the film snob

A cyberspace journal about my experiences as an NYU film school grad student, reviews of current and classic films, film and TV news, and the rants and raves of an admitted (and unapologetic) film snob.

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Esse Quam Videri -- To be, rather than to appear

Thursday, March 01, 2007

TV Sampler

I’ve been trying some new things lately. They say it's good for you. It is an unfortunate reality of my “Television: History and Culture” class that we are not examining any television beyond 1973. Unfortunate, because I really feel we are in a sort of second Golden Age of the medium. My comments below don't begin to scratch that surface, nor do some of the shows I mention necessarily deserve to be a part of this Golden Age reborn. Nor does this list represent all of my viewing habits (hurry up The Wire: Season Five!). I'm just sayin'...

Aside from the usual TV I always watch (I’ll get to that in a moment), I’ve tried out a few new shows this season:

While I did watch its first season, I’ve not watched 24 at all since then. With so many critics and friends raving about it, I decided to give it another try. Frankly, I wish I’d stayed away. Maybe it’s just this season (as many have assured me) but there is little to no reason for me to keep watching. The show repeatedly and flagrantly ignores its real-time premise, it is preposterously unbelievable, it is sentimental to the point of parody, and if one more president is killed or relative of Jack turns out to be Satan’s fifth cousin, I can’t say I’ll be all that surprised. Totally unbelievable, ideologically skewed, and overly schmaltzy—are we talking about the Fox channel or Fox News?

American Idol:
I’ve never watched this hit before. Oh sure, I’d tuned in for some of the early episodes in which they had all the crazies on, but I'd never cared to stick with it. In fact, those early shows always got me angry at the treatment the contestants received, deserved or not. For some reason, I've hung around this time. And a weird thing has happened. I stopped wanting to see the train wrecks and got enthralled by the genuinely masterful auditions. And now that I’ve held out this long, there’s no going back—I’ve got to see some of these guys (said in the gender neutral way) go on to greatness.

The Office:
Here’s one where I should have listened to people a lot earlier. What a consistently great show. It’s pretty rare that a half-hour comedy takes on the traits of a horror film for me—that is, I constantly find myself having to pause the show and walk away for a few moments just because the level of discomfort (always at something Steve Carell is doing) gets to be too great.

I have to admit some of my old faithfuls have really kept me satisfied this season, or at least are coming through in the end:

Battlestar Galactica:
What can I say, it’s still one of the very best things on TV. Constantly rich and nuanced, there is no show during the week that I look forward to more. It’s amazing—this season we’ve had next to no dogfights or interstellar battles or much eye candy of any kind…just rock solid character drama—and I can’t turn away.

After an abysmal first half of the season, Lost has returned this year with a roar. Time travel, fated deaths, meteorites, VW buses, and more frustratingly vague glimpses into the lives of “the Others” make these past handful of episodes the best in ages. I never thought I’d be so happy to be lost again.

How I Met Your Mother:
I love this show more each and every week. Why more people aren’t watching baffles me. Why Neil Patrick Harris hasn’t yet been nominated for an Emmy or Golden Globe is beyond my comprehension. Watch it. Prove me wrong.

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip:
Poor Aaron Sorkin. Could it be that Sorkin’s heightened reality and linguistics worked in the powerful halls of the While House but fall like duds at a TV studio? Could be. I like the show in spite of myself though. It looks like it might be gone for good. If so, I for one will miss it. But at least that final episode kind of wrapped things up; it actually works to end it where it did.

The Amazing Race:
It’s too early to say whether I like the All Stars Edition of the ultimate reality show or not. I’m just watching giddily waiting for the moment when Rob and Amber come in last place. Oh just admit it, you hate them too.

The Daily Show/The Colbert Report:
What’s there to say? I know of no better way to unwind at the end of the day…well, on TV anyway.


Blogger Beth said...

Okay, sorry Brandon but I LIKE Rob and Amber - they are brilliant at this reality show career! Brilliant! And if they don't win I am rooting for the Beauty Queens! Now, can we talk about giving the simultaneous boot to the obnoxious, hypocritical cousins - Mirna and Charla - AND David and Mary. C'mon now, this is supposed to be All-Stars not coat tail riding revisited. Oh the thrill of Amazing Race.......

3:55 PM  
Anonymous nate said...

From what little bits I've seen, I fear that my impression of 24 would be the same as yours. I'm reluctant to invest all that time, even though I apparently have the same set of friends as you, who are always on about how it is the best thing ever.

You still find Lost remotely watchable? I've stuck with it with a grimace and clenched fists... but really?

BBC Office. 7 hours total. I will not say this again.

Doogie is gay! How about that?

5:08 PM  
Anonymous nate said...

And Heroes may be the best purely escapist thing going right now.

5:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

on the subject of the Office, at the risk of causing offence, i struggled initially with the US version of the Office, being a fan of Ricky Gervais & the UK original....however i was persuaded by an american friend to try to embrace the US version (which i felt was reflective of a general american failure to understand the British & Australian sense of humour) ....and i have since grown to appreciate it a little more - realising that it was "Brick" playing the lead role also helped on my quest to embrace.
- vickie

2:46 AM  

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