Sunday, October 13, 2013

TV or not TV... got Brit, anyone?

Some completely unscientific observations on the current television season.

It's mid-October, the stores are full of ghoulies and ghosties and long legged beasties (completely different to the ghoulies, ghosties and long legged beasties you bought last year, of course), and enough candy to render at least three states positive for Type II Diabetes. Yep, Halloween is here; feathered turkeys remind us that we have to eat more in November, and the subtle insidious crawl of holly and glitter has begun. If you listen hard you can hear the rustle of tinsel shifting in readiness for its explosion into stores, along with the terrified shuddering of pine trees everywhere.

Thus we've already had a few weeks to dabble our toes in the new Fall television season. So. Was it good for you?

Personally, I'm sort of underwhelmed. There was the usual amount of hyperbole, flash, bang and brouhaha for the last weeks of summer, heralding what was supposed to be a new season of shock and awe.  Thus far, I'm not shocked and there isn't an ounce of awe anywhere, far as I can tell.

(Caveat: I don't watch a LOT of regular television because so much is available online to watch at my convenience. I'm only now catching up with True Blood, and a couple of other series, like American Horror. Thanks to my BFF for recommending that and failing to send along tranquilizers to go with it, damn you Scott Carpenter! LOL)

Series that shows some sort of promise:

Sleepy Hollow.

This is perilously close to being one of my guilty pleasures, mostly because of the dude. Yeah, I admit it. There is something seductively attractive about a tousle-haired Brit with gorgeous eyes in a long coat. The concept... the "awakening" of Ichabod Crane and the resurgence of paranormal nasties that date back to Salem when it was hot (in a bad way)...meh. It's an interesting notion, but I worry about its sustainability.  Plus the writer in me squirms each time I trip and fall into a plot hole.  One has to assume that Washington Irving never lived in this particular reality, because introducing an out-of-place costumed Brit as Ichabod Crane and not having ONE person turn around, lifting an eyebrow and saying "Seriously?" ...well, that sort of defies belief. Plus some of his expressions ("I have an eidetic memory") are flat out wrong. Eidetic, as a term for memory, was coined in the 1920's. Ichabod was probably hitting REM sleep right about then. Nit picky? Sure. But a solid script/plotline would have caught that. However, as I said, this show is redeemed by Ichabod, luscious lad, a good supporting cast, and some pretty damn fine special effects, a couple of which grossed me out. (See the neck scene in the pilot. Yuuuuuuck). So this one'll get thumbs up, if you want an hour of eye candy with a bit of adventure. And these days, hell - I'll take it. LOL

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Being a massive Avengers fan, this was a must-see from the get-go. (Sorry for the multiple use of hyphens.) Agent Coulter is still with us - yes, applause is absolutely appropriate - and every bit as lovable. I admire this character enormously for his blend of calm efficiency and wry humor. With - here - a strong helping of action hero. He's pitch perfect (congratulations to Clark Gregg for his portrayal) and although the cast has yet to gel into a smooth whole, this series might be the breakout success of the season.  Two thumbs up...based on future possibilities. And Joss Whedon, of course. LOL

Series that haven't debuted as of this writing that might have potential:

(Probably featuring a long coated Englishman. Yes, it's a trend, folks). Jonathan Rhys Meyers deserts the Tudor court for the age of vampirism. There are those amongst us who wouldn't object to a bit of neck biting from this chappie (although I'd line up for Charles first), so if its done as well as the promotional commercials, I might consider giving this one a whirl.

Almost Human
The tried and true human cop-robot partner storyline, but this time coming from JJ Abrams who's FRINGE I very much enjoyed. (I miss Walter, the cow and the butterscotch pudding.) Since I'm always up for a good bit of science fiction, this one will get my attention as well when it debuts.

Series not on my cable lineup that I'm sorry I'm missing:

Masters of Sex

Would love to see a couple of episodes of this one. Not because I'm a kinky voyeuristic pervert (honest. I'm not. Well, not all the time. LOL) but because the subject matter is fascinating (Masters and Johnson readers pay attention) and the cast features Michael Sheen, one of the most polished and versatile actors around. He awed me (yes, awe. Really.) as Tony Blair in THE QUEEN, and I barely recognized him from the Evolution stuff. So I'd love feedback from anyone who's seen any of this series?

Series I'm going to miss:

The Newsroom:  It ended a few weeks ago on a somewhat controversial note. This incredible series, incisive, politically foresighted, brilliantly acted and award-winning, suffered (in my opinion) an epic fail with their season finale. In any other show it would have been a great end. And Jane Fonda was extraordinarily funny. And gorgeous to boot. But for an Aaron Sorkin series, which had already raised the bar several times, the last show was... sad to say... meh.  However, I do miss Will McAvoy, Sloan, Mackensie and all the rest. Hope they come back!

The White Queen:  Only a couple of episodes left to slake my thirst for costumed intrigue, beheadings and gratuitous tit shots. (Sigh. Apparently boys will be boys, even when adapting a Phillippa Gregory novel.)  ln spite of the flaunting of the flesh - it is pay cable after all - this has still been a most entertaining glimpse into the Houses of York and Lancaster. Historical accuracy aside (which will doubtless be hotly debated), anything that makes viewers want to know more about that time is okay with me. The acting has been flawless, the costume/settings felt real and all things considered, it was a fun weekly journey back in time. All good, as far as I'm concerned.

Epic Fail:

And I am SOOO disappointed to have to say this;   ONCE UPON A TIME IN WONDERLAND

I think I'm spoiled by Snow, Charming, Regina, Henry and the rest of the Storybrooke characters from Once Upon a Time. (Love me some Rumpelstiltskin!!!)  I had high hopes for Alice - it's from the same folks. But somewhere along the line, it lost something. Whimsy? A sense of wonder? I don't know. Alice herself didn't "grab" me the way Emma did. The White Knight, in his shorn head/leather jacketed incarnation, looked like he'd just come from an audition for a role in a gritty British detective drama. The plot was choppy and hard to follow, since Jafar and the Genie made immediate appearances, the Red Queen looked like a second rate knockoff of Charlize Theron in her Chanel/wicked queen personas, and even the White Rabbit with John Lithgow's voice failed to entrance me.  I am so sorry about this. I might even try another episode to see if I was just having a bad night. But I am so afraid the messy storyline - and a couple of really low-grade special effects shots - have ruined this one for me.

Hurry Back:

Game of Thrones

I forgive you the Red Wedding. I want a large dose of small Tyrion Lannister. I want the evil doers to have evil done unto them and I want to watch while Danerys' dragons cook a couple of people in King's Landing.  I was completely immersed in this series, every person, every world, every nuanced utterance. My network has components named from Westeros. (I talk on Arya every day and back up my system to Casterly Rock.) So hurry back because I want to know if Winter is HERE, dammit.

True Blood (Gets an A++ for theme song. Oh yeah, don't we all wanna do Bad Things?)

Okay, I caved on this one and am in the middle of a gigantic True Blood fest. Just completed watching Season 2. Some series are probably better watched in lumps and I think this might be one of them, since I've very much enjoyed watching the growth of some of the characters and the introduction of various story elements. I do, however, endorse the sentiments that Sookie is a twit, Bill a bit of a clod and Eric looks good naked. This also redefines the notion that "It's not porn, it's HBO" is closer to the truth than you might think. Several scenes had me in a wide-eyed state of OMG.  However, it's well acted (mostly), excellently produced, I love Lafayette, and I'll eagerly await the next season, since I should have caught the rest of them before Bon Temps opens it's doors again.

So there it is. I missed your favorites, I'm sure. But I'm always happy to get feedback or comments, so feel free to leave some! This is just one writer's opinion - and no disrespect to any of the talented people who create television programs is intended. I love my tv and can't imagine life without it. So keep those shows coming, because in spite of all the armchair critics like me, there are still going to be gems of entertainment we'll always remember.  M.A.S.H. anyone?

(Or you could always read a book.. LOL)


Sahara Kelly