Category Archives: The Blacklist

What a week: ‘Sherlock,’ ‘Arrow,’ ‘SHIELD,’ ‘Walking Dead’

arrow heir to the demon

Like some kind of aligning of planets, the seven or eight days we’re in the middle of here is a heck of a week for episodic TV.

And that doesn’t even count “The Black List,” which didn’t have a new episode this week, but entertained the heck out of me with the episode from last week I finally got around to watching.

Quick impressions (and spoilers if you haven’t seen):

“Sherlock” finished up this year’s three-episode run on “Masterpiece Mystery” with “His Last Vow,” a quirky finale to a quirky season. Over the past three weeks we’ve seen Holmes return from the dead after his rooftop encounter with Moriarty last season, John and Mary get married and Mary exposed as a rather deadly former government operative. In “His Last Vow,” Holmes and Watson run up against a loathsome news magnate who can blackmail Mary. With no other way to save his friend’s wife, Holmes kills the man and Mycroft prepares to send Sherlock off on a nearly-certain-to-be-fatal mission. But then … images of Moriarty appear all over London and Sherlock is called back to investigate. And we wait until next year to see what happens next.

“The Black List” – last week at least – gave us “The Cyprus Agency,” in which the federal agents – with the help of James Spaders’ Red – broke an insidious group that kidnapped women and kept them in comas as well as pregnant to provide babies for adoption. Didn’t we see something like this – with organs instead of babies – in the movie “Coma” 40 years ago? Yeah, but that didn’t have James Spader in it.

“Agents of SHIELD” raised its somewhat low bar again this week with “TRACKS,” a high-stakes adventure that found the agents on – or thrown from – a train as they try to foil the plot of a villain. More good scenes with the agents – even Ward and especially May – some good Marvel movie references (Blonsky’s cryogenic cell is obviously now the holding place for the monster from “The Incredible Hulk”) and the return of Mike Peterson (J. August Richards) as the comic book character Deathlok.

“Justified” upped the stakes also this week with more peril and more bad-assery for Art (Nick Searcy), more misery for Boyd and Ava and more danger from those scumbag bad guys the Crowes. But we gotta have the return of Constable Bob soon.

“Arrow” might have tied “Justified” for my favorite episode of the week. “Heir to the Demon” brought Nyssa, the daughter of Ras al Ghul, to town, seeking … well, not revenge on Black Canary. As a matter of fact, I totally did not see the true nature of their relationship coming. And neither did Oliver Queen. This series, the true TV embodiment of comic book adventure like “Batman,” just gets better all the time.

And then there’s “The Walking Dead,” which returns for the second half of its season this coming Sunday. With the destruction of the prison, the survivors are split up. We want to know what happened to Rick, Carl, Michonne, Daryl and Tyrese as soon as possible. And tell me Carol is coming back. I’ll be watching Sunday.

Heck of a week.

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TV catch-up: ‘Sleepy Hollow,’ ‘The Walking Dead,’ ‘SHIELD’ and more

sleepy hollow headless horseman

The highlights of my TV viewing year are the limited runs of “Mad Men” on AMC, “Justified” on FX and “The Walking Dead” on AMC. That’s not to say there aren’t other shows that I’m hooked on.

But they always take a backseat to those three.

This fall, there’s a surprisingly high number of shows that have rapidly become must-see (to coin a phrase) viewing. This doesn’t count “Parks and Recreation,” for example, a charmingly daft sitcom that just keeps chugging along.

Here’s a roundup of what I’m digging right now:

“Sleepy Hollow” – This fantasy adventure series, which has become something of a hit, is one of the greatest pleasures on TV right now. If you haven’t watched the first half of this 13-episode season, go catch up, online or on demand, right now. I’ll wait.

Okay, back? The story of the return of Revolutionary War soldier and spy Ichabod Crane, reborn in modern times more than 200 years after he and the (now) Headless Horseman fought it out on a New York battlefield, is terrific fun. Crane is teamed with a young female cop as they investigate the rebirth of the Horseman, who turns out to be one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse from the Book of Revelations. 

The show has something for everyone: Fish out of water comedy and commentary, monster of the week, creepy thrills, fun special effects and great chemistry among the cast members.

Tonight’s episode found the 21st century characters explaining to Crane the secret relationship between Thomas Jefferson – one of his contemporaries and heroes – and Sally Hemmings, all the while preparing a snare to trap the Headless Horseman with ultraviolet light. You don’t have to ask. Just go with it.

“The Walking Dead” – I was relieved to see the Governor show up at the end of last night’s episode. I was feeling a little claustrophobic with the flu storyline that’s dominated this season so far. I do love the beefed up roles for many in the cast, including Carol. Was anyone else as surprised as I was about Carol’s exile?

“Agents of SHIELD” – I was looking forward to this Marvel spin-off more than any other series this fall, and I’m not alone in my disappointment at the resulting show. Each episode is an improvement on the last, for the most part, but I can’t be the only one that’s impatient with the character development and over-arching plot. I’m still watching, however.

“The Blacklist” – God help me, but I’m enjoying this series more than “SHIELD.” “The Blacklist,” about a mysterious criminal (James Spader) who comes in from the cold to help the FBI catch other criminals, isn’t quite as looney as “Sleepy Hollow,” but almost. Spader is the main reason to watch as he gives a master class in unsettling but entertaining villainy.  I can’t wait to see him as the bad guy in “The Avengers: The Age of Ultron.”

“The Mindy Project” – As fun and kooky as “Parks and Recreation” is, there’s not a more clever sitcom on TV right now than “The Mindy Project,” with Mindy Kaling as a neurotic doc surrounded by neurotic docs in NYC. The second season of the show is even better than the first.