Sunday, December 12, 2010

Okay Already

I keep a notepad by the sofa in case anything sparks a rant in my head or I see a touching moment.

I wrote down "This is blackmail!" "Yeah, I got an app for that, homes." I'm not sure what this was from or whether or not I was amused or appalled by its use.

I just haven't felt inspired to write about anything. Maybe because I'm having one of my periodic musings about the frivolous nature of my chosen hobby. I continue to argue that TV and certain shows have merit and I'm not ashamed of my addiction... and yet isn't addiction when too much of something interrupts or prevents you from living a life? Should I start a TV Anonymous? "Hi, I'm Jessamyn, and I'm addicted to TV." "Hi, Jessamyn!" Of course our group would probably tape our meetings and stage them as a one-camera dramedy with slow dolly shots and intense reverse close-ups. Our chosen director would ask, "Is that a tear forming on her face? Push in close and get that shot."

Sample dialogue: "Your addiction to reality TV is hurting your family Susie. They can't maintain the drama and fighting you're asking of them." or "You have to stop these constant pop culture references Tom. You're ostracizing everyone around you and making them feel inadequate." Or maybe someone would open up on a very "special" episode and reveal their binge on a Lord of the Rings marathon and everyone would have to rally to get them back on the wagon by hiding all the remotes.

Stay tuned... as I will have more posts to follow soon. I promise.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


I haven't followed any of the Stargate series until SG Universe, but I have to say I'm enjoying it very much. And they've chosen some wonderful music to accompany their series (like Alexi Murdoch's Breathe). But more importantly, SGU shows us how that music can be used effectively. Now, I'm not a huge fan of the montage in TV shows, but it works very well in this series. Maybe it's the isolation of the people, the despair that they must feel, the secrets that are going on amongst the crew that can only be introduced through montage, etc, but I've come to expect these episodes to end with a touching and often beautiful montage.

This past week was especially poignant and introduced me to Fink's Song of Revolution. What a beautiful and soulful voice. And here, unlike Saving Grace's horrible ending, Fink's song is both lyric and tone appropriate. The crew came so close to going home - but no. This song echoed their emotions so well.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Choosing to Follow

There was a lot of religion on TV this week. Maybe it stood out to me because I had just had a religious conversation with my mother, but I found main characters on TV echoing my thoughts.

Glee's religious-centered episode had Kurt dealing with his father's hospital stay and the whole club wanting to sing spiritual or religious songs. I was quite surprised actually that Glee would be outspoken in these matters. Yes, the show pushes the edges routinely, but isn't a large demographic for this show conservative youth into show choir clubs? I wouldn't think they would appreciate the debate unless it came back to a "religion is the answer" ending. Maybe that isn't the demographic at all - I like the show and I'm nothing like a teenage show choir. Maybe Mercedes' comment summed up a current trend in acceptable, edgy conversations - "so we can't sing about religion, but we can sing about losing religion?" I don't know... but I am appreciative that the topic is at least broached in prime-time broadcast.

Of course Community took a comical look on the subject this week. They outright blasted Chevy Chase's cultist religion, glorified Jeff's non-religion and shoved aside Shirley's classic Baptist.

I'm glad the discussion is a little less taboo. Not that it just happened though. You hop over to cable and you'll get more of it and if you stumble on Bill Maher, you get it in spades - but broadcast..?? How do very religious people feel about these episodes? Do they shrug them off as one episode in poor taste, do they abandon the show or choose to follow?

Monday, September 27, 2010

And Another Thing...

I love Community's running joke throughout their first episode about a twitter account that makes fun of what an old man says and how that would be a hilarious sitcom. How refreshing that Community is willing to be that bold and make fun of a show on another network - and that NBC let them do it. Well done. This show has continued to have really good writing and the pop-culture references are insane!

Standout moment from this week's Glee episode – "I was playing a marathon round of Halo, woman!"

Where to Start...


Undercovers: I wrote that Undercovers may all depend on the chemistry between the two main characters. Well I found their chemistry to be easy and familiar banter; so I guess I'm saying - I like the chemistry. It reminded me of Moonlighting for some reason – wow that's an old reference.

Other observations - didn't the Leo character look like a young Walton Goggins or was that just me? Doing a vascular scan to identify a person in an opposing building isn't possible. The opening title sequence for the show is weak - maybe they'll get a lot of bad comments and have to change it. And boy does Undercovers feel like Alias in it's mission scenes.

And then there was the Michael Giacchino music. Not surprising with JJ’s involvement. But wait, it isn't his music. I looked it up and can't believe it isn't his music. They fooled me! Toward the end of the episode during one of these musical swells, we get the dialogue "how did we end up here? I think we never left." Wow did I immediately read into that and think that reminded me of Lost. I’m channeling a little bit of Entertainment Weekly’s Jeff Jensen and feel like it was a message from the Lost creators. I know, I know...

But do I have two shows competing to be the new Lost? Undercovers and The Event.

The Event:
The show starts with a disadvantage in that it has to introduce us to so many new characters. There's time-shifting going on - we’re in the present, then we're in the past and the past timing is different for each character. But despite that, the intrigue, the drama, the adrenaline started to present itself for me. And thank goodness that we get some sort of conclusion at the end of the first episode. I'm grateful that the show decided to tell us early on what to expect. Now we know that this is going to be a supernatural show, that multiple storylines will be followed, and that we're not gonna get all the answers right away. The Event is at least trying to set expectations. And as Dr. Butler (one of the marketing professors I work with) always says “you have to set expectations.”

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Fall LineUp

Well, I wait for the Entertainment Weekly Fall TV Preview every year and it always comes a bit late. I only have a week to devour it before the main bulk of shows start.

My early take - there are only a few new shows I'm excited about. and that's a good thing. I really can't afford to take on too many new ones. So I'll tune into The Event and Hawaii 5-0. And although I'm sure I may look at a few others, those are the only two I hope work out.

I do not know what to do with Lone Star. Something about the premise of this show really bothers me. I guess it's the fact that he's juggling two women. We are trained to believe that behavior is bad, and yet this show is going to try and make us feel sympathy for this con-artist who has to live two lives. Oh, poor him. He will be a hard hero to root for. And although I really don't want to watch it, everything I'm reading says this is a standout show this season and well done. I think I'm going to try and resist. Maybe I'll finally buckle and get Netflix and start up on Mad Men or something.

One show I did start watching is CW's Nikita. I know, I know, CW has issues and the material is often frivolous and poorly done. But I'm a sucker for anything La Femme Nikita. And I actually thought the pilot of this show did a good job melding pieces of each of its previous incarnations. I saw pieces of the original movie, the American remake and Peta's lovely version in there. I wish it had a little more grit and the production was better. I can't tell if it has that feel because it was taped in Canada or the CW broadcast is just that bad. I'm thinking the latter.

Another one I'm not interested in thematically but hear great things about - Boardwalk Empire. I will give this one a shot - even though prohibition gangster stories are not my cup of moonshine, this does have Buscemi, Kelly Macdonald, and Scorsese at the helm (at least initially). I know it WILL be gritty and well acted. Maybe it will feel like another Deadwood.

Get the DVRs warmed up. Happy watching everyone!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Fill in the Blank

I have a new Production Assistant who works for me and has expressed his desire to know more about films and actors. In fact, he wants my help creating a list of "movies he needs to see" and "actors/directors he should be familiar with". As he is practically a baby, his lack of knowledge in this area is understandable and yet very sad to me. He has much to learn.

So I've put together a word puzzle of sorts. Once he can fill in the gaps in the following paragraph without going to IMDB, then maybe I can send him off into the real world. Of course this is by no means a classical exercise, but a train of thought anyone should be able to follow...right?

Fatal Attraction starred the male actor ---. Who is married to ---. Who starred in the musical ---. Which also featured a petite blond, ---. Who is most known for her portrayal of the title character in the adaptation of the British book, ---. Which features two well-known British men. One is known for his bumbling romantic comedies and his personal drama with a prostitute. The other --- is known for playing Darcy in the BBC miniseries of ---. Which was recently remade featuring another British actress ---. Who is known for her appearance in the swashbuckling trilogy ---. Which has the main character played by the always cool ---. Who is a favored actor of the auteur ---. Who likes to use his wife in his films including the adaption of Big Fish which features --- as the young hero. Who also appeared in the fantastic musical about that famous red windmill alongside ---. Who was once married to the now famous Scientologist ---. Who was in an odd remake of a Spanish film with a woman who has the same sounding last name (and whom he was also involved with in real-life) named ---. Who was in a Woody Allen film with Javier and this curvy actress, ---. Who is married to the abdominal wonder, ---. Who was recently in a rom-com with this year's Oscar winner, ---. Who did her time in far worse fair like this 90's rom-com featuring the use of potions ---. And one of the character's love interests (whom she also dated in real life) was ---. Who starred as the often looked-over and now dead law partner in Damages. Which starred the powerful and scary ---. Who was the female lead in Fatal Attraction.

I don't think that's too much to ask.

Surely my few blog readers can fill in the holes (and correct my who/whom grammar).

Monday, July 12, 2010

How To Do an Ending

Justified really stepped it up for their season finale. Walton Goggins did a terrific job as the tormented, former? bad guy. And oh my goodness - the last ten seconds of this episode was spectacular! I actually gasped and inhaled quickly. First we got a smooth, slightly slowmo dolly move with well timed/coincidental wind on Olyphant's hair. Then there was the perfectly paced pause, smirk, fake gun bang. I really am not just saying this because I think T.O. is nice to look at - it was a beautiful ending shot and right in tune with the show.

On the other hand, Saving Grace's SERIES finale was a great letdown. I haven't been a devout follower of this show. Well, let's rephrase. I've watched every episode since mid-season one but haven't been in love with it. I've always admired Holly Hunter and her commitment to a role - her portrayal of Grace Hanadarko did not disappoint. She was a flawed, flawed character that I still rooted for. And although I am a little squeamish with religious shows, this one tackled issues of devotion, doubt, forgiveness, redemption with...grace. Laura San Giacomo and Hunter had a great chemistry and the depiction of Angel Earl was refreshing and well played with tenderness by Leon Rippy.

But although (spoiler alert) I had no problem with the show ending in Grace's sacrifice, I was severely tweaked by the choice of song in the last minutes. I know that may sound silly, but any true follower of TV/Film will tell you the importance that music plays on the emotion and flow of a scene. Saving Grace chose to play a song by The Calling titled "Wherever You Will Go" during their final moments to depict the OKPD's grief with Grace's death. But this supposedly heroic act was made cheesy and hollow due to this song choice. I read an article with Hunter once about doing a scene from Saving Grace where she dresses in uniform to go to a funeral and how important it was for her that the music was just right. So I can only assume that a producer or key player on this show insisted on this song by The Calling. I don't care if the lyrics are spot on, it's way more than just the words that should be considered. And if you put a great song by Everlast as your opening theme music and then end with this dated sap, you've failed. Ugh, it is still making me angry. Just a poor, poor choice to end what was a powerful and gritty show.

And on that note, kudos to Warehouse 13 for giving us Portishead in the background as they introduced this season's villain. Nice choice! The Poirtishead song may be dated just like The Calling song was, but it was used so much more effectively. Television music supervisors are making careers for new fresh musicians (look at Grey's Anatomy), but a WELL placed oldie-but-goodie makes all the difference.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The French Way

So I’m here in France visiting my sister, her husband, and my little niece Juliette. It has been a lovely trip so far. We’ve helped with various projects around the apartment (a tile backsplash, an Ikea work table for the kitchen).

So in the spirit of this silly blog, I’ll mention French TV. They do get a lot of American shows here, but they tend to show them in blocks - like three hours of CSI on one night with limited commercials. And sometimes it’s dubbed, or sometimes they just put French subtitles. And they may have to change the opening music if there are copyright issues. But the music will sound very similar. And I see commercials for Glee coming soon to Orange… but Orange is not my sister’s provider. So although France will be getting Glee, only some people have access. Interesting.

And then there are the commercials themselves. Of course Europe is more open - they show things here you’d never get away with in America, but they are also more open in terms of social politics. McDonalds has a series of spots with a “Come as you are” tagline. They depict a father acknowledging that his son is gay and letting him know he’s okay with that. Or two elderly people exploring the world of online dating and false claims, then meeting each other in line. Come as you are. Ooh; that reminds me of a party my college dorm once held called “Come as you aren’t” - that spawned some philosophical questions (my lovely nerdy dorm :) ).

There are a ton of French game shows – they seem to last forever. I don’t know what they’re saying and it’s hard for me to play along when I have to wait for my brother-in-law’s translation.

But I really haven’t been watching too much TV. Too busy running after bebe and working on anti-tantrum techniques. No, she really is quite good and smart.

I did get quite a lashing from my brother-in-law when he spoke of Jean Reno and Godiya. Which we figured out was him saying Godzilla. So he proceeds to tell me of the French classic and the storyline of atomic experiments causing the monster. Uh, actually that would be the original Japanese storyline I’m thinking. And when I said I didn’t realize Reno was in Godzilla (as I have not seen the Broderick version as it was not that good), he told me I should be ashamed to work in the field of TV and not know such a thing. Ooh, excuse me!

I just hope my DVR is doing its job back home. Although I do get frustrated with summer programming on cable channels and the DVR being unable to figure out that the 9, 11, and 1am shows aren’t all new, but duplicates of the new episode. Argg.

Later, or Au revoir!

Monday, May 31, 2010


So I've waited over a week to write anything about LOST. Sill don't know if I'm ready or have anything coherent to say. I've had a few people ask me what I thought about the finale. Poor people at my work whom I'm sure are asking to be nice because I talk about the show so much, but are not followers themselves. And all I can say is that overall I'm happy, overall I'm satisfied.

I had emotional closure with the characters. However, I was left with some uncertainty about the physical nature of the show. I don't know how else to put it. I don't care that I didn't get concrete answers to series long mysteries. But I have a sense of unrest about the "physical" side of the characters and their souls. Perhaps these are spiritual questions which I'm not ready to answer in myself. That the show took such a definite stance on a spiritual level is interesting to me - and a little unsettling. But a show that makes me question such things - a show that makes me look inside and examine my own reaction - how can that be bad?

I actually couldn't ask for more.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


Glee directed by Joss Whedon! Woo hoo! I saw Joss Wedon's name on the opening titles of Glee this week and found myself watching the whole episode looking for signs of his directorial genius. I think I saw it - but maybe I'm fooling myself. I think his use of exterior and non-school shots was good. Glee is afraid to get outside of that High School. But this week we were treated to an outside walk and talk, a bar scene, a mall scene, and an awesome sing off with Will Schuester and NPH on a fake Les Mis stage. I enjoyed this "Dream On" episode. I especially liked the use of hand held consumer cameras in the shopping mall scene to help the layman understand the fakeness of the scene. Good job Joss! I hope this can hold you until your next big thing. Whatever it is, I'll watch it.

Nurse Jackie

This past fall TV season I got suckered into the biggest cable package that Charter Communications had. With a High Def TV, it's just silly to watch Standard Def. So I had to upgrade - but in the mix - Showtime got added to my lineup. I've been an HBO original programming fan for awhile, but never had Showtime. So I caught up on Nurse Jackie and United Stated of Tara (more on that one in a later post perhaps). But Nurse Jackie is an odd show for me that I can't quite get a handle on.

Jackie is very, very flawed! And I'm okay with a flawed hero (Saving Grace has done this fairly well), but dang Jackie is flawed. I don't know if I can accept her - I mean of course we see that she is a caring nurse who will go out of her way for the patient (but every good AND bad nurse show tells me this - HawthoRNe, Mercy, Trauma, and a whole slew of Dr. dramas). But Jackie doesn't give me more than that. I don't quite get the casting of her husband - who feels years younger although they tell me they were in high school together. But, I love some of the supporting cast on this show. I love, love Zoe. I think this actress is great as the quirky, shy, but coming-into-her-own nurse. Fantastically played by Merritt Wever, I love any scene with her - she gives the cold judging stares and awkward I've got a secret moments so well. And Dr. O'Hara and Coop are great characters to play off - I just can't get into Jackie... I don't feel sympathy or root for her the way I eventually did for Vic Mackey from The Shield, even though he was horrible.

Right now, all Jackie is for me is a scowl.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Sponsored by...

I have reluctantly accepted a level of product placement/integration in shows these days. It’s just part of the system now. The Subway tie-in on Chuck was silly and in your face but I didn’t mind too much since the show is part comedy and I can actually see those characters having a meeting in a local Subway. But some shows lately have taken it too far.

Bones has now given me two automobile product integration episodes. And they have to reach to fit it in the storyline. First I have Angela and Daisy in a Toyota and Daisy wants to know why Angela drives a minivan. “Ooh, because the Sienna has all this space for my artwork!” Seriously! Nothing important happened in this drive sequence – it was just there to talk about the car. Although here’s an article that believes it actually worked.

And then we had Angela and Hodgins in a Toyota Prius that beeps at them when Hodgins is so distracted by what Angela is making him look at while he’s driving (way to go Angela) that he veers out of his lane. “What’s that beeping?” “That’s the Prius telling you you’ve gone out of your lane.” Thanks for that built-in commercial guys! That’s exactly what I was missing in my fictional television drama!

This brings me to 24. This past week Chloe and Arlo are so upset that they can’t help Jack Bauer because there is too much security in CTU – so they set up their own mobile hotspot with Sprint’s new device. Are you kidding me? If it’s so easy to set up your own system (in 3 seconds I might add) that can bypass firewalls and security issues at a government facility, don’t you think that would be happening all over the place? Terrorists pay attention – just use your Sprint mobile hotspot and create your own network to steal info from CTU. Who knew it was that easy.

Because it really is just that easy to bypass security, enhance a picture taken by a crappy surveillance camera, and figure out the exact location of a hostage based on blurred building shapes seen through a window (thanks Castle). Just press a few buttons on a keyboard with intensity and voila! But only if you’re using your “insert brand name device here.”

Here’s a collection of awesome TV moments using their technology to "enhance."

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Hmm, I don't have TV ramblings today... I went to North Carolina two weeks ago for work and got really behind on my TV. So then I finally caught up this past weekend during the tornadic storm system. But my marathon TV watching didn't leave time for thoughts or processing. I was just trying to get through the DVR list. You really need time to process the show or movie you've just watched, but instead we immediately get dumped to a commercial. It drives me crazy when you have a climactic or meaningful ending to a show and it fades to black and POW! - Coke commercial or a cell phone commercial. Where is my breathing space? Where is my pause to contemplate what I just saw? Of course this is a little better since they started regulating commercial volume so at least we aren't always inundated with the loudness of the commercial. But I still need a visual pause. I want a few seconds for the powerful images of the TV show to sink in before I have commercial images fed to me.

Don't get me wrong, I actually really like some commercials. I think they can be brilliantly executed and effective. Like this lovely Old Spice one.

I know this pause issue is a result of the way shows and commercials are designed and sold. Programs have to be a very specific length (seconds and frames) with specific commercial breaks built in for network and then affiliate spots (down again to seconds and frames). But geez already! I need a breather. I'll never forget the season 5 ending of LOST with Juliette hitting the hydrogen bomb and the screen goes to white and COMMERCIAL! I needed a second to deal with the impact of what I'd just seen.

This is why I prefer to stay through the credits at movie theaters. I need a moment to process. I fall into the movies. So the credits give me the moments I need to conclude if I was satisfied or not with what I've just seen (that and I like to show a little respect for the hundreds of people who put their effort into the movie making process). I don't want to immediately hop out of my theater chair and walk out and ask my movie companion "did you like it?" Gimme a second!

Forgettable Music

As I was stuck at a stop light yesterday and angry at my useless radio stations, I rummaged for a cassette in my center car console and put in a tape of the Rose Chronicles (and yes, I still have a cassette player in my car). But for the life of me, I found no redeeming quality in this once appreciated music. I know my sister and I really liked it at some point in the past. But I don't know why. I think it may have been featured in an episode of Buffy once - maybe that's why we liked it. It is harsh vocals, juvenile and trying too hard - maybe an early indie trying to be emo. I don't know - but I don't like it now.

I usually have a fondness for the music of my past because of the association it brings up. I may not listen to that kind of music now, but I still can go back to it and be transported. But Rose Chronicles just transported me to a place of ick and "turn it off now".

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Lars and the Real Girl

I saw Lars and the Real Girl a few months ago and was quite touched by this movie. I had heard of it, heard good things, but knew it would be quirky. But I was surprised at the emotional depth. It features Ryan Gosling as a lonely and sheltered man who buys a real doll and then believes she's his real girlfriend. But the story isn't tawdry or meant to be funny. It's incredibly touching. And his brother and sister-in-law are superbly portrayed by Paul Schneider and Emily Mortimer as concerned, supportive characters to Lars's mental illness. But Ryan Gosling really does shine here in his subtle performance. The scene where he goes to an office party and feels happy for the first time in perhaps ever - is remarkable! He slowly dances with himself and it is heart wrenching.

I guess as a somewhat shy person myself, I found this story very moving. Lars is coming out of a shell and learning how to live in the real world - his real doll serving as an emotional transition. It's a beautifully told story.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


I am quite upset at the impending end to LOST. I mean, I've had some shows I really loved that I felt were looked over, the critical darlings that I wish more people had watched (but maybe secretly was okay that only a small group loved and I was a part of that group - the secret club that GOT the show). Bus LOST is something very different for me. And it's different for broadcast TV. It has a huge following - and although some people abandoned it because it got too heady or sci-fi - to be six years in and have this kind of devotion on TV is rare. And we're all in this boat together, waiting to arrive at our destination and hoping it will be everything we thought it would be.

But, I honestly don't care if the show answers all the questions it's raised. It doesn't matter. I watch with great excitement - literally clenching my fists at every commercial break that I have to wait a few minutes for the return or in disbelief of what little secret they've just given us. They've taken me on a journey of incredible characters, intriguing science, themes of choice and redemption. And I'm there. I'll be there at the series ending giddy, anxious, sad to see it go. I'm sure the last show will make me cry, smile, and then leave me to overcome a brief depression from its absence. And I don't feel ashamed that this show has affected me or so many people. It's the mark of a good story, and good storytellers when the audience is left feeling this way. It's a beautiful piece of art - one I feel fortunate to have gazed upon.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Olyphant - need I say more

Can we all just take a minute to pause and admire Timothy Olyphant. No, seriously! Stop and just think... ah that was nice. Such a lovely fellow to look at! And oh, how I love his cool brooding nature.

I'm glad to see him on Justified. I think it's a role he does quite well. Now let's take a moment to mourn the long departed Deadwood where Olyphant mastered the quiet yet stern man of the law. I hope Justified will last - even if it does have the bucktoothed Walton Goggins whom my mother hates. He's so good at evil/creepy... Family Meeting anyone?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Alice in blahland

What should I say... Alice in Wonderland was a bit all over the place. I didn't get enough character development. I understand it's a famous book and maybe we're all supposed to know it and the characters, but that's no excuse for a movie that can't deliver. And yes, it's a huge amount of material to cover - but I think the spirit was missing. Not just specific details missing - I can deal with a book to movie adaptation leaving pieces out. But something like Harry Potter can still make it work - because the spirit is still there. I still want to root for the characters. In Tim Burton's Alice, I didn't. I didn't even buy why Alice wanted to save Hatter when he'd been taken by the Red Queen. The MOVIE hadn't given me enough to show their bond. Alice knew he'd sacrificed himself, but he was this mad man she'd just met - the bond had not been made.  Again, maybe this is where our book and previous Alice versionings should have given us the background we needed - but that is a cop out. Burton was caught on this movie. Trying to be funny/whimsical/wow but not managing any of them. Alice in Wonderland was caught between the humor of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the sweet fantasy of Big Fish and therefore failed to be either the clever oddball or the touching story.

Now I love Johnny Depp and think Mia Wasikowska was wonderful in In Treatment, but it wasn't enough. And the movie was visually interesting, but I think it would have been beautiful if I'd been able to watch it in 2-D. I am definitely not sold on 3-D yet! Avatar was spectacular in that regard. But every frame in that movie was designed. 2-D and 3-D were considered and it just worked (not the story grant you, but visually yes). Alice just felt like 3-D had been added because it could. Because the fantasy world is an easy get for 3-D. Because kids will see the movie and will get the gimicks of things flying at you. Maybe that is all 3-D is at this point. And why is it so dang dark? Why isn't the movie processed for this 3-D environment with brightness boosting? I know it's not that simple, but I want the art direction to shine in brilliant bright color in HD. Not dimness and blurryness. Not sold on 3-D yet.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Real (although brief) Suspense on 24

Way to step it up 24. (Spoiler Alert...) An EMP at CTU! That's the best bit of action and drama I've seen from this show in awhile. And I love that EMP is a part of our vernacular now. There are enough Sci-Fi and geek movies out there to have electromagnetic pulse be something that average viewers understand and fear in our digital age. Now if only 24 would get rid of that silly story with Katee Sackhoff. Ooh, maybe the EMP will get rid of her incriminating metadata :)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Repossesed: I want my 2 hours back

I watch movies all the way through. I rarely, rarely give up on a movie. It can be really bad, I can know that it's cheesy, sappy or not fine drama, but I'll still watch it. Some might say this means I'm not discerning enough in my taste. But I disagree. I will watch the movie before I pass judgement on it. If I come across a movie on TV and it doesn't catch my interest, I'll turn the channel. But if I rented it or paid for a ticket, I'm gonna watch the dang thing. The only movie I've ever truly given up on was Event Horizon. I walked out of the theater when they strung up a man by his skin - because then it became torture porn (and that was way before movies like Saw existed and torture porn was even a term).

But I should have stopped watching one other movie. Repo: the Genetic Opera. The name alone should have given me pause. I was only interested because Anthony Stuart Head form Buffy fame was in it. And the trailer made it look like it could be real campy fun - a B-movie cult fave. So I rented it - of course I didn't see it in the theater because it didn't come out in the theater here. And a good 10 minutes in, I said "What the hell is this and why am I still watching it?" I tried to give it a go because of the guy in it and I thought it would get better - it did not get better! But I stuck it through to the end and announced out loud to my empty living room, "I can't believe I just watched that piece of crap all the way through." But I didn't stop watching, because that's what I do.

And now I see commercials for Repo Men. Featuring who? The lovely Jude Law and Forest Whitaker. And hmm... sounds like it has a very, very similar plot to Repo: the Genetic Opera. Organs are sold by a huge corporation. When people can't pay the debt, the organs are repossessed. Sounds the same. Maybe Repo Men is banking on the fact that no one saw Genetic Opera. And morbid though it may be, this story could be well done. . Of course Genetic Opera had other bizarre plot lines which added to it's demise (let's not forget it was a rock opera - perhaps I should have known better by that fact alone). So now here is Repo Men, and I'm wondering if this one will actually work. It has higher caliber actors, no offense Giles, but Jude and Forrest are better and it has an intriguing story. Is it a theater movie? Hardly anything is for me these days. Why? Because I have a huge television cable package and I wait for movies to come out on premium channels. I only go to the theater for the films that really matter to me. I think Repo Men has a shot and I'll be fine watching the whole thing through - when it hits HBO that is.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Imitations: Bad & Good

Spartacus: Blood & Sand is a crappy show. I had hopes that it would be good, but it just really isn’t. I knew the channel Starz was trying to capitalize on a Gladiator/300 feel or Rome from HBO. But sorry Spartacus, you are definitely no Rome. Rome was raw and superbly acted. Kevin McKidd and my lovely Titus Pullo (Ray Stevenson) were wonderful as Roman soldiers finding their way again as citizens. And Gladiator had heart – Spartacus has – well it just has naked men and extreme fighting. I am actually okay with the visual effect they chose for the blood – that actually works for me. But after the gratuitous “The Thing in the Pit” (with the obvious 300 references), I left the show and am not looking back. And how disappointing for John Hannah. I loved him in Sliding Doors and he is probably the best actor on Spartacus, but for all his trying, the show still fails.

Southland on the other hand is soaring. I needed a fix after The Shield left and The Shield had filled the void from Homicide: Life on the Streets. Southland is proving to be a nice replacement. I didn’t watch it when it first premiered on NBC, simply because I couldn’t handle another program and was worried it might fizzle like K-Ville. But I picked Southland up when TNT did and watched their re-airing. I like the odd understated narrator that occasionally joins us (he reminds me of the narrator from Little Children in his matter of fact observations). He’s less a narrator and more the objective commentator. And although I haven’t warmed to all the characters yet, Regina King is shinning along with Ben McKenzie and Michael Cudlitz. Regina King rocked the final episode of the first season in a beautifully purposed and quiet shoot-out scene. I hope it continues to thrive now that it’s on a new network and has a fan base that fought for it.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Desperate Attempt For Viewers

Oh, Julie Benz… I’m a fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, so I know Julie Benz from her Darla days, but bringing her onto Desperate Housewives as a lesbian, ex-stripper shaking things up on Wisteria Lane – just makes me a little sad. And why oh why do writers feel they need to make a main character go gay for a little while? I’m sick of shows doing this. It’s all a ratings ploy. Just make the character gay or not gay. Why must a main cast member go through a confused stage (like Angela on Bones)? Of course Buffy had Willow do the same. And people revolted at first because they loved Oz so much – but fans ultimately accepted this shift. This is why I discovered, when switching around TV that LOGO now plays Buffy. “Ooh, Buffy’s on? Why is it on LOGO? Oh right, Willow was gay. ”

I don’t even know why I watch Desperate Housewives anymore. I guess it’s only because of Felicity Huffman. But even though I think she is by far the best actress on the show, her character can annoy me. Why DO I watch this show? Routine I guess. It all goes back to routine for me. I stick with shows even when they start to disappoint. I need to set a factor that will help me leave them. If the show starts doing such-and-such, then it’s okay to abandon it. I have a friend who does this. If a show stays on her DVR for more than a week without being watched, then she and her husband delete it and never look back. I can’t do this. I love having the shows pile up on the DVR and look forward to watching them. A full DVR makes Jessy happy.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Where Have My Lovely Shows Gone?

Hmm... so now that I've started this blog with the intention of having all sorts of witty and insightful comments regarding life and more importantly TV, I find myself totally uninspired. Perhaps I should talk about the 2010 Winter Olympics and how they've taken away my shows temporarily and yet captivated me with sports I know nothing about.

I'm from the south, I've never been skiing in my life. But seeing those crazy athletes fly off the mountains and gracefully land upright is inspiring. Not enough to make me go outside and do anything remotely athletic myself, but still, inspiring enough. Of course Bob Costas is going to make it a powerful and "redemptive" story because so-and-so suffered a horrible fall or injury just a few months ago and now look at them. Now they are winning Gold! And how upsetting if an American dares win a silver, or heaven forbid, Bronze.

When the Olympic coverage first started, I was quite mad at the packages designed to make me root for the USA Olympian whose story was heart-wrenching, and therefore they had to win a Gold medal. What a great example for young, future athletes. Oh, it's not about competing at your best, creating a healthy love for a sport or training your body. No, it's about an American winning! I had to remind myself that I was watching US coverage and of course they're going to promote USA. But then non-Americans started winning some Gold and the coverage shifted to show the courageous stories of those people, and I started to hate Bob Costas a little less. Only a little (sorry Chad - I know you heart him).

So I started DVRing the Winter Olympics and scanning through the hours of footage. I skipped through the Luge - not because it was too painful to watch a track that had killed a hopeful athlete - but because I don't get Luge. I don't understand it. I feel like they're along for the ride and yet I know there is amazing technical skill happening, but I can't see it. The cameras only show me a person swooshing by. I get countless slow-mo replays for a ski jump, snowboarder, or triple-toe loop with arrows showing me how it was good or bad. But I don't get any analyzing of how the foot movement of a luge athlete did what it did. I guess it's just too fast a sport for the camera to capture and show in detail. But I work with cameras, they're amazing! But maybe even High Def's 59.94 frames a second can't catch the small foot flick of a luger. Is luger the right term? That doesn't sound right.

So I ffwrd through Luge and the big jumps in Ice Skating. I hate when they fall - and somehow a little fast forward or even muting it for that instant makes it better. And I watch Mary Carillo's stories about polar bears or torch running - and wonder about the fact that she's a respected female journalist with such a low voice.

I'm ready for my regular shows to come back. I'm ready for hospital drama, and murder solving shows, and silly comedies. Ya know - fiction! Wouldn't want to be inspired by real-life people - I must escape my own reality in television drama. At least I have new episodes of LOST. That's all I need. LOST, and this paddle-ball game. That's all I need. LOST, this paddle-ball game, and this lamp. That's all I need.