Whew, the first full week of the new TV season is in the books, although I'm a bit behind with several episodes. (Hey, I lost some prime TV watching time because I went to bed early on Friday for the half marathon the next morning!) But my TV rankings don't actually require that I have watched everything, as they're just my completely subjective rankings based on how excited I feel about the shows at the moment.
1. Once Upon a Time (ABC Sundays) [last week: 1]
Season 3 premiered last night, and it's a measure of how much I love this show that I watched it on the same night. It picked up right after the season 2 cliffhanger, with most of the primary characters on a mission to find Henry in Neverland, and then Neal/Baelfire finding himself back in Fairy Tale Land with Mulan.
Robert Carlyle as Mr. Gold/Rumplestiltskin continues to have too much fun with his role. In the past, he's played Gold somewhat sedately, leaving it to Rumplestiltskin in the flashback scenes to have the scene-chewing mannerisms and intonations. But last night, as Gold (i.e., not looking like Rumplestiltskin), he managed to do the Rumplestiltskin hand motions and intonations, but in a milder way. It was perfect acting.
Neverland looked different from Fairy Tale Land, and from Wonderland for that matter. Neverland is dark and foreboding, as it should be, I suppose. Three people/entities died in the episode, which may be a series high for this show. Sheesh!
2. Scandal (ABC Thursdays) [last week: 2]
Hasn't premiered yet, but breathlessly awaiting the Olivia Pope-Daddy conversation. "Why are you trying to kill me?!?"
3. Once Upon a Time in Wonderland (ABC Thursdays) [last week: 3]
Hasn't premiered yet, but "Once Upon a Time"'s strong start has me giddy with anticipation.
4. Marvel's Agents of SHIELD (ABC Tuesdays) [last week: 4]
I thought the pilot episode was entertaining, and I compared it to USA's "The 4400." Possible downside risks include degenerating into a mutant/superpowered human threat of the week, but there's enough promise of some long-term arc that it earned a season pass from me.
5. Hawaii 5-O (CBS Fridays) [last week: 6]
Premiered last week with a resolution of the cliffhanger that ended season 3. "H50" belongs on CBS, as it's a police procedural that follows a well-worn formula, but it's also sort of different because Steve McGarrett is so superhuman that it can't really expect to be taken seriously. Besides, lots of scenery of Hawaii. . . .
6. Survivor: Blood vs. Water (CBS Wednesdays) [last week: 8]
Two episodes in the bank now. The new twist that allows a player to exchange positions with his or her paired loved one at Redemption Island is actually kind of interesting, as it's led some of the more astute players to consider the game theory implications of sending different players to RI. And the previews make it look like the loathsome Colton might be on his way out . . . yeah, the previews are usually an exercise in misdirection, but I can always hope.
7. Grimm (NBC Fridays) [last week: 7]
Hasn't premiered yet.
8. The Blacklist (NBC Mondays) [last week: 9]
Premiered but I haven't gotten around to watching the pilot yet. It got strong ratings, and with "The Voice" as a lead-in, it should continue to do well, so it's likely to stick around for the entire season.
9. White Collar (USA Tuesdays) [last week: 10]
Hasn't premiered yet.
10. Hostages (CBS Mondays) [last week: 5]
Although this got pretty bad ratings for its first episode, suggesting it might not be long for this world, I watched it, and it was . . . okay. It could've used more scene-chewing by Dylan McDermott. The problem with hostage-taking storylines is that it's hard to see how they play out realistically in any way other than surrender or mass death. The last show to exploit the hostage scenario, I thought, was the mini-series "The Kill Point," and that worked because it wasn't a TV series.
I'm giving this another episode, but it's on life support.
(missing the cut) Person of Interest (CBS Tuesdays), Shark Tank (ABC Fridays), The Voice (NBC Mondays/Tuesdays), Revolution (NBC Wednesdays).
"Person of Interest" premiered but I haven't watched it yet. "Shark Tank" is fun as always, but Mark Cuban is getting to be kind of annoying; he's usually right about why some product or service won't work, but more and more he comes across as some massively egotistical jerk (which is probably a bad thing given the predictions of the upcoming insider trading case against him). "The Voice" wasn't bad; Christina Aguilera seemed to have toned down her obnoxiousness . . . for now; then again, so did Colton on "Survivor" . . . for an episode. "Revolution" premiered, and the episode was hard to follow with multiple time jumps, and a reminder that none of the characters are all that likeable -- or even fun to root against. It, too, is on death's door.
Cut: Sleepy Hollow (Fox Mondays): too much like warmed-over "The X-Files." Too much other TV to watch to make room for this.