New Shows: February 15 - 21, 2014

Thanks to the Olympics, this was another very quiet week in terms of new shows. Unusually, most that I did watch were worth my time.

The New Shows color code: red means don’t bother; blue means maybe; green means good; magenta means great.

48 Hours Presents: The Whole Gritty City (CBS)
An interesting two hours about three band directors in New Orleans who are doing what they can to keep young kids in school and off the streets. As you can imagine, they fight a hard fight and they do not always win. What kept this from being truly excellent was that, to pad it out to two hours, the filmmakers used far too much film of the bands playing. If you have ever listened to a high school marching band, you get the idea. A lot of noise; not a lot of tune.

The Good Mistress (Lifetime)

Murder on the Home Front (PBS)
A classic whodunnit, set in 1940 while the bombs are dropping on London. It’s an exploration of early forensics with a young pathologist and his new assistant. A morally ambiguous ending and a hint of romance liven up a show you have seen before. Even so, I do hope ITV take this to series. I would love to watch more.

Breath of Freedom (Smithsonian)
An inspiring documentary about the African-American men who fought in World War II and who served in Germany after the war. Their experiences abroad led directly to many of them becoming involved in the Civil Rights movement after they returned home. Filled with interviews and small details that bring these men to life, I was fascinated by this film. Do whatever you can to watch this.

Star-Crossed (The CW)
I went into this expecting yet another CW fluffy romance. It is that, but it is also something else. Or, at least, it is trying to be something else. It wants to be an exploration of integration, of racial bias, of how the world will be much the same in ten years time. There were flashes when the show succeeded. Both the humans and the aliens have bleeding hearts and both have bigots among them. Both, unfortunately, also have stereotypes that need to be fleshed out. I will probably give this one another episode or two as I would like it to take its themes to the next level. If it does that, this just might become must-see-TV.

Breadwinners (Nickelodeon)





The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon (NBC)
This was Fallon’s first week as the host of The Tonight Show and I watched all five shows to see how he settled into his new role. I was worried Monday. He was visibly nervous and emotional during his first monologue, but as he sat down for the first time behind his new desk, he did something that gave me hope.

Claiming that “a friend” owed him $100, we watched as Robert DeNiro, Tina Fey, Joe Namath, Rudy Giuliani, Mariah Carey, Tracey Morgan, Joan Rivers, Kim Kardashian, Seth Rogan, Lindsay Lohan, Sarah Jessica Parker, Mike Tyson, Lady Gaga, and Stephen Colbert -- who poured $100 of pennies over Fallon and his desk proclaiming, “Welcome to 11:30, bitch!” -- all walked through the curtain, handed Fallon a bill, and walked out again. It was hilarious.

Fallon’s guests this week ranged from Michelle Obama to Lady Gaga and everyone in between. There were some quintessential Fallon moments. He and Will Smith did the History of Hip Hop Dancing that had me laughing out loud and he cut a piece of NBC anchors rapping that I watched twice, laughing until tears came to my eyes. Click here if you need a good laugh, and who doesn’t?

Fallon is still finding his way. His monologues are struggling, but he is fantastic with his guests. Will I watch this show every night? No, but I will tune in once in a while. I haven’t done that for years.

Cutie and the Boxer
The fourth in our series of those documentaries nominated for an Oscar tells the story of two Japanese artists, Ushio and Noriko Shinohara. The film documents the struggles not only in their art, but in their marriage. I found this very difficult to watch as Ushio is an unpleasant man and Noriko has spent her life catering to his every need. I’m sure that others, more sophisticated than I, will talk about the art (which I thought was silly) and the portrait of a marriage. Neither resonated with me.

Now that the Olympics are nearly behind us, we return to our regularly scheduled programing:
  • Ripper Street returns Saturday, February 22 at 9:00 on BBC America.
  • The Voice returns Monday, February 24 at 8:00 on NBC.
  • Glee returns Tuesday, February 25 at 8:00 on Fox.
  • Rizzoli & Isles returns Tuesday, February 25 at 9:00 on TNT.
  • The Americans returns Wednesday, February 26 at 10:00 on FX.
  • Psych returns Wednesday, February 26 at 9:00 on USA. These are the last episodes of the series.
  • Grey’s Anatomy returns Thursday, February 27 at 9:00 on ABC.
  • Scandal returns Thursday, February 27 at 10:00 on ABC.
  • Hannibal returns Friday, February 28 at 10:00 on NBC.


CrazyCris said...

I felt almost exactly the same way about Star Crossed! COULD be good if they develop the themes right, and down drown themselves in the whole Romeo-Juliet soap-operaishness... :p

We'll see what they do with a few episodes to develop things...

sunbunny said...

I'm not sure it's fair to say Fallon's monologues are struggling. He has a different style than Leno and his monologues have always been shorter. Did you see Justin Timberlake on last night? Possibly the best History of Rap yet. :)

Billie Doux said...

That Brian Williams rap thing was wonderful. And you've convinced me to give my DVR'd and ignored recording of Star-Crossed a try.

CH said...

Don't forget Arrow comes back this week, too :)

Billie Doux said...

Just saw Star-Crossed and I see what you mean -- it could be good. Right now, though, it's just a complete rip-off of Roswell. Not that that's necessarily bad, if they go in a new direction and make something of it.

ChrisB said...

Thanks for all the comments!

sunbunny -- My issue with Fallon's monologues is that I don't think they are very funny. It struck me every day of the week as the rest of his show made me laugh out loud. The History of Rap was fantastic! I didn't realize it was something Timberlake and Fallon had done before until I saw your comment. You're right -- this one may have been the best.

Billie -- I've never seen Roswell, but from what I read about it this morning, it does sound as though Star-Crossed has taken more than one theme from that show. I do hope it finds it way.

CH -- you're absolutely right! Everything comes back to life this week. The list became very long, so I decided to only list those shows that have been on hiatus for quite some time.

Thanks again for all the lovely comments.

mazephoenix said...

New Arrow-finally. It was just getting really good. Agents of SHIELD-is next week I think. Yay finally new Hannibal.
Once in Wonderland is back this week I think.