by T. Mack
The new season of TV is in full swing and new shows abound. Here’s the scoop on seven of them…
Quick Review: The Gifted is built on a foundation of the X-Men comics. In the show’s reality, the X-Men are gone and mutants are being ostracized and hunted. A lawyer who prosecutes mutants finds himself on the other side of things when his own children are discovered to have powers and begin being hunted by the very people with whom he used to work. The series is well-crafted and features great acting talent as well as an exciting and intriguing story. The focus isn’t on powers, but people and their relationships. As with all X-Men material, themes of prejudice are heavily explored. I highly recommend everyone check out this series if you haven’t already.
Shield Rating: 4.5 SHIELDS
The Good Doctor
Quick Review: The Good Doctor is a truly good show. It’s about Shaun, a surgical resident who has Autism. Although his condition makes it harder for him to connect with patients and colleagues, it’s also a large part of what makes him such an excellent doctor. The show utilizes regular flashbacks to help audiences understand Shaun’s life as well as visual effects to showcase how things connect in his mind. The show has a lot of heart and a solid cast. Though at least 50% of the characters are fairly unlikable, it makes for interesting relationships and situations for Shaun to navigate. This series is worth checking out, even if you choose not to stick with it.
Shield Rating: 4.0 SHIELDS
Quick Review: Marvel doesn’t currently own the rights to the X-Men franchise for television and movies. So they’re focusing on Inhumans, a slight twist on mutants that’s just different enough to allow them to utilize the franchise while being similar enough that they hope it will appeal to X-Men fans. I haven’t checked out the Inhumans comic, but I did suffer through the first episode of this series. It was painful. The show is slow, dull, poorly acted, and visually unappealing. Somewhere under all the vileness of this show is a glimmer of what it could have, would have, and should have been. But the end result falls flat and should be avoided by everyone, superhero fans and detractors alike.
Shield Rating: 0.5 SHIELDS
Kevin (Probably) Saves the World
Quick Review: Kevin Probably Saves the World is one of those shows where an everyday mess of a guy must rise up and become better than he has been. We’ve seen versions of this concept before with Chuck and My Name is Earl. Though this show is different from those and probably not as well-executed, it’s appeal is much the same. Kevin doesn’t have his life together in any way. Now an angel has arrived and charged him with a world-saving mission that involves putting others before himself. Since Kevin has never, ever done that, it’s more than a little tough for him. This show is not great, but pretty good. It’s humorous and doesn’t take itself too seriously. It doesn’t beat the audience over the head with religious themes and the acting is decent. You’ll recognize some faces that you probably like but whose names you don’t know (Jason Ritter and JoAnna Garcia). I recommend checking out the show to see if it might amuse you.
Shield Rating: 3.0 SHIELDS
Quick Review: I was reluctant to watch The Orville. As a Star Trek fan and someone who finds Seth MacFarlane’s brand of humor much too heavy-handed, I didn’t want to see him make a farce of the classic shows I adore. However, my husband requested I give it a single episode and I complied. Now I’m convinced that this is the best space show currently out, and that’s saying something since there is an actual Star Trek series happening right now (more on that later). The Orville is essentially a Star Trek tribute show, taking the style and concept of those series and making them a little more fun. This show takes itself much less seriously than the Star Trek series. It gives the characters the chance to laugh at themselves and lets the audience laugh along with them. While it’s a funny show, it does not have the over-the-top, drawn out, vulgar humor of MacFarlane’s other work. It’s a show that respects it’s predecessors enough that it can be enjoyed by the Trekdom but is fun enough that it can be appreciated by those who aren’t Trek fans. I highly recommend giving it a try. It might surprise you. It absolutely surprised me.
Shield Rating: 4.0 SHIELDS
Star Trek: Discovery
Quick Review: I was so excited for Star Trek: Discovery… Until I watched it. The series is darker twist on the Star Trek universe, trading in the classic peace of past shows for a focus on war and conflict. Even the color scheme and the uniforms are dark and dank in a way that previous series and films have never been. Discovery runs on deep drama and leaves no room for any fun. It doesn’t give the characters or the audience any chance to smile or enjoy light moments. It doesn’t pause for breaks between sad and perilous situations. The show is almost depressing in its darkness and seriousness. I’m watching it because I’m a Star Trek fan. I was raised as one and always have been. I keep waiting for this show to bring some of the joy Star Trek has always had, but I don’t think it actually will. I’m definitely a member of the Trekdom, but I don’t actually recommend this show. While it’s visually pleasing, it’s not very much fun at all. I suppose if you’re a fan of shows and films that bring nothing but a string of tension without any real release, you might enjoy this one. Otherwise, it’s probably best to skip it, especially since CBS wants you pay to watch it in the first place. The series is available through CBS All Access streaming service, which must be purchased, much like Netflix. For the record, I do not and would not pay to watch this show. You shouldn’t either.
Shield Rating: 3.0 SHIELDS (But only because of the visual effects. Without that, the rest of the show is only really worth 2.0 SHIELDS)
Will & Grace (Revival)
Quick Review: I remember watching Will & Grace and laughing hysterically at the antics of Will, Grace, “Just Jack,” and Karen. I was looking forward to their return and they have not disappointed me. The show jumped right back in with the same sense of style, humor, and chemistry it had years ago. The characters are the same as they always were, though they all have a few more wrinkles and are being forced to face their age in a way they didn’t have to previously. In case you’re unaware, the series revolves around Grace and her best friend Will, who is gay. Rounding out the ensemble are Grace’s rich and ignorantly racist assistant, Karen, and Will’s other best friend, Jack, who is also gay. Will & Grace is a classic 90’s sitcom full of absurdity. However, it is also a show that takes it’s political and social stance very seriously. The show was first revived as a short sketch during the 2016 election to showcase support for HIllary Clinton and denounce Donald Trump. In this full revival, it is not shying away from speaking up – in a humorous way – about the current political and social climate in America. If you don’t want your humor coursing with political and social commentary, then this Will & Grace revival may not be for you. However, if you enjoyed the show before and are eager to see more of these characters, I recommend jumping back in.
Shield Rating: 4.5 SHIELDS