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T.V.

What I have watched or am in the process of watching.

My Top 50 TV Shows: #46 – Roswell

July 14, 2017

#46 – Roswell

 


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My Top 50 TV Shows: #47 – The Adventures Of Pete and Pete

January 26, 2017

#47 – The Adventures of Pete and Pete

Probably the strangest show on my list, and that’s saying something since I enjoy strange. The Adventures of Pete & Pete chronicles the adventures of two brothers (both named Pete), their friends and family, and the town they live in. The adventures are by no means normal and border on the surreal.

What stands out to me when re-visiting this show was how surreal this show truly was. The way the show integrated typical childhood problems into the surreal worldview of the show, was downright genius.

“The older Pete dealt with such older, puberty problems as falling in love with the algebra teacher. The younger Pete deals with adults who don’t respect him, fighting against evils of the man such as bed times by trying to break the world-record of sleep deprivation. The writers of the show were able to effectively cover the many bases of childhood by having two main-characters that shared the same view of the world, but faced different problems. Each episode had concurrent plots split between the two Petes. Sometimes they would intertwine, such as in a desperate battle for the family bowling ball. ” – http://www.ign.com/articles/2005/05/03/the-adventures-of-pete-pete-season-one

What kid show has guest appearances by Steve Buscemi and Hunter S. Thompson? This show was not made to appeal to the masses. It was made to appeal to unique kids. Or adults who relish in the absurd. Like myself.

The only problem I have with the show currently is its availability. The only place to watch these wonderful episodes are on youtube. Which is not the highest quality. I have tried to find the DVDs but almost all of them are incomplete, a mess of quality,  or in random episode order. I may have to purchase the DVDs as trying to find the correct episodes on youtube is not the best way to experience one of your favorite shows.

It’s tough to try and give a true review of a show this unique. All I can say is, just watch it. Enjoy it.

If you have children between the ages of 4-12, it is your duty to let them watch this show. If I had kids I would force them to watch it (Maybe it’s a good thing I don’t have children) and wouldn’t feel bad about leaving them in front of the TV.


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My Top 50 TV Shows: #48 – Daredevil

December 21, 2016

#48 – Daredevil

Daredevil is my favorite adaptation of a comic book story to date. Yes. I like it better than the Marvel films. And I really like the Marvel movies. I think only Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight is at the level of Daredevil.

When I was a kid, the best comic book stories were… well, found in comic books, except for Tim Burton’s Batman, which is charming and weird. Now, you can’t watch T.V. or Movies without seeing the Marvel or D.C. logo. Even if you try. I am not saying it is bad, I am just saying that there may be such a thing as over-saturation.

My personal history with comic books is this: I read a few when I was a kid. I was more into literature. I would spend my days reading Shakespeare, Camus, Huxley and Hugo. Ok, that’s not true. I was into Epic fantasy books. Tolkien and Lord Of The Rings. Weiss and Hickman’s Dragonlance books. R.A. Salvatore and the adventures of Drizzt. Those were the stories I was interested in. Comics? Not really.

Back to Daredevil. Daredevil is dark, gritty, smart and even funny. Created by Drew Goddard,(Buffy Alumn). Well, created is a little presumptuous. He was the showrunner for the first season. Steven S. Deknight (Buffy Alumn) was the showrunner for the second. I mention these two because they have quite a track record of creating quality genre entertainment and Daredevil is no different.

The first season is all about introducing us to the situation in Hell’s Kitchen. Lawyer-by-day Matt Murdock uses his enhanced senses from being blinded as a young boy to eliminate crime at night as Daredevil while hunting down the criminal underworld being led by Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio).  Vincent D’Onofrio steals the show. I love all the acting in the series, but D’Onofrio is fantastic. He was the first Thor*, so it’s good to see him back in the comic book world.

Other characters show up including Rosario Dawson’s nurse character Claire Temple, whom I love. I don’t think I have seen anything with Rosario in it, and not thought, “I think I love her.”

The first season slowly evolves and creates an atmosphere of tension and inevitability between Daredevil and Kingpin (D’Onofrio), that is well balanced and entertaining. Some might think it is too slow, but I loved it.

The violence is another topic that gets thrown around when discussing “Daredevil,” and yes it can be pretty brutal. But, that’s the point. Daredevil is just an ordinary guy. Sure he has been trained by assassins. But, who hasn’t? He is not a superhero with great powers. More Black Widow than Thor. So, when he gets into fights, it hurts him, badly. And the violence on screen is to reflect this condition.

Daredevil had a great first season and a good second one. It is only #48 on my list because it still can go south. How many shows have great first two seasons, then completely fall apart?  See all Showtime shows (Dexter and Weeds). But, I have blind faith (See what I did there?) that this show will continue to be the pinnacle of comic book adaptions.

Jessica Jones and Luke Cage are also really good, but they’ve only had one season each, so if I get around to doing this again in the future (God, I hope not) they may find their way on the list.

*See Adventures In Babysitting

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My Top 50 TV Shows: #49 – Caprica

December 14, 2016

#49 – Caprica

Discussing a show like “Caprica” is tough. It is a spin-off of “Battlestar Galactica”. Not only a spin-off but a prequel of sorts. But, what it does well, is it does not require you to have seen BSG, to understand or appreciate “Caprica”.

What’s it about? The main thrust of the plot revolves around the Greystone family and the Adams family, who live on Caprica, the capital planet of the twelve colonies. When an act of religious fanaticism brings together Joseph Adama, a lawyer with ties to the criminal underworld, and wealthy technologist Daniel Graystone, both of whom lost their daughters. Grief-stricken by the loss of his daughter and fueled by obsession, Daniel, who is basically the Steve Jobs of this world, sets out to bring her back, using his considerable wealth and sprawling technology corporation. Offered the chance of his own daughter being restored, Joseph wrestles with the notion until he comes face to face with its reality.*

Why does it work? The concentration on characters. The characters are rich and believable. When Daniel begins to craft an artificial version of his daughter, you can see the pain and the drive in his eyes. Eric Stoltz does a fantastic job. This show tackles everything from grief, family, virtual reality, A.I., ethnicity and religious fanaticism. It addresses all this in smart, prescient ways. The science fiction is barely fiction anymore. It’s scary.

Unfortunately, this series was written and created for the Sci-Fi channel and debuted on the Sy-Fy channel. Now, that is the same channel, but it expressed a huge shift in priorities for the network. While Battlestar Galactica was one of the highest rated shows on Sci-Fi, Caprica could not get close to those ratings. It was a family drama, it never was going to achieve that level of success. Because of all this, season one, the only season, was split in two. The first half a drama about family and character examination. The second half became more about the plot, and everything was sped up, probably cause they knew they were going to be canceled. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy the second half, but I could feel it being rushed. The ending of the show is a haunting montage, that shows the path the characters took and how it lead to the destruction we see in Battlestar Galactica.

This is a great show if you like character based Sci-Fi.

*Caprica (TV series) - Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caprica_%28series%29 


My Top 50 TV Shows: #50 – The Walking Dead

December 8, 2016
Welcome to my new countdown. My top 50 television shows. Some clarification before I begin. Seven years ago, I did a similar countdown on Facebook notes. What? Is that a thing? Yes, but no one uses them or sees them. So I thought I would do another countdown on this blog. Also, I only chose shows that have completed their run or if they are still on the air, had at least two seasons.

#50 – The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead. Truthfully, I had no idea where to slot this show or even if it belonged on the list. So, I stuck it at 50.

This show can be so good and yet so infuriating at the same time. Sometimes in the same episode. But, if there is one thing that I will say is, the pilot is one of the best episodes of television. Ever. It is that good, and it promised a gritty look at a zombie apocalypse. Unfortunately, the characters never lived up to that initial episode. At times, it feels, that the show should’ve ended a long time before it will. It’s the same old plot every season. We find sanctuary. Uh oh,  there is a ridiculous villain. We need to fight. Who is the real enemy? Rinse and repeat. While the gritty aspects lived up to the hype, it also became a slog of despair. I want to see people rise above the despair of their situation, not wallow in it.

Now for the good. The individual character-specific episodes. This is where the show works on the highest level. I love these episodes. The show needs to kill off more characters or have some depart because this show works best when it’s singularly focused on one or two individuals. That’s why the pilot worked so well. It was a simple story. Some might say the first couple of seasons were better than the last couple, but I can’t. It’s been pretty consistent in its inconsistency.

If I am complaining so much why is it on my list? Because it has and still can be really damn good television. I am a sucker for post-apocalyptic storytelling, and this should be right up my wheelhouse and at times it is exactly what I love. Other times, I wonder what I am doing still watching.