Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Smart Stuff On The Idiot Box

It used to be that summer on American television was a vast wasteland consisting almost solely of crap reruns of the crap shows we watched on the only three television networks that existed. Yes, children, there was a time when you literally has only three national commercial broadcasting networks. Those, along with PBS and maybe an independent station that ran I Love Lucy reruns over and over constituted my viewing choices, at least when I was very young. You kids are lucky. You have 1000 digital HD channels that can be DVRed two at a time and it takes much longer to look through all those before you're able to say, "Geez, there's nothing good on."

Ah, but that is where you are wrong, fictional young people. There's a wide selection of shows even in summer time now that range from "AAAAHHHHHHHH" to "Aaaahhhh?" to "Pretty good." Today, I will discuss a few of those.

True Blood -- Not only is this decent non-reality-show content, it's one of my favorite shows. It's worth getting HBO just to watch this. This show centering on a male vampire who falls in love with a human girl serves as an excellent counterpoint to the horrible Twilight series. First, vampire Bill and human Sookie Stackhouse have sex and actually seem to enjoy it as opposed to Edward and Bella who try to teach the world the premarital sex causes vampires to sparkle less brightly. Though they have problems, for the most part Bill and Sookie's relationship is one of mutual love and respect. Edward and Bella, on the other hand, both know that Edward is in charge and that Bella should take it as a compliment that Edward wants to kill her. Anyway, True Blood has plenty of action, humor and interesting characters who actually have some complexity to them and that's why you should watch it. The fact that you can drink shots and scream, "THIS IS HOW YOU SHOULD HAVE DONE IT, STEPHANIE MEYER! SCREW YOU!" is an added bonus.

Leverage / Burn Notice -- I always think of these two as one show for some reason. They're very different in tone, style and content and only have the fact that they both engage in con artistry in common. Still, they're linked in my mind. One possible reason is that each of them has one of the sexiest actresses on TV today (Gina Bellman on Leverage and Gabrielle Anwar on Burn Notice). Another is that they're both well-made action shows about people who are extremely competent at what they do. Another is that they're both basically modern day takes on old fashioned pulp novels. Finally, even though they're on different networks, there's always the possibility that a crossover could occur and Gina and Gabrielle could make out. That reminds me, I have to finish up my short story, "Gina and Gabrielle Have A Threesome With Mike."

The Good Guys -- The pilot episode showed last month and I thought it was, appropriately, good. Not great, not pretty good, just good. Good enough to watch again anyway. As of this writing, the second episode has not premiered yet so all I can say is that the show at least has potential. Bradley Whitford and Colin Hanks star as an Odd Couple-pairing of cops whose investigations of petty crimes somehow put them on the trail of major crimes. The first episode started off slowly but really picked up in the last half hour when we met the World's Second Greatest Assassin (that's how he was always described). Anyway, I'm looking forward to this summer's season of The Good Guys unless it sucks in which case I'll completely rewrite this and act like I hated it the whole time.

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