Friday, October 08, 2010

It's Not Me, It's Them

I seem to be getting gradually better. I slept until 5 a.m. before waking up coughing, and it was more of a tickle in the throat setting off the coughing reflex than the trying to expel my lungs kind of cough like I'd been having. I think when I go out for errands this afternoon, I'll pick up some cough drops to use to settle that tickle because coughing only seems to make it worse, setting off even more coughing. Even so, when I have a booksigning/meet and greet at the Balch Springs Library tomorrow (11-1), any chatting I do may have to be done in charades because I start coughing if I try to talk too much.

I was starting to worry about myself this week when I finally gave up on several TV series. After all, it's a danger sign of depression if you no longer enjoy things that used to give you pleasure. But I suspect it's not me, it's them.

For starters, I've given the new Hawaii Five-O a shot, and decided that they forgot to create characters. The actors are good, and I've liked them in other things, but the writers have to do their part, too. Danny is the only one with a personality, and I get the feeling that's mostly the actor going well beyond the script. I just can't bring myself to care otherwise. That one may fall into the "OnDemand for background noise while I'm doing the Sunday crosswords" category, unless I'm finishing up med school stuff on Monday nights. I may turn it into a game and try to finish the med school stuff before 9, then make a point of devoting that hour to writing and see what adding an hour to my writing week does to my productivity.

Then I think NCIS: Los Angeles will fall into that same "OnDemand if I need background noise for the Sunday crosswords" category. I had been taping it while I was at ballet and then watching that and the original NCIS when I got home, but now I may just watch the one show and then go to bed or read. Not only did they write out the character I most related to and add a new guy who grates on my nerves, but now they seem to have added yet another highly irritating character, and the new characters are now making the characters I used to like irritating. It has reached the point where the irritating things outnumber the enjoyable things, and I don't want to waste my time on things that irritate me. I'm still not sure what the people at that show were thinking in making so many changes so soon to a show that was so successful. It's like they were trying for the fastest shark jump ever. I've never seen a show go from fun to unwatchable so quickly and so soon in the series run. Even House had been on three seasons before they shook up the cast.

And I think I'm giving up on Glee. I taped it to watch after choir on Wednesdays, but when I got home from choir early this week, I found myself watching Mythbusters instead, and then I was going to watch Glee but decided to rewatch an older episode of Haven OnDemand, and then I felt this huge sense of relief when I gave myself permission not to watch Glee. The thing is, I don't really like any of the characters. They all seem to be selfish almost to the point of being sociopaths. The one character who truly seems to be good at heart is portrayed as being dumber than a sack of rocks and then is often sacrificed on the altar of political correctness for the few moments when he's not being saintly. I'm not even crazy about a lot of the music they've been doing lately. I guess in November when they start showing Human Target on Wednesdays, I can tape that and watch it when I get home from choir.

I'm giving Supernatural one more week to see how it goes now that they've settled back into a "normal" mode, but so far, I've realized I don't even like the main characters anymore. I liked the early seasons with the "Luke Skywalker and Han Solo travel the country fighting demons and monsters" feel to it, but those characters are pretty much gone. It does make sense that the things they've been through would change them, but that doesn't mean I have to like the changes. I also wasn't fond of the apocalypse plot from last year. It was the same thing that bothered me about the fourth season of Angel -- a lot of the fun of this kind of show is the pretense that all this stuff is really going on in our world, and it explains a lot of the weirdness of our world, but when they go so big that everyone has to notice things (like towns being wiped off the map), it removes the pretense that this is what's going on secretly in the real world and makes it quite clearly an alternate version of our world.

On things I like, I rather enjoyed the pilot episode of Law and Order: UK (otherwise known as "Lee Adama and Martha Jones fight crime in London"). I wasn't a huge fan of the original US series because I've had enough bad jury duty experiences that I can't handle the courtroom stuff and all the legal wrangling. As I've said, lawyers are real and they're scary. It seems to help when you move it to another country with a different legal system and make the lawyers wear silly wigs (I am totally in favor of lawyers having to wear silly wigs in the courtroom). I was a little surprised at how difficult it was to get used to Jamie Bamber with a British accent again, until I realized that he was doing a different British accent than he used in all the costume dramas and that is his normal speaking voice. I guess they didn't want a cop who sounded like a Cambridge graduate. Anyway, I already love the relationship between the two detectives (almost as good as Lewis and Hathaway on PBS), and it's fun playing "Hey, it's that Doctor Who guest star!" with the guest cast and trying to recognize people without the alien makeup and costumes.

The best TV news this week was the renewal of Haven for a second season. I may get withdrawal after tonight's season finale, and we have to wait until next summer for new episodes. Too bad they aren't doing a Christmas episode like with the other summer Sci Fi shows because I'd love to see what A Very Haven Christmas would look like. Holiday store displays coming to life and rampaging through town because of a kid who was traumatized by his experience visiting Santa? But since they shoot in Nova Scotia and mostly outdoors, I can see where they would have a limited filming window. This show is turning out to be like a Stealth Lost. At first it looked like just a monster-of-the-week paranormal procedural with just enough of a mythology to create a series premise and some fun character stuff on the side, but then each time they reveal a clue about the mythology, it makes you look at the character stuff in a new way, and some of the fun side stuff might actually be a major clue to the mythology. They also have my favorite cop partnership on TV and one of the few relationships I wouldn't mind turning romantic if they keep writing it this well. Every time you think they're heading straight for a TV cliche, they neatly sidestep it and do something unexpected. They've also found an interesting way to ramp up the sexual tension without resorting to conflict or bickering between the characters.

So, see, it's not just me or even me being sick and crabby. Give me something good involving characters I like and I can enjoy it.

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