With the 2015 TV season only a few weeks away, veteran shows are back in production. Even the best shows have something they can fix.
There are things for shows to keep an eye on. Or small tweaks that can make a big difference to fans.
These are just humble suggestions. A fix here or there can do a world of good.
Scandal Fix: Issue Stories
Scandal is at its most enjoyable when it sticks to twisty conspiracies and outrageous client-of-the-week stories. Whenever the show tries to address a serious, real world issue, it falls flat. The show’s nature doesn’t support any kind of thoughtful exploration of social issues, those stories tend to be steamrollers devoid of nuance. They’re a distraction. Leave them to other shows.
Homeland Fix: Carrie’s Meds
In its first four seasons, Homeland has seen multiple examples of heroine Carrie Mathison going off the medication she needs to control her bi-polar disorder. Season 4 even had another character tampering with her pills. Frankly, Carrie isn’t the model of stability even when she’s properly dosed, so at this point, tampering with her meds seems like a cheap stunt. Carrie will have plenty of stress in her life, back off the drug issues.
Sleepy Hollow Fix: Get Weird
Season 3 of Sleepy Hollow aims to recapture the spirit of the first season that fans loved. While Season 2 had its interesting parts, it was too mired in cosmic conspiracy and interpersonal drama to have the kind of fun that seemed so effortless the first time around. With a fresh start, the writers need to remember that “weird fun” was what drew eyeballs to the show to begin with. Creeps and chills are good, too, but fans loved Sleepy for being downright weird. More of that. And let’s not even mention Katrina, okay?
Scorpion Fix: Make It Difficult
The fascinating thing about Scorpion is seeing the team of geniuses struggle to deal with an impossible situation. Things like kidnappings or missing tech aren’t really as much of a challenge as the writers sometimes pretend they are. Fans also don’t want “Team MacGyver,” where the geniuses can solve any situation with a paper clip, a pack of chewing gum and a shoelace. Make the problems truly challenging and dramatize how the team uses its skills to work out the solution.
Grey’s Anatomy Fix: Reaper Hiatus
Grey’s Anatomy seems almost addicted to killing off familiar characters. Any number of regulars and prominent recurring faces have had a date with the Grim Reaper. The hospital drama sees enough death with its patients. If the show needs to write out a character, find a way that doesn’t involve a body bag. As a bonus, if producers could sweet-talk Sandra Oh and Kate Walsh into dropping in for visits, that would also be kind of great. Fans would love seeing Katherine Heigl, too, but no one’s holding their breath.
Top Chef Fix: Immunity
Top Chef bounced back with its Boston-set edition last year, but one glaring flaw remained. The way the producers deployed immunity remained problematic. First, the show would be advised to cut off immunity a lot earlier than it has in the past. Basically, once the show gets to the annual Restaurant Wars episode, individual immunity should be a thing of the past. Give chefs the safety net to take chances early on, but once you get that far, you should stand or fall on your own merits. And never give an individual immunity if there’s a group challenge. Too much potential for something stupid to happen.
Archer Fix: Don’t Recast Woodhouse
The dynamic between super spy Archer and his long-suffering butler/surrogate father Woodhouse has been one of the animated comedy’s most consistently entertaining aspects. Fans missed Woodhouse last season, but with the death of his voice, actor George Coe, recasting would be a mistake. Give Woodhouse a great send-off and explore the hilarity of Archer’s post-Woodhouse existence.
Blue Bloods Fix: Give Erin A Break
Over the years, ADA Erin has taken a lot of grief from her cop family, basically for insisting that the police, you know, do their jobs. Due process, evidence and all that other “boring” stuff from the Constitution. Treating Erin like the enemy every time she points out that the weak case Danny has dropped on her will not stand up in court has more than worn out its welcome. And Danny expecting Erin to cut corners because of their family ties is another well that’s gone dry. Sometimes Erin is the only voice of reason. It’s not her fault if Danny’s too busy tackling suspects to collect evidence.
Gotham Fix: Make It Count
The biggest problems for Gotham in Season 1 were a focus on weekly bad guys that had no apparent connection to the larger canvas and a lack of momentum for the bigger story. Early word is that Season 2 will be more serialized and dig more deeply into the origins of familiar Bat-villains (a la the successful Penguin deep dive from Season 1). That’s the smart course. When Gotham is merely another moody procedural, it has little reason to be on the air. Ground the show in the Bat-world and give fans some stronger indications of how it’s all connected.
How to Get Away with Murder Fix: Stop Legal Malpractice
A high-powered litigator like Annalise would not be wandering into a trial every week with nothing to help her client but the hope that her law student interns will uncover something at the last minute. If Cases of the Week are to remain a part of the series, the writers need to find a more logical way to involve the students in Annalise’s work. There are only so many times one of them can bang their way to the info that will help a client.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Fix: Simmons
Season 2 ended on quite a cliffhanger for beloved Simmons (sucked into some black alien goo-rock). While her fate will be a big driver of the action early on in Season 3, the writers need to resist dragging it out. Even if it’s a long time before her teammates know what happened to her, fans should get that info as early as possible. It’s more interesting to watch Simmons use her brains to deal with a presumably extreme and hostile situation than to sit around wondering where she is.
Empire Fix: Watch the Guest Stars
It’s great that so many big name singers and actors are eager to drop in and play on Empire. For a series set in the world of entertainment and celebrity, it makes sense. Just be sure that the guest stars have an actual purpose and aren’t just appearing for the sake of being on the show. The central cast needs to remain the focus. Guest stars should be a nice adornment, not a distraction.
Originally published at thunderalleybcpcom.ipage.com on August 25, 2015.