TV BYKE

This week marks the return of all the shows (ALL OF THE SHOWS *in my Rihanna voice*). 2018 began at a gradual pace of a show here (Star Trek Discovery) and there (This Is Us). But midway through January, new and returning shows are stampeding on my evenings. Let the games begin.

Monday – Tomorrow is the 2-hour season one finale of Fox’s surprise hit The Gifted. The battle between mutant and human intensifies as the Hellfire Club gains the Underground’s trust. Meanwhile Dr. Campbell convinced Jace in using his next stage in mutant manipulation – a machine that replicates the Strucker siblings’ powers.

Tuesday – This Is Us is in mid swing of its second season, but a new challenger at 9 p.m. will require my live viewing instead. The CW’s highly-anticipated Black Lightning series premieres. The first African American hero of the CW’s D.C. family features Cress Williams as the retired metahuman. When a violent gang threatens the livelihood of his family and neighborhood, he places the cape back on. And may received help from his two daughters as well. Black. Female. Heroines. On. TV. Sign me up.

Wednesday – Wednesday evening is a triple threat of entertainment. At 8 p.m. I play soap drama with the kids of Riverdale. Next I return to Filory as SyFy’s The Magicians entered its third season. Magic is no more for Quincy, Julia and friends. But a gallant quest may be the key – or seven – to restoring the magic in the world and beyond. Finally FX delivers Ryan Murphy’s second installment of American Crime Story. This time we revisit the murder of Gianni Versace, a crime I remember but definitely do not know the full story.

Thursday – TGIT returns with Liv and Annalise on their shows respectively. And as recently promised, their two worlds will collide when Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder crossover. Who wants more wine!?

Friday – Fridays are dedicated to ABC’s excellent fifth season of Agents of SHIELD. The team has been transported 80-some years into the future, where the Earth is nothing but a crater – remnants of a catastrophic Inhuman event. Coulson and the team are fighting  Kree as well as other forces of the galaxy.

Saturday – This still remains my catch up day – between apps and Hulu anything I miss will be devoured within these 24 hours.

Sunday – CBS is screwing the populace hiding the superb Star Trek: Discovery behind its $6 pay wall. The show is great for Trekkies and newbies alike, with an African American female lead in Sonequa Martin Green (The Walking Dead). In addition to Trek, Showtime via Hulu boasts The Chi. From Lena Waithe and Common is the multi-narrative portrait of Chicago lives.

This is the schedule as of now. Subject to change of course.

30for30: Day Nine

Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD | When the Marvel Cinematic Universe began, no one imagined how far its reach would stretch. Before the animated series and the Netflix sagas, ABC presented a little show that could with SHIELD. Anchored by Greg Kelly’s Agent Coulson, the weekly serial of the more mortal heroes told how everyday folk coped with aliens, superheroes and HYDRA. While it definitely crawled before it could walk, the series now runs as one of the best comic shows on TV.

Hollywood Shuffle | Robert Townsend’s satirical film on being a black actor in Hollywood opened in 1987. Thirty years later #OscarsSoWhite and other rallying cries for inclusion still ring like trumpets at the Battle of Jericho. The hilarious commentary on the industry’s color problem went virtually unnoticed then. They won’t ignore us today or tomorrow.

Return of 4Eva | Mississippi’s Big K.R.I.T. rattled the cage with his introductory debut KRIT Wuz Here. He followed up with the superior Return of 4Eva. Atop mostly self-produced beats, he flexed his skills as a lyricist on the glorious “R4 Theme Song.” Boasted on the trunk-banging “My Sub,” and touched hearts with the sentimental “The Vent.” One of my favorite projects of the last decade, K.R.I.T. remains one of the most underappreciated in the game. If you’re late, catch up on Oct. 27th as he drops his double album 4Eva is a Mighty Long Time.

Hate Is A Strong Word: Marvel’s Inhumans (Spoilers)

INhumansI finally took the time to view the highly-anticipated, critically-panned premiere of Marvel’s Inhumans, a new comic series on ABC. The show compliments the MCU’s already established TV narrative about a race of beings with extraordinary abilities. Viewed as abnormal they reside on the moon under the reign of a king and queen. But when a coup ruptures their kingdom, the royal family is forced to flee to Earth.

Expectations were high for the series, as Marvel aimed to capitalize off their wildly popular cinematic and television universes. However their latest ventures – last year’s Iron Fist and this summer’s The Defenders – both failed to deliver on the same level as their predecessors.  And unfortunately, Inhumans has followed this downward trend.

Frankly it’s failure to launch after the success of ABC’s Agents of SHIELD was puzzling. Of course SHIELD had it’s own issues early on, but it seemed to fair much better even with the blemishes. And it has since become one of the better superhero shows on TV.

What’s wrong with Inhumans? A lot. But let me start with what I did enjoy. I love that they’re in Hawaii. The destination is vast and gorgeous; and, it specifically highlights a multitude of Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders actors. Something we don’t see everyday on TV or in film. I also enjoyed some of the fight scenes – specifically with Maximus’ diabolical right hand.

Speaking of Maximus he is pretty good in all his scenes, given he is the axis of the plot. I also enjoyed Karnak. These two along with Medusa delivered some of my favorite moments.

Now the bad:

  • The pacing for two episodes was not good.
    • There was no time to establish these new characters strong enough to care about them. A 10-minute stop-animation prologue to describe their history would have been great. And then we could have seen the familial bond among them and their people. Instead of rushing the coup at the end of episode one, they could have saved the betrayal as the cliffhanger in the second episdoe, making Maximus’ eventual turn more dramatic, unexpected.
  • Some scenes were so horribly acted/dramatized they became hilarious.
    • The opening scene with Triton was horrendous. The dialogue was elementary and his demise so early carried no emotional weight
    • The actress playing the princess is the weakest link in ALL her scenes. She’s giving high school theater and it’s uncomfortable
    • Gorgon’s encounter with the surfers felt incredibly tone deaf (thematically and racially) and added nothing to the story
    • Medusa’s scalping was unintentionally hilarious; where did Maximus find clippers?
    • The dynamic between the cop from Barbershop and Felicity Smoak’s doppelganger is incredibly basic and keenly sexist. Maybe it was suppose to be sexist but why? And how could he not believe in her theory when he lives in a world with Iron Man?
    • The Inhumans’ inconsistent knowledge of Earth made for some vast plot holes. Black Bolt doesn’t know what handcuffs are, but Medusa knows what a bus is. How have they examined Earth from a far and not know anything about its culture and/or customs?
    • There isn’t a single black woman or girl in Hawaii or in Attila. Why come we never can give a sister some play?

Those were my main gripes. I may give the third episode a chance (SHIELD did get it together) but I can’t promise anything. From initial thoughts, to the trailer, IMAX reviews and now the actual premiere, bad has been the constant synopsis. If this misfires, hopefully it fades as quietly as Black Bolt appears in all his scenes. If not we do have Netflix’s The Punisher, Hulu’s Runaways and Fox’s The Gifted to drown it out.

Hate Me Now: “What If…” Everyone Watched ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D’

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Somewhere between the brilliance that was FX’s psychedelic Legion, and the The CW’s run-of-the-mill-tertainment heroes is Marvel’s Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D. The only television component of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (other than Netflix), it’s been holding its own ever since the tragic events of Captain America: Winter Soldier. Since that pivotal twist, Coulson and SHIELD have seen their share of directors, Inhumans, double agents, hell demons, mutants and life-like humanoids. Now in its fourth season, delivering one of its best yet, its experiencing its lowest ratings ever.

There could be a few reasons for this — two in particular. It’s move to 10 p.m. While I love the show, I never felt it was worthy of the 10 spot. ABC announced the time shift mainly because of this season’s darker tone, indicating more mature themes. But like many Marvel properties, its still pretty light compared to Netflix or other shows on the same network (American Crime). The other reason is just the sheer amount of options in this age of peak TV. On Tuesdays alone SHIELD competes with FX’s The Americans. In its old time slot of nine, NBC had the smash hit This Is Us. Picking the must-see live show is getting more difficult, and I guess for many SHIELD gets pushed to next-day airing. Honestly it’s a shame.

SHIELD has consistently delivered quality story-telling with action and great character development. All while keeping with the cinematic continuity. From its humble beginnings, trying to find its footing as a hero show with no heroes, SHIELD has chiseled its spot as one of the best comic shows on television. Yesterday’s return episdoe from a short hiatus proved this.

With the introduction of Dr. Strange late last year, Coulson and his team — under new management — encountered the supernatural universe. Magic beings and supreme powers beyond the alien technology they fought with the Avengers. This power mixed with scientific advancement introduced a villain with the capability of crafting an alternate reality. No, not the one Donald Trump lives in, but one that resembles an America that’s all too familiar. In this framework, mental sorcery imposed on comatose victims, SHIELD has fallen. Inhumans are hunted by the government. And the entity protecting citizens from these cursed illegals is HYDRA. The world’s only hope is an underground outfit known as The Resistance. Old faces take on new spaces as it’s literally the Upside Down of the SHIELD universe.

Will the resistance prevail? Or will our merry agents be trapped in HYDRA’s America forever. Tune in every Tuesday night at 10 p.m. ET to find out.