Coming Soon to a DVD Near You

If the commercials are to be believed, we are starting to rev up for a great Fall television season. Like every Autumn, this season has its share of crops which deserve a taste. I am, of course, looking forward to the return of The Walking Dead. I am a big fan of the show. I like the fact that the television version does not strictly follow the comic books (which I have read, naturally). There are a number of other shows that I am looking forward to the return of, including but not limited to Supernatural, Bones, NCIS, Criminal Minds, The Big Bang Theory, Once Upon a Time, and others.1

I should also not that the list above just covers the “major” networks. The bulk of our television watching comes from channels like FX, TBS, and TNT. However, a lot of those shows are summer shows.

In addition to the list of returning shows, there are a number of new programs which seem promising. We’ve already watched the pilot of
Sleepy Hollow and were pleasantly surprised. I was a little miffed that they chose to play fast and loose with the book of Revelations2, but the premise seems interesting and we’ve decided to give it another view or two.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D is on my radar. I’m worried that it won’t live up to expectations, so I’m trying not to get mine up too high. Honestly, I don’t see this one going any further than one season.

Once Upon A Time spin-off Once Upon A Time In Wonderland will either be really cool or annoying. This is another one that I don’t want to get my hopes up for.

I am looking forward to
American Horror Story: Coven. I have to admit that I lost some horror junkie cred with this series. We were watching the first season of AHS but lost a few in the middle. My CDO3 wouldn’t allow me to watch them without seeing the missing episodes. Reliable sources say the second season (which we did not watch for some unknown reason) was better than the first. I’m pretty sure that they are available on Amazon Prime now, so I can play catch up. Fortunately each season is its own entity so I don’t have to worry about cramming in two seasons worth in the next few weeks.

A quick perusal of the internet revealed some other shows I should probably give a looksie. These include
Blacklist, Almost Human, Dracula (I’ll Elvis my TV if he sparkles), and Killer Women.

Believe it or not, the upcoming television season is
not what I intended to cover with this post. What I wanted to draw your attention to were some shows which I watched over the past few months which should be coming to DVD/Netflix/what have you soon. A couple of them will not be a surprise, especially if you read this post. All of them were things that wowed me.

In a world where most television programming is boring and derivative, this is something worth noting.

The first show I want to mention is one I wrote about before. If you didn’t watch
Hannibal while it was on during its original run, now is your chance to catch up. The meat of this review is in the post I linked to above. I will mention again: Sir Anthony Hopkins is now and forever will be Hannibal Lector in many people’s minds. However, the always creepy Mads Mikkelsen is superb in this role. Despite the fact that the viewers know what will eventually happen, Mikkelsen plays his character perfectly. We can see how everyone would fall for his deceptions. There is also the serious creep factor of knowing what Dr. Lector may be serving his various FBI guests each time they sit down for a meal. Even more impressive, if that it possible, is Hugh Dancy as Will Graham. The two of them together on the screen is worth the price of admission. Laurence Fishburne is also brilliant as SAC Jack Crawford. He does an excellent job of making it look like he cares for the various characters while maintaing his cold hearted bastard persona.

I am going to come out and say that
Top of the Lake may not be for everyone. It is one weird show. However, if you don’t mind some crazy turns and not always knowing where the plot will go next, then this is the show for you. In fact, that is one of the reasons that I loved the show. I never knew what was going to happen next. This was especially refreshing for someone used to watching the latest drivel from the Hollywood machine where everything is spelled out before the first commercial break. The fact that this show takes place in New Zealand may have something to do with this. Elisabeth Moss absolutely stuns as Detective Robin Griffin, a detective with a dark past who returns to her family homestead just in time for a local girl to go missing. There are a number of interesting characters, some of whom she is intimately related to, from her past which she has to deal with. Holly Hunter plays way out of character and the viewer is better for it. There are only seven episodes of this program which was absolutely perfect. They did not water the show down by trying to stretch it out to a full season4. Find this and watch it now. You will be so glad you did.

It may be a while before you have a chance to watch this one on DVD, as the current season still has two episodes to go. Still, I could not write a post about television shows which pleasantly surprised me without mentioning A&E’s
The Bridge. The pilot starts off with the discovery of a body on the bridge which separates El Paso, TX from Juarez, Mexico. We soon learn that this is not one corpse but two. Half of it is an American judge, the other half an unknown girl from south of the border. This show is filled with amazing performances. Diane Kruger5 is brilliant as Detective Sonya Cross, an El Paso cop with an unnamed but obvious social disorder along the lines of Aspergers. Once the viewer is familiar with her character, anything that she does which is outside of her norm (like attempt to lie) takes on that much more meaning. Demian Bichir rocks as the Juarez detective who gets thrown into working with her. Marco Ruiz is as lacks with the rules as Cross is a stickler for them. Toss in the always superb Ted Levine6, Anabeth Gish, and a number of other characters (as well as a healthy dose of twists and turns) and you have a great mix. I am please to say that of all of the plot twists in this first season, I was surprised by almost all of them.

Finally, we must turn our gaze to another show which I have previously mentioned, BBC’s
Orphan Black. Tatiana Maslany, Tatiana Maslany, Tatiana Maslany, Tatiana Maslany, Tatiana Maslany, and Tatiana Maslany. You see, I can do that, because the amazing Tatiana Maslany plays at least that many characters throughout the course of the first season. I know that I have discussed this already, but it bears repeating. Ms. Laslany’s ability to play so many different characters and make us believe that each one is a different person is nothing less than stunning. When she is playing one character playing another character and the audience sees the first character shine through, it is astounding. There were times when I had to pause the show in order to fully appreciate how absolutely amazing her acting abilities are before I could go back and jump into the plot. The plot, by the way, is another one full of unexpected turns which leave the view breathless. I can not wait for this show to return to the airways.

Well folks, there you have it. Four programs you may have missed but should definitely watch as soon as you have the chance.

You’re welcome.

1 As you can tell from that list, we’re not really big on the 30 minute sit-com format. In fact, until
Big Bang came along we just broke our one hour drama into “serious” and “less serious.”

2 Seriously, don’t screw around with the portions of the Bible that I can quote.

3 It’s OCD, but the letters are in alphabetical order
as they should be!

4 Or into a second season. I’m looking at you, Under the Dome.

5 Who you may recognize as Bridget von Hammersmark from
Inglourious Basterds or Abigail Chase from the National Treasure movies.

6 “Oh wait...was she a great big fat person?”

7 Aren’t you glad I used that quote and not the one where he’s dancing in front of the mirror?