Thursday, August 13, 2015

One Episode: The Leaks in the TV Plumbing

One Episode is the segment where we edit the opening italicized paragraph, and talk about shows we have watched one episode of (and sometimes more, and sometimes less). This has nothing to do with quality but a desire to see everything that was *cough* leaked.

Lucifer -- Fox
Blindspot -- NBC
Minority Report -- Fox

OK, full disclosure. I am not all that familiar with Lucifer the comic book. It came out right around the time I was having Vertigo comics withdrawal.  The comic was a spinoff of the story from The Sandman where Lucifer Morningstar, The Fallen and King of Hell, left Hell and offered the keys to the kingdom to Morpheus, Lord of Dreams. In the comic Lucifer runs a piano bar, and that was pretty much all I knew about it.

In the TV show, Lucifer runs a swanky, decadent nightclub in LA with his demon sidekick Maze. It doesn't take long for the premise to kick in, when a pop diva he is fond of is gunned down in his company. Lucifer is immortal and unharmed and pitches in to help the investigation. Thus, we get 'she's an LA detective and he's the Ex-King of Hell, and together they fight crime' !! Amusingly enough, that formula is the basis of two of my favourite shows of the last decade -- Castle and Forever.

I loved this pilot, and mainly due to the way Tom Ellis (Merlin, The Fades) plays Lucifer. In character, he is comparable to a GBF (gay best friend; charming, catty and has the best lines) combined with a raving heterosexual cad. Wilde-ean was how Marmy described him. But the best aspect is how he does not hide who he is, from anyone. "You don't get this immortal thing, do you?" he asks Detective Dancer, played by Lauren German (Chicago Fire, Hawaii Five-O) after she witnesses him getting shot, to no effect. To round out the two of them working together, some mysterious force doesn't let his carnal rufie power (kinda creepy, but he is The Devil after all) work on her.

It was fun, and I don't know the comic, so it doesn't affect me whether it was accurate or not.

Meanwhile Blindspot held an immense amount of 'meh' for me.

You've probably seen the trailer -- bag found in Times Square, the Square is cleared with bomb squad approaching, when the bag unzips itself and out steps Sif/Jane Doe (Jaimie Alexander, Thor) naked and covered in tattoos. Some nefarious group/person has covered her in arcane tattoos but wiped her memory entirely. She has procedural memory, just no life memory. As Exposition Character explains, "she knows what music is, but has no idea who The Beatles are." Also, she has the name of a high profile FBI agent prominently displayed on her back.

Jaimie Alexander does a good job of playing the trauma this young woman is going through. Scared, lost and utterly confused. The law enforcement agencies are not treating her nicely, as I guess we now accept their unilateral post-911 powers blindly, but the guy with his name on her back makes a connection. Meanwhile mysterious beardy guy shows up in the background.

The premise kicks in when she reads some Chinese that is written behind her ear. That leads them to a terror plot by a disgruntled Chinese national. She is allowed to tag along, probably because the entirety of the FBI and HLS don't have Chinese translators (*insert sarcastic frowny*) and ends up displaying martial arts superpowers, as well as translating for High Profile FBI Guy. And she has flashbacks to being trained by beardy guy. She saves the day.

That was what I didn't like. They dump the hidden agenda far too quickly. They should have milked the utter mystery for all its worth. But now we know there is a conspiracy, created or controlled by beardy guy, that took a very capable woman (Jane Doe) and turned her into a no-memory crime fighting force. Kind of ruined it for me.


Finally, we have Minority Report, which I knew was going to be bad, but luckily its only Canadian SciFi TV bad, not bad bad. As you know, I love the movie, but was not sure how they would lift one of the precogs from their idyllic island house back to Toronto... ahem, Washington DC. The fact the series is so obviously Toronto, despite blankets of CGI everywhere, is kind of distractingly fun.

So Precog Kid is older now and curious about the world. He comes back to the city and has been attempting to stop crime, like the PreCrime Division used to. But he only gets part of the vision and has been failing at his crime fighting ambitions. I believe he says over a hundred people have been murdered because he is lacking. But then he runs into a Perky Young Detective (as you can gather from this whole post, I rarely recall names of new show characters) and helps her solve a crime; kind of.

Surprisingly there is a lot more depth here than in either of the two other shows. Perky Young Detective lives with her mom and baby brother. She also has the usual department tension with Wilmer Valderrama and Precog Kid will definitely give her a step up on crime fighting. And Precog Kid's twin brother is out there, trying to make contact. And something is going on with all the released criminals, that were put on the street when the Precime Division shut down. There is a lot of the world the writers want to play with, I am just not sure if their writing chops are up to it. Or maybe it was the director.  Not sure.

I will watch it when it starts and see where it goes.

But one thing I am loving is the CG. You know I loved the CG from the movie, and they are having even more fun expanding on the world it built.  This world is less dark, more on the colour of the screens everywhere and the social media gone wild, that the Tom Cruise movie wouldn't have predicted. If one thing about the world bothered me, is that they kept on dragging out visual cues from the movie. We did not need to see a fight on fire escapes, nor did we need to see his face gone melty. And the replacement of the jet packs with stupid cable driven backpacks was plain ludicrous. Just run with the fun stuff, and abandon all the other props please.