Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Slow Sad Season Start

The new season so far hasn't been all that great, at least as far as the major traditional networks go. Things like "Doctor Who" on BBC America and "The Bastard Executioner" on FX being on basic cable don't really count. The things I'm really waiting for - "The Flash," "Supergirl," even "Arrow," and even last night's "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." really haven't started yet. And I haven't yet seen the one I'm dreading, "Heroes Reborn."

The other night I had the misfortune of seeing the season premieres of both "The Big Bang Theory" and "Castle," as well as a bit of "Dancing with the Stars." All three shows have seemingly been on forever and are feeling and showing their age. And I think they may have definitely overstayed their welcome.

"The Big Bang Theory" is one of those shows that skates the edge between laughing with a section of society and deliberately laughing at them. In this case it's 'nerds' like me. On many, many occasions I have felt attacked by this show, almost like getting stuffed in a locker in junior high school. Make no mistake, for every cool reference in this show there are three wedgies lying in wait. And based on all the fat jokes on "Mike & Molly," another show from Chuck Lorre, I consider the man an equal opportunity bully.

And all of the above is on a good day for "The Big Bang Theory." The past two seasons and this week's season premiere have been plagued by ridiculous (even for a sitcom) soap opera antics with characters I really don't care about. Add in the show's prerequisite attack jokes, and it's just damned unpleasant to watch. If I'm being honest, the best part of the episode this week was spotting a "Doctor Who" lunchbox in the background.

Being a writer, "Castle" was a series I loved when it first started, no matter how implausible the premise. The light comedic approach to the drama and danger always kept the show within reach as fun entertainment. Then it got dark and serious, and obsessed with a lead character's mother murder. Follow this with the disappearance of the titular writer, and this season's similar plot with his now wife... well, as far as I'm concerned, "Castle" should have ended two seasons ago with the wedding of the two leads. As it stands now, we're in "Brady Bunch Variety Hour" territory. Kill it now.

"Dancing with the Stars" is an entirely different animal. Yeah, you can watch it for the dancing and the spectacle, or for the stars and how cool it is that they're not just learning to dance, but sometimes doing it spectacularly. That alone would be a terrific show, not necessarily in my wheelhouse, but a terrific show. But. They also have to have the freak show. What else would you call the inclusion of stars like Gary Busey and Paula Deen? That unclean feeling is both why I like "Big Brother" and don't watch "Dancing with the Stars." If we're going to do schadenfreude, go all in.

Those are some preliminary thoughts on the new season so far, more to come.

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