Friday, August 6, 2010

My Summer of Television

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water.....

Hulu.com and summer television saved me from having to do anything physically taxing during these extremely warm summer days.  The summer of 2010 will probably go down in official record books as one of the warmest summers.  It was the summer when the Gulf of Mexico got doused in oil; the summer when Lindsay Lohan went to jail, the summer when A-Rod hit his 600th home run; the summer when Inception blew people's minds and the summer when I decided it was finally time to get myself in gear, but not before gorging myself on an inordinate amount of (some) mind-numbing entertainment.  I just realized this recently.
I feel like I don't normally watch all THAT MUCH television.  I'm usually pretty restrained; yet I keep track of so many shows that it often feels like I watch more than I actually do.  This fall/spring belonged mostly to Glee and Fringe, both of which will have my vigilant attention come September.  CHUCK also falls into the category of "watch every episode" but to be honest, it's really thanks to DVR.  I mean Mondays are, in general, an exercise in forgetting and unfortunately for CHUCK, NBC does not agree with me.  Since I'm in a slight quarrel with the network, my DVR is more often than not my mediator.  It is patient and reliable and always right, a lot like my mother (would say she is) and by Tuesday or Wednesday, we've worked out our differences, I've had my people call NBC's peeps and things are sorted.  With the exception of those 3 shows, which are on a non-miss basis, I dabble in other shows. Survivor and The Amazing Race (my extent with reality shows) are sometimes on the docket.  Occasionally CSI: New York, LOST had taken up residence in my schedule in the last 2 seasons and Castle has a special place in my heart.  Other than that, I don't follow too much.  The weather in the winter is enough to keep me busy with complaints, I don't need tv to disappoint me.
However, this summer has been one run of shows after another.  At first, it might have been blamed on the grieving process.  The wounds of Lost's final episode are finally scabbing over, but there's now a gaping hole in my schedule.  Much like the emotional eater I am, I attempted to ingest as much television as possible to make it disappear and almost disappear, it has.
So what's keeping me so busy?  Here's the quick rundown:

Friday Night Lights:  I can't remember exactly how my affair with this show started.  I think it was probably Netflix and Taylor Kitsch, a deadly combination indeed, but it's been hot and heavy ever since.  I'm technically going against the tv watching rules because I've been watching Season 1 on DVD and Season 4 on Hulu when I miss it on NBC on, well Friday nights.  Trust me, if tv really is a drug, I have track marks on my frontal cortex from this show.  The writing, the acting, the story arcs, so far, fantastic. Now I just have to catch up on Seasons 2 & 3 before the beginning of the final 5th season.

So You Think You Can Dance:  I didn't get into this until about season 5, but since then I've watched every episode and voted more often than a 27 year old should.  This season is better than last season, in my opinion, and I'm loving all of the top 3 dancers (Kent, Robert and Lauren).  They have the best music on network television and always bring something interesting to the table.  I don't just think I can dance, I know I can dance.  The problem is I always wish I was dancing on this show.  Sooo GOOD!

Merlin-This one is entirely Hulu's fault.  Well them and the BBC.  If it hasn't been made clear enough in previous posts, I, more often than not, imagine that I'm just a British person living in an American's body.  I think that's kind of how John Adams felt too.  After I'm done comparing myself with a founding father, I sit down to enjoy a nice Medieval action/sci-fi/drama on my computer.  It's not really more than a procedural (something crazy involving magic happens, even though magic isn't allowed in Camelot and Merlin must cleverly figure out how to most discreetly use magic to solve said problem) but I liked it, at least the first season, which is all Hulu will grant me.

The Book Group-a completely quirky show that I just couldn't seem to put down, much like, ironically, a good book.  It's vulgar and ridiculous and yet, kind of gets you right in the heart.  I flew through 12 episodes in a day.  Seriously.  There are times when I'm really excited that I have a job I completely forget about within one minute of stepping out of the door, because otherwise, how would I have time for such nonsense?

Doctor Who- I had been meaning to get into this for a while.  I had heard raves about David Tennant and kept meaning to sneak a peek, and just never did.  Then Matt Smith took over, and boy oh boy, was I aboard the Tardis.  He's spectacularly geek-chic certified, bowtie and all, with a delightful British accent and fantastic chemistry with this season's companion, Amy (Karen Gillan).  Unlike most actresses whom I'm accused of girl-hating on, I don't hate Karen Gillan, quite the opposite, I want to be Amelia Pond's best friend, partially because she seems to be as awesome and adventurous as me and partially becuase I would also be hoping to be invited aboard to jet off to another dimension.  The "Vincent and the Doctor" episode was quite engaging as well as the splendid season finale.  Bring on the next season/series please!

The Dresden Files- I had just reviewed the first book in the series (see earlier post) and was aware of the show, but wasn't sure how to find it.  Enter Hulu (again) stage left and voila! Another show that can keep me entertained for at least 45 minutes at a time.  Again, it's procedural, but Paul Blackthorne's Harry, despite not wearing the outfits I would have expected, captures the blase attitude that masks the magical aptitude of Dresden just right.  His delivery is great and Terrence Mann's Bob is a standout.  It's better than any of the reality shows out there, I can guarantee you, and while it's not Fringe, it's also not crap either.  It meddles somewhere in the in-between, much like Dresden himself.

Persons Unknown-I was completely prepared to scoff at this show; after all, it had been given the Death Row time slot (Saturdays at 8 pm on NBC) but, it's not terrible.  It's an interesting premise and it's beginning to show some promise.  People wake up, seemingly held hostage inside a deserted town.  All of their needs are taken care of, they're just not allowed to step outside the town parameters.  Slowly but surely, their stories, and the background of what's landed them there, is coming to light.  While some of the acting is slightly off (I wasn't sad to see Tory go) I'm more and more intrigued with each passing episode.  I'm trying not to get too invested though.

Warehouse 13 & Eureka:  Yes both of these shows have been on for at least one season that I haven't seen (in Eureka's case it's been on for 3 seasons that I haven't seen, but now plan on going back to) but I feel like each week is such a story in itself that it's not necessary.  It's not like The Sopranos or Fringe where it's almost necessary to see each episode in succession, but they're entertaining.  While I find Warehouse 13 to be slightly more camp than Eureka, I enjoy both and Allison Scagliotti's Claudia would be invited to a Girls Night Out with me and Amy Pond.  It would probably involve lots of time traveling shennanigans during which Jane Austen's pen would get stolen from the Warehouse, we'd be transported back to early 19th century England and would need the combined charm of Mr. Darcy, Mr. Edward Ferrar and Mr. Knightley to get us back home.  Sorry, my total geek took over for a minute.  Either way, it's ironic to me how many great female characters there are in Sci-Fi series, but how many totally boring and crap ones are in regular shows.  Why is that?

Rubicon-Honestly, I was on board with this from the word GO!  After having watched The Pacific this year, James Badge Dale became an actor that I was definitely going to keep my eye on, and what should one of his next projects be, but a show about conspiracy theories?!  It's like those crazy folks at AMC went digging around into my brain and pulled out all of the best parts, mixed them in a bowl and serve them up to me on Sunday nights.  Situated in the comfy place in front of Mad Men, I'm in this one for the long haul.

and finally,

The Good Wife-I started watching because it got a boatload of Emmy nominations and because my crush on Josh Charles just won't go away.  It's ok, it's not Earth shatteringly great, and it's kind of just another Lawyer Show, but it's better than a lot of other stuff, I suppose.

So what am I not watching that I should be watching (warning:  Anyone who says The Jersey Shore or Big Brother will be removed from my Facebook friends list immediately).  Am I the only one filling time in a crappy movie summer with television?

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