Monday, February 13, 2017

Couch Potato...The Fine Print!

Welcome to an all new episode of Couch Potato!!

Wait what?

Well, not exactly an "episode," but the next phase of my TV branch of my blog. If you remember last year, I began posting videos on YouTube, talking about TV and beginning a TV branch on my blog. I made three episodes then stopped. Honestly, what happened was I had it worked out with my work schedule of getting home in the afternoon, that gave me a couple hours of peace and quiet to practice scenes, get my thoughts down, and prepare a show. I loved doing it, but it was hard, it was time consuming, and I think I suck at being a host. It also got tough because my work schedule changed yet again, and I don't have that window on Friday to do the show.

I still love the idea of expanding a TV branch on this blog, so I plan to keep Couch Potato alive, just in written form. I hope that doesn't disappoint anybody. Each Monday, I will have some TV topics I want to cover. I will discuss them, and I will do my darnest to mix it up every week. I will probably talk about some of the same things each week, but I will plan to keep it fresh. As new shows come into the fold as the year wears on, I will try to cover as much of it as I can, just as I cover as much in my movie year that I can.

No further ado, here some TV topics I want to cover today.

Is Jerome The Joker or not?
Let me be frank here, compared to all the other superhero stuff on TV, "Gotham" ranks as one of my least favorite shows. Perhaps its my vast knowledge and admiration of the Caped Crusader that ruins it for me, but I don't find a lot of tension with any of the characters when I know this is a prequel show. Obviously, nothing "bad" or "Earth shattering" can happen to people like Jim Gordon, or Alfred or Harvey Bullock...because they will be Batman's allies. Nothing can happen to Oswald or Edward Nygma or Selina or any other villain they've introduced, because they are going to challenge Bruce Wayne one day. I feel absolutely nothing for the characters because I already know the outcome. Prequels are usually a wet blanket and it takes a skilled writer to ring the tension and emotion out of an outcome the audience is already expecting. 

Here's the other thing, its also one of the most schizophrenic shows on TV. Every season is just the same in the way that there is never a clear story line, season to season. A few episodes will focus on one group of characters for a few episodes, then another, and it won't feel connected. Then they'll play the whole "Guess who we are introducing tonight!" game. Honestly, it's all nonsense, there has only been one stretch of the series that felt like one story, and that was the "Rise of the Villains" storyline in season 2, after that it turned into a big free-for-all afterward. Plus, why does Jim Gordon keep saving the day? Gotham is supposed to be getting worse and worse, otherwise what's the point of Bruce becoming Batman?

In a series full of strange choices and big fuck-ups, the handling of Jerome has been high on that list. First, the showrunners made it very clear that he wasn't the Joker and that they were going to leave The Joker ambiguous, which was a smart choice. Then Jerome got popular and they kept bringing him back, stretching his story, making him more and more Joker-ish. Then they killed him and I loved the idea of a "Jerome Cult" which would give birth to The Joker. But once again, I am not so sure. After Jerome has kidnapped Bruce, for the second goddamn time, Jerome is merely thrown in prison, and now even looks more like The Joker. At this point, it would feel kind of weird if Jerome isn't The Joker. But still, why not leave him ambiguous? Why ruin the origin of yet another great character? Couldn't we just let good enough alone. I feel they are setting themselves up to fail. If Jerome ends up being the Joker, they will have ruined what made his relationship with Bruce so unique, if he isn't the Joker, showrunner Bruno Heller will never hear the end of it. I don't know if its the shows worst screw up, but its close too. But hey, at least Cameron makes it interesting.

Welcome to Probsttown
In March, The People's Temple of Probst...oops, I mean "Survivor" returns. I don't mean to be morbid or disturbing, comparing a reality game show to a cult that took the lives of almost a thousand people back in the late 1970s. But I feel like "Survivor" has become a cult. Since 2010, we've only had seven out thirteen seasons where a cast of all newbies competed for the million dollar prize. It seems like season after season, Probst can't help himself. The new Survivor fandom has become obsessed with watching their favorite players come back to compete again. Everywhere you look, you can read "I want this person back!" "I want that person back!" I am sitting here thinking, wouldn't it be better if we got all newbies for at least a five year period?

I have been a fan of this show since I was in fifth grade. I understand that the show has changed. It isn't much of a social experiment anymore, its more of a game show now. Its a reality TV show that wouldn't have lasted if it didn't change. I can live with changes, I understand changes. But do we need to see returnees as often as we are? Especially since they are the same people, over and over again? If Jeff really you, you can play multiple times. Next season, entitled "Survivor: Game Changers," we will get Ozzy for a fourth time, Cirie for a fourth time, Malcolm for a third time and the two-time winner Sandra for a third time. Do we honestly need to watch Ozzy bitch and moan once his agenda crumbles? Do we honestly need to see Malcolm and Cirie fail again, because they are too dangerous to keep around? Do we need to see Sandra destroy her legendary reputation to see people like Brad Culpepper advance? Do we need Ciera Eastin to play again, just because she voted out her mom in "Blood vs. Water?"

These people keep getting cast because Jeff Probst likes them. No, it has nothing to do with ratings, because its still one of CBS' top shows on Wednesday nights. No, it can't do with those applying for the show, and if it is, its laziness on the casting directors. Out of the thousands and thousands who apply to be on this show, you're telling me that you can't find twenty people who would fit the Survivor mold and make a good season? Somehow I find it hard to believe. This is because casual fans can't help but continue to watch their favorites over and over again, and since they have become ratings machines, Jeff is happy to indulge. Essentially, Survivor has become "Real World/Road Rules Challenge" and I wonder how long Probst can coast on casting his friends over and over again until people get sick of it.

Legion is my name, for we are many.
Now that I am done talking about my least favorite comic book show on TV, I guess its fitting to start discussing my new favorite comic book show on TV. Its interesting, because it certainly doesn't feel like a comic book show. Honestly, I think that's what I dig about it. This past week, "Legion" premiered on FX. Which focuses on a character named Legion. Legion is a minor Marvel anti-hero, who happens to be the son of Professor Charles Xavier from X-Men. The show is about Legion being in the nuthouse, because nobody can believe that this guy really can move things with his mind and read minds and such. But he's not crazy, he's a mutant!

If you go to "Legion's" Wikipedia page, it will say that the show is connected to the X-Men film franchise. Bryan Singer, who directed "X1," "X2," "Days of Future Past" and "X-Men: Apocalypse" is a producer on the show. Laura Shuler Donner, who produced every X-Men movie is a producer on here, but Donner herself also said that "Legion" will in no way takes place in the "X-Men" movie universe. There are some frustrating reports going on here, but it honestly doesn't matter to me. I don't think this show is going to need the X-Men movies. Its already made a powerful statement with just its series premiere. Also, this world is so radically different from anything we've seen in the "X-Men" movies that I can't even imagine Hugh Jackman or Patrick Stewart or Jennifer Lawrence or Michael Fassbender showing up anywhere. The series premiere didn't play the whole "hey, remember this from the movies?" game. There are no superhero antics, no big, costumed fights (although the one fight that closed out the premiere was much more action-packed compared to any X-Men movie). This show is driven by mood, atmosphere, character and narrative. I'll be curious to see where this leads!

A New Day
So "24" is back, but not really. We haven't seen Jack Bauer yet, but this seems to be a different breed of "24." This new show on Fox is "24: Legacy" which stars Corey Hawkins as Eric Carter. Eric Carter is a former Army Ranger who is home after his involvement with the killing of a powerful terrorist leader. Now that he's home, he and all of his squad members in the mission to kill the terrorist are being targeted for assassination. Is there a bigger picture? Of course there is! This is "24" we are talking about, of course there is a bigger picture. These assassinations are all apart of a bigger terrorist attack. Do you think there is political corruption? Because there seems to be. Do you think that there are characters you wouldn't have guessed involved in the conspiracy? Well, that in here too. "24: Legacy" is pretty much regular "24" without Jack Bauer. That may feel like blasphemy to most. It like if the "Indiana Jones" franchise continued with Shia LaBeouf and dropped Harrison Ford. 

But, I am blown away that I am actually digging it so far. Yes, you can call me a blasphemer. But I don't care. Its been alright so far. Do I think its the same without Jack? You bet I don't. But this show has done a good job so far of keeping to the spirit of its predecessor. The sad thing is, it really hasn't become anything of its own yet. If it wants to survive more than one season, its going to have to form some DNA of its own. It can feel like a frame for frame "24" season, without Jack. That ultimately won't work.

New Celebrity Apprentice...And the winner is...
Tonight was the season finale of "The New Celebrity Apprentice." After Donald Trump announced his Presidency, someone had to fill the Apprentice void, especially because Trump was never coming back period, after the comments he made. Trump has been replaced by Schwarzenegger. Even if you missed that bit, you certainly picked up on it since Trump has been lambasting Schwarzenegger's low ratings. Even though people all over the country or boycotting the show because Trump is still an executive producer on the show.

That sucks for me though, because I liked this new Celebrity Apprentice. I love Schwarzenegger, and I thought he did a great job hosting this show. I don't want him to have bad ratings, I want another season next year. I want new celebrities facing off under Schwarzenegger's close eye. I get the boycott, I just wish people could pick up on the idea that if they really wanted to stick to Trump, that they tuned in every week. This season saw people like Boy George, Vince Neill, Jon Lovitz (who made me laugh, week by week), Brooke Burke, Laila Ali, Lisa Leslie, Carson Kressley, Ricky Williams, Porsha Williams, Chael Sonnon, Kyle Richards, Snookie, Eric Dickerson, Carnie Wilson, Carrie Keagan and the NEW CELEBRITY APPRENTICE Matt Iseman. Matt Iseman is the host of "American Ninja Warrior" and in the finale, he went head-to-head against Boy George in the final task. He was the least famous person there, a true underdog, and he won. A true underdog story. It was a fun, entertaining season. All the contestants were memorable and Schwarzenegger was just plain awesome. Don't let this show die!

The powerless "Powerless"

In superhero shows, movies and even comics, I have always wondered how the everyday people react to superheroes being in the world. Let's face it, its not something that is really dealt with in any form of media. When superpowered beings are running around, fighting other superpowered beings, doing property damage, saving the would us regular folk react? How do normal people live in a world with superpowered people in it? Its a cool idea for a story, and I was highly looking forward to "Powerless" for this sole reason. I wanted to see what they'd do with the idea of focusing on regular people living in a world with superheroes and supervillains. Especially since this was taking place in the DC universe.

The thing is, I have seen the first two episodes of "Powerless" and I am thinking honestly about stopping. The characters on this show are just like the bystanders we see in superhero movies. They don't seem phased that there are superheroes and supervillains on Earth. They just make mind-numbing jokes about it. We get Bruce Wayne's cousin, played by the exceptional Alan Tudyk and he's completely wasted here. His character is just a walking gag, making fun of his cousin because we know Bruce Wayne is Batman. We follow a branch of Wayne Enterprises as they invent technology that regular people can benefit from while living in a world with superpowered people in it. That's the show, but each episode is a big ball obvious. They go for the obvious metaphors every time. They go for the obvious jokes every time. "Powerless" is a show that is trying way too hard. After all the shows about DC characters out right now, the "Arrows" and "Flashs" and "Supergirls" and "Legends of Tomorrow's" we are getting more and more acclimated to the DC universe, we really don't need a show that smacks us over the head with obvious jokes. "Powerless" isn't really a show that deals with a unique topic, its a DC-themed stand-up comedy routine for half an hour each Thursday. Nothing bothers me more than wasted potential. This show absolutely wreaks of it.

That's all for now...
Those are the big highlights for me this week. I will see you here on Monday for more TV discussion. Tune back in tomorrow night for my recap and review of "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

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