“Put a pre-determined and not at all arbitrary amount of time on the clock.”–Daniel O’Brien
Right time: Elementary
Elementary started as “the other modern-day Sherlock Holmes TV show,” but in many ways, it ended up superior to the less frequent, more bombastic Sherlock. Johnny Lee Miller gave us a deep, nuanced examination of Sherlock as a person, his struggles with sobriety, his difficulties in connecting to people; Lucy Liu’s Joan Watson is his perfect match as a partner; Aidan Quinn and Jon Michael Hill bring a lot of great levels to the police captain and detective working with Sherlock and Joan.
And while I prefer Sherlock’s take on the other Holmes brother, Mycroft, Elementary had some great takes on characters from the original books, like Ophelia Lovibond’s fantastic turn as Kitty Winter, learning to be a detective to move past a terrible trauma, and above all Natalie Dormer as the show’s best twist: Irene Adler, the love of Sherlock’s life, turning out to be Jamie Moriarty, his greatest nemesis. The love/hate soulmate/nemesis relationship of Sherlock and Moriarty is a fascinating concept I wish they’d been able to do more with. Plus they brought us the character we never knew we needed: John Noble as Sherlock’s cold, calculating, morally flexible father, Morland. And while I maintain giving Sherlock a nemesis called “Odin Reichenbach” is like Batman battling “Apollo Crime-Alley,” he did give the final season some good stakes.
The mysteries were vulnerable to “the most famous guest star did it,” and I wish they’d been able to get Natalie Dormer back more often, especially for the final season, but it was a good ride. Seven seasons was probably enough, though.
Too Soon: The Santa Clarita Diet
This show is so damned funny.
I could talk a lot about the Hammond family; how Shiela (Drew Barrymore) died a little but came back with a renewed zest for life and, yes, a voracious appetite for human flesh; her husband Joel (Timothy Olyphant) trying to get their lives back to some semblance of normalcy, rarely more than a minute from a full-blown panic attack; daughter Abby (Liv Hewson, who kills it with almost every single line), who goes on a rebellious rampage, because if her parents are killing Nazis so that her mother can eat them, who cares about cutting classes; neighbour Eric (Skyler Gizmodo) trying to help the Hammonds however he can while also trying to manage his seemingly unrequited crush on Abby… and that’s just the four leads. I could say so much about the 30 episodes of crises and panics surrounding their new situation, as well as the murderer’s row of talent playing the supporting cast, but ultimately, there’s only one thing you need to know…
This show is so damned funny.
Sure it doesn’t fully end with a sense of closure, but man alive it is a hilarious 15-hour journey.
Technically too soon: Krypton
Krypton managed two things consistently in its 20 episodes of existence… self-improvement, and over-confidence. Tough things to do simultaneously, but here we are. The first few episodes of Krypton had an interesting story, that of one of Superman’s enemies, presumably the looming threat of Brainiac, had travelled to Krypton’s past to alter history, and C-list hero Adam Strange had to convince the Man of Steel’s grandfather, Seg-El, to help him stop it. Sadly they backburnered all that behind the city of Kandor being a cartoonishly evil theocracy run by the corrupt Daron-Vex and religious figure the Voice of Rao. For half the first season, instead of Brainiac, they focussed on how Kandor was being governed through a strict and oppressive caste system with all the nuance of an old Mitchell and Webb sketch.
Then at the halfway point, we found out it wasn’t Brainiac who had travelled in time, but General Zod… Zod wanted to save Krypton, Adam wanted to ensure it exploded on schedule. And the moment that everyone found out that Adam Strange had been leaving out a couple of key details about Krypton’s future was pretty killer. From there we had a show, as the fight against Brainiac in season one evolved into Zod taking over Krypton to build a fleet of galactic conquerors in season two, while the more noble characters scrambled to resist him.
Sadly they never could just wrap up a story without setting up the next one, so while the Zod plot resolved nicely, a surprisingly well-done B-plot about Seg and Brainiac means that we end on a cliffhanger. Brainiac has abducted baby Jor-El, intending to raise him on Earth; Seg-El and Lobo (who was introduced in early season two as a way to give Seg and Adam something to do before they caught up with everyone else) are off to find them; and Jor’s mother Nyssa-Vex (possibly the best original character on this show) is… somewhere? Maybe planet Rann? Which is under attack by either Darkseid’s Parademons or rival planet Thanagar*? They were going to tell us next season.
They were good at epic resolutions to each year’s main plot, but had an annoying tendency to end by setting up a new crisis. The season finales would make me think “This really is a good show that works,” and “Ugh, they’re gonna do a whole ten episodes of that?” in rapid succession. So they were technically ended too soon, but… I’m not super sad to see them go. Kind of sad. I’ll miss Adam Strange and Nyssa-Vex and Blake Ritson’s really interesting take on Brainiac, and even Seg-El. I respect that they made the death of one of the supporting cast this season incredibly moving. I just wish that maybe they’d tried subtler cliffhangers, and not assumed that they’d get as many seasons as they wanted. Not everyone’s Game of Thrones, people, and the shows in this blog proves that.
*The Rann-Thanagar War was the least interesting part of the countdown to the mega-event book Infinite Crisis, and then they just kept going back to it until even the memory of blood was gone from the stone. I don’t think that’s where they were going, but if it was, I’m less sad they’re gone.
Woof. That was a lot of series finales I watched this last month. Sure some had more closure, and some I’ll miss more than others, but it’ll be nice to have a break before I see another beloved show end before I’m ready for–
SON OF A GOD DAMN BITCH.
This world did not deserve you, Preacher. Well, I still have eight episodes of you left, that ain’t nothing.
Okay. Next time, something not TV-related. In the meantime… okay, Carnival Row, I’m ready to be hurt again.