Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Always Watching

Television. What a powerful word. Just saying it makes you think of television. It touches all of our lives in a particularly telvisionish way. Today I'm going to talk about this thing we call "television" or "TV" or "that thing the Tivo and XBox are connected to that lets me see naked vampires on HBO."

Fringe -- This has improved somewhat since its debut last year but it's problems are still there. It's still needlessly gross and its plots still cross the line that divides "Far Out Science Fiction" from "Insane Stupidity." Recent examples include a scientist whose wife couldn't bring a child to term because of her lupus so his solution was to combine human, scorpion and molerat DNA. Had someone actually managed to create a living creature like this, it would have been one of the most amazing scientific achievements in history and would have gotten the fellow who literally whipped this up in his basement several Nobel Prizes. Instead, it was used as a plot point in which the child becomes a creature who can poison people so he can drag them to his underground lair and eat them. Grade: C+

Glee -- This has also improved since I saw its pilot episode last May but it's still not very good. I seem to be in the minority on this one as reviews and other randomly given opinions on I read on message boards and Twitter indicate that most people really love this show. To me, it just looks fake. Everyone seems to be trying way too hard. Only Jane Lynch's psychopathic cheer coach makes what she's doing look effortless and natural. Combine that with the fact that the glee club students look older than their teacher and you have a show about teensagers that just can't hold a candle to Skins. Speaking of which...

Skins -- This just wrapped up its third series run on BBC America and remains one of my favorite shows ever. It's certainly the best show about teens out there right now. It manages to remain riotously funny while taking the problems its characters face very seriously. It also takes a realistic view of teenagers doing drugs and having sex and actually acknowledges that kids, you know, do that and, for many, it's a matter-of-fact course of action that doesn't necessarily ruin their lives or inspire self righteous monologues about respecting yourself. There's one more show about teenagers I should mention...

The Vampire Diaries -- I've watched two full episodes and part of a third. I didn't finish the third one since, 20 minutes in, I knew exactly what was going to happen. There will not be a fourth.

Flash Forward -- So far, this isn't bad though there are signs that the Brannon Braga Stupidity Curse could kick in at any time. For instance, last week the FBI team investigating the world event that caused people to see the future got a lead on a possible suspect and brought a full assault team to take him down. Two of the regular characters and some poor, doomed day player then leave their lovely team behind and storm the suspect's dark, spooky lair. This results in the suspect's escape and the death of the one who wasn't a regular (another sign that this was made by a former Star Trek writer).

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