Editor’s Note: This review contains spoilers.]
Producer Shonda Rhimes returned to television again with the season 14 and season 4 premiere of her two cult-favorite shows, Grey’s Anatomy and How To Get Away With Murder. It was a three hour long extravaganza, with the return of some old characters and a few new faces. As a quick summary, Grey’s Anatomy follows the lives of surgeons (think ER or Chicago Med), but with three times the drama. How To Get Away With Murder, while featuring just as much drama, is about a lawyer named Annalise Keating and her fellow co-workers as they navigate life after…several murders.
During the season premiere of Grey’s Anatomy, Owen’s sister, Megan, turned out to be alive and was transferred to the Grey-Sloan Memorial Hospital for treatment. Nathan, who admitted last season that Megan was the love of his life, was understandably shocked. While half the hospital staff fights to keep Megan alive, the other half is running the hospital as usual, trying to maintain the status quo post-hospital fire that nearly burned down the place during last season’s finale. Webber is back to being in charge of the incoming hospital interns, Arizona is….doing whatever Arizona does, Alex and Jo are rekindling their relationship, and April, Maggie and Jackson are in a love triangle. Yet, aside from the return of cardiothoracic surgeon Teddy Altman, who was fired from Grey-Sloan Memorial during the season 8 finale, and the news that Amelia, renowned neurosurgeon, has a brain tumor, nothing particularly new or exciting happened throughout the episode. Such is the problem with Grey’s Anatomy: the episodes feel like run-of-the-mill dramas, except for the last few episodes of each season, where Rhimes always does something huge and traumatic (Derek Shepherd’s death, anybody?). The majority of the season, however, becomes boring in a way it shouldn’t be – every character has been with every other character since they were introduced, and some storylines feel recycled. Nonetheless, the show is certainly going to benefit from the return of Megan and Teddy, as well as the introduction of some new interns, hopefully creating a change of pace from the slow-burning norm of the show.
Now, the season 4 premiere of How to Get Away with Murder was certainly way more interesting. This show has managed, in only four seasons, to continually transform itself and never get stale. In the season premiere, the show starts off with each character in various stages in life: Michaela and Asher moving in together, Laurel investigating Wes’s death, and Connor and Oliver talking about marriage (or lack thereof). Annalise is also getting her life together and doing her best to take care of her family and make amends with her four underlings. But then, the show ends with a twist: Laurel has lost her baby, and we don’t know why…yet. While the premiere was succinct, however, it didn’t answer some of the lingering questions from last season. One can only hope that the answers reveal themselves as the season pushes forward, but it was an incredible start so far.
Perhaps the most rewarding aspect of Shonda Rhimes’ shows is that they feel like coming home; it always feels great to block everything out for a few hours during the semester and watch some high-quality, familiar television. Although Shonda Rhimes recently announced she is moving her business to Netflix, hopefully she can continue producing the same feeling people get watching her shows week-to-week, in a now more “bingeable” format. The anticipation her shows leave the viewers with is part of her popularity, and if there’s anything she’s good at, it’s keeping people on the edge of their seats.