Distractions, Diversions, Books, Wines, Whiskeys and Other Stuff To Think About When You Should Be Doing Something Else.

The 2012 / 2013 Jericho Award

Jericho AwardFor those of you who aren’t familiar with the Jericho Award, that honor is bestowed, by me, upon the best new show of the season (starting in the summer and ending with the close of the spring finales) that was cancelled. Granted, it is kind of an ignominious award to win but, it is also intended to point out injustices and frustrations with “The Powers That Be” who decided what shows live and die even apart from their respective, and sometimes rabid if small, fan bases.

This year I even kept track of all of the new shows I started watching to make my selection process even easier! In no particular order:

Defiance on Syfy

I don’t play the game so I’m not exactly sure how it ties in but the show has… potential. I kind of like it because everything isn’t explained right away, avoiding hours of exposition for the sake of explanation. I also dislike it because we, the audience, need some exposition from time to time to figure things out. A note to the writers: a lot can be learned just by showing the audience a map, no dialog needed.

The Following on FOX

The only problem I have with this show is suspension of disbelief, otherwise it had some pretty good entertainment value. If think were it lost me most was watching Kevin Bacon personally end a cult member or two in virtually every single episode. Actually I think he did shoot somebody in every single episode.

Ripper Street on BBC America

Why did I start watching this one? I have no idea except to explain it as the curse of the DVR. So many shows, so much memory. I actually kinda liked it. I’m pretty sure it is a cleaned-up depiction of Whitechapel in that era, but the acting is good and the writing doesn’t assume the audience is stupid. Check it out on DVD if you run across it.

Revolution on NBC

You know what? I don’t like this show and yet I continue to watch it out of sheer stubborness. I haven’t even watched all the episodes and I’m pretty sure I know how the season will end (the last episode is either on my DVR or will be soon). I so wish it had hewn closer to S. M. Stiriling’s “Dies the Fire” type of world, but it didn’t, it has guns. I’ve got news, guns pretty much killed any reason to carry a sword that you actually fight with. Aside from that, the plot is so convoluted and contrived in order to put a dozen people at the heart of every single major event before and after the power went out it blows my mind. Seriously, aside from these dozen people nothing else has or will happen in this world. Everybody is just waiting for them to get near so they can actually do something.

Elementary on CBS

Far and away my favorite new show of the season. I wasn’t sold on Watson being a woman at first but I really like the juxtaposition. The writing is smart. The acting is great. Above all Holmes isn’t single-handedly solving every crime for the NYPD. My only complaint is that Moriarty was introduced way too early in the series. I could happily have watched whole seasons without bringing in the arch-nemesis. Make him go away for a few years then bring him back when you know you only have a few seasons left.

Copper on BBC America

A gritty and brutal period show. The crimes and mysteries and situation seem believable and the acting and writing is very well done. Another show to watch on DVD.

Arrow on CW

Another show I liked quite a bit. Granted, it is on the CW so there is a fair amount of “pretty people doing pretty things” but the action is good and you need a little bit of brain-candy every now and again. It also did a really good job of working in the back-story all through the season instead of dumping it in all at the beginning. Some of the acting is good, some is pretty rotten but hey, how many other live-action super hero shows have made it on TV without being really weak in writing and acting or just  too campy. I think Arrow will avoid both of those things.

Continuum on SyFy

I started out not liking this show, probably because the main character relied very heavily on her future tech at the beginning. As episodes went on it gradually was whittled away from her and the show got better. You get to see her actually being a policewoman and a detective. Great job writers! (Everybody else take notes, Bond has toys because he is Bond and he is awesome. Your characters need to be characters first and use gadgets second). I like where this show is going. Lots of potential.

Perception on TNT

Sherlock Holmes meets A Beautiful Mind. Yeah, I can watch that. The imaginary people seen by the main character are more interesting than most of the other characters on the show but I’ll take what I can get.

Longmire on A&E

My second favorite show of the season. The acting is super. The writing is spare and elegant (Walt Longmire is a man of deep introspection and few words).  This is the kind of show where something happens and it seems at first to be straightforward, but Walt gets those narrowed (or more narrowed) eyes and you know there is something else afoot and the next hour of TV is going to be interesting to watch.

Hannibal on NBC

This show has grown on me. I started off not liking it simply because of Lecter’s terrible accent. I still don’t like that accent. It is Scandinavian meets Scottish and somebody is making him hold a marble under his tongue. Otherwise, since they are going to be using many elements from the books it looks like something that will get better. I hope so.

Last Resort on ABC

This was a terrible, terrible show and I’m glad it was canceled without finishing. Not even the phenomenal actors and great locations it had available could rescue the ridiculous premise or the horrific writing. Seriously, if all you see is Andre Braugher’s speech in the first episode you have seen the best this show has to offer. Everything else is downhill from there.

Robot Combat League on SyFy

I don’t even know if this is a show that will come back but I really liked it. Actually I liked parts of it. I really liked the fighting parts. I couldn’t have cared less about the reality-show parts of it. I hope that this season will serve as a proof of concept and next season, or even a new show, will feature robots that follow game rules but are designed and built by the teams themselves (A whole other show I would watch). Even if the network bankrolls the production costs I want to see teams that are invested personally through blood and sweat in their bots and who will innovate nifty ways of beating the hell out of each other for my personal amusement.

So, who wins the Jericho Award for 2012/2013?

Nobody!

Only one of these shows was cancelled and that was Last Resort and I refuse to give an award of any kind to that show. Really this is congratulations to all the other shows I listed here. I enjoyed watching your first seasons and you remain programmed into my DVR for this coming season. Hopefully your freshman compatriots of 2013/2014 will be able to follow in your footsteps and get picked up for a season 2.

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24 responses

  1. Re the shows you mentioned…

    >Defiance on Syfy

    I couldn’t get through the boring pilot.

    The Following on FOX

    I watched every single episode and hated it by the end, I thought the idea of a death/murder cult could be interesting. I was thinking something like a Manson Family like death cult powered red by 21st Century Social Media. Instead the cult seemed driven by…well foolish writers without original thoughts. The episodes got worse and worse. I was just hate watching by the end. I won’t watch next season. I hope Bacon was doing this just to make up for all the money Madoff duped from him.

    >Ripper Street on BBC America

    Never saw it. I don’t get BBC America (though I did use Amazon VOD to get Doctor Who and Orphan Black). It sounds interesting ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ripper_Street )

    >Revolution on NBC

    I liked the pilot but stopped watching after a few episodes as it got pretty bad/stupid. I am starting to realize except for the first few season of lost and the fist 2 season of Alias, I don’t like anything by Bad Robot.

    >Elementary on CBS

    I watched it at first for just for Lucy Lui and was expecting to not like it compared to the BBC’s Sherlock. It is utterly different then Sherlock. The early episodes steady improved and it turned into a pretty good show. I look forward to Season 2. I did not like [SPOILER] Irene Adler being M. Also, while the actress while quite attractive she was way to young to portray the mastermind/Leader of a global criminal enterprise.

    >Copper on BBC America

    I haven’t seen it. I have it near the top of my Netflix streaming queue.

    >Arrow on CW

    I liked this show from the get go. All season was was a fun watch. Often it was my priority watch if I had multiple things queued.

    >Continuum on SyFy

    I like it. It has potential. I was bothered trying to place the actress. The season finale made want the second season to start right away.

    >Perception on TNT

    Eh. I watched it and got bored after a few episodes.

    >Longmire on A&E

    I recorded them but didn’t get around to wtaching them until a few months after the show aired. Then binged watched. Good not great. More please.

    >Hannibal on NBC

    I watched it at first. Good acting and writing. The cannibalism stuff proved to be too gruesome for me.

    >Last Resort on ABC

    I wanted this to good. I liked the pilot but it was all downhill from there. When Iheard it was cancelled, I stopped watching.

    >Robot Combat League on SyFy

    The first episode was fun. Somehow I never bothered to watch it again.

    06/04/2013 at 2:29 AM

  2. One new show you didn’t mention: “Orphan Black” on BBC America. It just finished its first season.

    It was my favorite of the new shows (with Green Arrow as a close second). I won’t spoil it though. You should try it out. It has been renewed for 2nd season.

    06/04/2013 at 2:33 AM

  3. I didn’t list Orphan Black because I didn’t watch Orphan Black. I did see a couple of episodes in mid-season and if I ever catch them doing a marathon or see it on DVD I’ll grab it. In retrospect it looked good.

    06/04/2013 at 6:40 AM

  4. I’ve only seen 3 of those you mention: The Following, Arrow, and Revolution.

    Revolution: I managed to get through one episode. If it had been a book, I’d’a thrown it across the room in self-disgust. I’m fairly sick of the “mysterious cause of collapse of civilization due to some kind of conspiracy and/or technology run amok” theme, anyway…

    The Following: I actually enjoyed it, was watching on Hulu getting caught up. But some other shows/activities distracted me from it, and I’ve had no desire to go back and “finish” it. It was OK only, although I suppose better the more one stuck with it and it alone in a run of multiple episodes via Hulu. (“Now I’m here, let’s see where this goes…”)

    The Arrow: I thought I’d end up hating it. A bit like the Nolan Batman movies in theme and development. But I got hooked, and it got progressively better. I did NOT like, still don’t, the flashback-development of the series, in which every single episode is too neatly connected to something that happened on the island—chronologically connected, even! (Meaning: the present develops tit-for-tat with the past events in nearly exact chronology.) But, one gets used to that while hoping that S2 won’t do the same. I’m also curious to see if the younger actor, who appeared in Teen Wolf also, becomes GL’s sidekick. I think that would be cool.

    On a slightly different subject, have you seen Fallen Skies? It’s not a new series, so doesn’t belong in your list. I thought from reading a few reviews that I probably wouldn’t like it, but it was much better than I expected. I got hooked. It handles the whole “end of civilization” theme almost as well as The Walking Dead, albeit w/ alien invasion(s) instead—at least through the first 2 seasons. I haven’t seen anything of the new 3rd season yet.

    06/04/2013 at 9:06 AM

  5. Ah, that’s “GA’s sidekick.” I had green in mind, so accidentally added the Lantern…

    06/04/2013 at 9:12 AM

  6. It looks to me like the Roy Harper character on Arrow (Speedy which is apparently Oliver’s nickname for his sister and Roy’s love interest in that continuity) will be further explored in the next season.

    I have watched Falling Skies. I thought the second season better than the first but I think it suffers, much like Revolution, from too much focus on the group as the fulcrum of every event in the world. That said I like it a lot more than Revolution.

    06/04/2013 at 12:33 PM

  7. I liked the concept of revolution. I figured it would be a post massive EMP event world. Alas, it was more “Bad Robot” bullshit story telling.

    I watched Orphan Black on Amazon VOD. Worth it.

    A long time ago, I read Green Arrow comics (when I got them for free) so I caught the Roy Harper/Speedy thing and the future Black Canary thing. I have read that many of the places/names are winks to the comics. I have no stake in the old comics so I don’t mind whatever direction the TV people want to go…as long as I remained entertained.

    Falling Skies is okay. It is on in the summer and doesn’t have much competition. Some of the stories are good, some not so much. I do like that the show storyline isn’t static.

    06/04/2013 at 1:19 PM

  8. Oh, I left off ‘The Americans” an interesting spy show set in the early 1980’s on FX. I enjoyed that as well. It was right up their with The Green Arrow and Orphan Black.

    06/04/2013 at 1:22 PM

  9. Ah, didn’t know about “Roy Harper” from the comics. I was always a Marvel fan, not so much DC. (Except for Teen Titans, when they purposely turned toward an X-men vibe…)

    All-in-all, I don’t watch many new shows, preferring to get absorbed into whatever Netflix and Amazon Prime have available from the last 5 years or so. I do use Hulu for new episodes of a few, but mostly to keep up-to-date on Arrow, Daily Show, Colbert, Bones, Family Guy, and American Dad. Frustratingly, Hulu doesn’t update in a timely manner.

    06/04/2013 at 2:46 PM

  10. I wouldn’t say I’m a comics guy at all so I only picked up on the Roy Harper/Speedy thing by virtue of knowing a little bit about a whole lot of things.

    I saw The Americans promos but it never really looked appealing to me. Maybe I will revisit it.

    06/04/2013 at 3:40 PM

  11. As for Bad Robot shows Person of Interest is currently one of my must watch hours of television. Great writing, great acting, and a premise that appeals to me. If you don’t watch it you should. I also liked Alcatraz it it was runner up for the Jericho award last year. I was with it all tge way until the finale when its scope opened up too widely to make it practical.

    06/04/2013 at 5:30 PM

  12. CGW: I think multi seasons of “Justified” are non on Amazon Prime. Worth it.

    As for comics, when I was kid my Mom’s Auntie worked at a printer in Milwaukee that printed lots of Comic Books. Each Christmas I would get about years worth of “damaged” DC and Disney comics. I got some Marvel, but not too much. Also I got several of the “Classic Illustrated” comics.

    AH: Persons of Interest is one I meant to watch but somehow didn’t. I haven’t been able to stream it from anywhere. Maybe if I can get the DVD on discount I will pick those up.

    06/05/2013 at 12:49 AM

  13. Pslog: I’ve already torn through “Justified.” Great show. The actor who played the hillbilly hero-villain was also great in “The Shield.”

    About a year ago I subscribed to deliveries of X-Men comics, thinking I might get back into comics after more than a two-decade break. But now I have a stack of 12 issues I’ve not even read! Dunno. Guess I wasn’t as interested as I thought I could be again. You were lucky to get so many free comics; I had to beg and plead for them early on, although eventually I was allowed to subscribe to some for mail delivery.

    06/05/2013 at 11:06 AM

  14. Person of Interest is worth looking for. My favorite “must watch” shows are:

    Walking Dead
    Justified
    Person of Interest
    Dexter
    Elementary

    These are the shows I would be upset to miss an episode of. I also regularly watch shows like Warehouse 13, The Killing, Hell on Wheels, Alphas. I rarely watch reality TV but I enjoy Top Shot and a new show called Big Brain Theory.

    06/05/2013 at 6:52 PM

  15. Curtis Gale Weeks

    I caught up on S1 of Continuum on Netflix. I like the show. Only two things irritated me. It was too short & not much that was decisive happened in the first season; and, the lead actress apparently had in her contract a requirement that she cry at least once per episode.

    On Alphas: Through two seasons, I’m liking the show. Quibbles? Only two of the superempowered heroes seem super, the kid who can access the Internet etc. directly and the woman who can control others with her mind/by suggestion. The others have interesting powers that are far underutilized—usually, utilized only in the moment where they need them most for an investigation or conflict. (Whereas the first two enjoy using them continuously or often during the day: A far more realistic representation of what would happen if people suddenly gained superpowers.)

    06/14/2013 at 12:38 PM

  16. I’m working my way through Copper via Netflix and liking it.

    CGW: Continuum has start a second season already n the Sci-Fi channel.

    Re the list of 5…I am a big fan of Walking Dead, Justified and and Dexter (I finished getting caught up in May).

    06/16/2013 at 2:09 PM

  17. I think Alphas does a really good job of adressing the disadvantages of those powers and their use. That is something that is rarely explored in Comic books or other shows. The person with super strength has a heart condition because of it, the person who has perfect sbility to learn and apply anything can’t remember anything beyond a short time period (though she carries knowledge unconsciously), the boy with the ability to see and manipulate the electromagnetic spectrum is autistic.

    06/16/2013 at 2:23 PM

  18. Very much in line with Sanderson’s Second Law.

    http://brandonsanderson.com/article/100/Sandersons-Second-Law

    06/16/2013 at 2:31 PM

  19. I tried watching Ripper Street today. I fell asleep twice during episode 1. Please tell me it is worth trying again.

    06/16/2013 at 9:36 PM

  20. That one may not be for everyone. It isn’t exactly… exciting, though the acting is good.

    06/16/2013 at 10:01 PM

  21. I may have just been in a napping mood. I watched it and the first three later on.

    06/17/2013 at 4:10 PM

  22. In How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy, Orson Scott Card also addressed having rules of magic, including examples of limitations. When he runs writing classes, he has his students come up with creative ways to limit the use of magic via costs or repercussions.

    I’m working on writing a novel — but very much taking my time — a fantasy/sf in which abilities have extreme costs.

    So, I can understand what the creators of Alphas is trying to do. But even w/ costs, each person’s identity would be shaped by the ability, by the fact that they have the power. The way they are used on the show, however, seems more like those 1st-person shooter games, where they can whip out a new weapon depending on what they need to use. On Alphas, they only have 1 power each, but it’s still like they just whip it out when necessary. It doesn’t shape who they are. Maybe it’s just a matter of taste for me.

    06/18/2013 at 9:28 AM

  23. Let me put it another way. In normal life, one can go about thinking, “Woe is me!” when the world and our personal conditions present trials, limitations, negative events. Or, one can go about looking at the world as if it’s full of opportunities, challenges, learning to maximize abilities, finding flow and enjoyment with life.

    I mention this because the identity of the woman with the hyper-senses has very much been influenced by her ability. But she’s a wilting flower, beset with a curse. It’s a little tedious. The show would be a good lesson on “How to Remain a Sheep After Becoming an Übermensch.”

    06/18/2013 at 9:43 AM

  24. BTW, just caught this via @AlphasSyfy on Twitter: http://t.co/RpLqc3Ai

    “Syfy has decided not to renew Alphas for a third season. We’ve been proud to present this entertaining, high-quality series for two seasons and to work with an incredible ensemble of talented actors, producers and creatives as well as our partners at BermanBraun Television. We’d like to thank the show’s dedicated regular viewers for their tremendous support.”

    06/18/2013 at 9:48 AM

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