American Odyssey

Photo Courtesy Of NBC

Photo Courtesy Of NBC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Since we’ve started operations at “Not Just Another TV Site,” we’ve made it our policy to only cover shows that the staff wants to watch. Our mission statement’s always been to celebrate the best of Television, not to rake shows over the coals. Every once in a while, we find a show that seems to be perfect for our readers, until we actually watch the debut, of said series. Most times those results never see the light of day, however there are times when we preview a series, only to find it severely lacking. Unfortunately the new NBC series “American Odyssey,” which made it’s network debut on Sunday night, falls into the severely lacking category.

A severely disjointed story revolves around the ambush and killing of an American Special Forces Unit in Mali, Africa. Only one soldier survives the attack, Sgt. Odelle Ballard, a wife and mom, from Ayer, Massachusetts, Ballard’s well aware that her unit didn’t die at the hands of the terrorist group ANSAR DIINE. Instead her comrades got killed by an attack from a U.S. drone, the rest wiped out by a private American military contractor, now looking to find and kill her.

A former United States Attorney Peter Decker, now working as a lawyer for investment bankers Simons and Wachtel, realizes his employer’s involved in this massive cover up. Also an activist raised on New York City’s toney, Upper East Side, Harrison Wolcott, figures out the US government’s involved in this affair as well, after getting a tip from a slightly-crazed outcast named Bob, who believes conspiracies lie around every corner.

The writing’s incredibly simplistic, the cast filled with every stock stereotypical characters, you’ve encountered on the large and small screens. The cast seemingly endless, with very few standouts. Anna Friel’s talent shows through the terrible show she’s saddled with, hopefully she won’t need to play the character for much longer.

Photo Courtesy Of NBC
Photo Courtesy Of NBC

Warning: Spoiler Alert

SAVE THE SOLDIER,” could become the water-cooler catch-phrase this Spring, or might get perceived as meaningless babble in about three weeks. The truth be told, the NBC network enjoy purchasing series with intriguing premises, then pulling them from the air after a few episodes, or giving the series a thumbs-down when it comes to renewal. Earlier this year, NBC pulled freshman espionage drama Allegiance, just five episodes into its run.

A year ago NBC ran a series with an intriguing premise entitled Believe, starring among others Delroy Lindo and Kyle MacLachlan, about a little girl with amazing mental powers, that was left to sink or swim and went down like the Poseidon. In 2013, the Network introduced a drama entitled Do No Harm, retelling of the Jekyll and Hyde story in a modern setting, then pulled it from the schedule after just two episodes.

The series that NBC airs on Sunday night April 5, “American Odyssey,” might suffer the same fate as the afore-mentioned series, but the storyline’s too intriguing for us to pass up. The show revolves around a United States Special Forces Unit based in Africa and the fate that befalls them. Some prominent Americans decide to back the enemy (in this case Jihadists,) and the Special Forces Unit are slaughtered, except for one soldier, Sgt. Odelle Ballard (Anna Friel.) The wife and mother’s determined to make it back to her family and blow the whistle on the ambush of her unit, but nefarious forces, attempt to stop her at every turn.

Turns out that Ballard has two supporters in New York City, hoping she gets home safely and exposing the corruption. One of them, a lawyer named Peter Decker, portrayed by Peter Facinelli, the other a Political Activist (a profession that only exists in this era on TV) named Harrison Walters (Jake Robinson.) Although none of the three have ever met, these three strangers are united in the same cause, bringing Odelle Ballard back to her family.

Claire Danes, proved that a female protagonist in an action show, works if the show’s right as in her series The Showtime Original Series Homeland, returning on the Cable Network for a fifth season. Danes, mainly known for her teenage Television show My So-Called Life, wasn’t perceived as an action star prior to taking on the role of CIA Agent Carrie Mathison, but the part fits her like a glove. Hopefully Anna Friel, can get the audience rooting for Odelle Ballard to complete her mission and get  back home.

American Odyssey Premieres Sunday Night April 5, at 10:00 pm on NBC.

Collage Created By Jason Jones

Collage Created By Jason Jones

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Although the snow on my lawn suggests otherwise, we officially entered Spring, earlier this month. Television’s marking the change of seasons and we’re adding some new additions to the NJATVS lineup in the coming weeks. We’re bringing on three new shows and greatly anticipating the final five episodes, of the freshman FOX series “Gotham,” returning in April. We’ll have in-depth previews, in the next few days of the new series we’ll recap, but here’s a thumbnail sketch of what you can look forward to starting in April.

American Odyssey-Premieres Sunday April 5, 10:00pm EDT on NBC: Although the promotional clips released by NBC, have focused on the plight of a female American soldier, trapped in the Middle East, according to IMDB.com, the story’s more complicated than that. Their description, “Three families are torn apart when a stranded female soldier, a disillusioned corporate attorney and a disrespected political activist are pulled into the same shocking international military conspiracy.”

What the preview clips have focused on, concerns Sergeant Odelle Ballard, the last surviving member of her unit. Many died via a drone-strike, the surviving members, killed by a private United States military contractor. Ballard, played by Anna Friel, perhaps best known for her role in the ABC Cult-Favorite “Pushing Daisies,” tries desperately to get back to her husband and daughter in the States, while avoiding those who want her dead. She’s also attempting to figure out why, her unit got wiped out, by supposedly “Friendly Fire.”

The previews evoke a cross between the Showtime Original Series Homeland and the TNT Original Series Legends, both recapped on our pages. If American Odyssey can get into the area-code quality-wise of those shows, viewers are in for a treat.

Gotham-Returns Monday April 13, 8:00 pm EDT on FOX: In the season of “Comic-Book TV-Series,” Gotham failed to come out of the gate with a flourish, however the show’s evolved into one of the strongest entries in its genre. The FOX Network’s marketed this show in superb fashion, putting it on hiatus for a month, then returning April 13, for the final four episodes of the first season.

This much we know, Jada Pinkett-Smith, will not reprise her character Fish Mooney, so prepare for her to exit in dramatic fashion, whether in death, or fleeing the prison she’s in and then Gotham City. If Carmine Falcone and Sal Maroni, survive the first season finale, their demise will arrive likely early in season two, they’re the old guard who’ll fall to the psychopaths embodied by Oswald Cobblepot, Edward Nygma, Selina Kyle and others. Lets not forget ginger-haired Jerome, who murdered his mother, then revealed a smile to Jim Gordon and Harvey Bullock, that could only come from the teen who’ll evolve into the Joker.

The show’s jam-packed with incredible performances, including Donal Logue as Harvey Bullock, Sean Pertwee as Alfred Pennyworth and of course the show’s breakout personality, Robin Lord Taylor as The Penguin, to just scratch the surface. Detective Jim Gordon came out on top in the last episode prior to the hiatus, but we’re aware he’ll endure major adversity during the remainder of the season. Young Bruce Wayne’s challenged the Board Of Directors of the Wayne Foundation, prompting the board to contemplate eliminating the heir to the throne. Plus who knows which familiar faces, we’ll see in younger incarnations, during the last four episodes?

Daredevil-Premieres on NJATVS Wednesday April 15, A Netflix Original Series:  A new concept for our site, Jason Jones will recap all twelve-episodes of this Netflix exclusive, starting on Wednesday April 15, and writing three recaps a week for four weeks, the recaps published each Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday.

I grew up a DC Comics fan, getting most of my knowledge of Marvel Comics characters via TV, an early sixties version of The Fantastic Four, broadcast on ABC Saturday morning’s aired regularly in my house. Then a syndicated weekday series airing Monday through Friday afternoons, revolving around Ironman, Thor, Captain America, The Incredible Hulk and Prince Namor, The Submariner. However, something about a blind Super-Hero intrigued me as a child and I did read the Daredevil series, so the character still brings back fond memories for me, despite the 2003 theatrical release.

There are some who enjoyed Ben Affleck’s portrayal of Daredevil, however to say I got disappointed, would make for a vast understatement. However, that was a different era for Marvel Properties, beginning with Robert Downey Jr. portrayal of Iron Man, and producing two epic films in The Avengers and Captain America: Winter Soldier.

Marvel’s Agents Of SHIELD’s shown that their properties transfer quite well to the small screen and a weekly series. The previews released of the Netflix series starring Charlie Cox as the title-character, have a look about them that evoke the films of Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez. This series looks extremely promising.

The Messengers-Premieres Friday April 17, 9:00 pm EDT On The CW: Supernatural, narrowly avoided the apocalypse in season five, Sleepy-Hollow had a close call earlier this season, while it appears that the Rising Darkness in Constantine’s a prelude to the same event. So why would we ever need another series, whose reason for being’s stopping the Apocalypse?

An object falls to Earth one seemingly normal day, causing an explosion which killed five unconnected individuals, however they return to life after a few minutes. They soon realize they’ve got abilities, they didn’t possess prior to the explosion, such as the power to heal, or for a young wimpy teenager a sudden infusion of strength. Then there’s the matter of those wings that appear to stem from their backs.

The five get contacted and gathered, then informed they’ve been chosen to defeat Satan, whose taken human form nearby and stop the end of days from occurring. Satan soon contacts them with very tempting offers, will they give in to temptation or stay on course?

The only actor I recognize, J.D. Pardo portrayed Jason Neville in the Eric Kripke comet of a series “Revolution,” on NBC, another series that had a strong freshman season then succumbed to the sophomore slump. The CW pleasantly surprised me this season with their rendition of “The Flash,” going far past my highest expectations, so I’m willing to roll the dice on this series, that’s got a strong central concept and a very high ceiling.