Showdowns: CBS’ Hostages vs. NBC’s The Blacklist

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She’s going to operate on the president and this is national news. He also has a daughter named Soy Soy, which was the most confusing part of the show. Beejoli: I mean that’s the only reason to tune in: that finely chiseled stubble. Collette’s character gave the President blood thinner, which she then “detected” and used as an excuse to call off the surgery. But that’s the stuff TV is made of.

Rich: It’s dumb but I’m kind of interested to see how it’s going to work itself out. Rich: They are throwing a bag over Toni’s head in the next episode so that should be fun. This season is like a bunch of one-night stands in that I watch a lot of pilots of shows I never return to. In The Blacklist, it’s much of the same.

Maybe it is a statement on the elusiveness of self-awareness. Which she discovers after tearing up the carpet beause she didn’t know that baking soda and water will lift blood stains right out of the carpet, and she finds a box full of passports of his under different aliases and wads of cash. Beejoli: I was mildy offended by the jokes and completely offended by the lack of comedy.

Beejoli: This is the problem with all comedies is they never make you care about any of the characters enough. A generation ago, even less, that was cause for major media focus, as new shows from the broadcast networks jockeyed for attention and position while old favorites returned with new episodes. Also back then, the Emmys were a celebration of the best, and clips from the nominated shows reminded you just why they were considered the best of the best.

I’ll end the suspense right off by declaring that, once again this season, the broadcast networks haven’t come up with one single show that absolutely, positively has to be added to your watch list. Oh, there are a handful of good ones, or promising ones, but not one that arrives so perfectly made out of the box that it sticks the landing the way Lost once did. These days, it feels like the broadcast networks are the ones who are lost, trying to straddle the territory between edgy, new-school cable shows and comfy, old-school broadcast ones.

The first few episodes aren’t as rich or funny as I’d like, but there’s no denying it’s a treat to watch this actor again, and it is the sort of show I expect will find its legs quickly. Like Fox’s show, it is not as amusing as it should be, but shows plenty of potential. And there’s Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, a visually opulent spinoff of Once Upon a Time that arrives next week with an interesting scheduling arrangement: It’s pre-canceled, designed to last only one season as a stand-alone spinoff, then call it a day. As a general overview, that’s pretty much the best of the bunch, at least as first impressions go.

But my lasting impression is that, as with last year at this time, I care a lot less about most new shows on broadcast TV than about the new, returning or concluding shows appearing on cable or elsewhere. Meanwhile, on Sunday, Showtime has the return of Homeland and the premiere of Masters of Sex, a playful series about the infamous studies by William Masters and Virginia Johnson. The nominations, and in some cases the winners, testified to the popularity and quality of TV shows from all manner of sources.

That was a major mistake: With the TV audience as fragmented as it is, it was a chance to show off and promote all the best under one tent. Emmy viewers did get to see Kevin Spacey as the oily, Machiavellian schemer of House of Cards, but only because he played the character in the Emmy telecast’s opening sketch. Emmy host Neil Patrick Harris and the four previous hosts of the show pretended to argue on stage, at which point the image shifted to a TV camera at audience level, where Spacey, just like his character on House of Cards, turned to whisper conspiratorially to the camera. And yet, later on, when Spacey was competing in the Best Actor in a Drama Series category, we saw no clips of his actual performance from House of Cards.

Sources: GigaOM, KERA North Texas, Gawker
Images by: Wikimedia