“You didn’t see that coming?”

ultron

**This post contains spoilers for Marvel’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron” under the cut. Proceed at your own risk.**

Believe it or not, I don’t ask a lot of my superhero shows and movies. Pretty much all I want is character consistency. Since I come from a place of mostly ignorance regarding the original comics, I have no expectations for big character moments or backstories outside of what I’ve already seen in previous episodes or movies. At the end of the day, I am the easiest fan to win over. The banter and action sequences and sweeping shots are just bonuses to me — just keep the characters true to themselves, and give them room to evolve as people. It’s really an easy task, right?

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Tune In / Tune Out: Week of September 29, 2013

As we enter the third week of the fall TV season, some shows are standing out, for better or for worse. These are the episodes that were notable to us.

Tune IN

Trophy Wife – The promising family dynamic that was set up in the pilot was even better in the second episode of the season. The most refreshing part of the show is the fact that the so-called “trophy wife,” Kate, has a genuine and overwhelming desire to be part of the dysfunctional family she married into. Marcia Gay Harden is fantastic as Bradley Whitford’s first wife, and Michaela Watkins is hysterical as his second wife. The role of Hillary, his oldest daughter, was recast with Bailee Madison, who helped to take this show to a whole new level in the second episode. –Kerry

Once Upon a Time – While the third-season opener wasn’t a stunner (How do you top the Return of Magic?), it set out some interesting potential story arcs for the episodes that will air between now and Winter hiatus. I have high hopes the show will keep the story from devolving into a convoluted mess, similar to season two, and that characters who have been ill used in previous seasons will be given purpose beyond being someone else’s plot device. (Or that the show will simply leave the characters alone to peacefully continue their fictional lives.) – Moff

 

Elementary – Nearly every main actor brought their A-game this week, starting with Lucy Liu and including Jon Michael Hill, who plays Detective Marcus Bell. For an episode that was Joan-centric and involved a case about complicated mathematics, it still managed to be about Sherlock and the way he affects the people around him. This show is only getting better. – Kerry

The Blacklist – Parminder Nagra’s character was introduced to the show, and I’m slowly falling in love with her. James Spader played a great Reddington, and Megan Boone is keeping up with him. The soundtrack and story were both wonderful, and I enjoyed the twist. The only reason why I would say Tune Out right now is because I’m not the biggest fan of Boone’s hairstyle. – Becca

Tune OUT

Bones – Normally, I love this show. I was hesitant when it first premiered because I wasn’t sure how well David Boreanaz would differentiate himself following his stint as Angel on both Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel: The Series. But the cast was convincing in their roles; the murder-of-the-week stories (generally) clever; and the balance between the character moments and the police procedural elements deftly handled. But this week’s episode felt off, with a storyline that revolved around FBI psychiatrist Lance Sweets. It’s not the first time Sweets has been the focus of an episode, but as one of the emotional fulcrums of the show (along with Seeley Booth and Angela Montenegro), there was a noticeable lack of friendly interactioBan between the main characters. Furthermore, despite some smart staging, this episode’s pacing felt like a writer from The West Wing had walked all over the script. – Moff

 

The Millers – It was bad. Unlike “Dads,” this show had some potential on paper, because Will Arnett is always funny, and Margo Martindale and Beau Bridges seemed promising. The premise wasn’t terrible, either. But everything went about as badly as a pilot could go. Did we mention the fart jokes? Yes, that’s fart jokes, plural. Nothing elevates a witty and well-written pilot like a good fart joke, right? – Kerry

Hostages – The plot was a little too predictable. It would be easy to skip this episode, and not be lost in the story line. – Becca

Tune In / Tune Out: Week of Sept. 22, 2013

When we met up last night to discuss the first full week of the Fall 2013 TV season, we found ourselves a tad overwhelmed. So many new shows premiered this week that we found ourselves trying to remember exactly what we’d watched and what we’d thought. But this week’s Tune In / Tune Out represents what we found most memorable, for better or worse.

Tune IN

Sleepy Hollow: The dynamic between Lt. Mills and Crane was enjoyable, and the feel of them being partners is evident. It was a good second episode, and I’m glad John Cho is back, even with his deformed neck. The last five minutes of the show was what stood out to me the most. I hope Abbie continues to see the sheriff, and I can’t wait to see where the show goes with her sister being involved. – Becca

The Blacklist: James Spader did not disappoint. I enjoyed his role on the show, and it will be interesting to see where it goes. I’m still getting a he-could-be-Keen’s-father vibe from the show, and hope there is another reason why he is so interested in her. Keen, herself, was good, and I particularly enjoyed that what appeared to be a happy, normal life was, in fact, not. I know that may sound wrong, but I enjoyed the twist with her husband, and I can’t wait to see why he married her. – Becca

How I Met Your Mother: The first half of the hour-long season premiere was lackluster, but the second half (“Coming Back”) made up for it. Between Marshall’s storyline with Sherri Shepherd, Barney coming to terms with his brother’s bad news, and a long-awaited glimpse into Ted’s future with The Mother, this episode brought the heart and the laughs that we remember from seasons past. – Kerry

And the audience goes ‘awwww.’

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: The show had its ups and downs, but the ups outweigh the downs. Knowing Joss Whedon’s other works, this is only the beginning of something promising. The problem is it is too hard to have background, a story, and a real depth into the introduction of characters in one hour. – Becca

Person of Interest: After a sophomore season spent relying on the major female characters to play girlfriends or be satisfied with lackluster romance b-plots, the third season opened with impressive performances from Taraji P. Henson, Sarah Shahi and Amy Acker, whose characters each had meaty storylines that almost outshone the Number of the Week. And if The Machine does have a female consciousness, the third season may be POI’s Season of the HBIC. Fingers crossed. – Moff

“It’s ‘Root’ if you’re nice. ‘The Right Hand of God’ if you’re nasty.”

Parks and Recreation: The sixth season opener, “London,” started with an impromptu wedding between Ron Swanson and his girlfriend, Diane, which is probably one of the best weddings we’ve seen on television.

We hear ya, Leslie.

Leslie, meanwhile, was grappling with the reality of her recall election while she visited London to receive an award, and the bitterness that comes with a thankless job. Between speeches from Ron and April to cheer her up, along with exciting news from Ann and Chris, Leslie seemed to break out of her funk. We were also delighted to see Peter Serafinowicz appear as Lord Covington, as well as Henry Winkler as Jean-Ralphio’s father, Dr. Sapperstein. The highlight of the episode was Ron’s tour of the Lagavulin distillery, which Leslie had sent him on as a surprise. – Kerry

Tune OUT

NCIS: LA: It’s funny. While NCIS managed to start off its 11th season with an interesting, if not earth-shaking premiere, its younger sibling started off its fifth season with a less than impressive outing. Maybe it’s that I can’t quite accept Christopher Lambert as a villain when I keep expecting him to whip out a katana and battle to the death. Maybe it’s how played out the Janvier storyline feels at this point, especially as we seem to know no more about him than we did at his introduction. Or maybe I just don’t like seeing Eric Christian Olsen looking so defeated. Tsk, tsk, show. Tsk tsk. – Moff

Come back to Greendale, Vaughn. It’s safe now, we swear. Jeff graduated.

The Michael J. Fox Show (second episode): The story was predictable, and while it had a few good lines, it was nowhere as good as the pilot. The plot of Mike hitting on his neighbor, and belittling his co-worker, Harris, was off-putting even after his explanation. – Becca

Moms: Like Dads, it feels as if everyone is too good for this show. The tagline could be ‘history keeps repeating itself,’ with the three generations of women having close to the same storylines. A good Chuck Lorre show would be Dharma and Greg, not this. The only way it would become interesting is if it was Salem, from Sabrina the Teenage Witch, doing the daily affirmations at the beginning of the show because he was slowly trying to take over the world. – Becca

Talk about unlucky black cats.