New Shows: November 2014

Everyone should have some turkey!
REVIEWED: The Game -- The Missing -- State of Affairs -- Happy Valley -- Jane The Virgin

The Game (BBC America)
As a huge fan of The Americans, I was looking forward to this show. Only six episodes, and garnering some good press before its release, a spy thriller set in 1972 sounded different enough and interesting enough to spend six hours with it. I spent one.

While the cinematography was atmospheric and watching old fashioned spy craft was fun, the story and the characters did nothing for me. It felt as though it were trying a bit too hard to be original, yet it fell into some standard spy tropes. It wasn’t awful; it just wasn’t for me.

The Missing (Starz)
I can’t imagine the horror of having one’s child go missing. Having watched the pilot of this eight episode series, I still can’t imagine it. James Nesbitt and Frances O’Connor play the parents of missing Olly Hughes both eight years ago when he disappeared and now. Tony is still determined to find out what happened; Emily (now engaged to another man) is trying to move on.

This is tough to watch. The level of tension and grief is palpable and it would be difficult not to be affected by it. I am torn between wanting to know what happened to Olly and not being able to conceive spending eight hours at this level of heartbreak. I think I’ll save it for a cold weekend and watch it when I know I will get to the ending without having to wait.

State of Affairs (NBC)
Think Homeland Lite. A plot that was too convoluted and clich├ęd; too many supporting characters who are briefly introduced but not developed; and, an overarching mystery that is meant to be extremely personal but can’t drum up the necessary emotion to make us care. The show was entertaining enough, but certainly not one I was eager to continue watching.

Happy Valley (Netflix)
Another gem from the BBC. Like The Fall last year, this show has received almost no publicity on these shores and that’s a shame. A story about how life events can cause even the most ordinary of us to do extraordinarily bad things, it is moving and affecting. I thought it was wonderful.

Bill Cosby: 77 (Netflix)
As a (former) fan of Bill Cosby, I had this on my list to review for some time. However, due to the allegations against him, both Netflix and NBC have decided against airing his shows. I think the networks made the right call.

Jane the Virgin (The CW)
The title of this alone made me roll my eyes. There was no way this was going to take up any of my time. Then, I started reading the reviews. One after another raved about this show, so I had to check it out. It is a delight; certainly among the best of the freshmen shows. Gina Rodriguez is magnificent as Jane and she is supported by some wonderful actors.

The pilot sets up the premise and takes its time introducing us to the cast of characters. By the end of the first hour, I was completely hooked and was thrilled that I had waited long enough that I had several episodes to marathon through. My love for this show only deepened.

Don’t dismiss this before you give the pilot a try. If it is too much, fine. But, I’ll bet you fall in love with this story and this woman immediately.

Have a happy Thanksgiving!

ChrisB is a freelance writer who spends more time than she ought in front of a television screen or with a book in her hand.


mazephoenix said...

I love The Americans and spy stuff..might have to try the Game.
Ah James Nesbitt..I remember him from Cold Feet..and Jekyll by Moffat, one of his rare misfires.
I'll give The Missing a shot.
Great reviews as ever.

Gavrielle said...

Wow, I can't believe how much UK stuff is turning up in the US these days. I'm really enjoying The Missing, if that's the word.

Jane The Virgin - I know, right? So, so good.