Hey DEADheads, it’s Ryne from The Moon is a Dead World. We’re adding some shows to our roster this year, because it’s the fall season and the horror TV world is sort of busting at the seams. Shawn’s going to take Gotham, which isn’t really horror but it’s about fucking Batman so don’t bitch ya nerds. I’ve got Sleepy Hollow, heading into its sophomore season with another 13-episode arc. There’s definitely more to come, but these are the early premieres, along with the normal stuff like The Lottery, And Shawn’s show Z Nation.
The Lottery: “Mr. Torino” – Sunday, September 21 at 9 PM
The Lottery is leading up to its explosive finale, or so the previews for next episode call it, and “Mr. Torino” is about setting all of those plans in motion. Alison and Vanessa have been attempting to find the owner of the Torino, because they know that’s the person who helped start the infertility crisis; but they’re put in danger at the same time, because Darius will do anything in his power to assassinate the president, even if it means quarantining his daughter so she can’t tell anyone.
While Vanessa has been working to get the venue for the President’s announcement changed, Darius has been working behind her planning out the details of how they’ll kill him off. It’s a cat-and-mouse game, and “Mr. Torino” actually amps the tension up quite a bit. For one, it’s really not clear what Darius will do to his daughter since she knows his ultimate plan; it’s also left open how far he’ll go to make sure Vanessa and Alison don’t get closer to him.
This is all well and good, and The Lottery makes use of this in “Mr. Torino” quite a bit to keep the plot moving. But there’s still the unsettling amount of plot that doesn’t quite match up. Kyle goes through with his plan to help the MayTwos, so now they are going to help him get his son back. Likewise, Perry continues to harbor her doubts about whether she should help the President’s wife after she’s forced to cover up Angela’s death.
Again, these moments seem to be outside of the regular plotting of the show; they add subplots, but rarely do they seem to be culminating in a bigger theme besides being offshoots of the infertility crisis involving the lottery. Hopefully the finale is able to tie all of these elements together, or it will feel like a waste to have watched so much of these disparate parts.
The Lottery is still not a great show, but its second half of the first season has been pulling in some better themes and well-paced elements to give it a thrilling feel. With the finale looming, we’ll soon find out how well this premiere season is able to dissolve plot developments and find new ones to continue.
Gotham: “Pilot” – Monday, September 22 at 8 PM
I wasn’t sure, exactly what to expect from FOX’s Gotham. I knew that it was a Batmanless Batman show, which is fine. Gotham city, and the DC universe in general is dark and interesting enough to carry a show without its signature character. If only I could say the same about Marvel/Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I also knew that it had quite a cast of characters. As soon as Donal Logue’s name was mentioned, I was in. I have always been a fan of his. He’s one of the most underrated actors working today. His show Terriers, that only received one season on FX was fantastic. And of course, there’s his work on Sons of Anarchy, the show that really brought him to my attention, Grounded for Life, the list of solid work from the man is pretty large. Also piquing my curiosity was Ben McKenzie as Commissioner Gordon. McKenzie has done some stuff, but I mostly remember him as that main kid in the annoying 90210 clone, The O.C.. It’s going to be interesting, seeing him doing dramatic acting, as well as a character that will see a lot of action in the streets of Gotham. There are some other interesting casting choices, such as Richard Kind as Gotham’s Mayor, Jada Pinkett Smith as an obviously obvious baddie, Fish Mooney, and Drew Powell doing his best Vinent D’Onofrio as henchman Butch. There are quite a few familiar faces, including Carol Kane, but I don’t suspect that her character is recurring.
Overall, the one job they had when creating this show, was making sure it’s interesting, and exciting, despite the fact that they can only hint at the fact that this is the city that will one day play host to the Dark Knight. And overall, I think they did a pretty good job with that. Granted, it plays more like a pulp detective novel than a comic book show – at least in the pilot episode – but there are enough weird and disturbing things happening in Gotham to hold my attention. I am a big fan of Batman, both comics and films, so I’m glad to see somebody doing something a little different with the property. Granted, it’s another damn origin story, but I don’t recall anyone going to these lengths to flesh out a character’s back story. It will be interesting to see the city of Gotham come to life, knowing what will happen there one day. And, I’m sure there will be a host of DC character cameos for as long as the series last. My only real fear, is the fact that this is a new FOX show, and regardless of whether or not it is enjoyed by fans, they have a history of pulling the plug on shows prematurely. Hey, the company is owned by Rupert Murdoch, do you expect logic? All I’m saying is, watch with caution, because if it turns out to be badass, it probably won’t be around long.
Who knows, though? This is FOX’s chance to get in on some of that TV Superhero action, and I’m sure they’re hoping it will blow up with success. Either way, I thoroughly enjoyed the pilot episode. It serves as mostly setup, of course. Character introductions, and a good bit of time setting the mood, and showing of the city we’ll be exploring. But enough stuff happened to make it exciting as well. Logue is great as always, and he and McKenzie have enough chemistry to make their relationship as partners entertaining, but with a dash of danger. We know that Logue’s character, Bullock, is dirty, and that DETECTIVE Gordon, will have to pretend that he is as well to try and get to the bottom of the systemic corruption, so that will be interesting, seeing it all play out. I think the characters are all going to be fairly entertaining. I saw some people complaining about the amount of people they tried to introduce within one episode, but that didn’t really bother me. It’s kind of like Training Day, where Denzel drives Ethan Hawke around the city, showing it to him through his eyes. I think if you play your cards right, that type of presentation could pay off.
If your enjoyment of Batman rests solely on the character itself, then this might turn you off. But, if you’re a long-time DC comics reader, as well as a fan of the universe itself, this could be something different, and definitely interesting to look forward to every week. So far it wasn’t quite as exciting as something like Arrow on the CW, but I don’t think it’s aiming to be that type of show. I think there will be plenty of action, but I think the seedy world of Gotham, and it’s motley crew of bad guys will be the main attraction. I saw some reactions to the show on Monday night, from both sides of the spectrum. Granted to say, the usual internet hyperbole is floating around, with some people referring this to the best show they’ve ever seen, and others claiming it to be awful. It certainly doesn’t even near “awful” territory, it’s just the type of show that attracts sport-haters. Some people get off, complaining about pop-culture on social networking sites. Rest assured, that even if you find yourself not enjoying it quite as much as I have, it’s a quality show, with solid production values, great performances from the characters we have been exposed to thus far, and enough grit to maybe satisfy some of the viewers tuning in in hopes of a more “Nolanized” version of Gotham City. The Dark Knight, it is not, but it has my attention.
Sleepy Hollow: “This Is War” – Monday, September 22 at 9 PM
When Sleepy Hollow ended its first season, it left a lot of its characters hanging in peril. Ichabod had just learned that his son, now older than Ichabod himself because of crazy magic and stuff, was the sin eater that had initially been helping them – his name is Henry, and now actor John Noble has gotten an upgraded part thanks to Henry’s new status as the Horseman of War. Abbie was left in Purgatory, taking the place of Ichabod’s wife Katrina because no one gets to leave without leaving someone else behind. And Abbie’s sister Jenny was in a car accident, then taken hostage by the Headless Horseman and his group of Hessian soldiers.
So things weren’t going well, especially since granddaddy demon Moloch unleashed the second horseman on the world. “This Is War” picks up a year after all of those events, hinting at all of the stuff that happened and then deciding to celebrate Ichabod Crane’s birthday, an act that brings revulsion to the 200+ year old (he thinks contemporary Americans have some pretty dumb traditions). Sleepy Hollow threatens to leave all of what happened to them in the past, moving quickly towards a plot about Moloch’s scheme to find Benjamin Franklin’s key that opens the door to Purgatory, allowing whatever to escape.
Except that’s only a ruse, one that Abbie and Ichabod are trapped in. They don’t realize that they’re still in Purgatory, messed around with by Henry; once they figure it out, they’re thrown back into their worlds – Abbie still trying to avoid Moloch in Purgatory, Ichabod attempting to escape his coffin. Things are bleak, but with Ichabod’s smarts and the cooperation of Jenny, they’re able to escape their trappings and find Ben Franklin’s key.
Sleepy Hollow returns to all the things that immediately made it successful. There’s still that sense of humor thanks to Tom Mison, who is so excellent as the reluctant Crane that it feels like he’s constantly in the part. “This Is War” moves fast; there’s always that feeling in Sleepy Hollow that things consistently and coincidentally fall into place for Abbie and Ichabod, and that happens again in this premiere. Still, it’s not really a fault for Sleepy Hollow anymore, and in fact the show seems to enjoy throwing historical deviations at the viewer for the plot’s benefit. Now Ichabod was in the service of Ben Franklin, too, simply for convenience’s sake.
“This Is War” is heavy on the action and fast-paced to boot, and if you’ve enjoyed any other episodes of Sleepy Hollow, you’ll fall right back into it here. Now that the second Horseman has come to Earth, it’s hard to feel like anything will be able to go back to normal. It’ll be interesting to see if the show can continue this breakneck pace, or if it’ll slow down for some procedural episodes. Whatever the case, we haven’t seen Abbie back to work yet, and who knows what will happen with Captain Frank Irving.
Z Nation: “Philly Feast” – Friday, September 26 at 10 PM
The first two episodes of Z Nation really surprised me. I have been looking forward to further episodes, which is rare for something like this. In the last episode, we learn a little bit more about Cassandra, AKA Sunshine. A new addition to the group, is actually a henchmen from a group of bad dudes that Cassandra used to be a part of. After dispatching of him, the group arrives in Philadelphia, which coincidentally is the home base for said group of bad dudes. While trying to hot-wire a cop car’s radio, Addy is kidnapped, and brought back to a post-apocalyptic whorehouse, which also doubles as a cannibal kitchen. In the first couple of episodes of Z Nation, they took a couple of jabs at The Walking Dead. They introduced plot elements that made you think they were ripping things directly from the other show, but then they went a completely different direction with it at the last minute, and turned it into a gag. Well with the third episode, it seems like they’re trying to get a head of The Walking Dead in some ways, with elements from the comics that are thought to be soon-introduced on the show.
At the same time though, at the last minute, it goes a completely different way than The Walking Dead would. See, here’s the difference between the two shows. In The Walking Dead, if they ran into this group of well-armed cannibals, we would spend the duration of an entire season, examining all of the human components of the inevitable battle. In Z Nation, the bad guy is introduced, the group forms a plan, and fucks shit up in one episode. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of elements of this show that are cheesy and over-the-top. However, if you find yourself getting bored with the dramatic elements of The Walking Dead at times, you might want to consider Z Nation, because it’s like a Midnight-Movie version of The Walking Dead. Maybe a better way to describe it would be as the “arcade” version of that show. The plot is second to the action and the comedy, but it does so in such an entertaining way that it’s hard not to cheer it on.
We learn even more about Cassandra in this episode. She seems to be a big focal point of the show. There are more interesting characters, such as Addy, and 10K, so they must have something else planned for Cassandra’s character. It’s hard to tell if she really would have gone back to a life of luring horny men to a short life of being slowly eaten alive. It didn’t seem as if she had a plan when she entered the trailer, until she realized that it was Doc pretending to be a client/target. The plot that the group executed to free their friends was quick and messy, but deadly. I realize that it was just an excuse to play Flight of the Valkyries over top of this badass battle scene, but it actually was kind of clever, gathering a group of zombies together with the aid of sound to attack a compound with. They’ve done it in The Walking Dead, but never has it been this entertaining. I still think The former is the better show, but I hate even comparing the two. These two shows are about zombies, but they couldn’t be any more the opposite. I’m three episodes in to Z Nation now, and I’m kind of loving it. I’m not going to sit here and tell you that it’s some form of high-art, because it’s a double cheese sandwich with cheese on top, but it is highly entertaining, and that’s all I require. I’ll be looking forward to episode 4. Until then.