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Author Topic: TV shows  (Read 49405 times)

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Jorbles

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Re: New TV shows (American edition)
« Reply #25 on: October 03, 2014, 03:43:58 pm »
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So I brought up American Horror Story in another thread and felt that deserves its own mention here. I'm looking forward to the new season.

I had a roller coaster of emotions about AHS between seasons 1 and 2. I watched season 1 up to the end, and I was disappointed. I felt that it was a horrible cliffhanger. Well, little did I know it wasn't a cliffhanger. It was the end of season 1, and season 2 was a brand new story.

I like this formula. Perhaps more shows should have gone with this format. How many shows get beaten into the ground because the writers are trying desperately to explain why the protagonist has this condition that wasn't revealed in the previous five seasons? Or they want to introduce another love interest (there was a Cracked article that points out that George Costanza bedded a significantly higher-than-average number of women despite him being the schlub of the group).

I feel that if Heroes adopted this formula, we might still be having episodes today. Granted, it already feels like the seasons are disjointed, but it'd be cool if they were separate on purpose.

It certainly is a flaw in many successful shows that they end up wearing out their welcome. I've always thought people should just let shows end on high notes and bow out gracefully, but AHS's format of just rebooting the story every season is another nice way of handling it. (though it only works with certain stories)
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Kuildeous

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Re: New TV shows (American edition)
« Reply #26 on: October 03, 2014, 04:07:17 pm »
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I think that the writing could be well done if they know when the story will end. Babylon 5 had always been intended to be a 5-year arc. Unfortunately, that got screwed up when they learned they were going to be canceled after season 4 so they hurried up the plot only to learn there would be a season 5, so they stretched that for what they could (that is to say, awkwardly). I wonder how the show would have turned out if it fleshed out the entire story in 5 seasons as originally intended. The way the story ended in season 4 was still great, even though it was rushed.

I think Breaking Bad also had a 5-year arc planned? It certainly felt like it.

So knowing that you're essentially writing a 10-hour movie split across several episodes has got to be kind of exhilarating for some writers. Not being a writer of TV shows myself, I don't really know.

But admittedly, they can still end up shoving too much into AHS. You ever watch a regular-length movie and think, "That could have been compressed into a 30-minute episode of Twilight Zone"? I could imagine someone thinking that an AHS season could be compressed into a 2-hour movie.
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Witherweaver

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Re: New TV shows (American edition)
« Reply #27 on: October 03, 2014, 04:10:30 pm »
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True Detective is also following an anthology framework.  Season 2 is in production now.
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Teproc

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Re: New TV shows (American edition)
« Reply #28 on: October 03, 2014, 04:31:21 pm »
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I hated the AHS pilot (and thus stopped there), but I like the anthology model. True Detective is one, Fargo is another, they'll be doing a season 2, based on the Sioux Fall case that was mentioned a few times I think.
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Witherweaver

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Re: New TV shows (American edition)
« Reply #29 on: October 03, 2014, 05:06:00 pm »
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I hated the AHS pilot (and thus stopped there), but I like the anthology model. True Detective is one, Fargo is another, they'll be doing a season 2, based on the Sioux Fall case that was mentioned a few times I think.

Ooh, I didn't know that about Fargo.. and I still haven't gotten around to watching all of the first season.
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Eevee

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Re: New TV shows (American edition)
« Reply #30 on: October 03, 2014, 06:58:37 pm »
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I hated the AHS pilot (and thus stopped there), but I like the anthology model. True Detective is one, Fargo is another, they'll be doing a season 2, based on the Sioux Fall case that was mentioned a few times I think.

Ooh, I didn't know that about Fargo.. and I still haven't gotten around to watching all of the first season.
Fargo is elite. I'm probably in the minority with this, but I enjoyed it even more than True Detective.
Really glad both shows are coming back, of course.
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Teproc

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Re: New TV shows (American edition)
« Reply #31 on: October 04, 2014, 05:08:05 am »
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I hated the AHS pilot (and thus stopped there), but I like the anthology model. True Detective is one, Fargo is another, they'll be doing a season 2, based on the Sioux Fall case that was mentioned a few times I think.

Ooh, I didn't know that about Fargo.. and I still haven't gotten around to watching all of the first season.
Fargo is elite. I'm probably in the minority with this, but I enjoyed it even more than True Detective.
Really glad both shows are coming back, of course.

I can't even fathom how one could enjoy True Detective (a decent but derivative show that was full of its own sense of importance) more than Fargo. I know many people do, but I just don't get it.

I'm being hyperbolic, people can like what they like, but I'm annoyed by people who name TD as one of the greatest shows of all time. It seems that a lot of people who have a certain contempt for TV gathered around True Detective to discover something that's existed ever since The Sopranos premiered.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2014, 05:09:27 am by Teproc »
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Kuildeous

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Re: New TV shows (American edition)
« Reply #32 on: October 05, 2014, 06:58:55 pm »
+1

The Alfred casting on Gotham is god-awful.

Maybe more the writing and direction than the casting. It seemed out of character when he called Bruce a stupid little boy.

Now that I watched both episodes, I feel qualified to comment on this. I didn't think it was that bad. It does seem so out of character for the patient Alfred who assists Batman, but this is an Alfred who has pretty much had fatherhood thrust upon him. Up until now, Alfred has only been a servant. If Bruce is acting up, then he only needs to report the behavior to the parents who then enact some parenting. Now he has no one. So when Bruce acts up now, Alfred has to parent up, and that's difficult for one who's never parented before.

I suspect that they're playing him rough so that he can grow into the patient Alfred we all know. At least I hope so.

What is gripping me is the evolution of the Penguin. I'm really interested in that. He's not a character I really cared about before, so this interest is new to me, especially his doting mother.

One problem with this show is that some characters are pretty much invulnerable. Gordon, Cobblepot, Nygma, Selina, and Alfred all pretty much have to survive. So there's no tension with them. I don't know enough about Batman to assume the same for the other characters. Naturally, there need to be new villains and victims so that they could die off, though it's nice that the Dollmaker's thugs did not get killed.
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pacovf

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Re: New TV shows (American edition)
« Reply #33 on: October 05, 2014, 07:16:27 pm »
+1

While I have very little time for series so I am not watching Gotham, I am surprised by the (apparent) omnipresence of known villains in the show. To the best of my knowledge, it is a recurring theme in the Batman universe that it is precisely the rise of Bruce Wayne as the Dark Knight which causes the appearance of the "costumed villains" in the city, with Gotham's crime before that being mainly of the usual mafia variety (cf. the Falcone). By showing all these people around while Bruce is but a kid, they are (or risk) sapping an interesting aspect of the character, IMHO.

Of course, since they are only interested in pre-Batman Gotham, I can understand them not really caring about an arguably minor point that won't ever affect the series, but it does make fitting it into the pre-existing narrative a bit more complicated.
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eHalcyon

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Re: New TV shows (American edition)
« Reply #34 on: October 05, 2014, 08:45:57 pm »
+1

One problem with this show is that some characters are pretty much invulnerable. Gordon, Cobblepot, Nygma, Selina, and Alfred all pretty much have to survive. So there's no tension with them. I don't know enough about Batman to assume the same for the other characters. Naturally, there need to be new villains and victims so that they could die off, though it's nice that the Dollmaker's thugs did not get killed.

I don't think it's completely set in stone that these people can't die.  There's always the chance that there will be identity theft shenanigans.  Somebody dies, someone takes on the name to step in.  They could possibly also twist the mythology behind who becomes who, e.g. the girl who is implied to become Poison Ivy was given a name change from the comic book character (but maybe she won't actually be Poison Ivy).

While I have very little time for series so I am not watching Gotham, I am surprised by the (apparent) omnipresence of known villains in the show. To the best of my knowledge, it is a recurring theme in the Batman universe that it is precisely the rise of Bruce Wayne as the Dark Knight which causes the appearance of the "costumed villains" in the city, with Gotham's crime before that being mainly of the usual mafia variety (cf. the Falcone). By showing all these people around while Bruce is but a kid, they are (or risk) sapping an interesting aspect of the character, IMHO.

Of course, since they are only interested in pre-Batman Gotham, I can understand them not really caring about an arguably minor point that won't ever affect the series, but it does make fitting it into the pre-existing narrative a bit more complicated.

I think the idea is that these villains are not yet villains, or at least not costumed villains.  For example, Nygma (the Riddler) is a forensics guy with the GCPD, and Cobblepot (Penguin) is just a mafia henchman.  So they are exploring these people before Batman.

Granted, they may very well make them too much like their future selves for the sake of fan service.
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Eevee

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Re: New TV shows (American edition)
« Reply #35 on: October 06, 2014, 10:59:39 pm »
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Such a dissappointing Gotham episode tonight, too many ridiculous things. Jim's partner is overacting like crazy, as is the lady playing Fish. Batista is a goofball, he doesn't fit for a mafia boss, and the relationship drama between Jim's wife and the female cop is just cringeworthy.

Penguin continues to be elite, though. He is carrying the show at this point.
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eHalcyon

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Re: New TV shows (American edition)
« Reply #36 on: October 06, 2014, 11:57:05 pm »
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I like the kid playing Bruce.  The line about killing making the guy a criminal was excellent, and he seemed just like a boy should when playing at a swordfight.
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Witherweaver

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Re: New TV shows (American edition)
« Reply #37 on: October 07, 2014, 09:58:04 am »
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I think it's okay, not good.  You just have to watch it and not expect greatness.  Kind of like The Strain, though Gotham isn't falling into as many pitfalls as The Strain is.  Either way, worth some entertainment when nothing else is on.  Gotham is a cool idea, and it may get better.

The problem is that the bar for TV shows has been raised very high by shows like Breaking Bad, True Detective, The Walking Dead, Hannibal, The Leftovers, Game of Thrones, Fargo, etc.  There's really nothing (save Hannibal) on regular network TV (like, NBC, ABC, FOX, whatever) that can compete.  The production quality is just not great.. acting is iffy.. I think scripts and stories are written to appeal to a wide audience that doesn't want to invest any time into a television show. 

Watching the pilot episode of Breaking Bad feels like you're really involved in something.  Watching the pilot of Gotham felt like.. "well, I can go cook some dinner while I'm watching this".  Nothing invested... no real risk of missing anything.

I felt similar when I watched the first episode of Gracepoint.  I found myself checking my phone, doing other stuff, not really getting engrossed in the television.  Compare to  The Killing (which has almost an identical premise), where I was immediately interested in what was happening and why, who these people were and what motivated them, etc.  I'm hoping Gracepoint picks up.

Speaking of television shows: It was announced yesterday that Twin Peaks is getting a revival in 2016 on Showtime. It will take place in current time (~25 years after the events of the original series.)  Twin Peaks was, I think, one of the best and most innovative television shows around. 

A link: http://qz.com/277156/how-and-why-showtime-resurrected-twin-peaks/
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Kuildeous

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Re: New TV shows (American edition)
« Reply #38 on: October 07, 2014, 10:44:07 am »
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Speaking of television shows: It was announced yesterday that Twin Peaks is getting a revival in 2016 on Showtime. It will take place in current time (~25 years after the events of the original series.)  Twin Peaks was, I think, one of the best and most innovative television shows around. 

A link: http://qz.com/277156/how-and-why-showtime-resurrected-twin-peaks/

I'm not entirely sure how I feel about this. My initial reaction is to say to just let sleeping dogs lie. Sometimes a restart is just not a good idea. There were plenty of shows I enjoyed where a restart would feel awkward. In some instances, they tried it and then failed (see Babylon 5 and Crusade).

That being said, fast forwarding 25 years is the right choice, I think. If any of the actors can come back, then those characters could make reprisals, but I think that a fresh new cast would be in order. I hope they avoid the temptation to throw in too many descendants. "Oh gee, the sheriff's son is now of age, and he's just become a deputy."

Bringing back Agent Cooper could be interesting, though. He was left in conceptual limbo, so this could be a way to explain his 25-year absence. This might not be a bad thing (but it also be a terrible thing).

Watching the series over 20 years after it premiered reminded me of just how overrated Lynch has been as a director. He did great with this series (at first), but watching Fire Walk with Me was a bit of a disappointment.
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Witherweaver

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Re: New TV shows (American edition)
« Reply #39 on: October 07, 2014, 10:50:20 am »
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Lynch is, like, my favorite director.  Have you watched his other stuff?

Plus, 25 years is the right choice: http://38.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m74xotr7Wj1rwnwnfo1_1280.jpg
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Kuildeous

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Re: New TV shows (American edition)
« Reply #40 on: October 07, 2014, 11:27:11 am »
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Lynch is, like, my favorite director.  Have you watched his other stuff?

Plus, 25 years is the right choice: http://38.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m74xotr7Wj1rwnwnfo1_1280.jpg

I've seen Blue Velvet, Eraserhead, and Mulholland Drive. I actually got bored watching Lost Highway and did not continue it. I saw Elephant Man way back on HBO, but I was really much too young to fully grok what I was watching.

I do enjoy Blue Velvet and Mulholland Drive. I see his vision, and it is pretty cool, but I still say he's overrated. I only recently watched Eraserhead, and I was extremely let down. Part of it may be because it's been elevated to such ridiculously lofty heights that it could not live up to the hype, but I found it pretty boring overall. The embryo scene was creepy; I do not dispute that, but the movie fell flat for me.

So Twin Peaks was a welcome change. It wasn't just Lynch masturbating with wild camera shots and surrealism (except toward the end). He told a story, which is what made Blue Velvet such a good movie, while still maintaining his weirdness (Log Lady, creepy shut-in that had Laura's diary, backwards dwarf).

I won't ever say the man isn't brilliant. He just marches to a very different drum, and that drum doesn't always produce good music.

And that was hard for me to say because I went through college singing his praise after seeing Blue Velvet. I was sold on this grand image of him that I talked up Eraserhead and Wild at Heart, despite not having actually seen them (and still haven't seen Wild at Heart to this day).

But to put that into context, I was a huge Tim Burton fan in college, and I find him to be very overrated nowadays.
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Witherweaver

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Re: New TV shows (American edition)
« Reply #41 on: October 07, 2014, 11:45:11 am »
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"Overrated" seems like a weird word to me, though.  Lynch feels pretty underground.  If I ever meet someone and end up talking about some movies, most people haven't heard of him or have heard of what he's done but haven't really seen much, if anything.  I've never witnessed such a grand praise of his work that I could possibly consider him overrated.

I actually haven't seen Eraserhead.  Blue Velvet was great, maybe my favorite by him.  Mulholland Drive was.. well, singular.  Inland Empire was quite good as well. 

I don't know if his drum always produces "good music" or not, but I know it always produces something I want to hear.
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Kuildeous

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Re: New TV shows (American edition)
« Reply #42 on: October 07, 2014, 12:25:58 pm »
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Getting away from television (but I'll gladly continue talking about Twin Peaks) and moving it to http://forum.dominionstrategy.com/index.php?topic=11628.msg427170#msg427170.
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Witherweaver

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Re: New TV shows (American edition)
« Reply #43 on: October 08, 2014, 10:24:09 pm »
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Watching American Horror Story.. all these new shows continue to have background music way way way WAY too loud.. it drowns out and distracts from dialogue.  I don't understand what's going on. 

Is there something wrong with my TV?
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Kuildeous

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Re: New TV shows (American edition)
« Reply #44 on: October 09, 2014, 08:36:47 am »
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Watching American Horror Story.. all these new shows continue to have background music way way way WAY too loud.. it drowns out and distracts from dialogue.  I don't understand what's going on. 

Is there something wrong with my TV?

In general, I notice the music is louder than it should be. I find myself playing volume masher during many shows.

The music in AHS is unlike other shows, so in a sense, the music is one of the performers, as it is designed to put you on edge. The loudness did not bother me so much, since it was not your typical score. Still, I played volume masher during AHS too.

Speaking of which, I enjoyed Freakshow. It is has a contender for creepiest clown. The musical number was mesmerizing. Well done.

The thing that bothers me about AHS is that it exemplifies its own message. Who are the actors carrying the show? Not freaks. While there are freaks on the show, they are mostly window dressing with lines being spoken by only a couple of them. The stars are done up to look like freaks. Ironically, the pinhead got more screen time in Asylum than she did in Freakshow (but it's still early).

And it's hard to blame them. After all, acting is a talent, and not everyone has it. And real-life freaks probably did not attend acting workshops. They're accustomed to show business, but it's a different beast. I saw an interview with the guy with the short arms (not sure what that condition is called), and he was a fairly articulate guy who loves acting. Maybe some show/movie will cast him as an actor and not as a freak. I'm reminded of how Peter Dinklage's height was a big deal in Game of Thrones but never mentioned in X-Men: Days of Future Past.
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Kuildeous

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Re: New TV shows (American edition)
« Reply #45 on: October 09, 2014, 08:43:21 am »
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Doing a separate Gotham post in case you watch this and not AHS and would have glossed over my AHS post.

I did see Balloonman. It wasn't as bad as I thought it'd be. It wasn't great, but I didn't think it too terrible. Fish is pretty much a caricature at this point, and I don't find that necessarily a bad thing. Gotham is not a show to be confused with all the other cop shows out there. And they're choosing to make themselves stand out by going to its comics roots. Fish is overdramatic and manipulative. The mob bosses are stereotypical mob bosses. The Balloonman's techniques are wildly impractical. The Dollmaker's minions were creepily pleasant. I said earlier that this show could benefit from a splash of Dick Tracy. This isn't close, but it does have a certain style. I'll still give it a shot.

I'm finding the Bruce Wayne plot a bit boring now. It was interesting to see the gears click in his head as he watches the news stories of an anonymous vigilante dispensing justice and to see how his own code against killing forms. But the rest of the story pales in comparison to Penguin's rise to power. Maybe that'll change. It just seems that the more they build up Bruce, the more it restricts his future growth (but then, he's the freakin' Batman, so what growth is needed here?).
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Witherweaver

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Re: New TV shows (American edition)
« Reply #46 on: October 09, 2014, 09:25:06 am »
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I really wouldn't mind if Season 1 was all about Penguin's rise to power and Season 2 focused on another villain (Riddler) coming into fruition.  Season 3 or 4 could introduce Joker.
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pacovf

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Re: New TV shows (American edition)
« Reply #47 on: October 09, 2014, 09:38:20 am »
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Hum, I can understand how Cobblepot's rise to power would be interesting by itself, because he is more of a crime lord than a super villain, so it would be interesting in the same way, say, Scarface is.

However, most other Batman villains would be pretty boring. Because they are not trying to "build" anything, they have no foil, no conflict in their genesis. What would you do, one full season dedicated to Gordon trying to catch the Riddler and failing? That could be interesting, but it would be really hard to do. Not that I would expect them to try something like that in their first season, while they are still trying to find their audience.
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eHalcyon

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Re: New TV shows (American edition)
« Reply #48 on: October 09, 2014, 12:36:55 pm »
+2

They can let Gordon succeed (with great difficult), only to have the system fail immediately after, exemplifying Gotham's need for the Batman.
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Re: New TV shows (American edition)
« Reply #49 on: October 09, 2014, 12:44:36 pm »
+1

Or Joker can be locked away at Arkham for a while, escape and be at large away, etc.  They are going to eventually going to have to contend with the fact that none of these villains are ever killed or truly defeated.
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