A Seattle-based podcast about games, comics, superheroes, zombies, robots, wizards, dinosaurs, and other things relevant to your interests. We're SJW FTW, and we’ve been nerding out about nerd stuff since way before everybody was a nerd.
We’re just popping our heads up from our long hiatus to tell you what nerdy stuff we’re watching on tv! Here is a super-quick round-up of what’s been draining our eyeballs*, in no particular order.
The Flash Mary: Still great and still fun! AND I CAN’T WAIT FOR THE ARROWVERSE MUSICAL CROSSOVER EPISODES NEXT WEEK!!! Rob: I hate to say it, but I may be peeling off from the Arrowverse. (Do I really hate to say it? Do I?) The good stuff is good–gotta love Jesse Quick–but the dialogue is insultingly bad across all four shows. At least one of them (see below) sometimes flips into camp, but Barry and the gang never quite get there. That musical could make it all right again, though.
Arrow Mary: SO morose, and SO hit-or-miss, but I’m still watching. Rob: If it weren’t for Mr. Terrific, I wouldn’t be watching. (Looking forward to Echo Kellum’s next role.) I do kinda like Ragman too, but he’s out until they need him to go bad or remind Oliver he’s a dick or whatever. Mary: Agreed about Mr. Terrific. That dude is great.
Supergirl Mary: I’m glad this show exists, but I’m only watching the crossover episodes now. Rob: IGTSE also. That said…meh? Bits and pieces are kinda neat, and there will forever be a Buffy-sized hole that needs filling, but inertia and my sick drive to complete sets is all that’s keeping me watching.
Legends of Tomorrow Mary: I mostly forget about this show except for watching the crossover episode with the Arrowverse. Rob: This is the one show out of the four in the Arrowverse that seems to enjoy being what it is–stupid, campy time-travel adventures. Some of the corn is just unbearable–when Dr. Stein started singing the Banana Boat Song in the control room of Apollo 13, to name a recent example. But it commits to the bit every week and it’s at its best when it’s diving headfirst into idiocy.
Supernatural Mary: Season 12 is the best in a long time, it’s really fucking good. I could do a whole post on this, and I might just do that.
Legion Mary: Holy shit this show is AMAZING and I’m obsessed. I love the styling, the music, the acting, the actors… I’ve described it as a dark Wes Anderson superhero show. And it just got picked up for a second season! Rob: I could not be happier that this show made it to air and is showing off what’s possible both in genre TV and in TV generally. Few shows step up to this level of extreme psychedelic weirdness. More than anything, I want tv to treat me like an intelligent adult, and Legion delivers. There is just so much to recommend this show, but I suppose the less you know about it the better. Check it out.
Lucifer Mary: There’s not a new episode until like May or something, but it’s still charming and I’m still on board mostly because of Tom Ellis. Rob: Ditto, though I’m a little concerned about the recent move toward Lucifer’s serious side. That could ruin the show for me. (if a show is going to be dumb, it has to know it and revel in it–see Legends of Tomorrow above.)
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Mary: I gave up. I’ll probably catch up someday. It just got to be homework and my tv schedule is already pretty full. Rob: They’re doing something interesting with long story arcs wrapping up in midseason finales, and of course they’ve got overarching plotlines and occasional movie tie-ins. But is it any good? Short answer: I guess? Clark Gregg is a gem, and the other main characters are all good fun, but like most other modern genre shows, everyone’s gotta have a dark side, yawn. The most recent arc touched very lightly on some Westworld-adjacent themes and delivered a few genuine surprises, so I’m staying in.
The Magicians Mary: I can’t explain why I like this show, and I’m not recommending it but I find myself compulsively watching every episode. Rob: I love this show, but they forgot to make Eliot the main character.
Colony: Mary: I haven’t been watching the second season in real time, but I really liked the first season on Netflix and will probably binge the second. It’s especially scary in light of current events.
Grimm Mary: I gave up but a friend of mine says I should get back in so I will probably catch up.
Sleepy Hollow Mary: I honestly didn’t know this was still on. I fizzled out midway through season 3, and really didn’t know they’d gotten a 4th. That being said, I’ve heard it’s delightful still and I might jump back in. Rob: Wow, I didn’t realize that season 4 had already started. The finale of season 3 seemed pretty…final, but I’ll give it a shot for old time’s sake.
Gotham Rob: This one is also taking a quick break, but I’m looking forward to its return next month. The triple-head-fake on the Joker has been marvelous to watch unfold, and Robin Lord Taylor is killing it as the Penguin. But as I’ve said before, Bruce Wayne is the Jar Jar Binks of Gotham.
The Expanse Mary: I watched a good chunk of the first season and then fell off, but I want to get back in. There’s a lot to love. Rob: Now that they’ve more or less unified the storylines, I’m loving season 2 without reservation. Solid dialogue, surprising plotting, amazing effects, and generally high-quality acting make this essential viewing. Of course, if hard sci-fi with deep roots in the Campbell tradition isn’t your thing, you’re excused.
Iron Fist Mary: I’m really not looking forward to this. It sounds boring and Finn Jones needs someone to come pick him up because he is drunk and not helping his cause. I’ve taken to referring to Iron Fist as Kickpuncher because it sounds about as good. Rob: The initial reviews are scaring me off a little, but I know I’ll watch. Beyond the troubling cultural issues (I don’t think the showrunners could have made it work regardless of their casting, but we’ll never know), IF has the misfortune of having to tie together three very different, very well done shows and set the stage for the big crossover series The Defenders. That’s a big ask under any circumstances.
Orphan Black Mary: Coming back soon, yes? The third and fourth seasons were definitely not as strong as the first and second, but there’s no way I’d miss the final season. Rob: It’s coming out in June, and while it has meandered a fair amount latey, I’d watch Tatiana Maslany shop for USB cables for an hour a week if that was all I could get.
iZombie Mary: I had forgotten all about it and then I saw a promo on the CW and I’m probably going to watch the next season.
Preacher Rob: I had mixed but mostly positive feelings about the first season, and I’ll be watching when it drops again in June. The actors are so charming–especailly Ruth Negga as Tulip–that it should be good fun to watch even if it goes off the rails. American Gods Mary: My anticipation for this show is almost too much to bear. I honestly get chills thinking about it. The first trailer looks and feels perfect (the second is even better) and the casting is brilliantly on-point, I will be shocked if it doesn’t live up to expectations. Rob: See above.
* Look for Drained Eyeballs: The Story of Nerdhole, coming one day to herald the final true death of the publishing industry.
We’re glitching out a little, so we decided to repost last fall’s look ahead at nerdy TV. Heroes Reborndashed our hopes, and Rob’s inability to recall Harvey Bullock’s name is especially galling, given how interesting that character turned out to be on this season of Gotham. Overall, though, we think the last years TV season did okay by us nerds.
Please note that many of these shows are changing up their streaming arrangements in the near future, notably those in CW’s Arrowverse (which now includes Supergirl). The short version is that they likely will only be available on streaming after the end of the season, but pretty quickly thereafter. This is why we can’t have nice things. These links work for now.
Arrow (on Hulu) (on Netflix)
Rob: This season felt pretty scattered and ended with a big dud of a twist. Wait, was it even a twist? As always, solid action and pretty faces kept us watching.
Fear the Walking Dead (on Hulu)
Rob: I watched about 2/3 of the season and then stalled out. I will likely finish it up, but not even Ruben Blades’ intensity can fire me up.
The Flash (on Hulu) (on Netflix)
Rob: This show may be the funnest thing on the air, even though they keep punishing their characters to maintain the minimum required grim-n-gritty for a modern superhero show. But the ending…well, we’ll see how Season 3 treats the “Flashpoint” time-travel business the writers stirred up.
Gotham (on Hulu) (on Netflix)
Rob: It felt like Gotham had lost its way for a while, but this season was full of good fun and creepy action. Terrific casting, like BD Wong as Hugo Strange and Paul Reubens as Penguin’s dad, helped a lot, as did the last-minute reintroduction of the terrific Fish Mooney. The more they lay off of Bruce Wayne, the better.
It’s New Tradition Time here at Nerdhole! Rather than round up another tired old “Best of the year” list, we offer you our sincere apologies for our ill-considered opinions. What did we get wrong this year? Listen and find out.
Fall is here, and with it a downpour of new nerdy programming. Rob and Mary enthuse about various returning shows and a couple of new ones–check them out while they’re still hot. (Oh, and Rob has been burning up with shame over his inability to recall Harvey Bullock’s name.)
NOTE / SEMI MEA CULPA
Rob here. Just last night I watched the pilot of Agents of SHIELD with my lady friend, who had never seen it but is a casual fan of the MCU (and a super fan of Mr. Whedon). I think maybe I’ve been selling it short. I may elaborate on this as I watch more, but my memory of the first half of season one is just filled to the brim with dogshit, and the pilot…wasn’t that bad. I think the worst that can be said of it is that it doesn’t know whether it wants to be a breezy, whimsical Whedon joint or a gritty, wisecracking MCU sidebar–and it falters when it tries to be both. Skye’s character in particular has the dorkiness dialed up way too far, but now that they’ve corrected that and unified the show’s mood, it’s terrific. But hey, maybe the first few episodes aren’t as oppressively terrible as I remember. Check it out!
Another summer gone–and that means a new crop of season premieres for us to soak up as the nights get shorter and our affects creep towards disorder. Lots of favorites are returning while a few are either dropping off our radar (bye now, American Horror Story) or settling into the grave (it was nice while it lasted, Constantine). Here are the shows we’ll be watching at least for a few episodes:
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Mary: The second season was much better than the first, and the first episode of this season indicates they may be able to keep up that momentum. If nothing else it’s nice to have something to keep my MCU hunger at bay while I wait for Agent Carter, Captain America: Civil War, and all the other goodies Marvel’s got lined up for us. Plus I’ll just never tire of Clark Gregg. Rob: Pretty much what Mary said. The show has definitely found its way and I recommend it w/o reservation to fans of the MCU.
Gotham: Rob: Last season got a little mushy up ’til the very end, but this year it’s focusing on the origin of its villains and feels crunchier. The story is darker for sure, but the producers are nailing that classic balance between gritty noir and Golden Age whimsy that best characterizes Batman. Should be a good time.
Heroes Reborn: Mary: So far I’m on board. We’ll see. I’m not super-wrapped up in it, right now my curiosity is propelling me along. But I still see potential! Rob: I’m a sucker for conspiracies, and it sure looks like this reboot is all-in on paranoia. The Japanese video game stuff is somehow both nifty and trite, but they may pull it off. Fool me twice, shame on me.
Sleepy Hollow: Rob: I’m in for sure. They wrapped up the show neatly last year because they weren’t sure they’d be back, so it’s not too far off the mark to call this a slight reboot. Mills is finally in the FBI and Crane is…well, it’d be disappointing if he changed too much. But Betsy Ross! Mary: ALL IN. I can’t wait for each episode, it’s every bit as fun as it’s been in previous seasons. It IS kind of a soft reboot, and that’s fine. As long as they continue the cool monsters, good chemistry, and their delightful sense of humor I think all us Sleepyheads will be happy.
The Flash: Mary: Every time I saw a commercial I got SO EXCITED, and last night’s premier did NOT disappoint! I’m looking forward to the crazy wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey, other-dimensional action! And Cisco’s smart-ass comments! I do hope they do better by Iris this season. But I think it’s gonna be great! Rob: Harrison Wells was such a terrific villain that Season 2 has a massive hole to fill, but I expect we’ll see plenty to keep us coming back. More Mark Hamill, please!
iZombie: Rob: I thought I was out, but I somehow acquired hope. Maybe they’ll focus on the overarching zombie story and lay off the murder-of-the-week crap? Plus the dang theme song brings me a weekly jolt of dopamine, so I may as well stick around for another 43 minutes. Mary: I missed the premiere last night, but I’m planning on watching it. It’s not must-see for me, but I still liked it fine at the end of the last season. You could do worse for some zombie-genre fun.
Week of 10/5/15
Arrow: Rob: I wish I knew how to quit you. Arrow keeps losing its way and then finding its way back–or finding a cool new path. With Legends of Tomorrow set to launch midway through the season, I expect this will be the anchor show for an ever-widening televised DC-verse. Will it lighten up? Will the R’as al Ghul business settle down or influence the show for the long haul? Will Green Lantern ever show up? Mary: I’m more enthusiastic about The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow, but I’m definitely going to watch at least the first few episodes. I’m looking forward to the short-lived domestic bliss of Olicity, those bits where supers try to leave the super-life behind are always fun. (Remember the “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head” montage in Spider Man 2?) Also can’t wait for the John Constantine cameo… I really hope that’s a nice long arc.
Supernatural: Mary: In an upcoming episode of our podcast I’ll explain all the reasons you should watch Supernatural. Right now I’ll say this: I think long-time fans will probably give this upcoming 11th season a go, and new fans should start at the beginning anyway. You could jump in with this season, but you’re missing a lot of good stuff, and based on last season I’m a bit worried about how this season will play out. Watch this space for details!
The Walking Dead: Rob: I just watched the finale of Fear the Walking Dead, and I think I may be more interested in that going forward. It’s not that I don’t want to follow Glenn and Michonne and even Rick–it’s more that their trauma and exhaustion get harder to watch with each new year. Maybe this time they’ll try something fresh.
Week of 10/26/15
Supergirl: Mary: I’ve held off on watching the pilot that’s widely available on the interwebs, but I’m looking forward to this show despite any misgivings I might have, like “will they rom-com it up too much?” I’m ready to be proved wrong! Rob: I have seen the pilot and…well…my feelings are mixed. It’s got major problems, notably in the writing, but it’s got a lot going for it–the cast and the effects are largely terrific. If it can clean up its act in the first few episodes, it should be good fun.
Agent Carter: Rob: Oooooh boy, they did it! This pops up in January during the season break, and it’s supposed to get spooky with the introduction of the Darkforce. This is essential to tons of Marvel characters, including good ol’ Dr. Strange, whose film comes out next Halloween. But honestly, I’ll take any hook to keep this terrific show alive. Mary: CANNOT WAIT!!!! I have such a deep love for the current MCU, especially Cap and Peggy Carter. This show ranks second only to Orphan Black in my heart, and I’m so excited to see how Peggy kicks ass this season. (To hear a little of what Hayley Atwell–Peggy herself–is looking forward to, check out our post about her panel at ECCC 2015!)
Jessica Jones: Mary: More MCU! And it looks like we might be getting close to actually getting it, current internet searches indicate “late 2015.” If Daredevil is any indication of how Marvel conducts itself on Netflix I think we’re in for an amazing ride! Rob: The trailers have given me hope that this will hit the mark. I’ll likely burn my eyeballs bingeing it when it launches (I think I heard November).
Legends of Tomorrow: Mary: As I mentioned, this ranks up there with The Flash as far as DC stuff I’m looking forward to. Very excited to see Arthur Darvill (Rory Pond from Doctor Who) again, and even if this whole show is a mess I have a feeling it’ll be fun and funny which might be enough to keep me hooked. Rob: This show has some great momentum, building off of the huge success of Arrow and The Flash–but I can’t see how it fits tonally with the other two. I think we’ll know after a couple of episodes if they know where they’re headed, and it’ll be fun to find out.
We’re old enough to be vaguely nostalgic for the old network fall preview shows, when B-list celebs would tout whatever was coming up in September and October. These days, the cable bigs just drop shows whenever they feel like it, but there’s still a decent crop of new shows that just started or are dropping soon. Here’s what we’ll be watching this time around:
Doctor Who: Mary: “I’m not overly stoked (I lost almost all interest with the arrival of manic-pixie Clara in the post-Ponds era), but people have told me the new season is solid. And I hear there’s dinosaurs, sooo.” Rob: “I’m late to the party and still catching up with this one, so I won’t get to see Peter Capaldi work it as the new Doctor for a while yet. I am super-excited to see him take on the role, as I really enjoyed him in The Thick of It and In the Loop.”
Gotham: Rob: “I’m encouraged by the little I’ve read about this Batman prequel series, and I love the hell out of Donal Logue, but I’m still a wee bit skeptical. I’m hoping to get to it shortly.”
Sleepy Hollow: Rob: “I had somewhat mixed feelings about the first season of this apocalyptic fish-out-of-water thriller, but the premiere killed it, especially when naked Ben Franklin (Timothy Busfield!) exhorted Ichabod Crane to open his mind, maaaan. And where would genre TV be without John Noble?” Mary: “I love this legend in all its iterations (I have a soft spot for New England horror stories) and that certainly helped get me on board. But I wouldn’t have stayed if it weren’t any fun to watch, and its winking humor is never exhausting.”
Haven: Mary: “Speaking of New England horror, this SyFy show based on a Stephen King story has spun in to five seasons of mystery. A small town is haunted by centuries-old ‘troubles,’ supernatural afflictions that often reflect some personality trait or trauma of those who suffer them. I’m not even sure I recommend it, but if you like King or dark New England eccentricity or just need something running in the background while you clean house you could do worse.”
Agents of SHIELD: Rob: “Yup, it’s better than it was at first. Yup, it’s still not what I would call a strong show. But the little bits keep getting better, notably in the scripting, and most of the over- and under-acting has regressed to the mean. I’m in.” Mary: “At first I felt about SHIELD the way I felt about Caprica: I love the universe in general so I’ll watch to keep the buzz going. But SHIELD is getting its legs under it better than Caprica ever did, and I like much of what it’s added to the current Marvel film canon. I’m still not buying the Skye/Coulson relationship, but at least Skye has gotten tolerable. Plus: Patton Oswalt.”
The Flash: Rob: “We’re suckers for Arrow (see below), and this expansion of that dark corner of the DC Universe looks promising. I liked Grant Gustin enough to keep watching Glee past its expiration date, and he captures a smart, optimistic vibe that could be a great counterbalance to the brooding sadfest we see every week on Arrow. We’ll see.” Mary: “What Rob said.”
Supernatural: Mary: “Entering its 10th season, and I’m watching the FUCK out of it because [spoiler] you guys Dean totally became a DEMON at the end of last season! Also: Mark Sheppard, the king of genre television.”
American Horror Story: Rob: “Each new season seems to get more and more comfortable with its bigger-than-too-big aesthetic, and I’m looking forward to Jessica Lange trying on a German accent. Here’s hoping it’s as thick and nourishing as her glorious New England accent from a few seasons ago! Oh and plus there are ‘freaks,’ so it’ll be fun to watch the PR shenanigans as people inevitably (and legitimately) protest.” Mary: “Outside of Orphan Black (which destroys any competition in this department), I maintain that AHS is one of the most feminist genre shows on right now. Why? This piece sums it up better than I can in a line, but essentially the women are strong (not ‘strong’). Plus: spooky circus!”
Arrow: Rob: “I can’t feel guilty about this pleasure anymore. Green Arrow was never this sad and haunted in the comics (expect maybe when Speedy was shooting up), but it’s still a good time for all. The fight choreography is as good as we see in most big-budget films, the fan service is surprisingly subtle at times, and the drama is cheesy enough to go perfectly with all the wine I drink while watching.” Mary: “It may be the handsome man workout hour (ladies…) but it’s also solid superhero fun. There’s danger! Romance! Evil! Justice! John Barrowman! Just watch it.”
The Walking Dead: Mary: “I’m like a season and a half behind, but I still toy with picking it back up. I dunno, I love to hate it. And it’s still the best SFX on tv. Plus: Darryl.” Rob: “I’m all caught up and looking forward to seeing where they go after the dark turn that ended the last season. I never read the comics, but that sounds as if it may be a plus for viewers. There may be a time when I stop caring, but it hasn’t happened yet.”