New TV Shows to Watch Now ‘Game of Thrones’ is Done for the Year


Holy shit, did you see the Game of Thrones finale?! With the Dothraki…and that bit with Ayra…and JON SNOW!…and Stannis fighting the Boltons…and…and…

What do we watch now?

We’ve gone and checked out a couple of the new shows debuting the past few weeks so we can help you answer that very question. Normally we’d watch the glut of DC and Marvel shows, but they’re done for the year as well. For this article we’re looking at shows currently in their first season with a focus on genre television.

WAYWARD PINES

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This big budget, big name sci-fi thriller is somewhat marred by the association with the Shyamalan, who is at once the most hated and over-rated film maker of the time. Fortunately he isn’t anywhere near the story or directing, meaning his usual bullshit isn’t stinking the place up.

Matt Dillon stars as a federal agent investigating the disappearance of some colleagues. On the way he is involved in an accident, waking up in the mysterious town of Wayward Pines. He can’t seem to leave the town, and the residents are hiding something. When his wife and son can’t get in touch with him, they head out to find him and also wind up in Wayward Pines. The shows sets up a good mystery with a wonderfully haunting atmosphere in the first episode and smartly doesn’t leave us hanging for long. The big reveal happens in the 5th episode and it opens the show up to a bevy of interesting ideas. At this point we’re still enjoying the show, and now we’ve pulled back the curtain we’re curious as to the next step.

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Worth Watching? Yeah, check it out. Dillon is supported by Carla Gugino, Toby Jones, Juliette Lewis and others. Unlike other shows hinged on a mystery, it seems to have an set destination in mind and isn’t stretching things out needlessly.

STITCHERS

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Emma Ishta stars are Kirsten, a Ph.D candidate who suffers from ‘temporal dysplasia’. This condition means that Kirsten cannot perceive the passage of time, meaning everything seems as though it just happened and things that can take a long time feels as though they’ve happened already. This isn’t a real condition, by the way…it’s just a new was of dressing up the ’emotionally distant genius’ trope that’s been flooding our televisions by way of Sherlock, House, Numbers, Monk and a billion other shows.

For reasons that aren’t adequately explained, this makes Kirsten a perfect candidate for the ‘Stitcher’ task force, a covert agency who ‘stitches’ Kirsten’s consciousness into the recently deceased. She uses this ability, along with the team, to solve crimes while trying to investigate the murder of her step-father, the inventor of the Stitcher technology. The science is soft as butter, the character’s are cliches the premise of the show is somehow a less believable version of iZombie. 

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Worth Watching? Not so much. The cast (who all have weirdly angular faces) go back and forth on their motivations, switching from serious to goofy in a heartbeat. The scientist characters are the kind of stereotype that wouldn’t look out of place in The Big Bang Theory. It’s hard to get invested.

MR. ROBOT

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Remember Christian Slater? Well, Christian Slater is in this. You may have seen some mention of the marketing campaign behind this one (sounds innovative but comes down to ‘we’ll give you money to watch the show), and the pilot being previewed on Twitch. We’ve got yet another anti-social savant hero of the people, this time an expert on hacking. There’s a whiff of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo about this, as he shuns societal norms and uses his hacking to right the perceived wrongs of the world. He gets recruited by Slater to join a super secretive group of hacktivists planning on bringing down the 1%.

It’s a bit darker in tone than most of big budget shows doing the rounds, beginning with our anti-hero confronting a child sex offender who’d gone undetected by the authorities. The goal of the hacker group feels very true to life as well, addressing problems and grievances the audience will have as well. Pulling out the sex offender in the first scene may feel like an obvious draw but it’s a well paced scene that sets the show up quickly.

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Worth Watching? Hard to say based on only one episode – but it was a good episode. It’s beginning to feel like a long wait between the pilot and the second episode, and I guess that feeling of anticipation is a good sign. If they don’t jump the shark early this could be a good thriller with memorable characters.

IZOMBIE

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Urgh, that’s a bad title for a show. Comic, yes, but on the screen it looks hokey. Good thing Rob Marshall of Veronica Mars is behind this one. As we get it explained over very long backstory based pilot, we’re following the adventures of Liv, who’s a zombie. After being scratched during a party, medical student Liv gets infected with a zombie infection that turns her albino and requires her to eat human brains to avoid going full rage mode. Although she’s not technically dead, her heart beat is very slow and she’s essentially invincible. After snacking she can access the memories of the deceased when trigged by a reminder and takes on their personality traits. After taking a job at a police morgue for access to the brains, she uses this insight to help a detective who thinks she’s psychic.

Now the reason Veronica Mars worked was because it’s a simple premise – teen detective – with a buttload of great characters and awesome writing in individual episodes and over-arching plots. iZombie has a truckload of premise and way to many support characters with no personality. There’s so many rules about the zombie physiology, so many loose plot threads (most of which remain on the bench for half the season), so many needless characters that could’ve been condensed together that it often loses its footing.

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Worth Watching? In spite of the problems iZombie manages to remain on this side of good. The story needs to be streamlined and a few threads need to be resolved but it’s holding interest close to the end of the first season. Rose McIver does well in the lead role, taking on the persona of a different ‘meal’ each episode. Although if you keep doing the routine with the cop almost eating brains by mistake, I’m out.

 DARK MATTER

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If you’re into classic sci-fi, seemingly influenced by both the old and the new Battlestar Galactica, then this is going to feel like slipping into those warm, comfy PJ’s that you should’ve thrown out ages ago. Actually…I’m pretty sure the set is repurposed from the more recent BSG set. We start with the crew of an intergalactic spaceship coming out of hyper sleep with no idea who they are. They have their instincts and muscle memory (allowing them to do things like fly the ship and whatever else their role used to be) but no idea who they are or why they’re on the ship.

Characters are…a bit cliched. Tough leader girl, quirky tech-savvy teen, Asian martial arts master, stoic tough black guy, nutjob redneck, whiny white guy and the standard sci-fi show blonde hot android who has to learn to understand this human emotion called love. It’s not a show that pushes the envelope and wears its influences on its sleeves. There’s nothing bad about it and they’ve done quite a bit with the small budget and have some good ideas. We find out what the deal is with (most) of the characters at the end of the episode and it makes the whole premise more intriguing.

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Worth Watching? You’re going to know pretty early on if you’re going to be interested in this one, it’s genre specific and knows its audience. After the first two episodes we’re still along for the ride. There’s a bit of intrigue and an interesting enough universe.

SENSE8

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The newest Netflix produced show with a big name attached recently landed, this time thanks to the Wachowskis. These siblings, after their break-out smash The Matrix, have been accused of being pretentious and more interested in effects and philosophy than story telling. Sense8 is going to leave this reputation totally unscathed. We begin with a mysterious woman played by Darryl Hannah being murdered, then get introduced to eight random people around the world who are suddenly mentally and emotionally linked.

The Wachowski’s have gone out of their way to give us a wide selection of characters from different cultures, faiths, experiences and whatnot. Some are interesting, like the transgender character who has some real emotion behind them, while others feel like lazy stereotypes, like the Indian girl in an arranged marriage. With eight characters each with their own story we get jostled around quite a bit, and it’s hard to get invested in the characters when we only get snippets at a time.

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Worth Watching? One gets the impression that this show is going to hinge on the pay-off rather than the journey. There’s little attachment to the characters and they might as well be on different shows for all they impact on each other. Early episodes were not promising…maybe they pay off, but you’ll have to sit through a lot to get there.

So that’s our suggestions…which show do you recommend? Vote or comment!

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