What I’m Watching: Fall Finale 2016

I’m thinking about doing a movie and/or book roundup before the end of the year, but in the meantime I figured I’d do a What I’m Watching covering mid-October through the end of the fall season.

Madam Secretary

This was a pretty solid half-season for Madam Secretary. It felt a bit scattered at times between the election plotline, the stalking thing, and then the Iran/Isreal conflict kind of out of nowhere for the last few episodes, but the show has become very effective at providing appropriate tension and drama even when its plotlines feel a little half-baked.

Conviction

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Man, I was a little cool on this show at first, but I’ve come to really like it. So of course it’s getting crap ratings and got left at 13 episodes!

Conviction still feels a little surface-level at times, a bit amateurish at others, but the fall finale–where the unit reviewed the case of a man on death row and found him to be innocent just after his execution–had incredible pathos and Hayley Atwell was great in it. The show could have done with more early-on fleshing out of the rest of the characters, though, and Morrison is boring af.

It’s a shame that Conviction didn’t catch on because I think it’s a very good example of how to do a procedural in 2016: have varying structures for the cases; give the cases relevancy to the characters’ personalities, backstories, and/or current storylines; make events from cases have lasting effects on the characters; and maybe even include some hot-button social issues while you’re at it. All those elements made the procedural element of the show actually enjoyable for me.

Fresh Off the Boat

Nothing to report here, really–this show continues to be extremely well-executed on pretty much every level.

The Real O’Neals

The Real O’Neals, on the other hand . . . uck. There seemed to be a concerted effort on the writers’ part to tell stories unrelated to gay issues in the middle of the fall run, which could have been fine, but what the writers came up with was “focus on VP Murray and his relationship with Eileen.” Well, VP Murray is the worst part of the show and his relationship with Eileen makes no sense, so there were some pretty meh episodes this side of the 2016-2017 season.

The show also, for some reason unbeknownst to me, decided to introduce Allison and then only use her once before the fall finale, which is a shame since she’s a really funny character and could have been (still could be, I guess) the source of good plotlines.

Agents of Shield

I think it says something that I published this post and then realized I’d forgotten to write about Agents of Shield. The fall run was perfectly fine, probably better than last season’s on paper, but something about it just failed to connect with me. I don’t think the Ghost Rider plotline was a very good fit for the show and that did a lot to hurt my enjoyment of these episodes.

And now we’re looking at an Evil AI plotline going into the winter run, which looks like it will be pretty underwhelming.

Frequency

I missed the third episode live and realized I didn’t care to catch up. Shrug.

The Good Place

This show is. So good. The premise, of a serialized comedy set in the afterlife with philosophical themes, could have been such a disaster but instead it’s an incredibly smart, earnest-without-being-cloying, super funny, show that I really hope gets renewed.

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