Initial Thoughts: Masters of Sex and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

A good television show just feels different than a not so good one. A good television show has texture and feels thick and dense, full of quality. It holds your interest. You want to watch all the way to the end to see what will happen in the next episode. It might make you laugh out loud or think or cry. You want to know more about the characters and what they are thinking and how they feel. Entertainment is art. Everyone has their own opinions about what is good art, but I think most would agree that if you think art is good, it makes you feel something. A good television show makes you feel something (besides annoyed or bored.)

It may seem strange to include Masters of Sex and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D. in the same blog post, but I watched them back to back and they are both good television. Different, but both good.

Masters of Sex is based on a fascinating topic. Who doesn’t want to know more about sex? The characters are rich and full (and developed at an appropriate pace). It’s fascinating to me to see the sexual attitudes of the time and the impact those had on people. I am not sure how much this show will get in to all of the psychology behind sex or just focus on the physiological and societal perspectives. That would make it much more interesting to me, but we will have to see where it goes. Interesting that the guy with the biggest sexual hang ups so far appears to be Masters. Perhaps that is the whole point! And that Johnson had chutzpah! The story of Masters and Johnson themselves makes for good TV. (The did end up marrying..and divorcing eventually. Sorry for the spoiler but its in Wikipedia.) The topic is clearly interesting, but it is also well done. I don’t break down all of the technical stuff (I am a VERY novice TV reviewer) but it felt like good TV to me and I am looking forward to more.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D is completely different. The premise of this show is completely ridiculous but fun. I was able to pick up the context pretty quickly (I am pretty smart and I know how to use the internet.) The show is a spin off of this summer’s movie The Avengers where something called “The Battle of New York” happened and aliens from another dimension attacked earth and the superhumans (like Thor and Ironman) saved the world. The purpose of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division) is to “shield” the world from all of the super humans and aliens and this crazy stuff going on. They are hot and smart and they have that dry sarcastic wit that I love. I could date this show.

I did get a tiny bit bored during the action/chase scenes and this subject matter is not the most interesting to me, but it is good television. You care about the story and the characters and there is cool technology stuff going on. It is also an interesting companion to the movies (which will continue) because it references them, but (I read in EW) that they are sticking with the smaller stories and heroes for budgetary and artistic reasons.  TV is smaller and you have an hour every week so it has to have a different formula. Makes sense! Joss Whedon makes good TV. I may not watch it because I can’t watch everything, but I think it will be a huge success and if you are in to these Marvel heroes, you will love it.

Two good shows that made me feel something. Thumbs up to Masters of Sex and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Fall TV Watchlist

Just under the wire (maybe a tiny bit late), here is what I will be checking out this fall on TV. I am not super excited about any of the new stuff but I like to check it out before I rule it out. I have actually already ruled out many of the new shows. Here is what’s left, in order of interest…

Brooklyn Nine-Nine  (previewed last Tuesday on Fox) – I already watched the first episode and it was really funny, in a very silly way. Stay tuned for a mini review. (EW and TV Guide top pick)

Masters of Sex (Sun 9/29 10pm Showtime) Inspired by Masters & Johnson’s research into human sexuality it is described as Mad Men with gratuitous nudity. Sounds great! (EW and TV Guide top pick)

Hostages (Mon 9/23 10pm CBS) – A serialized white knuckle conspiracy thriller mixed with a complicated family saga starring Tony Colette and Dylan McDermott.  It is only 15 episodes, not a huge commitment, based on an Israeli drama (like In Treatment!) The main reason to check it out is that its exec producer says it is like Downton Abbey meets 24. I have to find out what that could possibly mean. (TV Guide top pick)

The Blacklist  (Mon 9/23 10pm NBC) – International man of secrets (the always creepy James Spader) inexplicably surrenders to the FBI to bust the underworld but will only work with a rookie cop and we don’t know why. Described as an unoriginal, but very entertaining Alias meets Silence of the Lambs (EW and TV Guide top pick)

Retro Fall TV Preview CoverAlmost Human (Mon 11/4 Fox 8pm) – This is our new Fringe (from JJ Abrams)! Cops work with robo-partners to solve crimes. The two leads apparently have great buddy-cop chemistry and the show offers fresh takes on sci-fi archetypes (and there is a mysterious box!) (EW top pick)

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland (Thu 10/10 10pm ABC) – This is a spin off of Once Upon a Time based on Alice in Wonderland (had you figured that out?). Alice was my fav growing up so I watch all things Alice. I also really like Once Upon a Time. Apparently, I dig fairy tale based fantasies. (nobodies top pick except mine!)

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Thu 9/24 8pm ABC) – This is not a show I would normally watch, ever (I have not even see the Avenger’s movie), but it was co-created by Joss Whedon who created Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which I loved. He also created Firefly which I think I would have loved if I had watched it. It is a “smarter superhero drama” with a covert government force that protects mortals from mutants. It sounds like there are a lot of super hero/comic book jokes that will go right over my head, but if you are in to that stuff, this might be TV gold. (EW and TV Guide top pick)

The Crazy Ones (Thu 9/26 9pm CBS)I don’t have a good feeling about this one, but it is created by David E Kelly with Robin Williams (needs no explanation but I will take this opportunity to give a shout out to Good Will Hunting, one of my favorite movies ever) and Sarah Michelle Gellar (the actual Buffy!) What will happen? Well, a kooky genius will run an advertising agency with his levelheaded daughter Sydney. See why I’m not that excited? (TV Guide top pick)

Hello Ladies (Sun 9/29 HBO) – A geeky guy and his friends try to date in L.A. This is not really my thing but EW says it is really funny so I wanted to tell you about it (and I would feel guilty if you missed it and it was awesome!) (EW Top Pick)

If I had more time, I would check out Super Fun Night (created by Conan O’Biran and the hilarious Rebel Wilson of Bridesmaids and Almost Perfect fame) and The Originals (a spin off of The Vampire Diaries that I also don’t have time for but kind of miss!) and maybe even Sean Saves the World (because I like Sean Hayes from Will and Grace.) But there is no time.

If you want to know when returning stuff is returning, check out my TV List or TV Guide’s awesome Fall TV Premiere Calendar.

Let the fall TV watching begin!

Disclaimer: Almost everything I have written here is blatant plagiarism from Entertainment Weekly. Thanks EW!