Winners and Losers

Four new TV shows caught my eye. After checking them out for two or three episodes, I’ve picked the winners I want to keep watching and the losers that will disappear from my viewing schedule.

The Winners

The two shows I find the best are Intelligence and Killer Women. Sheer dazzle makes Intelligence interesting. Josh Holloway is excellent as the cyber-brained lead character with whiz-bang computer skills embedded in his brain. His supporting team, Meghan Ory and Marg Helgenberger are both doing a terrific job in their roles. Plus the show includes some particular favorite actors of mine such as John Billingsley and Lance Reddick.

Intelligence is sci fi done right: engaging characters, plots that work, fascinating tech.

Killer Women is also a hit with me. Tricia Helfer, who’s worked in a long list of things we’ve all seen, never came to the front of my attention before the way she does with her leading role in this drama. She’s doing a terrific job as a tough Texas Ranger. Remember how awesome Gina Torres looked in Firefly with that gun strapped to her hip? That’s the vibe Tricia Helfer is giving off in Killer Women. One helluva woman.

I know Killer Women has suffered some negative reviews – by men – but the women reviewing this show have spoken positively about it. So as a representative of the female TV viewing audience, I cast my vote for a renewal of this show!

The Losers

They looked good, the previews and trailers looked good, but two of the new shows failed to engage me.

I like Billy Campbell, I enjoy sci fi, and I had high hopes for Helix. It should be good. Good cast, great sets, strong premise, diverse characters. But it bores me. The 3rd episode, which will be the last one I devote my time to, left me yawning and wishing it would hurry up and end. It has devoted followers, if tweets in my Twitter stream are any indication, but I’m not one of them.

The other show that leaves me flat is Bitten. It’s rare that I can’t get into a show with a female lead character. Laura Vandervoort does a perfectly fine job as the lead in this werewolf story, so it isn’t her.  Bitten feels opaque. Too many undefined characters, not enough clarity about the stakes involved. Not one thing in this series has made me care.

Do you have winners and losers from the new TV season? What are they?

First Impressions of Intelligence and Killer Women

Intelligence and Killer Women both opened their seasons this week. Here are my first impressions.

Intelligence

Intelligence touts Josh Holloway as the lead character, Gabriel Vaughn. He’s a government operative with a computer embedded in his brain and is considered the government’s most valuable asset. It’s on CBS.

The main cast of Intelligence
The main cast of Intelligence. Image via CBS

Behind this computer-man are Riley Neal (Meghan Ory) as the secret service agent in charge of keeping Vaughn safe and out of enemy hands, and Lillian Strand (Marg Helgenberger) who is head of the cyber security agency that manages Vaughn.

I am always interested in shows like this that take a look at the direction we are heading with technology. The technology here is dazzling, if unrealistic, and gives the series an awesomeness vibe that should serve it well in future episodes.

In the lead, Holloway is stubbornly human in spite of his computer chip of a brain, which makes the story interesting. Ory is tough and capable and in sympathy with Holloway’s tendency to be human. Helgenberger seemed a bit stiff and stoic, but perhaps that’s a requirement of the role.

It’s an action story with fighting and guns and international intrigue mixed in with the government operations and human interaction. I was happy with the first episode and think it promises to be an interesting ride.

Killer Women

On ABC, Tricia Helfer leads the cast on Killer Women. She’s Molly Parker, a Texas Ranger who works on murder cases where women are the murderers.

Molly Parker in Killer Women
Tricia Helfer in Killer Women. Image via ABC.

Molly is a bundle of complexity, which is always good in a character. She’s trying to get her husband to sign divorce papers while conducting an affair with an FBI guy played by Marc Blucas. (I’ll bet if you counted them all up, Marc Blucas has been the love interest for more leading women in television than any other actor.)

Molly’s living at her brother’s while getting the divorce. The brother (Michael Trucco) may play an important role in the series since he was all over the premier.

Molly is more interested in justice than in closing cases. Get this. She plays the trumpet in a band when she’s not working a case – that’s a new twist on a character.

The shots of Austin and what I assumed are San Antonio looked real, although IMDB says the show was filmed in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I saw the Frost Bank building in Austin and the state capitol building in Austin, and the highway scenes showed green vegetation beside the roads – not something you’d see in the New Mexico desert. I sure looks like it was filmed in Texas.

Much as I liked the main character and Tricia Helfer as a Texas Ranger, some of the situations were a little unrealistic. For example, Helfer and Blucas take off to Mexico, completely unofficially,  to rescue some people and while there they shoot people without any apparent consequences. Drug cartel people, so shooting them doesn’t count or something – right? Action heroes in movies shoot people without consequences all the time, but I seldom see women doing it.

Killer Women has my interest so far and I’ll continue to watch.

Did you watch either of these premier episodes? What were your impressions?