Friday, December 18, 2009

Mid-Season TV Report Card

I successfully escaped the clutches of the evil flannel sheets this morning, but I may have to use earplugs or turn on a radio to drown out their seductive siren song calling me back to the warm bed. And it's not even that cold today.

I'm currently trying to psych myself up to go out and buy one more Christmas gift. The store is more or less within walking distance, but it would probably take me about half an hour to walk there, while it's a five-minute drive. So why does it seem like walking would be less hassle? Though walking wouldn't exactly be good for my long-term health and well-being, as it's an area not designed for pedestrian traffic. I don't know what it is about getting in the car that makes it seem like a much larger errand, even though it's quicker.

In other news, we've come to the mid-season television lull, so I suppose it's time for a report card. I guess I've become Grinchy about TV, as I'm less willing to give new shows a chance. My favorite new show of the season, by far, was White Collar on USA. It's fun, stylish and clever, and it has a slightly retro feel to it, like the theme music should have been written by Henry Mancini. I love shows about smart people. I'm a little irked that they're moving it to Tuesday nights, since that's ballet night and I'll never get to watch it "live," but this is USA, which repeats things often, and I get USA shows OnDemand. I'll probably be able to watch the late-night repeat after ballet class. And it does free up Friday nights, so maybe I can either pretend to have a social life or go back to doing Friday-night writing marathons.

Speaking of freeing up Friday nights, my least-favorite new show has to be Stargate: Universe, which I've dubbed As the Stargate Turns. How they can make a show about being stranded in another galaxy on a mysterious alien spaceship boring is beyond me, but it helps that apparently all the action and decision-making take place off-stage, while the parts they show us are the kinds of scenes I call "doing laundry" and delete from my books. I could write epic essays about what's wrong with this show. They could improve this show tremendously by getting rid of those consciousness-swapping communication stones. I won't even get into the science fiction issues associated with that, where they've invented these cool devices that they use as a plot crutch without, apparently, thinking through the social and emotional implications (like, maybe I'm shallow, but I do think the body counts in a relationship, and I'm not going to just jump in bed with an entirely unfamiliar body, even if it contains the consciousness of someone I love. Not to mention the ick factor of using another person's body that way). But the real problem with these stones for me is the fact that they mean that this show with the word "universe" in the title, that involves an interstellar spaceship with both a shuttle and a stargate, seems to take place mostly on earth, and with mundane activities on earth. If I wanted to watch people going clubbing or having angsty meetings with their significant others, I'd watch all those dramas on the CW. When I watch science fiction that's supposedly about space travel, I'd like to spend more time on alien worlds or really dealing with the fact that we're in space. I'd even take the Ye Olde Ren Faire worlds that became eye-rollingly silly on the previous Stargate shows. Oddly, Paul Cornell thinks this show is brilliant. Perhaps the UK gets a different version, but I sense a future convention debate in the making, which could be a lot of fun. See me flinging my dainty, ladylike glove at Paul's feet as I make my challenge.

Though that was my least favorite show, I still watched it, mostly because the snark was so much fun (though with the mid-season finale, it may have tipped over into just plain irritating). I just sort of tapered off with FlashForward. I didn't hate it and I didn't think it was bad, but mostly I just didn't care. I'm usually pretty much brain dead on Thursday nights (I never could get the hang of Thursdays), and it required way too much concentration to focus on that show. So I started taping it to watch when I had brain power. And then the next Thursday would have rolled around and I still hadn't watched the previous episode. I took that as a sign that I just wasn't that into it, in spite of the fact that I previously would have said I'd watch Joseph Fiennes and His Amazing Eyelashes read the phone book.

Glee was an appropriate post-choir practice show, so I don't know what I'll do in the spring when they move it to Tuesdays -- probably tape it and still watch after choir on Wednesdays. I didn't love it as much as I wanted to, but it still has its moments of brilliance. The weird thing is, some of the better elements of the show are the parts that make no sense whatsoever. For instance, the evil cheerleading coach is one of the best characters and offers the most laughs, but I really don't understand why she even cares enough to be the villain here. If it's about not wanting any group in the school to get any funding that could go to her cheerleaders, is she engaging in simultaneous vendettas we don't see against every other school organization? And what funding is this club getting, considering it's been a plot point that they have to come up with their own funding for everything? You'd think this little group would be beneath the notice of the rest of the school. What I have been impressed with is the way this show makes me truly sympathize with characters I want to hate and character types that usually bug me. Plus, the music is fun. The earlier post-pilot episodes seemed to focus on recent pop music I didn't know or care about, but they seem to have swung back to classic show tunes and 70s-80s oldies I know, and because I am old, I'm much happier with that.

V was okay, I guess, though it could easily slip into FlashForward territory for me. I like the resistance movement subplot with the FBI agent and the hot priest, but the rest of it, especially the rebellious teen and the junior alien scouts plot, bores me. And I'm very disappointed that there has been no rat eating in the episodes so far. The iconic moment of the original series was when the alien chick sucked down a rodent, and I think that's the element the new version is sadly lacking.

I almost completely forgot about NCIS: LA as a new series, until there was an article in the newspaper about it yesterday, and that sums it up. I don't hate it, but I don't love it. It's just there. It's something I catch OnDemand when I get a chance, but if I missed it entirely, I wouldn't feel like I was missing anything. I do like the buddy-cop vibe, and Linda Hunt is brilliant, but the situation and set-up make no sense whatsoever (like why LA? There's no Navy base in LA. Why not San Diego, which is crawling with Navy?).

And now I have to start psyching myself up not only to brave the stores for Christmas shopping, but also for my solo in choir Sunday morning. I'm going to be very sick of the first verse of "Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence" by Sunday.


The Novelist said...

Hi Shanna! I just read Enchanted Inc. and I wanted to let you know that I had a lot of fun reading it! I am looking forward to the sequels! (My library is very small and they are putting in an order to borrow them from a bigger library) I will let you know what I think about them.

The Novelist said...

Ditto on the t.v. shows by the way! My husband tries to memorize the lines that Sue says so he can use them sometime. We sometimes rewind her so many times it is pathetic! But I have long wondered why the funding was the issue at hand when like you said, they were supposed to fund themselves. Oh, and we recently watched Dan In Real Life again and started laughing so hard when we realized that the cop that continues to pull Dan over in the movie is Mr. Schuester!