Saturday, April 17, 2010

TV series I have been watching - part 6

Anyone visiting my imDb comments page would notice that I haven't been writing much there and that is because I have been watching a lot of TV series and those I do not comment on imDb. But I do occasionally list the series I have been watching and a small synopsis on the blog. Here is the latest "TV series I have been watching" entry.
  • Virtuality - a show about a state of the art spaceship exploring the Solar System, where the crew is being entertained by a complex virtual reality machine. Which then starts having thoughts of its own. The idea was pretty promising, reminding me of movies like Space Odyssey and books like Frank Herbert's Pandora. Alas, it quickly turned into a jumbled, psychotic, pseudo spiritual mess. No wonder the show was cancelled after the pilot
  • Defying Gravity - the sister show for Virtuality, in the Hollywood tradition of trying two obnoxiously similar ideas at the same time so that people focus on similarities and not on how much better they could have been. Same spaceship exploring the Solar System, but this time they are actually on a secret mission as well to collect pieces of an alien that are spread on each of the major teluric planets. The alien is like a small god and soon enough the entire show is about the faith of people and how they feel, etc. It still could have been saved, but in this Lost day and age, people must be vaguely religious, things must never make any sense and the sheer volume of melodrama must suffocate. It survived a first season, but it was cancelled before a second one
  • Caprica - spin-off series from Battlestar Galactica 2003. It explains how the twisted AI of the Cylons appeared, in a world divided by religious fervour, terrorism and virtual reality. I kind of like it, although it is clear that the ending can't possibly be good. And since the start is not brilliant as BSG's was, I feel conflicted about recommending it. It is is clearly sci-fi, though.
  • Doctor Who 2005 - Season 4 ended with the Doctor, played by David Tennant, dying and regenerating. Season 5 has begun with a new Doctor and a new companion. It is consistently weird, low budget and innovative. The new girl companion is a fiery Scottish redhead who is ocasionally almost as hot as Billie Piper, so I can't complain :)
  • Eureka - a show about a secret US town that hosts the most brilliant (and wacky) minds of the country. The series is a light sci-fi comedy so I guess it takes a little from both crowds and survives. The fourth season is supposed to start airing on the 9th of July, with 22 episodes, two of them... musicals. And I am serious here.
  • Numb3rs - a series about a brilliant mathematician applying science to help his FBI brother. The show has been consistently nice, even if the math involved has dwindled to the point of exctinction in favor of the procedural police work Americans love so much. It is very likely that the sixth season will also be the last one. Too bad.
  • House MD - don't ask me why I watch it. It started as an interesting medical drama only to turn into a farce. I really wish for a show that actually shows good, real work, not the feelings of the people involved. The small amount of medicine shown is beginning to sound more and more surreal
  • Criminal Minds - about an FBI unit that catches serial killers by profiling their behaviour and catching them based on that. I like the show, but not too much. Besides, it can't last, the same thing is done by Google, and they just do it better ;-)
  • South Park - this animated series has reached the 200th episode (the fifth in the fourteenth season), a two parter, set on making fun of everybody they ever made fun of in the show, which is not an easy task. The episodes usually concern a current issue, mixed up with a famous movie and parodied to the extreme. The jokes are smart, even if sometimes a bit crass, and I enjoy it immensly
  • Dexter - yay! A really cool HBO show about a serial killer working for the police and killing other serial killers. The characters and scope of the show have evolved in unexpected directions, digressing from the books, which, in this case, is a good thing, since the script is smart and catchy, while the books mostly sucked. I can hardly wait for season 5, after a great season 4 finale. I am pretty curious to see how the script writers will go on, since the next book in the Dexter series is not even out yet.
  • Big Love - I love Bill Paxton. He can play just about anything, including a mormon guy with three wives, practicing "the Principle" and also trying to deal with the society disaproval of it. Unfortunately it turned too much into a "Desperate Housewives" type of show, with useless drama and artificial problems. I am waiting for season 5
  • Fringe - getting worse and worse by the episode, this is the new X-Files and it is created by the antichrist, J.J. Abrams, himself. Even my wife stopped watching it.
  • Heroes - watching heroes is like playing tower defense games. It makes no sense, but you do it anyway. Waiting for season 5
  • Legend of the Seeker - this fantasy series is turning, alas, more and more into Hercule+Xena=Love. Based on the Sword of Truth series, which I have no read, it has some very cool episodes drowning amongst many mediocre or completely bad ones. It's fun, but degrading quickly
  • True Blood - another cool HBO show, again based on some books and diverting from the story there, again coming up on top from the original work. HBO series are really worth watching. Waiting for season 3
  • Californication - a show about a grumpy and sexy writer, humping everything with breasts and also trying to keep alive the relation with his former wife and daughter which he loves. A really good show in the first season, the quality of the show is diminishing by the season. I still have high hopes for season 4, planned to start airing in August
  • Breaking Bad - a show that is at the same time harsh, funny, horrible and good, a dark comedy about a chemistry professor that enters the crystal meth manufacturing business because he has cancer and wants to leave his family something. Season 3 just began and I am always sad when an episode ends
  • Secret Diary of a Call Girl - sexy Billie Piper in the role of prostitute/writer/blogger Belle de Jour. Yummy!
  • Entourage - another great show! Following a group of friends trying to make it in Hollywood, with ups and downs, but always a feeling of healthy optimism, even at the worst of times. It really feels good watching the series. Series 7 is supposed to start in June
  • Stargate Universe - this show is to SG1 what Deep Space Nine was for Next Generation: a dark, politically and humanly charged adventure. I really hope the ratings will be high, because it started as a pretty smart sci-fi series and I would really hate to see it cancelled or mauled by the marketing
  • Flash Forward - again weird and unexplainable shit that makes people start thinking of god and everything revolves around the same people and some of them are FBI. A mash-up of all the shows of the genre, it is a confused mess that I hope will get ended soon
  • Eastwick - Rebecca Romjin and Jaime Ray Newman and some other chick star as the witches of Eastwick, with great Paul Gross as the devil. Unfortunately, even bountifull sexiness and Canadian charm could not save this show from becoming "Desperated" and becoming so stupid it had to be cancelled
  • Torchwood - spin-off from Doctor Who, it's still weird, but a little more action packed. Not much, though. Season 3 was in fact a 5 part miniseries, used to champion the unveiling of BBC America. Season 4 is supposed to air in 2011
  • The Sarah Jane Adventures - another Doctor Who spinoff, it is oriented towards children and, even if it is fun, it is really more like a fairy tail
  • 10 things I hate about you - a show about a single father raising two daughters, one being the gloomy smart one, while the other the popular air head. The pilot was so bad that I decided not to watch it.
  • Bored to Death - another "personally cancelled" series about a guy who pretends to be a private eye out of boredom. I just stopped watching.
  • The Guild - this is not a TV show, but a web show. It is partially sponsored by Microsoft and it is about a group of MMO players and their weird group dynamic. The lead character is a really sexy chick, which makes about 60% of the reasons I am watching this. There are episodes that are hilarious, though.
  • The Forgotten - I like Christian Slater, but this show just didn't feel right. A group of do-gooders volunteer to help the police solve old cases where the victim's identity could not be determined. I don't think there will be a second season
  • V 2009 - aliens come to Earth, all filled with good intentions... or are they? Silly script, but then again, the original wasn't a gem either. Sexy actresses in it, though, so who knows? :)
  • Paradox - the Welsh version of Flash Forward, it kind of made more sense, if one ignores the premise of the show completely :) It only had 5 episodes and it wasn't received very well. Doubtful that it will see a second season, but still better than Flash Forward
  • Men Of A Certain AgeScott Bakula, Ray Romano and Andre Braugher as midlife crisis best friends. It is a smart and funny show, I hope it continues to be so in season 2
  • Weeds - another show about a drug manufacturer, this time it involves marijuana and the person in question is a woman, played by the so very hot Mary-Louise Parker. The first seasons were really cool, but in seasons 4 and 5, it became sick with "Desperitits" and so it started getting worse. I am waiting for season 6, maybe they can came back to the surface with it. More light than Breaking Bad, but still pretty cool
  • The Good Wife - it's a lawyer show. Not much to say about it, the main character is a wife getting a job as an attorney when her husband is (more or less wrongly) imprisoned. I like the show and the main actress (Julianna Margulies)
  • Damages - another lawyer show, this time a bit tougher, with a touch of "The Devil Wears Prada". We watched the first episode and we've decided to not watch it. My work colleagues like it, though

That is it, folks! The bottom line is that while more and more shows get infected by the pandemic of Lost and Desperate Housewives, there are still others that fight the illness and fight for quality, a major player in this direction being HBO, which started sucking as a television broadcaster, but makes consistently good TV shows.