The weather is changing in Chicago and my favorite time of year is here. Generally football alone keeps me in front of the flat screen, but I've been a TV junkie since Transformers got me up at 6 a.m. on Saturdays to launching TV Squad.
This year I haven't paid much if any attention to new shows because they generally get cancelled before I even get a chance to dig into them. This year none of the retro shows like "Playboy Club" or "Pan Am" interested me – even with Christine Ricci.
Instead action shows like "Person of Interest" and "Terra Nova" looked good and both surprised me by actually being good TV. The third show is definitely an "after the kids go to bed" pick, "American Horror Story" that probably isn't for everyone, and definitely not me.
Person of Interest
It's got a super geek and a super badass teaming up to take down bad guys. The simple premise and expertly played leads by Michael Emerson and Jim Caviezel respectively, makes this procedural work, and work really well.
You have techy CSI digging by a Steve Jobs-level genius -- his extreme wealth funds the doo-gooding – teamed with CIA kung-fu fighting and espionage of Jason Bourne-levels. I mean come on, how does it get better than that?
Throw in the concept that a machine spits out someone who will be killed in the near future so the two can save them anonymously and you have "The Equalizer" for the 21st century.
I can't recommend it enough, especially if you're tired of all the CSIs, Law & Orders and the like.
I figured "Terra Nova" could fall into the same suckitude that the "Falling Skies" miniseries this summer did, but instead this big budget romp amidst dinosaurs is sophisticated and expertly done.
Since my kids max level of TV watching is Phineas & Ferb, I can only guess that this would be a good pre-teen and teen show to watch as a family. Violence is mainly versus dinosaurs and the most adult theme is a husband and wife trying to get some alone time to "reconnect." There are some teenage shenanigans but it's mostly about "when you know a boy likes you."
For me, I just like the sci-fi take on traveling back 90 million years to save the human race. It hasn't been explained what happens when the earth goes through a massive extinction event but I'd guess they went back far enough that it's millions of years off in the future and won't factor into the human species' existence.
There's even some good intrigue among factions on the old/new Earth that viewers can assume will fuel plotlines to come this season. Plus the dinosaurs look pretty realistic for a TV show.
American Horror Story
Another fringe show on FX? "Justified" is one of my favorite shows of the past few years so this supposedly sexy and scary new series featuring big name silver screen actors looked like a win for some late night, kid free entertainment.
After watching the pilot I can say it is indeed edgy, but I don't think I want to see another episode.
For one, it is a true horror show. I mean it's scary in terms of gruesome scenes of violence and otherworldly creatures.
But the sexual aspects are where the show really gets freaky and not in a good way. I'm not going to delve deep into the premise of the show but it's based in adultery and the all too real sorrow of losing a child. As a dad, these aren't topics I want to explore on a weekly basis.
If you're into creepiness this show has it in abundance but I think I'd rather spend the time elsewhere.