Now that the TV season is winding to a close, I am minded to post my ratings and reviews, in no particular order. (It should go without saying that spoilers follow).
The writing continues to be top notch. It’s difficult to single out a particular actor from this panorama of great performances, but whoever found and cast David Mazouz and Camren Bicondova deserves a special gold star. It’s difficult, I’m sure, to cast kids and hope that they will pan out into good actors but these two are great. And past blog posts will tell you how I feel about Robin Lord Taylor. The other thing I think deserves singular mention is the “look” of the show. I don’t know enough about TV production to know who is responsible for it, but the sort of modern-meets-art-deco really gives it an otherworldly feeling, that the city is of our time, but in another nearly-parallel-but-slightly-time-altered universe. Again, I’m not a DC fangirl, so any of the discontinuities with established canon, don’t stand out to me as they might do with others.
My sad little fangirl ravings cannot do this show justice. There has been solid character development without actually changing the fundamental character of Holmes. If Joan Watson is a little less buffoonish than John Watson, then that’s fine. I doubt you’d get to be a top surgeon as a slightly clueless buffoon anyway. And Lucy Liu is amazing. I shouldn’t say, who knew she had it in her, but who knew? I apologise for ever calling a female Watson stuntcasting. I also love John Bishop as Morland Holmes, a non-canon character, but his character very much explains the behaviour of his two sons.
Rating: C –
This is a show I had high hopes for that just hasn’t matched them, and maybe that’s my fault. The real star of the show are the tattoos, but the team seems to be solving them piecemeal, almost by accident and just in time to prevent the crime of the week. Only one woman, (and the ghost of her dead boyfriend) seems to be deciphering them, and though she keeps referring to her “team” we never see them. This should be a Lost-esque mystery with cryptologists, historians and cypher experts debating the tattoo’s meanings, but instead we get MOTW crimes with little relation to one another. The secondary problem is the lack of romantic tension which is clearly supposed to exist between the two main characters and is just not there. This is made even creepier by the fact that they last saw each other when they were ten year old tree climbing buddies, and yet that romantic tension is obviously supposed to exist. The only bright spot was John Hodgeman’s appearance as an Internal Affairs guy tasked with proving one of the team was a Russian spy. Never mind the fact that they usually leave IA subplots until the second or third season when the fans will be emotionally invested in the team, and care about the ramifications, they outed his character as the spy in his second episode and shot him dead. Hodgeman was a great baddie though.
Rating: A –
This show will teach me to keep my mouth shut. Despite initially saying I was underwhelmed, this show became one of my must-sees. I never did grow to like the characters, though their snarkiness was entertaining. The adult approach to a common plot (magic school) is interesting, as is the occasional twisting of the trope. All the acting is solid, and the lighting is quite interesting. This will be the rare show where I will go out of my way to not read the books. I want to experience The Magicians strictly in this medium.
Stay tuned for Pt 2 in a few days.