Friday, July 8, 2011

What I'm Watching Now #1 (July 8, 2011 Edition)

I think I'm going to add a new feature to my TV blog, called "What I'm Watching Now".  In this feature, I will give a brief update, or run down of the shows I'm currently watching.  It will let you know how I think these shows are progressing, as I feel many of them are either too far into their run to warrant a full post, or I don't think I can dedicate a whole post to them.  If these go well, maybe it will help you get involved in the story arc of a show you aren't currently watching.  This could also make you want to give these shows a shot.  It could also make you want to steer clear of them.  Hopefully this turns out okay.  It's really just an experiment.  If you like what I did here, click like at the end of the blog post.


Law & Order: Los Angeles (NBC, 10pm EDT)

LOLa has been canceled.  They are burning off the shows from before the re-tool.  Many of these shows were actually very good, and it was probably a mistake for NBC to re-tool the series in the first season.  I still believe the series was sabotaged, but that's the way it goes.

The Big C (Showtime, 10:30pm EDT)

I am so disturbed by the developments on this show, during season 2, that I was considering writing a full blog post about it.  However, things like this are probably best placed in this new format I am experimenting with, beginning with this blog post.  The first season of The Big C, overall, was fantastic.  The only episodes I didn't like were the ones written by Jenny Bicks.  She uses very hamhanded ways to drop bombshells in the show.  The Big C was supposed to be about a woman who has very advanced cancer, who has decided not to do treatment, and her voyage of self discovery that may change the way she feels about getting treatment, and the others around her.  The story arc of the first season eventually made her realize that she did have stuff to live for, and that she should at least try to get the treatment.  Still, we were never under any illusions that she doesn't have a very high chance of dying, in the course of the series.  That is an undercurrent that must always be under the surface, in this show.

There was a major character development in the first season, that was very shocking, and in fact probably would have angered most viewers of the show.  I won't give that away as a spoiler, for those who haven't seen it.  When I saw that particular piece of business happen, I knew there was potential for this show falling off the rails, but the last episode of the first season was excellent, overall, and I left the season with high hopes for season 2.

Unfortunately, all those hopes have been dashed, so far.  There has been enormous time compression in the show, which is making tons of events happen too fast (which doesn't allow the viewer to digest what is going on in the characters' lives).  The characters have started to become unbelievable, and in some ways, caricatures of the very realistic characters we saw early in the first season.  The show has definitely fallen off the rails, and I've lost my investment in nearly every character in the show.  We'll see if things turn back around for the show, but having Cathy take her treatment so seriously now, after the arc from last season, is just not believable, and pushes the character right on to the edge of being unlikable.  If you would like more information about this show, check out my blog post about it.


Memphis Beat (TNT, 9pm EDT)

Chris P. asked me to watch this show, and I obliged him.  The show isn't really worthy of a full blog post, but I am still watching it.  I find the show kind of enjoyable, but it's nothing special.  New Orleans is playing Memphis, which is probably one of the most hilarious miscastings I have ever seen in television.  If you're going to put the name of a city in the title of the show, can you at least shoot there?  I'm glad New Orleans is getting the work, but, seriously, this is bad.

The show shares a lot of the characteristics of The Closer, with a tone that is fairly closely matched, actually.  While it's a relatively straightforward cop show, it still has some light humor sprinkled throughout the show.  The Whitehead character is clearly the best character on the show.  I've only seen two episodes of the show, so it's kind of hard to get a real feel about what it's all about, or even who the characters are professionally.  If you can get past the horrible lip synching that Jason Lee does in every episode (fast forward is your friend), you will probably find this to be a decently enjoyable show, that is not special in any way.  The show is pretty much in a genre that I described as dead in my Police Procedural blog post (person or partnership duo).  The only difference is that it's just not really treated in the same way, as those shows used to be treated.

HawthoRNe (TNT, 10pm EDT)

Magalie N. asked me to do a post about the show, and I did.  This is one of the most manipulative shows I have ever seen on TV.  I coined the term "hyperdrama" specifically because of this show.  There is a major storyline going on in the show, and every week the makers of the show have left us without the answer we are hoping to receive.  This is so manipulative that we have to keep watching the show, even though it pisses us off royally.  Hey, whatever works, I guess.  You can check out my blog post about the show, if you would like more information.


Franklin & Bash (TNT, 9pm EDT)

I went in to this series wanting to hate it, because the promos looked so stupid.  However, outside of Burn Notice, this show is, by far, my favorite show of the summer season.  The casting is spot on, and I find something to enjoy about every character in the show.  I was hoping we'd get some good story arc on the main characters, but that hasn't really happened yet.  The makers of the show have apparently just decided to do a courtroom comedy-drama, for the most part.  That's not to say that's not a good way to go, but there's a lot of stuff under the surface, on this show, that I would like to have answered.  It just appears we will be getting those answers slowly.  If you aren't watching this show, you should give it a chance.  It's a really fun show, overall.  I recommend the episode "You Can't Take It with You", if you are wanting to check the show out.  I think all of the episodes are also available on TNT on Demand.  You can check out my blog post that starts out with the words "Gratuitous Nudity", if you would like more information about the show.

Necessary Roughness (USA, 10pm EDT)

This show features the visually pleasing Callie Thorne.  It premiered last week, on USA, and I haven't seen the second episode, yet.  The show is very much geared toward women, from what I can tell, but there is something there for everyone.  The show has some extraordinarily funny lines in it, though it's not played for laughs that often.  Finding these nuggets is the key to enjoying the show.

The show is about a Psychologist, who was likely once a trophy wife.  Her boredom in this lifestyle made her want to do something more, so her husband paid for her to get the schooling to become a Psychologist.  As is the norm with all shows like this, the lead is always capable of helping others, while being a complete disaster in regards to her own life.  In the Pilot, we find out her husband has been cheating on her, and she asks for a divorce, which he contests (even though she discovers photographic evidence of him cheating on her with 6 or 7 women, on his phone).  She meets the trainer of a professional football team, and the team has a problem child.  She is asked if she would work with him.  She only agrees because she has no money, and they offer her a lot of money.  Hijinx ensue, and the show is born.  The Pilot was pretty good, and if you like the Pilot, I'm sure you'll probably be interested in continuing on with the show.

State of Georgia (ABC Family, 8:30pm EDT)

This is the new sitcom featuring the brilliant Raven-Symon√©. This sitcom is not worthy of her talents, and it is a dud, outside of the casting and the acting.  Maybe it will get better, but I don't have very high hopes for it.  It's good for an occasional belly laugh, but for the most part, it's just a very weak sitcom.  I have written a more in depth blog post about it, as well, that you can check out for more information.


Burn Notice (USA, 9pm EDT)

Burn Notice got off to kind of a weird start, this season.  Last season ended with Michael Westen apparently getting back into the CIA (on probation, consulting, or something, I think).  So, the first episode of the season had a lot of awkward moments in it, at the beginning.  Everything had changed in the characters' lives, and nothing had been figured out about how the characters would proceed together.  For the latest episode, the despised character, Nate (Michael's idiot brother), is back.  The Trey character that Michael Westen plays as his undercover character is hilarious.  He constantly spouts off cliches incorrectly, and then tells people they are wrong, when they correct him (an example is something to this effect: "There's more than one way to skin the cat's hair off").  This is the kind of stuff I love on the show.  The show is becoming fun again, and last night's episode had me in stitches, throughout.

Suits (USA, 10pm EDT)

Suits is actually a good show.  You get the perfect feel for every character in the show, and can decide whether you like or dislike each one very easily.  It's basically all one big con, which is probably just the writers' idea of a joke on lawyers.  The plots are all heavily convoluted, and I doubt the show is realistic at all.  That said, it's still a fun show to watch, and I look forward to how they will end up dealing with the basic plot problems that have to be dealt with along the way.  Next week's episode will feature a big bomb drop, supposedly, and we'll see how that goes.  My own personal feeling is that the boss already knows Mike isn't really a lawyer, and that they'll just somehow force him into law school to clean up that little "problem".  There is so much blackmail going on this show.  It makes lawyers look like really evil, sadistic, bastards.  It sure makes them fun to watch, anyway.  If you watch the Pilot, and like it, the show has improved, since then.  If you don't like the Pilot, there's no chance you'll like the show.



The burn off continues this week, with the episodes being played wildly out of order.  This is one of the strangest things I have ever seen in TV history, and it just shows how little CBS cared about this show.  Some of the shows are great, and some of them are boring, but this was still a very fun show to watch, for those of us who understood the premise, and got into it.  It's too bad the show was never able to find its true voice, on the right network.  The true voice of the show is clearly visible in at least four of the episodes, and if the show had been explored using that voice, I think it would eventually have found an audience.  A show featuring the pitch perfect voice of the show is "Two Percent".  CHAOS was a fun little diversion, in a sea of bland procedurals on network TV, this past season.  Time is running out for you to catch the show on TV, show you better start watching soon.  It officially was a show that wasn't.  It only lasted for 3 episodes before being canceled (eventually changed to hiatus, so the rest of the episodes could be burned off this summer).  I have a much more in depth blog post about the show, if you would like more information.

Every Day:

Criminal Minds (A&E check listings, CBS Wednesdays check listings)

My friend, Ronda V., convinced me to watch this show, and I have not been disappointed.  We are now in the process of trying to catch up with the show from the beginning.  We saw all of season 1, minus one episode, and A&E is currently airing season 2.  A&E also shows a ton of other episodes, but if you do proper research, and started a few weeks ago, you could have watched the series basically in order.

I think this is one of the most effective Crime Dramas in the history of television.  It's believable, and it gets in your head.  I almost feel like the show is an act of terrorism, because of how many parts of our daily lives it violates.  Once you see a topic on the show, it's likely you won't approach that normal, every day, thing the same.  The editing and shooting do their best to get into your head.  The use of subliminal images (and sometimes sound) adds to the disturbing nature of the show.  Watching a bunch of the episodes, in a row, is generally not recommended, if you want to have a peaceful sleep.

What I have found out about the show is that there is a little too much story arc, and the characters are placed into too many dangerous situations (sometimes even  My joke, any time one of these shows show up, is that the character must have asked for a raise.  Don't ask for a raise, or more lines on shows like this.  That kind of stuff turns you into a victim.  Still, overall, it's a great show, and is often extremely disturbing to watch.  I will admit, however, that the tinkering that went on in season 6, from what I've seen, is pretty ridiculous, and I will be glad to see it get back to normal next season (hopefully with Hotch in the cast).  As a bit of a warning, it will stick with you into your dreams, if you watch it before going to bed.  After one of the episodes I saw last night, I felt like I needed a 3 episode buffer of "fun" TV to not have bad dreams.  Thankfully I don't remember any bad dreams happening last night.

So, that's what I'm watching right now.  Let me know if you think this is something I should do for future blog posts.  It might be a weekly thing, or it might be a monthly thing.  I just haven't decided, yet.  You can help me decide, because I want to do things you'd like to read.  Click like, below, if you enjoyed this, and want to see more along these lines.  Thanks for reading.

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