Well, the new 2019 TV season of genre shows are finally upon us, as made evident last night by the by the final (for now) season 5 premiere of Gotham along with the second episode of The Orville’s sophomore season. The networks are still trying to figure out how to respond to the new age of streaming entertainment, and pushing the premieres of its shows, back further than the traditional autumn premieres of yesteryear, resulting in January start times for shows that generally, in the past, began in October or so.
Pondering the changing face of modern television, I began to wonder just how much and how soon we can expect other changes as our viewing habits adapt to the new ways our entertainment gets provided. After all, it wasn’t that long ago that binge-watching was unheard of, and now it has become a part of our twenty-first-century vocabulary faster than it takes to download a video file. Its a pretty sure thing we are stuck with reality TV for a while, did you ever notice just how many shows are on television to please and entertain the not-too-intelligent segment of the population? That’s because the NASCAR crowd are the ones buying all that crap they are continually trying to sell you during those ubiquitous commercials.
It’s no secret about humanity’s love affair with our screens; television is not only a sometimes embarrassing mirror of us as we evolve and change, but it also represents the distillation of pop culture as it gets presented to us. TV informs our world as well as helping to form it at the same time. It’s a distillation of all our fantasies and dreams that provide an even more revealing portrait of us as a species, in an animated cocktail filled with sex and violence, and the occasional uplifting moment that gives us hope for a better tomorrow if only we can find the time; whew.
Now for news and commentary:
BATWOMAN: First of all, in the news, The CW has issued a pilot order for a Batwoman standalone series starring Ruby Rose, making it the network’s first official pilot order of the season. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Game of Thrones director David Nutter will helm the pilot episode. He also directed the pilots for Arrow and The Flash. He gets credited as an executive producer.
In development since July, Batwoman is being overseen by producer Greg Berlanti and written by Caroline Dries (The Vampire Diaries). She will executive produce alongside Berlanti, Sarah Schechter and Geoff Johns. If ordered to series, Batwoman will join Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Supergirl and Black Lightning on the network’s slate of DC-based series. Ruby Rose does seem pretty well suited for the part.
Batwoman made a brief appearance in this season’s Arrowverse crossover, and evidently, she made enough of an impression to earn a shot a series.
THE ORVILLE: The Orville is not a series that can withstand too close inspection, no joke; when you look, really look, all kinds of cheesy stuff reveals itself to the eye, and it isn’t pretty. Cheesy make-up (yes Bortus, I’m looking at you and Issac too), sets and props were suddenly a distraction during last night’s disquieting episode.
Speaking of last night’s episode, it was, as I said, somewhat disquieting because of the subject matter, but it was, in my opinion, a ballsy episode (lousy pun intended). Initially, the show’s idea of gay alien porn induced, for me, a sense of queasiness and revulsion; let’s face it those guys are not attractive on top of everything else. But, as it continued, I was forced to think about it more rationally and realized McFarland, if he wanted to take a look at sex and porn in the future did not have much choice but to use gay porn as an example. Can you imagine the shit-show over political correctness if he had depicted straight, alien, or trans-species porn as part of the show? People would have gone crazy.
It was also the first time for the long-time-coming discussion about getting addicted to, or overindulging in the holodeck, something I always wondered about back in ST: TNG. I used to joke about holodeck three, and the poor bastard that had to clean that frequented location up; Ewwww.
Anyway, despite an inordinate amount of time spent looking at a not-very-good matte painting of a planet getting consumed by its star, and all that cheesiness, it was a strong episode, it was just not very much fun. The rare exceptions in the episode were a couple of very amusing moments involving Bortus trying to acquire some porn from an alien character with an excellent costume and the conversation after his partner Klyden’s attempted divorce.
GOTHAM: The season premiere of Gotham was nearly as good as I had hoped for, meaning I enjoyed it a lot. The show’s creators did a marvelous job making the series much more cinematic and theatrical making this episode quite visually impressive and memorably satisfying.
They also somehow managed to make the show even darker with any hint of a tongue-in-cheek approach removed. It was a real treat for me to finally be able to revisit the dark and gloomy metropolis and its despicable denizens.; they’re what makes this kooky city click.
One of the best parts of this series for me has been Robin Lord Taylor’s over-the-top portrayal of Penguin, and now Penguin got a makeover, both visually and regarding what lines he will cross. That seems to be the case across the board with new looks all around to some extent or another, along with a new unmistakable, deadlier, atmosphere. Gordon is stil not sporting the classic mustache the chaercter is known for, but word is, its on the way. The other best parts of this cast were all present and accounted for; Sean Pertwee, Donal Logue both made brief but impressive appearances, and in the case of David Mazouz he is looking a lot more mature these days and growing into his face more; that awkward and gangly teen is no more.
There’s a mystery surrounding Sabrina Kyle who is battling some form of distressing psychological disturbance has a makeover in store also. The changes, for the most part, seem for the better, and the first episode was very enjoyable. I look forward to the rest of the final season with enthusiasm.
Now for Star Trek Discovery premiering on January 17th, 2019; be sure to tune in for that along with more news and commentary back here on the Sci-Fi Movie Page. Happy New Years and may your years be complete with happy viewing for lightyears to come.