TV Mini-Reviews

26 Nov

This thanksgiving, at the top of my list of things I’m thankful for (right up there with a blue Indiana and the 6 Parnassus), there’s Hulu, the most amazing site on the world wide web. Thanks mainly to this site, I’ve been able to watch every episode of The Daily Show while drinking my morning coffee (the amazingness of this is something that I still don’t take for granted), as well as keep up-to-date on a number of network shows that I would never have time to watch normally.

I thought it might be fun to put together a small compendium of sound bytes on the shows of the current season; those I’m watching, liking, and those I’ve left behind.  Without further ado, after the break:

True Blood – This one is a real blast – the first season just ended, and while I was dubious through the first couple of episodes, I got utterly sucked in (nyert!) over the course of the season, and by the end was hooked by all of the things that had initially made me hesitant.  The cheesy dialogue, the sweaty, sexy, bloody plot twists, the absolute over-the-top awful southern accents… it all came together in some sort of big sexy southern-fried stew of awesome.  Highly recommended.

Dexter – This season hasn’t matched the complete batshit-radness of the first season, or the unbelievable tension of the second (until they kind of punted in the last couple of episodes, anyway), but it’s still been fun to watch, mainly for the great performances.  Michael C. Hall continues to rule, Julie Benz is an uber-babe in a completely non-Darla way, and Jimmy Smits is really, really rocking it.

Entourage – Over it.  Stopped watching a few weeks before we canceled our HBO, and haven’t looked back.  Lame plots with boring, unrealistic resolutions, and characters who grate. Vince?  Get a real job. Johnny Drama?  Get bent.  Turtle?  Go fuck your bong.

Chuck – This show is an absolute BLAST, dudes.  For real – I liked it well enough in its strike-shortened first season, but this year, the writers and actors have really found their legs.  It’s like they got all of the basic character development out of the way in those first nine or so episodes while saving the best plot ideas, and then this season, came out of the gate swinging. Plus, any show that brings together former cast members of both Firefly (Adam Baldwin) and Arrested Development (Tony Hale, a.k.a. Buster Bluth) gets a big thumbs-up in my book.

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Shut. Up. Already.

Heroes – Over it, stopped watching after a few episodes.  Was over it a while ago, just didn’t want to admit it to myself.  Christ, this show is retarded.

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles – Anyone who knew me in fifth grade knew that I was obsessed with T2 after it came out.  Like, beat-the-T2-gameboy-game-five-times obsessed.  This show, even with its less-than awesome first 9 episodes, stoked the dormant flames of that obsession, though honestly, it could have done that simply by playing the theme music.  DUN-dundun-da-dun.  DUN-dundun-da-dun.  NEENER-NEEEEEEEEEE-neeeee-nuh-neeeeeee….  NEENER-NEEEEEE-neeee-nuh NEEEEEEHHHH!!!  Also, it’s another show with an ex-Firefly cast member, and Summer Glau, as a killer/protector robo-babe, is possibly rocking the hardest of all of her former Serenity crewmates, so yay to that.  And the original music, by Battlestar’s Bear McCreary, is totally great, particularly the main theme.  (Btw, Bear’s blog, linked to above, is a must-read for any composers thinking about working in the industry.  Really detailed and thoughtful.)

Gossip Girl – As a previous post on this very blog may have already given away, I fricking love this show. My sister and I watch this show every week, and it never disappoints.  It manages to pack more teen melodrama into one episode than most shows before it (The O.C., et. al) do in a whole season.  They have yet to have any pacing issues, or episodes that drag – literally a billion things happen in any given 15-minute act.  The characters have, so far, remained true to their core motivations, and the Chuck-meister has been in just about every episode so far this season.  Plus, they do a better job of sneaking pervy double-talk past the censors than any show since Veronica Mars. I am regularly scandalized that this shit is on at 8:00 on a Monday.  Totally a must-watch, every week – you know I love you; XOXO.

Fringe – Another one with ex-cast members of shows I like (Lance Reddick from The Wire, and Sheppard Book (Ron Glass) from Firefly just showed up, too), this show is kind of a lame X-Files wannabe without the spark of the two leads from that show, nor the well-conceived season-arcing plots.  It’s totally missable, and yet I wind up watching it when I have a free minute.  Mainly because it’s free on Hulu, and always has a sweet gross-out or two.

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Good things come in teeny tiny packages.

Pushing Daisies – Le sigh.  I totally heart this show, and will be sad to see it go.  The sis and I disagree on this one – she thinks that Anna Friel grates, and I can totally see where she’s coming from, but the show is just so awesomely different, and, for what boils down to an hourly procedural about dead people, so alive, that I can’t not love it.  Plus, it has Digby, the most amazing golden retriever to ever grace the small screen. The other thing I’ve taken away from this show, beyond than the continued amazingness of narrator Jim Dale, is that Kristin Chenoweth is a goddess of light who needs her own variety show, like, yesterday.  Well done, guys, now go find other good shows to be on and don’t fade into obscurity.  I’m looking at you, Chi McBride.

Dirty Sexy Money – This one is the opposite of Chuck, in that it had really outstanding episodes last season up till the strike, but has come back weaker, somehow missing the magic that it had at the start.  Its cancellation doesn’t come as a big surprise – I would think that folks looking for their fix of “rich people behaving badly” would just watch Gossip Girl, which just feels younger, fresher, and funnier, but the great cast on this show (Hi Nate!  Hi Mr. Bennet!  Hi Ling!  Hi assy sports doctor that Miranda went out with!) leaves me feeling kind of sad that it never managed to amount to anything.

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Ready, set, marry me!

30 Rock – Amazing amazingness.  This show continues to get better and better, and is the rare comedy that works as well on paper as it does when performed by the cast.  The absolute absurdity on display never disappoints, and Tina Fey and the rest of the writers have actually managed to make me enjoy Tracy Morgan, something that a couple of years ago I would have told you was fucking impossible.

The Office – It’s kind of unbelievable that this show has survived so long past the conceit of the original, and that it continues to be a rich, funny, and generally satisfying experience, on the whole.  While not every episode of the past few seasons has been gold, they manage to hit more than they miss, and the really good episodes are right up there with the original (and still superior) British version.  They made a great call by moving Pam out of the office this year, and have given the smaller characters more camera time, which is a plus on a show with a supporting cast this funny.  More Miss Kelly Kapor, please.

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia – God, this show.  It’s so all over the place; when it’s hitting (Dennis with the cat, ‘Roided out Dee and Charlie), it makes me laugh literally for days, but when it’s not (Frank trips on acid, Frank poops the bed, Frank does basically anything), I can barely stay interested.  On the whole, of course, I’d say I love it – no show can give me something as amazing as “Night Man” and not have my undying love.  But man, Danny DiVito, GO AWAY.  You are never funny, you kill the funny.  The original four cast members are inspired, and have great chemestry, and you are this weird little troll who is overly obvious and gross for the sake of it, and you don’t play off of any of the cast members well and just go back to your cave and make some sort-of-funny dark movie about clowns and murder that I’ll see on hbo and think was pretty good actually or whatever.  You are not needed here.

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