Friday, June 17, 2011

The TV Season in Review

I didn't do much of the catch-up stuff I was planning to do on my day off between projects, mostly because I got caught up in watching the Mavericks victory parade on TV (during commercial breaks in a CSI marathon -- Spike does very, very long, frequent commercial breaks). It was too big a crowd for my comfort level to even think about going in person, and I figure that I haven't been to a game since they played in Reunion Arena, so I would have been just jumping on the bandwagon (though I did drink my iced tea from an old Jason Kidd stadium cup from his first stint on the team). And then I made a Target run, ate some watermelon and washed dishes while listening to the CD of the big choral work my choir will be doing in the fall. I ended up staying up fairly late singing through some music while picking out the voice part on my keyboard (I need to learn to play the piano for real one of these days). Today I really must get some other stuff done, and I think I'm getting close to the wire for deciding whether or not to go to Worldcon.

I guess the regular TV season has come to an end, though the lines are getting blurry these days with some networks having actual summer seasons, but it's as good a time as any for a recap/review of the primary season. It was a lackluster year for new series for me. The only one I really liked was Chaos, which was promptly killed. I watched the new Hawaii 5-0, but I can't say I like it all that much. It's one of those things I'll eventually get around to watching OnDemand but wouldn't feel any sense of loss if I missed it entirely. I did start watching the original CSI very late in the game, mostly because my dad asked me if that was Starbuck as one of the detectives, so I watched an episode OnDemand to see what he was talking about. That one has mostly been added to my list of things I'll watch OnDemand when nothing else is on, and then the reruns on Spike are serving as my "thing to have on for background noise when I'm doing other stuff" viewing. It works well to watch while jogging on the mini trampoline because about 60 percent of the show is people doing lab work while music plays, so I don't have to worry about missing dialogue. I just slow to a walk during the rare times when they're actually talking.

I stopped watching NCIS Los Angeles, thanks to the cast changes and some truly bizarre writing. It went from an OnDemand show to one I never got around to watching OnDemand. I think the last one I saw, I turned it off mid-way through because I just couldn't take it anymore. I also gave up on House when they completely broke my suspension of disbelief by hiring a third-year medical student for a postdoctoral fellowship. I caught a few episodes late in the season when I discovered that they were running them a week later on USA, and I saw the finale, which may have created a new replacement for the "jump the shark" designation. I may watch the season premiere just to see how they write themselves out of it, but I don't think I can enjoy the character of House anymore.

Other shows seemed to have fairly lackluster seasons. There were a few moments of brilliance on Chuck, but they were weighted down by way too much emphasis on angsting over the relationship and the wedding planning. I'm all for nice-guy, best-friend type heroes, but geeze, Chuck, stop the whining and embrace your inner badass. I'm still not sure I get what was going on with the story arc on NCIS, but that's one of my "turn off your brain" shows. Supernatural became a chore to watch, and I don't know if I'll bother with it next season. The season finale cliffhanger was verging on blasphemy, and while I don't expect fiction to align with my religious beliefs, this made me very uncomfortable, and there's no point in watching something that's unpleasant. I'm a little worried about White Collar, since they're shoehorning in a totally unnecessary and (to me) unlikeable love interest, but it's too early in the summer season to judge.

I actually thought The Office turned things around in a big way near the end of the season with the build-up to Michael's departure and the aftermath. This season of Parks and Recreation totally won me over, to the point I bought the DVDs for last season and have been marathoning episodes.

I seem to be at an all-time low for the number of science fiction/fantasy type shows I watch, but that will change in the summer because I like the Sci Fi Channel's summer line-up. Then there's Doctor Who, but we only got half a season, which makes it hard to judge, but they really do seem to be on my wavelength these days for coming up with characters and story elements that seem tailor-made for me. I may be falling a little in love with Rory, and I don't even feel like too much of a dirty old woman, since he is about 2,000 years old and has a daughter older than I am, even if he's also just in his 20s (it's a timey-wimey thing). That's such a wonderful example of how a "best friend" character type can still become a total badass and how strength can come from caring and sensitivity. Chuck, take notes. This young nurse's love for his wife is so powerful that he will do absolutely anything to protect her, whether it's spending 2,000 years guarding her or taking on a galaxy full of villains to find her (and without whining about it). And his wife is no wimp -- she's a giant of a girl who'll pick up a sword and go at a ship full of pirates to try to rescue her husband, so that's proof that you don't have to weaken a woman to make a man stronger. Rory's the kind of character I tend to write, and it's lovely to have someone else doing it for me.

Coming up next month, we get the return of Warehouse 13 and Haven, both of which I'm excited about.

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