imagine any of them being FBI agents; they stand out too much! Where are all the plain, nondescript recruits? Everyone is shady as hell! Every character is suspicious and I like not knowing what will happen next. I don’t remember another show that had me guessing quite this much. It was recently announced that ABC ordered a full season, so Alex has some time to clear her name. Grade: A
I can admit it, Morris Chestnut is the only reason I wanted to watch Rosewood. Lorraine Touissant made me want to stick around. Three episodes later, I’m not sure why I watch this show, let alone why I let it take up precious space on my DVR. Rosewood, to me, is a cross between Quincy, Crossing Jordan, Bones, Psych, and CSI:Miami. It’s not a bad show; it’s just not very good. The premise: Rosewood (Morris Chestnut), a pathologist with a history of medical issues works with the police to solve crimes. Here’s the problem, they don’t usually even ask for his help; he just shows up. Detective Villa, who Rosewood rubs the wrong way, wants none of his help, even when he’s right. I like all of the characters and actors except one: Rosewood’s “partner”, Villa. She tries too hard and it’s borderline embarrassing to watch them on screen together; they have zero chemistry. It would have made more sense to cast Nicole Ari-Parker in this role, since all signs point to Rosewood and Villa ending up together. Eh…no. Let’s not do that. I haven’t watched anymore episodes but Fox did order a full season, so I guess I have time to catch up. I guess. Grade: C+
I love Minority Report and I can’t get over how much I do. I was skeptical at first because I’m not a big Megan Goode fan, but I enjoyed the movie and I have to show some support. The pilot was only okay and I figured maybe it would be a “watch on demand” or “watch a bunch of episodes at one time on DVR” kind of show. I’m so happy I stuck with it. Each episode is better than the next. The premise: several years after three precogs were released from their milk bath and free to live their lives on their own, one of them, Dash, works with Detective Vega (Megan Goode) to help her stop murders before they happen. I wasn’t sure Minority Report would translate well from the big screen to the small screen; TV budgets aren’t usually that good. I was wrong. The showrunners have done a good job of making the future look great; every episode I’m floored by a new gadget that is featured. Vega and Dash have great chemistry and work well together. As a matter of fact, all of the characters pair well together. Unfortunately, the ratings for Minority Report are not good and Fox is keeping the season at 10 episodes. I’m choosing to not take this to mean it will get canceled, but rather that they want to have tighter storylines. Grade: A
Code Black is a medical drama about the ER staff in a busy L.A. hospital, starring an ensemble cast that includes Marcia Gay Harden, Luis Guzman, and Raza Jaffrey. The premise itself is in no way original. Didn’t we see this 20 years ago on NBC? But what can I say? I love medical dramas. What makes this show stand out is the stellar cast. I’m a sucker for both Marcia Gay Harden and Luis Guzman, individually, so together I’m a complete goner. Their chemistry is great and to be honest, all of the characters and actors have remarkable chemistry. The show, while wonderfully cast and acted, suffers from a problem I can’t seem to get past; it’s on CBS. I don’t trust their ability to stand behind shows that are not for the octogenarian set. I’ve missed an episode already, so I need to play catch up and remember when it airs. Grade: B
The premise for Blindspot is that a woman suffering from amnesia, covered in tattoos, is left wondering who she is and why she was left in the middle of the city with an FBI agent’s name on her back. It’s rather difficult for me to talk about this show because it was my most anticipated new show of the season and it is my biggest disappointment. Starring Jamie Alexander, the pilot for Blindspot was so good; I pretty much decided no other show could stand up against it. Yes, based off the first episode. What we actually got was a great example of bait and switch. They hooked us with an amazing pilot, only to leave us scratching and shaking our collective heads during the next two. Yes, the action is good; I for one love seeing Jamie kick ass all over town. But by the second episode, she had beat up two men of color in apartments, spilling into stairwells, using the same damn moves. Not to mention her constant complaining about who may or may not know her identity and her whining about what she could do to help the team if she had a gun, too. Then they gave her one—without an ounce of training or a badge. And that’s when I stopped watching. I won’t even go into the wooden acting of the male lead or the fact that the supporting actors are not being fully utilized; suffice it to say, this show will not be missed by me. Grade: D
Making the decision to watch a new show can be a dicey situation. Best case scenario, shows are better than you expected. Worst case, you’ll be begging for those hours on your deathbed.