TV Roundup: Constantine, The Flash, Gotham, and Gracepoint

Now that the new shows I decided to try out this season have all gotten a good number of episodes under their belt, I figured it's a good time to throw my opinions about them out there (or that's just a rationalization for the laziness that has seen me putting off writing about each show separately for weeks now. Six of one, half dozen of the other, y'know how it goes... and hey, cut me some slack, it's not like I moved to a different state or suffered a death in the family or anything. Oh, wait, that's right...). But first, let's pour one out for the fifth new show I gave a try this year and wrote about already, and the only one that has so far been officially cancelled: Selfie.

How anybody could cancel anything that stars Karen Gillan, my beloved Amelia Pond, is beyond me, especially when the show is actually good, but whatever. Do you, ABC. Do you.

Must... resist urge... to post x-tra large size pic...

Now that that sad yet completely appetizing appetizer is out of the way, let's move on to the shows that brought us here. Or, to paraphrase the great Dusty Rhodes , let's dance with what brung us.

Now I know what you might have heard, but no, Constantine isn't cancelled just yet. Yes, NBC chose not to extend the first season past the initial thirteen-episode order, but that's because they premiered it so late in the season that they only had a chance to air four episodes before the deadline to extend passed. So yes, there was no extension, but that doesn't mean strong ratings won't see it renewed for a second season. And I'm hoping that's the case, because the show is solid. It tells good stories that are dark and supernatural, and are usually very surprising, and does it with a very good cast. Matt Ryan is perfect as John Constantine; he doesn't just look the part, he nails it. His associate Chas is played by the entertaining Charles Halford, who is a perfect straight man to John's con man. The weak link in the cast for me is the "apprentice," Zed, played by Angelica Celaya, who isn't that good. Her delivery is stilted and her emotions are overdone. In the pilot, before casting changes were made, the apprentice part was going to be a character named Liv, played by Lucy Griffiths, who is a better actress and, I can't lie, a personal favorite of mine going back to her days as Maid Marian on a BBC version of Robin Hood a few years ago.

This post is turning out to have more beautiful women in it than I had initially expected...

I'm hoping Constantine does beat the odds and get renewed, because I'm enjoying the hell out of it.

Once you get over the costume (which admittedly looks much better in motion than it does in any promotional stills), it's obvious that the producers of Arrow have created another strong show here. The stories are exciting, the back stories are engaging, and the cast is solid. And this is coming from a guy who generally hates Tom Cavanagh. It took a few episodes to find it's feet, but it certainly has now, and is off and running.

Okay. I hate myself a little for that line.

I've heard the complaints about Gotham. Of course I have. And honestly? Most of them are fair. The show did start out relying too much on foreshadowing. But to be fair, how could it not, given its premise? Also, the mob storyline, which is also the main storyline, is needlessly convoluted, but it gives us the playground that lets Robin Lord Taylor's Penguin shine, which is worth it, because he's one of the three highlights of the show. The other two are Benjamin Mackenzie as James Gordon, who I admittedly had my doubts about but who does a good job as an intense, gritty Gordon; and Donal Logue, who is as perfect as you'd expect as Gordon's corrupt but changing partner, Harvey Bullock. Their dynamic is easily the best part of the show, and it's easily worth ignoring the misadventures of young, emo Bruce Wayne if it means getting to enjoy the pair of them and the burgeoning Penguin.

There's no denying Gracepoint is a well-produced, finely-acted drama, possibly even the best one FOX has produced in years. I knew that right after I watched the first episode. And that isn't because of David Tennant, who I love, or despite Anna Gunn, who I hate. It's just true. It's just that good. I'm sure being adapted from an amazing BBC show helps, and there's the rub, friends: I watched that BBC show. I know what happens. And, unless they go off the rails, I know who the killer is. So in a season when I'm already watching just about twenty shows, why watch one whose central concept is a mystery that I already know the answer to? So I bailed on Gracepoint. When it ends I'll find someone to ask if it's the same killer as the BBC version. If it isn't, I can always go back and watch it fresh then. And if it is, I've lost nothing, and I can always go back and watch it in the off-season anyway. So I guess technically Gracepoint is the only one of the new shows I picked up this season that is getting dropped.

Of course, if things in my new domestic life keep going the way they have been, I'll just end up dropping all these shows for more things on the Food Network anyway.

Friggin' Alton...