Autumn isn’t just a season of new weather: it’s also a season of new television. Old shows put out new episodes, and new programs are released. While the influx of fresh television creates an exciting buzz. Unfortunately, there isn’t always time to watch everything. If that last statement applies to you, here is everything you need to know to stay on top of the newest fall shows.
You may be familiar with Batman himself, but what about the rest of the characters in the Batman universe? “Gotham” is all about James Gordon (Ben McKenzie) before he becomes the police commissioner of Gotham, and Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) before he becomes Batman. And, of course, it focuses on the origins of Batman’s enemies. From the outset, the show launches into action, and for the most part it retains the same level of intensity. The show’s portrayal of characters is particularly well done. Characters like Oswald “Penguin” Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor) and mobstress Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith) are exciting to watch, and details of their individual plots are revealed in each episode without seeming like useless information. Alfred Pennyworth (Sean Pertwee), Bruce’s butler, is also worth mentioning. At first he seems too harsh, but as the episodes continue, his true colors come out. We see the complexity of his circumstances of not having children of his own but being forced to care for young Bruce. Some more subtle characters, such as Selina “Cat” Kyle (Camren Bicondova), deserve more screen time. Throughout the series there’s some confusion as to the exact timing of events. There’s a mashup of 1940s decor and modern technology, but it hardly detracts from the overall story.
“The Flash” (The CW)
This is a second superhero show, but it’s one you don’t want to miss. If you keep up with “Arrow,” another show on The CW about the Green Arrow, then you may have already had an introduction to the Flash. Fortunately, this series offers more insight into the Flash’s transformation. The pilot episode opens with a large chunk of background on pre-Flash Barry Allen, but quickly moves into his hero debut. Allen (Grant Gustin) is one of those characters who you can’t help but connect with. He is quirky, enthusiastic and wonderfully human – you know, apart from super speed. The other characters are simply a backdrop without much characterization outside of a what they tell Allen, though they are still likeable. The pacing in the pilot seems a bit rushed, but soon evens out without becoming dull. The crossover between “Arrow” also occurs in the pilot, but just seems awkward. If one has never seen “Arrow,” the premise of their interaction just seems random. The show is just in its beginning stages, but it already has a bright future ahead. It is engaging, has good quality effects for television, and an interesting storyline with unique villains.
Yet another show based on a DC comic, this show focuses on an exorcist named John Constantine (Matt Ryan). The show has both action and comedy, but the pacing in the pilot episode seemed off. In the program’s early stages, it can be overlooked as there is still hope that more light will be shed on some of the unexplained mysteries. It is similar to the show “Sleepy Hollow” in the sense that it has an interesting combination of the supernatural and criminal investigations, though they both veer from that path rather quickly. The visuals and special effects are impressive with the exception of one scene in the pilot, which was hilarious rather than creepy. Another disappointment arrived with the loss of a good character from the start. I assumed that their departure was merely a launch into the next episode, but the character is actually gone for good. Instead, a new character is added in the second episode whose personality is too close to Constantine’s. If I had to suggest anything, it would be more cool demons and some interesting character arcs. The show is enjoyable, but not a must-see.
“How to Get Away with Murder” (ABC)
Right off the bat, this show was not what I expected – but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. What I thought would be a show about the ups and downs of an intense law school instead opened with a group of students freaking out about how to hide a body. That’s not a spoiler, I promise. The five law students work as assistants to their professor, an acclaimed defense attorney. Other than that, the show is totally insane. The students and their professor, Annalise Keating (Viola Davis), go well beyond what is legal to win cases. It’s fascinating to watch, and occasionally disconcerting, but the pace of the story is on point. There are frequent flashforwards to the aforementioned body scene, and each episode reveals more details as to what happened. During those flashforwards, it can feel like you are watching a repeat of a past episode, until a new detail is added; one that makes all the difference. These scenes don’t always deal directly with the main storyline, but as the show progresses, it will all make sense. Although the shows protagonist seems to be Wes Gibbins (Alfred Enoch), a young law student, all the character development lies with Keating. As the episodes go on Wes makes odd choices with uncertain motivations. The show has gripped my attention, but there is no rush for me to watch each episode right away.
“A to Z” (NBC)
Finally, a nice, lighthearted romantic comedy. This show was refreshingly clean, not raunchy or cynical like many rom-coms have a tendency to be. Much to my disappointment, the opening credits are composed of annoying narration rather than a catchy song. But if you can get past that, the show is nice. The male lead, Andrew Lofland (Ben Feldman), is a sweet character who believes in true love, but can be off putting at times. Lofland makes no apologies for his feelings and lays everything out on the table, which can be a bit much. On the other hand the female lead, Zelda Vasco (Cristin Milioti), is more internalized – annoyingly so. Her true feelings are often hidden, and she can come across as cold. Perhaps if you combined the two, there would be a happy balance between being open while not rushing things. Zelda’s and Andrew’s differences make the show more endearing though, as they frequently struggle to understand each other’s personalities and create an even playing field. Sometimes the chemistry is just not there, but other times it is dead on. The show is only a half an hour with decent pacing, though it is entirely plot-driven. Overall, this makes a nice show to watch on the side.