Last year’s TV. And next year’s too.
It’s June (almost) and that means TV season is over – or at least the gap until summer TV shows start again is here. I’ve said this before – in recent years I’ve gotten more and more into TV, to the point where now I’d rather follow a TV show than watch a movie. I could blame it on the shorter attention span brought on by the internet or on some kind of vicious circle (TV=>shorter attention span=>more TV) but the truth is, there are way less exciting movies out there. I still love watching old movies, but getting excited about some new cinematic exploit is harder and harder these days. And since this weekend Sex and the City 2 opens – and I’m reminded that it used to be a relatively fun show some 10 years ago – I figured I’d get back to the 2009/2010 TV season. (Speaking of SatC2 – Alan Sepinwall’s article sums up my own feelings on the matter)
Last year I said I’d give up on a bunch of shows – and I did, at least in part. Two and a half men and Heroes were gone from this year’s watch-list, so at least I don’t have to bemoan Heroes’ cancellation or the utter crap that was the series finale (or so I heard). What I’m giving up for the next year? Brothers & Sisters. Some time in season 1, it seemed like a nice, mindless enough guilty pleasure. This season has completely exorcised the pleasure part, and all I was left with was the guilt of wasting my time: silly and contrived plotlines, off-putting characters and overall hysterics – I’m certainly not looking forward to more. Skipped the season finale and didn’t care. Two shows in limbo: Desperate Housewives and Grey’s Anatomy (go ahead, mock away). Grey’s has gotten substantially better this season after the Katherine Heigl’s exit (Izzie of ghost sex fame was probably the most annoying character) adding some new cast members (the whole hospital merger thing) and delivering a pretty riveting season finale. Sandra Oh and Sara Ramirez are also two good enough reasons to watch the show so I guess I’ll be back for season 7. At least for a few episodes. With Housewives…this season mostly sucked. Angie’s great big mystery was lame, John Barrowman’s presence didn’t exactly help enhance things (more on him later) and the Wisteria Lane strangler was a joke. But through all the mess, there still is something appealing – probably the occasional bursts of humour, Gaby and Bree. I honestly don’t know if I’ll be back, I guess I’ll figure it out in 3 months’ time.
I gave up on 2 shows and added 4 more to the watch-list…so much for less TV (ask anyone they’ll all tell you it’s proof my math sucks). I’ll start with the least exciting…Parenthood. I’m only watching because of Peter Krause (I have a soft spot for most Sorkin alumni, and he’s one of the best) and Lauren Graham (who is, once again a single mom and who, every once in a while, reminds me of Lorelai) – otherwise I don’t have much patience for big family drama. Two new comedies this year – Community and Modern family turned out to be pretty good – in their better episodes, even brilliant. Abed’s pop culture infused dialogue & meta comments are the best thing about Community and…honestly, I think everyone is great in Modern Family. Ed O’Neill completely shook off the Al (I almost wrote Ted) Bundy, the kids are hilarious, the parents reasonably neurotic and Gloria’s accent is delicious. As my best friend pointed out, Phil is channeling Michael Scott a bit too much – but not enough as to get on my nerves (speaking of which – The Office is another show I’ve given up on. I had reached the point where I honestly forgotten why I had stated watching it in the first place) – so I’ll definitely be back next year. Which leads me to my most exciting discovery (even if I’ve written about it before) – House. Late to the party, as usual, but it doesn’t mean I’m not enjoying it. Hugh Laurie is consistently brilliant and, even if season 6 overall wasn’t on par with previous stuff, it still delivered some great episodes. Plus, I have to confess that my favorite dynamic is House-Wilson, and the whole odd couple arrangement provided plenty of that (Epic fail, The down low, Private lives). I’ll be watching season 7, even if I found the finale contrived and just a little bit manipulating…after all, I have 3 months to convince myself that Huddy will not change the character House.
Everything else…is pretty much the same as last year. How I met your mother has had a generally forgettable season and I think I’m suffering from NPH over-exposure (he really should stop with the hosting gigs) – but it’s still fun. The big bang theory has tried and failed at the Leonard/Penny relationship, so I’m glad they got that out of their system – for good I hope. Sheldon is becoming incrementally less socially inept and I don’t like where it’s going…but then again, maybe I’m overreacting. Considering this is Chuck Lorre’s baby, I don’t want to see it turned into Two and a half men – a string of cheap and repetitive jokes. Castle I’m enjoying more and more….and Lost is finally over. No talk about the finale here, I’ve read waaaay too much on the topic lately. I liked it – for the most part. It didn’t reach the BSG level of fail, but it could have done more to tie up some loose ends (really any one of these would do). And I share the general outrage at the idea that Shannon was Sayid’s soulmate or whatever, after all he spent most of the time looking/longing for Nadia.
I said I’d get back to John Barrowman – and here I am. I would have nothing against the guy – except that I’ve continually heard how great he is and what a brilliant show Torchwood is. So I went ahead and watched it (in all fairness, I’m half way through Children of the Earth and I like it a lot better than the rest of the series) and couldn’t believe what a load of shit it actually is. Honestly – the dialogues are stilted, the actors’ range seems pretty small (and Mr. Barrowman facial expression never seems to be on the same wavelength as his words/actions) and the make-up is occasionally laughable. I should say I’ve never seen Doctor Who, so maybe I’m missing some kind of unsuspected dimension, but…I ‘m not trying to be insulting – I just don’t get the enthusiasm.
I don’t know what got into me this morning, I started writing and I just can’t stop. For the summer, I plan to watch 3 shows – and hope to find at least some of them exciting: The Wire, Breaking Bad and Dexter. I do take other suggestions though.
And for next year…a lot of new shows are starting (NBC is trying so hard) and honestly none of them look good to me – too many cops & lawyers, too many Friends/HIMYM knock-offs, too many Chuck Lorre shows in the world. But see for yourselves – all the trailers in one post, for your convenience (and further proof that I’m not doing anything this Saturday 😀 ) :
NBC fall lineup & trailers. + 100 points for region free videos, -1000 points for nothing but clichéd crap: http://www.nbcuniversal.presscentre.com/content/detail.aspx?releaseid=527
ABC’s new stuff + trailers for all the shows for those of us outside the US: Better together, Body of proof (I like Dana Delaney, but this is ridiculous – how much House/CSI/every other procedural can you squeeze in 2 minutes?), Detroit 1-8-7 (Cop show. How exciting.), My generation (I liked the 1st minute of this. By the end of the trailer, I started to think it was The Verve that I had actually liked. I think I’m right in their demographic; I was starting highschool in 2000 – so why doesn’t it appeal to me?), No ordinary family (trying to find the new Heroes. Should make a great companion to NBC’s The Cape), The Whole truth (new type of legal drama? Just saying it doesn’t make it true, you know), Off the map (more Shonda Rhimes brand doctors, which means sex in the Amazon & and cutesy soundtrack), Mr. Sunshine (Matt Perry, Allison Janney, Tommy Schlamme & a guy who used to be in Studio 60. I’ll be there, hoping the dialogue improves) and finally….Happy Endings (aka HIMYM 2, complete with the whole Robin-goes-to-the-Carribean look)
CBS is here –and at least they have fewer shows (less trailers to dig up & watch, yai!): Blue Bloods (when you feel the need to underline the fact that your show has plot, then you have a problem. I think I’ve seen a mediocre movie like this a couple of years ago), The Defenders (Jim Belushi & Jerry O’Connell. I can only hope for early cancellation. Ouch), Hawaii Five-O (always go to classics when you have no new ideas. Daniel Dae-Kim must love filming in Hawaii…to be fair, I probably would too), Mike & Molly (Chuck Lorre and fat jokes– ‘nuff said) and… Shit my dad says (based on a twitter account. That dude hit the jackpot. Thing is, his tweets are pretty funny, but turn them into 30 mins. worth of laugh-track and they’re painful).
Finally….FOX (I’m not doing the cable shows, this has taken me an hour already): Running Wilde (I miss Arrested Development. It was smart. This isn’t), Lonestar, Terra Nova (Spileberg’s TV adventure, with no trailer to be found yet), Ride-Along (cops, cops and more cops. Shawn Ryan has some pretty appreciated shows under his belt, so maybe there’s something here) and Mixed signals (is that Colin-I’m-a-sexgod-in-America-Frissell of Love actually? Sorry, that’s all I see when I look at the guy).
That’s all folks. And this has got to be the longest post I’ve ever written…so if you sat through it all, you really deserve a treat, so there you go: guardian podcast with Kazuo Ishiguro (mins 3 to 10, approximately).