Saturday, June 18, 2016

How Is My 2016 TV Watching So Far

It’s the middle of the year again, and once more, I rank from best to least the TV shows I’ve watched during the first half of the year.  This time I decided to include animated series along with the live-action since this is supposed to give a hint of how my year-end TV show list could turn out, and animated TV series have always been considered for that.

Sherlock: The Abominable Bride
Sherlock’s New Year’s Day special was the first TV program I watched in 2016.  Half of the year has passed, and it’s still the best of 2016 TV so far.   CLICK HERE for more of my thoughts on it.

The Venture Bros. Season 6
New status quo, still the same quality of hilarity and brilliant writing.  Being one of my most favorite cartoons ever, I was very happy that there was a new season out this year – albeit just another 8-episode one.  It’s so frustrating that each new season takes two to three years to make.  Arg.

The Flash Season 2
You can either regard The Flash as one of the most dumb shows on TV right now, or one of the most fun.  I deem it with the latter perspective.  I love how this show confidently takes on complex themes like time travel and alternate universes through comic book-y tropes.  Though I think the second season isn’t as good as the first – gone is the lovable Peter Parker-y Barry Allen, as he tends to be more angsty now (though there were moments that we were able to glimpse this once again when he interacted with Patty Spivot and Supergirl); and Tom Cavanagh’s Eobard Thawne-as-Harrison Wells is more endearing than Tom Cavanagh’s Earth-2 Harrison Wells – The Flash continues to be rich of exciting twists, enjoyable story arcs, and wonderful characters in its sophomore season.

Daredevil Season 2
I’m one of those that think the second season is better than the first.  It began embracing its comic book identity more, and served as an excellent jumping board for The Punisher character.

The Night Manager
It was a delightful surprise to discover the existence of this mini-series.  Tom Hiddleston and Hugh Laurie in an espionage drama?  I’m so in!  CLICK HERE for more of my thoughts on it.

Orphan Black Season 4
With each season, this show never fails to find new ways of delivering fresh plotlines as well as increasing our awe for Tatiana Maslany’s acting prowess.  Seriously, why is Tatiana not a bigger star?

It has been a while since I’ve seen an anime this thoughtful and touching. CLICK HERE for more of my thoughts on it.

Haikyuu!! Season 2
This anime made volleyball exciting for me, so I’m really following it closely.

The terrific second season sees the Karasuno players improving their techniques as individuals and as a team.  The result?  Punching a ticket to a finals showdown with the powerhouse Shiratorizawa Academy to determine Miyagu Prefecture’s representative to the national tournament.  This will be Karasuno’s biggest challenge yet, and I’m greatly looking forward to see this match at the upcoming third season later this year (because I’m as enthusiastic with fictional sports as real-life ones).

Assassination Classroom: Second/Final Season
Season 2 is still funny, though not as much as the previous season.  But since it features the big reveals, twists, and climax of the story, season 2 is more moving; it traded humor for more heart.

KonoSuba: God’s Blessing on this Wonderful World! Season 1
So far in 2016 TV, only The Venture Bros. has been funnier than this brilliant fantasy MMORPG parody.  CLICK HERE for more of my thoughts on it.

iZombie Season 2
In many ways, this show replaced Castle as the premier crime procedural in my TV watching lineup.  It wonderfully balances dramatic and comedic tones, while satirizing and deconstructing pop culture and society with its variously themed episodes, just as Castle did.   And just like Castle’s set of characters, iZombie’s is also extremely amiable.  In addition, Rose McIver’s versatile acting is pretty striking.  She’s not quite Tatiana Maslany’s level, but the way she projects the various personalities that her character assimilates is a joy to watch.  Lastly, season two had this satisfyingly grand ending that made me intensely intrigued for its implications next season.

Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt
A short, stylishly beautiful Gundam series that even non-fans will appreciate.  CLICK HERE for more of my thoughts on it.

The Muppets Season 1
I’m one of the few that adored this show.  Sad that it was cancelled.  CLICK HERE for more of my thoughts on it.

The Blacklist Season 3
As usual, James Spader’s incredible charisma and magnificent acting are the primary reason I keep on watching this show.  More than that, the third season had been genuinely good overall – a level up from the previous season – loaded with big twists, thrilling narrative, and compelling drama.  When a spin-off series was announced to be on the way, I doubted that it’s necessary.  I wasn’t very excited for it.  But after watching season three, I’m now intrigued of the direction it seems to be going.

12 Monkeys Season 2
12 Monkeys was a surprise last year.  I thought it was going to be horrendous, but it actually turned out being fun and engrossing.  In its second season (still ongoing as of writing), the show only got better.  The ludicrous time travel rules, likable cast, and engaging storytelling make it immensely entertaining.  In my opinion, it’s the most underrated or overlooked ongoing TV series now.

Arrow Season 4
Damien Darhk had been a charming villain at most parts, and it had its share of exciting episodes (my favorite was the one with John Constantine, but that was during last year’s half of the season).  But, overall, season 4 – especially the second half, which ran this 2016 – is this show’s weakest so far.  Hope they can significantly bounce back next season.

Legends of Tomorrow Season 1
A disappointing debut season, but with enough positives and potential to keep it afloat.  CLICK HERE for more of my thoughts on it.

Supergirl Season 1
Its crossover episode with the Flash is my most favorite thing I’ve seen in 2016 so far.  If we can separate it from the rest of the show, that would handily rank above Sherlock: The Abominable Bride.  However, evaluating the entire debut season as a whole, Supergirl has significant problems that even Melissa Benoist’s immensely lovable charisma can’t compensate for.  That said, I’m optimistic that it would address and improve upon them next season – especially since it’s joining the Arrowverse shows at the CW next season, and it was recently announced that Superman will finally be an actual character.  CLICK HERE for more of my thoughts on it.

Castle Season 8
It was watchable, but it totally lost its magic. The abrupt ending didn’t help either.  As a long-time fan, I’m sad that it had to end in such ill-fitting manner.  CLICK HERE for more of my thoughts on its last season.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 3
Recently, we learned that the synergy between Marvel’s TV and movie divisions isn’t pretty well. Thus, the TV shows and movies aren’t that much “connected” as we’ve thought.  Technically, the TV shows and movies exist in a share universe, but until the movies acknowledge the existence of the TV shows, this doesn’t matter.  Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. totally suffered from the reveal of this saddening truth.  The sense of disconnection from the movies dramatically reduces the show’s relevance and appeal, and it doesn’t have the same innate great-quality that the Netflix shows have to make up for it.  I no longer have confidence that this show would actually make an impact on the MCU, at least, as far as the movies are concerned.  It also doesn’t help that season three’s overall arc wasn’t that much interesting.

Agent Carter Season 2
Season two is better than season one, but the improvement isn’t big enough to make it great.  Thus, I really didn’t mind much when it was cancelled.  But if ever it returns as a Netflix show, I would welcome it.

Oh My Venus
It’s basically a by-the-numbers romcom, but its innate cuteness still made it the K-drama that I’ve enjoyed watching the most in 2016 so far.  CLICK HERE for more of my thoughts on it.

The Big Bang Theory Season 9
Entertaining but no longer hilariously good.  But I still watched the latest season since every episode is only 20 minutes long; not much of a hassle.

Descendants of the Sun
Biggest K-Drama series of the year.  But I didn’t love it as much as most did.  CLICK HERE for more of my thoughts on it.

Imaginary Cat
This short K-drama series has an adorable, hilarious cat.  Apparently, that was enough reason for me to watch it.  CLICK HERE for more of my thoughts on it.

Shannara Chronicles Season 1
Its production value impressed me much at first.  But soon, I eventually found the tone, acting, and narrative bland and boring.  I enjoyed the books, but this TV adaptation was unable to win me over.  I eventually dropped it after watching the first four episodes.

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