Friday, September 14, 2012

What I'm Watching: TV Returns!




Recently, a friend of mine asked me to name the best comedy of all time.  He was pushing for Community, which he and his family watch and rewatch with a near-religious fervor.  I said I didn’t know, though I offered up Scrubs, a show with a similar formula: Ensemble, lots of flights of fancy, an emotional core that pops up in the last three to five minutes of every episode.


The more I thought about it, though, the more I came to feel that while I do love me some comedy, I think that other shows are funnier.  Off the top of my head, I rattled off Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Gilmore Girls (technically a drama), and Supernatural, which is supposed to be a horror show…


Ultimately, we shared some nice memories, but he held onto Community as the top tier, the best of the best.


And that’s fine.


My wife and I have been powering through the show these last few weeks.  We’re a couple of episodes away from finishing season 2, and after that we should be able to get to season 3 just in time for season 4 to start.  I imagine it will be a bit of a struggle to keep up, but, hey, it’s only been renewed for 13 episodes. 


I think the speed we’re getting through the show would indicate that we love it with all our hearts, but no, I’d say it’s more of a very strong like.  My wife can’t stand certain episodes, and I went from thinking I wanted to own the show to DVD to suspecting that I could wait until the whole thing is crammed into a cheap box set and sold at $20 for the complete series. 


The thing of it is, it’s a fun show.  It doesn’t talk down to the audience, it really does truck in bizarre and impressive writing, and the show is different just about every week, tackling various bits of pop culture in its own special way.


I think it’s great that it does that, but it also means that the show can be alienating.  Recently, I saw the episode where they riffed on Pulp Fiction and My Dinner with Andre.  I love Pulp, and I know quite a bit about Andre, even though I’ve never gotten a chance to sit down and watch it.


My wife, however, barely remembers Pulp, and Andre meant little to nothing to her.  Subsequently, large chunks of the episode didn’t register with her.  She liked it, she was amused by it, but it wasn’t “great.”


And that, I think, is Community’s fatal flaw: it is what The Big Bang Theory claims to be, a show that’s deeply enmeshed in nerd/geek culture.  And the sad fact is, a show that’s deeply enmeshed in nerd/geek culture, and not just playing at it, was never long for this world.


I have heard that the next season is going to be starting with a Hunger Games pastiche, which is the kind of thing that might have saved it two seasons ago.  But now?  On a Friday night?  With new showrunners?  The true fans will watch to the bitter end, and the show will vanish.


Which is too bad.  There’s a lot of love going into it.


Warehouse 13


What can I say?  13 started as a pleasant show with minor returns.  It was fast and funny, and it locked onto a formula and made it work early on.  Then it got really good, and demonstrated what you can do to an audience once you’ve engaged their emotions.


And the show is doing so well, it’s gone from 13 episodes a season to 20.  How is that not a win?


I’ve been liking these season a lot so far, but I find myself troubled with the fact that I don’t see how it can end with anything other than a reboot, wherein the show more-or-less casts this season aside as though it never happened. 


This might be why I don’t write for Warehouse 13.


I must admit, I’m still amazed that I love this show so much, and that my life loves it as well.  If I had to nail it down, I’d guess it’s because at its heart, every hour they put out is really just an excuse to hang out with these fun characters again, and maybe somewhere in there we’ll solve a mystery, too.


It’s like a warm hug from your TV.  Truly.




Man, I was a little afraid of this one.  Glee has finally returned, with much of a the cast sheered away and the show now functioning as both itself and its spin-off, wherein Rachel and Kurt go to New York.


Having watched the first episode, most of this seems to the good, though much of the goings-on were about pressing reboot on the show again.  The last season ended with the Glee club triumphing, and suddenly being big winners at the school.  Now all that has been undone.


In a sense, the show is a fresh pilot, and while it wasn’t as great as the first pilot, it was solid enough that I didn’t want to walk away in disgust.


So yeah, I’ll be here through the season.


My big curiosity now, however, is what’s going to happen to the show audience-wise.  They have the X Factor as their lead-in, and that show ain’t doing all that great.  And they’re up against a lot of other hard-to-beat shows that aren’t going to go away any time soon.


I suspect they’ll get a full year, just to make it to a point where they can syndicate the show and get some back end money.  But unless American Idol gives them a serious lift, I think we’re watching the slow winding down of Glee.  And if it plays about as well as last night did, well, that’s just fine.

1 comment:

  1. I know what you mean. I find Buffy hilarious. I like comedies that are serious drama too. My favourite of all time is MASH