New Shows Of Fall 2014: The Runner-Ups And Some Filler

Here are the remaining new shows that are worth talking about (and have aired by October 31). All of them are decent enough, and yet most of them could be so much more than they already are. Here is hoping that these shows find their footings and come back better than ever in 2015!

“The Mysteries Of Laura”

The Mysteries of Laura

My Rating 8 out of 10 Stars

This series follows the life of Laura Diamond, a homicide detective with the New York Police Department (NYPD) who balances her day job as a detective with her off-duty job as a single mother to her rambunctious (understatement) twin sons, while trying to get her soon-to-be-ex husband to sign the divorce papers. It isn’t hard to find him, since he just happens to be her new boss…

This show is decent, fun, entertaining and Debra Messing is as she always is, wonderful. But for a show with the potential to be awesome, this is just kind of “awww”. But unlike some shows that should work and don’t and you are left wondering why, the why with this show is pretty clear. It’s the writing. The cast, both in their performances and their chemistry, is there, and the idea is there, but each week’s crime to solve isn’t always there. The individual storylines are dated, and even in some cases obvious copies (Debra Messing going undercover to a red carpet event, crazy makeover and then she stuffed her gun up her dress… calling “Miss Congeniality”). The genre this show is a part of doesn’t require an arc that stretches throughout the season, but unless they get new writers or the current writers get their shit together, they’re going to need one, and a good one, to make this show memorable. And that is a shame because Messing as Laura Diamond is one the most authentic portrayals of a tough woman and single mom on TV right now. I hope the writing catches up to her soon!

“The Affair”

the affair

My Rating 8 out of 10 Stars

This series explores the effects, both emotional and real-life, of an extramarital relationship between Noah Solloway and Alison Lockhart after the two meet in the resort town of Montauk on Long Island. Noah is a New York City schoolteacher who has had one novel published and is struggling to write a second book. He is happily married with four children, but resents his dependence on his wealthy father-in-law. Alison is a young waitress trying to piece her life and marriage back together in the wake of the death of her child. The story of the affair is told from the male and female perspectives complete with distinct memory biases.

I wasn’t expecting much from this show, but I like to keep an open mind and decided to give it a try, and I’m really glad I did. At first glance this is a drama that shows how an extramarital affair developed, and why. The first half hour is told from Noah’s perspective and the second half hour is told from Alison’s. Just a few minutes into Alison’s perspective, the viewer is struck by the differences in each person’s account. It is intriguing how different each person’s perspective is, and yet both are being completely genuine with how they remember things. To see the same events play out twice, you would think it would get dull, but it has the opposite effect because the smallest things make these events so incredibly different.

It makes the viewer question the difference between truth and perceived truth. If a person’s perspective is their truth, and so is another person’s, but they are completely different from one another’s accounts, what is the actual truth? Probably somewhere in the middle. I wasn’t expecting this show to make me think, at all, yet alone about philosophical ideas like if a there is a tree in the woods and no one is there…

The affair is the story, but the “why” the affair is being recalled in the first place may be just as juicy as the story itself. After a few episodes the viewer discovers that someone has died, and these two are recalling where they were, etc. How was their affair related to the person who died? Who died? How? This is a show that is stunning, smart, makes you think and is much deeper than it first appears to be.

“Bad Judge”

Bad_Judge_title_card

My Rating 8 out of 10 Stars

This series chronicles the personal life and wild lifestyle of Rebecca Wright, a tough-as-nails Los Angeles County Circuit Court judge whose time off the bench is spent partying and displaying reckless behavior.

This show is funny, and Kate Walsh who plays Rebecca Wright is off the wall. Think of the movie “Bad Teacher” and put it in a courtroom instead of a classroom and that is what this series is, or at least what it tries to be. Wright’s antics are ridiculous and leave you wondering if she could ever actually get away with half of the shit she pulls, particularly in the courtroom itself. This is another example a good show that could be better. The jokes are funny, but also obvious and there is nothing fresh about them.

The idea of a wild and crazy judge who is a good person (even if she is irresponsible with questionable tendencies) who relishes in putting people in their place in her courtroom (she physically takes down a guy who sexually harassed several of his female employees, and she banished an annoying social media obsessed celebrity to rehab without any modern technology or her phone) I kept thinking, “If she was real, and I had to go to court, I would want her as a judge.” Of course then I just thought, “Oh my God, I should be a judge!”

Bottom line: The show is fun, even if it is a shadow or what it could be.

“Jane The Virgin”

jane-the-virgin

My Rating 7.5 out of 10 Stars

This series chronicles the life of Jane Villanueva, a hard-working, religious young Latina woman whose family tradition and vow to save her virginity until marriage is shattered when a doctor mistakenly artificially inseminates her during a check-up. To make matters worse, her fiancé, a detective, does not want her to keep the baby at first, and the biological donor is a married man, a former playboy, cancer survivor and the owner of the hotel where Jane works in Miami. If that wasn’t complicated enough, he is also Jane’s former teenage crush, and the brother of the doctor who made the mistake in the first place.

This show is based on a Venezuelan telenovela (think Spanish soap opera, even if that isn’t technically correct) and if you think you can see all of the ways this could get interestingly complicated, you’re still missing out on a lot. In the first two episodes you find out that the doctor’s ex-lover and lawyer is now the trophy wife of the doctor’s father; the donor’s wife is scheming to stay married long enough to cash in and screwing everyone over in the process; Jane’s fiancé is secretly investigating the donor’s family; and Jane’s father (who she has never known and doesn’t even know his identity) finds out that she exists and tries to meet her, with her mother running interference. And of course this long-lost daddy is one of Jane’s favorite actors. Throw in a murder at the end of the second episode and you have a ridiculously overdramatic show that shouldn’t work and yet it does so well.

Gina Rodriguez who plays Jane is a phenomenal find and I’m not sure this show would work half as well without her. The show is fun and knows it borders on silly, but doesn’t give in so completely that it becomes a joke. This show screams Marc Cherry (think “Devious Maids” and “Desperate Housewives”) even if he isn’t involved with it. If you like any of Cherry’s work you’ll love this show! For everyone else, expect an unexpected delight in store for you! 🙂

“Constantine”

constantine-titlecard

My Rating 7 out of 10 Stars

After a botched exorcism which caused a demon that he conjured to murder a young girl, John Constantine, a self-proclaimed master of the occult and dark arts, struggles with his transgressions while trying to protect humanity from a gathering supernatural threat.

This show got off on such a weak start that I nearly wrote it off. At first glance, or after just watching the pilot, it appears that this is a show along the lines of “Supernatural” but it doesn’t have anything new to add to the genre and as far as everything else… other shows do it better. After watching the second episode, I still find this to be true, except not to the extreme that it was. The pilot lacks chemistry, is both too rushed and too random, without the back-story or a riveting plot to keep us interested and let this world or these characters resonate.

The second episode is much better, and with a cast change here, and refocused plot there, and a better story overall… it gives me hope in regards to the potential of this series. Right now, it is still behind the likes of shows like “Supernatural” but finally I can see some promise.


And that’s it. True other shows like “State Of Affairs” haven’t premiered yet, but I don’t have any plans to do any posts on them. I covered the bulk of new shows of the season in my “Worst”, “Best” and “Almost Best” TV posts. And now, all I want to do is read a good book! 😉

-DMW

Prior Reviews of New Shows of Fall 2014:

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