11.13.2009

The Idiot Box

Well, people have been asking, so here's my reviews for what's on TV.

First of all, I watch maybe five shows compared to my wife's three hundred or so, and you may not care about what I'm watching. But it's my blog so BACK OFF. Plus if I did review her shows they'd all be negative reviews. Ah, let's do it for laughs anyways eh?  I love a good Mystery Science Theater style review...

CSI: Miami. This is one that I frequently see Sarah enjoying. The show might actually be good if not for the bizarre directorial style, I'm specifically referring to the camerawork. Seriously, watch this show sometime, and count how many times the camera quickly zooms in or away on people for no reason, or quickly juts to the right or left, or finds the cameraman seemingly afraid to get close to the characters, hiding behind glass or a plant, or slowly creeping out from behind a car. It's irritating to watch. Add this to the fact that every time they refer to a cause of death, they jut you out of the action with a fast moving CGI image, as if your stupid American imagination couldn't possibly comprehend what the medical examiner was just talking about. And the montages... AHH! Whenever it's time to solve the case, this ridiculous music starts blaring loudly as your 16x9 screen is split into no less than 15 little squares showing you what all of the characters are doing to get to the bottom of the murder AT THE SAME TIME, for two straight minutes. CSI, just tell a story, stop trying to create trends.

This next show I'm not going to give a title, I'm just going to call it, "Interchangeable show where people compete in front of three judges, one of whom is a stuffy Brit who is very critical". You've seen them all, and Sarah watches them all, Idol, Dancing with the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance, America's Got Talent, there's about 50 more. But they all follow the same formula: "...And here are your judges...! The nice one! The crazy, loud bitch! And the stuffy Brit who's not afraid to speak his mind! Crowd: Booo!" Ah Jesus... And you know, just to piss me off, they end one, and then another is on in the fall, and then that ends, and another one starts the following week during the summer, it's a never ending cycle of recycled TV. I do tend to watch the early ones to see the really bad people and laugh, but that's really all the attention I have to spare.

Survivor.  Or as I like to call it, "20 Idiots get flown to another country and we film them." There's no actual "surviving" involved here.  Where's the wild animal attacks?  Where's the natives chasing them down with spears and sacrificing them to their gods one by one?  Even this one follows a formula now.  There's the hot chick, the old chick, the old man, the Asian, the douchebag from New York who thinks he's awesome, the farmer who we're all pulling for cause he's so dang sweet.  The black guy, the feisty black girl who won't be disrespected, and the gay guy who walks around naked.  I'd rather pound my balls flat with a hammer than watch this crap week after week.

She also watches House, Law and Order SVU, and Monk, Can't really say too much bad about those shows, just not my kinda shows. I even like Monk a little, but there are some shows we actually watch together, these are the five or so I mentioned earlier. So here's what I'm watching:

Smallville. This show is actually making itself a little comeback. It's sucked since season three. They're on season 9 right now. In season seven the original producers left, leaving the main writing staff in charge and if you ask me the show's been great since those two assholes left. Season 8 was fantastic except for the finale, where they pulled a "Heroes", more on that later. But Season 9 has been pretty decent so far as well. They're finally getting Clark on track to becoming Superman, about time if you ask me. They're getting him involved with a lot of his allies who will eventually become the Justice League, Aquaman, The Flash, Green Arrow, Martian Manhunter, and Black Canary. They're even hinting to him being able to fly by the end of the season. They're talking about a season 10 already, I'd welcome it if it stays on this track. Season 8 was all about Doomsday, the character who killed Superman in the comics back in the 90's, and he's already tangled with a lot of his other big villains, Brainiac, Metallo, Toyman, and of course Lex Luthor. A lot less use of Kryptonite going on, and solid story arcs, not that villain of the week garbage they've been doing for years. If you check it out, watch seasons 1, 2, 8 and 9. The rest are junk.

Heroes. It was amazing in its first season, and then they fumbled the ball in the last episode big time. The finale was a huge disappointment, and the season had built so strongly to it. The show never recovered, season two was a horrible failure, and was made 12 episodes short by the writer's strike. Season three was a weird experiment with introducing characters to see if they worked, and when they didn't, they were never seen or heard from again, and a lot of stories that had nothing to do with the story arc for the season, very weak. I was close to giving up on this one, which is rare for me, I'll usually go down with a sinking ship. However, season four has come around and is shaping up to be great again. This one is very much like season one, a great story arc, building up to something big, I just fear we'll get a repeat, where the finale can't live up to the anticipation. Season four is about a bunch of carnival freaks, all with special abilities who are clearly evil but their motives haven't been fully revealed yet. All we know is that they're trying to replenish their numbers by recruiting the heroes we know, Hiro, Claire and Peter. Their leader, Samuel is played by the creepy guy from Prison Break. He maintains his creepy level in Heroes as well. Now unfortunately, it looks like he's recruited Sylar, which can't be good. We'll see!

Doctor Who. This show is just a joy to watch. The intentional campiness in its villains, and its "end of the universe" storylines make this show so much fun. There's rarely a bad episode here, and each season gets better and better. The Doctor was played by Christopher Eccleston in season one, but he "died and regenerated" into David Tennant for season two. I was mad when this happened, because by the end of season one I'd really come to like Eccleston's Doctor. But it turned out that I'd like David Tennant's Doctor even more. Tennant has been the Doctor for three seasons now, and in my mind, he's "The Doctor". Unfortunately his final three episodes air by Christmas Day, and he's leaving the show as well. The new guy replacing him is newcomer Matt Smith. I really think I'm going to have a hard time accepting Smith, Tennant is just awesome as the Doctor, but I said the same thing the first time around, so I'm willing to give Smith a shot. Sarah is not so optimistic, and has said she's going to stop watching. Hmmm...

V. As an 80's kid, I watched the original V miniseries created by Kenneth Johnson, as well as V The Final Battle, NOT created by Kenneth Johnson. I even watched the not quite as good and short-lived "V The Series". I guess you could say I'm a fan. So I decided to give the new one a fair spin despite my shaken faith in Hollywood to create anything decent. I like it so far. Morena Baccarin plays Anna, the leader of the visitors, and I'll watch any show with any member of Firefly (the best show ever) in it. I'm just so relieved they didn't follow the "disaster movie" formula. Here is the disaster movie formula: We spend the first two hours watching the boring, mundane lives of the people who are going to be affected by the coming disaster we were shown in the trailers, then another two hours watching all their reactions to the disaster, then something finally happens during the last hour, but I'm already asleep. It was okay when the first V did it, cause it was the first. It came before Independence Day and Armageddon and all the other disaster flicks that follow this formula. However this new V has the visitors showing up in the first 10 minutes of the first episode, bravo! THEN we start to meet the characters and see where they all fit in to the puzzle. Nice execution so far, and the visitors motives remain mysterious. Are they here to eat the humans again, or...? We'll see! If it lasts. In typical Hollywood fashion I've already heard there's turmoil behind the scenes, stories are hastily being rewritten, as the show is no doubt being "noted" to death by the "non-writers" who are throwing their money at the show. God I hate Hollywood and the Nielsen system. But that's a rant for another day.

Animated. I'm still watching a lot of animation, right now it's the Seth MacFarlane Triforce of Family Guy, American Dad and now The Cleveland Show. American Dad has really improved from it's first season. They've gotten away from the political humor and focus more on the characters. Roger is hilarious, and Stan has become far more likeable. Family Guy is Family Guy, I don't think it'll ever change. It's hit and miss, but still worth watching. I'm anxiously anticipating the second Family Guy Star Wars spoof coming next month. I was surprised by the Cleveland Show, I didn't think I'd get much out of it. The first few episodes were okay, but it's starting to find it's stride now and making me laugh. Cleveland became a cable guy which I of course identify with as well, so I'll keep watching. I'm also still on board with South Park, they're showing new episodes right now, And they've been mostly good ones, I still can't believe they're on season 13. They still have yet to top season 8 which debuted with "Good Times with Weapons" and never stopped. I'd say overall season 13 is better than 12 though.

I'm a little bummed though, Robot Chicken just ended season 4. As with every Robot Chicken season finale, the characters all died and they were canceled, but I'm sure they'll be back again. I'm also lacking an action cartoon outlet as my beloved Justice League is over for good, ending 15 years of DC universe for me, starting with Batman the Animated series, continuing with Superman the Animated Series and then Batman Beyond, and finishing strong with Justice League, the greatest American action cartoon ever. Oh well, hopefully something will come along, I've been disgusted with Cartoon Network for about five years now, they completely suck. Even Adult Swim is garbage now except for Robot Chicken.

Sigh. Anyway, that's what I'm watching.

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