Friday, January 23, 2009

Catching up on T.V.

I'm not a huge t.v. guy. For about three years, the only show I watched regularly was "The Sopranos." I started a remarkable number of shows well into their runs, catching up on DVD and then managing to squeeze in the last season or two as they actually ran.

I was always curious about "Lost," so when my spinal surgery coincided with a gift from my sister of a Netflix subscription, what better time to catch up. Last night, my wife and I, after a manic Lost binge in which our DVD player nearly burned out, finally caught up on all four seasons of Lost. So when the next episode airs on the 28th, we'll officially be right where everyone else is. Mainly confused as all hell. My thoughts on Lost?

Brilliant storytelling. So-so dialogue. I'm officially tired of Jack and Kate, but really getting into Ben, Pesmond (Penny & Desmond), Sawyer and Potentially Evil Sun. I'm on the fence with Hurley, but after I nearly coughed out a lung when he threw his Hot Pocket at Ben, I'm beginning to like the big guy. The most baffling thing to me is that not one character has had an all-out freak out. They all seem remarkably unperturbed by the fact that they've spent several months on some sort of magical island, filled with polar bears, freaky science experiments and time travel. I keep waiting for someone to just say, "Wait, hold up. Is anybody else wondering what the f*&k is going on???" 

It's like all the characters live in a world where they've watched so many science fiction movies that they're not even remotely perplexed by what's happening. They're simply like, "We need to get to the underwater station to block the signal being sent out by the evil cadre of mad scientists, because the guy who has clairvoyant flashes had a vision of it." And nobody bats an eye. They're just like, "Ok then. It's a two day hike. Let's go while there's still sunlight." 

I just want one character (probably Hurley) to have a John McClane moment. You know, that moment in "Die Hard 2" when he says, "Another basement...another elevator. How can the same thing happen to the same guy twice?" Just to let us know that the characters (and writers) are aware of how ridiculous--I mean, unusual--their circumstances are.

Right now I have three regular shows: Lost, 30 Rock, and The Office. My agent was cool enough to send over the first two seasons of How I Met Your Mother on DVD, so I've been churning through those. Definitely a show that began finding its legs early on, and probably has already set a record for most penis jokes in a prime time sitcom. The cast is terrific, though I'm ready to commit a homicide on Ted, the eternal buzzkill, the only twenty-something guy who goes to a bar with his friends and spends an hour talking about what he wants to name his unborn children. If you want to know why LadLit as a genre has not and will never work, watch Ted for five minutes. If you don't want to beat him to death after the eightieth time he recites his 'What I look for in the girl I'm going to marry' list, then you're a better man than I.

It's great to see Allyson Hannigan breaking out of the "band camp girl" mold (and her Lily is probably the most relatable character), and Cobie Smulders is really likable as Robin. With any other actor Barney Stinson could have been a total d-bag, but NPH portrays the character with enough of a wink so that you know he doesn't take himself too seriously. Jason Segal is pretty good (and he's a hero for tall, awkwardly proportioned guys!), but after "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" I can't help but feel like he's a bit hamstrung in PG sitcom land. And Ted...sigh...just transport him into a Nick Hornby novel and let him hang out with Rob Fleming for eternity. They can spend the rest of their lives cataloguing mix tapes.

Once I'm through with these shows, there are others I'll catch up on via DVD/iTunes. Here's the list of shows on my queue. Let me know if I should add anything else:

1) Deadwood
2) Battlestar Galactica
3) Damages
4) Burn Notice
5) House
6) Friday Night Lights



Blogger Bryon Quertermous said...

I'm like you, have a few regular shows I watch and catch anything else on DVD. Netflix is great for that. I strongly recommend Nip/Tuck and Californication. I'm also working my way through Twin Peaks and it's quite a trip.

10:57 AM  
Blogger pattinase (abbott) said...

Damages, Mad Men and Worst Week.

11:08 AM  
Blogger Jason Pinter said...

I loved the first two seasons of NIp/Tuck, then it got too freaky and lost me. The final straw was when McNamara had, um, relations with the Kimber blow up doll.

Same with 24. Loved the first two seasons, but it lost me when Jack was drive from L.A. to Tijuana in 4 minutes while his daughter was being menaced by mountain lions.

I've seen about half the first season of Mad Men. Really good acting and atmosphere, just not addicted to it like I was to "The Shield" or "The Wire".

11:51 AM  
Blogger Bobby Mangahas said...

If you haven't done so already, add THE WIRE. Great show.

10:23 AM  
Blogger Amie Stuart said...

I second the vote for The Wire and want to add Saving Grace for its awesome characterization.

I loved Nip/Tuck until the moved to Cali...last season seemed like it was all about how many times they could jump the shark--and you though Lost has issues! LOL That said, I'm still watching this season.

I LOVED Dirt but it got canceled. Again really good characterization--for the most part. I think I have a thing for ball-busting women :D

9:53 AM  
Blogger Kendra said...

Arrested Development. Curb Your Enthusiasm. Your list needs humor.

10:15 PM  
Blogger Jon The Crime Spree Guy said...

The Wire is great,so is Mad Men. I would also add Lost Room, a 6 episode miniseries from Sci Fi, damn cool show.

3:45 PM  

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