Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Better Late than Never

I know that I promised to post earlier, but life, sad to say, gets in way sometimes.. Here are some of my random thoughts on TV over the past week.

While I thought season 4 of Mad Men was generally superb, I thought the season finale was a disappointment. Usually, there is some optimism to rise among the pessimism, but I thought that Don's proposal to his secretary seemed a false note, and came almsot completely out of left field. Had he had the relationship with the doctor there, I'd have thought it would be more realistic, but it seems labored and a mistake in a show where the writers don't make that many. Rather it was the woman who stood tall. Peggy may have single-handedly saved SterlinG-Cooper (by 1970 she'll be the running the place, I tell you) Joan got promoted and revealed that she didn't get the abortion we thought she did, and Betty demonstrated what we've known for a long time--- she'll never be happy no matter who she's with or where she lives. It is January Jones who takes a character whose behavior in the long run would be loathsome and turns her into a human being--- I hope this year she gets the Emmy she's been owed the last two seasons.

In regards my earlier posts on Boardwalk Empire, I must recant a bit. The more episodes that I see of it, the better it gets. I'm still not sure who all the players are in this particular drama, and I'm not entirely convinced Buscemi will be a solid lead, but the surrounding cast, particularly Michael Pitt and Gretchen Mol (who's finally got a role worth of her talents) are giving fine performances. This show may come from Sopranos stock, but its Deadwood that it reminds me of, not just because of the somewhat archaic cursing. Boardwalk Empire demonstrates that there is a very fine line between law and crime, and these authorities keep pushing it back further.

However, the real most valuable player on TV today is Parenthood, a show that I had early misgivings about has become one of the best performed shows on TV today. After being so gravely disappointed by Brothers and SIsters, it's nice to know that there is the possibility of a functional family, with parents who love and support each other, who aren't always stepping on each others toes, and marriages that need work but have people willing to fix each other. I am also glad to see that some of the actors who didn't have as mcuh to do like Sam Jaeger, Mae Whitman, and Bonnie Bedeila are finally getting some screen time. It's a shame that, like almost everythign else on NBC, no one seems to want to watch it. Maybe the Golden Globes will show it some much needed love.

That's enough for now. Next time, my thoughts on some of the new crop of shows, including why I'm finally on Jim Belushi's side.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

What we talk about when we talk about sex

This week there's been a big fuss about the racy photo shoot of the cast of Glee in this months issue of GQ. I don't see what the sound and fury is about; every time there's a popular franchise with young women involved, there are often photo spreads like this. And hey these aren't the kids in Larry Clark films; these are young adults in their twenties. But apparently because Glee is considered by some circles as a 'family show', this leads the woman of The View to cluck at how these woman are acting.

First of all, have you been watching this show? Glee has made it clear almost since the first episode that sex is a big part of it. It's part of any teenagers life, and is part of what they think. That doesn't mean that children and teenagers shouldn't watch it with their parents; on the contrary, compared to some of the reality shows that emphasize it, this is the kind of show that encourages discussion about these kinds of issues in a mature and--- yeah, I'll say it--- adult manner. You know all those brainless tween and teen shows. This one has a brain.

As for the photo shoot--- grow up. Since the beginning of Hollywood, we've been told that sex sells. I've seen some of the things that get posted on the web; by comparison the photos in GQ look practically Victorian. Over and over this is the message that we keep sending Hollywood. We can't blame them for doing what we all know works.

Perhaps I am not unprejudiced about this because I love the show, but I really hope this kind of bias doesn't stop peoplr from watching Glee. This is an adult, mature reasonable show that discusses sex and hormones. Married couples don't sleep in twin beds any more, and Mayberry was a fantasy. Let's not pretend our sensibilities are more offended by this than what shows on Cinemax at 11.

Okay. I've vented. The next post will come in a shorter interval. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Lost Post Number 1

Hi, my name is David, and I'm a Lost-a-holic. I followed the show for five years.

How do I explain my feelings towards Lost as a series? I'll use another TV show metaphor. In the second season of The West Wing, Leo, the chief of staff, is trying to persuade the President to sign off on a missile defnse system, even though the latest test failed. He tries to persuade him by saying, "We succeeded on 9 out of 10 parameters," he tells him. "What was the tenth?" asks the President, with a sense of mischief. "We missed the target."

That is very close to how I feel about Lost, only in this series case, it was worse. This was a show that succeeded 95% of the time. In the final analysis, so many of the questions that it asked were answered in the shows final season. And the avoided the mistakes that The X-Files made during it's final seasons that I kept defending it to, well, non-fans, that I really thought the show would tie everything together at the end. And then 'The End' came... and it just didn't. I intend to watch the series again, and see if I missed anything, particularly in Season 6, but right now, my feeling is still, one of being cheated.

Now I fear for Lost's legacy. Though critics still consider it one of the greatest series ever created, I have already seen articles written online, advising shows like The Event how to avoid turning into Lost. I feel that the show may be consigned to the ashbin of the internet, as yet another mythology series that crashed and burned, like the X-Files. Worse, actually--- at least the X-Files has a possibility as a film franchise. No such luck for Lost.

The serialized drama is a risky thing. Throughout the shows runs, there were at least two dozen shows that tried to jump on Lost's particular bandwagon. Invasion, Flashforward, Life on Mars (American version), Dollhouse ... all of them interesting shows that never got quite the chance that Lost did, and I got suckered in on most of them, hoping for the next big thing. Hasn't come yet.

Few shows have inspired more joy in me, or appeal to the better angels of my nature. I loved Buffy and Battlestar Galactica but I've never felt the urge to buy a bunch of their action figures or bobbleheads. (Speaking of which, Nik, have you ever been inspired by any series in such a way, I've always been a little curious about this as well.) I was genuinely sad when the series was over, not just because I felt slightly cheated, but also because I was pretty damn sure I'd never see another series like this again. Fringe is a criminally underrated series, and it does have the same cult following, but Walter Bishop is still not John Locke.(Though maybe now the Emmy judges will think so) I've followed a lot of series that might have had that kind of pull, but they all got abruptly cancelled. Each year, I kept watching series, hoping I'd find the next Lost. Each year, I came back to the original. I don't have that option any more.

Basically, this group--- the group of fans who have gathered at this site--- is Lost's legacy. This is a series that deserves to be remembered, not because it's grasp exceeded its reach, but because it did so many things right so much of the time. Lost may not have been a complete success, at least not the way we wanted it to be, but it was not a failure.