TV Review - Checking Up on Various Continuing Series

'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' gets more comic book weird,
as it becomes one of the best series on TV.
I watch a lot of television. Perhaps too much! I've actually been whittling down the shows that I follow. I've been helped by the networks in that a few of my favorite shows have been canceled. With a lot of the others, for one reason or another, I've just given up. I'll run through those shows and my reasons as brief as I can.

For starters, NBC canceled Parks and Recreation and FOX canceled Glee. Both those shows were two of my favorites and both were able to wrap up their story-lines this year. In terms of shows that continued their runs this year, I've abandoned The Following. I've simply had my fill of series about serial killers. I've seen enough to last me the rest of the decade. I want no more. I haven't totally abandoned The Walking Dead, but like serial killers I've had my fill of movies and TV shows about serial killing, supernatural monsters like zombies and vampires.

I have completely given up on NBC's Undateable. It's odd because it's only in its second season, but I thought the first season was tolerable because of Brent Morin who plays Justin, a bar owner in Detroit who is a hopeless romantic, a nerd, a sweetheart but somewhat socially awkward. His new roommate is Danny, played by Chris D'Elia, who is the complete opposite. He's mainly a jerk. The two bounced somewhat well off each other, but now Danny is uber annoying and as such the Justin character is dragged down by him.

I was really impressed with the CW network last year. This year, I find myself less and less interested in their programming. Three of their shows were filling my plate. Supernatural is now in its 10th season. I started watching it in the sixth season and have been faithful for the past four years, but now I'm tired of it. This season should be the last. The Flash has a great relationship between the two actors, Grant Gustin who still seems too young for the role and Jesse L. Martin, but it's just another, more convoluted version of Smallville, which was on for 10 years, so I don't need any more. Candice Patton is hot and a recent, shirtless Robbie Amell was nice eye-candy though. Jane the Virgin is funny and delightful, but conversely to The Flash I don't like the relationship between the two actors Gina Rodriguez and Justin Baldoni.

Jumping to the ABC network, which is the TV channel I watch the most, I have a lot of comments. How To Get Away With Murder was very problematic when it started. Viola Davis stars as Annalise Keating, a fierce Philadelphia lawyer and professor. She was always a strong presence, but she took at back seat to the other cast members who play her students, mainly because they're involved with the murder of Annalise's husband. Once the show got past the mystery of who killed her husband, it pivoted and began focusing more on Annalise, which made it better.

The Mindy Project wrapped up its third season. The season started strong with the focus on the relationship between Mindy Lahiri, played by Mindy Kaling, and Danny Castellano, played by Chris Messina. The second half petered out, even before the character of Peter, played by Adam Pally, was written out of the narrative. I feel like the writers have no clue what to do with the supporting cast at all. The show added Mindy's brother, played by Utkarsh Ambudkar, and he's a bright spot but he was too little, too late. Messina is so good and so excellent that he elevates the show. Partnered with great guest stars like Rhea Pearlman or Stephen Colbert, the show should be called "The Danny Project."

Being Mary Jane began its third season. I really enjoyed the series, but the titular character has become so annoying. When she's focusing on her job as a cable news anchor, I'm interested. When she's focusing on her personal life, which involves relations with taken men or her irresponsible niece, I'm removed. It's almost like Scandal in that regard. Her professional life is more of a draw than her personal life. It's an imbalance from which The Good Wife doesn't suffer.

Bates Motel is becoming more and more the prequel to Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, but still a story about a demented town. Vera Farmiga was the initial draw, but now Freddie Highmore and especially Max Thierot have become what I tune in to see.

Castle continues to be an okay hybrid of a police procedural and romantic comedy. It's fun and quirky. It's a more comical Law & Order where often it doesn't rip from news headlines but from movie plots. A recent episode cribbed from Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. I have yet to see if this seventh season will resolve the disappearance and strange re-appearance of Richard Castle, played by Nathan Fillion, which was a case that was left open.

Baby Daddy on ABC Family is in its fourth season. It continues to be a very funny multi-camera sitcom with extremely likeable actors and an uber-adorable baby, but the show has begun to spin its wheels. The love triangle between Ben, played by Jean-Luc Bilodeau, Riley, played by Chelsea Kane, and Danny, played by Derek Theler, has run out of gas. In terms of multi-camera sitcoms, this show should learn from Chuck Lorre's Mom.

Finally, Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has become a perfect mix of a spy series and a comic book series. All the characters are interesting and have things going on. Even minor characters are fleshed out and are busy and engaging. No one is wasted and no time is wasted. The show is firing on all cylinders and still has a bit of the Joss Whedon humor and charm.


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