I watch entirely too much television. It’s a habit. And like all habits, it’s sometimes a lot of fun and sometimes it’s outright painful. When the Fall Season begins, I tend to go on a TV binge. The downside of this is that I end up having less time to write because I’m watching TV. The upside is that when I have time to write, I can let you all know the shows to avoid and the shows that are actually worth your time.
A couple of nerds have a hot next door neighbor. This is basically the entire premise of this show. Basically each episode is full of geek talk vs. real world talk from the hot girl, punctuated by arguably televisions most annoying current laugh track. BBT is actually a fairly entertaining sitcom, but the laugh track gets to me. I don’t like to be reminded when to laugh. I’ll laugh when it’s funny.
I ended up watching this show last year because it was on after Big Bang Theory. It quickly became apparent that this was the far superior show. The title of the show comes from the framing device of each episode being one of the characters telling his children how he met their mother back in the early 00’s of the 21st century. While all of the actors on this show are good, Neil Patrick Harris tends to steal every scene he’s in as the womanizing Barney. This show is about twice as funny as Big Bang Theory and is consistently entertaining.
As a life long comic book collector, I was genuinely impressed with the first season of Heroes two years ago. They managed to have fun with the super-hero genre while still being original. They threw a bunch of balls in the air and caught every one of them. Then last year Season Two happened. While a certain amount of blame could be put on the season being cut short by the writer’s strike, the bottom line is that Season Two wandered all over the place and ended up absolutely nowhere. It’s no surprise to me that this season has had a huge ratings drop. However, the creators of Heroes apparently learned from their mistakes last year. The first two episodes of Heroes were more eventful the all of the Second Season combined. Things are happening fast and it is fun. The only problem is that right now it’s more plot than character. It’s almost as if they’re just doing all these big things just to do them. Like the first season, this one has a lot of promise, it’s just a matter of whether or not they can catch every ball they throw.
When I was in high school, the Fox Network had a show about weird science and paranormal events that were investigated by the FBI. It was called X-Files. Fifteen years later, Fox has another FBI weird science show. This time it’s Fringe. Like X-Files, Fringe has an overall conspiracy combined with weird event of the week. So far this is working well, just like it did for the first few seasons of X-Files. Here’s hoping that Fringe can sustain the balance of mystery vs. reveals.
I’m not a big fan of musicals. But my wife is. This is why I ended up watching Eli Stone. Eli is about a lawyer who has an aneurysm that causes psychic and musical hallucinations. Basically each week he has a vision of some sort that he has to unravel in order to save whoever he has to save and invariably it has something to do with his being a lawyer. Last year they ended the season with Eli getting his aneurysm removed right after predicting a huge San Francisco earthquake that destroys among other things, the Golden Gate Bridge. It wasn’t until this last episode that I really started to like the show. It takes guts to seriously mess with the city your characters live in. Unfortunately, this fun lasted all of one episode because in the season opener, the Golden Gate Bridge was back and so was the aneurysm. And to make matters worse, they decided to take the most intriguing part of the show and kill it by revealing that yes, his visions are in fact from the big guy upstairs. I don’t think I’m going to stick around to find out what happens next.
Despite being a heterosexual male, I have in face seen every single episode of Grey’s Anatomy. Why? Because I’m obsessive and I tend to either watch every episode of a show or none of them. Unfortunately Grey’s Anatomy is a show that only gets worse and worse. I realize I’m not the demographic they’re looking for, but after four seasons, not one of these characters has become redeemable. In fact, every single one of them is so self-centered and short-sighted that it’s kind of scary that any of them are doctors. For a while there were two or three characters that were worth watching, but they either left the show or became so morally compromised that you couldn’t possibly think of them as good guys without forgetting what a good person is. With any luck at all, I’ll avoid most of this season because at this point I really couldn’t possibly care less who screws who or why or who is mad about it.
When my son was younger, he’d watch a show called Blue’s Clues. Every episode they’d have some sort of mystery and they’d discover clues and try to make the kids watching the show guess what was going to happen. This is great for a show aimed at kids because it makes them think and builds confidence. Strangely, it seems to also be the premise for The Mentalist. The title character of The Mentalist is supposedly a guy who notices absolutely everything and using these abilities, solves crimes. And as the audience, we see what he sees and then get to feel all smart when we come to the same conclusions. Unfortunately this doesn’t make us think the character is smart. He is, at most, only as smart as we are, and while we tend to think we’re fairly bright, we all know we’re no geniuses and so the premise of the show falls apart.
I’m blaming the success of House on the glut of new shows that revolve around a ‘cranky genius’ character. Of course the success of House isn’t due to Dr. House’s character, it’s due to him and his supporting cast. So the 11th Hour, about a ‘scientific consultant’ for the FBI doesn’t fail because of lead, Rufus Sewell. It fails because there isn’t one other interesting character around him. If that weren’t bad enough, so far every episode, has been a slow plodding thing that lasted an hour but seemed like three. This show can’t be cancelled soon enough. Rufus Sewell is a good actor. He deserves good work.