Posts Tagged ‘Television’


Thoughts on TV

October 4, 2008

I’ve been ‘channel surfing’ via iTunes and the freebie streaming video services online. Basically, the rest of the world has caught up with me. I haven’t had cable for years, and now that shows are increasingly freely, legally available via streaming services I’m catching up on a few old favorites and new hotnesses. I have a few thoughts on recent and new (to me) television shows.

My Name is Earl

This show, for a while, suffered from the same problem I have with Monk: a ‘writers hating the characters’ problem. I’m now at the point with Monk where I can’t even watch that show anymore. It’s completely obvious that the writers have zero respect for the characters. They’re just shells to move around in a con game, false fronts to put in the latest ‘wacky situation of the week’. My Name is Earl, on the other hand, has apparently blossomed into a great character-driven show. The end of last season saw an extended plot element (Earl’s short-term wife) that really allowed the actors, writers, and director to breathe new life into what kind of started out like a one-trick show.

It’s been some time since I watched Earl, and it’s great to see it going strong into its … fifth season. Wow. Long time.

Burn Notice

Brian turned me on to this, and it’s fantastic. I highly recommend this to anyone that likes shows that treat you like an adult. It has adult situations without simpering swearing or needless sexuality. The ads all make it look like this sex-heavy show set in Miami, and it really isn’t. It’s primarily a character and story-driven show that lets things happen in much the way they would in real life. It’s really, really good.


The first episode back in the new season was yesterday and I’m not very impressed. They left off on a huge cliffhanger; “To Be Continued” as the Epps’ father put it. The pickup was decidedly lackluster. There’s little done about Charlie’s security status, and while there is a new member on the team to replace Megan Reeves she had so little screentime as to be faceless.

30 Rock

I watched a few random episodes of this show and came away impressed with Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin, and not much else. Good writing but not-so-hot supporting acting. I bet if I’d been following it more I’d enjoy it more, but as of right now not so much.

Clone Wars

I definitely agree with io9’s assessment of the first episode of Clone Wars. The show succeeds in many ways that the movie fails. Tighter action, less dialogue, more straightforward situations. I dunno why iTunes makes the awesomeness better, but I actually get to watch two episodes plus the free preview right away. Maybe it’s for signing up with the Season Pass?

In any case, I’m really looking forward to more of this show. It’s popcorn/bubble gum compared to what it could (should) be, but for all that there’s a distinct likeableness to what they’re offering. If you’re still someone that can deal with what Lucas has done to Star Wars, this is some of the better canon stuff they’ve done in the last few years.


We All Use Math Everyday

May 16, 2008

While Katie and I don’t have cable, I use iTunes to keep abreast of a handful of television shows. Tony Bourdain’s No Reservations, Mike Rowe’s Dirty Jobs, and the CBS drama Numb3rs all fall into this category. I’ve been hitting the Numb3rs pretty hard recently, which may be slightly surprising if you recall my (now ancient) post railing against the show for geek stereotyping.

A lot can happen in two years, and has. The show’s writing has gotten much, much better. It’s no longer the zany “an FBI agent and his math prof brother solves crime!” Now, the show is mostly about character interaction and ongoing plot threads. None of these threads are story-centric, they’re all character-centric. Ameda’s family, Charlie’s book deal, Larry’s ongoing search for peace and tranquility, and Don’s love life – they’re all threads that bind a pretty darn good show together.

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