Jenni, just close the page right now. Do not read on, because I may just speak blasphemy here…
Kids, as you know, I’m not a huge consumer of the televised arts. Or rather, I don’t watch much in the way of non-news or documentary or educational or similar programming. That isn’t to say I don’t enjoy a good scripted show–heck, I’d love it if there were more scripted shows that weren’t horribly fast-paced, more crisply written, better acted, and the like. But apparently, I’m fussy about these things, and what most people even consider good or great television, I can just leave along and not be bothered with.
So I’ll give you some brief reviews of some current TV shows that I’m watching or have seen while sitting in front of the TV at home.
Pan Am: I’ve given it four episodes, now, and they’re still plodding along with thin, standalone stories all as a backdrop for the tension that is each week’s character introduction. I don’t need a whole hour to figure out why a character hates Berlin: we could have settled that whole piece in 30 seconds of dialog and tried building a better episode. But no, in their third week, they muddled through an episode that drew out the fact that one of the stewardesses lived in occupied France during WWII and still has a dislike for Germans, and even better, that was set against the backdrop of Kennedy’s speech in West Berlin. But as far as I can tell, advancing her story line was the whole reason the crew was sent to Berlin. You could have done that just as well and given her a red-eye to Cleveland. I went into this show with high hopes, but it’s just been thin and disappointing.
How I Met Your Mother: In my opinion, this is one of the best written shows out there right now, and it’s a 30 minute sitcom. While the show, according to it’s title, is about Ted, he’s really just a part of the 5-member ensemble cast, and writing for five people with level handedness and still staying true to their characters is a difficult thing to do. And the bonus is that it’s very funny.
Person of Interest: I’ve heard that people love this show. I sit down and see it and something about it just strikes me as one of the worst acted shows I’ve ever seen. Now granted, I haven’t seen much that either of the lead actors has been in, but they both speak in wimpy monotones and show little emotion, so I find little reason to care about anyone in the show.
Big Bang Theory: I’ve tried to like this show…I really have. People at work say I should watch it and like it. People online say I should like the show. But I just don’t. I don’t think I’m offended by the stereotypes portrayed in it. Instead, I just don’t find it funny. The nerds do nerdish things and instead of being laughed at and picked on by “normal” people, the normal people are the audience.
Mad Men: This show still surprises me, through the two seasons I’ve watched, and it’s tense, too, mostly because there isn’t a single innocent or really likeable character in the show. The side benefit is that they’ve perfectly nailed the period and you really feel like you’re in whatever year that season is in at the time. The lead character is the only one with a past–and that’s because his is the only past you really need to care about for the show. Everyone else just gives you what you need when you need it, otherwise, they’re window dressing to help tell the story, which is not about advertising, business, or the period, but about Don Draper. He’s the bad guy trying to be good in a world that he almost literally created.
Reggie Perrin: I’ve started watching this show which came on recently on late night on TPT2. It’s a remake of The Rise and Fall of Reginald Perrin, a show from the ’70s about a man who has a nervous breakdown because of his meaningless job for a heartless corporation. The modern version stars Martin Clunes, who plays Reggie Perrin in the midst of his breakdown as he resigns and then is rehired at a personal grooming product manufacturer. His home life is adrift, his job annoys him, and his only answer to it is to do strange, irrational things. It’s very much a modern comedy: up-tempo, a bit crass, but still manages to be fairly original and unique because of some good writing and level acting by Clunes.
I’m waiting anxiously for the return of The IT Crowd and Doc Martin, both of which are due to come back sometime in the next year. It’ll be good to have those back, though word is that those both will be in their last season.
So there you go, some pocket-sized reviews on TV. And don’t even get me started on anything “Reality TV” has to offer…
See you tomorrow.