Quick TV Thoughts: Flash, SHIELD, Grimm, Castle, Once Upon a Time/Frozen

Five episodes in, The Flash has turned out to be a lot of fun. There are a few things that still bother me (the dead-mother plot being in every.single.intro., for instance, but it kind of has to be), but so far nothing has pulled me out far enough to stop me from enjoying the action and characters.  I love that they’ve gone all-in on it instead of dipping one toe in at a time like Warner Bros. usually seems to do.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. seriously leveled up this season. I’m a couple of episodes behind, but damn, this show has been knocking it out of the park. And I like that they’ve (mostly) been avoiding Idiot Ball tropes — if someone does something stupid, it’s because it makes sense for the character, not because the plot requires it. For example: So many shows would have had Coulson trying to keep his mental issues under wraps from everyone for half the season, but you find out right away that he’s told May, has her documenting it, and has Skye investigating it.

Grimm really needs to decide whether Wu knows about Wesen soon, or things are going to blow up. Or maybe that’s what they’re going for.

Castle almost lost me during the season premiere with the disappearance/amnesia mystery, but they pulled back from the brink by giving us (and Becket) solid evidence to support his story. They’ve managed to avoid falling into frog-eating clone territory. Still, since the show is mostly a standard police procedural, the only reasons to watch it are (1) the characters’ banter, which is still intact, and (2) the occasionally crazy plots. Speaking of which, “Meme is Murder” just barely managed to avoid being a Very Special Episode about how Snapchat Can Kill You! (tune in at 11). Barely.

Once Upon a Time….I want to like this season more than I do, but it’s just been dragging on.

Weaving the past and future from Frozen into the OUAT mythology has been interesting, particularly the way the Snow Queen was set up. Anna is probably the best cast — she’s absolutely the same character as in the movie, and even when her actions or speech *should* seem affected, it comes off as being natural for her. Elsa comes off as a slightly different, but still valid, interpretation. Kristoff just comes off as awkward.

But remember that thing I was saying about the idiot ball? Most of the time, characters do things because the plot requires it…or stand there not doing something because the plot (or a commercial break cliffhanger) requires it. Regulars, side characters, and guest stars alike. Except when the character motivation is the plot motivation, in which case rather than show it through action, they announce it loudly like a character in a fighting game.

(And they are totally wasting the Knave of Hearts. He was great in Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, but so far he’s been nothing but a one-note joke here.)

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