Wednesday, November 09, 2011

My TV Poison This Year - Part 1

I watch quite a few TV shows, though probably not as many as some people. There are a whole bunch of TV shows, current and old that I still want to catch up with and never got the chance. Only recently I managed to finally see every episode of The Shield which was amazing.

So I decided to briefly write my thoughts on the current ongoing shows I'm watching. Let me know what you think and if I'm missing out on anything unmissable. (I know Sons of Anarchy and Breaking Bad are great, but I need to find the time to start watching them from the beginning).

The upcoming harsh Winnipeg winter, my first, will make staying home and watching TV an even more frequent activity than usual and these are the shows that will keep me company (assuming they don't get cancelled mid-season).

Fringe - Probably my favourite show right now. It's basically the X-Files with a focus on man-made crazy science. What makes this show great is the fantastic cast (especially John Noble) and the teasingly glacial pace of the intriguing sub-plots.

Fun Fact: The symbols shown before commercial breaks are code, each representing a letter - so in every episode a different word is spelled out. If you write down the letters to decipher the secret words you find out that you are a big fat nerd.

Vampire Diaries - What started out looking like Twilight the TV series turned out to be quite fun, fast, bloody and action  packed. I only checked it out because it was written by Kevin "Scream" Williamson and I'm happy I did. It took a while to gather steam with a bit too much teen angst and romance in the first series, but it was worth sticking with it. Guilty pleasure, but still pleasure.

Fun Fact: In the world of VD killing innocent people is frowned upon, but completely forgiven if you're somewhat repentant (and hot). Falling off the wagon and killing innocents again is followed up with more frowning upon and repenting.

The Secret Circle - Vampire Diaries' sister show which is also based on a series of books by the same author Whatshername Somethingsomething. It's just about watchable, but something there isn't quite right. Not even with Natasha "Species" Henstridge and Gale "Queer as Folks" Harold. Gale Harold used to be made out of sex not that long ago, but after a brief stint in Desperate Housewives he seems to have been castrated. This is a guilty pleasure that's very light on pleasure... For now. Hopefully the show will get better like Vampire Diaries did. Or cancelled. Whichever.

Fun Fact: Tomato is a fruit, not a vegetable. Reading this "fun" fact is more fun than watching an episode of the Secret Circle.

Dexter - A serial killer who only kills bad people, but still does it mostly for fun while maintaining a normal life and keeping his "hobby" a secret. What's not to love about this? I almost gave up on the show after series 4 (SPOILER ALRET STOP READING IF YOU EVER PLAN WATCHING IT). Killing off Rita, Dexter's wife and the mother of his son, was sad, but my problem was with how they messed up Dexter's character and relied on cheap shocks, basically murdering someone's loved one every other episode. Series 5 and 6 went back on track. Michael C. Hall and Jennifer Carpenter are just too much fun to watch in their roles as Dexter and Deb, so I'm glad it's good again. There's nothing else like this show and Michael C. Hall portrayal of Dexter Morgan is fascinating. Tom Hanks Jr is a great special great star this year and I can't wait for Dexter to kill him off soon.

Fun Fact: I named my dog after Dexter Morgan. Big mistake.

Ringer - I love Buffy, but the show hasn't aged very well and neither did Sarah Michelle Geller. She's only a year older than me, but this is not the cute 19 year old millions of nerds fell in love with fifteen years ago. I guess the fact that she looks half as good is why they have her in the show twice. She plays twins, but neither one has the ninja skills Buffy had which makes any of the action sequences quite dull - of which there are very few. Miron watched the first three episodes with me and gave up. I find it watchable and plan to stick with it for a while, but I can't honestly see where they are going to take this show past the original story line / first series. It's the same problem shows like 24 and Prison Break overcame by simply adopting idiotic and unconvincing follow up plotlines with plenty of misguided zeal.

Fun fact: The actress who plays Buffy's stepdaughter in the show, Zoey Deutch, is the real life daughter of the actress who plays Michael J. Fox's girlfriend in Back to the Future, Lea Thompson, and she is ten times hotter than her mom ever was (or Buffy).

2nd Fun Fact: Another Buffy actress, Charisma Carpenter, is also playing twins in an upcoming movie thriller. Remember when twins were mostly used in crappy sitcoms? Well, except for Lisa Kudrow's Phoebe and Ursula.

3rd Fun Fact: Buffy actor Nicholas Brandon has an identical twin in real life. I hear they both work at the same branch of Target nowadays.

Supernatural - Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles are very charismatic and have great chemistry between them, which makes the show. I actually don't fancy either one of them, believe it or not.  Not sure why I'm mentioning that fact, it's not like you care - and now that I  mentioned it you must think that I do actually fancy them and trying to deny it. Whatevs! I don't care what you think. Some episodes are better than others, but I like premise. It's the closest show to Buffy in terms of theme and style with the heroes basically walking into a horror movie every week and kick the villain's ass. It's still consistently good in its seven season which is quite an impressive achievement.

Fun Fact: Supernatural spelled backwards is Larutanrepus. Yeah, sorry. I have nothing on this one.

Big Bang Theory - I hate the sitcom format. I find the the sets cheap and the laugh track patronizing (This is funny! Laugh now!). Modern Family and many other shows proved times and times again that getting rid of the audience doesn't make the show less funny and opens up what can be done with the show. With several additions to the cast it's basically a nerdy version of "Friends" - just not remotely as good. Big Bang is not as funny as it thinks it is, but it is funny and adorable. The show will be even better if they killed off Johnny Galecki's character. I loved him in Roseanne all these many years ago, but here he is just unattractive and obnoxious and-not-in-a-good-way.

Fun Fact: Raj from Big Bang and Fez from That 70's Show are not the same character nor they are played by the same actor - much as it seems to be the case.

An old mini-comic gag I did years ago
House - House used to be amazing (I dedicated an entire post to my disappointment with the last series), but the show became a victim to its own formula. I'm sure there are medical mysteries in real life, but Dr. Gregory House seems to work in a hospital where there are at least 22 mystery cases a year in which the diagnosis changes every two minutes until House finally figures out what's really wrong with the patient. Another problem is the yoyo that is House's character development. On the one hand we want to see him grow and change and on the other hand we don't want him to lose what makes him a unique character. The result is a repetitive cycle of House falling down and getting up again and again. How dull. If the show starred anyone but Hugh Laurie it would've been cancelled a long time ago. As it is, he still makes it worth watching.

Fun Fact: Despite his perfect American accent, Hugh Laurie is actually British. Oh, you knew that already? Oh, everyone knows it already? OK, never mind, whatever.

This is it for part 1 with the first half of the list of shows I watch. Can you guess what's on the other half? What are you watching?



Mark said...

Mickey, that was hilarious! I laughed all the way through it. Unlike that post where you were all "I'm Gay and Proud and I'm in your Face". You know the one!
Anyway, I don't watch any of those shows. I actually would watch Dexter and tried to but the problem is that I tend to only watch shows with Fred. And if he's not into it, it's no fun for me.
I think you mentioned "Damages" awhile back, right? Someone did and we just started it the other day after Stargate Universe ended on Netflix for us. We loved S.U. by the way. Back to Damages. It's pretty good and Glenn Close is a total bitch. But now that I think about it, maybe you suggested that we watch The Shield. I forget.
Anyhow, I hope that you've been watching American Haunting on FX. If you're not, I won't take any of your advice from now on. It's the best show ever! But then I said that about Lost and see how that ended up.
Fun Fact: I rule!
Your Friend, m.
p.s. I actually didn't know that that House guy was British. Probably because I didn't care either. m.

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