View from the Cheap Seats is a new feature this week, which is kind of an extension of the newsroom. Whenever our three regular reporters, Calvin Daniels, Thom Barker and Kelly Friesen are in the building together, it is frequently a site of heated debate.
Topics covered will range from sports to politics to pop culture to whatever piques their interests. This week it is the series premiere of Sleepy Hollow and the season premiere of The Big Bang Theory.
It was with some definite trepidation I tuned into Sleepy Hollow for its recent premiere.
The premise, read about online, was intriguing, although one I worried the series would not manage to pull off without it feeling stupid, or overly campy.
The idea of the show has Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison) rising from the grave in current day Sleepy Hollow.
Now we almost all know the story of Ichabod and his nemesis The Headless Horseman, a classic from writer Washington Irving. How that story was going to work dragged into the current day, even with the brought-back-to-life Crane in tow was the question.
Well to my pleasant surprise the creators have pulled it off rather smartly.
They have tweaked the back story of Crane and the Horseman a fair bit, incorporating it into the Revolutionary War, including ties to General George Washington. It’s a nice twist for the back story.
Then the writers sprinkled in some witch covens, which tie neatly to the Salem era witch trials, and again it works.
Now jump to the present where the Horseman has risen in search of his head so that he can be the first of the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse bent on destruction.
Crane is dragged along to stand as the force of good.
Of course he’s a man out of time, and soon marked a lunatic by all but one spunky cop Abbie Mills played by Nicole Beharie.
The forces are set for a series wrapped in history, mystery and the occult, all fine by me.
Throw in some fun quips based on Crane coming to terms with a world filled with electric lights and Starbucks, and you have the recipe for the new series hit of the fall season so far.
Can’t miss TV for me.
If there is one word that characterizes the series premiere of Sleepy Hollow for me it is “bad.”
I am a fan of the classics and the headless horseman—in American literature, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving, no doubt adapted from European folklore—certainly qualifies.
I am also a fan of juxtaposing timeless tales into the current era—the very good Sherlock Holmes adaptation Elementary, and the even better Grimm, are prime examples.
In general, I am not inclined toward the supernatural genre, but there are exceptions and I really wanted Sleepy Hollow to be one them.
It was not.
The opening scenes gave me hope because the atmosphere was great, the casting and acting were decent and the special effects were compelling (as is to be expected of anything that actually makes it to the small screen these days), but that’s where the positives of this premiere ended for me.
Ultimately, it is a cop show set against a backdrop of time travel and superstition padded with every cliché cop show trope in the book—the hard-ass, weakly skeptical, and unable-to-see-the-truth commander; the rogue desperate-to-leave-this-one-horse-burgh-but-compelled-to-stay investigator with a complicated past etcetera.
Throw in a bunch of tired old jokes (Starbucks on every corner, not- LOL), expository (lazy writing) apparitions and a blood-blending of occult and biblical mythology… yawn… oh, sorry, did I nod off there?
I won’t watch another episode, much less follow it for an entire season. In fact, the only reason I got all the way through the premiere was because I had to write this review. This show gets an F from me.
The Big Bang Theory
The Big Bang Theory (BBT) burst on the scene as must see television seven season ago, and with the exception of an odd ho-hum episode every once in a while, has remained the best half-hour comedy on the tube these days.
Every era seems to have it’s stand out comedy, whether The Andy Griffith Show, M.A.S.H. (the best ever), or Sniffled, and BBT is the obvious crown holder of the day.
But with the recent season premiere the question was whether the standard of excellence could be maintained.
Well the powers that be at CBS gave BBT fans a bonus premiere night with back-to-back episodes to launch the season.
The first was solid if not fall off the couch hilarious, and was enough to make a fan welcome back the amazing cast led by Emmy winner Jim Parsons as Sheldon Cooper.
Cooper is the sun around which the fine ensemble cast rotates, and together they create a truly fantastic universe.
The second half of the premiere doubleheader took things up a notch. It was an episode which shows just how funny BBT can be. I was laughing out loud from the outset.
The scene where Raj (Kunal Nayyar) and Howard (Simon Helberg) compare man bosoms was drop-dead hilarious. The entire thread of Howard inadvertently boosting his estrogen level carried the show in terms of plain old fashioned funny.
Certainly BBT has changed over the years, evolving from four nerds and humour based primarily on geek-dom, to a larger ensemble cast with more of a ‘Friends”-feel, but in that change the series has opened itself to new story lines, and kept it fresh in the process.
Granted there are very few truly funny sitcoms on TV today, but BBT has risen above the malaise to become a classic, and the new season looks poised to continue the laughs.
I never anticipated I would be able to give The Big Bang Theory a lukewarm review, but Thursday’s season premiere-plus-one wasn’t quite up to snuff. I suspect the series is starting to suffer from longevity.
I think it was a good idea to have one-on-one scenes between characters that hadn’t really been done before—and I know from it’s something the cast wanted to do—but the execution did not live up to the hype.
The interactions seemed somewhat forced and awkward (a writing issue more than an acting issue). When Koothrappali said at the end of Episode 2 that he missed them all hanging out together, I had to agree. I also missed the science content. The group dynamic and science have always been the strengths of the show for me.
Also, Sheldon is starting to get a tad annoying instead of funny, a bad friend and despite, six years (TV time) yet to gain any real insight into how to be a decent human being. In fact, all the characters, in these two episodes, seemed to be somewhat unsympathetic caricatures of themselves.
Nevertheless, I still believe in the show and think it is going to rebound from this weak initial offering. I am giving the premiere a C+ and partially agree with Calvin that it is (one of) the only sit-coms on TV worth watching. The other, in my opinion, is How I Met Your Mother, which is also losing the ensemble dynamic that made it such a compelling hit.
Big Bang Theory’s season seven premiere, The Hofstadter Insufficiency, is well worth 30 minutes of your day, but like most TV comedies, it doesn’t knock your socks off.
The episode focused on three friendships: Sheldon/Penny, Raj/Howard and Amy/Bernadette. This was both a safe and smart move by the writers because some of their best episodes in the past are based on these characters spending time together.
The Sheldon-Penny duo is the funniest of the trio. They both miss Leonard, who is away on a research vessel; however, only Penny truly admits to it. Sheldon tries to play it off as he doesn’t, but in fact it seems he misses him more than Penny. It truly captures how much Leonard’s friendship means to Sheldon.
The value of Leonard’s character is shown in the episode with him only appearing for a couple moments here and there from the research project. On several occasions, especially at lunch in the cafeteria, it seems like someone is missing – Leonard.
Raj finally talking to women without alcohol was good to see. It started to get frustrating in past episodes where he would have to whisper into Howard’s ear with women in the room. It seemed only fitting that his best friend was the one to support him through the process.
Not much happens between Amy and Bernadette. They are out of town and spend the night in a hotel. You’ll get the odd chuckle out of their conversions about men, but they never leave you wanting more.