What I’m Watching These Days (Part 3 of 3)

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Wrapping up my rundown of the TV shows I’m watching these days …

Agents of SHIELD & Agent Carter (ABC): I’ve gone ahead and lumped these two together, since there’s an argument to be made that they’re just two parts of the same show — one dealing with the current exploits of SHIELD and the other dealing with its roots. As a Marvel Comics fan from way back, and a big fan of their successful movie lineup starting with Iron Man back in 2008 (where this incarnation of SHIELD was, sort of, first introduced), these are probably my favorite comics-inspired shows right now. Since I’m also a James Bond fan from way back, I appreciate the fusion of spy and superhero genres that these shows bring to the table. Oh, and I did I also mention I’m a Joss Whedon fan from way back? So yeah, there’s a whole light-yet-heavy tonal thing that he brings to Agents, usually accomplished through clever bantering, which pushes it over the edge for me. And that’s carried over to Agent Carter as well. Now if only Marvel would put more shows on prime time TV …

Supergirl (CBS): Knock knock, DC calling again (and not even for the last time). This is the first of the DC characters in recent years that aren’t on the CW. As such, it can’t rely (yet) on crossovers and references to other shows. But the production company is the same, and presumably there will be a crossover with The Flash soon, so I guess they do exist in the same universe. Anyway, I’ve enjoyed this show more than I thought I would. Based on the comics, I’m hardly a big Superman fan (although I did like Smallville), and even less a Supergirl fan, but Greg Berlanti seems to have struck the right tone with this one. Melissa Benoist is eminently likable, whether she’s being geeky and awkward as Kara or strong and kick-ass as Supergirl. This is definitely a fun show that feels like a comic book come to life.

The Blacklist (NBC): Like Castle, this is another one that technically doesn’t belong on this website. Although with some of the scientifically far-fetched plot lines, there’s a stronger case to be made for this one than for that one. At times, this show reminds me of Alias (another spy show that wandered into sci-fi territory) and Silence of the Lambs, with a touch of X-Files and Alias. I sometimes wonder what the conversation would be like if Liz Keen, Sydney Bristow, Clarice Starling, Dana Scully, and Olivia Dunham all sat around a table drinking wine and swapping stories about the strange men who came into their lives and forced them (the women) to tap into strength and power they didn’t know they had in the process of dealing with their (the men’s) baggage. It’s become something of a trope, and I’m not quite sure if these female characters are ultimately empowered or not. I think so … but not being a woman, I wouldn’t presume to say.

The Flash (CW): And last but not least (and only last because I decided to alphabetize “The”), there’s yet another superhero show. Honestly, it’s been an embarrassment of riches for superhero shows this year. Supergirl on Mondays, Flash and SHIELD On Tuesdays, Arrow on Wednesdays, and Legends on Thursdays. Anyway, so most of what I have to say about this show I’ve already said about those shows. It has the fun tone of Supergirl with the larger universe of Arrow and Legends. Plus this season, it introduced Earth-2 (alternate universes are another favorite of mine), and last season it introduced … wait for it … time travel! Sometimes, it feels like these TV writers have just tapped directly into my brain. Seriously, though, as a kid in the 70s & 80s, the best I could hope for was Lou Ferrigno as the Hulk or a goofy Spider-Man whose webs looked like heavy fishing nets. And don’t get me started on what they did to poor Captain America. So when I sat and watched the Flash fight an actual scary looking King Shark a few weeks ago, I almost broke down and cried. More cool stuff like that please!

And that’s my wrap-up. So yeah … lots of superhero stuff. And I have watched those two Marvel shows on Netflix as well. But that’s a post for another time. For what it’s worth, I’d be happy to watch more non-superhero science fiction than you see on this list, but there’s not much of it out there these days for some reason. But I’m always open to it. I hear rumors of a new Star Trek show on the horizon …

What I’m Watching These Days (Part 2 of 3)

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Continuing my rundown of the TV shows I’m watching these days …

Doctor Who (BBC): Do I really need to explain this one? First of all: time travel. Secondly, either you’re somebody who likes Doctor Who or you’re not. I watched it sporadically on PBS as a kid (Tom Baker was my Doctor back then), but grew to love it with Russell Davies relaunch in 2005. Each new Doctor is my favorite one, and even when the companions are annoying, I still consider it to be some of the most intelligent and well-paced writing on television. I was glad when Stephen Moffat first came on board, but I’m glad now that he’s leaving. He’s a master of single episodes, but I don’t find his seasonal plot arcs to be as satisfying. So I’m curious to see what Chris Chibnall does with it. Also curious to see if Peter Capaldi will stick around — I’ve rather enjoyed his older, gruffer take on the Doctor, and think there are still more stories to tell with him.

Heroes Reborn (NBC): I have a long history with Heroes on this blog. I loved (and hated) the original show when it first came out. I guess I loved the idea of it. In 2006, we didn’t have all the great superhero TV show options we have now. So Heroes filled a niche. But by the end of the series’ run, I spent more time making fun of it and kvetching about what it did wrong than I did enjoying it. And while I did watch the final season, I didn’t bother blogging about it. Still, I was willing to give this new iteration of the show a chance. Maybe Tim Kring had learned some things since the first time around. Maybe the absence of Hayden Panettiere would somehow improve the quality. And having watched most of the 13-episode miniseries on-demand at this point, the verdict is … meh. Better in some ways, but just as weak in others. Despite the use of a comic sans font for the title cards, it still just doesn’t feel like a comic book. And I don’t care enough about the characters. And the Big Bad is boring and the threat to the world seems ridiculously far-fetched. From what I understand, there won’t be another season, so I guess I wasn’t the only underwhelmed.

Legends of Tomorrow (CW): Unlike Heroes, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow does feel like a comic book. And not only a comic book, but a cool crossover issue. With a ragtag bunch of misfit superheroes, some of whom aren’t even superheroes. Oh, and time travel. For those who haven’t watched it, these are all characters who were introduced on either Arrow or The Flash, and while they seemed like fifth wheels on those shows, this one is made entirely of fifth wheels, and that works somehow. In the same way that Guardians of the Galaxy worked. These are underdogs who are all more or less along for the ride, discovering their hero-ness one episode at a time. The “Legends” in the title is ironic, because they’re anything but … and yet could be. I didn’t actually expect to like this show, for the same reason I thought I wouldn’t like Arrow — because I’d never heard of half these characters before. But like that show, this one has quickly grown on me. Did I mention there’s time travel?

Coming up tomorrow: More superheroes (and maybe some time travel) …


What I’m Watching These Days (Part 1 of 3)

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While I don’t have a ton of time to watch TV these days, I somehow manage to keep up with the things I like thanks to a DVR, cable on-demand, a Netflix account, and the fact that shows run at all different times of the year these days. It’s not like when I was a kid, and would have to make hard choices between whether to watch The Incredible Hulk or The Six Million Dollar Man on Friday nights. (I’m not sure that was ever an actual contest, but I do remember agonizing as I’d read the “Fall Preview” issue of TV Guide every year.)

I’ve broken my list of ten shows into three parts, alphabetically …

12 Monkeys (Syfy): Two words: time travel. One thing you should know right now is that there’s almost nothing I won’t watch or read, no matter how bad it is, if time travel is involved. Fortunately, this show is actually good. Really good. I’m a huge fan of Terry Gilliam’s 1995 movie. It was the first time I ever took Brad Pitt seriously as an actor. So to be honest, I didn’t believe that a TV show based on the same material could do it any justice. But they proved me wrong. I’ve found it to be clever and intelligent, and I enjoy the way it regularly plays around with time travel tropes while embracing some of the quirky darkness (dark quirkiness?) of the movie. I was glad to hear it got renewed for a second season, and can’t wait for it to come back next month.

Arrow (CW): I was actually a bit of a latecomer to this one. To be honest, I’m more of a Marvel guy than a DC guy, and even when I do take an interest in DC, the Green Arrow isn’t anywhere near the top of my list of favorite superheroes. But I was a fan of Smallville, and Arrow seems to follow that recipe … which in turn basically follows a recipe that Whedon created for Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But that’s a post for another time. What Arrow does that the other DC shows you’ll find on this list (spoiler alert) don’t do is the whole flashback-per-episode thing (borrowed heavily from Lost). But it all comes together rather nicely, and week after week, I find myself being interested in characters whose comic books I’ve never read.

Castle (ABC): Technically, this show doesn’t belong on this website. Technically, it’s a cop procedural with firm roots in reality. But come on — it’s Nathan Fillion, AKA Malcolm Reynolds from Firefly, AKA Caleb from Buffy, AKA Captain Hammer from Dr. Horrible. Firefly alumni Adam Baldwin and Gina Torres have both guest-starred. And thanks to the perpetual man-child writer Rick Castle and his closet-geek detective partner Kate Beckett, the show makes regular nods to all things sci-fi, horror, superhero, and fantasy. The writers of the series are clearly geeks themselves, and it bleeds through in just about every episode. Normally, I wouldn’t have much to do with a cop show. But this one doesn’t take itself too seriously, actually surprises me with the whodunits most of the time and, as cheesy as it gets, is a show I’ve just never been able to quit.

Coming up tomorrow: More time travel, more superheroes …

TV Shows I’ve Watched Since 2009

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Just to get things caught up, I sat down and made a list of all the TV shows I watched from 2009-2015 that fall under the sci-fi, fantasy, superhero umbrella (even if only loosely). Below is that list. Some of these were series I started before 2009 and carried through until they ran their course. Others are shows I was interested in that got canceled after only one or two seasons. And some are ones I still watch now. These are all shows I would probably have blogged about or at least mentioned at some point if not for my long hiatus.

The years in the header are when I started watching a show, which is usually the year it started. But unless I say otherwise, I continued watching everything on this list every year until it was canceled. (For instance, I’ve watched Doctor Who every single year during this time.)


  • Castle (2009-present), have watched every episode
  • Caprica (2009-10), watched every episode
  • Chuck (2007-12), watched every episode
  • Defying Gravity (2009), watched every episode
  • Doctor Who (2005-present), have watched every episode
  • FlashForward (2009-10), watched every episode
  • Sanctuary (2008-12), watched every episode
  • Smallville (2001-11), watched every episode
  • Stargate Universe (2009-11), watched every episode
  • Torchwood (2006-11), watched every episode
  • V (2009-11), watched every episode
  • Warehouse 13 (2009-14), watched every episode


  • Eureka (2006-12), started late, watched every episode
  • No Ordinary Family (2010-???), only watched the first episode
  • The Walking Dead (2010-???), only watched the first season


  • Alphas (2011-13), watched both seasons
  • Being Human (2011), only watched a few episodes
  • Black Mirror (2011-???), only watched the first episode
  • Once Upon a Time (2011-present), have watched a few seasons on-demand
  • Teen Wolf (2011-???), only watched some of the first season
  • The Cape (2011), watched every episode


  • Arrow (2012-present), have watched every episode
  • Continuum (2012-15), watched every episode
  • Revolution (2012), only watched first episode
  • Touch (2012-13), only watched the first few episodes


  • Almost Human (2013-14), watched every episode
  • Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD (2014-present), have watched every episode
  • The Blacklist (2014-present), have watched about a season and half so far


  • Forever (2014), only watched a couple of episodes
  • Gotham (2014-???), only watched the first episode
  • The Flash (2014-present), have watched every episode


  • 12 Monkeys (2015-present), have watched every episode
  • Marvel’s Agent Carter (2015-???), have watched every episode
  • Heroes Reborn (2015-???), started watching the first season
  • Hindsight (2015), watched every episode
  • Minority Report (2015), only watched a few episodes
  • Supergirl (2015-present), have watched every episode
  • The Man in the High Castle (2015-???), have watched every episode

I’ll talk about some of these shows in more detail in the days to come — why I watched them, what I thought of them, and how they fit into the bigger picture of what I watch these days (which I’ll cover in a separate post) — particularly the ones I think weren’t given a fair shake. But I wanted to put this list out there for context, if only as a reminder to myself of how much time I wasted spent watching TV during this time period.

I’ll Be Back … Maybe

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Once upon a time, for about three years in the previous decade, I had a blog. This blog actually, gagglefrak.com. On a semi-regular basis, I would review/recap TV shows, comic books, movies, and video games. I would share links and commentary about various things sci-fi, fantasy, and superhero. I even created an online comic strip and, occasionally, silly memes. And sometimes — not too often — people would actually take time out of their day to read what I wrote and say something about it.


Then in 2009, life happened and I gave it up. Not really on purpose, but just because I had too many other things going on. And if I was being honest, the blog had never really “caught on” the way I wanted to anyway. It was primarily a labor of love, and I just wasn’t feeling it anymore. So I stopped spending time analyzing everything I watched and read, stopped posting, and as far as I can tell, nobody really noticed the difference. There was no great disturbance in the Force. No voices crying out in terror at my sudden silence.

And yet, I could never quite bring myself to tear the blog down. I’m a web guy by profession. So archiving and dismantling a blog is an easy enough thing for me to do. But every time I considered it over the past few years, I would browse through my old posts, grow nostalgic, and tell myself, “Maybe I’ll bring it back.” But I never did. And so gagglefrak.com just continued to sit there on the internet shelf like a old favorite book that I haven’t read in ages but can’t bear to part with either.


Now here I am again, faced with the prospect of (cue new metaphor) pulling this old starship out of the space dock, giving it a fresh new coat of paint, and taking it for a test spin around the galaxy. After all, I still watch just as many sci-fi, fantasy, and (mostly) superhero TV shows and movies as I ever did back then. So there’s more than enough material floating around in my head. More than enough theories and opinions and observations than ever really, but less “geeky” people in my life to share them with.

I’m definitely not interested in doing recaps again. Those take too much time, and honestly, aren’t a thousand other bloggers doing them already? Quick reviews maybe. A journal of sorts of what I’m watching or reading and why I like it. Maybe somebody will take the time to look at and/or comment about what I say, and maybe they won’t. But if nothing else, it could give me something to look back at in the next decade, to remind myself of what I used to enjoy and what I thought of it. And maybe then I’ll decide it’s time to dismantle it, once and for all. Or not.

I’m still not sure what I’ll do. But this post is the closest I’ve ever come to a first step.

EDITED TO ADD: Okay, so after spending an hour slapping on that new coat of paint, I guess I’ve made my decision. Let’s see how it goes!