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NEW ON THE BLOCK

Friday, December 01, 2017

It isn’t the New Year yet, but there are tonnes of new shows making waves on TV and Aakriti Patni decides to review a few of them for you

Every year, just like a child eagerly waiting for candy, TV fanatics hold their breath in anticipation of the new US television network season. Whether it’s for a new season of your beloved TV show or for a brand new show altogether, TV fans (including me!) can all admit to having been excited at the turn of October, as the TV shows roll in and we have the chance to find a new obsession. And, with streaming services catching on, and new web series to look forward to, we have a host of new content. Since it’s officially December, and most of these new shows have been around for a good month or two now, we decided to review a few of them. Here’s our verdict on the latest shows.

The Gifted
Set in an alternate timeline, The Gifted loosely follows and is connected to the X-Men film series. Starring Stephen Moyer and Amy Acker as ordinary parents who take their family on the run after they discover their children’s mutant abilities, in a world where the X-Men may not exist and the government is against mutants, the show has made its mark with critics and audiences, who have rated it higher than other comic book related TV series.

  • Why watch it: As far as superhero dramas go, The Gifted proves itself, with excellent direction and focus on the plot lines rather than on excessive special effects or action-packed sequences. What works well is that it stays true to the heart of the X-Men, and rather than just showing dazzling superheroes, it includes a good mix of drama, emotions (family is a big theme in the series) and action.
     
  • What may put you off :While the show has a lot going for it, it may fall apart as the plot is nothing more than an origin story, which may not seem original enough for ardent comic book fans. As gripping and intriguing as it may be, if family dramas aren’t your thing, this show isn’t for you.

     

The Orville
A hilarious watch for all Star Trek fans, The Orville is best described as a comical ode to the iconic science fiction series. Created by and starring Seth MacFarlane, the series tells the story of the crew of the Orville as they embark on various diplomatic and exploratory missions. With just 10 episodes out, the show is still finding its groove and improving as it progresses.

  • Why watch it: If you are a science fiction junkie who loves light-hearted comedy, this show is perfect for you. Seth McFarlane and Penny Johnson Jerald are at their comical best and if you’re looking to watch something fun and non-intense, the show is for you.
     
  • What may put you off: For a hard-core Star Trek fans, the show may be a let-down and may come across as a comic ‘fan-fiction’ version of the original series, especially since some of their jokes do fall flat. The first few episodes are where the series is the weakest, with the story and the characters seeming too jumbled, but it finds its feet soon enough. It’s worth a watch, only if you have the patience to get through the first few episodes.

The Good Doctor
If you’re bored of the hypothetical medical advice from the likes of Grey’s Anatomy, there’s a new medical drama in town. Featuring Freddie Highmore as Shaun Murphy, a young surgical resident with autism and savant syndrome at the San Jose St. Bonaventure Hospital, The Good Doctor brings back fun of the good-old medical drama to TV.

  • Why watch it: Drama, drama and more drama! With an intriguing and fast-paced plot, The Good Doctor may not be flashy, with an alternate universe and murderous creatures that are out to get you, but simplicity is what this show strives for. Much like other medical dramas, it follows the life of (autistic) surgeon Shaun as he deals with patients as well as fascinating surgeries that are probably too good to be true (if only surgery was as exciting in real life!). 
     
  • What may put you off: Let’s be honest, we might love medical dramas, but they have been done to death. The Good Doctor has a simple plot and brings nothing terribly new to TV. The show is not the most intriguing one out there, and may seem like a House or Grey’s Anatomy spin-off, which might be enough to put you off.

Dynasty
A good-old soap opera packed with drama like never before returns to American television. A reboot of the 1980s series of the same name, Dynasty is the story of heiress Fallon Carrington and her family as they navigate through politics, scandal, complex love lives, and even murder. While the original series was critically acclaimed and garnered widespread popularity, the new TV show has not had the same kind of luck. Nevertheless, a good dose of drama and scandal never fails to be entertaining.

  • Why watch it: If you love trashy soap operas (no judgements here; we love them too!) that portray lives of the elite and rich as exciting, extravagant and above all, super messy, then we suggest you binge-watch this show, and follow it up with a session of the original. There aren’t power-packed performances or superb direction, but simply drama and more drama, with a hint of drinks, parties and diamonds.
     
  • What may put you off: Unfortunately, just about everything. If you’re an avid TV fan who watches TV shows to analyse acting, writing and direction, we suggest you stay far away from this one. It is simply for those who want something fun and light, and who want to stay away from supernatural and thriller-mystery shows that are the norm these days.

AROUND THE CORNER
If the TV shows that we’ve listed do not excite you, here are a few shows that are set to premiere in 2018 that seems to be promising.

  • Black Lightning: Yet another show based on a comic book, this is a must-watch for all superhero fans.
     
  • Good Girls: This crime drama series will follow three suburban mums as they pull off a robbery and a heist to make ends meet.
     
  • By the Book: Based on A. J. Jacobs’ bestselling novel, The Year of Living Biblically, this sitcom series will chronicle the life of a man who decides to be ‘born’ again.
     
  • Alex, Inc.:  Another sitcom based on Alex Blumberg’s Gimlet Media podcast StartUp, this promises to be an interesting watch.
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