Monday, April 5, 2010

TV Update

Okay, obviously, I’ve been really, really lax about updating this recently, and, to be totally honest, that’s probably not changing anytime soon. But, this is me not caring. Also, this is me then insincerely apologizing immediately after stating that I don’t care. Sorry. About both those things, I swear.

Anyways, what motivated me to actually write a post again? Um, it was a variety of reasons, but really only one good one. It’s called Justified. I’ll get to it in a little while, but I think I should cover some of the other TV thoughts first.

Let’s see. Chuck. I have to admit, I’m falling behind. Five weeks behind at this point. Yeah, I know, it’s too bad. It’s just that, really, season three wasn’t necessary at the end of season two and it’s no more necessary now. I wish it were, but it’s not. Season two was the absolutely correct way to end Chuck’s character arc and so they’ve had to start a new one. But this new one is dark and sad and frustrating, instead of cute and silly. I haven’t given up yet, but I don’t have much hope.

It’s sad to me to be watching Chuck learn to be a real spy who has to sacrifice people for the greater good. Who has to learn not to develop the relationships with others that he is naturally drawn towards. It makes his character depressing as he has to face the fact that he doesn’t like the person he’s being forced to become. That maybe Bryce Larkin was protecting him all along, all those years ago when he prevented Chuck from getting recruited. I guess, I just didn’t want to watch that and now that I am watching it, I’m struggling to force myself to continue watching it.

Also, bringing in two people related to Superman is just kind of random. Although, I mean, I’ll take whatever excuse they can come up with to bring Kristin Kreuk into the show for a couple episodes (and the episode that they introduced her with was one of the best throwbacks to old school Chuck in a long while). Yeah, I wish I had more to say about Chuck. I’m not sure I’ll watch a season four even if there is one.

Let’s see. House. Why am I still watching this show? No, I mean it. I understand why they keep making new ones, but the show is done. But I can’t seem to pull myself away from him. The evil games he plays on those around him are just too much fun to resist. But they shouldn’t be. I have to be strong and just stop watching because I don’t care anymore. Nobody matters and the medical mysteries aren’t even kind of fun. And yet, I continue watching all the same.

Well, at least Castle is still making Mondays into fun days. Season two has really managed to pick up and it’s been a lot of fun. Nothing in particular changed; it’s just Nathan Fillion doing his thing and, well, sometimes they get it even more right than usual. And I appreciate that. The two episode arc with the villain obsessed with Nikki Heat was just okay (it really felt like a James Patterson story, it kind of makes me wonder if he was doing some of the writing for that one, now that I think about it). But, it finished with an awesome Firefly throwback line so everything even remotely just okay about it was immediately forgiven.

Let’s see. V is starting back up and is already making a very strong effort to convince me to give up on it. It’s hard to say no when they’re really trying to convince me that the show is totally inept and all my hopes that it will one day get interesting are perfectly in vain. Morena Baccarin has already informed us that the fleet we saw at the end of the first four episodes is, in fact, hostile. Which is too bad, I preferred them as a foreboding, mysterious image.

I’m also really weirded out by her and the hot blonde V’s plans for the boy. I think they’re trying to brain wash him. Again, it’s kind of weird and it didn’t seem like they were going to have all that much trouble getting him to sleep with her. He might not enjoy it quite as much once she eats him, though. By the way, I did like the image of her pulling out her real teeth and eating her mate at the end of the last episode. It’s always nice to see some properly alien stuff going on up there.

Otherwise, yeah, there’s not much going for this show.

Oh, but next is Human Target. I’ve definitely been having fun with this show. For one, Rorschach’s (sorry, I could call him by his name but I prefer his Watchmen character, but once he plays Freddy Krueger, I guess I’ll have to just refer to him as Jackie Earle Haley since he’ll have too many iconic characters at that point) new character is totally awesome. I love how he seems so harmless and then he gives this look and you realize he means business. He’s by far my favorite part of the team. In particular, I just like how he’s not really a good guy (just your typical bad guy who does good things). I mean, as comparison, Christopher Chance is really just your average former bad guy doing good things. Current bad guy is way more awesome.

Anyways, this show is a lot of fun. I have to admit that it’s a little awkward how they’re having to try to deal with the fact that all the main characters are male by getting hot female guest stars almost every week (we’ve seen two BSG babes as well as Moon Bloodgood, along with many different women that I don’t already know). It seems like they’re trying to start expanding the team by adding the extra tech cutie (she has a name but they primarily call her new girl, so I haven’t learned it yet) as well as the FBI agent that Christopher has a crush on. On the other hand, they’ve also pulled in a fair number of pretty cool male guest stars too (including both Skinner and the Smoking Man from the X-Files, so that was pretty cool, plus the awesome agent dude from Jericho, who is probably actually going to be a recurring character). So, I guess they might be just trying to deal with the fact that it’s a small main cast.

On a related note, both Mark Valley and Chi McBride are a lot of fun as the other two main characters, so really the whole cast is solid. Which is nice.

Next up is Fringe, which is only just restarting. I have to say that I’m always against flashback episodes and so my reaction to the most recent one is no different. It’s a waste of time. I didn’t learn anything new (except how Nina lost her arm, which does not count as new because I already knew she had lost her arm and I didn’t care how). I guess it was kind of interesting to hear how Bishop and Bell had a falling out (and here I was assuming that Leonard Nimoy just didn’t want to have to put on a bunch of make up to look young for some stupid flashback episode).

Also, I just want to say that I’m 100% against whatever thing the show seems to want to have going on between Olivia and Peter. It’s a mistake and here’s hoping to it not actually happening and the writers are just threatening us poor innocent viewers with it. I think it would screw up most of the dynamics in the show and wouldn’t add anything to either character. That’s my two cents, at least.

Lastly, before Justified, Stargate Universe is starting back up. And, well, the first thing they do is break their promise about not being lame and bring pointless aliens into my otherwise perfectly decent sci fi show. Darn. It was so much more interesting when people weren’t diverting power from the shields to the weapons and when the only dangers were those inherent to living on a ship that wasn’t really intended for passengers. Or the dangers of living with people who are really stupid and make bad decisions all the time. That too.

So, we’ll just have to see on this one. It’s looking grim, but I have hope that they’ll get back to the regularly scheduled plot shortly. Although the plots about power plays and politics in the ruling of the ship are almost evening more annoying than the aliens. Why can’t we just have the plots of a group of people trying to work together to make this ship work? That was actually watchable. Now we’re looking at a character who is essentially the head of human resources trying to convince the people to rise up against the head scientist and army commander. It’s all very weird.

Okay. Justified. Wow, I wrote all that just so that I could have the excuse to write about this show. Yes, it is that good. This show is awesome.

Personally, I really wish that this first season was, like, I don’t know, maybe 100 episodes. And they were airing about, three a week. I think at that pace I could maybe be satisfied. To be honest, I almost considered not watching any more after the first episode because I wasn’t sure I could handle just watching one a week and I was thinking that it might be better to just wait and buy the DVD set and watch the entire season in one sitting.

But that required me to make the executive decision not to watch an episode when I could. And that wasn’t feasible. So, here I am. Watching it. And loving it.

So, what was our first lesson from watching this show? Apparently, if you want to make a Western and you want to set it in the present, you have to put it in the South. Even though the accents aren’t the same, they feel right. And the countryside is tall green reeds and grass and cattails instead of the low-lying desert shrubbery, but again, it feels untamed.

The key to this show is Timothy Oliphant. I admit I haven’t seen Deadwood but it has risen to the very top of my list, entirely from the first three episodes of this show (yeah, it’s not like his performances in Hitman or Live Free or Die Hard were going to convince me that he is actually awesome). I love his cowboy hat. I love his delivery of his lines. Measured, but intelligent. The dialogue isn’t as lyrical as Joss Whedon’s in Firefly, but it has its own rhythms that feel almost as right.

And I love the idea where the show gets its title. Justified. Timothy Oliphant is so quick on the draw that he always waits until his target has already pulled out his own weapon with an intention to kill and then he shoots and kills him.

“He pulled first. It was Justified.”

His boss just sighs. What more can he do?

The show’s other strength is its bad guys. This show remembers that true Westerns have bad guys who are just as cool as the good guys. Or at least as developed. The dialogue between him and the villains is priceless. Everyone wants out of this crappy town and everyone is working towards that goal in his or her own way. Theirs just happens to be against the law and his just happens to be upholding the law. The conversations are often hostile, but the level of mutual respect is downright sweet.

And then there’s his character itself. His ex-wife describes him as the angriest man she’s ever met. He certainly shoots to kill, but he seems willing to forgive a man at the drop of the hat. It’s hard to know how much he wants to kill the person who he knows is dangerous and is thinking of killing him. It was cool watching him discuss the dangers of the draw to a soon-to-be criminal. How he drew before the guy could even remotely react as a way to talk this guy down instead of risking that the situation were to get out of hand.

I think he’s well on his way to becoming a classic Western hero. He’s a good guy trying to do good things, albeit not necessarily through kind or gentle means. But his first thought is of others. Not necessarily all others. But others. Getting into that main group is easy but so is getting out. All in all, it’s very chivalrous. And I’m totally into it. Probably to the point of obsessive. I can’t wait to watch it again tomorrow.

That is all.


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