Taking a week to watch what I want

Dave Bartlett
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Tatiana Maslany poses backstage with her award for best actress in a drama series for "Orphan Black" at the Critics' Choice Television Awards in the Beverly Hilton Hotel in June. — Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

On Sunday past, AMC began airing the final eight episodes of “Breaking Bad,” and I’ve yet to begin Season 2.

The incredible five-season series, about a meek high school chemistry teacher and family man who becomes a drug kingpin by manufacturing crystal meth after being diagnosed with terminal cancer, has a lot of people gabbing about how it will end.

While most of my friends are eyes and face into the series, and have been bursting with anticipation for the show’s ultimate climax, I’ve been avoiding Facebook and other places where spoilers lurk.

Such is the endless lament of the part-time TV writer; always having to start a new series to report on, while leaving a lot of good shows to pile up on the to-watch list or the PVR.

This past week I gave myself a break and dedicated my limited summer watching time to “Broadchurch,” which I wrote about last week, and the Netflix exclusive “Orange is the New Black,” reviewed the week before — two shows I’m enjoying immensely. I’m also keeping tabs on “The Amazing Race Canada.”

A quick correction: Showcase is airing new episodes of “Broadchurch” on both Sundays and Mondays, so after just two weeks, the eight-episode first season is already half over.

 

‘Orphan Black’

I’m also dying to get back to the Canadian co-production “Orphan Black,” which aired on Space this spring and is being rebroadcast on the main CTV network Fridays at 10:30 island time beginning tonight.

That’s the one about a girl on the run who witnesses the suicide of her doppelganger, steals the woman’s identity to hide and discovers she is one of many clones. The show stars the fabulous Tatiana Maslany as at least a half-dozen characters who look identical, but whose personalities range from over-protective soccer mom to a Russian assassin and the police detective who jumps in front of a subway train in the opening scene.

Maslany’s protagonist is a street-wise petty criminal from the U.K.

I’m about halfway through the 10-episode first season, and while I won’t erase them from my PVR, I think I‘ll start rewatching the show from the beginning as it airs again. Reviews have been overwhelmingly positive, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed what I’ve watched so far.

 

Fall shows

Looking to the fall I am getting excited about “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” premiering on ABC on Sept. 24. I finally got around to watching “The Avengers” movie earlier this summer. I’m excited to see how Joss Whedon converts last summer’s big screen blockbuster into a less superpowered small-screen success.

Clark Gregg (“New Adventures of Old Christine”) will be in the show as Agent Phil Coulson. Though I’m not sure how he comes back to life after being killed in the movie, the news still makes me happy.

Canadian actress Cobie Smulders will also appear in the pilot as her character from the film Agent Maria Hill, before returning to “How I Met Your Mother” for that sitcom’s final season.

And thank the TV gods. I loved that show for its first half-dozen seasons, but it completely went off the rails and I just stopped watching. While I’m sure there is a good episode or three each season, I’m not going to sit through the mediocre ones to get to the end. I just don’t care that much.

Hopefully Smulders will join S.H.I.E.L.D. in Season 2 full time. There were rumours at one time she was to play Wonder Woman in a Whedon movie.

Another show I’ll likely not go back to this fall is “Revolution,” which may surprise some loyal readers, as I love showrunner J.J. Abrams and wrote glowingly about the show when it premiered last year.

I still love the concept — that all the electricity goes out and modern society breaks down into militia-run republics — but I also wrote when “Revolution” took a long mid-season hiatus that I worried where the show’s going, and if anyone would care by the time it returned as I found the cliffhanger more of a 10-foot drop.

The return episode heaped disappointment on disappointment, and I haven’t been able to bring myself to continue.

Having said that, I won’t erase the series from the PVR yet and may try to get to it before “Revolution” premieres, but the show is on a short leash. “Fringe” pushed my interests at several points, but Abrams always managed to draw me back in and wrapped the series so well I hate to give up on “Revolution” yet.

Of all the returning network shows, I’m most excited about new episodes of “Elementary.” I’ve been watching reruns of the fabulous first season all summer and continue to enjoy this unique, modern, U.S.-based version of Sherlock Holmes because of how well Lucy Liu and Jonny Lee Miller work together. I’m hopeful we’ll also see more of Alfredo (Ato Essandoh) this season.

 

What show’s return are you anxiously awaiting? Drop me a line at the my new email address talkingtelevision@gmail.com.

Organizations: Netflix, Alfredo

Geographic location: Canada, U.S.

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