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Summer watchin'

Summer used to be the vast months of waiting for favorite network shows to return. Which of course it still is, but there are plenty of summer shows in the meantime, both first-run, and stuff I'm watching on Netflix and Google Play.

Orphan Black: Page-turning awesome (in a TV kind of way). My thoughts here.

Orange is the New Black: Prisoner Cell-block H lite (I suppose nobody but me remembers that show. Women in prison genre.) But refreshingly not played as a total audience-vouyerism op. Yes, there is some gratuitous sex (het and F/F), but mostly the characters are three-dimensional people and their situations genuine. The format is a bit like Lost with a large ensemble cast and flashback sequences showing you how the different prisoners got into their present situations.

I agree with mamculuna that the picture of prison life presented by Orange is probably rosy in comparison to real prison life, and yet you still leave the show thinking, "I promise to be good and not do anything illegal and eat all my vegetables to avoid a place like that."

I'm still trying to deal with the very, very last scene of the final episode of season 1. I guess they are making a point about what prison life drives someone to, but this is either going to be (1) washed over in season two, (2) or change things really radically for the show.

I have yet to tune into the new season of Dexter. I think they dealt well with the Debra emotional arc well last season (up until the final episode, anyway), but I fear for the depiction of my girl in the new season.

True Blood: Watching it, don't have a lot of thoughts. It's one of those shows I use to veg out and not think many thoughts.

Continuum: Season 2 ended weirdly. This is a show I am going to have to go back and rewatch in order to figure out exactly what happened. Srsly, you have to take notes to follow all the character threads, what with the jumping forward and back in time stuff. Luckily, it's a good enough show that I want to do a season 2 rewatch.

What really throws you, though, is that from the beginning, Continuum tips its audience off-kilter with a lack of a clear moral high ground to root for. Kiera is a cop working for the corrupt Corporations that rule the future in 2077, and the Corporations are shown as clearly corrupt. So she's conflicted because she has come to understand this about them, but she doesn't want to change the future too much back here in the past because she might wish the family she loves out of existence in the process. OTOH, the rebels fighting the Corporations are ends-justify-the-means terrorists. And though their cause has some merit, most of them are unsympathetic as individuals. So who do you root for? Given the set-up for season 3, maybe that question is moot.

The Vampire Diaries: Got all caught up on this show via Netflix and other means, and despite its cracked-out adolescent soapiness, I will probably tune in in the fall. Mostly because the new spin-off means less airtime spent on the Originals. So you can imagine I am skeptical of said spin-off. I find the original vampires tedious. Klaus is a total wanker, Rebekkah is a whiny princess, and Elijah is about as interesting as a piece of cardboard. These are powerful immortal vampires--they should be living the high life in European villas or something. Instead, they're hanging around in a small US town mooning over American teenagers. Oy. They should have been the season 2 big bads and then disappeared. But no, they stayed around for three seasons and now are getting their own show? Whatev.

Weeds: Still catching up. Currently on season 4. This show has turned out to be an interesting experiment in expectations. I went into it knowing only that it was about a suburban mom who sells pot to make a living. And that it was a premium channel show. Given that set-up, I assumed it was a drama. So I'm watching the first few episodes, and I'm thinking, "Wow, is this show racist." I could only imagine what was going through the heads of the actors playing the James/Shephard clan given the characters and scenes they had (Oooh--is that Indigo? I love her). But... since a lot of the other characters and situations are over the top as well, I decide it's a quirky (racist) drama.

Anyway, I stick with it, and about half way through season 1, I think, "God, these episodes go by fast." That was when I realized they were only half an hour. OMG, I think, This show is a situation comedy without the laugh track. And then suddenly, the racist parts bugged me less. And I wonder why that should be. Because we're not supposed to take it seriously in that context? I'm not sure. And that bugs me.

Anyway, you have to have a certain tolerance for tongue-in-cheek stereotypes, rampant adolescent sex, and Cheech-and-Chong style drug humor to watch this show.

The Once Upon a Time season 1 rewatch is still going on at 2ceuponatime. We watched episode 9, "True North" last weekend. Discussion here.

Speaking of OUAT, the season 2 DVDs are coming out soon in the US and OnceUponATimeFans is posting the special features videos on YouTube. Go to the http://www.youtube.com/user/OnceUponATimeFans feed. It has the teasers for season 3 as well (watch out for spoilers!), teasers for OUAT: Wonderland, and they are up to #12 in the chronological flashback videos.



( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 15th, 2013 03:58 am (UTC)
ahh... sometimes spinoffs are just helpful quarantines for characters we no longer require...
Aug. 15th, 2013 04:06 pm (UTC)
The fact that they're considering one at all, much less that (according to the critics' internet hype) it's going to be better than its parent show means *somebody* likes those characters. That wouldn't be me.

Which puts the shoe on the other foot from the days when I preferred Angel the series to seasons 4-7 of Buffy.
Aug. 15th, 2013 04:15 pm (UTC)
A lot of people really like Elijah, which I've never really gotten. I don't think the actuality has ever really lived up to the idea of what that character could have been. Klaus... is useful as flavor... but too much about self-indulgence to be a main course.

And I imagine... if you were big on Highlander immortals having grandly significant lives... these characters must be terrible letdowns.

As to Angel vs. Buffy, during their spinoff times. For me, preference was based upon storyline and writing, rather than the characters. I'd have happily followed any permutations a show split had devised. In this case, the CW really did carve out characters I had minimal need for.
Aug. 15th, 2013 04:26 pm (UTC)
I think the Vampire Diaries reveals the heart of what the show is really all about by turning these mythic figures, the original vampires, into the equivalent of moony small-town adolescents. The supernatural stuff and the historical back story is all window-dressing.

I was quite caught up in Angel's journey on AtS and of course the whole Connor thing, and it seemed over the course of the same years, BtVS became the Spike: the Vampire show, which didn't interest me.

That's a gross exaggeration, of course, there was plenty to like on Buffy ss 4-7 as well, but I was less emotionally invested in it.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )