Tuesday, February 12, 2013

What I'm Watching: 2013... and... GO.

It’s strange to look up from one’s desk and realize that an old year has come and gone and then January is here and suddenly, BOOM, February.


I keep saying I’m gonna slow down on the TV write-ups, but they’re fun and easy and my life, in general, is very stress and so I go with fun and easy.


I’d apologize if I had more readers.  But I don’t, and those who do read me find this kind of thing at least somewhat interesting.


And so we begin:


The Walking Dead:


I was kind of amazed last week when my wife and I finally got completely caught up on our DVR, finishing off everything except for one episode of a short series that went off the air over a year ago.  The last thing we had to wipe off was The Walking Dead, a show that piles up on our DVR week in and week out because this season has gotten SO much more violent and involves a lot more of my wife cowering behind pillows while people get eaten.


Thus, this week’s episode remains unseen by us.


On the bright side, we’re caught up to that point, and overall I’m pretty pleased with this season.  The show has been working harder to keep the speed up, keep the zombies coming, and keep the twists and revelations zipping along each and every week.


Still, the show has one fatal flaw, and I don’t know what, if anything can be done about it.  It has no endpoint.


These people are looking for a safe place, but week by week we mostly just learn that there ISN’T one.  This should raise the tension, as anyone can die, but it’s hard to get attached to people when you know that everyone is marked for death.


Ultimately, I don’t wonder if the show would be better if Daryl, the clear fan favorite, didn’t take over the group.  In fact, I wonder if that’d be the thing that takes it to the next level.  Rick is the one character who can’t die in the comics (so sayeth the creator) so killing him in the TV show would come as a genuine shock.


Either way, the show continues to be well-made, and it runs through its paces nicely.  But I wonder if the show will ever be more than a B for me.


American Idol:


I did a whole piece about the show already, but I suppose I should mention it again.  After the big blow-up, Nicki and Mariah seem to have settled down, though Nicki still hasn’t quite worked out when she’s being critical in a helpful way and when she’s just being mean.


Beyond that, well, we’ve wandered through and most of the guys have been picked, and while I think a lot of them are talented people, I’m not all that in love with any of them.  And Matheus, the dude who was on The Glee Project… I dunno, man.  I’m a little sorry he was cut, but it was strange to see him coming on the show and being all, “I didn’t know I could really sing!” and “Wow, you love me even though I’m short!” and “I’ve never sung with a band before!”  Except, of course, he did on The Glee Project. 


So weird.


In conclusion, if a dude wins, I hope it’s the guy with the turban.  He just seems so nice.


Modern Family


It was funny.  It remains funny.  The ratings are down, but then again, it’s up against Idol.  Ty Burrell is an American treasure.  That about covers it.




Meanwhile, Supernatural just got picked up for a ninth season, and remains the only show to survive when moved from the WB to the CW.  The ratings are actually up this year, and it hovers in third place on the CW channel.


It’s spent the last two episodes rebooting a bit of the mythology, and adding some backstory in the form of the mysterious Men of Letters group.


What was going on there?  I theorize that it’s actually a semi-pilot for what comes next.  A chance to tell the CW, “Here is where we go next season.  We’ve got a new office, and we’re happy to become a version of The X-Files.  Or spin off another show.  Or, like, whatever, man.”


Honestly, even if Supernatural is cancelled, I’d totally watch a Men of Letters show starring Garth, Kevin, Felicia Day, Cas, and the Golem as they fight evil.


The Big Bang Theory:


‘S funny, really.  The cast gets bigger, the “what a bunch of geeks” jokes remain, and yet the writing and performances mean we get a few good laughs every episode.


Much like Modern Family, good enough for me.




Ah, Community.  The creator got kicked out, and the new guys are in, and… they’re trying.  I’ll give them an A for effort, and a B- on their first episode.


Really, the big issue is that they get that there’s a meta aspect to the show, and a “tropes” aspect to the show, and that’s good.


What they don’t get is that they do ONE trope an episode. In this one, we got The Hunger Games, Sitcoms, and Muppet Babies.  Any one of those would have been fine, and maybe good and maybe great.  All three was a bit too much.


I will say that if they sub out Fred Willard for Chevy Chase in season 5 (if there is one) I would totally be down for that.


The Vampire Diaries:


Due to DVR issues (many of them) I’m now TWO episodes behind.  Given that it’s sweeps, one would think all the cool stuff was happening.


But… Hmmm… what to say, what to say?  Vampire Diaries was, for a while, a great show that ran through five or six seasons of stories in about three seasons.  What that means is that, on a practical level, we’re now somewhere into season six or seven, and it shows.  The magic stuff is getting even more random.  The emotional stuff is still good, but mostly played out, and there have been versions of every emotion played out now, which makes bits of it stale.


There’s talk of a spin-off now, and I think it could be interesting.  There are some great characters here, and sending them away for a while might freshen things up a bit.


I’ll admit, I’m only semi-curious to see how this new plotline plays out.  There’s a whole “cure” thing going on here, and done well, it could really revive the show for season five (which is just got the pickup for).  Done wrong, and the show will spiral.




I finally figured out what makes me so sad about this show.


It’s never coming back after this.  And its audience will never grow.  It’s just done after these next few weeks.


A short background on this thought:


Back in the 80s, there was a great miniseries called V.  It was about aliens taking over the planet.  It was a huge hit, and the creator planned to do a new miniseries every year that would check in on the ongoing story.


A really cool premise.


Then he got kicked off the second miniseries, and it was completed without all that much of his input.  Then it was turned into a standard TV show.  Then it was cancelled.


Years later, he tried to get a new TV miniseries made that caught up with the characters about 20 years later.  When he couldn’t get it together, he instead released it as a novel.  One that ignored everything that happened after his first miniseries.


What the creator wanted to do is, more or less, what happened with Spartacus.  There were 12 episodes the first season.  Then the 6 episode prequel.  Then 10 episodes.  Then 10 more.  But each was, more-or-less, a self-contained story with some recurring characters.


38 episodes total.  Not enough to syndicate.  More problematic, they were made for cable, and they run anywhere from 52-58 minutes each.  Even if they were syndicated, things would have to be chopped out.  And it’s a pretty tight story as-is.


And then there’s the blood.  And unclothed people.  And… just a lot of those things, really.  Oh, and adult language.


In the end, the show can only really have a home on cable and DVD, and I can’t see it getting a huge following on either.  Perhaps I’m wrong.  But I’ve seen the ratings, and I have my doubts.


Ultimately, I dunno where and how the show will land in history, but it saddens me that such an amazing story is going to have to fight so hard to get in front of more eyes.


In conclusion: A great show that continues to be great. 


Being Human (UK)


Man, what to say, what to say.  I found out a few days ago that this series, number five, is gonna be the last one.


When I started series four, I think I would have been okay with that.  Series three had an amazing ending, wherein the vampire (of the vampire, werewolf, and ghost) was staked, starting a war.


Then came series four, and in the first episode, we lost our werewolves.


That left us with the ghost, who was, through no fault of her own, the least interesting character on the show.


My wife and I watched the first episode with unrestrained excitement.  Then curiosity.  Then confusion.  And finally, a kind of sadness.  Suffice to say, it wasn’t that good of an episode, and at the end of it, three-fourths of the cast we loved so much were gone from the show.


And in their place, we got one character who we weren’t big fans of: the idiot werewolf.


We stepped away from the show for months and months, not really wanting to go back and wrap up the story.  But finally, the hiatus came, and it was time to go through and clear the decks while everything was off the air.


I can see why some people couldn’t get into it, and the reason many stepped off the platform after the fourth series was done.  All eight episodes were, after all, about a bunch of people wanting to kill a baby, and now there were new characters to sort out, and a bizarre storyline that involved time travel, and…


It was a lot to take in.


And of course, by the end of the series, we were looking at a (mostly) all-new cast.


The thing is, I liked the story.  It had conviction, it carried itself to a logical, brutal end, and while it wasn’t a happy one, it was the one the show needed.


So the new series has begun, and we’ve got a pretty fresh cast, and… the series has been cancelled.  After being knocked down to six episodes.


I get it.  People fall in love with characters, and that’s a lot of changes in a short little period of time.  And yet, I’ll be sad to catch the last few ‘sodes, knowing that the show is at an end.


Here’s hoping for the best.

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