Saturday, November 12, 2011

TV I'm Currently Enjoying

A few weeks ago I did a post about some of the 2011 pilots I'd watched, and I must say, I haven't continued on with many of them, although admittedly there were a few gems (Suburgatory is a tad hit and miss but when it hits it's awesome).

My social calendar I know it's sad shut up I hate you The US fall season is well and truly under way now so Noodles and I have been catching up with some old favourites as well as picking up some new ones. A habit we started when I wasn't well a few months ago and have now fallen well and truly into is to hop into my bed after dinner (or sometimes with dinner... okay, usually with dinner... okay, pretty much always with dinner lately) and watch our stories until it's time for her to go to her own bed. We're like Charlie Bucket's grandparents (how did they go to the toilet?).

Anyway, these are some of the shows we've been enjoying of late.

I had every intention of giving up Law and Order: SVU this year - without Stabler it just seemed wrong. And I was pissed off that they cancelled the original when the cast of the last couple of seasons was pretty much perfect - finally. However, I was curious about how they would go post-Stabler, so I ended up tuning in after all. Linus Roache was a guest star in the first episode and I got all excited thinking they were moving him over, but it was not to be. Still, he has popped up in one other episode so far so I live in hope... Benson is in uber bitch-mode now that Stabler has gone - it's not like she can't ever speak to him again so I don't know what that's all about. The blonde chick (name escapes me) was front and centre in the first couple of episodes and she was a bit brash and irritating, but then they brought in Danny Pino and she took a back seat. I like him - he's no Stabler but he stands up to Benson and he's a smart cookie. They really should have just made Fin and Munch the main detectives though. Why are they still just lurking around in the background? Highlight this year - Captain Wotsisface going undercover as a man looking for a Russian bride, and tearfully telling the girl a story about his dead wife that is obviously true. *sniffle*

The most genius thing The Big Bang Theory did was create a girl group for Penny. She was a pain in the arse when she was the only girl but once they threw in Amy and Bernadette she was much more likeable. Amy Farrah Fowler is creeping ahead of Sheldon as my favourite character. Her lines ("Thanks to you I was able to make a rhesus monkey cry like a disgraced televangelist") are comedy gold and Mayim Bialik delivers them beautifully. And to think it took me three years to start watching this because I thought it would be crap. Highlight this year: the entire Halloween episode. Genius.

The premise of Grimm is that an ordinary detective finds out that he is descended from a line of people with special abilities to see the monsters of the world. Or something. I don't know - it's kind of flawed and a bit cheesy, but oddly enjoyable. The plots are based on fairy tales - the first episode had a little girl in a red hoodie being kidnapped. I wouldn't be surprised if it doesn't get past the first season, but now we're just rolling with it. Highlight this year: hard to say since there have only been two episodes so far, but I do like Silas Weir Mitchell as a semi-reformed werewolf.

Two fairy tale-themed shows premiering this year. I almost didn't bother with Once Upon A Time - it sounded much too 'ren faire' for my tastes - but Noodles wanted to check it out and it's not that bad. An evil queen has imprisoned Snow White and a bunch of other fairy tale characters in a little town in modern-day America, but none of them remember who they are. The only one who knows is the evil queen's (the mayor of the town in the current era scenes) adopted son, whose real mother is the daughter of Snow White. It is her destiny to save them all and the little boy has to convince her of that. It chops back and forth between the fairy tale world and the real world, and bits and pieces of the story are revealed gradually and cleverly, with a couple of nice did-not-see-that-coming twists thrown in here and there.  Highlight this year: again, hard to say in a new show, but I did gasp aloud when the queen brutally murdered 'the thing she loved most' to get the heart she needed for her spell.

Parks and Recreation just gets better and better; it's already flawless but it somehow keeps topping itself. The character of Leslie Knope is probably the best female character ever created. But the rest of the cast is perfect as well, even Rob Lowe - who a lot of people find annoying in this. His relentless, irritating cheeriness is addressed beautifully by 'Ann Perkins' (as he calls her) in the most recent episode. This year's highlight - so, so many, but I think I have to go with Ben in a Batman costume sitting in a mall with Tom and Donna on Treat Yo'self Day, crying because he had to break up with Leslie. Hilarious and heartbreaking.

If it weren't for the fact that I was desperate for something mindless to put on my ipod and watch at night when I was trying to go to sleep I would never have looked at Cougar Town - it sounded like a show I would have zero interest in. The first couple of episodes were a bit clunky but once it hit its stride I was hooked. I'm not a fan of Courteney Cox generally (Friends - totally over-rated), and although I love Busy Phillips the way she talks annoys the hell out of me. I'm not even getting into whatever is going on with Christa Miller's face. However, this show is genuinely hilarious, thanks largely to the father and son team of Jules' (Cox's character) ex-husband Bobby and teenage son Travis, as well as Barb, Jules' rival in real estate and the real cougar of the show - she pops up once in almost every episode to say something side-splitting and then she's gone. I've only watched the first season, and highlight so far: Bobby taking his son Travis 'noodling'. And yes, I did look it up to see if it was a real thing. It is.

Six episodes in and I can already see American Horror Story slowly beginning to unravel (as anything Ryan Murphy touches always does). Consistency is being thrown out the window - in episode five a goth girl talks to Tate about how he held a gun to her head and asked her if she believed in God before shooting her. In episode six we see this happen but he doesn't speak a word. Nonetheless, this is a hugely enjoyable hot mess of a show with so much weird and creepy stuff going on that you just have to roll with it. And that rubber man gives me the heebie jeebies. I've been checking behind my door every night when I go to bed since I started watching this.

I could have sworn I'd written before about why I like The Walking Dead so much, given my general boredom of zombies as a horror genre, but apparently it was only in my head, because I can't find anything. Anyway, essentially what I like is that it's played completely straight - no laughs, no cheesiness, just the relentless tension of long periods of nothing while you're waiting for zombies to appear out of nowhere. I know a lot of people find it slow and boring. It is slow - no question - but that doesn't bore me at all. I find it really absorbing. I have had many discussions about this show with Jacquie (just yesterday we discussed why there were no sympathetic, likeable female characters). I love that it shows the constant tension a situation like that would bring, even when there is nothing going on. I love that they've taken one of the 'good guys' and have him slowly turning into a self-preserving feral monster, while the 'bad guy' - the redneck racist - has become the most practical, logical and loyal of the group. That's the guy you want on your side in a zombie apocolypse.Highlights this year: the highlight for me was Daryl bringing the flower to the woman whose daughter has gone missing, and explaining its significance (and if you hadn't already, who did not fall completely in love with him at that moment). The startling lowlight was Shane shooting Otis and leaving him to die at the high school so he could get away. A brilliantly shocking moment that still makes me feel like I've been punched in the face.

So do you watch any of these? What do you think of them? Anything else I should be checking out?


  1. Big Bang is one of the most genius sitcoms in a long time!

    Loving American Horror Story and Suburgatory. My teensy hots-for-Jeremy-Sisto-thing helps a lot there.

    Parks and Recreation is really good this season. Really good satire.

    Need to start watching Grimm!

  2. cait, I used to really dislike Jeremy Sisto until he turned up in Law and Order. Since then he's really grown on me. I kind of love him now.

  3. I was really looking forward to these fairy tale reboots but not digging either of them. They're not dark enough. :/

    Big Bang is good for a laugh now and then but I have no desire to follow religiously. Yet I can watch crap like Gossip Girl every single week. God, sometimes I wonder.

  4. I agree, there is something a bit 'toned down' about both of those shows. I'd like both to be a bit darker, but I still enjoy them.

    Gossip Girl! Judging you, Liz. ;-)

  5. I'm loving The Walking Dead, Once Upon A Time and AHS, I might try out Cougar Town and Parks & Recreation, mind you I need to read more books but you keep getting me hooked on tv shows!!!

  6. Fair warning, Jade - first season of Parks and Rec is a bit clunky (although I still loved it), but it's only 6 episodes. It hits its stride in season 2.

  7. Haha, I knew you would! ;) But it's no secret that I watch crap TV and like to watch shallow vapid characters do shallow stupid things.