Monday, October 25, 2010

TV again and Nieces.

Hello, I'm adorable.

That's my niece would say if she could talk. I know newborn babies are usually ugly, but she is decidedly not. And yes, I am biased.

Since we're now a good six weeks into the fall season, I thought I'd reflect back on my insane week of TV premieres. I watched a lot of TV that first week to get a good sample--here's what remained.


What I watched: Lone Star, The Event, Castle
What I still watch: Castle

Well, I really didn't have much of a choice with Lone Star. I think The Event will go the way of FlashForward. It's safe for the rest of this season, but I think it'll slowly continue to fade. On the other hand, even though I ditched it after the pilot, the previews have gotten more interesting and occasionally I consider catching up to see if it's improved at all. Then I remember the pilot and how most episodes are probably following the same format--little character development and a giant plot tease. If it really does end up becoming the next Lost [or even making it to a second season], I'm ok with playing catch up.


What I watched: Glee, Detroit 1-8-7, Running Wilde
What I still watch: Glee, Detroit 1-8-7

Running Wilde, another show that I did not make past the pilot. I'd rather watch reruns of Arrested Development.

Detroit 1-8-7 is the only true freshman show I'm picking up. Other than the two that got canceled. Maybe because so many of the new shows are cop/lawyer/US marshall shows. How many of those do you really want to watch? In truth, I probably wouldn't have even watched Detroit 1-8-7 if it was set in our fair city. I like it for reasons beyond that, especially the characters they've created, but I wouldn't have gone looking for a new cop show just because I like cop shows. The other freshman law enforcement shows--Chase, Outlaw, Blue Bloods, The Defenders, The Whole Truth, Law & Order:LA, to name a few--couldn't compel me to turn them on. Geez, guys, so many. Do you really think America wants to watch that many cop/law shows?

Glee I watch with my flatmate. Glee has me all confused about my feelings. On one hand, the story telling has improved vastly. This season they've actually started digging into the lives of their characters. And they've stopped threatening Glee Club every episode. That was my number one complaint last season--every episode the story was the same--Glee Club was going to be shut down. And, as an audience, we aren't stupid. We know it's not going to be. So stop giving us the same tired plot. This season the stories are new [if sometimes... odd. What was up with the Britney episode?] but the song integration sucks. At least half the songs are song just standing around in the classroom [in fact, ALL of them might have been sung there in the duet episode]. The beauty of musicals is that people break out in choreographed song and dance all over the place and it's treated as completely normal. If a good third of your show is going to be taken up by songs, make them actual performances. Otherwise you're just slowing down your story. One friend recently confessed that she's started fast forwarding through the songs. Yeah, because they're boring!

I forgot about The Good Wife for two weeks. Then when I tried to watch it on CBS' website the audio was messed up. That, combined with my guilt over how much TV I watch anyway, gives it a pass.


What I watched: Undercovers, Top Chef: Just Desserts
What I still watch: Top Chef: Just Desserts

Undercovers played it safe, both in plot and character relationships, and it was boring. It wasn't edgy enough to be the next Alias, and it's not fun enough to get me to keep watching.

Top Chef: Just Desserts is just brilliant.


What I watched: Community, 30 Rock, The Office, Bones, The League, Big Bang Theory, My Generation
What I still watch: Community, 30 Rock, The Office, Bones, The League

As these are all veterans for me, they were automatic go's [Big Bang Theory I tried and decided to forgo. Also it's nearly embarrassing how much TV I watch on Thursday nights]. My Generation was the only true freshman show, and that got canceled. I watched the first two episodes, and I might have stuck with it. Showrunner Noah Hawley did an interesting interview about blurring the lines of scripted TV and reality in My Generation, like including footage of one of his characters being on the Bachelor [I wish I could find the interview, but I can't], and I respect what he was attempting with My Generation. I'd like to see something that pushes the boundaries of entertainment work out. Except--since I've been thinking about it more--three of the four love stories they were building up would have involved infidelity. I mean, personally, that's not really the kind of love story I am inclined to root for. Didn't a lot of people cite that as the reason that Lone Star failed too? Too much moral ambiguity? People like innocent love stories.

[On a side, this is why I think Lone Star would have worked. Bob was such a poor morally deluded man, there was something very sweet and innocent about the way that he wanted to preserve his double life in order to do the best he could by both women. Maybe for Bob it worked because you had to realize a childhood of being raised by a con artist dad messes you up. For the characters on My Generation it didn't work because they had just gotten married without love and their boredom and lack of fulfillment in their marriage is what spurred them towards other options. Definitely not so innocent.]

And when it comes to comedy, 30 Rock is queen, Community is my favourite court jester, and The Office is that awkward but funny uncle who never knows when it's time to leave.

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