TV

Jan. 11th, 2012 12:23 am
bennet_7: (GW: The good lawyer)
I am done with Once Upon a Time. Maybe The Vampire Diaries too. We'll see how motivated to download I feel on Friday.

As for shows I still like: I FEEL LIKE THIS EPISODE OF THE GOOD WIFE WAS DESIGNED TO SPECIFICALLY CATER TO MY INTERESTS. IT WAS MAGICAL. SPOILERS )
bennet_7: (Hey ladies man guy)
Hey hey hey. Hope everyone had/is having a good holiday. I stayed in London, spending Christmas with friends, preparing and then eating an absurd amount of food.

I should be studying right now but...Yuletide. I am going through the fandoms alphabetically and currently I am somewhere among the H's. Here are a bunch of recs I've got so far.

Definitely something for everyone here )
bennet_7: (GW: The good lawyer)
- Right now I'm going through a Sif/Loki from Thor phase. Luckily [livejournal.com profile] cobweb_diamond is also feeling these feelings (THERE ARE SO MANY) and I have been able to piggyback on her fandom adventures. Here is a handy dandy ship manifesto she put together.

- I tried out Pan Am for four episodes but it's just not good. Dropped.

- I marathoned Once Upon A Time a couple of weeks ago and was charmed but it's not very good either. It's just too Disney. I'll give it a couple more episodes, though.

- I am watching and sometimes enjoying Hart of Dixie without shame (I am a duck and your judgement is the rain). I really think it would be a better show if Rachel Bilson banged her hot redneck neighbour instead of pining for nice lawyer guy who is engaged.

- Shows I am watching out of habit: The Office and How I Met Your Mother. The former is close to being dropped.

- I really enjoy Revenge but I don't care about any of the characters. It's a weird new experience for me because normally I find at least one character to invest in but here there is no emotional involvement on my part. I mean, I guess I like Nolan best but I probably wouldn't if he didn't dress as he does. Thing I am excited about: Spoilers )

- The Dan and Blair Show is apparently coming back this week!

- If you're looking for a hilarious half-hour British comedy, may I recommend Spy? It stars a bunch of awesome people (including Mat Baynton from Horrible Histories!) in the story of a single dad who is unwittingly recruited into MI:6 but cannot win the approval of his Machiavellian nine year old son (for real, his kid is amazing. Normally I hate precocious kids but Marcus is a little shit who reads George W. Bush biographies and wants to head the IMF. I love him.).

- I have tried Ricky Gervais's new show. Was not impressed but I'll give it the series.

- For my fill of drama The Good Wife has been kicking ass and taking names, Being Erica has had issues but is still wonderful, and Homeland has been rocking my socks off. Claire Danes and Damian Lewis for all the awards.

- Yes, Dan Harmon, you are really clever but your constant need to point out how clever you are (and also - always - the way you have turned Britta into the buttmonkey) is disrupting my enjoyment of Community.

- Misfits is amazing. I don't miss Nathan at all.

- But in conclusion: Parks and Rec is the best! I would like to go on the record and state how much I love it.

TV

Sep. 27th, 2011 03:16 pm
bennet_7: (GW: The good lawyer)
Last night I had a thought: wouldn't it be great if boots were like four wheel drives?

Seriously. Think about it.

Press a button when you're off-roading in the country and suddenly you've got extra traction control and grip. The suspension gets firmer (or whatever) and you can go through, like, rivers and mud and sand dunes.

But then, you're back in the city and you don't need all those features. So, you press another button (or maybe the same button, I DON'T KNOW) and then you're boots become lighter and somehow more stylish because you don't need fog lights on in the city...



...this is the kind of thing I think about for more than five minutes.


::

The Good Wife is back. I liked it! Spoilers )

I didn't actually know that Being Erica was back this week - it was just there to DL in the comms - but I'm glad it's back. Spoilers )

The latest episode of The Dan and Blair Show was quite short and light on plot, but it's nice to know that it's still being made. Spoilers )

I tried out three new shows, all of which were light and fluffy and none of which I loved: The Secret Circle (which has one more episode to rise to the level of The Vampire Diaries), Pan Am (because shows with a ratio of four female main characters to two male are rare. This one will get an even greater grace period to get itself some depth), and Hart of Dixie (which was stupid in many different ways but somehow the most enjoyable). Spoilers for HoD )
bennet_7: (GW: The good lawyer)
1. I changed my layout. May change it again or play around with the colours.

2. Do you ever see businesses or meet people and they have the same name as someone famous? Not just the first name but the entire name? Yesterday I saw a car with 'Kevin Smith Cleaning Services' written on the side. Two weeks ago I walked past 'Leonard Cohen Legal Attorneys.' My thought on both occasions was that there should be a blog or a Tumblr dedicated to the phenomena. Which will lead to a book deal. And then a film (it would feature the famous people doing the jobs of their less famous name-sharers).

3. I've been waiting on tenterhooks for this episode of The Good Wife and it did not disappoint. Spoilers )

4. The Chicago Code has been cancelled and I am bummed but not crushed. I thought that with time it might have sorted out the kinks and become truly great but I understand that the ratings haven't been good. I think the latest episode demonstrated a few of its weak points all too well. Spoilers )

5. One of my favourite TV shows of last year (that I think I only posted about on Tumblr) was The Trip, a British comedy starring Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon as Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon. Basically, they play fictionalised versions of themselves and go on a trip together where they review restaurants in the north of England. You don't need to be familiar with either of them or their careers to enjoy it (I know, because I showed it to my mother and she loved it), because they establish the relationship and the tension between them really well and after that you just sit back and enjoy their duelling impressions, their petty squabbles, and the surprising moments of humanity.

The TV show was directed by Michael Winterbottom as a six episode series and he has re-edited it as a film for international audiences. The trailer is here and below is one of my favourite scenes.



6. It's that time of year again: Eurovision! Because they only sing one song throughout the competition, I don't watch the semi-finals because I like to be shocked, awed, and appalled by the final on Sunday. But I did find a bunch of photos of the costumes we can look forward to and they are under the cut.

Eurovision is the definition of so bad it's good )
bennet_7: (P&R: Here's a good idea: makeout already)
I finished two books this weekend. First was Cold Comfort Farm which I adored and was the perfect palate cleanser to Jane Eyre (which I finished earlier in the week). I then watched the 1995 adaptation on YouTube and while it's difficult to imagine anybody else but Rufus Sewell as Seth and Stephen Fry as Mybug, I wouldn't mind it if the Beeb had another go at it because Kate Beckinsale was pretty disappointing as Flora.

I started The Solitude of Prime Numbers by Paolo Giordano last night and finished it this afternoon. While it won't be making my favourites list any time soon, I was impressed by it because it contained a bunch of things I dislike but I wanted to keep reading it anyway. Whoever translated it from the original Italian did a good job.

I loved Parks and Rec this week. Well, I love it every week but this episode was particularly heart warming. It's probably the only show on at the moment which draws its comedy chiefly from its own good nature. If you're not watching it, you should.

Icon dump: The Chicago Code, The Good Wife, Parks and Recreation, The Dan and Blair Show



Here )
bennet_7: (GW: The good lawyer)
Spoilers )
bennet_7: (P&R: Here's a good idea: makeout already)
The thing about living in Australia is this: I don't quite understand the scheduling of American TV, nor do I know when a TV show is going to have a little mini-hiatus right in the middle of its season.

I mean, I don't really know what 'March Madness' is (I know it has something to do with basketball but I really don't want to find out more. If I can't give a damn about Australian basketball, no way am I going to care about it in the US), but is it followed by 'April Apathy', where everyone winds down from the crazy and forgets to put my shows on?

Like, all last week I was expecting my shows to appear on the internet, kindly uploaded by the good-natured pirates, as per normal, but the only one to appear was The Good Wife. And it's the same this week so I did some investigating and found out that none of them were supposed to air anyway which is very disappointing. There needs to be some kind of app for international downloaders to keep us aware of scheduling changes so that we don't get our hopes up like I did last Friday, expecting to come home from work and find all my Thursday comedies ready to watch; I'd been anticipating them all week, looking forward to The Office for the first time in a long time, but they weren't there.

A couple of new shows did air so I gave them a try.

Chaos had an decent premise (the three musketeers and their d'Artagnan in the CIA) but wasn't very good. If it does improve I imagine that it will develop a huge slash fandom thanks to its cast of attractive white males. Only one female series regular in the pilot (and she was a POC so yay) but Christina Cole has made the jump across the pond to play the other (still a ratio of five guys to two women, though. Disappointing). Apparently Christina Cole will be playing against type: her character will be nice. The only times I have ever seen Christina Cole not play an uber-bitch were her small role in Casino Royale and as Norah in He Knew He Was Right (though Norah had a few moments). It's kind of amusing how many of the great bitches of English Literature she's played: Blanche Ingram, Caroline Bingley, Mrs Elton.

Anyway, I might keep an eye on the reviews to see if it gets better. I do enjoy stories about spies and James Murray's face.

The Killing was much more impressive. I really like the main character, Sarah Linden, who is very thoughtful and speaks only when necessary, but doesn't come off as cold, aloof, or bitchy. If they pace it right, the murder investigation could be really compelling and I like watching these stories unfold over multiple episodes so I'm in for now.

Spoilers for The Good Wife )
bennet_7: (Cary Grant)
I think my reaction to the latest episode of The Good Wife might best be summed up as: DAAAYYYYUUUUUM!

Spoilers )

In other news: WHY HAS THIS NOT BEEN KILLED WITH FIRE YET? I DO NOT WANT TO SEE A NEW VERSION OF THE THIN MAN FROM THE WRITER OF BAD BOYS 2 AND STARRING AN OVERLY TANNED AND BLOATY JOHNNY DEPP.



I mean if they had to do it, may I suggest Sam Rockwell and Michelle Monaghan as Nick and Nora? Or, wait, new idea: an episode of The Dan and Blair Show where Dan is Nick and Blair is Nora. Actually, that basically is the premise of The Dan and Blair Show except without the marriage and the drinking and the dog.
bennet_7: (Press Gang: At last a dragon)
1. There is a Tumblr dedicated to cats that look like Ron Swanson from Parks and Recreation. And then Vulture called up Nick Offerman and got him to comment on some of the posts ("You wouldn't guess it, but that's a look of abject pleasure on both the cat and Ron," says Offerman. "That would be Ron sitting by a burbling stream, redolent of trout."). Oh internet! The random joy that you bring!

2. Speaking of Nick Offerman, I've started my West Wing rewatch and I saw him in episode 1x05 aka "The Crackpots and These Women". He played one of the crackpots, part of the delegation that speaks to CJ about Pluie the wolf and the wolves-only highway they want the government to build. It's just the kind of outdoorsy thing I can see Ron being interested in if it weren't for the fact that he hates to see tax payer's money spent so frivolously. So I have decided that Ron was once an idealistic young man who believed in big government and went to the White House to plead his case, only for him to be rebuffed by CJ's disbelief and thus he became the Libertarian curmudgeon we all know and love (and now compare to cats!). If only he'd known about the position paper CJ went on to write, about the necessity of wildlife protection...

3. Still enjoying The Chicago Code. It's definitely more about the corruption and the politics than it is about the cases, which is good because crime procedurals generally bore me to turning off the TV. One unexpected source of delight is the scenery. They film on location and they really take advantage of it by shooting the streets of Chicago in a very cinematic way: lots of wide pans and overhead shots. I had no idea Chicago was so beautiful.

And it's an interesting when juxtaposed with The Good Wife which is set in Chicago but actually shot in New York and deals with similar subject matter. Already I've gotten a much better sense of Chicago itself in the three episodes of Code than I have from the season and a half I've seen of Wife.

4. I think we're headed for trouble in the Community fandom. I think it'll look like a shipper war but speaking for myself it's actually more complicated than that. I feel that the second season hasn't had the same depth of character as the first, with Abed and Troy being the only characters to grow. Jeff and Annie get most of the focus (him out of all the characters - which, yes, he is the main character, I know - and her out of all the girls) but they keep on playing the same beats: he eventually realises that he does love this rag-tag bunch of misfits, she runs into conflict over her standards/perfectionism, and the ship teasing continues apace. Pierce has actually regressed as a character, becoming more and more unlikeable. Britta and Shirley get pushed into the background far too often for my liking and often come across as one-note (something I attribute entirely to the writing).

Anyway, I've noticed some disagreements breaking out between Jeff/Annie shippers and people who aren't Jeff/Annie shippers. Trouble is on the horizon. We'll see if the next few episodes keep it at a rumble or cause the fandom to splinter.

5. I'm currently drinking wine that cost me $8.00. I'm having a hard time detecting the notes of melon and guava it's supposed to possess, so I guess you get what you pay for.
bennet_7: (Jaye smiling)
So, I kind of want Off the Map to be cancelled quickly so that Caroline Dhavernas, Mamie Gummer (so good on The Good Wife!), and Zach Gilford can work on better shows. It's just some of the worst writing I've seen on TV in a while. Full of clich├ęs and anvils and "LET'S TELL EACH OTHER OUR TRAGIC BACK STORIES RIGHT NOW". If it improves dramatically then please let me know and I'll pick it up again because I really do like those actors but right now I'm not going to download any more eps.

It's nice to have Community back but I am sick of the romantic plot lines. I think the show is much stronger when it focuses on the friendships and family aspect of the group. Spoilers )

The Good Wife continues to amaze and delight. These past two episodes have been less about using the law or evidence to get people off and more about the wheeling and dealing and rhetoric and manipulation, both inside and out of the courtroom - and that's fabulous. Spoilers )

Finally, Parks and Recreation is back! My joy is as great as Ron Swanson's moustache! This was such a feel-good episode (much more than The Office, this is a feel-good show) and I think it did a great job of reuniting everyone, humanising Chris, and introducing new viewers to the world of Pawnee. Speaking of Chris, I love that the reason he's funny is because he's so positive - there's nothing caustic or sarcastic about him - and I don't think the show is really mocking him because of it. No, his positivity and kindness is generally shown to be a good thing that also happens to be hilarious.
bennet_7: (TVD: Stefan has a sense of humour)
Wow, The Vampire Diaries just does not let up, does it? I think it's having the best second season of all the returning shows at the moment - it's even got the edge over The Good Wife which has seen Eli hold the idiot ball when he's supposed to be some kind of Xanatos Speed Chess Master (apologies for linking to TVTropes) and has been trying too hard to make fetchBlake happen.

But The Vampire Diaries is consistently excellent across the board in terms of story telling, pacing, characterisation, and acting. Who'd a thunk it from the CW?

Spoilers )

And Fridays just got even more awesome (because, due to the time difference, I get these shows after lunch on Friday) with the return in the UK of Misfits, also firing on all cylinders. For those not familiar with this show, it's about a group of juvenile delinquents who get superpowers and it's awesome! But not for the faint of heart. It's gritty, realistic, crude, rude, and profane.

Spoilers )

I loved the first episode back of Community but since then it hasn't quite been gelling for me - perhaps too many high concept parodies too soon after Modern Warfare. But this episode I really liked.

Spoilers )

I'm still watching The Office but more out of loyalty than enjoyment at this point. I've loved this show for so long that I'm having a hard time letting go but if it doesn't improve soon I might be out.
bennet_7: (S&A: laughter and razor blades)
The Good Wife is back and firing on all cylinders. WATCH THIS SHOW! SERIOUSLY!

Spoilers )
bennet_7: (1909: stubborns as mules)
I had it in my head that The Good Wife was back last night (and thus I would be able to download it today) but alas, it did not, so I could not.

A shame, because I'm really, really hankering for some awesome female-centric TV right now.

By my reckoning, the new hour-longs (I'm not wading into sitcom territory) with the most critical buzz are: Boardwalk Empire, Lone Star, and Terriers. However, I haven't felt a strong inclination to check any of them out because they are all male-centric. My understanding (based mostly on short promos and reviews from people like Alan Sepinwall) is that they break down like this:

- Terriers: Focuses on two unlicensed male PIs. Apparently, one has a well-written girlfriend and the other has a cliche of an ex-wife, but both are supporting characters.

- Boardwalk Empire: Male main character, whole bunch of male supporting characters, and Kelly MacDonald, who is/will be romantically involved with a male character. Also, as it is set in the 20s, chances for empowered, independent females who have goals and achieve them are slim to non.

- Lone Star: Male main character, four supporting male characters, 2 supporting female characters, both of whom are love interests of the main male character.

[This meta could take a turn for the serious if I was to do more in-depth research into the cast make-ups of all of these shows, but, as my mother has informed me, most viewers don't read half-a-dozen blogs or check YouTube for trailers when deciding what new shows to watch. They catch a promo on TV, they read a blurb in the TV guide, and they need to be hooked on the premise by that. So I'm doing this largely from the POV of the average viewer and also, I don't want to research a bunch of shows that have already failed to grab me, which is kind of my point.]

Now, just scrolling through the my mental Rolodex of new shows, I can think of only three where a female is unquestionably the main character: Body of Proof (not airing for another month or so), Nikita, Hellcats.

If anyone can think of anymore, please tell me! Until then, let this thought fester: two of those shows are on The CW, which, yes, does skew towards a young female audience anyway, but still. The freakin' CW is telling more new female stories than any other network.

Now, there are shows where a female shares the lead with a male. Off the top of my head: The Whole Truth (as far as I know, they are old friends but are not romantically involved and they are opponents in court), Undercovers (husband and wife), My Generation (seems to be a fairly balanced ensemble but I can't tell if there is a lead or not largely because there's been barely any buzz, good or bad, about it), No Ordinary Family, and Chase (Daniel Fienberg says "Justified is a star vehicle for Timothy Olyphant and In Plain Sight is the same for Mary McCormack. Chase isn't built the same was for Kelli Giddish, who gets the most screentime, but definitely is part of the sort of ensemble you'd see going after serial killers on CBS", which I take to mean that this isn't her story they're telling nor that they are filtering it through her POV (also, he says she's poorly written as a character too)).

Other new hour-longs with male leads: Outlaw, Hawaii Five-O, Detroit 1-8-7, The Event (actually, I don't think this has a clear lead but Jason Ritter and Blair Underwood appear to be the protagonists, Laura Innes and Scott Patterson seem to be supporting, Zeljko Ivanek seems to be supporting anatgonist, and Sarah Roemer pushes the plot forward by disappearing), Blue Bloods (again, not sure if Tom Selleck is the lead, but it is a largely male ensemble), and The Defenders.

So, for the TL;DR crowd:

- Male leads: 9

- Female leads: 3

- Male and Female lead/largely balanced ensemble: 5

In conclusion: write more TV shows with women as the main characters, where they get to be multifaceted, have goals and desires of their own, and be successful in their jobs and relationships.

You know, this was going to be a quick rant before I talked about the amazingness that is Being Erica (for the things that I listed above) but now I am spent. I'll be back later.
bennet_7: (DW: looking forward to the future & past)
I finished/handed in my thesis a couple of weeks ago and since then I have been decompressing. This has involved sleeping in late, taking the time to cook elaborate meals, reading books with no other purpose than enjoyment, re-establishing contact with friends and family, and watching a lot of TV that I missed out on.

Here are my thoughts on various shows.

10 Things I Hate About You )

Chuck )

Community )

Dance Academy )

Doctor Who )

The Good Wife )

How I Met Your Mother )

Modern Family )

The Office )

Parks and Recreation )

The Vampire Diaries )


So El-Jay, what's up?
bennet_7: (Lady in Red stands in Yellow)
Is anyone else watching The Good Wife? I know it does well in the ratings but it's not getting much love from the critics (aside from acting awards) or from a fandom.

It's a bit sad because the show is really quite excellent. I know it looks like one of those boring CBS procedurals and it did start out a little slow but it's become quite complex both in terms of the 'cases-of-the-week', the on-going plots, and the characters.

For those of you who don't know much about it, the basic jist is this: Alicia Florrick's (Julianna Margulies) life went to hell in a hand basket when she and the rest of the country found out that her husband Peter (Chris Noth), the State's Attorney of Illinois, had cheated on her with prostitutes and was accused of corruption. She stands by his side at the press conference but she's hurt and humiliated behind closed doors.

When the series starts it is six months later, Peter is in jail for corruption, and Alicia has to go back to work to support her family (they have two teenagers, Zach and Grace, who are initially very unhappy about leaving their posh neighbourhood and private school for a more affordable life). Alicia hasn't practiced law in 15 years but she's hired by her college friend Will (Josh Charles aka Dan Rydell from Sports Night) at his firm. She's got competition in the form of 20-something Cary, but she makes friends with the in-house private investigator, Kalinda, and eventually establishes a rapport with senior partner Diane Lockhart.

One of the reasons I like this show so much is that they spend a lot of time on Alicia's personal life. There are on-going story lines involving her kids and pushy mother-in-law that actually add to the show, as opposed to say, Mary's completely annoying family stuff on In Plain Sight. Peter is also very much still a part of the show as a) Alicia tries to sort out her feelings for him, and b) it appears that there is a wider conspiracy trying to keep him in jail. That, in particular, is very intriguing.

I initially found the 'case of the week' stuff unimpressive because the cases themselves were a bit predictable and black and white. However, the guest stars have been very good from the beginning and their characters have, you know, actual character, so they've been entertaining when the cases haven't been. But as I said, the cases have recently become a lot more complex and interesting. The look at office politics has been really good too.

Finally, this is a show that features really good female characters. Alicia is both a great lawyer and a great parent, Kalinda is basically Veronica Mars all grown up if Veronica was Indian and possibly a lesbian (the show hasn't fully revealed that one yet but it's hinted early on), and Diane is intelligent and strong while still managing to occasionally show a softer side. The men are good too: a love triangle between Alicia, Peter, and Will is clearly in the offing from the pilot but they've avoided the cliche of Will as the white knight and Peter as the dastardly husband by spending time showing us both Will's flaws and Peter's good points.

To sum up, The Good Wife: it's not the show you think it would be. It's smart and well-crafted, with on-going plots that reminds me at times of Veronica Mars. Is it the greatest show ever? No. But it is a show about interesting adults, for intelligent adults and, as such, it's pretty darn refreshing.

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