Apologies for no Three Things last week. Kissera and Lucifer, stars of the next book in the Awakening series, have been giving me a bit of trouble. We seem to have it all sorted out now. Thanks for your patience!
This week, let’s talk about three new TV shows I didn’t expect to like.
As a general rule I stay away from shows on the CW, or as I call it, the “Constant Wangst” channel. I thought the adventures of the fastest man on Earth would be more of the same, but Barry and friends surprised me.
Besides a couple of animated Justice League movies, I know bupkis about the Flash. Barry is fun to watch. He’s excited about his powers and always pushing them to the limit. Sure, there’s that mystery around his mother’s death he’s trying to solve, but he doesn’t get bogged down in dreary angst. The Flash is a pleasant surprise on a channel I’d basically erased from memory.
Another unexpected gem from the DC universe, Gotham gives all the gritty darkness of a corrupt city without the Batman. My favorite character is Fish. Jada Pinkett Smith owns that character so much I forget she’s not an actual crime boss. Her bodyguard Butch’s hench for life dedication is a welcome change in a world where everyone’s trying to get ahead. I love how a young Det. Gordon navigates the corruption ridden underworld as well as the less than savory doings of the GPD.
The only time the show fails is when we see young Bruce Wayne. Whenever the story focuses on Wayne Manor, or Bruce it’s time for me to go make a snack. The actor should take lessons from the Walking Dead’s Chandler Riggs. Riggs plays the shit out of Carl. With just a look and few words, Riggs conveys the struggle of a boy becoming a man in a world gone horribly wrong. David Mazouz is slightly younger than Riggs and the role is new to him, so hopefully he’ll develop some skills in future seasons. Right now, I fast forward the DVR through his parts, but have no intentions of taking Gotham off the “must watch” list.
Sweet baby Jesus save me now. When I heard Fox was doing a show about a hip hop mogul I rolled my eyes and thought the worst. When I found out Terence Howard was a lead I shook my head. Then Taraji P. Henson signed on.
First, a bit about Taraji. It’s a long standing thing between me and Mr. Man that Taraji is the one woman we both get a pass on. If either of us cheats on the other with her then no harm no foul. We refer to her as “our girlfriend”. No offense to Ms. Henson. She is fierce and flawless. That person skulking around the Court Street Diner when they filmed Person of Interest in LIC? Wasn’t me. Honest.
So. Empire’s concept is eye roll worthy and its lead actor has real life anger management issues. It gets one episode to impress because, Taraji. When she struts out of jail after 17 years wearing a huge, white fur and 90s style doorknocker earrings, Mr. Man and I side eye each other and exchange embarrassed, “I think I like this” looks. By the time she smacks her estranged son with a broom for disrespecting her, we’d set the DVR for the whole season.
Empire brings back that old nostalgia for Fox prime time soaps. Those old enough remember Melrose Place. Every week would bring more and more crazy and I couldn’t look away. I remember being at college in the early 90s and you didn’t need a clock to tell time on Monday nights because at 7:59 every dorm room on the floor was open. At 8:00 the intro music to 90210 came on and for the next two hours we were transported into the cracktastic worlds Darren Star created.
I love the fact Empire brings new Black talent to the mainstream. Denzel and Idris will always have my love, but dudes are aging and Michael Ealy can’t hold down all the awesome alone. From writing to directing to guest appearances, it seems like Lee Daniels and Danny Strong put up the Black people bat signal. I’m thrilled to see Black people involved in all parts of the making of this show.
Do you guys have a show that hooked you by surprise? Did you discover it on Netflix after a few seasons? Is there something new I should check out? Don’t be shy! Share in the comments.