Crumbs: Blog » Bates Motel, Hannibal, Defiance, Arrested Development
Critical reviews of U.S. TV shows
and analysis of what makes them
good, bad, irritating and enlightening.

Bates Motel, Hannibal, Defiance, Arrested Development

Posted by The TV Critic on 21 June 2013 | 11 Comments

Tags: , , ,

Credit NBC

Hey everyone,

As you know my time is limited but I do still watch other TV shows when I can. Sadly I don't have much to rave about but here are my thoughts on a few of the new shows I've managed to catch.

I've seen about three episodes of Bates Motel (A&E) but didn't feel the need to continue. I'm not a fan of horror for its own sake and I didn't think I was going to enjoy seeing Norman slowly go crazy. It didn't seem to be a bad show and in a way the presence of Carlton Cuse intrigued me but I just felt it wasn't serious enough to demand more viewing.

I had similar issues with Hannibal (NBC) which everyone has raved about. As I know what Dr Lecter is and will become I don't feel much intrigue in seeing the story develop. I've seen all but two episodes of the first season so feel more confident offering an opinion. And while the acting is very good from Hugh Dancy (Will Graham) and Mads Mikkelsen (Lecter) I find the show to be an odd combination of police procedural and creepy grossness.

I've found the serial killer stories really dull. Worse than many of the plots on "Dexter." Serial killers with ludicrously elaborate methods of murder who never get caught putting together their gross trophies until Graham gets on their case. His ability to understand their motives is more like a super power than anything plausible. And the sincere attempts to show the psychological trauma it causes him make it hard to understand why Jack Crawford keeps demanding that he stay on the case. Again the reasoning being that no one else can catch this bizarre conveyer belt of psychos killing in silly ways.

I don't think the writing has made Abigail Hobbs or any of the other characters seem like real people. It's actually pretty hard to do when everyone keeps suffering the kind of trauma that most people don't have to experience. The love and support for Hannibal suggests to me that people enjoy the creep factor. I criticised "Lost" for the lack of detailed characterisation surrounding Ben Linus as people gushed about how delightfully creepy Michael Emerson was. I can't help but feel a similar thing is happening here.

I have only seen the pilot of Defiance (Syfy) which definitely has many of the elements which made my beloved "Farscape" such a great show. However it also felt like it was made for the 1990s. The good and bad guys were very easy to see and the morality of the various alien species fitted the tone of "Star Trek" rather than say the nuance of "Battlestar Galactica." However it was actually pleasant to watch a show where I knew no one was about to run into Walder Frey and so if you're looking for something more innocent and straightforward than "Game of Thrones" or "The Walking Dead" then it might be worth a shot.

Finally I have now seen every single episode of Arrested Development's (Netflix) triumphant return to television. In many ways it's wonderful that the deal could be struck and that these characters could be brought back to life. I definitely enjoyed seeing Tobias and Gob back to their old tricks and the character driven moments did make me smile and sometimes laugh. However the format of the season became frustrating. I won't spoil the story but the necessity of filming the actors separately (because they weren't all available at the same time) really drags things out. By about episode 7 I was pretty tired of the endless reminders of how all the stories knitted together - much of which added little. I was disappointed by the ending and if the show returns for more it really needs to wrap things up.

That's it for now. I'm afraid there will be no major summer rewatch. Just as "Mad Men" ends, "Dexter" will return and I will be covering it. I also have to finish the last seasons of "Family Guy" and "The Simpsons" which will be the last live ones I plan on reviewing. The Buffy Rewatch will continue of course as does Breaking Bad just as the last eight episodes of that show air. See you soon.

The TV Critic

Post your comment


  • It's not xenophobic, it's self-hatred :-) I hadn't heard of "In the Flesh" at all, sounds fascinating.

    Posted by The TV Critic, 02/07/2013 10:13am (6 years ago)

  • Hey Robin I'm pretty much on the same page with your post I can wait for the dvd's to come out. I was gonna drop a mention for Orphan black but I see I was beaten to it. It's definitely a fun ride with lots twist. The only other show I'd liked to mention is "In the Flesh" it's about reintroducing recovered zombies back into society and all the ramifications that go with it. It's small in scale but it's an interesting angle however it is a straight up BBC produced show so I don't if it'll make your xenophile tv watching mandate

    Posted by Dave Lopez, 02/07/2013 2:24am (6 years ago)

  • Hi Robin,
    Of the shows in this post, I have only seen Defiance. I really love this show. It is very reminiscent of Firefly, kind of a Western/Sci Fi feel to it. I recommend it to anyone that enjoyed Firefly or either of the 'Star' Franchises; Trek/Wars, (on that scale more Trek).

    Posted by Yogabon, 27/06/2013 9:57pm (6 years ago)

  • I've only seen two episodes of Orphan Black (so far) but I think I can definitively say its right up your alley.

    Posted by Derek, 27/06/2013 5:10am (6 years ago)

  • Justified is absolutely superb. A must watch imho. It's a police procedural up until midway through season 2 when it really takes off and morphs into a continuing drama.

    Posted by Rob H, 26/06/2013 6:54pm (6 years ago)

  • I've only seen the first season of Justified and the first ep of S2. So I'm in a tricky position because people rave about Season 2 and I can't say anything. From what I saw it was a police procedural and I didn't warm to the main character. Everything I've heard since suggests that that formula continues to hold even if there's plenty else to enjoy.

    A lot of people I respect clearly think it's better than Dexter and TWD which I have little problem believing. So if you don't mind crime stuff I would give it a try.

    Posted by The TV Critic, 24/06/2013 11:32am (6 years ago)

  • I'm thinking of watching Hannibal, but since it's on network tv, I thought it's going to me gimped for that type of show than if it was on cable channels like HBO and Showtime.

    Big fan of AD, but I still have to watch the new episodes. I've read from various reviews, if one is a big fan of the series, it's best to keep expectations down for the new episodes.

    Robin, you mentioned you watched Justified. My friends have been recommending this show to me. Just wondering, what are your thoughts on the show? I take it because you aren't reviewing it, it's not as good as shows like Mad Men, GoT and Breaking Bad. But if it's better than Dexter and The Walking Dead, both shows I'm thinking of dropping, I'm willing to look at it.

    Posted by Dan, 24/06/2013 2:59am (6 years ago)

  • I've watched a few random episodes of Hannibal, and I pretty much agree with your take on it. It is mesmerizing because of the complete command of mood and atmosphere, which is rarely seen on network TV (but should be no surprise coming from the creator of the wonderful Pushing Daisies), and the performances certainly seem better than average, but so far as I can tell, the story does not really rise above the usual for this new serial killer genre, which I still have trouble believing is an actual thing.

    Posted by dfault, 23/06/2013 5:19pm (6 years ago)

  • I'm glad someone agrees with me about Hannibal. It definitely is the best serial killer drama of 2013 (because apparently thats a genre now) and both actors are really strong but something is really off putting about it besides the grossness. The foregone conclusion of the series doesn't really bother me because its more about Will than Hannibal but the series (only watched till episode 4) was too heavy for me. The mood was really heavy but then there were characters like the awful crime reporter who felt like she belonged to a much worse show and like you said Will is basically a superhero which also doesn't fit with the seriousness of the whole show.

    Posted by Derek, 22/06/2013 11:09pm (6 years ago)

  • I have heard so many good things about OB and I guess now that BBC America exists I could justify it. Will let you know if I do...

    Posted by The TV Critic, 22/06/2013 9:30pm (6 years ago)

RSS feed for comments on this page | RSS feed for all comments