TV Notes

March 28, 2010 at 10:14 pm (Uncategorized)

But enough of all the politics, what’s on the box? 

Sometimes I think I watch too much TV; however, sometimes I get the feeling that I’m not watching enough. There’s just so much good stuff out there.

1. Flight of the Conchords

I finally got around to seeing season 1 of this HBO show on DVD which features the stories of  “Formerly New Zealand’s fourth most popular guitar-based digi-bongo acapella-rap-funk-comedy folk duo.”

The basic set-up is Bret and Jerome, who are New Zealanders but often mistaken for Australians,  are living in New York trying to make a career in the music business. The only problem is that both of them are fairly talentless (actually the only person less talented than them is their witless manager Murray.)

Each episode also features several songs performed by the band. The songs are usually commentaries of what is happening in their lives and are usually hysterically funny. I wonder how they sound without the visuals. Easily worth 26 minutes of your life.

2. Dollhouse

I’ve waited almost two months now to post what will likely be my final words on Dollhouse.  The last few episodes, and especially the final one, were about as good as you could expect given the short time frame, but they still felt, well,  rushed. When the final episode began, I rewound it a couple of times to make sure I hadn’t missed anything. True to form, Fox messed with the show until the end, by not showing the first half of this episode, epitaph 1. (It’s included on the DVD).

The final episode was fairly interesting, even if you hadn’t seen the rest of the series: Post-apocalyptic drama and all.  Ballard’s death was a shock, but  since he was the character we cared least about, it wasn’t too terrible. (I think we all felt worse about Topher) .

But there it ends. It was a good show which got better with age, and hell, when you compare it with everything else on TV, maybe it was a great show; however, if you’ve watched Joss Whedon’s other stuff, you couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed.

And so I did what any person might do. I returned to familiar territory.

3.  Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 1.

A return to the start of the Slayer saga is always a joy. Ooh, how young there were; how nerdy Willow was; how thin Xander was; how bitchy Cordelia was; and so on.

As with the beginnings of any show, there’s a certain hesitancy, a certain immaturity in the characters and the writing, but there’s also something there. Yeah, yeah, high school is hell, but that’s the beauty of it. Look at the episode “The Pack.” After Xander is possessed by a hyena spirit, Buffy complains to Giles about the change. Giles notes, “he’s turned into a sixteen year old boy.” Drily delivered, but so lovely.

And the beauty of the first season is, the show just gets better.

  4. Caprica

Well frack me! I watched a couple of episodes of Battlestar Galactica, but for one reason or another, I never became a regular viewer. Caprica on the other hand sucked me in right away. Close to our future, but yet not. Virtual reality, religious terrorism, racism, and corporate crime. Apropos of nothing, no less a person than Captain Sensible once said he thought the essence of a good song was that it was still a good song when it was played unaccompanied on an acoustic guitar; I think that’s probably true for a story too: a good show has to have at its heart a good story. And Caprica does. It’s the future, but it’s a drama fraught with ambition, family love, hate, and power.

5. Sanctuary

I was watching something on the Space Channel a few weeks ago, and an ad for Sanctuary came on. Huh? Monsters, Vampires, super-powered heroes, Why aren’t I watching this? and then I was. A little like Torchwood, but quite cool anyway. I’ve only seen the first few episodes, which are creature of the week themes, but I’m looking forward to the longer story arc.  

6. Damages

A little like 24 in that if you miss an episode you’re completely lost. Damages Damages seeks to be fortunate in attracting a-list actors with little or no effort – the marvellous Glenn Close, . But more interesting is the habit of putting actors into different roles. Ted Dansen and Martin Short, both known for comedy have serious roles, and both have been completely credible. Martin Short in particular is tremendous as an oily lawyer  

In the current season the villain is a Ponzi scheme operator ala Bernie Madoff. Tom Shays, Patti Hewes long tine associate turns up in a dumpster. Two bullet wounds, but drowning is the cause of death. As the episodes unfold in Damages peculiar non linear time frame, we wonder, did Patti do it?

7. Doc Martin

Arrogant big city doctor develops fear of blood and moves to small town with its colourful local cast. Almost falls in love with local woman, and almost learns a thing or two. Well, not the last part. Martin Clunes as  the titular doctor rarely learns anything from the locals, but it’s the kind of hokey British comedy drama that people lap up (me too).

 8. The I.T. Crowd

Two nerds and a computer illiterate shoe-obsessed manager run the IT department of Reynhold Industries. Another UK comedy which isn’t quite as good as it could be. The IT aspect often seems to play second fiddle to the quirky personalities of the three principle characters. Good, but could be better. The IT Crowd features Katherine Parkinson from Doc Martin.  

9. The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin

Reggie Perrin was on when I was a kid, but somehow I never watched it then. The show was produced by the BBC and featured Leonard Rossiter, late of Rising Damp, as Reggie Perrin a 46-year-old executive with Sunshine Desserts. Perrin is bored with his life and retreats into Walter Mitty fantasies about how his life show be. He becomes increasingly erratic in his behaviour before staging a suicide and re-beginning his life under a new identity. Somewhat dated, but still worth a chuckle.

10. Ben 10

My son’s favourite show. Ten year old Ben Tennisson is on a camping trip with his Grandpa  and his cousin Gwen. He discovered a crashed alien ship, and an alien bracelet, called the omnitrix attached itself to his wrist. Ben now has the ability to transform into anyone of tem aliens with accompanying powers (the aliens change over the course of the show). He later learns of an intergalactic police force called the Plumbers of which Grandpa Max is a leading member. His ex-wife is an alien who later passes down power to granddaughter Gwen. Goofy enjoyable fun courtesy of the Cartoon Network. (Buy the Lego,   that’s fun too)

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5 Comments

  1. ball noir said,

    Oh my god, you really watched so much TV.I would rather to see the movies,especially the old movies.

  2. fischerzed said,

    I should state that I’m not watching all of these at this moment 🙂

    Time well wasted indeed.

    I find my viewing habits tend to go in phases; sometimes TV sometimes movies. Right now it’s the former. My son does want to see “How to Tame Your Dragon” though…

    • Lunarbone said,

      ah…the trailer is indeed tempting. But I think you will have a way better experience watching it with kids.

  3. Darren said,

    If you can, check out the British comedy/drama, Misfits. Best thing I’ve seen on tv for a long time.

    • fischerzed said,

      Thanks for the tip. I had a quick look at the wikipedia entry, and it looked interesting. Zip.ca (the Canadian equivalent of net flix) doesn’t have it, but I know of a few sites that may. I’m awaiting Hex right now.

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