Making the world a better place, one show at a time.

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I guess you would like to know a little bit about the person making all these proclamations upon good taste and horrid characters. I'm Andrea and when I was 15 I fell in love. An hour after meeting "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" I was forever altered in the way only love can, and I never questioned for one minute afterwards that television offered me an amazing chance to experience lives and moments that I could never imagine. So now, when I'm not getting distracted by my real life, I write about TV. I also read, am finishing a Master's degree in English Literature, travel, am attempting to learn vegan cooking, am the 5th of 6 children, and drive my roommate nuts by constantly cleaning our already clean apartment. Now that we're old friends, time for you to take my opinions as the be all and end all.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Supernatural: Season 6, You Need a Little Help from Your Friends.

And as anyone who reads this blog with any regularity knows, I consider myself a dear and loving friend to Supernatural.

I fully support Sera Gamble taking over as show-runner.  I will forever love Eric Kripke for the 5 glorious seasons he gave me, but I think that we can all tell from the end of S5 that he was done, ready to say goodbye and move on.  (Despite it's over-the-top sappy-ness, I really liked "Swan Song" and I accept that Chuck is God, even if I wouldn't have done that.)  But the truth right now is that the show is trying to find a new rhythm, and for those of us attached to the old rhythm, this is distressing.  Okay, I'll tone down the drama-queen.  Not "distressing," but rather, vexing.

We are 5 episodes in S6 and so far things have been incredibly uneven.  The plausibility to Sam returning from Hell got stretched a bit too far by the sheer randomness of Samuel Campbell (ya know, their grandfather) being "pulled down" from Heaven.  (WTF?)  The opening sequence in "Exile on Main Street" highlighting Dean's average (and as far as I'm concerned soul-crushing) life with Lisa was well done, but that indicated that they were developing a semi-functional life together, so how on earth are we supposed to remotely believe that Lisa would be cool with him hunting and just showing up when he can.  I mean, seriously?  (And we all saw how well that worked out last episode.)  The opening of "Live Free or Twihard" was probably the best Twilight parody ever, and if they had gone for the funny with the rest of the episode it wouldn't have been so terrible, but they didn't and we were subjected to one of the worst episodes of this show.  (The list now stands: 1)Racist killer truck, 2) Ghost ship, 3) Vampire Dean.)

The best episode so far has been "Weekend at Bobby's" and since Jensen directed it (good job btw dude) we basically got an entire episode devoted to an awesome, but secondary, character.  I'm not complaining, I adore Bobby.  I think it was great to get a picture of his life as every hunter's bitch, and I wanted to high-five him when he chewed out Sam and Dean for being all complain-y about each other, it was a good release of frustration for character, crew, and audience alike.  That episode is the kind of episode that made Supernatural a can't-miss show for me. Both funny and frightening, the emotional focus of the episode fit into the flow of the show, but the story focus was a specific problem that could be finished up by the end of the episode.  It didn't have anything to do with "Alpha" demons, Sam and Dean came through and saved the damsel in distress (aka Bobby), and we were invested in what happened.

Obviously I'm holding onto my hope that Supernatural can work out the kinks and make it through this transition.  Fingers crossed for tonight.

The TV Girl

Terriers: If This Show Gets Cancelled Because People Won't Watch, I Will Be Really Displeased.

I don't think I'm totally out on a limb to say Terriers is the best new show this season.  (Feel free to cast your vote in the comments, but I warn you, I'm pretty sure about this.)  Other people are all into that I-like-being-the-only-one-who-knows-about-cool-shows bullsh*t, I'm not so into that.  First of all, if you really think something is worthy you should want to share it.  Second, because shows with low ratings tend to get cancelled!

Terriers revolves around the messy cases and messier lives of Hank (Donal Logue) and Britt (Michael Raymond-Jones), unlicensed private investigators who just don't know how to say "no" in their own self-interest.  Lest you get any idea about boring white-knights, that's not this show.  Hank is a recovering alcoholic who was fired from the police force, Britt is a (semi-) reformed burglar, and they always take the job for the money, at least initially.   Our heroes are trying to keep their personal affairs from becoming as murky and unpleasant as their professional prospects are quickly becoming, but without too much success.  Hank's ex-wife Gretchen (Kimberly Quinn) might be trying to move on, but Hank isn't exactly ready to let go and Britt's relationship with his vet student girlfriend Katie (Laura Allen) is less perfect than it looks.

I really really don't want this show to get cancelled, and I'll give you my Top 5 reasons why.

1) There just isn't enough noir on TV.
Since we lost Veronica Mars a few years ago (RIP), there really hasn't been a show with a good old-school Maltese Falcon vibe.  A crime-fighting show with an onion-like mystery and a maze of ever shifting alliances is a welcome antidote to the ripped-from-the-headlines earnestness of Law and Order SVU, Criminal Minds, etc.

2) This shite is funny.
Murder, drug overdoses, poisoned land, none of this should be humorous, but  Terriers is proving that it can be.  Hank and Britt spend a great deal of time overtly mocking the bromance concept and they are damn good mockers. The episodic mysteries tend to be on the more silly side (That giant bail jumper? Hilarious!) but without being completely ridiculous (The bank vice president?  Not so hilarious.), so the viewer never feels bogged down by intractable disaster.  Plus, for the most part, the characters are intelligent people (which doesn't mean they always make good choices), so they can follow each other's trains of thought, they can spar, they can expose the irony their lives are mired in.

3) There is a shaddy dude in a tan suit.
Come on, you see a guy at a construction site wearing a tan suit, you have to know what he's up to.  At least I do.

4) The color palette.
Okay, this seems stupid as a recommendation for a show, but I love the look they've achieved: everything is so sun-drenched it's bleached out; Hank's little truck is the cutes p-o-s ever; and the costuming is minimal and genuine (it actually looks like these kinds of people would wear these kinds of clothes).  All of the production components come together to look neither too shinny for the genera nor too stylized for the themes.  As a viewer you can almost taste the salt and corruption in the air.

5) Steph.
The addition of Hank's mentally troubled sister (played by Donal Logue's real-life twin sister Karina Logue) is brilliant.  Steph is literal and forthright, providing wonderful contrast to the other characters' evasiveness and lies of omission.

There you have it, my pitch for Terriers.  If you've been looking for wit and intrigue, you've been given a gift, but I suggest you jump on board NOW before F/X gets chop-happy.

(On a side note, I only watched one episode of The Shield.  I couldn't do it.  But I really like the shows made by the people who made The Shield.)

The TV Girl


Reason to Watch Terriers 6) Now that he's not on SuckBlood, Michael Raymond-Jones is really hot.

Reason to Watch Terriers 7) The title song is terribly catchy.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

If Fat People Can't Kiss on TV, Then Skinny People Shouldn't Eat.

I don't watch the show Mike & Molly.  I don't have a great interest, and my queue is already overflowing with shows that I have fallen behind on, so a new sitcom isn't on the top of my list of things to watch.  But far be it from me to stay silent on a controversy!  And this article I found on Yahoo really really angered me:

You don't want to see fat people kissing, don't watch!  TV is free will; no one can force you to watch a show you don't want to.  I love that in this article Preachy McMeany-Pants encouraged fat people to walk more just paragraphs after she said she doesn't like seeing fat people walk across the room.  So, get more exercise, just make sure the skinnies don't see you?  

(Now granted, the above writer was responding to this article, which actually points out a trend in entertainment that is worth thinking about:  )

I'm okay with the fact that the majority of people on TV are more attractive than me, and in fact, I think that might be part of the escapism that most people are tuning in for.  I think that there are many interesting debates one could have about weight and entertainment, but "should fat people kiss on TV?" isn't one of them.

So let me bring up another side of the issue: how about shows that go out of their way to glorify slothful behavior without any consequences?

Gilmore Girls, 30 Rock, Cougar Town all present women and men who eat and drink extremely unhealthy foods and beverages without participating in any sort of regular exercise and are still somehow a Size 0.  Lorelei and Rory ate every single meal either out or had it delivered, were constantly chugging caffeine, occasionally made a huge production of getting a minimal amount of exercise and were both rail thin.  In every single episode, Liz Lemon mentions some gastronomic monstrosity that she consumes on a regular basis and it isn't until SEASON 4 that she even tries to go to the gym (which she never makes it to), yet she is trim and her hair has the body accomplished by a well balanced diet.  Except for Travis, every character on Cougar Town is booze-soaked, yet not a one of those calories seems to stick.  Don't get me wrong, I have at one point in the past or the present throughly enjoyed all of these shows, but when people are up in arms that there are fat characters on TV who are not stoned in the street for their morally reprehensible physical state, then it seems utterly dishonest to convey the idea that what you put in your mouth has no effect on body, that if you were just one of the blessed then you could behave however you choose and would perpetually be the precise example of socially dictated beauty.  If the mere presence of fat people on TV "glorifies obesity," what  message does it send to have skinny people who make all the behavioral choices that lead to obesity?

The TV Girl

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

My Weekend Fling: Caprica, Season 1.0

I admit it; I’m a total slacker.

Why do you think underachievers and misfits appeal to me so much?

But even when I’m slacking I’m still watching something.

Let me say this right off the bat: Caprica is not Battlestar Galactica.  For those of you, like me, who still feel the void of BSG these years later; don’t look to this show as a quick and easy replacement.  Honestly, that’s why I didn’t watch it at first; I didn’t want to be overly disappointed in this show by comparing it to another show so loved.  Since Caprica is a prequel to BSG, with a common character, there is no way to divorce the two shows, and one shouldn’t.  Luckily for the audience (that luck based on hard work by those who make this show) Caprica can hold its own.

I would say that the number one reason Caprica stands on it’s own two feet is the eclectic but amazing cast.  Can someone explain to me why Polly Walker (Rome, State of Play) and Paula Malcomson (Deadwood, Sons of Anarchy) haven’t been together on a show before?  I ask because once you see it, it is the most logical thing in the world.  Two of the most engaging, thoughtful and precise actresses on TV, in one place, now that is a bargain people!  (If Polly Walker were to be on SoA I would probably have a heart attack of joy.)  In other hands, these roles could devolve into shrill caricature, but the textured and interesting characters that we are meant to have are presented to us naturally and fully-formed, even if we are just getting to know them.  Polly Walker’s Sister Clarice Willow, the schoolteacher with a subversive agenda, is dark and ruthless but not a hollow menace.  Paula Malcomson’s Dr. Amanda Greystone may be spiraling into insanity because of her grief for her dead daughter Zoe and our feeling of that insanity is so real because it is the quiet erosion of a soul, not hysterical gestures from a Dr. Seuss book.  Then there’s Zoe Greystone, played by Alessandra Torresani, who was Anne Veal for one episode of Arrested Development before the character was recast.  The Zoe we see is actually a digital Zoe, a copy of that the real Zoe made of herself for some sort of religious purpose before being blown up by her boyfriend on a commuter train in the pilot episode, and digital Zoe is put in the body of the first Cylon, that her father Daniel is developing for the military.  You with me?  Zoe, as we know her, is a total brat, but not because she is portrayed in a bratty or whiny way.  She is the bratty of an arrogant self-righteous 15-year-old, therefore a fairly typical teenager, but now that she is stuck in a killing suit, we follow the metaphor of growing up and accepting our responsibility in the world without the typical show’s belabored melodrama.

The male side of the cast isn’t half bad either.  Eric Stoltz as Daniel Greystone, the determined genius industrialist, and Esai Morales as Joseph Adama, the mob lawyer slipping into addiction and despair, are both simultaneously understated and raging; neither yell frequently but both radiated repressed fury and thwarted expectation.  For me, the standout is Sasha Roiz as Joseph’s brother Sam.  Sam Adama is so riddled with contradictions that the character shouldn’t ring true, but somehow, and I think it’s because of Roiz, he does.  Sam is a mob enforcer but his perfect honest with his partner Larry about what he does removes much of the sleaziness one normal associates with such a profession; as a surrogate father to his nephew Willie (That’s right, before Admiral Bill Adama protected the human race, he was called Willie.  Frakking awesome.) his approach of ethics-based circumvention of the law is fairly admirable; and his participation in his Tauron culture and religious tradition does not strike the viewer as cheep or false in anyway.  Sam is interesting, and I like interesting.

The large thematic concerns of the show are still developing.  While the overarching questions are present (what is reality? how is one to have faith in the face of competing religious claims?  if family is our primary love do the living or the dead demand more of us?  what is our ethical responsibility to society?), they and all others are in a gestational stage, but so far Caprica has established rich ground for these discussions to unfold.  The march towards the Cylon War promises to be a thought-provoking one.

Oh, and James Marsters is terrorist, so if that isn’t enough to get you to watch, you might be a lost cause.

The TV Girl