Thursday, October 29, 2009

This Fall’s Lineup

So, I know it’s been awhile, but it’s getting to be time for me to put my thoughts down on the shows that have been on for the past two months (wow, that’s a lot of procrastinating). Anyways, I’m just going to go by day of the week, starting with Monday. Not just because that’s the start of the work week, but also because there’s nothing on on Sundays, since I don’t watch The Simpsons or anything by Seth MacFarlane (okay, I watch them, but I don’t watch them, watch them).

So, Mondays. Here we go.

Fox was kind enough to front load the week with House and Lie to Me. With House, I don’t know, it’s not doing that much for me this season. I mean, I like having the old team back together, but it mainly serves to remind me why they felt the pressure to get a new team in the first place. Cameron is boring now and she’s been boring for a long time. Maybe she should have gotten AIDS. Maybe that’s a terrible thing for me to say. Hmm, on second thought, definitely that’s a terrible thing for me to say. Obviously, Hugh Laurie remains ridiculously awesome. And I enjoyed the two hour premiere in the mental hospital. I thought it was an interesting look at House as someone who is being forced to recognize that he really is broken. Realizing that he’s actually not God, just like everyone’s been trying to tell him for the last however many seasons. The problem, though, is that we all still want him to actually be God, which kind of throws everything through a loop. Really, though, there just hasn’t been that much excitement. And, no, Chase killing James Earl Jones does not count as exciting. Admittedly, the presence of James Earl Jones does count as exciting, but that doesn’t count.

Lie to Me is pretty much the same as ever. Tim Roth is awesome (I love the way Lightman walks, he looks like such a misanthropic freak). His daughter continues to annoy me. So, no complaints, but it’s hardly breaking any ground.

Let’s see, I do watch two of the four comedies that CBS puts out. That would be How I Met Your Mother and Big Bang Theory. The former has been stuck in a rut for awhile, but Dr. Horrible makes everything at least awesome. I think my favorite thing about it remains the way they continue to play with the idea of telling stories. In a weird way, this is the only sitcom where I think it’s okay for the characters to constantly have witty lines and comebacks, because that’s the way they remember it (which means it’s not necessarily the way it actually happened, just to be clear). I like how whenever two different people tell the same story, everything is slightly different. I think it’s cool. In a weird way, I hope that the final episode of the show is something like How I Met Your Father and we get to hear things from that perspective as well.

Then there’s Big Bang Theory. I cannot understand why this show has some of the best ratings of the season. I mean, the highest praise I can give it is something along the lines of: it doesn’t totally suck. It’s watchable. For the most part, at least. Seriously, that’s the nicest thing I can say about it. It’s definitely better than Two and a Half Men, but that’s what is commonly called a “back-handed compliment”. That show is terrible (and it has like the 3rd highest ratings of the season, so maybe it’s not surprising that Big Bang Theory is doing so well).

Anyways, why do I watch it? Because it’s kind of an interesting perspective on how cool Hollywood-types think nerds are. It’s interesting because they typically get the activities right (with the exception of Klingon Boggle, that’s above and beyond), but they don’t know how nerds participate in those activities. They get excited about the wrong parts of the things they do. Here’s an example: in one show they’re playing Rock Band and all trying to look totally into it and pretending they’re rock stars. But, that’s not how these nerds would actually play Rock Band. They would be standing there, essentially motionless, and getting near perfect scores, totally focused. When the song ended, they would all give a bunch of crap to the one guy who got a 98%. Okay, one more example, in another episode, they’re playing some CCG and they get excited when they win (which intuitively makes sense), but again, that’s not what would really get them excited. They’d be totally into the crazy, non-intuitive strategy they’d come up with that allowed them to win. In the show, the nerdiest character is always counting cards and knows what’s in his opponents hand, but the way he would actually win would be by using two or three cards together in a way that the rules barely allow and completely destroying his opponent in a way that no one else present even fully understands. That’s how nerds play those games.

Alright, that was another digression. Anyways, that’s the main reason I watch it. I guess I have to give it credit that the only two jokes it knows are occasionally funny. The first joke is that the most ridiculously socially inept one is ridiculously socially inept and at least two of them think the fact that they’re not quite as incapable of interacting with people as him makes them cooler than him, but any normal people they interact with can’t actually tell the difference. The second joke is, um, that Penny’s hot, maybe, okay, fine there is no second joke. Everything even remotely funny is contained in that first one.

And lastly, ABC has Castle. Or, more accurately, 43 minutes of Nathan Fillion filled goodness. Aside from the previous episode in which he dressed up as one Malcolm Reynolds, the season hasn’t been quite as much fun as last season. He doesn’t get to be cutely annoying as often. But he’s still hilarious, of course. That can never change. Nor would we want it to. So, I still love it. Also, his daughter doesn’t annoy me, and it’s not just because she’s a really cute redhead (dammit, just looked up her age, scratch that), it’s because she doesn’t get in the way of Nathan Fillion being awesome, as opposed to the daughter in Lie to Me, who is constantly interfering with Tim Roth being awesome.

Alright, Tuesdays.

Oh, yeah, Tuesdays are totally empty until V next week. I really hope that it’s both a) watchable and b) watched, so that there will be something to actually watch on Tuesdays. My main concern is that they clearly spent a lot of time and effort making sure that Morena Baccarin is not ridiculously hot. Okay, fine, all they did was cut her hair, but seriously, who made that decision? Is he or she still working? If so, why? Really a terrible call. But, they kind of made up for it by bringing in Joel Gretsch, because he’s cool. On a random, pointless digression, he was in that random sci-fi action bomb Push. When I finally got around to seeing it on Blu-ray, I actually kind of liked it, to my surprise. I mean, it was clearly pretty bad, but it had some real positives. For example, Dakota Fanning was not relentlessly annoying. See: real positive, right there. In all seriousness, I liked the world and the rules it was creating, even though it kept getting tripped up by it’s own stupidity. And I must admit that I was surprised that Dakota Fanning never got around to telling Chris Evans that she’s his sister (okay, I don’t actually know that, but come on, she has to be, and no I didn’t spoil anything). Sorry about that, back to TV.

Ye olde Wednesday. I admit I sorta gave Modern Family a change. I think I lasted for almost a full minute before stopping it. So, yeah, sorry, I hear it’s funny. Otherwise, it’s just Glee, which has a tough time walking the thin line between making fun of its cliches and just being one of those cliches. In fact, I’m not even sure they’re batting .500 on that one, to be honest. Wow, that was a strange set of mixed metaphors right there, my apologies. Of course I still watch it, for the times when they get it right (like this one ballad where, out of nowhere, there’s all these sparkly-things floating behind the girl, just to make it that much more dramatic). For the most part, though, I think this show peaked at its pilot. Which is too bad.

Okay, Thursdays.

So, Fringe, yeah. Ratings kinda dropped when they moved it out of Tuesday. Maybe that’s because it didn’t have any competition on Tuesday. But, my thoughts. I’m sorry to see Agent Francis die. And not just because of his last name, which is clearly ridiculously awesome. I think his character brought a lot to the team as the “real” FBI agent that they coordinate with. I’m guessing that maybe they’re planning to use the random hot FBI agent from the first episode of the season to do his old job, but they haven’t gotten around to actually making that transition yet (otherwise, I have no idea why they introduced her for two episodes and then totally forgot about her, except maybe because they realized they didn’t need another hot FBI agent what with Olivia and Astrid already meeting the required two hot regular female special agents per show). Otherwise, I don’t know how strongly I feel about this show. It’s still fun though. And I’ve enjoyed the multiple, clearly-stated references to the X-Files. I think it’s interesting that they view themselves as taking place in the same universe. I wonder if they’ll do anything with that (I vote for a Skinner cameo, personally). Also, I think it’s extra interesting that during Fringe, the Fox/Fringe logos around the commercial breaks have the black goo in them. I can’t help but wonder, most likely idly, whether that has any significance.

Let’s see, beyond Fringe, there’s Community and FlashForward. Let’s start with Community. This show is awesome. Very hilarious. And I don’t even get most of the 80s teen comedy references (I should really watch The Breakfast Club sometime). I really appreciate just the basic idea of this sitcom. It’s a great eclectic group of people that become friends and support each other in community college. All while telling jokes at a ridiculously fast pace. This is the funniest show on television right now (sorry, The Office can’t win because I cannot handle those episodes when half of it is Michael making an ass of himself, which is, like every episode).

Alright, FlashForward. I guess I like it. It’s better than I thought it would be. I mean, I’m watching it, so that’s something. Admittedly, I keep falling behind, but I’m not lost yet. So, yeah, it’ll be interesting to see how many people’s visions come true on whenever that is. I’m not sure if I’ll keep watching after that point. Of course, that’s like April or something, so I guess they’ve got me for more than a little while. Whatever, moving on, I guess (wow, I didn’t realize how apathetic I was about this show until I tried to write about it).

And, last but not least, Friday.

Let’s see, Friday’s actually been pretty busy, what with: Dollhouse, Psych, White Collar, Sanctuary, Eureka, and Stargate Universe. Yes, I actually watch some cable TV shows as well. I think I’ll skip over Psych and Eureka since they both started long before the fall and finished up in September/early October. Oh, wait, I have to say that Psych needs to come up with more excuses to have Rachel Leigh Cook show up because she is way too hot to only show up occasionally as Shawn’s girlfriend. I have no strong feelings for Eureka, or Warehouse 13 for that matter (except that I think it’s awesome to see Mindy Crenshaw from Nickelodeon’s Drake and Josh still working...and getting hotter and, um, older). And, I think I’ll skip White Collar too, since there’s only been one episode and all I can say for sure is that I think I’ll keep watching it, but I don’t think it’s anything special. And it’s hard to like it too much since it’s starring Bryce Larkin and he was mean to Chuck.

Alright, that narrows it down to just Dollhouse, Sanctuary and Stargate Universe. I think I can do Sanctuary pretty quick: what are they thinking? I have not appreciated a single decision they’ve made so far this season, except, maybe, and I really mean maybe, killing the chick who could turn invisible. I didn’t like her as a love interest for the main guy (since he should be pining unsuccessfully for the hot blonde), but that didn’t mean I wanted her dead. Jeez, what’s with you people? Plus, it’s looking like we’re going to have multiple episodes without the hot blonde because we think she’s dead right now. That’s annoying, because the hot blonde is, um, hot. Also, the random chick they came up with to substitute for her is more than slightly annoying. So, yeah, I’m not happy right now. They really need to undo a lot of the stupid decisions they’ve made.

Hmm, that wasn’t quite as quick as I was expecting it to be. Well, on to Stargate Universe. This is the first Stargate show I’ve watched. I thought the movie was terrible when it came out 15 years ago. That means I was sufficiently young to only barely even be able to recognize when a movie is terrible. But I could still tell. But, well, I thought I’d give this one a chance. They pretty much promised that it wouldn’t really be about Stargates and stuff like that and, so far, that has proven true. Per normal for SyFy (sigh) space shows (*cough* BSG *cough*), I don’t actually like anyone in the show. Anyone. But, I’m still watching it for some reason. Because I like the ship. And they treat it respectfully and so I’ll continue to watch it for the sake of learning about this ship and its history and mission. If I have to tolerate a bunch of annoying, bickering and oftentimes downright stupid people, then so be it.

And we’ll finish this up with Dollhouse. It’s been an interesting season for Dollhouse. Too bad it’s almost certainly the last. Epitaph One was one of the weirdest decisions I’ve ever seen. I mean, it’s really set sometime in, like, season 3 or 4, but Joss was apparently worried he’d never get that far and the ideas were so cool he just had to make it now. At least, that’s the story I’m telling. And it’s certainly interesting. The idea that you can remotely wipe someone and steal their body is downright cool and scary. The idea that someone decided to make Stephen King’s Cell a reality is, well, odd, but we know he just misses the Reavers.

But, because we’ve seen Epitaph One, everything in season two becomes about how we get there. So, things like Topher working on remote wiping as a way to deal with instances when dolls go out of control becomes much more sinister than it necessarily should be. Speaking of Topher, I would just like to give him a gold star as most improved character of the season. Last season, he was just some dude who wished he was Alan Tudyk (and then Alan Tudyk came along and showed us all that no one can be Alan Tudyk except Alan Tudyk). But, now, he’s my favorite character. I loved the episode when Dr. Saunders was torturing him and asking him why he made her hate him. I loved that his response was that he didn’t. He gave her the ability to decide for herself and she chose to hate him. His greatest creation was a fully functioning, independent-thinking being. And she hated him to her core.

Oh, I also like the notes that Echo is keeping inside her sleeping chamber. In summary, Dollhouse has gotten a lot better than it was at the start. Too bad it’s all finishing up. Also, I have to admit that I’m not that excited about Summer Glau showing up (not because I’m not excited to see River again, though). I’m just worried because I don’t really want to watch her be evil. Or if she is going to be evil, I want her to be really hot while being evil. So, I’ll reserve judgement until I find out just how hot she turns out. On a side note, she was very hot in her cameo in The Big Bang Theory. Not that that’s a surprise or anything.

Okay, I’m caught up. And I can look forward to more Chuck (for better or worse, I thought the end of season two provided very nice closure for the show, but apparently other people desperately wanted more). And, more importantly, I can continue patiently waiting for Day One. I know, it’s gone from an exciting post-apocalypse show, to a 13-episode event run, to a four episode mini-series with the possibility of getting picked up for the following season. But, I still have hope, okay. Give me a break alright. Yeah, I don’t have that much hope. Maybe a little more hope than I had for Virtuality. A little.

Well, that is all.


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